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Remember Thy Creator in the Days of Thy Youth

Remember Thy Creator in the Days of Thy Youth

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Published by glennpease
BENJAMIN JOWETT, M.A.


EccLES. xii. I.
BENJAMIN JOWETT, M.A.


EccLES. xii. I.

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 15, 2013
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REMEMBER THY CREATOR I THE DAYS OF THY YOUTHBEJAMI JOWETT, M.A.EccLES. xii. I.Every serious person must feel a strange contrastbetween the gaiety and lightheartedness of youth andthe opportunities and responsibilities of this (howeverparadoxical it may sound) the most solemn period of our lives ; the seedtime and springtime of all the rest,in which the future is almost irrevocably settled, inwhich, if we were wise and would understand this, itmight be setded for our eternal good. Youth has agreat secret which is never known until it is too lateto use, a treasure which is ever growing old, as beinglaid up in earthen vessels and crumbling into theearth from whence it came. The heart of youngmen, one would have thought, should leap withinthem at the feeling that the future is still theirs, thatwhatever they do day by day is not a toilsome serviceto receive its pei^iny a day, but shall bring forth fruit^ An early address in preparation for the Sacrament,probably about 1850.B2 COLLEGE SERMOS [i.abundantly, turning their life from a waste into afairly cultivated field on which the sun shines andthe rains descend, and it brings forth an hundred-fold, for it was sown in due season.Perhaps if we were able to carry about with usthe consciousness of all this, to think day by day of 
 
the awful responsibilities in the midst of which westand, youth itself might wither and cease to be whatit is, and fade away oppressed by the realities of life.We cannot say how this might be, but it is no reasonagainst turning our minds to these things. It is notpossible that in youth we can have the experience orseriousness of advancing life. In youth and age weseem destined to a different sort of probation : inthe first the web of our existence is not yet woven ;we can correct our faults and unravel the tissue,but we want experience, not exactly of what is ourduty, but of how to do our duty, how to form thatcharacter which is still in our own power : in thesecond we know our duty, but can no longer do itequally. Increasing knowledge and experience casta sorrowful light on former errors, but scarcely giveus the hope of amending.The great poet has drawn a picture of the severalages of man. Let us endeavour, as far as we can, totrace our future course, to imagine to ourselves whatlife will be — its various stages, its half-way houses atwhich we pause and begin the journey anew — notas a matter of curious speculation, but to see if byI.] LOOKIG FORWARD 3looking forward into the future we can gain anyknowledge of what it is likely to be to ourselves ;let us listen to the accounts of travellers who havegone before, that that new country into which we areall passing may not be an unexplored land, that wemay not desire to return, which is impossible, to pro-vide our journey better, but go on to the end in hopeand peace.Of the future we hardly know anything else, butthat it will be unlike the present. We ourselves
 
shall change with it ; if any one here is living half a century hence it will be in a changed world.How changed that inner world of thoughts andfeelings, when at the best resignation will havetaken the place of life and hope, and the scene inwhich he lives be folding up before him like avesture, and whether in hope or faith or despairhe will himself begin to feel that he has nothingmore to do with these things. And how all hisfamily relations may have changed, I need hardlymention, and how the course of the great worlditself, with its struggles for empire, and prejudicesand passions may have changed, in which each onehere present is as nothing and insignificant, I maysay, except in the sight of God only. Of whatwe ourselves shall be fifty years hence we canscarcely form a more distinct idea than of whatanother will be, so dimly can we see through theclouds which cover us.B 24 COLLEGE SERMOS [i.We know or may know what we are, but itdoth not yet appear what we shall be. Let usthink of another period of life much nearer to us,of which most of us have thought and schemed, sayten years hence, when nearly all of us will haveleft this place and be settled in our various callingsand spheres. It may be, and indeed is, accordingto merely human probability, very unlikely thatall those whom we have known here, all those whowill be present to-morrow morning at the Lord'stable, will then be living. Who will be called away

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