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TIME TO AWAKE.
ROMANS xiii, 11.
"It is high time to awake out of sleep."
SUPPOSE that to-morrow you were going to take a journey on business of the greatest importance, affecting the whole character of your after life. The time of departure is' six o'clock. At five you are a-bed and asleep. Should one of your friends stand by the bed-side, and, arousing you from your slumbers, exclaim, “ It is high time to awake out of sleep,” would you consider such interference as impertinent ?—Certainly not, but kind and friendlike. Your ready answer encourages me to proceed. We shall all take a very important journey soon. It may not be to-morrow. The time is uncertain, but the fact is sure. ney I refer to is from this world to another. It will affect the whole character of our after life ; and that after life as you know, will not be confined to a period of threescore years and ten, but will be eternal in du
The jourration, and fixed in character. Perhaps you have been slumbering on the subject. Sleep, of a strange kind, may have weighed down the eyelids of your inner man; will you consider me impertinent if I sound in your ears the words which you said were good words in the former case—“It is high time to awake out of sleep ?”
I assume, dear brethren, that when you quit this world, you will wish to go to heaven.
On the other side of death there are two roads ; that one to the right is to heaven ; that one to the left leads to hell. There is no other road. Along one or other of these you and I shall soon journey, and angels will be our company; angels of light, ministers of mercy; or angels of darkness, ministers of justice, as the case may be. The very thought of this journey affects me exceedingly, what will the real
you wish to go to heaven. Well ! it is a good wish ; are you fully awake to the very important preparatory work? I see some of you are growing old, and yet that matters but little ; I have buried some of your relations who were not so old as you. A hundred years are not to be counted against eternity. Supposing you to be slumberingold and young, rich and poor, all alike, need to be reminded that “it is high time you should awake out of sleep."
Regard not, I beseech you, my interference as impertinent. If I am rather rough and rude in my
struggles to arouse you, put it down to my anxiety that you should be ready for your journey. In cold regions, nothing is so dangerous as sleep. If you give way to it on the Alpine pass you will not wake again, most likely, in this world. The colder the state of your mind, the atmosphere of your character, the more you need to be shaken lest you sleep a perpetual sleep. I will do my best to wake you, and may the great God open all our eyes.
The words of the text were written by Paul; and, if any man was awake, he was that man : yet he puts himself amongst the rest ; "It is high time that we should wake out of sleep,” he says; for so it is in the original. No doubt he felt this; no doubt he felt that he was not half awake. And if Paul the Apostle felt so, what should we feel ?
The slumber of some is deep, you might almost fancy them to be dead. The slumber of others is light, the least noise will wake them up. So it is in spiritual slumbers; and the ministers of Christ, who are busy in calling men up for their journey, are obliged to say oftentimes, “ Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead." Yes, the words of the parable have a fulness of meaning and application“They all slumbered and slept.” Mark the distinction however between him who sleeps on, and him who struggles to wake; between the sluggard, and the man of mind. Indeed, my dear brethren, we are all partially asleep; I am asleep, and you, and we are
dreaming, all of us. Some, alas! are in deepest, most profound slumber; their dreams are peculiar; they dream that I dream; they laugh in their sleep, and are overheard to say—“'Tis all a farce !” It is high time for them, is it not, that they should wake out of sleep?
What is this sleep, which thus universally steeps the minds of men ? What is its cause? What is its character? What is its cure? Perhaps, you will say, , it is a figure of speech ; yes, yes, I know it is a figure of speech, but what is the meaning of this figure of speech? A figure of speech contains an inward spirit. “ Men love darkness rather than light,” this is a figure of speech, and yet it is the moral history of our race; and the historian is unimpeachable.
Did you ever thread your way through the thoroughfares of a mighty city, as the great metropolis of our empire, in broad daylight? What a busy scene !
Strangers all to us, or nearly so, yet how bent on business! There is no ceremony; on," is the watchword. Reflect on the busy hive of human creatures. Oh, surely there is something in this world that stirs to its very foundations the mystic fabric of our being. Stirs ? Yes, and charms, and fascinates, and binds with silken cords of dalliance and delay. Did you ever walk leisurely along the streets of that same metropolis in the dead of night ;
your stand on one of the bridges, and hear the sluggish waters lap about ? Oh! how changed is all!