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EDINBURGH CHRISTIAN MAGAZINE.
THE YOUTH'S GUIDE:
A Sermon preached at the Anniversary of La Martiniere Institution, Calcutta,
on the 13th September 1852, By the Rev. J. C. HERDMAN, A.M., Senior Minister of St. Andrew's Church.
" Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My Father, thou art the guide of
my youth?"-Jer, iii. 4,
MY DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS,—This question, friend ; to take me by the hand, and lead is put to you by that Father who takes up me; to walk by my side; to lift me over the orphan when forsaken by father and stones, and hold up my head, as Hopeful mother. He lives for ever, and loves for did to Christian in the river. That is ever; and though He is in heaven, His what a guide would do. Is God willing to eyes are here, and His heart yearns over take all this trouble with me,—to shew you all. He looks on you as His family me the road-to light up the way when it -His dear sons and daughters; and He is dark-to explain difficulties to mesingles out each of you as He goes round and fight for me with the roaring lion, these benches, saying, “ Wilt thou not like Mr. Greatheart, when he was confrom this time cry unto me, My Father, ducting Christiana and her little ones ?" thou art the guide of my youth ?”. Yes; that is just what God wishes.
Now, this is not a hard thing which Wonder as much as you will at His God asks; and I do think that every one love to the lambs, but never doubt itof you should comply with His request. never despise it-never put it away from You are young, and you will not be able you. He will let none of His words fall alone to find your way through life, and to the ground; and if you cry to Him, through death, and up to glory. You | He will lead you safely and sweetly. are like wandering sheep; the Good Shep- But, perhaps, another is thinking of the herd fears you may be lost ; He offers text in a very different spirit.
" Ah!" to be your guide; He wishes to be your he is saying to himself, “ that is not the leader ; and He asks, “Will you not allow whole meaning. I remember Jesus says Him? Will you not cry—that is, pray- that we must strive to enter in at the to Him, saying, 'Yes, my Father, thou- strait gate, and that we must take up thou alone art the guide of my youth ? '»
our cross daily; and in Bunyan's Pro"If that be so," one of you says, gress I know what difficulties and dangers why, He is asking leave to do me good. the pilgrims met with—what a Slough of He is asking my consent to become my ! Despond and Giant Despair-long before
they reached the land of Beulah! No, -oh! then it will be gladsome travelling. no; I do not believe that the journey You will then run and not be weary; will be so smooth; and I am not going to you will mount up as eagles; your feet begin it yet,—to mope in a room reading will be as the hind's feet; and your light the Bible, and praying all the day! This heart will bound as the roe. Difficulties is the season for pleasure—let us enjoy will be easily surmounted when the it. It will be time enough to seek a Father holds your hand; and for the joy guide when about to enter the dark val- of walking with Him, and the pleasures ley, or when we get old and sick.” My of the road, as well as the glory at the dear boy, there was some truth in what end, you will go on your way rejoicing ! Satan said, when he quoted Scripture to A third, it may be, has fallen into tempt our Lord to sin; so there is truth another error. He is thinking that God in your words; yet things wear such | merely tells us not to neglect prayer, wrong colours to your eye, that really and public worship, and so on, when we the whole picture which you have are young. "To be sure," he says, “ this sketched is false. You know how much is quite right; and there is no danger of the pleasure of a landscape-view depends any in this Institution failing in their on other things besides the mere objects, duty, for here we are all taught to read -on the observer, for instance-his dis- the Bible, and commit portions of it to tinctness of vision, and his state of mind, memory; we have morning and evening and on the haze or brightness of the prayers, and go regularly to church.” So atmosphere. On a fine clear morning, far it is well; but need I remind you when you were in high health and buoy- that God is a Spirit, and that unless He ant spirits, you might look away from a is worshipped with the spirit, our forms hill-top across a large tract of country, of devotion are a mockery ?-and it is a and pronounce everything lovely. The grand mistake to suppose that religion very crags, and vales, and rivulets, which consists in attending to prayers at stated lay before you, far from damping your hours, or going to the house of God on ardour, would inspire fresh eagerness; the Sabbath. Remember God offers to especially as your father, who was familiar be your guide in everything ; to lead you with every turn, was going with you. In to your knees, and to teach you your his company, with his help to climb lessons; to give you the spirit of prayer, rocks, to leap fences, yea, to meet wild and to watch over you at play; to beasts, would be delightful. But let make your tongues truthful, and your another boy survey the same scene in tempers sweet ; to sanctify soul and body; other circumstances, and with other feel. to supply you with daily bread, and feed ings. He is dull, sickly, and lazy, and you with angel's manna, and quench your dislikes to roan. It is a heavy day, and thirst with the water of life. He wishes he looks abroad on the prospect through to guide you in the play-ground, and in the smoked glasses. Besides, he does not chapel, and in the class-room, and in the love his father ; he dreads him, and feels dormitory; and to the choice of a profesonly restraint in his presence. How sion when you quit these halls ; to teachwill this one hear the words, “ Come, let you kindness to one another, and love to us go forth into the fields ?" The two Himself, and obedience to your masters ; might be brothers, to whom the same and to be pure and honest, humble and objects and the same invitation were obliging, patient and diligent. He would presented; but he with the coloured spec- take charge of you in health and sicktacles and the distorted unhappy mind, ness, when alone and with others, and sees things falsely, and therefore judges when your eyes close on all earthly untruly. So it is true, that in the friends in death. His rules and direcof life there are many trials. God does tions are in this blessed book ; and its not bide them from you. But if you pages are best learnt when you consult will set out, begin by getting a new them for guidance in everything you do, heart, and new eyes, and wings, and then |—when you take the virtues of the saints
as your own examples, and their failings as | gerous thought; and God argues with your own warnings,—when you store up you, saying, “ Wilt thou not from this its precepts that you may practise them in time cry unto me, My Father, thou art your daily walk, and treasure its promises the guide of my youth ?" I will give for your own encouragement. Religion is you two strong reasons for answering not a garment for the Lord's day, but a Yes! constant habit; it is to be part of your First, It is due to God. Second, It will
God is to be sought and be good for yourselves. obesed, not only when you go to your I. It is due to God. He has a right closet or to His house, but in all your to you. You will not be acting justly or affairs, with all your hearts, at all times. fairly to Him if you refuse His demand. He will come in and sup with you, He He is here called your Father; and will rise up and talk with you, He will that He is in two ways,—as your Maker, go forth and lead you ; you will speak to and as your Redeemer. Him, bow your will to His, lean on His 1. He is your Maker, who gives you arm, trust to His Spirit, learn from His all things ; and therefore He has a sulips, look up to Ilim, think of Him, and preme and sole right to you. He made follow Him as your guide, in great mat- the sun; and had He not a right to set ters and in small, in all your goings, and it in yonder heavens, and command it to duties, and dangers, and pursuits, and shine there for ages ? He made Adam changes, and relations.
of the dust of the ground, and placed But let us now see why you should him in Eden; may He not order him to embrace God's offer to be the guide of dress the garden ? Even a man may do your youth. Are not all eager to do as he likes with his own handiwork, this ? Alas! no. “Foolishness is bound though he cannot create an atom, or in the heart of a child ;” and both young make a blade of grass to grow. A man people and old are naturally wilful and that builds a ship may rig it out to his wayward, lovers of pleasure more than own fancy, and choose his own cargo, lovers of God. Indeed, the way in which and appoint his own crew, and sail to God speaks in the text, shews that He any part of the world; and may not God knew men's unwillingness to own Him. do as He pleases with His creatures, He here expostulates with Israel, who whom He has made out of nothing ? Has had turned their backs on the Lord ; and, He not a right to you whom His fingers as we read in the 27th verse of the second formed? Your powers of body and your chapter, they said to a stock,-i. e., to a powers of soul are alike His gift. Your log of wood, “ Thou art my father; and to eyes, your ears, your faculty of speech, a stone, Thou hast brought me forth.” and the vigour of your limbs, are from None of you have gone this length. The Him and for Him. Your mind, your children of the natives around you bow conscience, your will, your affections, down to stocks and stones, and are He claims as His own. What He gave trained to worship idols as their maker He has preserved. Why are you not and benefactor. From such meanness silly idiots or senseless stones, but beand sin you have been preserved. But I cause He was good to you ? Listen, fear that many of you think little of then ; to-day, hear His voice,—“My son, your heavenly Father. He is not often my daughter, give me thine heart.” in your thoughts ; play, or wickedness, 2. He has another title to you: He or praise of men, is dearer to you than has bought you. At a vast expense He His love; and in your pride you are satisfied the demands of the law against ready to think that you can guide your- you, that you might be delivered from selves ; you thank your own talent and the curse of sin and the wrath to come. good fortune forgetting on so well hither. Now, if an artist pays down a large sum to, and you will trust to your own under- of money to get back his own painting standing for the future. But this is a from some one into whose hands it had very sinful, and very silly, and very dan- fallen, and then labours to improve it,
would you not say that he has a good | Worn out with fatigue, benighted in title to an article which he made, and that trackless wilderness, you fall a prey redeemed, and polished again; which to the forest-beasts, or are dashed in cost him the outlay of so much mind at pieces over a hidden precipice. One the first, of so much gold afterwards, and evil habit may lead you to ruin, must of so much pains in the end ? Thus with cause you pain and trouble. One false the ransomed children of God. You de- step in youth may mar you for ever; and served to be punished and driven away if a miracle does snatch you from the to the darkness of eternal death; but, to pit, it were almost enough to blight your bave you, God in love sent His own Son joy as you rise to heaven to see former to teach, and suffer, and die. Jesus sor- companions, lost through your example, rowed, and sweat, and anguished, and dragged down to hell! bled, and was pierced on the cross for 2. God is infinitely the best guide. you. Can you withhold your heart? That He is a sure and safe guide, none of Can you justly hang back ?-No; you you can doubt. How well did He conare not your own. You are the Lord's duct the Israelites through the pathless purchased property, bought with a price, desert by that cloudy fiery pillar! They even Emmanuel's precious priceless lacked nothing, they had both protection blood; and the Spirit of adoption is and provision, their clothes waxed not given to blot out the stains of your wan- old, neither did their feet swell. He has dering, and make you pure again. Ilas already led up a countless throng to the He not reason to expect you to acknow- blessed courts. He is wise, knows all ledge His goodness, and accept His things, and can proportion trials to your guidance, and follow Him fully? For strength. He never fails. True once, He is not a stranger, whose motives you He is always true. You live in a world might suspect, far less an enemy whoin of changes; but He is the same yesterday, you should dread; but He is your recon- to-day, and for ever. Though storms of ciled gracious Father, and a Friend that trouble rise upon you, and waves of sorsticketh closer than a brother.
row roll over yon, and your property II. The second reason is, because it perish, and your friends die, and the elewill be good for yourselves.
ments depart as a scroll, and your body Let me shew this also by two things: be laid in the grave, and your name be You need a guide; and, there is none forgotten in the earth, still you are safe like God.
on the Rock of Ages! He sits on the 1. You need a guide. Consider your throne whose years change not, and whose character. If it is not in man that promises are faithful. But He is also a walketh to direct his own steps; if such pleasant guide. He is powerful to bring as Abraham, Hezekiah, and David, after you out of trouble ; He is gracious in it to marching for years, go astray as soon as put His kind arm under you, and with His they are left to their own wisdom, should loving hand wipe away your tears. In the not you, just starting for Zion, ignorant day of the east wind He stays His rough of the future, and without experience of wind, and “tempers the wind to the shorn the past, should not you tremble to go lamb." He made Paul and Silas sing in alone ? Consider your situation. If the chaios; and Noah in the ark, when the road was all smooth, if you were to great billows were above the mountains ; meet only friends, if there were no tempt- and Daniel in the den with fierce lions ; ations, no vanity fair, no enchanted and Shadrach, Meslech, and Abednego, ground, no wiles and snares of Satan, in the fiery furnace. The clusters grow your weakness would be of less conse- above, yet here we may taste the joys to quence. But the road is beset with dan- come. gers, infested with robbers, filled with by paths, impassable alone! Consider
“ The bill of Zion yields the importance of your steps. Begin to
A thousand sacred sweets,
Before we reach the heavenly fields, wander, aod who sball tell the issue ? Or walk the golden streets."
DAVID MOURNING FOR SAUL.
And when your pilgrimage is ended, The stars have us to bed : the notes of victory will burst upon your Night draws the curtain which the day with. ear, the beauties of paradise will ravish Music and light attend our head. your hearts; and if the trials of life are all things unto our flesh are kind remembered, they will serve to swell the In their descent and being; to our mind anthem of praise to the Lamb, who led
In their ascent and cause. you by the right way till He brought you More servants wait on man to the city of habitation !
Than he'll take notice of; in every path Young man, this is thy last anniversary When sickness makes him pale and wan.
He treads down that which doth befriend him, within these walls. Thou art going out O mighty love! Man is one world, and hath to busy life, away from the influence of Another to attend him. kind and pious teachers. Wilt thou go
Since then, my God, thou hast without God, with the reins of unbridled so brave a palace built, oh! dwell in it, passion thrown loose, and a yawning That it may dwell with thee at last! gulf before you? Ob! “Wilt thou not Til then, afford us so much wit, from this time cry unto thy Father, Thou That as the world serves us, we may serve thee,
And both thy servants be. art the guide of my youth ?"
GEORGE HERBERT, Young woman, if this year thou shalt die, and in the churchyard you may tread at every step on as youthful a sleeper,) art thou sure that Jesus will be He who was to be the restorer of this at thy dying bed, as I saw Him smooth kingdom, sang of Saul and Jonathan on the pillow of thy companion, who should " They were lovely and pleasant in their
the day when he heard of their fall, have been medallist here to-day, had she lives, and in their death they were not not lately gone up to get her golden divided.” Was this an idle flattery, by crown and well-tuned harp? Oh! "Wilt one who knew it to be false, of a man thou not from this time cry unto thy whom flattery could please no longer ? Father, Thou art the guide of my David spoke what he felt at that moment,
I believe it was nothing of the kind.
and he would not have wished to recal To the youngest God appeals,- to all the words afterwards. He had known a of you. Must Gabriel go back without loveliness and pleasantness in the life of the tidings of one conversion ? By the Saul, which all its after discords could natchless love of God, by the blood that not make him forget. He had known a
real man under the name. A false man fowed on Calvary; as you would cheat had borne it too. The one was dead; the the devil of his prey, and make the good other was still alive in his memory and Lappy; as you would live usefully, and heart. Other questions, agitating, perdie peacefully, and reign gloriously, I plexing, almost maddening, he could
leave to Him who only could resolve beseech each child to cry, from this time them. There were symbols of reconciliato cry, “ My Father, thou art the guide tion in the deaths of Saul and Jonathan. of my youth !" Amen.
The father and son, who had been often 80 unnaturally separated, were united at
last. David was privileged to think of MAN.
them together- to let the tenderness of
the one efface the hard treatment of the My God, I heard this day
other-to feel that God had meant them That node doth build a stately habitation
to be one in heart and act, though the But he that means to dwell therein.
evil and dark spirit to which Saal had What house more stately hath there been,
yielded himself tore them asunder. Or can be, than is man? to whose creation
Brethren, I believe it is not dangerous, All things are in decay.
but safe-not a homage to falsehood, but
to truth, in our judgment of those who For us the winds do blow, The earth doth rest, heaven move, and fountains We may dwell upon bright and hallowed
are departed—to follow David's example. flow;
moments of lives that have been darkNothing we see but means our good, As our delight, or as our treasure :
ened by many shadows, polluted by The whole is either our cupboard of food,
many sins; those moments may be wel. Or cabinet of pleasure:
comed as revelations to us of that which