The Enduring Effects of Early Transgression
Job 20:11
His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust.

The season of youth should be passed religiously, if old age is to be honourable, and if death is to be conquered. The sins of our younger days pursue us through life, and even "lie down with us in the dust."

1. How difficult and almost impossible it is, in reference to the present scene of being, to make up by after diligence for time lost in youth. It is appointed by God that one stage of life should be strictly preparatory to another. It is also appointed that neglect of the several duties of any one stage shall leave consequences not to be repaired by any attention, however intense, to those of a following. If there have been neglected boyhood, so that the mind's powers have not been disciplined, nor its chambers stored with information, the consequences will propagate themselves to the extreme line of life. Just because there has been negligence in youth, the man must be wanting to the end of his days in acquirements of whose worth he is perpetually reminded, and which, comparatively speaking, are not to be gained except at one period of his life. The same truth is exemplified in reference to bodily health. The man who has injured his constitution by the excesses of youth, cannot repair the mischief by after acts of self-denial. The seeds of disease which have been sown whilst passions were fresh and ungoverned, are not to be eradicated by the severest moral regimen which may afterwards be prescribed and followed. The possession of the iniquities of youth which we wish most to exhibit is that which affects men when stirred with anxiety for the soul, and desirous to seek and obtain the pardon of sin. Take the case of a man who spends the best years of his life in the neglect of God, and the things of another world. It is not necessary that we suppose him one of the openly profligate. If awakened to a sense of sin, such a man is very likely to defer resolute action till death overtakes him. On the most favourable supposition the mind finds it most difficult to forsake sin and change his conduct. The carelessness of today inevitably adds to the carelessness of tomorrow. Beginning with attachment to this world, men bind themselves with a cord to which every hour will weave a new thread. And however genuine and effectual the repentance and faith of a late period of life, it is unavoidable that the remembrance of misspent years will embitter those which are consecrated to God. By lengthening the period of irreligion, and therefore diminishing that of obedience to God, we almost place ourselves amongst the last of the competitors for the kingdom of heaven. If we devote but a fraction of our days to the striving for the reward promised to Christ's servants, there is an almost certainty that only the lowest of those rewards will come within our reach. The iniquities of youth will hang like lead on the wings of his soul, restraining its ascendings, and forbidding its reaching those loftier points in immortality which might have been attained by a longer striving.

(Henry Melvill, B.D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust.

WEB: His bones are full of his youth, but youth shall lie down with him in the dust.

Sins and Their Punishments
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