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…
I. THE NATURE OF THE ACT OR DUTY HERE ENJOINED; which is, to remember our Creator. To remember God is frequently, and in our most serious and retired thoughts, to consider that there is such a Being as God is; of all power and perfection, who made us and all other things, and hath given us laws to live by suitable to our natures; and will call us to a strict account for our observance or violation of them, and accordingly reward or punish us; very often in this world, and to be sure in the other. It is to revive often in our minds the thoughts of God and of His infinite perfections, and to live continually under the power and awe of these apprehensions.
II. WHAT THERE IS IN THE NOTION OF GOD AS OUR CREATOR THAT IS MORE PARTICULARLY APT TO AWAKEN AND OBLIGE MEN TO THE REMEMBRANCE OF GOD.
1. Creation is of all others the most sensible and obvious argument of a Deity. Other considerations may work upon our reason and understanding, but this doth, as it were, bring God down to our senses.
2. The creation is a demonstration of God's infinite power. And this consideration is apt to work upon our fear, the most wakeful passion of all others in the soul of man.
3. The creation is a demonstration of the goodness of God to His creatures. This consideration of God, as our Creator, doth naturally suggest to our minds that His goodness brought us into being; and that, if being a benefit, God is the Fountain and Author of it.
III. THE REASON OF THE LIMITATION OF THIS DUTY MORE ESPECIALLY TO THIS PARTICULAR AGE OF OUR LIVES. "Now, in the days of thy youth."
1. To engage young persons to begin this great and necessary work of religion betimes, and as soon as ever they are capable of taking it into consideration.
2. To engage young persons to set about this work presently, and not to defer it and put it off to the future, as most are apt to do.
3. And how much reason there is to press both these considerations upon young persons I shall endeavour to show in the following particulars.
(1) Because in this age of our lives we have the greatest and most sensible obligation to remember God our Creator: "in the days of our youth," when the blessing and benefit of life is new, and the memory of it fresh upon our minds.
(2) The reason will be yet stronger to put us upon this, if we consider that, notwithstanding the great obligation which lies upon us to "remember our Creator in the days of our youth," we are most apt at that time of all others to forget Him. For that which is the great blessing of youth is also the great danger of it, I mean, the health and prosperity of it; and, though men have then least reason, yet they are most apt to forget God in the height of pleasure and in the abundance of all things.
(3) Because this age is of all others the fittest and best to begin a religious course of life. And this does not contradict the former argument, though it seems to do so. For as it is true of children that they are most prone to be idle, and yet fittest to learn, so, in the case we are speaking of, both are true; that youth is an age wherein we are too apt, if left to ourselves, to forget God and religion, and yet at the same time fittest to receive the impressions of it.
(4) This is the most acceptable time of all others, because it is the first of our age. Our blessed Lord took great pleasure to see little children Come unto Him; an emblem of the pleasure He takes that men should list themselves betimes in His service. St. John was the youngest of all the disciples, and our Saviour had a very particular kindness and affection for him; for he is said to be "the disciple whom Jesus loved."(5) This age of our life may, for anything we know, be the only time we may have for this purpose; and if we cast off the thoughts of God and defer the business of religion to old age, intending, as we pretend, to set about it at that time, we may be cut off before that time comes, and turned into hell with the people that forget God.
(J. Tillotson, D. D.)
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;