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Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead ;

and Christ shall give thee light.

We are now in the midst of that hallowed season, when the church, by the voice of all her holy services, calleth the world to repentance, from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof. And if over there was an institution calculated to promote the glory of God by forwarding the salvation of man, it is this appointment of a certain set time for all persons to consider their ways, to break off their sins, and to return from whence they have fallen through the infirmities of the flesh and the prevalence of temptation. For though most certain it is, that sorrow should be the constant attendant upon sin, and daily transgressions call for daily penitence, yet fatal experience convinces us of another truth no less certain, that in a body so frail, and a world so corrupt, cares and pleasures soon oppress the heart, and insensibly bring on the slumbers of listlessness and negligence as to its spiritual concerns, which,

ance.

unless dissipated and dispersed by frequently repeated admonitions, will at length seal it up in the deep sleep of a final impenitence. It was wisely foreseen, that should the sinner be permitted to reserve to himself the choice of a convenient season wherein to turn from sin to righteousness, that convenient season would never come; and that the specious plea of keeping every day holy alike would often be found to cover a design of keeping none holy at all. It seemed good, therefore, to the church to fix a stated time in which men might enter upon the great work of their repent

And what time could have been selected with greater propriety than this Lenten, or Spring season, when universal nature, awaking from her wintry sleep, and coming out of a state of deformity, and a course of penance imposed for the transgression of man, her lord and master, is about to rise from the dead, and, putting on her garments of glory and beauty, to give us a kind of prelude to the renovation of all things? So that the whole creation most harmoniously accompanieth the voice of the church, as that sweetly accordeth to the call of the apostle, “ Awake, “ thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and “ Christ shall give thee light.”

These lively and animating words, the peculiar force and energy of which it would be an affront to every understanding and every heart to point out, like the sound of that wakeful herald of the morning, which once called Peter to repentance, and which, daily admonishing the world of the sun's approach, calls up the inhabitants thereof to behold the brightness of his rising and to walk in his light, address

themselves to the sinner, as to one fast holden in the bands of sleep, exhorting him to awake and look up, because the night is far spent, the day is at hand; and seem to be an evangelical paraphrase of that passage in the prophet Isaiah, which is a spiritual application of the most beautiful and magnificent iinage in nature, the rising of the sun upon the earth, with its effects and consequences; Arise, shine, • for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is “ risen upon thee."

The text, then, upon examination, will be found to imply thus much, that the world, without repentance and faith in Christ, is in a state of darkness, insensibility, and delusion, for such is the state of them that sleep. We will take a view, therefore, of each of these particulars.

And, first, these words plainly suppose the person to whom they are addressed to be in a state of dark

For they who sleep," as the apostle elsewhere observeth, “ sleep in the night,” which is the time of darkness, and therefore the season for repose. When the shadows of the evening are stretched out, and the earth, turning away from the sun, sinketh into the shadow of death, and thereby loseth all its form and comeliness; when the veil, that is cast over the face of nature, obliterateth the variety of colours which owe their being to the light, and abolisheth all the distinction of objects thence arising, introducing a joyless and uncomfortable uniformity, and rendering it impossible for any to "

go

forth to their labour;" when “the night cometh, in which none can work;" then it is that deep sleep falleth upon man. Here,

ness.

therefore, we have, according to the text, a representation of the state into which the soul is cast by sin, and in which it continueth, till recovered out of it by repentance and faith. “ Darkness," as saith the prophet Isaiah, “covereth the earth, and gross “ darkness the people.” Midnight overwhelmeth not the earth with a grosser darkness, than that which is superinduced upon the heart of man, when it departeth from God, and is turned away from its Maker, “ He that followeth not Christ walketh in “ darkness,” because the light of life shineth no longer upon his tabernacle.

When he has lost sight of the Sun of Righteousness, wisdom soon fadeth away, and understanding perisheth, and counsel is brought to naught, and the distinctions of good and evil are confounded. And now the man, walking in darkness, and not knowing whither he goeth, presently groweth weary and faint in his mind; whence, as natural darkness bringeth on sleep, ignorance, which is the darkness of the understanding, becometh the parent of indolence and inactivity, and casteth men by degrees into that deep sleep which is a suspension of the powers and faculties of the soul from the works of the spiritual life, as natural rest is a suspension of the members of the body from the labours of the animal life. This is the night when no inan can work out his salvation for lack of knowledge; and the world, in this state, may not unfitly be resembled to the kingdom of Egypt, during the three days of thick darkness, when it is observed, tbat“ no one stir“ red from his place.” Such is the condition of those, who, in the proper and exact language of holy writ, are said to "sit in darkness, and in the shadow of “ death," no one moving from his place to go forth to his work, or to walk in the way that leadeth unto life. In this comfortless situation was the whole world at the coming of Christ; and every man, whom the concerns or the pleasures of this life keep from the knowledge of the Scriptures and the wisdom therein contained, and so render negligent in the business of working out his own salvation, and contributing his utmost towards forwarding that of others, every such man is so far relapsed into the same situation, and standeth in need of the apostolical call, “Awake, thou that sleepest.”

But, secondly, the text plainly intimates to as, that the sinner, or man of the world, to whom it addresses itself as to one sleeping, is in a state of insensibility. For no sooner has sleep taken possession of any one, but forth with all the senses are locked up, and he neither seeth, heareth, smelleth, tasteth, nor feeleth any thing. Incapable of being affected with what passes in the world, regardless of every thing that relates to his real interest in life, and no longer susceptible of pleasure or pain, joy or grief, from the objects which produce those sensations in others who are awake, he becometh like unto them that are gone down to the chambers of the grave, and sleep in the dust of the earth. Wherefore the apostle saith, using sleep and death as synonymous terms, “ Awake, thou that SLEEPEST, and arise " from the DEAD." This address therefore to the sinner, or man of the world, is founded upon a supposition that the soul, by sin and the love of the

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