The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the grey head.
Power, force, might, strength, are divers names for a thing which always has been, and always will be, admirable in human esteem. In all its forms it is a glorious thing. The man of indomitable will is always an object of reverence to his fellows. In every region of the humanities the man who can do the most, and with the least apparent expenditure of power, acquires a kind of moral chieftainship among his compeers in the same sphere. The text says that strength is the peculiar glory of young men. Other things will come by and by, but this is the thing that comes first. The glory of young men is not their wisdom. Young men are not generally very wise. They make a good many mistakes. The time for wisdom will come, whether the wisdom will come or not. The strength that is to be their glory is physical, bodily strength. A vast multitude of soul-ills come of a much lower kind of ill. Some men are born weak. And it is a very terrible thing, though a very merciful thing for the world. It is God's law for preventing the perpetuation of moral evil. It is a provision that depraved lives of humanity shall die out if they do not, by conforming to the Divine laws, repair and improve themselves. There are some young men who are shorn of their glory, and have nobody to blame but themselves. What caricatures of humanity one sometimes passes in the street, in the form of young men! And there are old young men, enervated by folly and wickedness, doomed to drag out a weary existence for a few years, with no proper force for any of life's duties and relations, and self-doomed. Keep, I beseech you, by all the means in your power, a strong, healthy body — vigorous, athletic, nervous, firm. But the text means more than this. Body is not yet manhood. There is moral power. One wants a deal of moral force, especially at life's beginning, to live a true, and worthy, and noble life. Force is of two sorts: there is quiet force-inertia, and there is active force-motion. Both of these sorts of force go to make manhood. You must try to get moral solidity, gravity, weight, firmness, immovability, steadfastness. The elements of this force are conviction and decision. You must try to get active force, enthusiasm, energy, enterprise. Without this, nothing is done in any department of life. Seek the ability to go out of yourselves, to do and to dare for God.
(G. W. Conder.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head.