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Once more. To remember your Creator in Youth is MOST PROFITABLE TO YOURSelves.
There are but two Masters, and you must serve one of them. And what a mercy not to be the slave of Satan in your best years! What a blessing to escape the mischiefs and dangers to which you are so liable; and to be early preserved from the snares, blights, and blasts of the world, the flesh, and the Devil!
Oh! I could tell you sad stories of young people, who have been drawn aside, and who have gone on from bad to worse. They have first done wrong in little things; then, proceeded to greater; then, lost their character; till, at length, being tied and bound with the chain of evil habits, some have come to an untimely end.—And what think you ruined all these? They forgot their God. While Solomon remembered his Creator, saying, Lord, I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in: give thy servant an understanding heart-how wise and prosperous was he in his childhood! But, when he forgot his God, how foolish and disgraceful in his old age was even Solomon!
On the contrary, I have known young persons, who once by their ill courses were the misery and disgrace of their families, yet, upon turning to their God, became new creatures, new comforts, and new honours to their friends, as well as blessings to society.
And yet, great as the benefit of this may seem, it is but a small part of what might be said: for he, that is joined to the Lord, is one spirit: he is an heir of God, and a joint-heir with Christ: nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive what God hath prepared for him. Such a Child may lose his Parents-he may be turned out into the world without a friend-He may look round and say, "I do not know to whom to go for a bit of bread:"-yet if this Child can also say from the bottom of his heart, "My Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done:-Oh, help me to suffer it patiently, and do it sincerely!"-he has a Father, and ạ. Saviour too, that will say in return-" Fear not, I will guide thee by my counsel, and afterward receive thee to glory."
Now, my Dear Children, if some great man were to offer you his friendship, would you think you could accept of it too soon? Or if one was to bring you a sum of money, or a large estate, would you desire them to be kept from you till some future time of life? But surely the friendship of your God is infinitely greater than these : Remember Now therefore thy Creator in the days of thy youth.
But this will more clearly appear from what I proposed to consider,
III. WHY, THIS MOST IMPORTANT WORK
SHOULD NOT BE DEFERRED: namely, because evil days come, and years draw nigh in which thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.
It is impossible for me to make you fully understand THE INFIRMITIES and IMPEDIMENTS of old age: if you live long enough, however, you will know them experimentally.
I have not time in this discourse to explain to you that figurative description of one growing old which follows the text: suffice it to say for the present, that the old man is described as going down hill to his long home, with the loss of his faculties, and the burden of his infirmities. His sight fails: his limbs tremble: his heart sinks: he has enough to do then to bear up under himself. He can scarcely attend to anything new, and much less perform anything difficult. Suppose you saw a man groaning with a very heavy burden, under which he was ready to sink; and suppose, while he was thus loaded, you were to attempt to instruct him: he would naturally say, "Can I attend to anything, with this burden upon my back? Stay, stay: surely I must be released from this load before I can hear."
But old age has not only its infirmity, but also its peculiar INCAPACITY for improvement. If the tree has long struck root in a bad soil, who can then remove it? If it has long been growing crooked, who can straighten it? The old tree will sooner break then bend.
Old Age, even in its best estate, like that of Barzillai, how affectingly doth it speak! I am this day fourscore years old; and can I discern between good and evil? Can thy servant taste what I eat or what I drink? Can I hear any more the voice of singing-men and singing-women? Wherefore then should thy servant be yet a burden unto my Lord the King?-At such a time our very strength is but labour and sorrow.
I protest to you that I have never discovered a greater device of the Devil, nor one more common, than putting off religion to old age. "It is time enough," says that enemy, (to which our hearts are too prone to listen) " It is time enough to think of religion when you are old. Now is the season for a little pleasure. What harm is there in this and that? It is quite natural for youth to follow amusements; and to see as much of life as they can; and, bye and bye, religion will come of course."
COME OF COURSE!-Religion come of course! What, the old deep-rooted, crooked tree transplant itself, and suddenly become straight!the best and greatest work undertaken and performed in evil days of pain and infirmity! Dear Children, this is the counsel of him, who was a liar from the beginning. I am sorry to say, that I have heard too many young persons whom he has deceived speak in this manner. To be secure, therefore, from the destructive effects of such evil
counsel, Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth.
Old age too has its own TEMPTATIONS as well as youth. It is prone to fear every thing, and to doubt every thing, but naturally indisposed to learn any thing. It is apt to sink into peevishness; and entertain a fondness for its own opinions, and therefore of course cannot easily bear to be instructed. Besides which, there is a weariness and languor that cannot bear disturbance, though every thing important be at stake. It naturally seeks rest:-"Let me alone," cries the old man : "let me alone. Let me die in peace. If I am wrong, I must be wrong. I am too old to learn. It is too late now to think of anything new. If the tree be crooked, it must remain crooked; and, as it falls, so it must lie."-Children, whenever you observe these evil days of old people, think of the words of our text.
On the other hand, before these evil days draw nigh, what wisdom to prepare against their coming!-to have a firm staff to lean upon, when flesh and heart fail!-to have in ready use a lamp for your erring feet, and a cordial for your fainting spirits, through faith in the word of a faithful Creator!--to become, from long experience, a witness, like Obadiah, of the truth and grace of Him, whom you have served from your youth! What on earth is a more blessed and honourable