The following suggestions ought to be deeply impressed on the minds of youth—
1. Choose God for your portion. God alone can make you happy; but all the world cannot make you happy without God.
2. Consider that by nature you are dead in trespasses and sins. You are a child of wrath, a stranger, and an enemy to God. Labor to be sensible of this, and let the sinfulness of your nature be your greatest burden.
3. Remember that Christ Jesus is your way to God. Justification, pardon, and acceptance with God, are by faith in him. Sanctification and a new nature are by the power of his Spirit. Let Christ, therefore, be precious to your souls. Labor for true faith in him. Take him for your Lord and Savior. Submit to his commands in all things, and rest your soul upon him for reconciliation and peace with God. Open your heart to the motions of his Holy Spirit. Welcome that principle of a holy and divine life; improve his motions, follow his drawings, and by no means grieve him.
4. Be speedy in your repentance, and diligent in your endeavors after holiness. Know the time of God’s gracious visitation. Consider that life is short and altogether uncertain. To defer one day may be your everlasting undoing.
5. Endeavor to be truly and thoroughly pious, and be not discouraged at the difficulties of it. God’s grace shall be sufficient for your help. His promises shall be your sweet encouragement. Peace of conscience, and communion with God, shall be your ever-present cordial. The troubles and pains of piety shall be but short, and your reward shall be glorious and eternal.
6. Devote your young and blooming years to the love and service of your God and Savior. The first-fruits are the most acceptable—
“A flower, when offered in the bud,
Is no vain sacrifice.”
Grudge not, that the vain delights and sinful pleasures of youth should be lost. They shall be exchanged for spiritual delights, which are more excellent, inward, and lasting.
7. Remember you must give an account to God of your youth as well as your age. It will be no excuse, if you be found in your sins, to say, “I was but young!” He who is old enough to sin, is old enough for hell. You cannot make sure of God’s love, a saving interest in Christ, and the salvation of your soul, too soon. It may be too late, but can never be too early.
8. Let those who have been piously instructed remember, that they cannot have that pleasure in sin which others may. They know better. They sin against light and conviction. Conscience will mix gall with their honey. When they go to prayer in the evening, or when upon their bed, alone, retired, in the dark, or in a thunder-storm, conscience will read sad lectures to them, and make them review all the pleasures of sin with bitterness.
9. Repentance and conversion are easiest in youth. Sin is not so deeply rooted; Satan not so strongly fortified; grace not so much slighted; the Spirit not so much grieved; the conscience not so much hardened.
10. Early conversion, as it is most easy, so it is also least questionable. It is little for a man to renounce the world when he is just forced to leave it; or to forsake the pleasures of sin when he has no longer the ability to pursue them. But when the bloom and strength of youth are given to God, when the world is fully before it—it then appears plain that God is loved for himself; that Christ is preferred above the flesh, and grace, above the sweetest delights in the world.
Gorham Abbott, The Family At Home