Nothing but the brittle thread of life, supported by the hand of an angry God, now holds the sinner from dropping into the flames of Hell!

(Asahel Nettleton, "Rejoice Young Man!")

"Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things, God will bring you into judgment!" Ecclesiastes 11:9

Young men! You may think: "Surely there can be no harm in gathering some of the delights and tasting the pleasures of the present season."

If your souls are in danger of being lost by the alluring pleasures of what men call innocent amusements — will you now regard a warning from God? Or do you wish, like the others, to be flattered on to destruction? Your trifles of time will then be lost in the solemn concerns of eternity!

Should the unseen hand of death suddenly approach and find you as you are — you are gone, and lost forever! Is this a time to rejoice and make merry? Remember — you must soon die and go to judgment!

I well know that you intend to die the death of the righteous — and so did all who are now in Hell. Not one had made his calculations to lie down in eternal torments!

At the righteous judgment of God, it will then appear that your youthful days in which you now rejoice — were wholly spent in gathering fuel for your own eternal torments!

Surely, God out of Christ, is a consuming fire — and nothing but the brittle thread of life, supported by the hand of an angry God, now holds the sinner from dropping into the flames of Hell!

You sport on the brink of ruin!

Can you amuse yourselves with trifles, while your soul is in danger of being eternally lost?

You chase a bubble, at the hazard of falling into endless torments!

Yet many plead the example of the world which lies in wickedness. They feel safe because they run with the multitude. Others have done so before. My friends, those others have gone to Hell! They were sporting in sin, when suddenly they not only died, but were damned!

You are now, in your lifetime, receiving your good things. And this little may be all that you will ever enjoy. Your last day, your last hour will soon come. Were this day to close the scene of your mortal life — what have you gained? Were God's judgment now to open to your view — what have you been doing? Your work for eternity is ended. And the holy Judge pronounces your final doom.

We are to remember that God always sees us — and do what we will, we can never get out of His sight, or out of His hand. Your past conduct is now recorded in Heaven — the account is gone in, and cannot be altered. It will shortly be presented to your view. The mirthful scene will now be changed. Every action will now be weighed by the omniscient Judge. Every secret thing will now appear. God will bring to the light of open day, the hidden works of darkness, and the secret counsels of all hearts. The righteous Judge will proceed to the trial on the principles of strict justice. He will now demand the uttermost farthing — absolute perfection. Without pity, or allowance for the levity of youth — He will condemn and punish for every failure of perfect obedience. An idle word, an impure thought, cannot be forgiven. For all those things, O young man — how will your present mirthful conduct then appear?

"Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things, God will bring you into judgment!" Ecclesiastes 11:9