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compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? As we always have the poor with us, let us then remember them, and as much as in us lieth supply their wants. A cold and cheerless winter is approaching, and multitudes in this large and populous city* are but ill-prepared to meet it. Their sufferings must be great and severe, if the hand of charity be not opened wide for their relief. May it be our delight to remember them; and let us cause the widow's heart to sing for joy, that the blessings of the needy may come upon us.
The Remembrance of God in our Youth.
"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.”—Eccl. xii., 1.
A VARIETY of modes may be profitably employed, in giving instruction : indeed, in order to be effectual, it must be accommodated, in some measure, to the dispositions and habits of the persons addressed. To one who is wayward and self-willed, the pungency of irony may be well applied ; whilst, with the tractable and the docile, the more plain, simple, and direct way, of affectionate exhortation, may be the most effectual. Both these methods are adopted by Solomon, in the passage before us. In the verses immediately preceding our text, he addresses a young man whom he supposes to be bent on the prosecution of his evil ways: Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes : but know thou for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. Then, after a serious admonition to avoid the evils which ungovernable passions will bring upon him, he affectionately exhorts him to devote his early life to the exercises of true piety. In addressing you from these words, we shall,
I. In the first place, show you what is implied in Remembering our Creator. Remember now thy Creator, in the days of thy youth. The course of a religious life is very properly here expressed by our remembrance of God; for, to remember a person or thing, is to call them to mind on all proper and suitable occasions—to so think of them as to do what the remembrance of them requires. To remember a friend, is to be ready to do him all good offices; to remember a kindness, is to be ready to requite it, when there is
an opportunity. To remember an injury, is to be ready to revenge it; and to remember our Creator, is to consider the relation in which we stand to him, as his creatures, and to be ready to fulfil the duties of this relation. We should remember, then,
1. His authority over us. God is our Creator, and we are the workmanship of his hands. We have derived from him all our powers, whether of body or mind. It is of his bounty alone, that we have been endowed with the faculty of reason, which elevates us above all the rest of this lower world, and brings us into a near conformity with that higher order of created intelligence, the holy angels. But, for what purpose has he thus distinguished us, but
that we might render him services worthy both of our present state, : and our future destinies? He hath formed us for himself, that we
might show forth his praise. This is the end for which we are to live; nor is anything on earth to divert us from the course which he has marked out for our steps. Obedience, it is true, is due to our parents, and to all others, whom the providence of God has placed over us : but the authority of the creature must always be regarded as subordinate to that of the Creator. And if, at any time, the will of man stands opposed to the will of God, we must then reply: Whether it be right to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. Whatever solicitations we may have from the world, or from our passions and appetites, from within us, to violate any part of God's revealed will, we must withstand them manfully, and resist them, even unto death. Knowing that we are not our oron, but God's, we must glorify him with our bodies and spirits, which are his.
2. We should also remember the commands he has given us to regulate our conduct. We will not, at this time, enter into the different commandments of the law; but draw your attention rather to that great commandment of the gospel, to believe in Christ: This is his commandment, says St. John, that ye believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ. This command should be had in continual remembrance. It is addressed to all mankind, without distinction. There is no one so innocent, as not to need a Saviour; nor any one so guilty, but that he may, through penitence and faith, obtain an interest in that Saviour, whom God has provided for a ruined world. Do not imagine, my young friends, that you are not concerned in this commandment, or that it will be time enough for you to attend to it, when you shall feel a greater need of mercy. You all are sinners : you all have a consciousness, within yourselves, that you have done many things which you ought not, and left undone many things you ought to have done. You, therefore, have in your own bosoms a witness, that you need a Saviour ; and, as in the presence of the Most High God, I declare unto you, that there is no mercy for the young, any more than for the old, but in the name, and through the mediation, of Jesus Christ: There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we can be saved, but the name of
Jesus Christ. Go, then, to God, through this Redeemer, and implore mercy at his hands. Look to Jesus as dying for your sins, and as reconciling you to God through the blood of his cross. Let every one of you, from day to day, wash in the fountain of his blood, and clothe yourselves in the robe of his unspotted righteousness; and live altogether upon his fulness, receiving out of it continued supplies of all needful grace.
3. Once more, we should remember his continued presence with us, to inspect our conduct. God is in every place, beholding the evil and the good; and wherever you are, you should see, as it were, this inscription written : Thou God seest me.
This is a point you should never forget, no, not for a single moment; for it is only by bearing this in mind, that you will be kept from the indulgence of secret sins. When no human eye is upon us, we are apt to think that we may give a greater latitude to our conduct; but we should remember that the darkness is no darkness with God, but the night and the day are both alike to him. There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the works of iniquity may hide themselves. Oh, if you bear this in remembrance, you will never do what you know to be wrong, nor utter what you know to be false. You will act, in all things, as in the immediate presence of your God; and will do nothing but what you believe to be good and acceptable in his sight.
4. Finally, we should remember his determination to judge us according to the deeds done in the body at the last dry. God has appointed a day wherein he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he has ordained, even by his Son Jesus Christ. In that day, all shall be summoned to his judgment-seat: the old and the young, the rich and the poor. Not one that has ever come into the world, shall be forgotten. The child that died in infancy, as well as the man of a hundred years old, shall be summoned to receive his everlasting doom, according to what they have done in the body, whether it be good or evil. To those who die before they have attained the knowledge of good and evil, we doubt not but that the mercy of God will be extended; but to those who have lived to your age, judgment or mercy will be dispensed, according as you have remembered or forgotten God. Most awful is that declaration of the Psalmist : The wicked shall be turned into hell, anit all the nations that forget God. If you have forgotten his authority over you, and especially his command to believe in his Son Jesus Christ; if you have forgotten that his eye was continually upon you, inspecting your most secret thoughts, and noting them down, in order to his future judgment; and if you have lived without any concern about the sentence that shall then be passed upon you—it will indeed be an awful day to you: the commencement of such a misery as no words can describe, no imagination can conceive. Remember, then, that God marks down, in the book of his remembrance, your every act, and every word, and every thought; and
that it is your wisdom so to live, that, whether called at an earlier or later period of life, you may give up to Him your account with joy, and not with grief.
II. Having pointed out the duty of all to remember God, we shall now proceed more particularly to show, in the second place, why we should thus remember him in early life. 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 nio pleasure in them. Many reasons might be offered why we should comply with this injunction, but we shall content ourselves with assigning a few of the most obvious.
1. We should, in the first place, remember our Creator in the days of our youth, because he is the most worthy object of our remembrance; and that which is the most worthy, has the first and highest claims upon our attention. Our Creator unites in himself, an assemblage of all possible perfections. How unsearchable is his wisdom! O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out. For who hath known the mind of the Lord ? or who haih been his counsellor ? or who hath first given unto him, and it shall be recompensed to him again? Consider his almighty power as exerted in the works of creation : And God said, let ihere be light, and there was light. He spake, and it was done ; he commanded, and it stood fast. Consider, again, his inviolable truth and faithfulness to his word : God is not a man that he should lie, neither the son of man, that he should repent. Hath he said it, and shall he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good ? Reflect upon his boundless mercy: The Lord is mer. ciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy. His tender mercies are over all his works. Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens ; and thy faithfulness reaches unto the clouds. All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his cove. nant and testimonies. Contemplate his essential goodness: Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness. They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness ; and the little hills rejoice on every side. The pastures are clothed with flocks ; the vallies are also covered with corn : they shout for joy, they also sing. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. Reflect, also, upon his gracious holiness : Who is like unto thee, O Lord, glo. rious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders. And one cried to another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of glory. Wherever we turn our eyes, we see much in the wonders of creation to astonish us, much in the beauties of nature to charm us; but all that we can behold, can no more be compared to the ineffable glories of our Creator, than the twinkling of a taper can be likened to the blaze of the meridian sun. Surely, if any character in heaven or earth is worthy of our remembrance, it is He whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain,
And can we forget so great a benefactor, and be unmindful of : the God that formed us? Can we choose but to remember the
founder of our being, the great preserver of our lives? Ought we not, as soon as we discover him to whom we owe our lives and all the blessings of them, to render him homage, and to say with David, O come and 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.
2. We should remember our Creator now, in the days of our youth, because such a remembrance, at this time, is peculiarly acceptable to God. O how delightful is youthful piety! O how lovely to consecrate the flower and strength of our days to the service of God! then the blessing of life is new, and its memory fresh upon our minds; then our health is in its strength and vigor, and the pleasures and enjoyments of life have their full taste and relish; then the mind is soft and tender, and free from every other impression. Under the law, the first fruits, and the first born, were all the sole property of God; and the buds of being, and the earliest blossoms of youth, are the sweetest incense, and the most acceptable sacrifice that we can offer to our Creator ; and shall we neglect these offerings ? shall we refuse to render to God the first fruits of our existence? Do we prefer to sacrifice them to the god of this world ? Shall we rob our heavenly Father of these tithes and offerings ? To discover how amiable early piety is in the sight of God, we need only to refer to the testimonies of the Bible. Joseph remembered his Creator in the days of his youth, and his master saw that the Lord was with him. Solomon, when yet a little child, as he called himself, loved the Lord, and walked in the statutes of David his father. Abijah came to his grave in peace, because he had some good thing in him towards the Lord God of Israel. Joshua, while he was yet young, began to seek after the God of David his father. Daniel, and his three companions, were eminent for early piety; and how remarkable was their preservation by God? John was the youngest of all the apostles, and Jesus loved him with a peculiar love. Timothy knew the holy Scriptures from a child, which, through faith in Christ Jesus, were able to make him wise unto salvation. What a list of shining examples is here presented for your emulation ? May you strive to walk in their footsteps, and render the homage of early piety to your Creator.
Since there is joy in heaven at the conversion of a sinner, it must be interesting to see a young person beseiged by the powerful temptations of the world, acquit himself gloriously, and resolutely hold out against the most violent assaults ; to behold one in the prime and flower of his age, courted by pleasures and honors, by the devil and all the bewitching vanities of time and sense, reject them all, and cleave steadfastly to God, saying, “ Let them doat