And now I hurry towards a conclusion. I have said things that many perhaps
will not like, and not receive; but I appeal to your consciences, Are they
Young men, you all have consciences. Corrupt and ruined by the fall as we
are, each of us has a conscience. In a corner of each heart there sits a
witness for God, a witness who condemns when we do wrong, and approves when
we do right. To that witness I make my appeal this day, are not the things
that I have been saying true?
Go then, young men, and resolve this day to remember your Creator in the
days of your youth. Before the day of grace is past, before your conscience
has become hardened by age, and deadened by repeated trampling under foot,
while you have strength, and time, and opportunities, go and join yourself
to the Lord in an everlasting covenant not to be forgotten. The Spirit will
not always strive. The voice of conscience will become feebler and fainter
every year you continue to resist it. The Athenians said to Paul, "We want
to hear you again on this subject" but they had heard him for the last time
(Acts 17:32). Make haste, and don't delay. Linger and hesitate no more.
Think of the unspeakable comfort you will give to parents, relatives, and
friends, if you take my counsel. They have expended time, money, and health
to raise you, and make you what you are. Surely they deserve some
consideration. Who can know the joy and gladness which young people have in
their power to give? Who can tell the anxiety and sorrow that sons like
Esau, and Hophni, and Phinehas, and Absalom may cause? Truly indeed does
Solomon say, "A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief
to his mother" (Proverbs 10:1). Oh, consider these things, and give God your
heart! Let it not be said of you at last, as it is of many, that your "youth
was a disorder, your manhood a struggle, and your old age a regret."
Think of the good you might be doing for the world. Almost all the eminent
saints of God sought the Lord early. Moses, Samuel, David, Daniel, all
served God from their youth. God seems to delight in putting special honor
upon young servants; and think of what we could expect, if young men in our
own day would consecrate the springtime of their lives to God? Workers are
wanted now in almost every great and good cause, and cannot be found.
Technology of every kind for spreading truth exists, but there are not
people to make it work.
Money is more easily obtained for doing good than men. Ministers are wanted
for new churches, missionaries are wanted for new fields, teachers are
wanted for Sunday School, many a good cause is standing still merely for
want of workers. The supply of godly, faithful, trustworthy men, for posts
like those I have named, is far below the demand.
Young men of the present day, you are wanted for God. This is an age of
activity. We are shaking off some of our past selfishness. Men no longer
sleep the sleep of apathy and indifference about others, as their
forefathers did. They are beginning to be ashamed of thinking like Cain, "Am
I my brother's keeper?" A wide field of usefulness is open before you, if
you are only willing to enter into it. The harvest is great, and the workers
are few. Be zealous of good works. Come, come to the aid of the Lord against
the wickedness of this age.
This is, in some sort, to be like God, not only good, but doing good (Psalm
119:68). This is the way to follow the steps of your Lord and Savior: "He
went around doing good" (Acts 10:38).
And who can doubt that this is the path which makes an immortal soul
beautiful? Who would not rather leave this world like Josiah, grieved by
all, than depart like Jehoram, "to no one's regret?" (2 Chronicles 21:20).
Is it better to be idle, frivolous, to live for your body, your selfishness,
your lusts, and your pride, or to spend and be spent in the glorious cause
of usefulness to your fellow men--to be a blessing to your country and the
world, to be the friend of the prisoner and the captive, to be the spiritual
father of hundreds of immortal souls in heathen lands, to be a burning and a
shining light, an epistle of Christ, known and read of all men, the
inspiration of every Christian heart that comes across your path? Oh, who
can doubt? Who can for one moment doubt?
Young men, consider your responsibilities. Think of the privilege and luxury
of doing good. Resolve this day to be useful. Give your hearts at once to
Think, lastly, of the happiness that will come to your own soul, if you
serve God, happiness as you travel through life, and happiness in the end,
when the journey is over. Believe me, whatever vain notions you may have
heard, believe me, there is a reward for the righteous even in this world.
Godliness has indeed the promise of this life, as well as of that which is
to come. There is a solid peace in feeling that God is your friend. There is
a real satisfaction in knowing that however your unworthiness, you are
complete in Christ, that you have an enduring portion, that you have chosen
that good part which shall not be taken from you.
The backslider in heart may well be content with his own ways, but "the good
man [will be] rewarded for his" (Proverbs 14:14). The path of the worldly
man grows darker and darker every year that he lives; the path of the
Christian is like a shining light, brighter and brighter to the very end.
His sun is just rising when the sun of the worldly is setting forever; his
best things are all beginning to blossom and bloom forever, when those of
the worldly are all slipping out of his hands, and passing away.
Young men, these things are true. Listen to the word of exhortation. Be
persuaded. Take up the cross. Follow Christ. Yield yourselves to God.