« PreviousContinue »
EARLY PIETY RECOMMENDED.
A DISCOURSE BY THE REY. R. CECIL,
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.
My dear young friends, this discourse is particularly addressed to you. Our hearts' desire and prayer to God for you is, that you may be saved. We cannot but recollect the errors and snares of our own childhood-we admire and adore the hand of God by which alone we escaped—we bless him for timely help afforded us by our friends and, in turn, we would now assist you. Oh! that your prayers and endeavours may join ours, and that the divine blessing may rest upon us both, while we call you to remember your Creator in the days of your youth!
The wise man concludes a variety of instruction with an admonition to youth; and, in order to your more clearly perceiving the meaning and importance of it, I proceed to state,
1. How you are called to remember your Creator.
2. When you should especially remember him :- In the days of thy youth.
3. Why such remembrance should not be deferred ; because, evil days.come, and years draw nigh, in which thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.
1. Consider bow you should remember your Creator. Begin with remembering who he is. I assure you, we, your ministers, must come to the Bible as our only guide, to koow any thing of this grand truth; and there we find our Creator to be that same and only God into whose name ye were baptized; namely, the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost, three Persons, but one God. Any other notion of God is but a creature of the imagination, and to worship such a creature, is to worship an idol.
Then you should remember your Creator, as to what he has done: for all we, like sheep, have gone astray. You have heard of wicked persons who, by toys and promises, entice silly children from their parents' door, and after car: rying them to a distant spot in some wood or cellar, there strip them, and sometiines murder them. It is thus that, sin and Satan deceive and ruin us, and thus robbed of every good, we must have perished in our lost state and condition, if God had not so loved the world as to give his only be- • gotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. This, my young friends, is your only hope, as well as mine. We can now come to God the Father, through the complete atonement of God the Son, and by the assistance of God the Holy Ghost: and consider, after what God has thus done, how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation ?
Again, you should remember your Creator as to what he is doing. He is not only your Creator and Governor, but also your friend. He is raising up ministers to instruct you-he is sending you invitations and messages of gracehe is sending a word to you by his minister at this time
he not only affords you the common help and care of your parents, but disposes kind friends in this place to instruct you in his ways and ordinances, and thus lead you to himself. Remember, therefore, your Creator in these his means of grace. Remember him by prayer, reading his word, and constantly attending his house. Thou meetest those, saith the prophet, that remember thee in thy ways. Particularly watch against Sabbath-breaking; the neglect of God's house; or inattention to its services while you are in it: for this is not only to forget him who is present, and who hath said, In all places where I record my name, I will come unto thee, and will bless thee; but it is despising both the means of grace and the hope of glory:
Remember also your Creator as to what he has promised to do; for ( the Lord is a Sun and Shield, he will give grace and glory; and no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.--Ho! every one that thirsteth, saith he, come ye to the waters; and 'he that hath no money. Come, poor and unworthy as you are (as if God should say) and I will give you my best blessings; blessings which will cheer like wine, and nourish like milk. As the King of Heaven, E will give beyond all you can ask, or even think; and among these, I will give a new heart, and a right spirit to employ and enjoy them: but remember, my young friends, that you must pray for these blessings, because they are freely proinised to such as ask, but not to such as prove they despise them, by asking them not.
Lastly, Remember your Creator as to what he hath determined to do. He will be your judge. There is not one of
before him bering
that God call say, has.
us but must stand before his bar; and who then will not feel the inportance of remembering his Creator while life was granted ?-for the youngest child that reads his Bible, and learns to call things by the names that God calls them, and treat them as he treats them-such a child, I say, has already become truly wise, and shall be everlastingly happy. On the contrary, if a man be ever so noble, or learned, or rich, yet if he does not regard what God has promised, and what he has threatened, he is but a fool in God's sight now, and inust soon be in his own sight for ever.
There was a man once who, because he was rich, clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day, cared for none of these things of which I have been speaking: he did not remember his Creator ; but he that said, The wicked shall be turned into hell, und all that forget God, soon sent him thither; and when he lifted up his eyes in hell, being in torments, and there complained of his misery, it was said to himn, Son, remember.
Such a state is enough to make one tremble; and loudly speaks the importance of the text. Indeed, all the wisdom of this world cannot furnish you with so perfect a maxim as that in your Bible: Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding; in all thy ways acknowledge him. Acknowledge (as one expresses it) bis word, by consulting it-his providence, by observing it his wisdom, by admiring it-his sovereigniy, by acquiescing in it--his faithfulness, by relying on it-and his kindness, by being thankful for it; and he shall direct thy paths. Bui, in the text, there is particular mention made of the season,
2 When your Creator should specially be remembered ; namely, In the days of thy youth.
First, Because youth is the time when we are most capable of receiving impressions, and forming right habits and dispositions. You have seen a young shoot in a garden; how easily at first can it be bent and trained ! but let it grow to an old tree, and it becomes hard, stubborn, and untractable. Thus youth is the season of growth and motion: allow me to call it the inayday of man. If you go, abroad on this day, you will see life putting itself forth in a thousand forms in the gardens and fields around you. It is also from these present appearances that we form our hopes of the autumn--so in youth, if the mind be not cultivated, and do not put forth blossoms of hope, we look forward to age with disunay, if not despair.
. Again, Youth is the most dangerous and critical of all seasons. A remembrance of its Čreator is its only hope of safety; for, to say nothing of the numbers that die in youth, there are such blights and blasts, I assure you, young friends, which are ready to meet the tender plant of youth, as you will scarcely believe. You also live in a time in which these blasts are more abroad than formerly. Now, there is no security against these but putting your. selves under the protection of your Creator. Your parents and your ministers may teach and watch, but your real safety lies in abiding under the shadow of the Almighty. Surely, He only can deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He, and he only, can cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings mayest thou safely trust. It is his truth only can be thy shield and buckler.
To give another view : Life is a journey through a dangerous wilderness; and, in such a journey, it will not serve us to ask any one we may chance to meet, which is the right way? we need one fast friend to lead and protect us. If one of you were lost in a wood, and in danger of being starved or devoured, you would long for your parents' own hand, and hold it fast if it were there; disregarding what strangers should say passing by. Such an infallible friend and director you will find in your Creator. Oh, that you inay be enabled to remember this!
But, perhaps, you would be ready to say to me, “ If I am liable to be misled, yet I have never thought I was in danger of being devoured.” Ah! you little suspect how little yet you really know! and this will shew the necessity of your remembering in youth your Creator's word; for has he not expressly said, Be sober, be vigilant ; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour ? Now, if you knew there was a lion in the street waiting to destroy you as soon as you went out of these doors, what care and what fear it would occasion! yet, at the worst, such a lion could only destroy your body; whereas the roaring lion, of which God warns you, is going about seeking to destroy both your body and your soul; and, if he can prevail with you to be forgetful of your Creator, he will effectually prevail.
On the other hand, however this roaring lion may go about, he shall neither destroy, nor even hurt, such as iruly remember their Creator.
Further, It is most honourable to God when our youth is dedicated to bis service. When he has given us his best
things, should we present him with the dregs and refuse of ours? To see young Samuel standing like a lily among thorns, saying, by every word and action, I am indeed but a child, but he will accept my feeble services; I am God's; I rejoice in being his to see a child thus separating himself from the ungodly children of this world, and shining as a bright star in a dark night-or to see one, like Timothy, learning from a child to know and honour those Scriptures which are able to make him wise unto salvation, through faith that is in Christ Jesus—what an honour to God are such infant witnesses as these! Verily, the highest grandeurs of this world are beggary when compared with this work.
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, ihe flesh, and the devil!
Oh! I could tell 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 in misery and the disgrace of their families; yet, upon turning to their God, they have become 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 in 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 whom to go to for a bit of bread :"