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our preparations for our latter end, and to put us in mind of the days of darkness, which will be many; as the Preacher tells us in the chapter before the text.
Among these is the admonition and advice in the words of the text; which do indeed concern those that are young, but yet will afford useful matter of meditation to persons of all ages and conditions whatsoever ; of great thankfulness to almighty God, from those who, by the grace of God, and his blessing upon a pious education, have entered upon a religious course betimes ; and of a deep forrow and repentance, to those who have neglected and let slip this best opportunity of their lives, and of taking up a firm resolution of redeeming that loss, as much as is possible, by their future care and diligence: and to them more especially who are grown old, and have not yet begun this great and necessary work, it will minister occasion to resolve upon a speedy retreat, and, without any
further delay, to return to God and their duty, left the opportunity of doing it, which is now almolt quite spent, be lost for ever.
The text contains a duty, which is, to remember our Creator; and a limitation of it more especially to one particular age and time of our life; in the days of our youth: not to exclude any other age, but to lay a particular emphasis and weight upon this. Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth ; that is, more especially in this age of thy life ; to intimate to us, both that this is the fittest season, and that we cannot begin this work too soon.
And this is further illustrated by the opposition of it to old age: While the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh of which thou fhalt say, I have no pleasure inz them. This is a description of old age, the evils whereof are continually growing; and which, in respect of the cares and griefs, the distempers and infirmities which usually attend it, is rather a burden than a pleasure.
In the handling of these words, I shall do these three things.
1. I shall consider the nature of the act or duty here injoined; and that is, to remember God.
2. I shall consider what there is in the notion of God
as Greator, which is more particularly apt to awaken and oblige us to the remembrance of him.'
3. I shall consider the limitation of this duty more especially to this particular age of our lives, the days of our youth; why we should begin this work then, and not put it off to the time of old age.
1. I shall consider the nature of the act or duty here injoined; which is, to remember our Greator. For the understanding of which expreslion, and others of the like nature in scripture, it is to be considered, that it is very usual in scripture, to express religion, and the whole duty of man, by fome eminent act, or principle, or part of religion: sometimes by the knowledge of God, and by faith in him; and very frequently by the fear, and by the love of God; because these are the great principles and parts of religion : and so likewise, though not so frequently, religion is expressed by the remembrance of God. Now, remembrance is the actual thought of what we do habitually know. To remember God, is to have him actually in our minds, and, upon all proper occafions, to revive the thoughts of him; ard, as David expresseth it, to let him always before us : I set the Lord (says he) always before me; that is, God was continually present to his mind and thoughts.
And, in opposition to this, we find wicked men in fcripture described by the contrary quality, forgetfulness of God. So they are described in Job, chap. viii. 13. Such are, the paths of all that forget God; that is, of the wicked. And the same description David gives of them, Psal. ix. 17. The wicked (says he) shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. And elsewhere he gives the same character of a wiched man, Psal. x. 4. that God is not in all his thoughts.
And the course of a religious life is not unfitly expressed by our remembrance of God. For to remember a person or thing, is to call them to mind upon all proper and fitting occafions; to think actually of them, so as to do that which the remembrance of them does require or prompt us to. To remember a friend, is to be ready upon occasion to do him all good offices : to remember a kindness and benefit, is to be ready to acknowledge and requite it when there is an opportunity :
to remember an injury, is to be ready to revenge it: and, in a word, to remember any thing, is to be mindful to do that which the memory of such a thing doth naturally suggest to us.
So that to remember God, is frequently, and in our most serious and retired thoughts, to conlider, that there is such a being as God is, of all power and perfection,
who made us and all other things, and hath given us | laws to live by, suitable to our natures; and will call
us to a strict account for our observance or violation of them, and accordingly reward or punish us; very often in this world, and to be sure in the other.
It is to revive often in our minds the thoughts of God, and of his infinite perfections, and to live continually under the power and awe of these apprehensions, that he is infinitely wise and good, holy and jult; that. he is always present with us, and observes what we do, and is intimate to our most secret thoughts, and will bring every work into judgment, and every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil; as the preacher tells us in the conclusion of this sermon.
The duty then here required of us is, so soon as we arrive at the use of reason, and the exercise of our understandings, to take God into consideration, and to begin a religious course of life betimes; to confecrate the beginning of our days, and the flower and strength of of them, to his service: whilst our mind is yet soft and tender, and in a great measure free from all other impressions, to be mindful of the being that is above us ; and in all our designs and actions, to take God inio consideration, and to do every thing in his fear, and with an eye to his glory. Remember thy Creator ; that is, honour, fear, love, obey, and serve him; and, in a word, do every thing as becomes one that is mindful of God, and hath him continually in his thoughts.
II. I shall in the next place consider, what there is in the notion of God as our Creator, that is more particu-larly apt to awaken and oblige men to the remembrance of God. The text does not barely require us to remember God; but to remember him as the author and founder of our beings: Remember thy Greator. And there is certainly some particular emphasis in it; so that God,
considered under the notion of our Creator, is apt to. Itrike us with a particular regard and awe of him : and that upon a threefold account; as creation is a sensible demonstration to us, ist, of the being; 2dly, of the power; and, 3dly, of the goodness of God.
1. Of his being. The creation is of all other the most sensible and obvious argument of a Deity. Other considerations may work upon our reason and understanding, but this doth, as it were, bring God down to our senses. So often as we look up to heaven, or down upon the earth; upon ourselves, or into ourselves; upon the things without us, and round about us, which way soever we turn our eyes, we are encountered with plain evidences of a superior being, which made us and all other things : every thing which we behold with our eyes, doth in some way or other represent God to us, and bring him to our minds, so as we cannot avoid the sight of him if we would. So the Psalmist tells us, Psal. xix. 1. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament seweth the work of his hands. And so likewise St. Paul, Rom. i. 20. The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being under, stood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.
2. As the creation is a demonstration of God's infinite power.
And this consideration is apt to work upon our fear, the inoft wakeful passion of all other in the foul of man: insomuch that the Atheist would fain 2fcribe the original apprehension and belief of a Deity to the natural fears of men : Primus in orbe deos fecit ti
Fear first made gods ;” and by this means would fain persuade us, that it is so far from being true that God is our Creator, that he is merely the creature of our own vain fear and imagination.
But surely this is very unreasonable. For, if there be a God that made us, there is infinite reason why we should stand in awe of him, and have him always in our mind and thoughts; because he who made us and all other things, if we negle&t him, and forget so great a benefactor, can as easily make us miserable, or turn us out of being. Therefore remember thy Creator; and despise or forget him at thy utmost peril.
3. As the creation is a demonstration of the goodness of God to his creatures. This consideration of God as our Creator, doth naturally suggest to our minds, that his goodness brought us into being; and that if being be a benefit, God is the fountain and author of it; that his goodness called us out of nothing, and made us to be what we are; for of his good pleasure we are, and were created. He was under no necessity of doing it ; for he was from eternal ages happy in himself before we were, and would have been so to all eternity, though we had never been ; nor was it possible he could be un. der any obligation to us before we were.
And he is not only our Creator, as he gave us our beings at first; but likewise as we are preserved and continued in life by the same goodness which first gave us life and breath ; for of his goodness we are, as well as were created.
And can we forget so great a benefactor, and be unmindful of the God that formed us? Can we chuse but remember the founder of our beings, the great patron and preserver of our lives? And so soon as we arrive at the use of reason, and discover this great benefactor, to whom we owe our lives, and all the blessings of them, can we forbear to do homage to him, and to say with David, O come, let us worship, and fall down and kneel before the Lord our maker : for he is the Lord our God; it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves ; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture?' I proceed to confider, in the
III. Third and last place, the reason of the limitation of this duty more especially to this particular age of our lives, Remember now thy Greator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the
draw nigh when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them. NOW; in the days of thy youth. By which Solomon plainly designs two things.
1. To engage young persons to begin this great and necessary work of religion betimes, and as soon as ever they are capable of taking it into consideration : Remember thy Greator in the days of thy youth. And the Son of Sirach much to the same purpose, speaking of one that in good earnest applies his heart to wisdom,