« AnteriorContinuar »
not impress upon the mind.". Much more doth the soul con-' ceive of objects far beyond the bodily senses, as,
(1.) God himself. O what heavenly musings had David upon God, which occasioned real effects on his elevated soul : Psalm lxiii. 5, 6, “ My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness—when I remember thee upon my bed, (how is that?) and meditate on thee in the night watches." When the memory is full of God, the heart is sweetly employed and delighted with divine enjoyments; especially the soul is awed to a spiritual obedience by remembering of God's omnipresence. have set the Lord always before me,” said David:"* and again, “Thy loving-kindness is before mine eyes, and I have walked in thy truth." O happy soul, that can thus remember God, and think, now God's eye is upon me, God forbid I should do any thing unbecoming such a presence.
(2.) The word of God, his precepts, promises, and threatenings. We are not always reading the word, but must be constantly thinking of it, and meditating on it “ day and night." David was much given to this sacred employment of his sanctified memory. One while, he will “ hide God's word in his heart, meditate in his precepts:" and again he says, “ I will delight myself in thy statutes, I will not forget thy word. I remember thy judgments of old, O Lord, and have comforted myself. I will never forget thy precepts, for with them thou hast quickened me:"+ and many such passages. Oh of what use would the daily remembrance of God's word be to us! The precepts would direct our practice, the promises would furnish us with pleas in prayer. If “the word of God dwell richly” in us, I it would be our daily monitor to shun sin and practise duty, for we never commit a sin, or omit a duty, but we forget a command. Heb. xii. 5, “ You have forgotten the exhortation."
(3.) We must remember instances ; examples of mercy, justice, piety, charity, humility, sobriety, chastity, and all other virtues. Examples are moving, melting admonitions. A bove majore discit arare minor. || Older men and aged women, by holy practices, are detailers of good things to the younger. Ministers and others must be patterns of good works. Mark the end of men's conversation : “ Be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises."S Cæsar set Alexander before him as a model, and the Ephesian law would be a seasonable item to young men—'Ae vrouluvnoκεσθαι τινός των τη αρετη χρώμενων, ever to bear in mind,
Psalm xvi. 8. xxvi. 3. + Psalm i. 2. cxix. 11, 15, 16, 52, 93.
Col. iii. 16. || The younger ox learns to plough from the older. Ś Tit. ii. 3, 4, 7. Heb. xiii. 7. vi. 12
persons eminent in the practice of that virtue you would imitate; and this would make us ashamed of lagging so far behind, and would quicken our pace in pressing after. The scriptures and histories are full fraught with examples of most heroic acts. It is a quicker despatch to travel our journey by examples than by precepts ; * yet see those patterns be according to precept, follow men no further than they follow Christ. And as you must remember good men as way-marks, so remember instances of bad men as rocks and shelves, where many have been shipwrecked and drowned : “Remember Lot's wife;"+ and let others' ruin be a caution to thee. Read history lest thou become a history, and take warning by others' harms. Always bear in mind the ancient and later monuments of God's vengeance, so shall you wash your feet in the blood of the wicked, and cleanse your souls by observing the spots of others. It is a mercy when God hangs up others in gibbets to be warnings to us. Study Deut. xxiv. 8, 9. 1 Cor. x. 6, 11.
(4.) Remember Jesus Christ ; his person, natures, offices, death and passion, his resurrection, ascension, and session at God's right hand. Oh! whatever you think of or forget, be sure you keep Christ in memory: our Lord appointed his supper for this end, “ Do this in remembrance of me.” Remember Christ's mean birth, holy life, accursed death, and high advancement to God's right hand. Determine with yourselves to know, own, study, and admire nothing but Christ crucified ; esteem all things dross aud dung in comparison of him, ; # let Christ be as honey in your mouth, as melody in your ear. || 0 remember his “ love more than wine;" $ that is, lay up records of love for future times, when it may be withdrawn as to the sense thereof. It is the great interest of believers to set up memorials of divine love and its appearances. Osirs, how can you forget Christ who did remember you at so dear a rate? Methinks every soul should be like that good man, that never went to bed or rose up, but had this in his mind and mouth : “ Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift;" 2 Cor. ix. 15.
3. Another signification of the word—remember, is to have a foresight of, and preparation for something future. Thus God saith, “ Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy;" T and I shall take that part of our remembering, proper to all persons, but especially to young persons, as an instance,
(1.) The sabbath is to be remembered ; which implies, not only a reflecting on God's institution, and keeping the sense
• Longum iter per præcepta, brevius per exempla. + I Cor. xi. 1. Luke xvii. 32. * 1 Cor. xi. 24, 23. ii. 2. Phil. ii. 7, 8. # Mel in ore, melos in aure. § Cant. i. 4.
9 Exod. xx. 8:
of past sabbaths still upon our spirits, but a serious preparation for it, arranging our weekly affairs, so as to be no impediments in the sanctifying of it, maintaining a composed frame of spirit suitable to it, to enter freely into the duties of it. Alas, how apt are young men to forget whose day it is, and grow volatile and frothy upon it, so finding their own pleasure. The more of the sabbath you have on weekdays, the less of the week you will have on the sabbath. You should put on your best spiritual suit, (as it is said a devout Jew did his bodily, before the approaching sabbath,) saying, Come, my soul, account this the queen of days, the very face and beauty of all other days.
(2.) Remember the changes and vicissitudes you may meet with in this life, and accordingly you must forecast, and provide for both best and worst : and he that is stocked with grace for prosperity, will be better furnished for adversity. Methinks, young persons are like mariners that are about to set sail, that must prepare rigging, cables, victuals, fresh water, anchors, and other things necessary for a long voyage ; not knowing how tedious and hazardous it may prove. Thus must young persons get well furnished, for they may say as Moses to Pharoah, “We know not with what we must serve the Lord until we come thither.”[ Little do you, my young friends, know, what sharp services God may call you to; you must therefore sit down and count the cost of the building, whether you
have sufficient to finish it. I A young man unprincipled, is like a ship without mast, tackling, anchor, or other provisions; which is at the mercy of winds and waves, on the vast ocean, and is soon lost, or sunk, or driven on rocks and shelves and dashed to pieces. O sirs, I beseech you remember, you may be cast into such companies, places, snares, and straits, that all the wit you have will not bring you off, except you have received both renewing and assisting grace; and the latter you cannot expect without the former. You must stock yourselves with all things necessary, as young persons in setting up a trade, that your stock may not be run out before you have accomplished your purpose, nor your money spent before your journey come to a close. (3.) Remember your death. It is a foolish word of incon
. siderate persons to say, 'I no more thought of such a thing than of
my death.' Fond man! what reason hast thou to forget death? thou sayest, 'I am young yet ;' senseless arguing, art thou too young to die? hast thou not seen, as young as thou snatched away ? shouldst thou not wait “all the days of thy appointed time, till thy change come ?"|| Canst thou be assured thou shalt live to old age? A youth came to a Hebrew
of Exod. x. 26. * Luke xiv. 28. Job xiv. 14.
• Isa. lviii. 13.
doctor, desiring him to give him some rules to instruct him to live and die well. The doctor said, how old art thou ? He answered him, eight years of age. Come again, said the doctor, six or seven years hence, and I will instruct thee, thou art yet young enough. Yea, sir, replied the child, but I have been in the church-yard, or cemetry, and I laid me on a grave that was as short as I, whereby I do perceive I may die before I shall arrive to that age: a wise answer. Lord, open the
eyes of the young, to see death posting on towards them, behind them, as it is before the faces of the old; it is as dangerous, though less visible; therefore you must betimes claim kinship to the worms, for they will shortly claim kinship with you, say as Job xvii. 14, “I have said to corruption, thou art my father; to the worm, thou art my mother, and my sister." This is the wise man's advice in the context-" Let him remember the days of darkness, for they shall be many;"* that is, death; for the grave is a dark, lonesome house. He saith,
а “they are many," he saith not, infinite or everlasting; for though the grave be a long home, yet eternity of weal or woe is our last and everlasting destiny. You must die certainly ; you may die soon, and suddenly ; yea, if you be wicked, you may die before your time.t Alas! most men forget this dying hour..
(4.) Remember your accounts. Our Lord, as a nobleman, delivers ten pounds to ten servants, with this charge: “ Occupy till I come." This is every one's work, especially that of young persons. O what a comfort to say, “ Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds !" God gives every one a talent : woe be to that slothful servant, who lays up his talent in a napkin; but a thousand woes to him that wastes it in wickedness. Think within thyself, young man, how shall I give account of health, strength, genius, parts, accomplishments, learning, riches, honours, and my golden hours ? Shall God give me the use of these, and the devil receive the application ? If my master shall give me a sum of money, and send me to the market to buy necessaries, and I spend it in prodigality, and come drunk home; how dare I look him in the face? If my father be at
I great charge in my education at schools, and I return a poor silly ignoramus; how can I answer it ? “Every one of us shall give account of himself to God." I How shall I come off before the impartial, heart-searching Judge ? Since then, I must appear at the general assizes, I am resolved to keep a petty session beforehand-daily to set matters straight with God and my soul ; according to that good counsel : Eccles. xi. 8. + Eccles. vii. 17.
Rom. xiv. 12.
Sum up at night what thou hast done by day,
And in the morning, what thou hast to do;
And growth of it, if with thy watch, that too
Most surely judged, make thy accounts agree." 4. Remembering, imports an affectionate, practical, spiritual, improving of truths, objects, or things known and thought of: and in this sense is the text to be understood. It includes these four things-Valuation, affection, application, and observation.
(1.) Valuation. So the word is used, Eccles. ix. 15, “ No man remembered that same poor man;" that is, nobody prized him according to his real worth, or great usefulness; no man praised him, or spoke well of him ; none gave him thanks, being an obscure person, and expecting no more good from him. In this sense we must remember our Creator; that is, so as to admire him, and to praise him ; scripture is full of this. Psal. cxlv, is composed as a psalm of adoration, addressed to the infinite Creator; verse 10, “ All thy works shall praise thee, 0. Lord, and thy saints shall bless 'thee." All God's works do celebrate his praises objectively, as they give occasion for man's adoring their Creator. Man, as man, praiseth God actively; but saints only, bless God intentionally and regularly ; for this purpose was Psalm civ. composed. Othat we could also learn this . great lesson, in which the inanimate creatures are so perfect !
(2) Affection. Cant. i, 4, “We will remember thy love more than wine.” O the blessed relish and transporting delight, our souls have in the late received expressions of divine love! It is more sweet than delicious wines. It becomes all, and especially the young, (who will take delight in something) to delight themselves in the Lord, which is both their duty and their privilege.t. O that young persons would exercise their thoughts with pleasure on the name, nature, properties, word, and works of our glorious Jehovah ; and also the person, natures, states, the actions, discourses and prayers, the sufferings,
, death and resurrection, the offices, purchase, and glorious intercession of our dear Lord Jesus. Surely these, if any thing, are worth an affectionate remembrance, that we may echo and answer his love with love. When, ó when, shall that great command be young men's employment, “ Thou shalt love the
Lord thy God, with all thy heart, soul, and mind !"|| O where can you bestow your virgin affections better! Whom can you think on with greater complacency ? Surely, the sunshine of
, divine love should produce the heavenly reflection of your love back to him ; since his is costly love, yours pleasant.
• Herbert's church, p. 16. + Psal. xxxvii. 4. Isa. Ivüi. 14. #Amo amorem ejus.-Augustine.
|| Matt. xxii. 37.