Counsel for the Young

by James Smith, 1860


How important is the season of youth! How necessary it is that youth should be noticed, admonished, and encouraged to seek the Lord. How many die in youth. How many form evil habits which they never conquer. The seeds of goodness and greatness are generally sown in youth. Let young people, therefore, listen to the Lord's Word, choose the better part, and secure God for their friend. Does some youthful eye rest upon this page? Allow one, who has ever been a lover of youth, to urge you to consider the language of the wisest of men, in the decline of life, as the royal preacher, and, "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say: I find no pleasure in them." Ecclesiastes 12:1

Consider, the Exhortation. "Remember your Creator." To him you are indebted for your existence, your connections in life, and all the comforts you enjoy. In him you live, move, and have your being. Upon him you are dependent for life, breath, and all things. How great is your obligation to him. How absolute your dependence upon him is. Remember him, therefore, and remember to seek him, to obey him, and glorify him. Remember his goodness and repent, for his goodness is intended to lead you to repentance. Remember his authority and obey, for you ought to obey God rather than man. Remember his power and submit, for every creature must bend or break. Remember his mercy and hope, for his mercy is plenteous, free, and everlasting. Remember his love for it is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit. Remember his message and believe it, for he has sent to tell you of his grace, to offer you his Son, and to beseech you to be reconciled. Remember his determination to bring you into judgment and prepare for it. Consider,

The Period. "Now, in the days of your youth." There is no time like the present, therefore, "the Holy Spirit says, Today." "Now," there is certainty if you seek, you shall find. "Now," you must be successful, for every one that seeks shall find.

"In the days of your youth," when everything tempts you to forget. Remember in youth, though youthful times are giddy times, they are molding times, and the character for life is formed now. Youthful time is morning time, and the morning time is best for every important enterprise. "Josiah began to seek the Lord, while he was yet young," so do you. Remember, for your encouragement, the Lord says, "Those who seek me early shall find me."

How many snares you will escape,
how many blessings you will secure,
how many comforts you will enjoy
if you remember the Lord in your youth. Consider then,

The Inducement. Days of trouble are coming! Yes, trouble is ahead of us. What they will bring, we know not; they may bring insanity, accidents, excruciating pains, overwhelming cares, distressing bereavements, and early death! Then you will need the supports and comforts of real religion. If we live to old age, pleasureless years will come. The senses will be dull, the energies weakened, and evil habits confirmed. The memory will fail, the heart will be hardened, and the conscience become encrusted with guilt. Few unconverted sinners know much of pleasure in old age, their strength is but labor and sorrow. O how important it is, to lay a good foundation in youth, how necessary to have the mind well stored, the heart set right and the evidence of God's favor and love clear and satisfactory.

God's command and man's proposal are at variance.

God says, "Seek me first. Remember me in youth. Believe me now."

Man says, "Youth for pleasure, youth is for sin, youth is for the world; old age for God." But it is inexcusable if we put off the day of trouble, and make no provision for it. It must come. It is traveling toward us fast. Prepared or unprepared we must meet it, and endure all its consequences.

And then, life is very uncertain, multitudes die in youth, there are bodies of all sizes in the graveyard, and souls of all ages in the eternal world. God will not spare us because we are young, if we die in sin. "The fire of Hell feeds on twigs, as well as on logs."

It is character, which decides the state. The wicked shall be turned into Hell whether young or old. The righteous shall enter into everlasting life die at what age they may. There is no safety but in Christ. There is no Heaven without holiness. There is no happiness in this or any other world without grace.

"Remember," therefore, "your Creator in the days of your youth." Remember, to obtain pardon at his hands; to recognize his claims, and to be reconciled unto him. Remember, O remember! to make God your friend, to obtain mercy from him, to be at peace with him, and to follow on to know him. This will render life sweeter, more useful, and more lovely. It will bring . . .
a solace for every sorrow,
a balm for every wound, and
deliverance out of every trouble.

My young friends, if you would know peace if you would rise to eminence if you would escape the sufferings which many others have endured if you would be prepared for life, death, and eternity then "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth!"