A Seasonable Prescription by James Smith

A friend of mine forwarded this article to me earlier this week. When I first read it I thought, surely the young people need this, but then in re-reading it, it seemed perhaps it was meant more for the “aged”, for me. Either way it is a thoughtful, challenging article that we should consider and heed.

A word about the author, James Smith (1802-1862) – he was a Baptist pastor. He preceded Charles Spurgeon as pastor of New Park Street Chapel (later became Metropolitan Tabernacle) in London, England before moving on to pastor a different church. He left quite an impressive body of work.

May God be glorified this day!



A Seasonable Prescription

by James Smith, 1860

As we Christians advance in life, and know more of human nature, and the power of temptation — the greater interest should we take in the young, and the more urgently should we seek their salvation. It is a lovely sight to see aged Christians endeavoring to bring young people to the Savior. And this we ought constantly to see — for they know the power . . .
of youthful lusts,
of the world’s attractions,
of Satanic influence,
of the deceitfulness of the heart,
and the value of the immortal soul!

Aged friends, do you feel and act, as you should for the young? Do you do all that you can to snatch them as brands from the burning?

Solomon was an old man when he wrote the book of Ecclesiastes, and in that book he manifests great solicitude for the young. Again and again he addresses them in different ways — but with what touching and subtle irony, does he speak to them in one place, “Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see. BUT KNOW that for all these things — God will bring you to judgment!” Ecclesiastes 11:9


The Youth’s Practice. He is happy in his youth — in his physical vigor, personal attractions, and newly acquired liberty. Feeling strong, he puts the day of judgment far from him. Vain of his person — he is proud of his appearance and abilities. Freed from the restraints of home — he removes the reins from the neck of his lusts. His heart cheers him on — and urges him forward in the pursuit of folly! He walks in the way of his heart — which is always evil. He is ignorant of its powers of deception. He is therefore deceived by the corrupt principles that work within it. He hushes his conscience to sleep, or by violence constrains it to be silent.

He then yields to the alluring influence of the world. And while so doing, Satan tempts him to proceed farther and farther — plotting his eternal damnation!

He does what he thinks best in his own eyes — allowing them to mislead him. He walks by sight — not according to God’s Word. He is led away by appearances, and despises the counsel and example of the godly. He refuses to listen to, or be guided by the advice of parents. He despises, or slights, the preacher’s admonition, and will be a law unto himself. He chooses vain people for his companions, and follows the example of the foolish! Let us now listen to,


The Preacher’s Prescription. “Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see. BUT know that for all these things — God will bring you to judgment!”

Take your own course — if you are determined.

Go on in the way which you prefer — if you think it best.

Persevere in the path that you have chosen.

BUT KNOW that there is an end to your course — and that end is a judgment!

The judgment day is fixed — and it is therefore certain.

The judge stands at the door — it is therefore near.

The dead, small and great, shall stand before God — it is therefore universal.

Every one of us shall give account of himself before God — it is therefore personal.

Before this final judgment, shall be gathered all nations — it will therefore be open and public.

God will judge in justice and uprightness — it will therefore be righteous.

It will be the great day, the last day — and will therefore be final.

“BUT KNOW that for all these things — God will bring you to judgment!”

You will not be able to escape!

You will not be overlooked or forgotten!

You will be personally summoned — and there will be no evading!

Death will arrest and cast you into prison. From thence, the angels will bring you out — and Jesus will judge you! For “He has set a day when He is going to judge the world in righteousness, by the Man He has appointed!” Acts 17:31

Young man! Young woman! To you is this word of solemn admonition sent! See how many young people are being called away by death! Fatal diseases and accidents — how common. Sudden deaths — how frequent. It is very probable that God may sooncall for YOU! How necessary then that you be ready, for death very often gives but a short notice — or no notice! God . . .
you by His providence;
He directs you in His Word;
He invites you by His ministers;
and He will judge you by His Son!

Whenever therefore you are tempted to indulge in any unholy amusement or practice, remember these words: “BUT KNOW that for all these things — God will bring you to judgment!”


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Filed under Christian life, Great Commission, Theology

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