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ON

REMEMBRING OUR CREATOR

IN

THE DAYS OF OUR YOUTH.

ECCLES. XII. 1.

REMEMBER NOW THY CREATOR IN THE DAYS OF THY YOUTH, WHILE THE EVIL DAYS COME NOT, NOR THE YEARS DRAW NIGH, WHEN THOU SHALT SAY, I HAVE NO PLEASURE IN THEM.

Two wo things are principally commended to us in this text. 1. A Duty enjoined, To remember our Creator. 2. The principal feafon of that duty, the days of our youth. Which feafon is recommended for this duty by way of preference above the evil days; not as if the remembring our Creator were unfeasonable at any time; but because the time of our youth is more fea fonable than that evil time, or those evil days, wherein we shall fay, We have no pleasure in them.

1. The duty enjoined, is to remember our Creator; which imports two things: 1. To know our Creator; for we cannot remember what we have not fome knowledge of. 2. To remember him, often to call him to mind.

1. The former part of this duty is to know our Creator. This is that which aged David recommended to his young fon Solomon. And thou, Solomon my

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fon, know thou the God of thy father". And we

have

Chron. xxviii. 9.
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have two excellent books, wherein the knowledge of God is discovered to us; the book of his works, the works of his creation and providence; and the book of bis word, contained in the fcriptures of the Old and New Teftament, wherein he is more fully, and explicitly, and plainly discovered unto us: These books we are often to read and confider. And this is the chief reason, why understanding and reafon is given unto mankind, and not unto the beasts that perifh; namely, that we might improve it to the attaining of the knowledge of Almighty God, in the due confideration of the works and word of God: And hereby we learn his eternity, his infinitenefs, his wifdom, his power, his goodness, his juftice, his mercy, his all fufficiency, his fovereignty, his providence, his will, his purpofe concerning mankind, his care of them, his beneficence towards them. And the nature of this knowledge is not barely fpeculative, but it is a knowledge that is operative, that perfects our nature, that conforms it to the image of that God we thus know, that fets mankind in its due ftate and ftation, keeps it in its juft fubordination unto the God we thus know, which is our greatest perfection. This knowledge muft neceffarily make us love him, because he is good, merciful, bountiful, beneficent; and therefore the wife man choofeth to express him by that title of Creator, from whom we receive our very being, and all the good that can accompany it. This knowledge teacheth us to be thankful unto him, as our greatest benefactor; to depend upon him, because of his power and goodnefs; to fear him, because of his power and juftice; to obey him, because of his power, juftice, and fovereignty; to walk before him in fincerity, because of his power, juftice and wisdom. In fum, the feveral attributes of Almighty God do ftrike upon the choiceft parts, and faculties, and affections, and tendencies of our hearts and fouls, and do tune them into that order and harmony that is best fuitable to the perfecting of our nature, and the placing of them in a right and juft pof

ture,

ture, both in relation to Almighty God, ourselves and others.

2. The fecond part of our duty is, To remember our Creator thus known; which is to have the fenfe and exercife of this knowledge always about us; to fet Almighty God always before our eyes, frequently to think of him, to make our application to him: For many there are that may have a knowledge of God, but yet the exercife of that knowledge is fufpended; fometimes by inadvertence and inconfideratenefs, fometimes by a wilful abdication of the exercise of that knowledge. And these are fuch as forget God, that have not God in all their thoughts, that fay to the Almighty, Depart from us, we defire not the knowledge of thy ways.

The benefits of this remembring our Creator are very great: 1. It keeps the foul and life in a conftant, and true, and regular frame. As the want of the knowledge, fo the want of the remembrance of God, is the cause of that disorder and irregularity of our minds and lives. 2. And confequently, the beft preventive of fin, and apoftacy, and backfliding from God, and our duty to him. 3. It keeps the mind and foul full of conftant peace and tranquillity, because it maintains a constant, humble and comfortable converfe of the foul, with the prefence and favour of God. 4. It renders all conditions of life comfortable, and full of contentment, because it keeps the foul in the prefence of God, and communicates unto it continual influxes of contentment and comfort; for what can disturb him, who by the continual remembrance of his Creator, hath a conftant acquaintance with his power, goodness and all-fufficiency? 5. Though no man hath ground enough to promise to himself an immunity from temporal calamities, yet certainly there is no better expedient in the world to fecure a man against them, and preferve him from them than this: for the moft part of thofe fharp afflictions that befall men, are but

to

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to make them remember their Creator when they have forgotten him, that he may open their cars to diicipline, and awake them to remember their Creator. Read Job xxxiii. A man that keeps about him the remembrance of his creator, prevents, in a great meafure, the neceffity of that fevere difcipline. 6. In fhort, this remembrance of our Creator, is an antidote against the allurements of the world, the temptation of Satan, the deceitfulness of fin. It renders the beft things the world can afford inconfiderable, in comparifon of him whom we remember; it renders the worst the world can do but little and contemptible; fo long as we remember our Creator, it makes our lives happy, our deaths eafy, and carries us to an everlafting enjoyment of that Creator whom we have here remem. bered.

The injunction of the duty of remembring our Creator, is the more importantly neceffary, 1. In regard of the great confequence of the benefit we receive from it, as before. 2. In regard of the great danger of omitting it. The truth is, the greatest part of the mifcarriages of our lives are occafioned by the want of the remembrance of our Creator; then it is that we fail in our duty when we forget hin. 3. In regard of the many temptations this world affords to make us forget our Creator; the pleasures, and profits, and recreations, and preferments, and noife, and bufinefs of this life, yea, many of them which are in themselves and in their nature lawful, are apt to ingrofs our thoughts, our time, our cares, and to leave too little room in our memory for this great duty that most deferves it, namely, the remembrance of our Creator. Our memory is a noble cabinet, and there cannot be a more excellent jewel to lodge in (it) than our great and bountiful Creator; yet for the moft part we fill this noble cabinet with pebbles and ftraws, if not with dung and filth; with either finful, or at least with unprofitable, impertinent, trifling furniture.

2. The feefon for this duty, that is here principally

com

commended, is, the days of our youth: And the reaJons that commend that feafon for this duty are principally thefe:

1. Because this is the most accepted time. God Almighty was pleased under the old law to intimate this, in (the) refervation to himfelf of the first fruits and the first born, and furely the first fruits of our lives, when dedicated to his remembrance, are best accepted to him.

2. Because this feafon is commonly our turning feafen to good or evil. And if in youth we forget our Creator, it is a very great difficulty to refume our duty : commonly it requires either very extraordinary grace, or very ftrong affliction to reclaim a man to his duty, whofe youth hath been feafoned with ill principles, and the forgetfulness of God.

3. Because the time of youth is most obnoxious to forget God; there is great inadvertency and inconfideratenefs, incogitancy, unstableness, vanity, love of pleafures, eafinefs to be corrupted, in youth; and therefore neceffary in this feafon to lodge the remembrance of our Creator in our youth, to be an antidote against thefe defects, to establish and fix the entrance of our lives with this great prefervative, the remembrance of our Creator.

4. When Almighty God lays hold of our youth by a timely remembrance of himself, and thereby takes the firft poffeffion of our fouls, commonly it keeps its ground, and feafons the whole course of our enfuing lives; it prevents and anticipates the devil and the world. It is true it may poffibly be, that natural corruption and worldly temptations may fufpend the actings of this principle, but it is rarely extinguifhed: It is like that abiding feed remaining in him, spoken of by John 1, which will recover him again.

5. The last reafon is because there are evil days that will certainly come, which will render this work of re

1 1 John iii. 9.

membring

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