This piece comes from a chapter called “Reason and Discretion” by Jeremy Taylor.
He paints an all to common picture of the young man that has rejected religion and unwilling to surrender his heart to Christ. He presents a series of behaviors and actions that are typical to the person closing their ears to Christ.
“ And now let us consider what that thing is which we call years of discretion.
The young man is past his tutors, and arrived at the bondage of a caitiff (despicable, vile, cowardly) spirit; he is run from discipline, and is let loose to passion; the man by this time hath wit enough to choose his vice, to act his lust, to court his mistress, to talk confidently and ignorantly and perpetually, to despise his betters, to deny nothing to his appetite, to do things that, when he is indeed a man, he must forever be ashamed of.
For this is all the discretion that most men show in the first stage of manhood; they can discern good from evil; and they prove their skill by leaving all that is good, and wallowing in the evils of folly and an unbridled appetite.
And by this time the young man hath contracted vicious habits, and is a beast in manners, and therefore it will not be fitting to reckon the beginning of his life; he is a fool in his understanding, and that is a sad death; and he is dead in trespasses and sins, and that is a sadder: so that he hath no life but a natural, the life of a beast or a tree; in all other capacities he is dead; he neither hath the intellectual nor the spiritual life, neither the life of a man nor of a Christian; and this sad truth lasts too long.
For old age seizes upon most men while they still retain the minds of boys and vicious youth, doing actions from principles of great folly and a mighty ignorance, admiring things useless and hurtful, and filling up all the dimensions of their abode with businesses of empty affairs, being at leisure to attend no virtue.
They cannot pray, because they are busy and because they are passionate; they cannot communicate, because they have quarrels and intrigues of perplexed causes, complicated hostilities, and things of the world; and therefore they cannot attend to the things of God, little considering that they must find a time to die in; when death comes, they must be at leisure for that.
Such men are like sailors loosing from a port, and tost immediately with a perpetual tempest lasting till their cordage crack, and either they sink or return back again to the same place; they did not make a voyage, though they were long at sea.”