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Bearing the Yoke in Youth.

Bearing the Yoke in Youth.

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Published by glennpease
BY REV. JOSIAH D. SMITH, D. D.,


Lam. iii. 27. — It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in

his youth.
BY REV. JOSIAH D. SMITH, D. D.,


Lam. iii. 27. — It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in

his youth.

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Published by: glennpease on Sep 17, 2013
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11/13/2014

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BEARIG THE YOKE I YOUTH.BY REV. JOSIAH D. SMITH, D. D.,Lam. iii. 27. — It is good for a man that he bear the yoke inhis youth.Those things which are best for us, are not always the plea-santest : and many things which the Bible represents as bless-ings are looked on as quite the reverse.In regard to the government and discipline which God exer-cises over mankind, we sustain the same kind of relation thatchildren do to the control and care of their parents. So igno-rant are they of what is best for them, and so utterly incapableof entering into the views of those who have at heart their high-est happiness and welfare, that it often seems to them as if theirparents' will and authority were the greatest evil they had to en-counter. Their appetites and passions are clamorous for indulg-ence, and they can neither see the wisdom nor the kindness of denying them what they crave.In their case we can readily see that it is inexperience and ig-norance that beget unhappiness, and make them restive underparental control. The best blessing to a child, next to the careand love of the Great Father in heaven, is that of " the fathersof our flesh : ' ' and there is nothing for which a man is more de-voutly thankful than for the very restraint which, while it annoyedIV.] BEARIG THE YOKE li YOUTH. 69and chafed his youtliful spirit, was the effectual means of turn-ing his feet from the paths of danger, and forming those habitsof self-control and industry which have led to temporal success,and even to the salvation of his soul.
 
What parental discipline is to a child, as a means of preparingit for the labours of mortal life and of this present world, thegracious government of Grod is to us all, as the heirs of an im-mortal existence. Its object is our ultimate welfare, and not ourpresent gratification ; and its wisdom and love are vindicated notby the pleasure of present experience, but by the preciousnessof its final fruits. What is "good" for us may not be agreeable,and what is agreeable may not be good. Left to ourselves, likechildren, we instinctively choose what is pleasant, thoughtlessor ignorant of consequences, and if no higher wisdom than ourown were brought to bear in the premises, we should be our ownworst enemies.A child cries for sweetmeats when it needs medicine, and aboy clamours for liberty when his safety and salvation demandgovernment ; and there is not one of us who is not guilty of follies and errors, equally injurious to our welfare as accountableand immortal creatures. Many of us have lived long enough tosee that Divine checks and interferences with our wishes and pur-poses have subserved our interests, and given us greater blessingsby far than would have been the gratification of our desires.The statement of the text should not therefore encounter ourprejudice. ot to insist on its authority as a Divine oracle, it issupported by many analogies and abundant experience. "It isgood for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. ' 'The nature and significance of the "yoke," and the reasonswhy it is good to bear it in the days of our ^^ youth," are thepoints presented, and to which I now invite your attention.70 TRUTH I LOVE. [Ser.I. And first, we are to inquire for the nature and meaning of the yoke referred to.In general, a yoke is the emblem of sei-vice and subjection — aswhere the apostle speaks of ' ' servants under the yoke. ' '
 
It may be galling and oppressive, amounting to intolerableslavery, like the "yoke of bondage" to Jewish ordinances, of which Peter said, ' ' neither we nor our fathers were able tobear." Or, it may be the light and pleasant yoke of the " rea-sonable ' ' and willing service which Christ requires, and of which he says, " My yoke is easy, and my burden is light."As the language of the text is general^ and there is no limitingor descriptive epithet which shows the application designed, weare left to infer the nature of the yoke spoken of from the de-claration that it is good for a man to bear it in his youth : and Ihave no doubt that in this case, the highest sense is the truest.It is the yoke of religion — the subjugation of the soul to the willand employment in the service of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thedeclaration of the text is true, however, in all its applications, — the lowest not less than the highest. The yoke of a child's sub- jection to its parents ; the yoke of a lad's apprenticeship to themaster who teaches him a mechanical trade, and the yoke of aschool-boy's discipline by which he is taught the lessons of sub-mission to rightful authority and patient and painful application, .are earthly and secular senses in which the principle announcedholds good. The truth is, it is a fundamental principle of hu-man well-being, and inseparable from the existence of creaturesat once dependent and accountable. If religion is a yoke^ it isput on necks which are made to bear a yoke, and which, in allother respects, are not " unaccustomed" to do so.In the prosecution of worldly undertakings men draw, like theveriest oxen, in the yoke of a real or a self-imposed necessity,IV.] BEARIG THE YOKE I YOUTH. 71taking up their daily cross of self-denial. Ease, pleasure, society,are constantly sacrificed to what they regard as a higher inter-est : and religion is but acting on the same principle in its ap-plication to the highest concerns of immortal beings. And theBible is both frank and fearless in calling it by its proper name.

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