When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then you knew my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privately laid a snare for me.
: — I see before me a class of young men about to go forth into the world. I know their way will be strewed with dangers. By all the love I bear them I am constrained to point out to them some of their perils.
I. THE DANGERS OF YOUTH.
1. A- general exposedness to temptation. Full of passions easily excited, and warm as the current of their youthful blood; led on by an imagination as active as their youthful limbs and mostly unchecked by experience, — forming images which are constantly mistaken for realities, — which inflame and mislead the passions and bewilder the judgment; set down as strangers in the midst of a world whose objects and inhabitants present destructive blandishments to their inexperience,-whose beauties and amusements, in the absence of the love of God, are fat, ally adapted to their youthful tastes; how can they escape? at least, how dreadfully exposed are they.
2. Under all these exposures they are constantly forming habits, as uncontrollable and despotic as an Eastern sultan, and harder to be dethroned. Through inexperience and incaution, and the impetuosity of their youthful passions, they are liable to become petrified in evil habits, as fixed as the coral reefs of the ocean.
3. Young men, as they enter into business, are in danger of settling down into the love of the world, into views and aims confined to themselves and their own circle, separating them from the great republic of man, and keeping them from employing their powers and their property in promoting the happiness of the human family.
4. Another danger to which young men are exposed is indolence in action; betaking themselves to no profession, or pursuing it saunteringly, unsteadily, and to little effect; wasting life in idleness or in pleasure; in either case enervating the man in both body and soul, and making him a burden to himself and a disgraceful cumberer of the ground.
5. Young men are exposed to theological errors of every form and every degree of criminality and danger, from the slightest obliquity respecting a positive institution, up to blaspheming infidelity.
II. THE DEFENCES TO BE SET UP AGAINST THEM.
1. In regard to the last-mentioned danger my advice to you is, first of all, settle your minds on the question whether the Bible is a revelation from God, and such a revelation as will guide believers into all truth unmixed with error; in order that your faith may rest on the testimony of God and not on the authority of men, you ought to find the fullest evidence that God has spoken, and spoken in a way to furnish a safe and sure rule of faith and practice. All this being settled in the affirmative, you ought to lose no time in grounding yourselves on a system of doctrines drawn from the obvious meaning of that book, supported by the general analogy of faith. Subject your reason to the Divine teachings. Put it to school to Christ as a humble pupil.
2. Avoid all kinds of professional business arid all occasions which are specifically fraught with temptation.
3. Avoid all connections with bad men, and, as far as possible, with men whose influence would tend to warp you from the truth, or from a correct course of judging or of acting.
4. Vigilantly guard against the beginning of every evil habit, in heart, intellect, or conduct. By watchfulness it is easy to prevent the first irregularity; but who can vanquish an evil habit?
5. Let your reading be safe. Not many novels, not u perpetual round of angry politics, not a constant poring upon theological errors.
6. Let it be a settled rule to make some advance in knowledge every day, and every day to bring to pass something for the good of mankind.
7. Establish the settled habit of prayer. Without prayer you have no security against one of these dangers. Without Christ you can do nothing. These rules you will find it hard to keep with a fallen nature, and impossible unless you observe another; which leads me to say —
8. That in the outset you must devote your hearts and souls and lives to the service of God. Without doing this you will not pray effectually, and of course will have no security against one of these dangers. Without this you will be the enemies of God: and what security against any evil can an enemy of God Have in a world which He governs?
(E. D. Griffin, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me.