Use 3. LEt me exhort you that are young, That ye would effectually lay to heart these words of the holy-Ghost. Re∣member now thy Creatour in the daies of thy youth.] Oh that you would now enter into a Covenant with the Lord, and bind your selves resolvedly to seek your Creatour! To you that are young the Spirit of God here speaketh: Oh take heed of despising him that speaketh from heaven, because of your youth; but hear him so much the rather, be∣cause he speaks to young Men, and for this end let me urge you with some Motives.
1. Consider, what wrong it is to God, to give Satan the best of thy time? Under the Law, the first-Fruits were to be given to God. Levit. 23. 10.—14. And they might eat no bread until the Lord had the First-Fruits offered unto him. So that he who should presume to eat any of his Corn, before the Lord had his portion, even a sheaf of the first-fruits, he was no better than a Sacrilegious intruder upon the Lord's Possession. So the Lord requireth of thee, O young Man! the first-Fruits of thy Life, even thy youth and strength; and if thou dost not offer and consecrate thy young years to Page 40 the Lord, thou dealest Sacrilegiously, thou dost •lienate the Lord's Portion; thou de∣liverest Possessi•n unto Satan, of that which God hath committed to thy trust, to reserve wholly for him; sike some unfaithful Ten∣nant, yielding up the possession to him that hath but ap••tended Tirle, to the prejudi•• of the right owner. Oh do not give th• first-Fruits unto the Dev•l! and think that God will be pleased with the Gleanings, the refuse, and scattered ears, the dreggs of old age, Offer it now to thy Prince, see if he will accep• thee, Malac. 1. 8. As if he had said; Serve thy Princes Enemy in thy youth and strength, and then come to the Court• in thine old age, limping with thy stilts, a•• crutches, and say, Mine old Master hath cast me off, and now I will serve thee; see then if he will entertain thee. So it is in this case.
2. Consider that God loveth cheerfulness in his services; so many places of Scripture shew. Rejoyce in the Lord, &c. I will run the wayes of thy Commandments; saith David, Quicken me O Lord, &c. Now youth is the most cheerful part of a mans Life, then the heart is in the liveliest temper, then the spirits are freshest, and quickest; and natural cheerfulness being Sanctified, is a furtherance Page 41 of spiritual joy. The quickness of the natu∣ral temper (which is in youth most vigorous,) is a good servant to quickning grace. Think not, that God is best pleased with the lumpish old age, which many times is little more than a dead piece of Earth, with a little portion, a small remainder of life abiding in it. God is the living God, and he requireth living Sa∣crifices Rom. 12. 1. Now thy youth hath more life in it than thine old age: There is (as it were) a close union between the Soul and Body in youth. The Soul imparteth a more plentiful •nfluence of Life unto the Body in you•h, than •n old age, by the quick∣ness and plenty of the Spirits, which in youth are more abundent than in age. Give up therefore this most living part of thy life, thy young daies unto God; and not only that part of life which partaketh more of Death than of life; th•ne old decrepit and disabled age. The hoary head is a Crown of Glory, if it be found in a way of Righteousness, Prov. 16. 31. [Found,] He doth not say, if it enter into the way of Righteousness, but if it be Found there. If a Man hath turned to God in his youth, and persevered in upright walking before him, until gray haires come upon him; that Man needeth no Crown of Gold to adorn his head, his hoary head is a 〈1 page duplicate〉Page 40〈1 page duplicate〉Page 41Page 42 Crown of Glory to him. If under the Law a Man did burn the prime of his Beast in Sa∣crifice, it was accepted: yea, when it was al∣most consumed, even the remainders that were half burnt, did yield a sweet savour to the Lord: because the best was burnt also upon the Altar of the Lord. So let a Man consecrate the prime of his daies, his youth to the Lord; offer up this as a living Sacri∣fice, and then, even his worn old age, which is like a Sacrifice half burnt and spent, shall be exceeding sweet and pleasing to the Lord, because the best was given up unto him: whereas on the other side, should any of the Priests have burned a Sacrifice upon the Al∣tar of Baal, and then when it was half burnt should have brought the gleanings and laid them upon the Altar of the Lord, this would have been a grievous abomination in the sight of the Lord. So in this case, &c. Oh then, Remember thy Creatour in thy youth, lest he forget or despise thee in thine age. Remem∣ber him in thy youth, that thy hoar head may be found in the way of Righteousness, and so may be a Crown of Glory, and not a Specta∣cle of Reproach and Contempt unto thee.
3. Consider especially, the unspeakable danger of Sin, confirmed and rooted with time; wrought and wreathed into the heart, Page 43 and clasped in the affections, by long custom in sin. Oh when sin hath been thirty or forty years in growing, and taking root, it cleaveth like the skin to the bones; like the Leprosy that was rooted in a wall, which could not be taken away, untill the wall were pulled down. That sin which is in growing the whole time of a Mans youth, during the best of his strength, it is even a Wonder, if it doth not accompany that Man to his Death∣bed; yea, to the Judgment-seat of God. I know, the mercy of God is infinite, and he calleth at the Eleventh hour: but I am per∣swaded, those are very few which are so cal∣led: and especially very few, (if any) of those who have had the means of Grace in their youth, and regarded them not. Oh this willful hardning of the heart is dreadful. This continuing in sin against knowledge; this with-holding the truth in unrighteous∣ness, moveth the Lord to give men over to a Reprobate sence; Rom. 1. 21, 24, 25, 28. Into such a state, that he becometh uncapa∣ble, unteachable; that neither blessings, nor crosses; neither the Rod, nor the Word; neither sickness, nor health; neither gray haris, nor the approach of Death, can work him to to sound Conversion. Ah poor for∣saken Soul! such a one may come to say Page 44 with Saul, God hath forsaken me! A speech, that might rend a render heart to hear it. I speak not this to bring you to despair, but to stirr you up to speedy Repentance, that ye may prevent this desperate and woful con∣dition.