A Word to the Young Christian

James Smith, 1858

Young Christian, just one word or two with you. You have just ventured on Christ, and found Jesus precious. You are full of light and love, your peace flows like a river, and your joy appears to be full. As a pardoned sinner you feel happy. As united to Jesus you feel honored. With you, the winter of doubting, fear, and despondency has gone; and the summer of confidence, love, and assurance has come. You never thought that there was such comfort in religion, as you find now. You wish all enjoyed it, and imagine that in your own experience it will last always. Now I am not going to be a prophet of evil things, nor shall I inflict on you a long, tiresome lecture for I know that you are not prepared for that. Only let me give you a word of advice on three points.

First, be very decided for God. Don't try to be half and half. Do not mix up with the world, or conform to its vanities and follies. Never give it any reason to suppose, that you want any of its pleasures to make you happy; or that you sigh after any of its enjoyments. Never be rough, or coarse, or harsh but still be very decided. If invited to worldly parties, which you know would injure your spirituality, very decidedly say no. If tempted to conform to any of its sinful customs or fashions, very decidedly refuse. Let it be seen, and felt that you have made up your mind to be a Christian indeed, to follow the Lord fully. In the family circle, when visiting distant relatives, or among worldly acquaintances, let it be known that you are a disciple of Christ, and that it is no use to try to bring you down to their level. Never mind what they say you will have the verdict of their consciences in your favor; and God will show his approbation of your course. Be kind, obliging, and agreeable but be very decided for God everywhere.

Secondly, attend to God's ordinances. They are instituted for your benefit, and the honor of the Lord Jesus Christ. Never trifle with them. Never neglect them. Never let anything in your conduct say, that you lightly esteem them. As a believer, profess your faith in Christ by baptism. As having professed your faith in Christ, take your place at his table, and constantly fill it. Regularly attend all meetings for prayer, and the preaching of God's most blessed word. Ordinances are called means of grace, because God gives grace through them; consequently, if we need grace, and desire to receive it, we should be punctual in our attendance upon them. It is difficult, if not impossible, to slight the ordinances, and not slight God who ordained them.

Thirdly, walk closely with God in holy fellowship. Take the lord, not only for your God but for your friend. Become familiar with him. Live in his presence. Walk by his side. Seek his counsel upon all points. Get close to him, and keep close to him. Meet him at his throne, at set times. Meditate on his glorious perfections, purposes, promises, and precepts, at all times. Never walk out, without realizing that God is with you, and acquire the habit of continually lifting up your heart to God. Make him your confidant, tell him all your secrets your secret sins your secret sorrows and your secret pleasures too. Hear him speak to you in creation, and in providence but especially in his Word; and as he is constantly speaking to you, to instruct, comfort, warn, and encourage you; be constantly speaking to him, respecting your soul, your body, your business, your needs, your woes, your fears, and your joys. Be intimate with the Most High.

Now, if my young friends will just keep these few things in mind, and endeavor to carry them out, they will be preserved from many snares, they will be kept from many sins, they will enjoy settled peace, they will overcome innumerable temptations, and they will adorn the gospel, by bringing forth the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ unto the praise and glory of God.

Decision for God, waiting upon God, and walking with God include the principal duties of Christianity, so far as we are personally concerned; and if we attend to those duties which deepen our spirituality, and render our consecration to God more thorough, we shall be sure not to neglect those relative duties, which are for the good of others.