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Strength, Victory, And Knowledge in Youth.

Strength, Victory, And Knowledge in Youth.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY MARVIN R. VINCENT, D.D.




" I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the
evil one. ... I have written unto you, young men, because ye
are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have
overcome the evil one." — 1 John ii. 13, 14.
BY MARVIN R. VINCENT, D.D.




" I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the
evil one. ... I have written unto you, young men, because ye
are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have
overcome the evil one." — 1 John ii. 13, 14.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jun 12, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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STREGTH, VICTORY, AD KOWLEDGE I YOUTH. BY MARVI R. VICET, D.D. " I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the evil one. ... I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the evil one." — 1 John ii. 13, 14. COUSEL is the prerogative of age. Chris- tianity is pre-eminently an experience. That which is most quickening in it is born of experi- ence ; and experience, in its turn, is born of years. It is not strange, therefore, that the venerable John should assert the privilege of his age, no less than of his position, in writing to young men. These are Christian young men whom he addresses. They have overcome the Evil One, and the word of God abideth in them. evertheless, they are not, for that reason, beyond the necessity of wise counsel. Youth may, and does often, serve Christ loyally ; but it cannot fully appreciate the quality and reach of Christ's mastery. Youth may be taught, and may believe, that Christ's person and truth are the very core and kernel of all life and of all history ; but time alone makes them realize that Christ not only fits everywhere, but 305 306 STREGTH I YOUTH. gives the law everywhere. Youth may be told, and may acknowledge, that the world passeth away; but it does not feel it, and especially it does not
 
feel that the desire of the world is passing away. Age knows that it is passing away, because, for it so much of the world has already drifted out of sight ; and therefore the claims of the will of God, as against the love of the world, come with no such emphasis as from the lips of age. But we are concerned this morning, not so much with the counsels of this aged and beloved apostle as with the assumptions which underlie them, and which, as it seems to me, are quite out of the line of our popular Christian sentiment. For we commonly look upon youth as a season of tutelage. Whatever we may concede to it, — and we concede very much, as will shortly appear,  — we regard it as unripe. Even from the religious stand-point, we look upon youth as militant, rather than as victorious. The fight with the Evil One is upon them ; but the victory, we take for granted, is in the future. We are disposed to be lenient when the Evil One gets the upper hand for the time. We do not expect them to have the word of God abiding in them, to be possessed by the spirit and power of the Word. We accept the partial and remittent influence of the Word upon them as a necessity of their age. We know they are strong; but we do not expect them to be strong in God, and in the power of his might. Are we right in this view of the religious possi- bilities of youth ? Certainly not, if our apostle is STREGTH I YOUTH. 307 right ; for this assumption of ours directly contra- dicts his. He addresses the young men as strong, as having overcome the Evil One, as having the
 
word of God abiding in them. Is he thinking of a few exceptional young men ? He does not put the matter in that way. He writes to the Chris- tian youth of the Church generally. If he had said only, "Ye are strong," we might have construed his words to mean merely the native freshness and vigor of youth ; but his words are of spiritual strength, spiritual knowledge, and spiritual victory. The question, therefore, is very pertinent, whether we are justified in looking for only a crude, feeble Christian development in youth; whether we do not set the standard too low, and therefore encour- age them to do so. ow, in fact, we reason just as John does, when we look at youth in its relations to society. On that side, we frankly recognize their strength, vic- tory, and susceptibility to truth. As for strength, young men are accepted as important factors in the active and aggressive relations of life. They are invited to posts of responsibility ; they occupy positions of trust in business ; they come to the front in politics ; men put their legal tangles into the hands of young lawyers, and intrust their own and their children's lives to young physi- cians. In like manner we assume their ability to re- ceive and apply the teachings of human wisdom. They come under the power of the great masters of thought ; they are set to study Plato and Aris- 308 STREGTH I YOUTH. totle and Kant in the schools ; they discuss among themselves the theories of political leaders; they read with zest the writings of great scientists ; the

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