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Christ, in thy fifth day, or as thou hast a contemplation of thy mortality and immortality in the sixth day, or a desire of a spiritual sabbath in the seventh, in those days remember thou thy Creator.
Now all these days are contracted into less room in this text, in diebus bechurotheica, is either, in the days of thy youth, or electionum tuarum, in the days of thy heart's desire, when thou enjoyest all that thou couldest wish. First, therefore if thou wouldest be heard in David's prayer; Delicta juventutis; O Lord remember not the sins of my youth"; remember to come to this prayer, In diebus juventutis, In the days of thy youth. Job remembers with much sorrow, how he was in the days of his youth, when God's providence was upon his tabernacles, and it is a late, but a sad consideration, to remember with what tenderness of conscience, what scruples, what remorses we entered into sins in our youth, how much we were afraid of all degrees and circumstances of sin for a little while, and how indifferent things they are grown to us, and how obdurate we are grown in them now. This was Job's sorrow, and this was Tobias' comfort", when I was but young, all my tribes fell away; but I alone went after to Jerusalem, Though he lacked the counsel, and the example in his elders, yet he served God; for it is good for a man, that he bear his yoke in his youth": for even when God had delivered over his people purposely to be afflicted, yet himself complains in their behalf, That the persecutor laid the very heaviest yoke upon the ancient"8: it is a lamentable thing to fall under a necessity of suffering in our age, Labore fracta instrumenta, ad Deum ducis, quorum nullus usus''? Wouldest thou consecrate a chalice to God that is broken? no man would present a lame horse, a disordered clock, a torn book to the king; Caro jumendum , Thy body is thy beast; and wilt thou present that to God, when it is lamed and tired with excess of wantonness? When thy clock, (the whole course of thy time) is disordered with passions, and perturbations; when thy book (the history of thy life,) is torn, a thousand sins of thine own torn out of thy memory, wilt thou then present thyself thus defaced and mangled to Almighty God? Temperantia non est temperantia in senectute, sed impotentia incontinentive?, Chastity is not chastity in an old man, but a disability to be unchaste; and therefore thou dost not give God that which thou pretendest to give, for thou hast no chastity to give him. Senex bis puer; but it is not bis juvenis, an old man comes to the infirmities of childhood again ; but he comes not to the strength of youth again.
** Psalm xxv. 7. 15 Job xxix. 4. 16 Tobit i. 4. 7 Lam, iji. 27. · 18 Isaiah xuvii. 6.
Do this then in diebus jurentutis, in thy best strength, and when thy natural faculties are best able to concur with grace ; but do it; in diebus electionum, in the days when thou hast thy heart's desire; for if thou have worn out this word, in one sense, that it be too late now, to remember him in the days of youth, that is, spent forgetfully, yet as long as thou art able to make a new choice, to choose a new sin, that when thy heats of youth are not overcome, but burnt out, then thy middle age chooses ambition, and thy old age chooses covetousness; as long as thou art able to make thy choice thou art able to make a better than this ; God testifies that power, that he hath given thee; I call hearen and earth to record this day, that I have set before you life and death; choose life?: if this choice like you not, If it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, saith Joshua, then choose ye this day whom ye will serve as. Here is the election day; bring that which ye would have, into comparison with that which ye should have; that is, all that this world keeps from you, with that which God offers to you ; and what will ye choose to prefer before him? for honour, and favour, and health, and riches, perchance you cannot have them though you choose them ; but can you have more of them than they have had, to whom those very things have been occasions of ruin? The market is open till the bell ring ; till thy last bell ring the church is open, grace is to be had there: but trust not upon that rule, that men buy cheapest at the end of the market, that heaven may be had for a breath at last, when they that hear it cannot tell whether it be a sigh or a gasp, a religious breathing and anhelation after the next life, or natural breathing out, and exhalation of this ; but find a spiritual good husbandry in that other rule, that the prime of the market is to be had at first: for howsoever, in thine age, there may be by God's strong working, dies juventutis, a day of youth, in making thee then a new creature; (for as God is antiquissimus dierum, so in his school no man is superannuated,) yet when age hath made a man impotent to sin, that is not dies electionum, it is not a day of choice ; but remember God now, when thou hast a choice, that is, a power to advance thyself, or to oppress others by evil means; now in die electionum, in those thy happy and sunshine days, remember him.
32 Deut. xxx. 19,
23 Joshua xxiv, 15.
This is then the faculty that is excited, the memory; and this is the time, now, now whilst we have power of election : the object is, the Creator, remember the Creator: first, because the memory can go no farther than the creation ; and therefore we have no means to conceive, or apprehend anything of God before that. When men therefore speak of decrees of reprobation, decrees of condemnation, before decrees of creation ; this is beyond the counsel of the Holy Ghost here, Memento Creatoris, Remember the Creator, for this is to remember God a condemner before he was a Creator: this is to put a preface to Moses' Genesis, not to be content with his in principio, to know that in the beginning God created heaven and earth, but we must remember what he did ante principium, before any such beginning was. Moses' in principio, that beginning, the creation we can remember; but St. John's in principio, that beginning, eternity, we cannot; we can remember God's fiat in Moses, but not God's erat in St. John : what God hath done for us, is the object of our memory, not what he did before we were: and thou hast a good and perfect memory, if it remember all that the Holy Ghost proposes in the Bible ; and it determines in the memento Creatoris: there begins the Bible, and there begins the creed, I believe in God the Father, maker of heaven and earth; for when it is said, The Holy Ghost was not given, because Jesus was not glorified, it is not truly non erat datus, but non erat; for, non erat nobis antequam operaretur; it is not said there, the Holy Ghost was not given, but it is the Holy Ghost was not: for he is not, that is, he hath no being to us-ward, till he works in us which was first in the creation : remember the Creator then, because thou canst remember nothing backward beyond him, and remember him so too, that thou mayest stick upon nothing on this side of him, that so neither height, nor depth, nor any other creature may separate thee from Gods; not only not separate thee finally, but not separate 80, as to stop upon the creature, but to make the best of them, thy way to the Creator; we see ships in the river ; but all their use is gone, if they go not to sea; we see men freighted with honour, and riches, but all their use is gone, if their respect be not upon the honour and glory of the Creator ; and therefore says the apostle, Let them that suffer, commit their souls to God, as to a faithful Creator"; that is, be made them, and therefore will have care of them. This is the true contracting, and the true extending of the memory, to remember the Creator, and stay there, because there is no prospect farther, and to remember the Creator, and get thither, because there is no safe footing upon the creature, till we come so far.
34 John vii. 39.
Remember then the Creator, and remember thy Creator, for, Quis magis fidelis Deo 27? Who is so faithful a counsellor as God? Quis prudentior sapiente? Who can be wiser than wisdom? Quis utilior bono? or better than goodness ? Quis conjunctior Creatore? or nearer than our Maker? and therefore remember him. What purposes soever thy parents or thy prince have to make thee great, how had all those purposes been frustrated, and evacuated, if God had not made thee before: this very being is thy greatest degree; as in arithmetic how great a number soever a man express in many figures, yet when we come to number all, the very first figure is the greatest and most of all ; so what degrees or titles soever a man have in this world, the greatest and the foundation of all, is, that he had a being by creation : for the distance from nothing to a little, is ten thousand times more, than from it to the highest degree in this life: and therefore remember thy Creator, as by being so, he hath done more for thee than all the world besides ; and remember him also, with this consideration, that whatsoever thou art now, yet once thou wast nothing.
He created thee, ex nihilo, he gave thee a being, there is matter of exaltation, and yet all this from nothing; thou wast worse than a worm, there is matter of humiliation ; but he did not create thee ad nihilum, to return to nothing again, and there is matter for thy consideration, and study, how to make thine immortality profitable unto thee; for it is a deadly immortality, if thy immortality must serve thee for nothing but to hold thee in immortal torment. To end all, that being which we have from God shall not return to nothing, nor the being which we have from men neither. As St. Bernard says of the image of God in man's soul, Uri potest in gehenna, non exuri, That soul that descends to hell, carries the image of God in the faculties of that soul thither, but there that image can never be burnt out, so those images and those impressions, which we have received from men, from nature, from the world, the image of a lord, the image of a councillor, the image of a bishop, shall all burn in hell, and never burn out; not only these men, but these offices are not to return to nothing ; but as their being from God, so their being from man, shall have an everlasting being, to the aggravating of their condemnation. And therefore remember thy Creator, who, as he is so, by making thee of nothing, so he will ever be so, by holding thee to his glory, though to thy confusion, from returning to nothing; for the court of heaven is not like other courts, that after a surfeit of pleasure or greatness, a man may retire; after a surfeit of sin there is no such retiring, as a dissolving of the soul into nothing; but God is from the beginning the Creator, he gave all things their being, and he is still thy Creator, thou shalt evermore have that being, to be capable of his judgments.
85 Rom. viii. ult.
28 1 Pet. iv. ult.
Now to make up a circle, by returning to our first word, remember : as we remember God, so for his sake, let us remember one another. In my long absence, and far distance from hence, remember me, as I shall do you in the ears of that God, to whom the farthest east, and the farthest west are but as the right and left ear in one of us; we hear with both at once, and he hears in both at once ; remember me, not my abilities ; for when I consider my apostleship that I was sent to you, I am in St. Paul's quorum, quorum ego sum minimus', the least of them that have been sent; and when I consider my infirmities, I am in his
18 1 Cor. xv. 9.