A Challenge to Youth
Alvin O. Roney
Tucumcari, New Mexico
Remember now thy Creator, in the days of thy youth . . ." (Eccl. 12:1).
In an unending succession of small miracles, the larva of the human race emerges from the cocoons of childhood to try out the still damp wings of maturity. They are hugely impatient of the restraining warning of the older and wiser to proceed cautiously until the wings are strong and the eyes see more clearly.
Their adventurous spirits, inquiring minds, and strong young bodies stand eager and unafraid upon the threshold of manhood and womanhood, ready to leap and thoughtless of the landing. With innocent courage yet untried by the refining fires of disappointment and disillusionment, they face the world and its problems unawed by its magnitude. Life has so very much to offer, and they want it all!
The wisdom of age sounds its unheeded warnings, urging youth to at least temper its exuberance of spirit with reason: - to recognize danger hidden in excitement; to pause to weigh and consider every course of action before embarking upon it. To look for a landing before leaping.
The overflowing enthusiasm of youth, if properly directed, if, it be channeled to constructive ends, can carry the young far up the ladders of success and achievement. If left untutored and unguided it can, and often does, lead some of even our finest boys and girls into shame and degradation in this life and into Hell in the life to come.
With the misty dawn of childhood behind, youth now steps out into the full glare of the day of life. In that life, each one finds he is pulled, pushed and persuaded by two tremendous influences: one for GOOD and one for EVIL. On one hand the World, with all her enticement, beckons the young to come and embrace her, and to lose themselves in her voluptuous charms. To drink deep of the elixir of her passing joys and bask in the pleasant fraternity of her "sporting crowd."
No thinking person can deny that the young girl, looking innocently at the tinsel glitter of the World's gaudy beauty, will feel a surging urge to be a part of this joyful pageant of life, which appears so very alluring; so utterly desirable, in the distance.
The glamorous women of the world, sophisticated beyond degree, with jeweled hands and spangled throats; in shimmering gowns carrying themselves with the sinuous grace of serpents . . . daringly wicked, the toast of passionate hearts and the focus of adulterous eyes, joyous, abandoned, free of all restraint, are mighty forces of enticement, and to offset this parents will have -to offer something more than just words of warning that all this is bad. We must offer them something far better! We must expose evil in all its filth and ugliness, and then show them the sublime beauty of goodness, and pray that they choose wisely.
On this hand there is the powerful force of sound moral, spiritual and ethical training; the pure and refined atmosphere of a Christian home, and the example of decent, dignified and God-fearing parents. And there is the living Word of God, and the abiding hope it brings of that splendid home in Heaven where the evil of this world is unknown.
Our daughters must be warned of the harsh and deadly result of sin, even when it comes dressed in the prettiest of clothes. That seductive, cigarette sucking siren with the gloss of sophistication drawn thinly over her wantonness, would lose her appeal to our daughters if we had the courage to show them the shame of such a life of adultery with its drunken pukings, its degrading nastiness, its heartbreak and frustration, its unrelieved misery and tragedy.
Girls! Look closely at this painted toy! No one really loves her. No one respects her. Only the most vulgar and dissolute of men even desire her! What a price she pays, both here and hereafter for a few days of animal pleasure but little different from the dog in the streets.
Yet the girl whose pure childhood is but a step to a pure and lovely maturity, may know the bliss of a pure love and an honorable home of her own where she is loved and respected by both God and mankind.
And what of our boys? That suave, polished man of the world, with his flip and vulgar wit; with time to idle and money to burn . . . who disports himself in an overabundance of wine, women and ribald song: this enticing imp of Satan is no more worthy of imitation than the cheap and tawdry siren who is his sorry counterpart. His is a life of intrigue and deception, stealing and being stolen from, deceiving and being deceived: a human leech, a worthless parasite, with neither self-respect nor honor, unspeakably shallow, weak and despicable. Without even the perception to understand his own instinctive longing for real friends and the respect of the human race.
What a sorry picture it all makes! Like a soap-bubble, it may seem so beautiful and desirable in the distance, but when embraced, it will inevitably burst, leaving only a trace of water, incredibly dirty!
A question now: must you sacrifice all the fun and happiness of the present in order to obtain the goodness and joy of the future? If the answer were "YES!" it would still be worth it a thousand times over! But the answer is "NO!" You need give up nothing good to obtain all the good for which the human heart can legitimately yearn.
The quiet peace, the deep joy, the genuine thrill of living a clean and pure life cannot be compared with the animal gratification of lust, and the awful and eternal price it inevitably exacts. Peace of mind is necessarily predicated upon peace of soul with God and conscience.
The honest respect of self, the up-lifting feeling of personal dignity, the respect and affection of fellowmen, are of immeasurable value. The wondrous thrill of baby hands, your own baby's, caressing your face; the soft, moist kiss of tiny lips, rose-petal soft, the knowledge that this new life was conceived in an honorable marriage upon which a righteous God smiles, rather than in a moment's stolen lust in the back seat of a parked car, is worth more than all the tears of repentance a life of shame and heartbreak can ever produce.
The Religion of Jesus Christ, and the Christian Life it proposes, will not rob you of a single good thing in this life. It will give you far more than it takes from you.
The Lord does not say to you: "You can not enjoy this life!" Rather He says, "LIVE!" Live now, so that you may learn something of the pure joys of that perfect life to come. The Lord said, "I am come that you might HAVE life, and have it more abundantly! And I say to you, if you would have this lovely life NOW and a living hope for a perfect life in Heaven when the frivolities of this world are perished: "REMEMBER NOW THY CREATOR IN THE DAYS OF THY YOUTH !"
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XII: 6, pp. 10-11