Joseph Stennett.

The Works of the late Reverend and Learned Mr. Joseph Stennett : in five volumes ; to which is prefix'd some account of his life (Volume 1) online

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divert and diffipate their minds fo much with
the amufing pleafures of this prefent world,
that they don't allow themfelves time enough,
either to look backward, to remember that
God who created them, and to whom they
owe their prefer vation j nor forward, to con-
fider that it is only in his power to renew
and reform them from their vices and errors;
and that he will one day judge them j who
as he is their creator, has the fovereign dif-
pofal of their being, and has power either
to fave, or to deftroy : in, whofe favour is
life, and whofe difpleafure is more terrible
than death.

h Pfal. 10.4.



The reajonahlenejs and advan-
tages of an early converjion to
God demonjirated.


. EccLES. xii. I.

Remember now thy creator in the days of
thy youth, while the evil days come not,
nor the years draw nigh, when thou JJ?alt
fay, I have no ^ leaf ire in them.

AVING before explain'd the
exhortation in the text, which
the wife man addreifes to thofe
that are young, 'viz. Tb remem-
ber their creator in the days- of
their youth j or to devote themfelves early to
the worfhip and fervice of God :

We are now to confider the reafons where-
by this duty is enforc'd, which ,are plainly
enough infinuated in . the text, as we have
before obferv'd in the divifion of it.

Vol L E Firft,

50 The reafonabknefs and advantages

Firji^ in the terms of the duty, where our
relation to God, as our creator, implies the
obligations we have to adore and ferve him.

Seco?idl)\ in the words ufed to fignify the
proper time of engaging in this duty, "oiz.
In the days of youths before the evil days of old
age come, &c. Where the fitnefs of the time
of youth to enter one's felf into the fervice
of God, and the difadvantage of deferring it
to old age, are intimated.

Firft then, we fliall take a view of the
reafons that oblige us to devote our felves to
the fervice of God in youth, which arife
from the relation that is between him and
us, as he is our creator, and we are his crea-
tures : and this in that large and comprehen-
five fenfe we have given of the term creator^
by which we have laid the ground-work of
our prefent reafoning.

I. As God is our creator and preferver,
we derive from him our being, and the whole
duration of it 3 that is, the whole of our
time: therefore,

(i.) He has an equitable claim to us as
long as we have a being, and to our youth by
confequence : 'tis but juft that what we re-
ceive from his hand, Ihould be again offer'd
to him ; that fince we live by his good will,
we fliould live to his glory. Can we affign
any portion of our time, which we do not
equally derive from our creator with the reft
of it ? Why then fhould any of thofe mo-
ments that are allotted us by his mere favour,


Serm. II. of an early converjion. 51

be injurioufly withdrawn from his fervicCj
and abus'd to his difhonour ?

The great God, whofe chief end in all he
does is his own glory, becaufe that is the
beft and moll: excellent end of all, made us,
and continues our being for his own pleafure
and glory. Therefore to alienate any part of
our time from him, is to oppofe his defigns,
and, as much as in us lies, to endeavour to
fruftrate his end, and facrilegioufly to rotx
him of his honour.

Nor do we only with-hold divine honour
from him to whom it is due, when we neg-
led: to employ any part of our time in the
fervice of our creator : for man bein2; a crea-
ture that can never be altogether idle and
unadive, that part of our lives, or portion of
our time which we divert from the proper
end for which it is allow'd us, is not only
floien from God, but devoted to the fervice
of fin. 'Tis to fnatch away a facrifice from
the altar of the true God, and immediately
to offer it to the worft of idols. How pro-
voking muft this needs be to that God, who
is fo jealous of his glory, that he will ?iot
give it to any other ' / much lefs will he fuffer
it, with impunity, to be given to fm, which
is infinitely oppofite to his holy nature, and
which he therefore hates with a perfect

No wonder then that he requires the
whole fucceffion of our time to be devoted

' Ifa. 41. 8. chap. 48. n.

5 2 The reafonablenefs and advantages

to himlelf , and that whether ive eat or drink,
or ivbate'-oerwe do, ive fiotdd do it to his glory ^',
making that the chief end of all our ad:ions,
which is the end of our being, and of its
continuance. And this feem'd fo highly rea-
fonable to the pfdmifl, that after a long
meditation on the works of the great creator,
it influences him to a firm refolution to ho-
nour and worfliip the author of his being
thro'out the whole courfe of his time : I will
fmg unto the Lord^ fays he, as long as I live ;
/ will fmg praife unto my God^ while I have my
being ^

Now if the whole of our time be the pro-
perty of our creator, not given us to fquan-
der away as we pleafe, but lent us to im-
prove to his honour ; then he may juftly
claim our youth to be dedicated to his fer-
vice : if he is the proprietor of the whole of
our time, as we have prov'd he is, in that
he is our creator, he has a right to each
part of it : if we with-hold from him the
lervice of our youth, we detain a part of our
time from him, v/ho has a natural right to
the whole of it. And that part- of time,
when once elaps'd, being irrevocable, there
remains but a part of the whole to offer ;
and v/e can tiien only render to the great
author of our being, a defetlive and mu-
tJlous facrifice. And,

(2.) As our youth belongs to our maker,
as a part of that time, of which the fum

^ I Cor. 10, jr. 1 1 Pfal. 104. 55. 2(a\. i4

Online LibraryJoseph StennettThe Works of the late Reverend and Learned Mr. Joseph Stennett : in five volumes ; to which is prefix'd some account of his life (Volume 1) → online text (page 6 of 28)