William Gadsby's Fragments (Complete)

An Address To Youth

To all Young People, of both sexes, into whose hands this may fall.

Let me address you as one who fears the Lord, and who wishes you well.

Beware of deceivers! Remember, you are in a world of woe, beset with gins, and traps, and snares, and, as you grow to years of maturity, an evil heart, the which you all possess, will naturally incline to evil; and as some of the most destructive sins appear the most flattering and pleasing to a carnal heart, therefore the danger is the greater. When youth have once been left to the dishonourable practice of fornication or uncleanness, and thus deprived themselves of that common virtue which it becomes them, as the creatures of God and for their own well-being in this world, to maintain, it is a rare thing for them ever to retract, unless constrained by the grace of God; and very often the first fall into the sin of uncleanness is the beginning of their ruin, laying a foundation for their misery as long as they live, saying nothing about the eternal consequences. But remember, the eye of God is upon you, wherever you go, and sees whatever you do. May the solemn admonition of the Lord, given by Solomon, be daily placed before your eyes as recorded in Ecclesiastes 12:1-7. If you are left to forsake the path of virtue, you open a door for infamy, distress, and misery. Read the word of God; constantly attend upon the appointed means of hearing God’s word preached; take heed how you spend the Lord’s Days, for the devoting of that day to pleasure-taking, and taking what some people call a merry glass with jolly companions, has been a means of destroying the common virtue of thousands. Therefore beware of this ensnaring evil. “If sinners entice thee, consent thou not.” Keep out of the company of ensnaring enticers, for though you may think you are able to withstand them, remember, you are but weak, and in an evil moment may lose all guard of yourselves, and almost ere you are aware you may be beguiled into some hid snare. You cannot be too cautious of the company you keep, nor too careful of keeping proper hours. Let no company entice you into improper places, nor keep you from your homes late in the evening.

Youth is often the time when a person’s character is formed for life. I therefore caution you to look well to your ways, and be upon your guard daily. If you fall into company who begin to introduce wanton subjects, however cheerful they may appear to be, flee from them, for it is dangerous to be among them.

“Flee youthful lusts.” (2 Tim 2:22) “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” (1 Cor 6:18) Should any person, with a smiling sneer, set this admonition at nought, let him have another; “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes; but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.” (Ecc 11:9) May youth of both sexes read, and stand in awe of God; for remember, “there is no darkness nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.” (Job 34:22)

To such youth as, through the matchless grace of God, are blessed with true repentance towards God, and faith in the Lord. Jesus Christ, who feel the plague of the heart and the preciousness of Jesus, I would say, My dear young friends, be diligent in all the means of grace, both private and public, and let your conversation at all times he as it becomes the gospel of Christ. Never converse with each other about things which stir up unhallowed feelings. It is dangerous. If you meet with professors of religion who wish to introduce such subjects in private company, shun them; for be assured if you do not, you will smart for it. Make the great things of God and eternity the subject of your conversation. The dealings of the Lord with your own souls, and the fountain and spring-head from whence all your mercies flow, together with the channel through which they flow, and the solemn glories they contain, and the diversity of their operations, by the divine teachings of God the Holy Ghost, will afford you abundance of scope for conversation. In all things study to promote the declarative glory of God, and your own and others’ welfare. Light, trifling, and unbecoming conversation has been a means of bringing many a child of God into a snare. The Lord awe your minds with his holy fear, daily draw you to himself with the cords of his love, cause you to show forth his praises, and enable you to “put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Read Eph 6:11-18) If you are thus blessed, you will be an ornament to your profession, and an honour to the church of God. “Earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” Watch over and admonish one another in love. “Be sober-minded.” “Flee also youthful lusts; hut follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” “Follow after the things which make for peace, and things whore with one may edify another.” “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.” “Casting all your care upon the Lord, for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist, steadfast in the faith.” Satan, sin, the world, and false professors will endeavour to get you off your guard, and bring you into errors either in principle or practice, or both. The Lord keep you on your watch tower, with your eye of faith looking to Jesus. Never trust yourselves for one moment, for “he that trusts his own heart is a fool.” You have no enemy greater than self; therefore, beware of self. As a brother in Christ, as one who is looking for the blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, as a minister of the gospel of God’s grace, and one who is not ignorant of Satan’s devices, “I beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Remember, my young friends, that though salvation is wholly of the matchless grace of God, wherever this grace is revealed in the heart by the power of the Holy Ghost, it is sure to lead that soul to abhor sin, and to wage war against it, and to live in some good measure as it becomes the gospel of Christ. Be concerned to give daily proof that the following portion of God’s word is written and maintained in your heart by the power of the Holy Ghost: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” God grant that the apostle’s feelings and practice may be yours, when he said, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid! How shall we that arc dead to sin live any longer therein?” Remember that in self, and of self, you have neither might nor power. (Rom 7:18) Your strength is in the Lord. By faith in his name, love, and blood, you may overcome every foe, and challenge earth and hell to lay anything to your charge. (Rom 8:33-35) Trust in the Lord at all times, and make him your only refuge, stay, and song. Call upon him in everyday of trouble, and lean not on your own understanding. The Lord has not called you to a life of fleshly ease, but to a warfare. And you will daily find that “the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Gal 5:17) God almighty make you spiritually courageous, that you may “endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ.” Consider how highly you are favoured of the Lord. Loved with an everlasting love; redeemed with the precious blood of Christ; quickened and made alive to God by the invincible energy of God the Holy Ghost; called by the matchless grace of the Three-One God to have fellowship with the Father, with the Son, and with the Holy Spirit. “What a high calling! What honours God has conferred upon you! Made you kings and priests unto God. The Lord enable you to live and act as such, as true witnesses of the glorious power of God’s discriminating grace. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” May you be strong in the grace which is in the Lord Jesus Christ, and may the word of God abide in you, that you may be enabled to overcome the wicked one. (1 Jn 2:14)

Yours in the Lord,

W. G.