I have frequently referred, and have reason to do it with thankfulness, to the kind solicitude shown by some of my friends in behalf of the young. Many of their sayings are deeply impressed on my mind, and much excellent advice on the subject I have written from books which they have either lent me or read in my presence. I most earnestly pray that, through the influences of the Holy Spirit, they may be deeply impressed on the minds of everyone of my children.
1. “Remember, now, your Creator in the days of your youth.”—The present is certainly the best time, and may be the only time. Remember God in your youth—and He will not forget, or forsake, or cast you off in the time of old age.
2. If you wish to be certain of finding God, seek Him in youth; for He loves those who love Him, and those that seek Him early shall find Him.
3. If you wish to be truly honorable, be truly pious; for riches and honor are with her; yes, durable riches and righteousness.
4. If you wish to have a good portion on earth, seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and then all other things (good and needful) will be added thereunto.
5. If you wish to be eminent in piety, be early pious. Obadiah feared the Lord from his youth, and he feared him greatly. He who would reap the honor of being an old disciple—must sow the seed in being a young disciple. The youngest of Christ’s apostles was the beloved apostle.
6. If you wish to make your parents happy, live early in the fear of God, for the father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice; and he who begets a wise son shall have joy from him. Your father and your mother shall be glad, and she who bore you shall rejoice. My son, if your heart is wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine; but a foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her who bore him.
7. If you wish to escape the snares and pollutions of evil society—be pious early. Cultivate those principles which will give you a distaste for the society of the ungodly, and which will deter them from soliciting yours.
8. Some holy people, brought to a knowledge of God in later years, have, through the remainder of life, bitterly regretted that their youth was spent in the society of the thoughtless and ungodly; for though that society is now forsaken, it left recollections which polluted and harassed the mind, and stuck to it like the stains to the walls of a leprous house. The only way to avoid this, is, to grow up in happy ignorance of the words and ways of evil society. It is a great thing to be enabled to resist when sinners entice; but it is still more for the peace of the soul never to have been near the path of the wicked and the way of evil men; but to have been a companion of those only who fear the Lord and keep his commandments.
10. If you wish to possess that which will wisely guide you in all your future engagements and connections, and fit you to be useful as you pass through life, be early pious. “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all they that do his commandments. Then shall you walk in the way safely, and your foot shall not stumble.”
11. If you wish to have a friend who may be depended upon, seek the friendship of God—the only Friend who never forsakes, who never dies, who is never unable or unwilling to befriend to the full extent of our need. There is a Friend who loves at all times; who sticks closer than a brother; who is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and able to do for you exceeding abundantly, above all that you can ask or think. Secure his friendship in early life.
12. If you wish always to have something at hand that can comfort and support you in time of trouble, this is it—early piety; the love of God shed abroad in your heart by the power of the Holy Spirit; a good hope, through grace, of an heavenly inheritance, and a firm conviction that all present things work together for good.
13. If you wish to be ready for death, come when it may, be early pious. Grace in the heart is oil in the lamp, which will light us through the valley of the shadow of death. The severest blasts and storms cannot put it out; but the great concern is—to have the lamp filled and lighted in good time; not to be running about to seek it when the call is upon us to go forth.
14. If you wish to have large capacities for the enjoyment of heaven, be early pious. All who are admitted to heaven will be happy; but we are led to conclude there will be different capacities for happiness, and, therefore, different degrees. Growth in grace on earth is growth in capacity for heavenly enjoyment. Then he whose heart is earliest opened for the reception of divine grace, and continues most expanding, is likely to be a large partaker of the bliss of heaven.
Gorham Abbott, The Family At Home