Words of Divine Comfort, Octavius Winslow—1872
“Thus says the Lord; I remember you, the kindness of your youth.”–Jer. 2:2
If there is a stage of the Christian’s life ever verdant, ever precious in God’s remembrance, it is that important and memorable period when he gave his youth, consecrated his first and best to God. God calls it “kindness.” How gracious and condescending is our God! Can he ever forget that solemn moment of life’s turning-point, when the great and blessed decision for eternity was made, when the world was forsaken and sin renounced, and the creature relinquished, and the good part was chosen? that hour of the soul’s espousals to Christ, when the divine marriage between Jesus and your heart took place, and all the angels sang the nuptial song in heaven?
“Your youth.” In its spiritual aspect what an important period is youth! It is the moral spring of human life. It maintains the same spiritual relation to our being, as the natural spring does to the autumn of the year. It is the seed-time of life. It seems to hold the future of our existence in its grasp, fixing and foreshadowing its mold and destiny. In almost every case the noon and evening of life reflect the morning. A religious, virtuous, God-fearing morning predicts a career holy, happy, and useful. On the other hand, youth tainted, stunted, and shaded by sinful indulgence, often transmits a sad and fearful heritage of suffering, sorrow, and remorse, mental and physical, to life’s future; crippling its prime, and bringing down the grey hairs of age–if indeed it reach that period–with shame and sorrow to the grave.
Oh! then, seize the golden period, and by prayer and God’s Word, by Christ’s grace and the Spirit’s help, seek its renewal, sanctification and dedication, that you may be like the Savior, a “holy child;” like Josiah, fearing God in your youth; like Samuel, early found in the Temple, hearkening to the call of God and doing His will; like thousands we could mention, of later times, who consecrated the “dew of their youth” to Christ, and gave the first and best to God.
“The kindness of your youth.” The early seeking and finding the Lord, He condescends to denominate a kindness shown Him. He seems to lose sight of His own kindness in early giving His Spirit, in early calling by His grace, and to speak only of the kindness done Him in responding to that call and in yielding to that grace. Are you prepared to manifest this kindness to Jesus? It is kindness to Him when you weep in penitence at His feet. It is kindness to Him, when you arise in faith and wash in His precious blood. It is a kindness to Him, when you accept the free gift of His salvation without a work of your own. It is a kindness, when you lay the sheaf of the “first fruits” of your being–intellect, rank, wealth, service–upon the altar of consecration.
“‘Tis done! the great transaction’s done!
I am my Lord’s, and He is mine;
He drew me, and I followed on,
Charmed to confess the voice divine.
“Now rest my long-divided heart,
Fixed on the blissful center rest;
With ashes who would grudge to part,
When called on angels’ bread to feast?
“High Heaven that heard that solemn vow,
That vow renewed shall daily hear;
Until in life’s latest hour I bow,
And bless in death a bond so dear.”
“I remember you.” Lord, amid the myriad thoughts and memories that crowd Your mind, do You remember that sacred vow, that solemn hour, that blissful moment, when You and I did became one? Oh! matchless love! oh! infinite long-suffering, to remember it still, after all my sinful and sad forgetfulness of You and of Your love! Here beneath Your cross, let me renew my vow of dedication, consecrate myself afresh to You; devoting more holily and unreservedly than ever the little remnant that is left of this sinful, transient being. Remember your servant, O Lord, for good; and give Your grace that, in hallowed remembrance of his “first love,” and of all the long line of Your mercies, he may be faithful unto death, and through Your grace receive the crown of life that fades not away.