The Vanity and Glory of Youth
Ecclesiastes 12:1
Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw near, when you shall say…

I. THE VANITY OF YOUTH. There is an aspect in which it is true that "childhood and youth are vanity."

1. Its thoughts are very simple; they are upon the surface, and there is no depth of truth or wisdom in them.

2. Its judgments are very mixed with error; it has to unlearn a great deal of what it learns; the young will have to find, later on, that the men of whom and the things of which they have made up their minds are different from what they think now; their after-days will bring with them much disillusion, if not serious disappointment. Much that they see is magnified to their view, and the colors, as they see them today, will look otherwise to-morrow.

3. Itself is constantly disappearing. Few things are more constantly disturbing, if not distressing, us than the rapid passage of childhood and youth. Sometimes the young life is taken away altogether - the flower is nipped in the bud. But where life is spared, the peculiar beauty of childhood or of youth - its simplicity, its trustfulness, its docility, its eagerness, its ardor of affection, its unreserved delights, this is perpetually passing and "fading into the light of common day." Yet is there - and it is the truer and deeper thought -

II. THE GLORY OF YOUTH. Whatever may be said of youth in the way of qualification, there is one thing that may be said for it which greatly exalts it - it may be wise with a profound and heavenly wisdom, for it may be spent in the fear and in the love of God (see Proverbs 1:7; Job 28:28). To "remember its Creator," and to order its life according to that remembrance, is the height and the depth of human wisdom. Knowledge, learning, cunning, brilliancy, genius itself, is not so desirable nor so admirable a thing as is this holy and heavenly wisdom. To know God (Jeremiah 9:24), to reverence him in the innermost soul, to love him with all the heart (Mark 12:33), to be obedient to his commandments, to be patiently and cheerfully submissive to his will, to be honoring and serving him continually, to be attaining to his own likeness in spirit and character, - surely this is the glory of the highest created intelligence of the noblest rank in heaven, and surely this is the glory of our human nature in all its ranks. It is the glory of our manhood, and it is the glory of youth. Far more than any order of strength (Proverbs 20:29), or than any kind of beauty (2 Samuel 14:25), or than any measure of acquisition, does the abiding and practical remembrance of its Creator and Savior glorify our youth. That makes it pure, worthy, admirable, inherently excellent, full of hope and promise. We may add, for it belongs to the text as well as to the subject -

III. THE WISDOM OF YOUTH. "While the evil days come not," etc. Let the young live before God while they are young; for:

1. It is a poor and sorry thing to offer to God, to a Divine Redeemer, the dregs of our days. To him who gave himself for us it becomes us to give, not our wasted and worn-out, but our best, our freest and freshest, our purest and strongest self.

2. To leave the consecration of ourselves to Christ to the time when faculty has faded, when the power of discernment and appreciation has declined, when sensitiveness has been dulled with long disuse, when the heavenly voices fall with less charm and interest on the ear of the soul, - this is a most perilous thing. To hearken and to heed, to recognize and to obey, in the days of youth is the one wise thing. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

WEB: Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come, and the years draw near, when you will say, "I have no pleasure in them;"

The Remembrance of Our Creator
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