III. IN the next place I am to shew the cau∣ses of this forgetfulness in the youn∣ger sort, and here it were but an idle piece of Page 11 Philosophy to ascribe it to the natural moi∣sture and fluid temper of their brains, where∣by the impressions of things are presently dissolved, like letters written in the water. No; this forgetfulness is as well in the heart as in the brain, and requireth a further search into it's causes.
1. In the first place then, one special cause is, a fleshly confidence in the natural strength of body, and hope of long life. They look at Death as a thing afar off, even out of sight; and therefore suffer not the apprehension of it to make any such impression upon them, as in any degree to lessen that carnal, sensual con∣tent, which they take in the glut of earthly Vanities. The blind Worldling, when his barnes were full, blessed himself in his own conceited happiness; Soul take thine ease, thou hast goods laid up for many years. But these persons think they have the advantage of him; for whereas his Soul that night was to be taken from his goods; they think they have life in store for many years, an so with the unfaithful servant conclude, that their Master will defer his coming, and they may safely delay their Repentance, and put him out of their remembrance. As Gaal, and the men of Shechem, could eat and drink, and curse Abimilech, because they thought he Page 12 was not near them, though he was nearer than they were aware: so the younger sort can satisfy their lusts, and please themselves, and do what they will, scorning all admoni∣tions or threatnings of Death; because they think it not neer unto them: Whereas per∣haps Death (as the punishment of Sin) lyeth at their door, and will be found to have way-laid them in the midst of their vanities; and to cut them off in the midst of their strength and sins. Strength, Health, abundance of Spirits, freedom from aches, pains, and bodi∣ly distempers, do put Death out of their thoughts, and they will leave crooked and way-ward old age to vex it self with pensive remembrances of the Grave.
2. The lively vigour of youth, filleth them with a kind of carnal self-content, and maketh them please themselves in themselves, and so to feel no need they have of happiness, and of delighting themselves in the Lord; and therefore to neglect and forget their Creatour. Oh they think they are absolute men, they are as they desire to be, and cannot wish to be better; their blood hath free passage in their veins, their Spirits in their Arteries without obstructions, they are lively, amiable, merry, jovial, free from wants, fears, sorrows, trou∣bles: and (as Job describeth the young gal∣gallant) Page 13His Breasts are full of milk, and his Bones are mositned with marrow: thy are wholly at ease and quiet, and therefore God is not in all their thoughts.
3. This lusty youthful temper makes them every way more sensible, and capable of earthly delights, and pleasures, and so more apt to forget their Creatour and his service. Old Barzillai knew not what to do at Court, 2 Sam. 19. 35. I am this day Four score years old, and can I discorn between good and evil? Can thy servant (saith he to King David) 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 burthen unto my Lord the King? Old Age is not sensible, nor capable of many de∣lights, which younger persons take in with greediness. No carnal pleasure but it suiteth with their dispositions, they have a temper fit∣ted to all fleshly delights, and so can please their wanton appetites with variety of dishes; that is, their diverse lusts with variety of flesh∣ly delights, and in this case, no wonder though they forget their Creatour, when by reason of the constitution of their bodies peculiar to that age, they can so many wayes please them∣selves in the Creature. Men naturally for∣get God, untill they need him: But the Page 14 young man in his prime, finding so much be∣low in the earth, which ministreth matter of contentment to him, apprehendeth no pre∣sent need of him that made him, and so mind∣eth him not, unless the Lord open his eyes, and cause him to see the emptiness and vani∣ty of these things, and his own miserable fol∣ly in resting his Soul upon them.
4. A Fourth cause is, want of experience in the uncertain condition of earthly things. Young Men are in the Spring of their lives and pleasures, and know not yet what a Win∣ter meaneth. They have not yet (for the most part) been beaten off from their pleasing folly by any notable change of estate; they know not what sorrow meaneth, and so they securely promise themselves a continuance of this seeming happiness, and forget God; as not perceiving any special need of him. They hope to speed as well as they have done, and so long they care not. Those crosses which sometime befall the younger sort, may for the present make them exceeding passionate, but they are soon vanished, and no print of their foot-steps remaineth behind them; their de∣lights are after a while, never awhit embitte∣red by them: and thus forgetting their crosses, they become forgetful of their God, and that account which must be rendred to him: you Page 15 see how easie it is for youth, to spin a snare wherein to entangle it self, even out of its own bowels,