HH Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.” Psalm 110:3
By taking a bit of liberty with these poetic words, we shall apply them, without any prelude, to the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, there are two expressions in our text to which we shall give attention, and the first of these is youth: “Thou hast the dew of thy youth.”
They say that in heaven the saints are always young. No weariness of age can enter there. It is eternal morning around the throne of God. And if that is so, and I do not think it is a dream, it is because there is reflected the light of Jesus Christ on the face of every saint, and the light of Jesus is the light of youth. Christ is forever young. He is eternally the morning star. And that is the first thought our text suggests–the everlasting youth of Jesus.
But there is another keyword in our text, and that is dew: “Thou hast the dew of thy youth.” And the thought of dew calls us back from the heavens and spreads before us this earth on which we dwell. There is no dew in heaven, for in heaven there is no night, no change of heat and cold, no need of the sun to lighten the day. It is this world which is the realm of dew. It is here that the miracle of dew is wrought, where every blade of grass on a summer morning sparkles and glances as if sprinkled with diamonds. To think of dew, then, is to think of nature. On the one hand, we have the eternal youth of Christ, and for us who are Christians, Christ is the creator. On the other hand, we have this great creation, the handiwork of this eternal youth. Let us combine the two. Let us try and discover the witness of creation to the perpetual youth of Jesus Christ.
Youth, the Season of Energy
First, then, we note that youth is the season of abounding energy. One characteristic mark of youth is physical energy. There is an eager strenuousness in developing a life that is tamed or tempered by the advance of years. As life progresses, we rise to better things. There are a clearer vision and a steadier thought. But when the summits of middle life have been realized and the feet are travelling downwards on the slope, the tumultuous rush of bodily energy that made it once a joy to be alive is shrined with memories of the past. I do not mean that every young man is energetic. For sometimes some hereditary taint or perhaps sickness, and more often ill-regulated passions, rob opening manhood of its noble heritage. I only mean that in the plan of God and in the normal development of human life, youth is the season of abounding energy.
And our language witnesses to that. I have known old men whose hair was silvered and who had passed the threescore years and ten, who were still masters of an amazing energy. But no one says of them, “It is the energy of age”; rather we say, “Isn’t it wonderful that even in age they should retain the energy of youth.” So, all unconsciously, our common speech bears witness that youth and energy are linked together. And I cannot watch the romping of my child, who never walks if it is possible to gallop, but I learn again, in such a simple lesson, that abounding energy is a mark of youth.
The Energies of Creation
Well, now, I pass from little things to great. I look abroad upon creation, and I am amazed at once by the tremendous energies with which this universe of ours is full. I watch the motion of the tides; I hear the roaring of the breakers; I mark the sweep of rivers; I am told of the resistless progress of the glacier. This solid earth is whirling around the sun, and the whole system, of which the sun is the centre, like a great bird is flying in space. And I cannot think of these resistless powers, and I cannot dwell on that tremendous speed, but I feel that the stamp of energy is on creation. Nor is that energy confined to what is great. It is just as wonderful in what is small. For the breeze will waft the tiniest seed and plant it in the fissure of a rock, and the seed will germinate, and the rock will crack and render asunder before the resistless energy of life.
Now as I see these energies of nature, I feel that the heart that fashioned it was young. There is no sign of the weariness of years. It is inspired by an abounding energy that tells me of a fresh and youthful mind. Although Christ lived from everlasting ages before the moment of creation came; the eternal morning was still upon His brow when He conceived and formed the world. There are the powers of youth in it. There are the energies of opening life. “Thou hast the dew of thy youth.”
Youth Is the Season of Romance
It is in youth, if ever, that the sky is golden. It is in youth the moss is velvet and the flowers are. fragrant. It is in youth, if ever, that every dream is sweet and every sound is melody. As men grow older, life’s highways become dustier. A greyer sky succeeds the golden morning. Thorns prick the hand and sometimes pierce the heart. And the world’s voices, that seemed like music once, are strangely harsh and discordant now.
It is not that life grows poorer as it advances or ceases to be noble when the charm of its opening years has passed away. If we were sent here only to enjoy, the dying out of the romance of youth would be terrible. But God had far higher ends in view than that when we were so fearfully and wonderfully made. We are sent here to learn. We are sent here as boys are sent to school. Our threescore years and ten are God’s grade school and college course. And it is not in the bright romance of youth that we learn the best and most abiding lessons. It is in the dogged doing of our duty, the quiet acceptance of our limitations, the patient carrying of our daily burden, and the stretching out to our brother and sister of a helping hand. These, and not leisure, are life’s true opportunities for culture. These are the roots of ethical nobility. And these, thank God, come faster with the hurrying years. Still, it is true that youth is the season of romance. In other words, life’s time of light and brilliance comes not in age, but a youth.
Well, now, I lift my eyes into the face of nature, and the splendour of light and the wealth of colour there amaze me. If the heart that created had been weary with its years, and the creating hand had been outworn, I feel that the world would have been draped in monotone–and sea and earth and herb and cloud would have known no rich variety of colour. But the whole of nature is flooded with light. And the colourings of the wide world are unsurpassable. And I cannot note the differing green on every forest tree, and I cannot examine the exquisite adornment of the tiniest flower, and I cannot watch the play of light and shade upon the sea, nor the magnificent splendors of the setting sun, but I am impressed that this is the romance of youth; that light and colour is not the work of age, it is the outpouring of a youthful heart. It speaks of the perpetual youth of Jesus. “Thou hast the dew of thy youth.”
Youth Is the Season of Vast Designs
To the youth, there is nothing impossible. When we are young, it seems easy to regenerate the world. We feel a healthy scorn for the small achievements of our ancestors. There is a splendid sweep in the designs of youth. As in the glowing heat, the hardest metals are melted, so in the glow of youth, the problems that have baffled ages are resolved. And the assurance and arrogance of youth which makes the wise man smile are but the tag-ends of these vast designs God loves to see in a young man’s brains.
There are few lads, I suspect, who has not felt a quiet contempt for their father’s abilities and their father’s position. It seems a low thing to think of ending life as an unknown citizen. But as we grow we learn our limitations, and we match ourselves with stronger and subtler men, and a new respect is born in us for what others have done. We come to appreciate the honest work and character that have gone into the building of even humble homes. So vision and dreams vanish, and duty comes. We become thankful to get even a little done. But even that little we should never have accomplished but for the vast designs, we had in youth. It needs the ideal, says the poet, to brush a hairs-breadth off the dust of the actual. I may miss the target by a thousand yards, but I shall shoot farther than if my range were fifty. In spite of the failure of the after-years, we shall thank God for the vast designs of youth.
Now we live in a world of vast design. Its distances are vast. There are stars so remote that their light set out to travel to us when Jacob lay asleep at Bethel, and it shall only reach our earth tonight. Its times are vast. For with creation, as with creation’s God, a thousand years are as a single day. This vastness, then, of space and time that are in wrought into the design of the creation are eloquent of youth. And as I dwell on that, I turn to Christ and say, “Thou hast the dew of thy youth.”
Youth Is the Time of Hope
I was listening to a sermon on tape and the preacher shared this experience after his sermon. He preached that text in Romans, “Experience worketh hope.” And a woman at the end came to him and said, “Ah, sir, that text may be in the Bible, but it is not true; for she had a bad experience of life, and the little hope she ever had is gone.”
And she was right, and the Bible was right too. For it is the experience of Christ that worketh hope, and not the experience of life. Here is another encounter with the same preacher talking to one of his city’s doctors–and the doctor soon learns the secrets of a person’s heart–and he told him that one of the hardest tasks for him (doctor) was to keep up his hope in human nature. And how a Christless man could live for twenty or thirty years–he said live, not exist–and still be hopeful, so the preacher confessed he almost failed to understand. Outside of Christ, experience tends to pessimism. It was so in the world when Jesus came. It is still so.
But youth is still incurably hopeful. There is an effervescent hopefulness in youth that is magnificent. And I must be blind indeed if in the world around me I have found no traces of that youthful spirit. In every spring there is the hope of summer. In every summer there is the hope of harvest. In every winter, when the fields are bleak and the cold gust goes whistling through the trees, there lies the hope that the flowers will spring again. And there is not a sparrow on the housetop and not a rabbit in the rocks that are not literally saved by hope. I catch the spirit of perpetual youth in that. It seems to me the world’s reflection of the perpetual youth within the heart of Jesus. And I cry with David: “Thou hast the dew of thy youth.”
So as we go out into the summer world, we shall take with us that thought of its Creator. And a thousand instances we cannot touch on here will show us the true handiwork of youth in nature. And when we worship in the temple not made with hands, and when we view the energy that reared the wondrous palace, the light and coloring that makes it radiant, the vast design of its conception, the spirit of hope that breathes in all its lines, we shall rejoice in the eternal youth of Jesus. And we will remember that the Creator is our portion and that He gives eternal life and eternal youth to us. For from the hour of the grave and through eternity we shall be young and bid defiance to weariness and death if we are living in the morning light of the eternal youth of Jesus Christ.