WHerefore, that this may be made more clear unto us, let us consider how, and in what respects the daies of Youth are called good daies. They are good daies,
1. Because they are the first daies of a man's life. Childhood is but (as it were) a preparative to the life of man: Children, while they are Children, have but some im∣perfect beginnings of the life of reason, which is the proper and peculiar life of man: there∣fore we may reckon the daies of Youth, as the first daies of man's life, when he first beginneth to live as a man, and to live the Page 75 life of reason in some degree of perfection. Now ye know, that the first in every kind hath the preheminence; the first-born of men, the firstlings of beasts; the first-fruits of the earth; the morning of the day; the first age of the world; the spring of the year. So there is a kind of preheminency in the first daies of man's life, which are the daies of Youth; they are a man's prime and his good daies.
2. The daies of Youth are good daies, because ordinarily they are the daies of best health and strength: daies wherein we are of able bodies for any special service. For al∣though it be true, that in the worship of God, bodily exercise profiteth but little, in com∣parison of the inward power of godliness; yet strength and health, when they are made serviceable to a sanctified upright heart, are of special use, both in the immediate worship of God, and in the performance of many offices of love, which we ought to do towards our Brethren in the Lord. Mens sana in corpore sano (as they say) a sound mind, and an heavenly spirit, furthered in the worship and service of God, by a strong, healthy, well-tempered body, hath a great advantage in it's work; and in that case, the daies of health and strength are good daies. In Prayer; although the strength and force of Page 76 Prayer doth not lie in the strength of the sides, or loudnes of the voice; yet it is no smal advantage to the Spirit, when in it's fervour and strength of affection, it gathereth up and putteth forth all it's powers in earnest sup∣plication before the throne of Grace; if then it hath a sound healthy body, able to bear the intention of a fervent spirit, without fainting or distraction. You know that if the arrow be long, and drawn to the head, it is needfull that the bow and the string should be of sufficient strength to hold draw∣ing. And a Christian, that will not content himself to shoot those fools bolts, mentioned Eccles. 5. 1. but desireth to send forth wing∣ed shafts of fervent Prayer that shall pierce the Clouds, and enter the Heavens, findeth it an help not to be despised, when the strength and health of his body is suitable to the vigour of his spirit. This holdeth (as ye may easily conceive) in those exercises of hearing, reading, meditation, &c.
3. Daies of Youth are times wherein the powers of the Soul are also quick, lively and able by the communion with the body. The Soul by reason of it's near conjunction of the body hath it's Childhood, Youth and decay∣ing time. In younger years it hath those gol∣den daies, wherein the understanding is quick Page 77 in apprehension, teachable, and apt to receive impression; the Memory faithfull, the Judge∣ment good and sound; the Affections strong and stirring: Therefore these are the good daies wherein it is fit to be used in the work and service of God. And as in the Spring, all these concurring together, the Trees in their fresh clothing; the face of the Earth renued, the beauty of Herbs and Flowers, together with the Sun's shining brightly in his strength and glory, make up good daies; whereas in the Winter, the brightness of the Sun maketh but an imperfect good day, whiles the Trees and Fields are stripped, dead and withered; the ground covered with mire and dirt: so the meeting of these together, the birth-right of Youth, the strength and health of the Body, the quickness of the Senses, the activeness and abundance of the Spirits, the perfections of the Soul, &c. make the daies of Youth good daies: whereas, although in the winter of Old Age the Sun may shine; the principles of wisdome stored up in Youth may be preserved; yet there are those defects naturally clogging that dying age, which do ecclipse the brightness, and lessen the good∣ness of those daies.