Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw near, when you shall say…
To them which are young Solomon shows what advantage they have above the aged; like a ship, which, seeing another ship sink before her, looks about her, pulls down her sail, turneth her course, and escapes the sands which would swallow her as they had done the other. So they which are young need not try the snares and allurements of the world, or the issues and effects of sin, which old men have tried before them, but take the trial and experience of others, and go a nearer way to obtain their wished desires. That is this, saith Solomon: if thou woutdst have any settled peace or heart joy in this vain or transitory world, which thou hast been seeking all the time since thou wert born, thou must "remember thy Creator," which did make thee, which hath elected thee, which hath redeemed thee, which daily preserveth thee, which will for ever glorify thee. And as the kind remembrance of a friend doth recreate the mind, so to think and meditate upon God will supply thy thoughts, dispel thy grief, and make thee cheerful, as the sight of the ark comforted David; for joy, and comfort, and pleasure is where God is, as light, and cheerfulness, and beauty is where the sun is. Now if thou wouldst have this joy, and comfort, and pleasure to be long, and wouldst escape those thousand miseries, vexations, and vanities, which Solomon, by many weary and tedious trials, sought to make naked before thee, and yet held all but vanity when he had found the way, thou must "remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth" at the first spring-time, and then thy happiness shall be as long as thy life, and all thy thoughts while thou remainest on earth a foretaste of the glory of heaven. This is the sum of Solomon's counsel. Can a child forget his father? Is not God our Father? Therefore, who is too young to remember Him, seeing the child doth know his father? As the deepest wounds had need to be first tended, so the unstablest minds have need to be first confirmed. In this extremity is youth, as Solomon shows them before he teacheth them; for in the last verse of the former chapter he calleth youth "vanity," as if he should speak all evil in a word, and say that youth is even the age of sin. Therefore, when he had showed young men their folly under the name of vanity, like a good tutor he taketh them to school, and teacheth them their duty, "Remember thy Creator," as though all sin were the forgetfulness of God; and all our obedience came from this remembrance, that God created us after His own image, in righteousness and holiness, to serve Him here for a while, and after to inherit the joys which He hath Himself, which, if we did remember, doubtless it would make us ashamed to think, and speak, and do as we are wont. It is an old saying, Repentance is never too late; but it is a true saying, Repentance is never too soon. Therefore, we are commanded to run that we may obtain (1 Corinthians 9:24), which is the swiftest pace of man. The cherubims were portrayed with wings before the place where the Israelites prayed (Exodus 25:20), to show how quickly they went about the Lord's business. The hound which runs but for the hare, girds forth so soon as he sees the hare start; the hawk which flieth but for the partridge, taketh her flight so soon as she spieth the partridge spring; so we should follow the word so soon as it speaketh, and come to our Master so soon as He calleth. If our children be deformed in their youth, we never look to see them well favoured; so if the mind be planted in sin, seldom any goodness buddeth out of that stock. For virtue must have a time to grow, the seed is sown in youth, which cometh up in age. Try thy strength but with one of thy sins, and see what shifts, what excuses, what delays it will find, and how it will importune thee to let it alone, as the devil tormented the child before he went out; if thou canst not discharge one vice that thou hast accustomed thyself unto, when all thy vices are become customs, how wilt thou wrestle with them? Therefore we bend the tree while it is a twig, and break the horse while he is a colt, and teach the dog while he is a whelp, and tame the eagle while he is young. Youth is like the day to do all our works in. For when the night of age cometh, then every man saith, I might have been learned, I might have been a teacher, I might have been like him, or him, but the harvest was past before I began to sow, and winter is come, now my fruit should ripe. Thus every man that is old saith, he cannot do that which he thought to do, and crieth with Solomon, Catechize the child in his youth, and he will remember it when he is old; so corrupt him in his youth, and he will remember that too. There be not many Lots, but many linger like Lot, loath to depart, until they see the fire burn. If the angel had not snatched him away, Lot had perished with Sodom for his delay. There be not five foolish virgins and five wise, but five for one knock when the door is shut. There be not many Simeons, but many as old as Simeon, which never yet embraced Christ in their hearts. They thought to repent before they were so old, yet now they dear for age, they are not old enough to repent yet. Is this to seek the kingdom of heaven first, or last, or not at all? Woe to the security, woe to the stubbornness, woe to the drowsiness of this age.
Parallel VersesKJV: Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;