II. More especially these good daies of Youth are made evil daies, when they are spent in any, or divers of those sins to which on the one side You his commonly accustomed; and which on the o•her side in a right consi∣deration of things, are most unseemly and unfit for Youth.
I. One sin is whoredom: if any thing can Page 86 make the daies of Youth, of good to become evil daies, this will do it; when the body, which is as a Temple of the Holy Ghost, and should be consecrated and dedicated to him from the first building or framing of it as it were, shall be made a cage of unclean lusts, how great is this prophanation? If the Temple at Jerusalem, when it was new built, should have been made a Stews (as one of the Popes is said to have made his Palace) and then have been left to be employed as a Temple for God when it grew old and ruinous; would not the earth have opened her mouth to swallow up those who should have thus prophaned it? O young men! how dangerous is it then, whilst your bodies are young, and should be esteemed and used as new-built Temples, wholly dedicated un∣to God, his glory and service, to defile them with those sins, intending when they are old, decayed, and ruinous buildings (and not till then) to use them as Temples of the Holy Ghost. St. Paul saith, If any man defile the Temple of God, him shall God destroy, 1 Cor. 3. 17. Therefore if any one hath not kept his Garments clean in this regard, let him without delay wash and be clean, wash away his guilt by the blood of Christ; wash away these lusts and sinfull inclinations by the Page 87 Spirit of Christ, by unfeigned repentance and amendment of Heart and Life: and for the time to come (according to Davids counsel, Psal. 119. 9.) Let them make clean their wayes from this foul sin, by taking heed unto them, according to such parts of the word as these: Flee youthful lusts, but follow after righ∣teousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart, 2 Tim. 2. 22. And that Whore-mongers and Adulterers, God will judge, Heb. 13. 4. And that of St. Paul, 1 Thess. 4. 3, 4, 5. This is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication, that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctifi∣cation and honour: not in the lust of concu∣piscence, even as the Gentiles which knew not God.
2. Drunkenness; which, as it is enough to make any part of a man's life evil, so it is a great blemish to a young man, and maketh the daies of his Youth, evil and wretched daies. The wise man sheweth, that the ruines of Old Age do make the Keepers of the House tremble, and the strong ones to bow themselves; the Hands and Leggs to shake. But how shamefull is it for young men of firm and strong bodies, to bring a drunken Palsey upon themselves, whereby Page 88 they are staggering in the streets, their Leggs even failing them? or a brutish Lethargy, whereby they are not able to arise from the place where they sit or lie? ye that are Parents look to it, that your Children come not into such infectious company, as many entice them. Take heed ye that are young, of besotting your Brains and Understandings, which now are naturally fresh and quick (if ever) wi•h this swinish sin: Consider that weighty Charge of our Saviour, Luke 21. 34. Take heed, lest at any time your Hearts be over-charged with Surfeiting and Drun∣kenness.
3. Pride is another sin, that is enough to make the daies of Youth to be evil daies. That which made good Angels wicked Devils, is enough to make the best daies of a man's life evil and miserable: What is more seemly for the younger sort, than true modesty and humility, which God accepteth, blesseth and crowneth with graces here, and glory hereafter? What worse than Pride and a disdainful Carriage? want of farther experience should make them in many things to suspend their Judgements, unless it be in such as are cleer and evident. Contempt, and scornfull behaviour towards the Antien•: Self-conceit; as if Wisdom should die with Page 89 them: Self-will and stubbornness; an un∣moveable Stiffness in their own groundless opinions, and unwarrantable purposes, with other fruits of Pride; they do even deface the good daies of Youth, and make them evil.
4. Idleness is another sin which marreth these good daies, which bringeth not only a rust upon them, but letteth loose the lusts of Youth, and maketh it exceeding sinful. If any should flee this sin (as all should) then especially the younger sort ought to observe it above others. It is not a misery of miseries, that those golden daies should be worn out in sluggishness? that those abilities of body and mind, which are at their best, should want employment? and want they cannot, work they must; they are made of such a temper, that they cannot be without motion. If the Heavens cannot stand still, nor the Air fix it self in one place, and abide without stirring, no more can the minds of young men, nor the thoughts of their hearts abide without inward workings of spirit. O young man! thou canst not keep thine eye-lids from stirring; thy Lungs from moving; thy Heart and Pulse from beating; and canst thou keep thy Soul and the affections of thy Heart from stirring, which are more active than any part of thy body? No, they will have Page 90 their course: and if in any idle, sluggish carelessness, thou lettest them go as a Ship without a Rudder or Pilot, the event is like to be wofull, and thou art running upon the Rocks; Satan filling the Sails of thy affections with contrary winds and hellish suggestions, which drive thee from the Haven of Peace to the gulph of everlasting destru∣ction. What a world of snares hath the Devil ready for thee, whiles he finds thee idle? How many enticing objects, and dan∣gerous temptations? When shouldest thou provide against the winter of thy life, but now in the spring of thy daies? Old Age is almost unteachable; and if thou learnest not in thy Youth, but spendest it in lazy igno∣rance, it will be very hard (if not impossible) to learn in thine old age, when thou art more ready to forget than to learn. It is a most miserable spectacle to see an ignorant old man or woman, which hath lost the best time of Youth in idleness, and not treasured up the principles of heavenly truths: Oh how uncapable are they of the things of God! how likely to perish for want of knowledge, how uncapable of Knowledge it self? Rest and ease is fitter for Old Age, than for Youth: Labour, Diligence, Watchfulness, I•dustry, are things which become those Page 91 good daies. In a word! when any sin a∣boundeth, and any lust prevaileth, it is enough to make the dayes of Youth evil daies. Therefore ye that are young, and yet enjoy the good daies of your life, do not ye make them evil. Remember your Creator in the daies of your Youth, take heed to your ways according to the word of God, so shall these daies indeed be good daies to you, and you shall prepare your selves either for an ho∣nourable Old Age, or for a blessed end, and an happy death; preventing the evils of Old Age, and putting you in possession of everlasting life, which never seeleth the de∣cays of Age.
Finally, let me in a word beseech those who have already out-lived their best daies, to look back seriously and speedily upon the times and courses of their Youth, and see how those daies have been spent, obser∣ving what matter of joy and thanksgiving, or what causes of grief and humiliation they may find, and accordingly to be affected. If you have made them evil daies, how should you mourn for this? How should you seek God now that it draweth towards the ele∣venth hour, before the night cometh when no man can work; which burieth all secure loiterers and unprepared ones in an everlast∣ing Page 92 night of utter darkness, where is weeping and gn•shing of teeth. The night cometh, the darkness is coming; yet before it co∣meth, do ye that great work, that your Soul may live and not die eternally!