It is good for a man that he bear the yoke of his youth.
I. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN BEARING THE YOKE HERE SPOKEN OF. We naturally run wild, like a wild ass's colt upon the mountains; with respect to our understanding, in speculation and error; our will, in stubbornness, dis. obedience, and rebellion; our affections, in irregular and inordinate love, desire, hope, joy, etc. True religion, when put on in reality, and, as it were, buckled close upon us by faith, restrains our disposition to wander from God.
1. The subjection to which it obliges us. Naturally we wear Satan's yoke, and are in subjection to him (Ephesians 2:2); to the world (Galatians 1:4); to the flesh (Romans 7:5, 28); to sin (John 8:34); to death, and the fear of it (Hebrews 2:15). True religion delivers us from these other lords, and brings us into subjection to Christ, whose loyal subjects we become, and He reigns in us by His grace, and over us by His laws (Romans 14:17).
2. The service in which it engages us. We are yoked, not to lie down and sleep, or stand still, but to work, not only in the use of every means of grace, for our own salvation, especially prayer, watchfulness, self-denial, faith, obedience to all known duty, and a "patient continuance in well-doing"; but for the glory of God, in endeavouring to make Him known and feared by all men; and for the good of our neighbour, in all works of justice, mercy, charity.
3. The associates with which it connects us. A bullock is not yoked that it may draw alone. We are united to the people of God, and in conjunction with them, should serve the Lord in the fore-mentioned particulars.
4. The patience and submission to which it obliges us, under our various chastisements (Jeremiah 31:18). Oxen, when brought under the yoke, are untoward, or refractory, or lazy, and, therefore, have need of the goad. We have need of it also for similar reasons. "The words of the wise are as goads"; and so are the various trials and troubles which we meet with.
II. HOW IT APPEARS THAT IT IS GOOD FOR A MAN TO BEAR THE YOKE AND THAT EVEN IN HIS YOUTH.
1. It is reasonable. It becomes us, trod is our duty, that we should come under the restraint before described; that we should be in subjection to and the servants of Christ; that we should be united with God's Church; and be patient and submissive under His chastisement.
2. It is honourable. A yoke of some kind we must wear, and a yoke we do wear; and is it not more honourable to wear that of Christ, than that of Belial? Is it not an honourable thing to be a subject of a very great, powerful, and gracious King? a servant of a rich, noble, and benevolent Master? a friend, a brother, nay, and the spouse of the Prince of the kings of the earth?
3. It is advantageous.
(1) As to this life. "Godliness hath the promise of the life that now is." Does the husbandman feed his bullocks, and shall not God provide for those that draw in His yoke? They shall have all things needful (Matthew 6:32, 33); all things useful (Psalm 84:11); evils turned into good (Romans 8:28).
(2) As to the life to come, they enjoy the favour of an infinite and eternal Being; they are adopted into His family; restored to His image; hold communion and fellowship with Him; have peace of mind; a lively hope of eternal life; and an earnest thereof in their hearts, "until the redemption of the purchased possession"; but they will reap still greater advantages after death, in the intermediate state, at the day of resurrection and final judgment, and forever.
4. It is easy and pleasant. What; to bear a yoke? Yes; a yoke lined with love. "His commandments are not grievous" to a loving heart, to a new nature.
III. HOW WE MAY BE ENABLED TO DO SO.
1. Come out from among the carnal and wicked, and be separate. For, "a companion of fools shall be destroyed."
2. Associate with the people of God (Proverbs 13:20).
3. Use much retirement, and read, and meditate on the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:15).
4. Pray. The wisdom and strength of man is utterly insufficient; but "they that wait on the Lord," etc. (Isaiah 40:31).
5. Be always watchful and circumspect (Ephesians 5:15).
6. Deny yourself, and take up your cross daily (Matthew 16:24).
Parallel VersesKJV: It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.