It is a fact of life, that all of our thoughts, words, and actions are fixed and unchangeable.

Now, at the age of seventy, my work for good or for evil is done. I cannot go back and repair what has been amiss. I cannot now do what has been left undone. I cannot do in a better manner, what has been imperfectly performed. I cannot recover the hours that have been wasted. I cannot correct the evils which may have resulted from my errors. I cannot overtake and stop what I have spoken or written, as it has gone out into the world. I cannot summon back the opportunities for usefulness which have been neglected. I cannot obliterate the reality or the memory of wrong thoughts, or wrong motives, or wrong words, or wrong actions. All that has been thought or said or done in these seventy years, has become fixed as a reality–never to be changed. Past errors and follies may be forgiven–but they are never to be changed. The hope of a man at seventy years of age–at any age–is not that the errors, and sins, and follies of the past can be changed–it is only that they may be pardoned by a merciful God; that they may be covered over by the blood of the atonement; that though they must remain forever as facts–facts fully known to the Great Searcher of hearts–their guilt may be so taken away that they will not be punished; that by the blood shed on the cross, they themselves may be so covered over–so hidden–that they will not be disclosed on the final trial before assembled worlds!

That hope, the religion of Christ offers to all. How different would men try to make their lives, if they habitually felt that all–literally all–that they do, or say, or think–even their most fugitive thoughts–becomes thus fixed and unchangeable forever!

Albert Barnes, “Life at Three-Score and Ten”–1868