Jeremy Taylor has never been known as one who pulls his punches. In the following he describes the action of many young men as they leave childhood. When it is laid out in so many descriptions it seems like an overstatement; but sadly it is not so far from my youthful experience and many I have talked with and observe in our culture. It isn’t pretty.
“And now that the child has reached what we call his “years of discretion”; the young man is passed his teachers, and arrived at the bondage of a caitive (captive) spirit; he is run from discipline, and is let loose to passion; the man by this time hath wit enough to choose 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 ever be ashamed of: for this is all the discretion that most men shew in the first stage of their 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 last too long. For middle 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 abodes with the 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 find leisure for that…… for still his Soul is childish, and trifling like an untaught boy.”
Taken from “Holy Dying,” a book on preparing for a good and spiritual death.