Satan's spiritual dominion over young people

(J. C. Ryle, "The Gospel of Matthew" 1856)

"Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of
the boy, and he was healed from that moment."
     Matthew 17:18

We must not forget that there are many instances
of Satan's spiritual dominion over young people,
which are quite as painful, in their way, as the case
described in this passage.

There are thousands of young people who seem
to have wholly given themselves up to Satan's
temptations, and to be led captive at his will.

They cast off all fear of God, and
all respect for His commandments.

They serve diverse lusts and pleasures.

They run wildly into every excess of riot.

They refuse to listen to the advice
of parents, teachers, or ministers.

They fling aside all regard for health,
character, or worldly respectability.

They do all that lies in their power to ruin
themselves, body and soul, for time and eternity.

They are willing bondslaves of Satan.

Who has not seen such young people?

They are to be seen in town and in country.

They are to be found among rich and among poor.

Surely such young people give mournful proof,
that Satan still exercises a fearful dominion
over some men's souls.

Yet even about such young people as these, we
must never despair. We must call to mind the
almighty power of our Lord Jesus Christ. Bad as
this boy's case was, of whom we read in these
verses, he was "was healed from that moment"
that he was brought to Christ!

Parents, and teachers, and ministers should go
on praying for young people, even at their worst.

Hard as their hearts seem now,
they may yet be softened.

Desperate as their wickedness now
appears, they may yet be healed.

They may yet repent, and be converted, and
their last state prove better than their first.

Who can tell?

Let it be a settled principle with us, when we
read our Lord's miracles, never to despair of
the conversion of ANY soul.