One occasionally sees in certain places announcements such as this, “Smart young men wanted for the Guards.” Well, I am a recruiting sergeant. My colours are crimson, and I am eager to enlist both young men, and women. I would be glad if I could do a bit of business, and gather up recruits for Christ.
Some more aged reader inquires. “Will you not have us old people?” I would be glad enough, but I am not after you just now. The Lord have mercy upon you and save you, but I have just now a message for the young folks. We want them beyond all others to join the ranks of the covenanted warriors of the Lord.
Why? Because they bring fresh energy into the church. This is much to be desired. A young man, all aglow with youthful ardour and spiritual life, coming into a church sets us all aflame. Everybody wakes up when he begins to pray. Any church in which there is a large preponderance of persons who have passed middle age is likely to be very respectable and excellent, and to possess many of the virtues, perhaps all, but it is not very likely to be consumed with zeal.
I seldom hear of persons over sixty setting the Thames on fire. At that mature age people have not, as a rule, any strong proclivities for fervent excitement, and they are of opinion that the Thames had better be let alone. The elders seldom exhibit the enterprise of youth, their business is to take the Conservative side of questions. They are valuable to the church, and cannot be spared, but the church wants some of the fire of youth, sanctified by grace, and made into genuine zeal for the kingdom of Christ.
We want you, beloved youths, because the older soldiers are going off the field, and others of us will soon have to think of ourselves as in the same category. Nobody in our army ever retires on halfpay; blessed be God they shall have their full joy, even when they can do but little, and they have the pledge of a full heaven hereafter. Still many have been taken away from us, and our ranks are thinned. Oh for recruits to fill up the vacancies!
Good women, earnest matrons who were serving in the schools, and in the classes; good men who were preaching in the streets, and doing good in all ways, are falling asleep. Young men and women, step forward and fill the places of your fathers and mothers! We cannot have a better stock; none could be more welcome than your fathers’ sons and daughters.
Young men are valuable when converted, for by God’s grace how much they may do while yet young. Do you know that John Calvin wrote his famous “Institutes”—a most wonderful production for thought if not for accuracy—before he was twenty-seven years of age? Though Martin Luther did a grand work after he was five-and-forty years old, it is something to say of Calvin, the clearer of the two, that he had commenced his work and wrought wonders when he was seven-and-twenty. Many a Christian man has won his hundreds and some even thousands for Christ before attaining that age. There is power in youth, let it then be consecrated to His Majesty’s service.