Titus 2:6
The apostle next thinks of those who are to be the strong stays of the Church in the coming generation. "Young men exhort to be sober-minded."

I. THE NATURE OF THIS DUTY.

1. Young men ought to be thoughtful, not rash and impulsive. The Lord says to them, "Consider your ways."

2. They should be circumspect, not heady and reckless, using that Word which "giveth to the young man knowledge and discretion."

3. They should not be self-indulgent, but self-denying. Not "lovers of pleasure, but lovers of God." "Turn away mine eyes from viewing vanity." 4. They should be settled in feeling and conduct, not vacillating or giddy. "Let your hearts be fixed" (Psalm 108:1). "He that wavers is as a wave of the sea "(James 1:6).

II. REASONS FOR SOBER-MINDEDNESS.

1. It is according to the dictates of right reason. It is a great thing to receive the spirit of a "sound mind." Young men are never in a right mind till they sit clothed at the feet of Jesus.

2. Consider the snares and sorrows and drawbacks of life.

3. Consider that death may early reach the young.

4. Consider the number of young men who are ruined by the want of sober-mindedness.

5. The young must answer in the judgment for their follies in this life. - T.C.







Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded
I. WHAT IT IS.

1. You must be considerate and thoughtful, not rash and heedless. Take time to think; learn to think freely — to think for yourselves, of yourselves.

2. You must be cautious and prudent, not wilful and heady. Fix rules of wisdom. Use reason and conscience. Be diffident of your own judgment. Study Scripture.

3. You must be humble and modest, not proud and conceited. Be not above your business, above reproof, above religion.

4. You must be temperate and self-denying, not indulgent of your appetites.

5. You must be mild and gentle, not indulgent of your passions.

6. You must be chaste and reserved, not wanton or impure.

7. You must be staid and composed, not giddy and unsettled.

8. You must be content and easy, not ambitious and aspiring.

9. You must be grave and serious, not vain and frothy.

II. CONSIDERATIONS TO ENFORCE THIS EXHORTATION.

1. You are reasonable creatures.

2. You are sinners before God.

3. You are setting out in a world of sorrows and snares.

4. Multitudes of the young are ruined for want of this sobriety of mind.

5. You are here upon trial for heaven.

6. You must shortly go to judgment.

III. APPLICATION:

1. Examine yourselves.

2. Exhort one another.

3. Contemplate the advantages of sober mindedness. You will —

(1)Escape vanity of childhood and youth;

(2)Recommend yourselves to the favour of God and all wise men;

(3)Prepare for a useful and comfortable life, and a happy death.

4. Directions to make you sober minded.

(1)Espouse sober principles.

(2)Meditate on serious things.

(3)Choose sober companions.

(4)Read sober books.

(5)Abound in sober work.

(Matthew Henry, D. D.)

I. THE SPIRIT AND CONDUCT TO WHICH THIS EXHORTATION IS OPPOSED. Sober mindedness, if we are to take the primary meaning of the word, is to be "safe" or "sound minded." But perhaps the best English equivalent for the word would be "discreet" or "self-restrained." We have to restrain and keep ourselves in check as much as needful; and yet, at the same time, to cultivate such habits of thought that much check will not be required.

1. This exhortation is opposed to undue self-esteem (see Romans 11:20; Romans 12:3-6; Philippians 2:3). There ought to be a certain amount of self-esteem or self-respect. Where that is wholly wanting, there will be little or no force of character. Where there is no self-respect, one of the strongest arguments against evil will be lost. If we do not respect ourselves, we shall not act so as to gain the respect of others. But the excess of this self-respect is as injurious as its want; and it is to this excess that youth is naturally prone. When we enter upon life it is with an exalted idea of our own attainments and importance. We are soon led to smart in consequence of this; we soon find our own level. But O! how much pain, how much humiliation should we be spared, if we did but learn at the onset to esteem others better than ourselves! And O! young men, when we look into our own hearts, how much there is there to humble us.

2. This exhortation is opposed to all rash speculations upon spiritual things. The forms of pride are very various; but in whatever form pride presents itself, it is still an evil against which we should be on our guard. There are some forms of pride which are simply despicable and ridiculous. For instance, the pride of dress, the pride of personal appearance, the pride of life, or the pride of birth. But there is another form of pride which does not appear so offensive as these — I mean, the pride of intellect of those faculties which God has given us, by which we are distinguished above the lower orders of creation, and by which when cultivated we are raised in the social scale. But still, this form of pride, like every other form is inexcusable. Why should we boast of those faculties which have been given us by God, and of which at any moment He could deprive us? And if under no circumstances it is excusable, it is more especially offensive if it lead us to cavil at the statements of this holy book, respecting the character, and the will, and the dealings of the Most High.

3. This exhortation is opposed to all ambitious efforts to amass wealth, and to rise unduly in the social scale. Do not suppose that I would object to any amount of progress, either intellectually or socially. To the young I would say, Do all the good you can, get all the good you can, and enjoy to the utmost all those good things which God has placed within your reach. But, at the same time, remember this, that anything, however good it may be in itself, ceases to be good as soon as it is used in excess, or when it interferes with your highest interests. Now, keeping that statement in view, just consider the result of the ceaseless striving of men in the present day, not only to accumulate wealth, but to imitate the habits, the customs, and the dress of the station above them. Shun — shun as a plague all those books which would render you dissatisfied with the position in which God has placed you. Rest assured that that position is the best possible position for you. Remember that this is but the first stage of your existence. Learn to look upon this as a training school — as a state of discipline in which you must bear much that you do not like, in which you must do much that you would rather not do, but in daring to do which you will be enabled to conform to God's will and to rise to a higher state of being.

4. This exhortation is opposed to all impatience and unwillingness to listen to the counsels and cautions of those who are older than ourselves. You know that one of our poets has observed: —

"At thirty man suspects himself a fool —

Knows it at forty — and reforms his plan."And oh! how much misery would be saved, if when we were young we were content to receive the experience of others, rather than gain that experience for ourselves by a very painful process.

II. SOME CONSIDERATIONS BY WHICH THIS EXHORTATION CAN BE ENFORCED. Be sober minded, and this will elevate your character. "He that humbleth himself shall be exalted." Be sober minded, and this will greatly increase your influence for good here below. Be sober minded, and you will escape many a snare in which others have fallen, and been destroyed. There is a passage which I would commend to the attention of young men; describing the death bed of an ungodly youth — "Lest thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed" — the flesh of thy body consumed by indulgence in evil practices - "and thou say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despiseth reproof; and have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me. I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly." That is the result of the spirit and conduct opposed to sobriety of mind. Cultivate this in the last place, because it will prove that your religion is a reality, and not a name.

(R. C. Pritchett.)

The word sober minded has many meanings, or at least many applications; but I think that we should approach most nearly to a comprehension of them all, if we explained it as the opposite of excitement, and regarded the charge in the text, to exhort young men to be sober minded, as practically equivalent to a charge to exhort them to avoid excitement.

1. There is the excitement of intemperance and of all approaches to it, of sensuality in all its forms; an excitement so strong, and for the moment so pleasurable, that he who has once yielded to it soon forms the habit of such indulgence, and he who has once formed the habit, almost always persists in it till his sin is his ruin; no persuasions and no convictions, no experience of misery and no resolutions of amendment, are of any avail; the man who has allowed the body to become his master is in this sense, as in all others, indeed a slave, that he cannot escape from his bondage, he must live on in it, and die in it too. The word intemperance may be too strong to express anything which you are at present in danger of, or anything indeed which the present fashions of society make perilous (speaking generally) for any one in your rank of life: but none the less would I caution you with the most anxious earnestness, against bodily excitement of a sinful kind: no change in national customs will ever make the body cease to be the chief enemy of the soul: other enemies come and go, temptations from companions, from occupations, from circumstances of life: this one alone is always with us, an enemy in the very camp, and able too to mask his assaults under the show of friendliness and good will.

2. As sinful excitement, so excessive excitement, even in forms not sinful, is here plainly forbidden. God has established a certain order and gradation amongst the parts of our nature. He bids us think of this intricate framework of human life as composed of three parts, which to our present comprehension we may best explain under the names of body, mind, and soul. Every one of these is most important: in each one a great work has to be done within a limited time: each one is destined to immortality, and has to be prepared for it by us. But, though each of these three parts is valuable, each immortal, each worthy of thought and care and culture, each the object (for our sakes) of God's special regard; yet they are not equally valuable: the soul stands first, far first, in this respect: that part of us which is capable of knowing and loving God, of resembling Him, of being His own dwelling place, ought always to be the first also in our own regard: we ought to think far more seriously of its hunger, or its disease, than we all do of that of the body: we ought to be far more vexed when our soul loses one of its meals, which are opportunities of prayer, public and private, opportunities of reading or hearing God's Word, or of joining in the Holy Communion, than when we are debarred by accident or want of appetite from a bodily meal: all these things are necessary consequences of the most elementary faith in God, and Christ, and eternity. Next to it comes the mind; that part of man which understands and judges, thinks and knows; that part which has to be stored and practised in youth, for the service of God and our generation in mature life. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. Bid them, if you be a faithful minister of Christ, bid them, whether they will hear or whether they will forbear, but with all earnestness of entreaty that they will listen, to think first of their souls, and next of their minds, and last of that which is bodily: tell them that, though God wills that their bodies should be active, hardy, and skilful, He does not will that every other part of them should be backward, awkward and stunted; that, because He loves them, because He desires their happiness, because He desires to bless them and to do them good, because He would have them with Him hereafter, and in order to do this must first fit them for His presence, therefore He exhorts them to be not excited but sober minded in things which are transitory and temporal; bids them set Him before them even in their amusements; bids them ask His blessing every day, as before they work, so also before they play; bids them accept their bodily pleasures, like all other, from Him, remember Him in them, moderate them for His sake, and above all use for His glory alone, in self-control, in temperance, in purity, those bodies upon which they bestow so much labour.

3. To be sober minded is, in other words, to have a sound mind; a mind neither trifling, nor giddy, nor inconstant, nor morbid; a mind just in its views, wise in its aims, moderate in its expectations, inflexible in its principles, authoritative in its self-control, right with God. It implies that we have a just view of life; that we not only profess but feel its true object, as a preparation for eternity, as an opportunity of doing the will of God and promoting His purposes towards us and towards all men. It implies that we neither expect to be able, nor feel it to be desirable, in all things to please ourselves, or to have our own way. It implies that we are thankful for whatever God gives, and patient under His withholding, controlling and even chastening hand. That we are willing to be what He would have us to be, even when our own inclination might point to a very different lot. All this it is, but more also. A sound mind, in the highest sense of the word, cannot be where the Holy Spirit is not; where God Himself is not present in the soul, through Jesus Christ, by His Spirit, as the Guide and Lord and Comforter, wisdom and quietness and strength, the life of our life and the hope of glory. Little can they who have not this be depended upon: natural cleverness and good sense may do much for us; it may cover up many faults, it may enable us to originate many good counsels; but it breaks down in the time of trial, when it is most of all important to be right, most of all fatal to be wrong. A sound mind, a sober mind, in the true sense, can only be where the soul of man has been changed (to use the Scriptural figure) into the spirit of man by the indwelling of the holy and blessed Spirit of God.

(Dean Vaughan.)

I. TO BE SOBER MINDED IS TO BE —

1. Thoughtful and considerate, in opposition to giddiness and levity of disposition.

2. Humble and diffident in opposition to an assuming and self-sufficient spirit.

3. Temperate and self-denied, in opposition to the unrestrained indulgence of the passions.

4. To give an habitual preference to eternal over temporal things.

5. That we never put off to a future period that which ought to be done now.

II. REASONS FOR URGING TO SOBER MINDEDNESS.

1. You are reasonable creatures, and it is the office of reason to govern the passions, etc.

2. You are guilty creatures, but the means of salvation are placed within your reach.

3. You are dying and accountable creatures, but the means of eternal happiness are enjoyed only in this world.

(W. Peddle.)

I. AS FOR THE REASONS WHY SOBRIETY OF MIND SHOULD IN PARTICULAR BE RECOMMENDED TO YOUTH, among others, we may assign these which follow.

1. It will be acknowledged that it is impossible for a person, with any constant tenor, to act well that does not think wisely, or to think wisely that does not think soberly. But what is of constant necessity in every stage of life must be of special importance in that upon which the rest depend; and, by consequence, he that sets out with this advantage, is in the most probable method to go on and prosper.

2. The morning of our life, our early and flourishing years, ought especially to be armed with this precaution, because it is then we are exposed to the greatest dangers; when the passions are the strongest, and so the most apt to transport us with their violence; when the pleasures and entertainments of sense have their full taste and relish, and are therefore the more capable of betraying us into excess; when we are the most easy, credulous, and complying, and so the most open to the attempts of others, the likeliest to be insalted and overborne by the confident, or ensnared by the designing, or perverted by those that go astray. Wherefore, experience coming so late should, if possible, be supplied by more early consideration, and reason should invite us before affliction constrains us to be serious.

3. As most ornaments, whether of mind or body, sit best upon the young, flourish in the spring of life, and look with peculiar gracefulness in the bloom and beauty of Nature, so this excellent temper of which we speak, which is the chief attire of the soul, and to which most other good qualities that it can put on are but appendages, is then in the exactest manner fit and becoming; and if it be real and not counterfeit, natural and not affected, easy and not precise, it has indeed the finest lustre, and renders those who wear it the most amiable and charming.

4. As youth has many natural gifts and endowments that speak in its behalf, and entitle it to favour, so it has one natural disadvantage, in respect of time, which it would be glad, if possible, to balance or compensate. In this regard it has been excellently well observed of birth or quality, that it gives a person at eighteen or twenty the same esteem and deference which another of inferior rank acquires at fifty; so that the former has thirty years gained at once. Now, the privilege which custom and civility allow to the noble, reason and justice demand, and generally obtain, for the sober and discreet; and they are the happiest who possess it by a double title.

II. This may the better suffice as to the offering some reasons why sobriety of mind should particularly be recommended to youth; since, by representing THE BENEFITS AND ADVANTAGES it then specially affords, we are to show the effect of those reasons, and of that particular application.

1. Sobriety of mind confirms and settles the principles of religion. Great has been the happiness of your birth, and the advantage of your education, but that either of these should be lasting and effectual depends upon yourselves. What admonitions and advices you have heard, what cautions you have received from parents or friends, books or conversation, are a ready stock committed to your management and improvement: a treasure in which you cannot make too much haste to be rich, an inheritance which indeed renders them the happiest to whom it comes the soonest. You are left to make your first steps in the world, which being so rough and uneven ground, and so plentiful in occasions of falling, it imports you the more to have regard to Solomon's rule (Proverbs 4:15, 16). To which you will give me leave to add that great and excellent lesson which he received from his father, and which some of you, I presume, have received from yours (1 Chronicles 23:9).

2. As sobriety of mind has such a power in keeping the principles of religion firm and stable, it has no less in rendering the practice of religion easy. We say all things are easy to a willing mind; but a sober mind is as willing as it is wise. For that which brings in most of the difficulties of a good life is our too late consideration, when having gone so far without thought, we cannot retire without pain.

3. It is a strong defence against temptations. "I have written to you young men because ye are strong," says St. John; "Or what imports the same," says an eloquent divine, "because you are vigorous; that is, you are now in such a state of body and soul and affections as is most subservient to piety — most quick and governable, and most successfully applied to the offices of duty. Govern, therefore, your appetites before the evil days come. Now you may gird them, and carry them whither you will, but if you neglect the season, they will hereafter gird you, and carry you whither you would not."

4. It affords the greater opportunities of eminent piety and virtue. For he that is thus armed is, we see, the fittest and most expedite not for defence only but for action; so that when occasions present themselves, he is ready to meet them with delight, and improve them to advantage.

(B. Kennet, D. D.)

The word in our text, strictly translated, means "sound minded," or healthy minded, and implies the conviction that there is a certain standard of character, or condition of the mind which bears an analogy to health of body, a condition in which all the functions of the mind are in their right state, in which sound or healthy views of things are taken, in which no part of human nature is either inoperative or unduly developed. In this large sense, soundness of mind may serve as a description of the harmony or regular action implied in virtue; but inasmuch as the passions and desires, excited by objects which have strong influence over us in our present state of being, more than anything else destroy sanity of mind, the term is usually confined to the control over worldly desires, and to views of life which commend themselves to right reason. Thus, soundness of mind includes self-restraint and temperance, the former of which is the power of governing the passions, and the other the habit of using all pleasures without going to excess. But soundness or sobriety of mind is more radical than either of these, for it includes those just views of life, that appreciation of the value of enjoyment and of the world compared with duty and the higher life of the soul, without the sway of which in the soul it can neither exercise continence, nor self-control, nor temperance. Soundness or sobriety of mind, also, is far from stopping at the boundaries of the passions, especially the sensual; all the desires, even those which have little to do with the body, as the desire of fame, of power, of superiority, and the desire of wealth — the means of gratifying all other desires — are placed under its control.

I. AS THUS UNDERSTOOD, SOBRIETY OF MIND IS TO BE DISTINGUISHED FROM. A NATIVE SLUGGISHNESS OR CAUTIOUSNESS WHICH MAY CONSPIRE WITH IT TO PREVENT EXCESS. If a man, for instance, can never become angry, he may be saved from many foolish and sinful acts, but it is many times better to have a power of subduing anger, which you have acquired by exertions which have cost you something, than to be a stone. Moreover, if such native sobriety of mind exists, it is rare. There is generally some weak spot, where passion can with success approach men who seem like icicles. What class of persons is more thoroughly worldly than many who are proof against the allurements of vice, but speculate with the gambler's intense excitement, or burn with a devouring lust for power. Perhaps the greatest insobriety of mind belongs to those who, in most respects, have an entire mastery over themselves — who view the world on many of its sides as it is, but concentrate all their forces on one object, with an untiring restless fever of soul which the votary of pleasure seldom knows.

II. THE APOSTLE'S SOBER MINDEDNESS IS NOT TO BE CONFOUNDED WITH THAT SELF CONTROL WHICH SPRINGS FROM WORLDLY PRUDENCE AND SHREWD CALCULATIONS OF SUCCESS IN LIFE. There are men who live exclusively for earthly enjoyment, who yet have attained to a mastery over their own lusts. They know what the laws of health will allow, what the body will bear, how far they may go in pleasure consistently with prudence and economy, what degree of restraint is demanded to preserve their reputation. They will, therefore, keep themselves sober while their less discreet, and perhaps less corrupt, companions are intoxicated at their side; they live a long healthy life, while others die of the effects of vicious indulgence, and retain their good name while others ruin themselves in the opinion of society. Verily, they have their reward; but their sober mindedness is certainly no such virtue that even a philosopher could commend it.

III. SOBRIETY OF MIND, BEING SOMETHING MORE THAN A TEMPERAMENT AVERSE TO EXCESS, SOMETHING MORE THAN SELF-CONTROL ON SELFISH PRINCIPLES MAY BE LOOKED AT AS A PHILOSOPHICAL, OR AS A CHRISTIAN VIRTUE. In both cases, it is a subordination of the desires and passions to the higher principles of the soul; in both, it is a spontaneous self-government according to the rules of right living, not according to calculations of temporal advancement. When we speak of Christian sobriety of mind, we mean nothing generically different from the notion which philosophy had already formed. But we mean sobriety of mind sustained by Christian principles, enforced by Christian motives, and dwelling amid other manifestations of a Christian or purified character. Let us consider it when thus broadly understood, in some of its most prominent characteristics.

1. It involves an estimate of earthly pleasure and good formed under the power of faith. With Christ's advent into the world, a new idea of life began, and the victory of the spirit over the flesh is rendered possible.

2. But it is not enough to have a standard of character; the young man, if he would be sober minded, must have rules of living calculated beforehand to resist the allurements of the world when they arise It is the part of Christian ethics to make known what rules are needed for our moral guidance, and to enforce them by the appropriate motives. In this place, no such thing can be attempted, and yet I cannot pass on without calling your attention to one or two parts of conduct, where it is peculiarly important to have well settled principles of action.(1) In regard to the bodily appetites, Christian sobriety begins to be lost as soon as they are made ends in themselves, without regard to something higher.(2) In regard to amusements and diversions, sobriety consists in keeping them in their place, as recreations after bodily and mental toil. They must not then usurp the rights of labour, unless we are resolved to destroy the earnestness and seriousness of character, which grows out of a conviction that life is full of meaning.

3. Need I add that rules must be followed by a settled purpose, by a resolution formed in the view of spiritual and divine truth to adopt such a course of life as sobriety of mind requires.

(T. D. Woolsey.)

I. THE NECESSITY OF THIS EXHORTATION. This arises from —

1. The ignorance and inexperience of youth.

2. Those constitutional inclinations which predominate in some more than in others.

3. The temptations by which youth is surrounded.

4. The vast importance of commencing well a course of life.

II. THE CHARACTER OF THAT SOBER MINDEDNESS WHICH THE TEXT RECOMMENDS.

1. Its basis. Reverence for God, contrition for sin, etc.

2. Its contrasts. Pride, rashness, obstinacy, petulance, sullenness, presumption, etc.

3. Its objects. It should make you moderate in all things, etc.

III. THE ADVANTAGES WHICH RESULT FROM THE POSSESSION AND DISPLAY OF THIS SOBER MINDEDNESS.

1. It will qualify you for your relations to society.

2. It will greatly contribute to your usefulness wherever you are placed.

3. It will greatly increase your comfort.

(J. Clayton.)

This concise statement as to the exhortation to be addressed to young men may be regarded as a summary of all youthful virtues. The sins and follies of youth largely arise from want of thought. This fact, while it is no excuse for the sins committed, is an indication of the remedy to be sought. Let youths be trained to cultivate discretion, and, humanly speaking, they will be kept safe from the follies so common to their age. In a sermon to young men, discretion may be commended thus: —

I. AS THE CULTIVATION OF THE MENTAL AND MORAL POWERS WITH WHICH GOD HAS ENDOWED THEM.

II. AS THE FULFILMENT OF THE DESTINY WHICH THEY ARE TO FULFIL IN LIFE.

III. AS THE FITTING PREPARATION FOR A HIGHER LIFE HEREAFTER.

(F. Wagstaff.)

I. SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF THIS SOBER MIND.

1. A habit of moral thoughtfulness.

2. Practical prudence and circumspection.

3. A modest and humble deportment.

II. SOME PARTICULARS IN WHICH THIS GRACE OF CHARACTER SHOULD BE DISPLAYED.

1. In all your plans and schemes for worldly happiness.

2. In all parts of your social intercourse — dress, discourse, Choice of recreations, etc.

III. A VALUABLE AGENCY BY WHICH THIS SOBER MINDEDNESS MAY BE PROMOTED.

(D. Moore, M. A.)

What is it that may properly be called "sober mindedness"? This is to ask, in other words, What is it that we are all charging the want of upon our fellow mortals, while we are all, on all hands, censuring, reproaching, or ridiculing them, for folly, absurdity, extravagance, for running into all extremes, for being the sport of fancies, tempers, and passions? Plainly, the effectual predominance of sound reason. That then is the general description of sober mindedness — that there be in habitual exercise a just judgment of things, and that this judgment be in real effective authority. But a little more particularly. There cannot be the required state of mind, unless there be some great master principles, decidedly fixed in the very habit of thinking and feeling — principles applicable to almost all things in our interests and practice — principles so general that many special ones will grow out of them for particular application. One is — that in all things and at all events, God is to be obeyed. Another — that there is the essential distinction of holiness and sin in all conduct, both within the mind, and in external action, and that sin is absolutely a dreadful evil. Another — that that cannot be right long in which there is no self-denial. Another — that must not be done which must be repented of. Another — the future should predominate over the present. Such things, we said, must be established firmly and operatively in the mind. But then how can this be without much and frequent exercise of serious thought? Do such principles grow and establish themselves spontaneously? Alas! let any young person look into his own mind and see Without much of serious thought, therefore, there cannot be "sober mindedness." And therefore, again, there cannot be this required state of mind, if principles are admitted, or practical determinations adopted, from mere impressions of fancy and feeling; perhaps from some casual situation into which a person is thrown; perhaps from the pleasing impression made by some new acquaintance, or a friend, while no account is taken of the whole comprehensive view of the matter; nay, perhaps, the judgment actually withheld from attempting this. Again, no principles can suffice for the true "sober mindedness" in young persons or any others, unless as consciously held as under the sanction and as having the authority of the Supreme Power. For the term must imply a steady tenor of feeling and proceeding, not fluctuating, confused, alternating. And it implies a calm independence of spirit and conduct, not at the mercy of the winds and circumstances — the opinions and wills — of the surrounding world; which holds one certain plan and aim, right onward through all the causes of interference and perversion. But how can this be but by the vital connection of our governing principles with the unchangeable Spirit? Again, there cannot be a high degree of that well-ordered state, "sober mindedness," without the person's forming a sound judgment of his own mind. If there be an insensibility to the general corruption of the soul, throughout its very nature, how little to the purpose will any scheme of self-government be! And then there are the special and peculiar circumstances and tendencies; the particular weaknesses or wrong propensities; the liability to some one evil in a strong and dangerous degree. Without an attentive and deep cognizance of things so important, the person enjoined to maintain sober mindedness will not at all know what he has to do; not know against what he has to maintain it. We may add a most self-evident thing; that it is of the essence of sober mindedness to maintain a systematic strong restraint on the passions, fancy, temper, appetites. And this was probably the most direct object of the apostle's exhortation to young men. In these respects, it is the very first point of sober mindedness for youth to be aware how perilous their condition is. Let young persons observe what is actually becoming of those who surrender themselves to their passions and wild propensities. What numbers! Then, in themselves, observe seriously whither these inward traitors and tempters really tend; and then think whether soberness of mind be not a pearl of great price; and whether there can be any such thing without a systematic self-government. Young persons of any hopefulness will often have serious thoughts about what is to be the main grand purpose of their life. Immense interests are exhibited before them, as immortal natures. It is for them to consider, whether they will be consigned down just merely to this, to be gay and joyous creatures for a few years, and busy ones the rest? Or, whether they shall early in life have a greater purpose and concern, rising above the world, and extending beyond time. Now here is to be the application of those principles we were endeavouring to illustrate; and without them we have ample and deplorable manifestation what the notion and purpose of life in young persons will be. But again, this sober mindedness is quite necessary for the subordinate schemes and pursuits of life. In the want of it, a young person may form schemes ill adapted to his character, his qualifications, and abilities — or his circumstances. For want of it, many have rushed into wild ill-concerted projects, which have ended disastrously, or frustrated the most laudable designs. Companionship and friendly connections are among the most favourite interests of young persons. Sober mindedness is eminently important here. This would keep them clearly aware that the mere pleasure of friendly association is a trifle as compared with the influence and effect. Soberness of mind, again, would be of high value to young people, as to the terms on which they shall stand with what is called the world. This is the denomination for a sort of system of maxims, customs, modes, and fashions. And it takes upon itself a high and tyrannic authority, if we may judge from the number of submissive slaves. The firmly sober minded young person would, in numerous instances and considerable degrees, set at nought the prescriptions of the despot; would act just as he thought proper; and would have his reason to assign; "I really have something else to do with my time and thoughts, than to study and follow your caprices, modes, and vanities." So much for the situation of young persons in the world; it is almost too obvious to be added that for what concerns their preparation to go out of it, there is the utmost necessity for everything implied in sober mindedness. We conclude with a consideration or two for the enforcement of the exhortation. And let it not be forgotten that youth will soon be passed away. In the case of not a few young persons, their youth is appointed to be the whole of their life. Now supposing that in any particular instance this were certain and known: in that instance, all opinions would agree as to the propriety and necessity of sober mindedness: yes, the vainest, the giddiest, unless totally ignorant or unbelieving of the hereafter, say, "Yes, certainly he or she should be sober minded." But now judge soberly whether the propriety is reversed by the circumstance of uncertainty; that a young person may only have his youth for the whole of his life. When this may be the case, were it not infatuation to live as if it most certainly would not? But assuming that life will be prolonged into the more advanced stages, consider that then a great change of feeling from that of youth will certainly take place. Experience, disappointment, difficulty, will have begun their process. Now consider; is it not a most ungracious thing that the altered state of feeling in more advanced life should come just wholly as disappointment, as mortifying experience, as sober sense forced upon reluctant folly? Whereas, sober mindedness in youth might have anticipated a great deal; might, through wisdom, have made the change much more smooth; might have caused it to be much less, and less mortifying, and made it less reproachful in reflection on the sanguine delusion of early life. We would enforce one more consideration; namely, that things will have their consequences. If there be a vain, giddy, thoughtless, ill-improved youth, the effects of it will infallibly come in after life. If there be a neglected understanding, a conscience feebly and rudely constituted, good principles but slightly fixed or even apprehended, a habitual levity of spirit, a chase of frivolities, a surrender to the passions; the natural consequences of these will follow. And what will they be when a man is advanced into the field of important and difficult duties? when he shall himself be required to be a counsellor of youth? when he shall be put upon strong trials of both his judgment and conscience; when he shall have to sustain afflictions; when advancing age shall force him to see that he shall ere long have to leave life itself behind? We add but one consideration more, which we could wish to press on young minds with peculiar force. They love cheerfulness, spiritedness, vivacity; and they are right. But then! on the supposition of life being prolonged, would they be content to expend away the greatest portion of this animation in the beginning of life? Would they drink out the precious wine of life in the morning, and leave but the dregs for the evening of life's day? If there be any possible way of throwing a large portion of this vital element, this animation, into the latter, the latest part of life, were not that the highest wisdom?

(J. Foster.)

1. Young men must take notice of that great bundle of folly which is naturally bound up in their hearts, the corruption of that age being such as needeth not any occasion without itself to cast it down.

2. That the means to redress it is the study of the Scriptures, unto the rules whereof they must have regard, and not to the example of men.

3. That if they will needs be given to imitation, then must they imitate not the most, but the best of that age; such as was young Daniel, who in tender years was able to utter knowledge (Daniel 1:4); young Samuel, who so soon as he is weaned, must stand before the Lord (1 Samuel 1); young Josiah, who at eight years old walked uprightly (2 Kings 2); young Timothy, who knew the Scriptures of a child; yea, of Christ Himself, who increased in wisdom as in stature, so as at twelve years old He was able to confound the doctors and great rabbis of the Jews.

4. That against all the discouragements they shall meet withal from men, as that they are too forward, soon ripe, and young saints, etc., they must oppose the Lord's good pleasure, who requireth firstlings, first fruits, firstborn of man and beast; the first month, yea, the first day of that month, for the celebrating of the passover; and delighteth in whole and fat offerings, not in the lame, lean, and blind sacrifices which His soul abhorreth:. for of all the sons of men, the Lord never took such pleasure as in such who were sanctified even from the womb. Some of the learned call men to the timely service of God, from the allusion of Moses's rod (Exodus 3), and Isaiah's vision (chap. Isaiah 9), both of the almond tree, because of all trees that soonest putteth forth her blossoms. How sound that collection is, I will not stand to inquire; only this is true, that such as would be trees of righteousness, and known to be of the Lord's planting, laden (especially in their age) with the fruits of the Spirit, must with the almond tree timely bud, and blossom, and bear, that their whole lives may be a fruitful course, whereby God may be glorified, and themselves receive in the end a more full consolation.

(T. Taylor, D. D.)

"Tell me," said Edmund Burke, "what are the prevailing sentiments that occupy the minds of your young men, and I will tell you what is to be the character of the next generation." This is but an echo of the epigrams of the ancients. The modern statesman but repeats the wisdom of the past. The dominant power of the young men of a nation has been recognised in all ages. It was because he taught her young men, that Socrates was feared at Athens. Standing in the market place, visiting the gymnasia, or speaking from the porticoes, he wielded a power that senators viewed alike with envy and with dread. When Wesley was desired to leave Oxford to take a local parish, he refused, because, he said, the schools of the prophets were there, and he felt that in forming the sentiments of young men he was doing a greater work for the next generation than he could possibly do in any other locality.

The Hon. Stephen Allen, who had been Mayor of New York, was drowned from on board the Henry Clay. In the pocket book was found a printed slip, apparently cut from a newspaper, a copy of which we give below. It is worthy to be engraven on the heart of every young man: — "Keep good company, or none. Never be idle. If your hands can't be usefully employed, attend to the cultivation of your mind. Always speak the truth. Make few promises. Live up to your engagements. Keep your own secrets if you have any. When you speak to a person look him in the face. Good company and good conversation are the very sinews of virtue. Good character is above all things else. Your character cannot be essentially injured except by your own acts. If any one speaks evil of you let your life be so that none will believe him. Drink no kind of intoxicating liquors. Ever live (misfortune excepted) within your income. When you retire to bed, think over what you have been doing during the day. Make no haste to be rich if you would prosper. Small and steady gains give competency with a tranquil mind. Never play at any game of chance. Avoid temptation, through fear you may not withstand it. Earn money before you spend it. Never run into debt unless you see a way to get out again. Never borrow if you can possibly avoid it. Do not marry until you are able to support a wife. Never speak evil of any one. Be just before you are generous. Keep yourself innocent if you would be happy. Save when you are young, to spend when you are old. Read over the above maxims at least once a week."

"In the supremacy of self-control," says Herbert Spencer, "consists one of the perfections of the ideal man. Not to be impulsive, not to be spurred hither and thither by each desire that in turn comes uppermost; but to be self-restrained, self-balanced, governed by the joint decision of all the feelings in council assembled, before whom every action shall have been fully debated and calmly determined — that it is which education, moral education at least, strives to produce." This is the one determining quality on which success or failure in after life most depends. Failing here, your failure is absolute and irremediable. Success here is success assured hence. forward. Here are two youths — the one college bred, but without self-government; the other was never in a college, but knows and possesses the power of self-control. For all worthy work in life the latter is immeasurably superior; he will make a better banker, manufacturer, legislator, general. Knowledge of Greek and mathematics and Latin is valuable, but placed in the balance against self-control, it has not the weight of a feather or the worth of a farthing. But true education embraces self-control, and, with other acquisitions, gives the scholar great advantage. Mr. Pitt was once asked what quality was most essential for a Prime Minister. One of the party said, "Eloquence"; another, "Knowledge"; another, "Toil." "No," said Pitt, "it is Patience," and patience with him had its real meaning of self-control. In this quality he himself excelled. There is an instructive monument to this great statesman in Westminster Abbey. Pitt stands erect with extended hand; another figure represents Anarchy writhing in chains at his feet, while a calm-brewed figure representing History is writing down the record of his victorious achievements for posterity to read. There is pressing need for other Pitts to conquer self, and then conquer their fellows in this disordered world. Anarchy and wrong yet ravage the land. They need strong, self-conquered men to put them in chains. And be assured, impartial history waits to immortalise the name of the great moral heroes of today.

Links
Titus 2:6 NIV
Titus 2:6 NLT
Titus 2:6 ESV
Titus 2:6 NASB
Titus 2:6 KJV

Titus 2:6 Bible Apps
Titus 2:6 Parallel
Titus 2:6 Biblia Paralela
Titus 2:6 Chinese Bible
Titus 2:6 French Bible
Titus 2:6 German Bible

Titus 2:6 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Titus 2:5
Top of Page
Top of Page