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Ecclesiastes 12:1

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Remember thy Creator - בוראיך Boreeycha, thy Creators. The word is most certainly in the plural number in all our common Hebrew Bibles; but it is in the singular number, בוראך Borecha, in one hundred and seventy-six of Dr. Kennicott's MSS., and ninety-six of De Rossi's; in many ancient editions; and in all the ancient versions. There is no dependence on the plural form in most of the modern editions; though there are some editions of great worth which exhibit the word in this form, and among them the Complutensian, Antwerp, Paris, and London polyglots.

The evidence, therefore, that this text is supposed to give to the doctrine of the ever blessed Trinity, is but precarious, and on it little stress can be laid; and no man who loves truth would wish to support it by dubious witnesses. Injudicious men, by laying stress on texts dubious in themselves, and which may be interpreted a different way, greatly injure the true faith. Though such in their hearts may be friends to the orthodox faith, they are in fact its worst friends, and their assistance is such as helps their adversaries.

But what does the text say? It addresses the youth of both sexes throughout the creation; and says in effect: -

    I. You are not your own, you have no right to yourselves. God made you; he is your Creator: he made you that you might be happy; but you can be happy only in him. And as he created you, so he preserves you; he feeds, clothes, upholds you. He has made you capable of knowing, loving, and serving him in this world, and of enjoying him in his own glory for ever. And when you had undone yourselves by sin, he sent his Son to redeem you by his blood; and he sends his Spirit to enlighten, convince, and draw you away from childishness, from vain and trifling, as well as from sinful, pursuits.

II. Remember him; consider that he is your Creator, your loving and affectionate Father. In youth memory is strong and tenacious; but, through the perversion of the heart by sin, young people can remember any thing better than God. If you get a kindness from a friend, you can remember that, and feel gratitude for it; and the person is therefore endeared to you. Have any ever given you such benefits as your Creator? Your body and soul came from him; he gave you your eyes, ears, tongue, hands, feet, etc. What blessings are these! how excellent! how useful! how necessary and will you forget Him?

III. Remember him in thy Youth, in order that you may have a long and blessed life, that you may be saved from the corruption and misery into which young people in general run; and the evils they entail upon themselves by giving way to the sinful propensities of their own hearts. As in youth all the powers are more active and vigorous, so they are capable of superior enjoyments. Faith, hope, and love, will be in their best tenor, their greatest vigor, and in their least encumbered state. And it will be easier for you to believe, hope, pray, love, obey, and bear your cross, than it can be in old age and decrepitude.

IV. Remember him Now, in this part of your youth - you have no certainty of life; now is yours, to-morrow may not be. You are young; but you may never be old. Now he waits to be gracious; tomorrow may be too late. God now calls; his Spirit now strives; his ministers now exhort. You have now health; sin has not now so much dominion over you as it will have, increasing by every future moment, if you do not give up your hearts to your Maker.

V. There is another consideration which should weigh with you: should you live to old age. it is a very disadvantageous time to begin to serve the Lord in. Infirmities press down both body and mind, and the oppressed nature has enough to do to bear its own infirmities; and as there is little time, so there is generally less inclination, to call upon the Lord. Evil habits are strengthened by long continuance; and every desire and appetite in the soul is a strong hold for Satan. There is little time for repentance, little for faith, none for obedience. The evil days are come, and the years in which you will feelingly be obliged to say, Alas! "we have no pleasure in them;" and, what is worse, the heart is hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Remember now - Rather, And remember. The connection between this verse and the preceding one is unfortunately interrupted by our division of chapters.

Creator - Gratitude to God as Creator is here inculcated, as just previously Ecclesiastes 11:9 fear of God as Judge. Godliness, acquired as a habit in youth, is recommended as the proper compensation for that natural cessation of youthful happiness which makes the days of old age more or less evil; more evil in proportion since there is less of godliness in the heart, and less evil where there is more godliness.

While the evil days come not - Rather, before the evil days come.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
We should remember our sins against our Creator, repent, and seek forgiveness. We should remember our duties, and set about them, looking to him for grace and strength. This should be done early, while the body is strong, and the spirits active. When a man has the pain of reviewing a misspent life, his not having given up sin and worldly vanities till he is forced to say, I have no pleasure in them, renders his sincerity very questionable. Then follows a figurative description of old age and its infirmities, which has some difficulties; but the meaning is plain, to show how uncomfortable, generally, the days of old age are. As the four verses,
Ellen G. White
The Adventist Home, 297

Seek God Early—Children and youth should begin early to seek God; for early habits and impressions will frequently exert a powerful influence upon the life and character. Therefore the youth who would be like Samuel, John, and especially like Christ, must be faithful in the things which are least, turning away from the companions who plan evil and who think that their life in the world is to be one of pleasure and selfish indulgence. Many of the little home duties are overlooked as of no consequence; but if the small things are neglected, the larger duties will be also. You want to be whole men and women, with pure, sound, noble characters. Begin the work at home; take up the little duties and do them with thoroughness and exactness. When the Lord sees you are faithful in that which is least, He will entrust you with larger responsibilities. Be careful how you build, and what kind of material you put into the building. The characters you are now forming will be lasting as eternity. AH 297.1

Let Jesus take possession of your mind, your heart, and your affections; and work as Christ worked, doing conscientiously the home duties, little acts of self-denial and deeds of kindness, employing the moments diligently, keeping a careful watch against little sins and a grateful heart for little blessings, and you will have at last such a testimony for yourself as was given of John and Samuel, and especially of Christ: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”1 AH 297.2

“Give Me Thine Heart.”—The Lord says to the young, “My son, give Me thine heart.” The Saviour of the world loves to have children and youth give their hearts to Him. There may be a large army of children who shall be found faithful to God, because they walk in the light as Christ is in the light. They will love the Lord Jesus, and it will be their delight to please Him. They will not be impatient if reproved, but will make glad the heart of father and mother by their kindness, their patience, their willingness to do all they can in helping to bear the burdens of daily life. Through childhood and youth they will be found faithful disciples of our Lord.2 AH 297.3

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Ellen G. White
The Faith I Live By, 167.1

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. Ecclesiastes 12:1. FLB 167.1

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 83

Balanced by religious principle, you may climb to any height you please. We would be glad to see you rising to the noble elevation God designs that you shall reach. Jesus loves the precious youth; and He is not pleased to see them grow up with uncultivated, undeveloped talents. They may become strong men of firm principle, fitted to be intrusted with high responsibilities, and to this end they may lawfully strain every nerve. FE 83.1

But never commit so great a crime as to pervert your God-given powers to devil and destroy others. There are gifted men who use their ability to spread moral ruin and corruption; but all such are sowing seed that will produce a harvest which they will not be proud to reap. It is a fearful thing to use God-given abilities in such a way as to scatter blight and woe instead of blessing in society. It is also a fearful thing to fold the talent intrusted to us in a napkin, and hide it away in the world; for this is casting away the crown of life. God claims our service. There are responsibilities for every one to bear; and we can fulfill life's grand mission only when these responsibilities are fully accepted, and faithfully and conscientiously discharged. FE 83.2

Says the wise man, “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth.” But do not for a moment suppose that religion will make you sad and gloomy and will block up the way to success. The religion of Christ does not obliterate or even weaken a single faculty. It in no way incapacitates you for the enjoyment of any real happiness; it is not designed to lessen your interest in life, or to make you indifferent to the claims of friends and society. It does not mantle the life in sackcloth; it is not expressed in deep-drawn sighs and groans. No, no; those who in everything make God first and last and best, are the happiest people in the world. Smiles and sunshine are not banished from their countenance. Religion does not make the receiver coarse and rough, untidy and uncourteous; on the contrary, it elevates and ennobles him, refines his taste, sanctifies his judgment, and fits him for the society of heavenly angels and for the home that Jesus has gone to prepare. FE 83.3

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Ellen G. White
Messages to Young People, 369

“Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth.” Jesus desires the service of those who have the dew of youth upon them. He wants them to be heirs of immortality. They may grow up into noble manhood and womanhood, notwithstanding the moral pollution that abounds, that corrupts so many of the youth at an early age. They may be free in Christ; the children of light, not of darkness. MYP 369.1

God calls upon every young man and young woman to renounce every evil habit, to be diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. They need not remain in indolence, making no effort to overcome wrong habits or to improve the conduct. The sincerity of their prayers will be proved by the vigor of the effort they make to obey God's commands. At every step they may renounce evil habits and associations, believing that the Lord, by the power of His Spirit, will give them strength to overcome. MYP 369.2

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Ellen G. White
My Life Today, 156

I wish I could portray the beauty of the Christian life. Beginning in the morning of life, controlled by the laws of nature and of God, the Christian moves steadily onward and upward, daily drawing nearer his heavenly home, where await for him a crown of life, and a new name, “which no man knoweth saving him that receiveth it.” Constantly he grows in happiness, in holiness, in usefulness. The progress of each year exceeds that of the past year. ML 156.2

God has given the youth a ladder to climb, a ladder that reaches from earth to heaven. Above this ladder is God, and on every round fall the bright beams of his glory. He is watching those who are climbing, ready, when the grasp relaxes and the steps falter, to send help. Yes, tell it in words full of cheer, that no one who perseveringly climbs the ladder will fail of gaining an entrance into the heavenly city. ML 156.3

Angels of God, that ascend and descend the ladder that Jacob saw in vision, will help every soul who will to climb even to the highest heaven. They are guarding the people of God and watching how every step is taken. Those who climb the shining way will be rewarded; they will enter into the joy of their Lord. ML 156.4

Early piety ensures to its possessor the full enjoyment of all that makes life happy.... Those who wait until the span of life is almost ended before they seek God, lose a life of pure, elevated happiness—happiness that never comes in pursuit of the pleasures that this life affords. Those who have been long acquainted with God, who from their youth have drawn their happiness from the pure fountain of heaven, are prepared to enter the family of God. ML 156.5

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Ellen G. White
Our High Calling, 219.1

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. Ecclesiastes 12:1. OHC 219.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 396-7

Parents should deal faithfully with the souls committed to their trust. They should not encourage in their children pride, extravagance, or love of show. They should not teach them, or suffer them to learn, little pranks which appear cunning in small children, but which they will have to unlearn, and for which they must be corrected, when they are older. The habits first formed are not easily forgotten. Parents, you should commence to discipline the minds of your children while very young, to the end that they may be Christians. Let all your efforts be for their salvation. Act as though they were placed in your care to be fitted as precious jewels to shine in the kingdom of God. Beware how you lull them to sleep over the pit of destruction with the mistaken thought that they are not old enough to be accountable, not old enough to repent of their sins and profess Christ. 1T 396.1

I was referred to the many precious promises on record for those who seek their Saviour early. Ecclesiastes 12:1: “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.” Proverbs 8:17: “I love them that love Me; and those that seek Me early shall find Me.” The Great Shepherd of Israel is still saying: “Suffer little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” Teach your children that youth is the best time to seek the Lord. Then the burdens of life are not heavy upon them, and their young minds are not harassed with care, and while so free they should devote the best of their strength to God. 1T 396.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 323

I am troubled in reference to your case. I see dangers that you seem never to have realized. Have you thoughtfully and prayerfully considered your duty to the children you have taken the responsibility of bringing into the world? Have you thought whether these children are receiving from you an education and discipline that will lead them to honor their Creator in the days of their youth? Have you considered that if you fail to teach them to respect you, their father and mother, and to yield to your authority, you are educating them to dishonor God? Every time you allow them to trample on your authority, and their will to control yours, you are fostering a defect which will be carried with them into all their experience should they become religiously inclined, and will teach them to disregard and trample upon divine authority. 5T 323.1

The question to be settled by you is: “Am I raising a family of children to strengthen the influence and swell the ranks of the powers of darkness, or am I bringing up children for Christ?” If you do not govern your children and mold their characters to meet the requirements of God, then the fewer children there are to suffer from your defective training the better it will be for you, their parents, and the better it will be for society. Unless children can be trained and disciplined from their babyhood by a wise and judicious mother, who is conscientious and intelligent, and who rules her household in the fear of the Lord, molding and shaping their characters to meet the standard of righteousness, it is a sin to increase your family. God has given you reason, and He requires you to use it. 5T 323.2

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 86.2

He [God] wants us to see the natural beauty in our world. He wants us to see this, and to educate our children to see that these are an expression of God's love to man. Here is a voice speaking to you parents to soften and subdue your hearts. Keep ever before you the One that made heaven and earth, that clad the world with its green velvet carpet, that has given us the lofty trees and clad them in their green foliage. But instead of talking of the praise of the God that made all these, humanity talks of the things of human manufacture, and they think of their houses that are so beautiful and their dresses that are so richly adorned. All this takes time and money, and that means souls. God has given us money that we may expend it to His glory. Oh, if the curtain could be rolled back: if we could only get a sight of the love of God that passeth knowledge. I scarcely dare to touch it; I scarcely dare to mention the glory that is in reserve. For whom? Every soul that has been tested and tried and that has an eye single to the glory of God, that will be loyal to the truth of heaven. The world's honor, the world's glory, and the world's applause are not worth anything to us. TDG 86.2

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Ellen G. White
The Upward Look, 345.1

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth. Ecclesiastes 12:1. UL 345.1

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Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 81-2

“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;
PK 81.1

“While the sun,
Or the light,
Or the moon,
Or the stars,
Be not darkened,
Nor the clouds return after the rain:
PK 81.2

“In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble,
And the strong men shall bow themselves,
And the grinders cease because they are few,
And those that look out of the windows be darkened,
And the doors shall be shut in the streets,
PK 81.3

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