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SERMON I.

THE PRIVILEGES OF YOUTH.

St. Luke, xii. 19.

I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for

many years ; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

We know well the parable from which these words are taken, and the answer which in the parable is immediately returned to them: “But God said, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided ?" But I have not made these last words a part of my text, because, as I have often said before, no argument comes with so little force to a young mind as that which would dwell on the possibility of early death. It is at once admitted that early death is possible, but we cannot say generally that it is probable; and the mind attends but little to what may happen, if it does

not regard it as likely to happen. It is true that to some now within these walls the warning words which follow the text are applicable; it is little less than certain that some of our number will not live out all their days, and have not, although they are young, a prospect of many years before them. But certain as this is with respect to some of us, we cannot tell who these are; and each one expects that it will not be himself. And therefore the warning words which follow the text, are for God to enforce rather than man; He will no doubt say them to some of us; but to the greater part of us they will in all likelihood not be applicable. We will therefore take the text by itself, and consider the confidence of spirit with which a man says to himself, “ Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years, take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” Again, as we have set aside the words which follow the text, so also may we set aside those which precede it. In the parable the boast is uttered by a rich man, whose ground has brought forth plenteously, and who knew not what to do with his riches. “ I will pull down my barns,” he says, “and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits, and my goods.” This is a picture of later life than yours, and in most cases of more abundant riches. Even to those whose case this may be hereafter, the time for it is not come yet. The pride and pleasure felt in the possession of ample property; the sense that it is our own to spend it as we will; that it is already acquired, and not merely a matter of expectation ; —these belong certainly to more advanced years than those of boyhood and youth, and we need not dwell upon their dangers here.

Yet the spirit of the boast contained in the text is nowhere more common than in the hearts of the young. They say to themselves as much as persons at any age, “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years.'

If we consider a little, we shall see what these goods are. First, there is the great good of time,-a young person thinks that he has this in plenty. The words, “it is too late," which sound so sadly in the ears of older men, reminding them that much enjoyment is to them utterly irrecoverable, rarely suggest themselves to the mind of the young.

Whatever it be that youth desires, or would compass, it believes that it has ample time for. “Have past years been wasted, and are present years wasting ? What does it signify when there is time enough before us to make all good? Yes, my soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years to come, for many

, years yet we shall be going up the hill of life; for many more we shall remain on its summit. With so large a store of that precious good, time in our hands, and laid up safely for the future, we may well afford to spend some of it carelessly. Take thine ease, my soul, be merry, and play as thou wilt now; thou wilt have time to work hereafter."

This is one of the goods which youth thinks that it has laid up for itself in abundance. Another good which it feels no less sure of is health and strength. There is an age when even the soundest health will fail, and the firmest strength become decrepit. Long before this age arrives, there is a time when we feel our health to be a thing uncertain, and our strength not to be unweariable. We are glad to husband both; thankful if with all our care they will hold out for the work which we wish to do. But to the young they seem inexhaustible; it is idle to bestow any care upon them; they are abundantly sufficient for enjoyment now and for work hereafter. The thought of any plan which we wish to execute being prevented by sickness hardly ever enters the mind; let there be the means of enjoyment without us, and we never doubt that there will be the ability to enjoy within. And this gives a confidence to our views of future life, in which we indeed say, “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years, take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry."

Belonging to these two feelings, to the sense of having ample time before us, and abundant health and strength, and yet in some way to be distinguished from them, is the sense of having ample liberty; by which I mean, that our time of heavy

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