Religion And Longevity
I found this article online. It was written by T. DeWitt Talmage on Psalms 91:16: With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation. Where Talmage used the world religion I would insert the words a relationship with Jesus Christ. We all know of individuals whose sin led them directly to a premature death and we all know of individuals whose premature death was caused by the sin of others.
Deuteronomy 5:16: Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
In about 3 decades of ministry in nursing homes, I do not recall ever encountering an elderly person that was disrespectful of his or her parents.
1 Kings 3:11-14: And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; 12 Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. 13 And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. 14 And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.
Proverbs 3:1-2: My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: 2 For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.
1 Corinthians 11:27-30: Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord*s body. 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
It is high time that religion joined the hand of medical science in attempting to improve the world*s longevity. Adam lived 930 years. Methusaleh lived 969 years. As late in the history of the world as Vespasian, there were at one time in his empire forty-five people 185 years old. So far down as the sixteenth century, Peter Zartan died at 185 years of age. I do not say that religion will ever take the race back to antediluvian longevity, but I do say the length of human life will be greatly improved, and a person will be called a child at 100 years of age (Isaiah 65:20). Religion has only just touched our world. Give it full swing for a few centuries and who can tell what will be the strength of man and the beauty of woman, and the longevity of all?
One. RELIGION MAKES THE CARE OF OUR PHYSICAL HEALTH A POSITIVE CHRISTIAN DUTY. The Christian man lifts this whole problem of health into the accountable and the Divine. He says, *God has given me this body, and He has called it the temple of the Holy Ghost, and to deface its altars, or to mar its walls, or crumble its pillars, is a God-defying sacrilege.* So wonderful are these bodies that God names His own attributes after different parts of them. His omniscience . . . it is God*s eye. His omnipresence . . . it is God*s ear. His omnipotence . . . it is God*s arm. The upholstery of the midnight heavens . . . it is the work of God*s fingers. His life-giving power . . . it is the breath of the Almighty. His dominion . . . the government shall be upon His Shoulder. A body so divinely honoured and so divinely constructed, let us be careful not to abuse it. When it becomes a Christian duty to take care of our health, is not the whole tendency toward longevity?
Two. RELIGION IS A PROTEST AGAINST ALL THE DISSIPATIONS WHICH INJURE AND DESTROY THE HEALTH. Bad men and women live a very short life. Their sin kills them. Byron died at Missolonghi at thirty-six years of age, himself his own Mazeppa, his unbridled passions the horse that dashed with him into the desert. Edgar A. Poe died at Baltimore at thirty-eight years of age. The black raven that alighted on the bust above his chamber-door was *delirium tremens.* *Only this and nothing more.* Napoleon Bonaparte lived only just beyond mid-life, then died at St. Helena; and one of his doctors said that his disease was induced by excessive snuffing. How many people we have known who have not lived out half their days because of their dissipations and indulgences! Now, practical religion is a protest against all dissipation of any kind. *But,* you say, *professors of religion have fallen, professors of religion have got drunk, professors of religion have misappropriated trust funds, professors of religion have absconded.* Yes, yes; but they threw away their religion before they did their morality.
Three. RELIGION TAKES THE WORRY OUT OF OUR TEMPORALITIES. It is not work that kills men; it is worry. When a man becomes a genuine Christian, he makes over to God not only his affections, but his family, his business, his reputation, his body, his mind, his soul . . . everything. Industrious he will be, but never worrying, because God is managing his affairs. *All things work together for good to them that love God.* Is there not rest in that? Is there not tonic in that? Is there not longevity in that? Suppose a man is all the time worried about his reputation? One man says he lies, another man says he is stupid, another man says he is dishonest, and half-a-dozen printing establishments get the man under Hoe*s cylinder and flatten him out, and he is in a great state of excitement and worry, and cannot sleep at night; but religion comes to him and says, *Man, God is on your side; He will take care of your reputation; if God be for you, who can be against you?* How much is that man going to worry about his reputation? Not much. Oh, nervous and feverish people of the world, try this almighty sedative; you will live twenty-five years longer under its soothing power! It is not chloral that you want, or morphine that you want; it is the gospel of longevity. *With long life will I satisfy him.*
Four. RELIGION REMOVES ALL CORRODING CARE ABOUT A FUTURE EXISTENCE. A mighty One on a knoll back of Jerusalem one day, the skies filled with forked lightnings and the earth shaking with volcanic disturbances, turned His pale and agonized face toward the heavens, and said, *I take the sins and sorrows of the ages into My heart. I am the expiation. Witness earth, and heaven, and hell, I am the expiation.* Accept that sacrifice and quit worrying. Take the tonic, the inspiration, the longevity of this thought. Religion is sunshine; that is healthy. Religion is fresh air and pure water; they are healthy. Religion is warmth; that is healthy. Ask all the doctors, and they will tell you that a quiet conscience and pleasant anticipations are hygienic. Glory be to God for this robust, rubicund religion! It will have a tendency to make you live long in this world, and in the world to come you will have eternal longevity.