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The Word of God-The Only Safeguard Amid the Perils of Youth

The Word of God-The Only Safeguard Amid the Perils of Youth

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY REV. E. E. WILEY, D. D.




"Wherewithal shall a young man clean?e his way By taking heed
thereto, according to thy word." — Psalm cxix, 9.
BY REV. E. E. WILEY, D. D.




"Wherewithal shall a young man clean?e his way By taking heed
thereto, according to thy word." — Psalm cxix, 9.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Apr 12, 2014
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THE WORD OF GOD-THE OLY SAFEGUARD AMID THE PERILS OF YOUTH. BY REV. E. E. WILEY, D. D. "Wherewithal shall a young man clean?e his way By taking heed thereto, according to thy word." — Psalm cxix, 9. Encouragements to the young to forsake the paths of sin, and to tread the ways of virtue, abound in the Scriptures. So many and special are the promises made to this class of persons, that the minis- ter of Christ may be well assured that his labors with them will not be in vain. A rich moral harvest awaits him who tills, in faith and hope, this virgin soil. The seeds of sin, the noxious weeds of corrup- tion, tie briars and thorns of depravity, may find here, it is true, a ready and a rapid germination and increase ; but these, under the tiller's hopeful toil, with the help of God, may be eradicated, and the plants of virtue reared in their stead to a comely growth, and an abundant yield of precious fruit. Left to itself, the ground will soon become a wilderness, where monsters lurk and vipers hiss ; but under the hand of patient cultivation, it may be made as the garden of God. It is not so, however, with the old, whose hearts are dry as summer clods, whose sensibilities are blunted, whose habits are fixed. There is hope of the wayward youth, that he may yet turn to the paths of life. The tender twig, though it shoot aslant from the ground, may with kindly guidance yet grow heavenward, and send out from a stately trunk its hundred arms and luxuriant foliage — the glory of the forest. But what can bend the old gnarled oak, whose shapeless stock and crooked limbs have defied a thousand wintry storms, and thrown off, unsplintercd, the fiercest bolts of heaven ? The young may cleanse his way — may change from a vicious course — by taking heed thereto, according to God's word ; the old, however, seldom do — nay, hardly can. When the Ethiopian shall change his skin or the leopard his spots, then may they also do good that arc accustomed to do evil. 334 THE WORD OP GOD: The text contains a question of much interest and importance^ — How shall a young man make his way pure 1 The terra way here sig- nifies a little path, and indicates a distinction between this and the broad, frequented way, in which the ungodly millions walk. The lan-
 
guage implies that the goings of the young are not yet so well estab- lished that their steps may not be retraced. They have begun to go astray — their feet have already entered the ways of vice — yet these ways, little though they be, lead with certainty to destruction. Their number is many, their names different, yet all tend to the same end. They may be fitly 'represented as lanes leading oft" to the left, out of the broad road, into which they come again, bringing their travelers to swell the vast multitude rolling on to the chambers of death. But the text also assures us that the young who have been allured into any of these forbidden ways may come back to the path of life. There are ways to escape on the other side of the broad road, directly opposite each lane to ruin. Let the young man, then, pause and ascertain his true moral position ; let him ponder the path of his feet, and take hoed thereto, according to God's word. Into which of these lanes has the tempter beguiled you 1 For there are but few young men in this age, who have not either made some progress in a course of vice, or at least looked with desire upon the gorgeous scenes which fancy paints along this tempting path, and which the flatterer falsely declares to be realities. That you may better know them, let us point out some of the more dangerous roads into which you are liable to turn, in which you may perchance now be traveling, or around which you may be lingering, and listcninc: to the voice of the charmer. You will not have trav- eled hv in the broad way until you reach a path upon the left, lead- ing off to apparently Elysian bowers. This is — The way of the indolent. Thousands of happy loungers are gath- ered about its entrance. Splendid palaces attract the eye, whose walls are festooned with rich drapery, whose floors shine with Persian dye, whose walls echo with music's voluptuous swell, and glitter with the sheen of golden light. Oouches of down invite the weary to repose. The air is redolent with the perfume of flowers, and vocal with songs of nature's choristers. Gardens, rich in the beauty of colors and of fruits, gladden the eye and delight the taste. As on the trav- eler slowly moves, bowers of ease, cooling water brooks, and voluptu- ous inns, retard his steps. At length, full to satiety of fancied joy, youth's only sapegitard. S35 diseased In body and imbecile in mind, lost to every noble impulse, and reft of hope, he would lay him down to die ; but the on-coming crowd presses him toward the end of his path, and soon he disappears in the countless throng which fills the broad way leading to destruc- tion. How many thousands of the young find a shameful end through
 
this path i Thinking that they may turn back at any moment, they consent to indulge in indolence, and to regale the senses for a time. But they wake, alas ! too late, from their dream of delight ; they wake only to the consciousness that their energies are paralyzed — that their hopes are dead I I ask you,yoting man, at this point, to pause, to consider the end of this way. Listen not to the voice of the charm- er, nor to the lying speech of the deceiver. God has made you for labor, and not for indolence. The powers of your body as well as of your soul are strengthened by toil. Great achievements are attained only by great labor — a labor too that is incessant, not fitful. The yielding stream, by its constant flow, will wear its channel in the solid rock ; the ever-ringing clink of the chisel will tunnel the stupendous mountain ; the ceaseless toil of the coral insect will pile his rocky reef from the depths below to the ocean's surface, and stretch it from shore to shore. Work on, then, work ever, at something noble and good. Enough of rest will be found in the slumber of the grave. Such, too, is the teaching of God's word. Whatsoever thy hand find- eth to do, do it with thy might. Go to the ant, thou sluggard ; con- sider her ways, and be wise. Say not, there is a lion in the way — a lion is in the streets. And remember, too, that the sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason. But let us look at — The way of the profane. o sin is more common among us than that of profane swearing, and there are but few of greater magnitude. It is an offence not so iiuich against the peace of society and the rights of our fellows as against our Creator. For this reason public opinion has not set the seal of its condemnation upon it, nor the civil law enacted and executed against it severe penalties. Ilcnce it is too often regarded as a venial transgression, to be winked at rather than to be scorned. The man who steals (no matter how trifling the sum) 13 branded as a thief, scouted from even the common walks of life, and doomed to carry the stain to his grave ; nor would we mitigate the punishment which is inflicted upon him ; while he who utters pro- fanely his Maker's name, in all his waking hours, and pours forth 336 THE WORD OF GOD: blasphemous oaths, until by habit he is unconscious of his crime, is neither discarded by the polite, nor utterly rejected by the good. But ¦which is the greater sinner ? Society will tell you, the thief. But we ask not for the answer in the light of human law, but in the light of the Divine Word — in the blaze of Grod's searching eye. In heaven's chancery what decision may we suppose, from the revelations given, would be made 1 In the Divine Law-book it is said, Thou shalt not

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