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To make haste, the circumstance only required here, is that he be sought early; and to invite thee to it, consider how early he sought thee ; it is a great mercy that he stays so long for thee; it was more to seek thee so early: Dost thou not feel that he seeks thee now, in offering his love and desiring thine? Canst not thou remember that he sought thee yesterday, that is, that some temptations besieged thee then, and he sought thee out by his grace, and preserved thee? and hath he not sought thee so, so early, as from the beginning of thy life? nay, dost thou not remember that after thou hadst committed that sin, he sought thee by imprinting some remorse, some apprehension of his judgments, and so Miro et divino modo, et quando te oderat diligebat", By a miraculous and powerful working of his Spirit, he threatened thee, when he comforted thee, he loved thee when he chid thee, he sought thee when he drove thee from him; he hath sought thee amongst the infinite numbers of false and fashional Christians, that he might bring thee out from the hypocrite, to serve him in earnest, and in holiness, and in righteousness; he sought thee before that amongst the herd of the nations and Gentiles, who had no church to bring thee into his inclosures and pastures, his visible church, and to feed thee with his word and sacraments; he sought thee before that, in the catalogue of all his creatures, where he might have left thee a stone, or a plant, or a beast; and then he gave thee an immortal soul, capable of all his future blessings; yea, before this he sought thee, when thou wast no where, nothing, he brought thee then, the greatest step of all, from being nothing, to be a creature; how early did he seek thee, when he sought thee in Adam's confused loins, and out of that leavened and sour loaf in which we were all kneaded up, out of that massa damnata, that refuse and condemnable lump of dough, he sought and severed out that grain which thou shouldst be ; yea, millions of millions of generations before all this, he sought thee in his own eternal decree; and in that first Scripture of his, which is as old as himself, in the book of life, he wrote thy name in the blood of that Lamb which was slain for thee, not only from the beginning of this world, but from the writing of that eternal decree of thy salvation. Thus early had he sought thee
in the church amongst hypocrites; out of the church amongst the heathen; in his creatures amongst creatures of an ignoble nature, and in the first vacuity, when thou wast nothing he sought thee so early as in Adam, so early as in the book of life, and when wilt thou think it a fit time to seek him?
There is an earliness which will not serve thy turn, when afflictions, and anguish, shall come upon thee; They shall seek me early, and shall not find me?, early in respect of the punishment, at the beginning of that; but this is late in respect of thy fault, or of thine age, when thou art grown old, in the custom of sin ; for thus we may misuse this early, and make it serve all ill uses, if we will say, we will leave covetousness early, that is, as soon as we are rich enough ; incontinence early, that is, as soon as we are old or sick ; anıbition early, that is, as soon as we have overthrown and crushed our enemies irrecoverably; for thus, we shall by this habit, carry on this early to our late and last hour, and say, We will repent early, that is, as soon as the bell begins to toll for us.
It is good for a man that he bear his yoke in his youth, that he seek Christ early, for even God himself, when he had given over his people to be afflicted by the Chaldeans, yet complains of the Chaldeans, that they laid heavy loads upon old men"; though this yoke of this amorous seeking of Christ be a light yoke, yet it is too heavy for an old man, that hath never used himself in all his life to bear it; even this spiritual love will not suit well with an old man, if he never began before, if he never loved Christ in his youth, even this love will be an unwieldy thing in his age.
Yet if we have omitted our first early, our youth, there is one early left for us; this minute; seek Christ early, now, now, as soon as his Spirit begins to shine upon your hearts. Now as soon as you begin your day of regeneration, seek him the first minute of this day, for you know not whether this day shall have two minutes or no, that is, whether his Spirit, that descends upon you now, will tarry and rest upon you or not, as it did upon Christ at his baptism.
Therefore shall every one that is godly make his prayer unto
20 Prov. i. 28.
21 Isaiah xlvi. 6.
thee O God, in a time when thou mayest be found"; we acknowledge this to be that time, and we come to thee now early, with the confession of thy servant Augustine, Sero te amari, pulchritudo tam antiqua, tam nova; O glorious beauty, infinitely reverend, infinitely fresh and young, we come late to thy love, if we consider the past days of our lives, but early if thou beest pleased to reckon with us from this hour of the shining of thy grace upon us; and therefore O God, as thou hast brought us safely to the beginning of this day, as thou hast not given us over to a final perishing in the works of night and darkness, as thou hast brought us to the beginning of this day of grace, so defend us in the same with thy mighty power, and grant that this day, this day of thy visitation, we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger, no such sin, no such danger as may separate us from thee, or frustrate us of our hopes in that eternal kingdom which thy Son our Saviour Christ Jesus hath purchased for us, with the inestimable price of his incorruptible blood. To whom with the Father, &c.
A SERMON OF VALEDICTION AT MY GOING INTO GERMANY,
AT LINCOLN'S INY, APRIL 18, 1619.
ECCLESIASTES xii. 1.
Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth.
We may consider two great virtues, one for the society of this life, thankfulness, and the other for attaining the next life, repentance; as the two precious metals, silver and gold: of silver (of the virtue of thankfulness) there are whole mines, books written by philosophers, and a man may grow rich in that metal, in that virtue, by digging in that mine, in the precepts of moral men; of this gold (this virtue of repentance) there is no mine in the earth; in the book of philosophers, no doctrine of repentance;
2: Psalm xxxii. 6.
this gold is for the most part in the washes; this repentance in matters of tribulation; but God directs thee to it in this text, before thou come to those waters of tribulation, remember now thy Creator before those evil days come, and then thou wilt repent the not remembering him till now. Here then the Holy Ghost takes the nearest way to bring a man to God, by awaking his memory; for, for the understanding, that requires long and clear instruction ; and the will requires an instructed understanding before, and is in itself the blindest and boldest faculty; but if the memory do but fasten upon any of those things which God hath done for us, it is the nearest way to him. Remember therefore, and remembof ņow, though the memory be placed in the hindermost part of the brain, defer not thou thy remembering to the hindermost part of thy life, but do that now in die, in the day, whilst thou hast light, now in diebus, in the days, whilst God presents thee many lights, many means; and in diebus juventutis, in the days of thy youth, of strength, whilst thou art able to do that which thou purposest to thyself; and as the word imports, bechurotheica', in diebus electionum tuarum, in the days of thy choice, whilst thou art able to make thy choice, whilst the grace of God shines so brightly upon thee, as thou mayest choose the way, and so powerfully upon thee, as that thou mayest walk in that way. Now, in this day, and in these days remember first the Creator, that all these things which thou labourest for, and delightest in, were created, made of nothing; and therefore thy memory looks not far enough back, if it stick only upon the creature, and reach not to the Creator, remember thy Creator, and remember thy Creator ; and in that, first that he made thee, and then what he made thee; he made thee of nothing, but of that nothing he hath made thee such a thing as cannot return to nothing, but must remain for ever ; whether happy or miserable, that depends upon thy remembering thy Creator now in the days of thy youth.
First remember; which word is often used in the Scripture for considering and taking care : for, God remembered Noah and every beast with him in the ark; as the word which is contrary
izmina, from 179, elegit.—Ev. ? Gen. viii. 1.
CXLVIII.] PREACHED AT LINCOLN'S INN. to that, forgetting is also for the affection contrary to it, it is neglecting, Can a woman forget her child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? But here we take not remembering so largely, but restrain it to the exercise of that one faculty, the memory; for it is stomachus animæ. The memory, says St. Bernard, is the stomach of the soul, it receives and digests, and turns into good blood, all the benefits formerly exhibited to us in particular, and exhibited to the whole church of God: present that which belongs to the understanding, to that faculty, and the understanding is not presently settled in it; present any of the prophecies made in the captivity, and a Jew's understanding takes them for deliverances from Babylon, and a Christian's understanding takes them for deliverances from sin and death, by the Messias Christ Jesus; present any of the prophecies of the Revelation concerning antichrist, and a papist will understand it of a single, and momentane, and transitory man, that must last but three years and a half; and a protestant may understand it of a succession of men, that have lasted so one thousand years already: present but the name of bishop or of elder, out of the Acts of the Apostles, or their epistles, and other men will take it for a name of equality, and parity, and we for a name and office of distinction in the hierarchy of God's church. Thus it is in the understanding that is often perplexed; consider the other faculty, the will of man, by those bitternesses which have passed between the Jesuits and the Dominicans, (amongst other things belonging to the will) whether the same proportion of grace, offered to men alike disposed, must necessarily work alike upon both their wills ? And amongst persons nearer to us, whether that proportion of grace, which doth convert a man, might not have been resisted by perverseness of his will ? By all these difficulties we may see, how untractable, and untameable a faculty the will of man is. But come not with matter of law, but matter of fact, Let God make his wonderful works to be had in remembrance“: present the history of God's protection of his children, from the beginning, in the ark, in both captivities, in infinite dangers ; present this to the memory, and howsoever the