Sermon 1445. Wake Up! Wake Up!
C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"That, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed."Romans 13:11.
THIS exhortation, as you will readily perceive, is not addressed to the ungodly. These words are not spoken to those who aredead in sin, but to those who are alive unto God, though somewhat given to slumber. There are many expostulations and admonitionswhich appeal to the willful and wicked, to the indifferent and unbelieving, to those who err and are out of the way, but thisis not one of them. Here we have a special charge to disciples of Jesus who know the time and also know that their salvationdraws near. They are represented as being asleep and needing to awake from their present sluggishness. But they are not describedas those who had ceased to be Christians, or whose salvation was in jeopardy. Though it is admitted that it is high time forthem to awake out of sleep, their salvation is never questioned, but on the contrary they are reminded that now it is nearerthan when they believed.
The tone and tenor of this call to circumspection suggest to us that when we address the Lord's people and find occasion torebuke and reprove them, we should never insinuate that they are likely to be banished from the household of faith, or tobe cast away from the Presence of God, or to be treated as reprobates. Even if we feel convinced that they are asleep andthat they must be awakened, we ought not to denounce them with railing accusations or threaten them with the wailings of thelost and the doom of unquenchable fire. You would not be pleased if anyone should touch your child with a horsewhip-nor willthe Lord allow us to strike His chosen with the rod of the wicked. Legal thunders are not intended for justified saints-
"The terrors of Law and of God With us can ha ve nothing to do. Our Savior's obedience and blood Hide all our transgressionsfrom view.'
Even if the saints' hearts are dull, their eyes heavy and they are evidently fast asleep, we are not warranted in raisinga false alarm. It is not for us to tell the heirs of salvation to awake because they are in danger of the wrath to come, forthey are in no such danger-that is past and gone. Rather let us remind them that their salvation is nearer than when theybelieved and so stir them up to watchfulness and activity by appropriate motives. The whip is for the slave, not for the child.The dread of punishment is for the condemned, not for the justified. The fear of wrath is not for those who are "acceptedin the Beloved," but for those who reject the Savior and put from them the eternal mercy of God.
While, then, I endeavor to speak frankly and faithfully to the Lord's people, I shall try to avoid anything like a legal tone.I would gladly talk to God's children as their Father in Heaven would have them talked to, somewhat sharply, perhaps, butstill without a trace of the threats which belongs to the ungodly, but not to those who are saved in the Lord. From the connectionit appears to me that Paul had in his mind's-eye a kind of sleepy state into which God's people may fall with regard to others-andupon that state of slumber we shall speak tonight.
I. Looking at the text in its true bearings, this is the lesson-SOME PROFESSING CHRISTIANS SEEM TO BE ALTOGETHER IN A DEADSLEEP WITH REGARD TO OTHERS. It is all very well to take a passage of Scripture, isolate it from the context, and use it asthe slogan of a sermon. But it is evidently not the natural and fair way of treating the Word of God. You may do so, for themost part, with tolerable safety, for God's Truth, even when it is broken up into little pieces, still retains its purityand perfection like certain crystals, which, however much they may be subdivided, always bear the same crystalline form. Sotrue in every particle and detail is the Revelation of God that though you should take it up and dash it to pieces, yet everylittle fragment will bear the original impression.
But this is no excuse for treating the Scriptures in an unjustifiable manner instead of expounding them according to the rulesof common sense. Texts ought always to be handled with a reverential deference to the mind of the Divine Spirit who wrotethem. When we attempt to rivet your attention on a verse or the fraction of a verse of the Bible, we desire you, also, tobe scrupulously attentive to the affinities in which it stands. If any of my published sermons should in any instance appearto violate this rule, you will bear me witness that it has been my constant habit throughout all my ministry among you toread and open up, as best I could, the whole chapter from which I have selected a few words as the emphasis of my discourse.I have honestly endeavored to give you the special mind of the Spirit either in the exposition or in the sermon.
Now, you will see that the connection here is this. Paul has been bidding us to pay attention to relative duties. As citizens,he bids us render honor to magistrates, to those who are in authority and to pay all lawful dues and customs, and the like,telling us that we are to owe no man anything except to "love one another." And then he shows us that the Law of Love is theabstract and the essence of that great table of the Law which concerns a man's relation to His neighbors. He goes on to exhortus to keep that Law of Love, to manifest love more and more and, when he has done so, he interjects this sentence, "And that,knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep."
Now, I gather that he means that many Christians are in a sleepy state with reference to the Law of Love with reference totheir obligations to others. Beloved Friends, true godliness makes a man look to himself. It commences by convincing him ofhis own sin and by leading him, personally, to lay hold on Christ, by faith, that in His blood he may find salvation. It thenmakes the man feel his personal obligations and his individual responsibilities. It sets him free from many of the yokes withwhich his fellow men would load him and bids him obey his own conscience before his God, to be a law unto himself and to standand walk as before the Most High, judging righteous judgment as to the Lord's will and not basely bending to evil at the adviceand persuasion of other men.
I would to God we could get some Christians, some professed Christians, to be a little more independent! But so many of themare like the rotten houses of which we have not a few in this neighborhood-they could not stand alone- they must keep together,for they prop one another up! If you were to pull down one of the houses in some of our streets, they would all fall! Andso there are sets of Christian professors that lean one, upon another, upon the custom of their set and sect, and Church andcommunity. They have never dared to study Scripture for themselves and follow it, nor have they ever tried to form their ownpersonal conscientious convictions!
One of the first works of the Holy Spirit is to make a man look at home and to consider the condition of his own soul. Whenthe Spirit of God has made a man thus to stand on his own footing before God and to feel his personality, there springs upa danger that such a man may say, "I shall henceforth keep myself to myself. My chief business will be indoor work, to seeafter the rightness of my own spirit and to keep myself prospering before the Lord. Other people must see to themselves andI must see to myself." The principle of individuality might be thus pushed to an extreme till what, at first, was necessarygrit in the spiritual constitution, making the man truly a man, may be so unduly increased that he becomes, at last, an unkind,ungenerous, cruel, selfish thing deprived of the best part of his humanity.
Thus, we are brought back to this, that albeit every man must give an account of himself before God and must personally beborn again and personally be reconciled to God by Jesus Christ, yet, "no man lives to himself," nor was he ever meant to doso. No man can compass the ends of life by drawing a little line around himself upon the ground. No man can fulfill his callingas a Christian by seeking the welfare of his wife and family only, for these are only a sort of greater self. There are outgoinglines of life that bind us not only with some men, but, in fact, with all humanity, so that if we did but know it, the thoughtof one brain, the utterance of one mouth, the movement of one pair of hands does, in its measure, influence the whole humanrace to some degree and will do so till time shall be no more. We are placed, therefore, in a most solemn position and itis with regard to this that it is high time that we should awake out of sleep.
Into what a deep slumber some professing Christians have fallen! How utterly insensible they are to the sins and sorrows ofthose around them. They believe God has a people and they are very glad He has, as far as they are capable of being glad ofanything that does not concern themselves. But, "the world lies in the Wicked One," and multitudes are perishing! They aresorry it is so, that is to say, they go the length of saying they are sorry. It does not cause them any sleepless nights;it does not disturb their digestion; it in no way interferes with their comfort, for they do not seem to think that it hasanything to do with them.
I know some that are in such a sleep who drug themselves with almost as much regularity as they feed themselves! They takethat great and precious Truth of God of the Divine Sovereignty and turn it to a most detestable use-for they say, "What isto be will be and the Lord's purpose will be fulfilled. There will be some saved and others lost." All this is said as coollyas if they were talking of a wasp's nest! As for those that are lost, they dare not injure their logic by indulging a littlemournful emotion. Were their minister to weep over the lost, as Jesus wept over Jerusalem, they would say he was unsound-aduty-faith man, certainly and, probably, an Arminian! And they would straightway quit him and think that he could not havereally received the mind of the Spirit of God.
Yet, in the judgment of all who think aright, one of the finest traits in a Christian's character is the deep sorrow whichhe feels over souls that are being lost and the great longing of his own soul that men would turn unto God and find peacethrough Jesus Christ. O Sirs, I fear there are many professors in a deep sleep as to whether others are going to Heaven orto Hell! They look upon, as a matter of course, the drunkenness that is around them! The blasphemy which greets their earsdoes not chill their blood-they say it is very usual and very shocking! The Sabbath-breaking they take to be a kind of necessaryevil! The rejection of Christ by men, they look upon as no sin at all and they even quarrel and quibble with those who thinkthat sinners are blameworthy in rejecting the Son of God, the Savior of sinners!
I trust that many of these are God's people and, if they are, it is high time that they should awake out of such a sleep asthat-so unlike Christ, so alien to the spirit of love, so contrary to the mind-which God would have His Spirit work in allHis people. Alas, that they should have sunk into so dead a sleep! There are others, dear Friends, who are prone to be overtakenwith an oft-recurring sleep. I know a Brother who often takes forty winks in the daytime-you may nudge him and he will wakeand listen to you, but he goes to sleep again in a few minutes if you leave him alone. He will attend to you with much pleasureif you pull his coat again, but he soon returns to his dozing.
Who can blame the sleeper when it is a question of infirmity or sheer exhaustion? I never like to blame people too hastilywhen they go to sleep in a place of worship, for I remember thinking rather harshly of a Brother who went to sleep one Sundaymorning under my sermon-when I found that he had been sitting up two nights with a sick wife and had been doing a full day'swork besides, then I was sorry enough to have thought a harsh thought of a worthy man. I rather wondered, when I understoodthe case, whether I should have been able to come to worship at all. Well, without blaming any of you, then, for the weaknessof the flesh, I take this sleepy habit to be a fit illustration of the state in which some Christians are to be found. Theygo to sleep and then they wake up for a little. They have fits and starts of wakefulness and then off to sleep again theydrop.
Does this describe you, dear Friend? At that missionary meeting you woke up when you heard the cry of the perishing heathen.You wanted to get out into the street at once and tell poor sinners about Christ-and you emptied your pockets into the platebefore you left the building! Have you cared much about China or India since then, though you know that there are millionsof people-millions dying for lack of knowledge? They have not troubled you much, have they, since that missionary meeting?Perhaps tonight I shall pull your coattail a little and you will be awake, again, and you will be very much concerned. Perhapsyou will pray earnestly for your neighbors and your ungodly friends. But, I fear, you will soon go to sleep again.
You have gone back to your slumbers so many times before that now it is "sleeping made easy." Could not your ministers lodgea grievous complaint against you for this? You get on fire with love for souls when the discourse is specially arousing, butthen, after the sermon is over and the week of special services has ended, you go to sleep again! There are many Sunday schoolteachers of that kind. They sometimes talk to their children about their souls with tears in their eyes and then, again, theirardor evaporates and they get through their duties in little better form than merely reading the Scriptures and explainingthem in a dry, dull fashion.
My slumbering Brothers, you could be awake! You might be awake! For sometimes you are! There are times when your whole soulseems on fire! If anybody had spoken of you, then, they would have said, "What a fine man that is! What love he has for Christ!What concern for the souls of men! He ought to be sent forth as a missionary at once." Wait till you see him asleep! He cansleep very soundly! In fact, he is as great at sleeping as at waking! He can descend into depths of stupidity and indifferenceas naturally as he just now rose into heights of fervor and enthusiasm! Yes, there are many such, and I would say to any Brothersand Sisters who are conscious of a propensity in that direction-is it not high time that you, that I, that any, that ALL OFUS should awake out of sleep?
There are those, again, who fall into a kind of somnambulistic state. They are doing a good deal for their Lord and Master,but they are asleep. If judged by their outward actions, we should think they were wide awake and they do what they do verywell. But have you ever seen a person who has a habit of walking in his sleep? It is a strange sight! Persons have been knownto walk along giddy heights safely enough when they have been fast asleep where they would not have thought of venturing ifthey had been wide awake! And we have known, sometimes, professors going on very safely, carefully, exactly in positions whereothers have fallen-and we have admired their prudence and discretion and attributed it to the Grace of God-whereas in partit has been attributable to the fact that they were spiritually asleep all the time!
It is very possible to walk long and far and yet remain asleep! It is very possible to appear very devout when, indeed, youare very sleepy! It is very possible to sing hymns when you are not awake to the sense! Yes, and it is very probable thatyou will betray your absence of mind by sitting down at the last verse, although there is going to be a chorus afterwards.You know it is coming, but your part of the worship is performed so mechanically that you dropped down in your pews as a merematter of habit-and then were all in a flurry to be up again! I have detected many of you doing it. I have felt convincedthat you were virtually asleep at the time-not really drinking in the spirit of the hymn, or else it would not have happened.It is very easy to hear sermons and to be asleep all the while-at least with one ear open and one eye-but the major part ofthe faculties of the soul still steeped in slumber.
And you can keep on teaching in the Sunday school, pay your religious contributions punctually, maintain the habit of familyprayer and even your private devotions may not be wholly neglected, and yet you may be walking in your sleep! All these dutiesmay be done with a sort of sleep-walking life and action and not at all with the life of a thoroughly wakeful man. Oh, I wouldlike to hear a man speak about Heaven who was altogether awake to it! I would like to hear a man preach about Hell who wasawakened to the true pitch! It would make your very hair stand on end as you should hear how he told of the terrors of thewrath to come! It would make every drop of blood dance in your veins to hear a man speak of Christ who is all on fire withDivine love and all awake with Divine delight in Him!
But that slumber is apt to come over the most lively minister. Who will not confess it? Oh, if you have ever read a chapterof the Bible when your soul has been all awake, how the promises have glowed and burned! How bright have they been like "theterrible crystal." But too often we have nodded over the Bible; nodded over the promises; nodded over the precepts till thereseemed neither life nor power in them. The life was there, but we were asleep!
Well, dear Friends, I must add and then I shall have said enough about sleep, that a very large number of us are half asleep.Whether there is one man alive that is spiritually awake all over, I do not know. Such a man as Rutherford, who loved hisLord so that he scarcely ever thought of anything but Jesus-that was a man all awake! Such a man as Mr. Whitefield-preachinghis very heart out morning, noon and night with a seraphic eloquence-that was a man wide awake! There have been many such;I trust there is a remnant of such now. But the most of us are painfully conscious that we are waking and need greatly tobe more awake still.
O God, make us feel the solemn weight of those eternal things in which we believe! You have saved us-make us awake to feelfrom what You have saved us and by Whom You have saved us! Awaken us to realize to what you have saved us and what the privilegesare which belong to us now that we are saved! Oh, when I think how trivial are the things of time and how all-important arethe unseen realities of eternity, I cannot but again conclude that most of us are nothing more than about half awake as tothe things of God! And if it is so, it is high time that we awake out of sleep!
II. Now, in the second place, I want to occupy a few minutes by saying that whereas many Believers are asleep IT IS HIGH TIMETHAT THEY SHOULD AWAKE. And why high time that they should be awake? Why, first, because what right have we who are Believersto be asleep at all? The Lord has saved us-saved us from death-saved us from the sleep which is the first cousin to death.He has saved us from indifference, from unbelief, from hardheartedness. He has saved us from carelessness. Well, now, if theLord has done this for us, what business have we to be in a sleepy state?
When the five wise virgins went out to meet the bridegroom and took their lamps with them, what right had they to be asleep?I can very well understand those sleeping who had no oil in the vessels with their lamps, because when their lamps went outthey would be in the dark and darkness suggests sleep. But those who had their lamps well trimmed, should they go asleep inthe light? Those that had the oil, should they go to sleep while the oil was illuminating them? They needed to be awake toput the oil into the lamp. Besides, they had come out to meet the bridegroom! Could they
meet him asleep? When he should come, would it be fit that he should find those who attended his wedding all asleep in a row,insulting his dignity and treating his glory with scorn?
Child of God, you are expecting Christ to come soon? He may come tonight, or He may, if He pleases, delay His coming, butwhy, oh why, do you think of sleeping? What is there congruous to your character-what is there suitable to your expectations-inyour sleep? If, then, you have caught yourself having a sinful nap, bestir yourself and ask the Holy Spirit to awaken you,for since you have no right to sleep at all, it is high time that you should awake out of sleep! It is high time because agreat many opportunities have already slipped away! I address myself to some of you who have been converted, say these 10years. And what have you done for Christ? You are saved-we are not going to question that-and your glorious salvation is nearerthan when you believed.
But what have you done during these many years? You have been eating the fat and drinking the sweet, but have you fed thehungry? Have you brought in the wandering? You have enjoyed the means of Grace, you tell me. And is this all you were createdfor-to enjoy, yes, even to enjoy good things? Have you not asked yourself the question, "What shall I render to the Lord forall His benefits toward me?" Dear Friend, if you have been saved a week and you have done nothing for Christ during that week,you have already wasted more than enough time in having lived through seven fruitless days! Let the time past suffice youto have suffered opportunities to pass before your door unwelcomed.
But some professors are growing old; gray hairs are upon them! How long have you been a Christian? Have you loved the Lordthese 30 years and done so little? Or what, if though you are an old man and yet only a baby in Grace? That is worse still,is it not? As to all the past, is your account grievously unprofitable?-A wilderness where there might have been a garden-adesert where there might have been a fruitful field? Can you endure the painful retrospect? Oh, when I look back, one of thejoys of my life is to have been converted to God while yet a child and to have begun to preach the name of Jesus when stilla youth! And yet though that is a subject for joy, I find abundant reason for accusing myself of wasting opportunities ofservice!
If it is so with me, though for years I have lived unto the Lord-I am sure it must be so with many of my Master's servants.So let me say to them, by all those wasted opportunities it must be high time for you to awake out of sleep! Time is hasteningon, my Brothers and Sisters! Each flying moment holds another by the heel. Life rushes on as a rapid stream! It bears us alongswiftly and silently. If you are going to do something, it must be done very soon, young man! You are not a child now. Yoursun has not quite reached its zenith, but it is rising high. It may go down before it is noon. If something is to be accomplishedbefore you die, get at it, Man, get at it, or your life will be a failure!
And you of middle life. Well, you are in the very strength and prime of your days. If God is to be glorified by you and soulsbrought to Christ by you, I urge you, in the name of all that is reasonable, get at it and lay to, for if you do not worknow, when will you? When the days of weakness come and those that look out of the windows are darkened, you will say, "I amtoo old." Oh, now, let the prime of your days be the Lord's! Or, has the evening of life descended upon you? Are the shadowslengthening and does strength fail? Brother, Sister, you are saved! You would not like to go to Heaven, would you, withoutglorifying Christ here below? Then do it now! All hand, all heart, all mind, all thought must be given to the present pressingduty. You have such a little while before you-so scanty an evening is left you- surely it should be all spent with the utmostdiligence in the Master's service. "Knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep."
Do you not see that it is high time to awake out of sleep because there were so many people that had a claim upon us who arebeyond our power, now, even if we do wake? Have you ever felt the sadness of neglecting to visit a person who was ill untilyou heard that he was dead? You said to yourself, "Why did I not go and speak at least one word of warning before that soulwas gone into eternity?" Death is sweeping away multitudes of our neighbors and friends! And it is high time that we werediligent in seeking those that remain, if we are to do them any good, for when that knell is tolling and that grave is closing,our regrets will be useless to the departed and, at the same time, very bitter to ourselves.
Many are passing away from us and from the sphere of our influence in the common course of Providence. Your children, forinstance. They were little. Some of you still have little children. Well, they will not be little long! Already, Mother, thatboy is beginning to show a good deal of independence of spirit! He will not even listen to you now as he once did and youfeel a little grieved at it. It will be more so soon! If you do not bend the twig when it is a twig, you will not do muchwith it when it gets to be a tree! We let our children slip from under our fingers while they are plastic. We
forget to mold them and then they get into manhood and become less amenable to our counsels and our cautions-and we grievethat we did not do something more to train them up in the way they should go.
Now is your time, Mother, God helping you. Now is your time, Father! Parents, avail yourselves of your opportunities and rememberthat good is done by constant watching and by small degrees. And your servants, too. Cannot you remember some servants thatlived with you and you always meant to talk to them about their souls and to pray with them? But they left you and they weregone before you had commenced to bless them. They are very worldly now. Perhaps if you were to trace them out, you would findthey were Christless and you would hear them say that they once lived with a religious mistress, with a pious master and theyhoped they would never do so again, for it was the most miserable time they ever had-"and whatever religion Master might havehad, he kept it all pretty well to himself, for we never heard much of it." "Oh," you say, "I hope they do not say that!"I hope so, too, but I have known such things said. And it is very possible that men and women may be so asleep about the soulsof those round them that opportunities which were in their way may be sliding away never to return.
I believe that if we were awake we might often avail ourselves of opportunities to speak to men who otherwise hold themselvesaloof from any religious conversation. There is a time with almost every man, when conscience is awake. Perhaps he is saddenedby affliction or cowed by adversity-then he will respect as friendly what he might otherwise resent as insulting. The mosthardened, at some season or other, become amenable to reproof, or exhortation, or direction. If you are ready, take a shotat him and you will have him. But, if not at that moment, you may never have another occasion of getting the Truth of Godwhere the man will feel it! We ought to be ready in a minute. Those who would shoot the running deer have to be very, veryclever in taking sight and seizing the moment while it is running by. And those that would take running souls-and the mostof our fellow countrymen are just such-must be sharp-sighted and quick-witted. They run by us and we must have them in a minuteor else they will have gone beyond our reach. We cannot do this unless we are awakened out of our sleep. God grant we maybe so awakened!
Meanwhile, dear Friends, there is this reason why we should be awake-we have plenty of enemies that are awake if we are not.You may sleep, but you cannot induce the devil to close his eyes. Protestantism may slumber, but I will guarantee you Catholicismnever does! You may see evangelicals asleep, but you will not find ritualists slumbering. The Prince of the power of the airkeeps his servants well up to their work. Is it not a strange thing that the servants of Satan serve him so enthusiasticallywhile the servants of the Lord often serve Him at a poor, cold, dead-alive rate? Oh, may the Lord quicken us! If we could,with a glance, see the activities of the servants of Satan, we should be astonished at our own sluggishness! It is while mensleep that the enemy comes and sows tares among the wheat and it is because men sleep that the tares are sown in the Lord'sfield. If we were more awake, the adversary would not have the opportunity of scattering his evil grain.
It is high time that we awake out of sleep, for it is daylight. The sun has risen! Will you sleep now? We are getting farinto the Gospel dispensation. Can you still sleep? It is time that we were awake, for our Lord was awake! What wakefulnessHe exhibited! How did His eyes stream with tears over perishing Jerusalem! He was all heart. The zeal of God's house consumedHim. Ought it not to consume us? We ought to be awake, for our own day may be over within an hour or two! The preacher maybe delivering his last sermon. You may go home tonight to offer the last prayer at the family altar which you will ever utteron earth! You may open shop, tomorrow morning, for the last time. Should not these possibilities bestir you? How near, howvery near, is the ultimatum of every man here present! Have you fixed upon a grand purpose, Brother? Fulfill it! You havescarcely time to get through it, therefore waste not an hour.
Have you been planning? Leave off planning and get to executing your work! You have been speaking about being generous. Begenerous! You have been talking about being spiritually minded. Leave off talk and get at it, man! You have intended to beconsecrated to God. Come, do not squabble about consecration and about perfectionism, but be consecrated and be perfect. Goin for the highest possible form of devotion and service! We have lived long enough at this poor half-and-half rate. If thereis any higher platform, may the Lord lift us up to it! If there is a way of living-spirit, soul and body-wholly, unreservedlydevoted every moment to the Lord, oh may His Spirit conduct us into such a state!
This is our ambition! We aspire to this! We dare not say, as some do, that we have gained it, for if we did we believe thatwe should give evidence that we knew not what it was, or else we should not talk so loftily. But Brothers and Sisters,
while the Master's personal coming may be so near and while His coming to us by death may be nearer, still, it is high timethat we awoke out of our sleep!
III. I close with a third remark. IT IS WORTH WHILE WAKING, FOR THERE IS SOMETHING WORTH
WAKING FOR. Paul says that it is high time that we wake out of sleep, for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.As I already remarked, he does not say, "for if you do not wake you will be lost." Neither does he say, "You Christian people,if you remain in this dull state, will perish without hope." No, that is the threat of the Law and suits the tongue of Moses,but Jesus does not talk so. No, no! He sets His servant speaking to us in a Gospel tone, "Now is your salvation nearer thanwhen you believed."
Undoubtedly, dear Brothers and Sisters, it is nearer in order of time. How long is it since you believed? Ten years? You are10 years nearer Heaven, then. Your salvation, that is, your ultimate, complete salvation-the display and manifestation ofyour complete deliverance from evil, from sin, from death, from Hell-is nearer by so many years than when you believed. Someof us are 25 years nearer Heaven than we were. Ought we not to be more awake? The farther we are off from Heaven, the lesswe may feel its influence-but we are getting so much nearer that we ought to be increasingly sensitive to its mysterious spell.Oh, to feel more of its power!
We shall soon be in Heaven, Brothers! We shall soon be there, Sisters! Do not let us go to sleep, now, with the golden gateright before us and Jesus waiting to admit us! Nearer Glory! Is it not a good argument for being more alive unto God? Someof you are 60 years nearer to Heaven than you were! You have been in Christ now more than half a century. Well, well, Brothersand Sisters, are you not glad of it? Would you like to live those 60 years over again? Would you like to go back and treadthat weary road a second time, clambering again Hill Difficulty and sliding, down again, into the Valley of Humiliation? Wouldyou wish to march a second time through the Valley of the Shadow of Death and into Giant Despair's castle?
"No," you say, and you need not fear the return journey, for you shall not go back again! Rejoice that you are so much nearerHeaven in the matter of time. Therefore, stay wide awake and looking out for it. When little children have been taken fromtheir inland homes to the sea, they have been very eager to see the ocean and yet they have been ready to go to sleep as theyapproached the end of the journey. They have never seen the sea before, and Mother says, "Wake up, children, you are comingnear the sea." Soul, Soul, Soul, we have never seen Heaven but we are getting nearer! Let us stay awake! Jerusalem, my happyhome, shall I enter your sacred precincts sleeping? Shall I come to the last hill, from which I am to take a view of yourglittering lanes and golden streets, and shall I be half asleep within view of them? Come, my heart! No, no, no! Wake up,my heart! Heart, wake up! You are getting nearer Home. "A day's march nearer Home" you have come even this day-be ashamedto slumber!
And, if we are getting nearer in point of time, I hope we are getting nearer in point of preparation. Christ is preparingHeaven for us and His Sprit is preparing us for Heaven! Well, then, if we are getting more ready for Heaven, we ought to bemore awake, for sleepiness is not the state of heavenly spirits! Heaven is the home of activity, not the dormitory of unconsciousness!When our bodies shall have been raised from the dead, they shall enjoy life and energy and be forever free from fatigue andsluggishness. Let us, as we are getting ready for celestial company, be fuller of life and fuller of energy! More ready forHeaven, then reap, reap, reap with stronger arms. Do another man's work, if you can, as well as your own!
You have nearly accomplished your life's labor, therefore throw all your strength into that little which remains. So nearHeaven? Then pluck another brand out of the burning! If you are more fit for Heaven, you have more love, more Grace, morepity-then reach out both hands to bring another poor soul to Christ! If the golden gate shall soon be open to you and youshall be shut in forever in the blest place of rest, be sure to show others the way to that gate, that you enter not alone!Your salvation is nearer than when you believed, therefore do something more to prove that you are ready for it.
And, lastly, as your salvation is nearer than when you believed, let us hope your realization of it is more clear. Have youtried to realize the Glory to be revealed? Within a short time you will be with Jesus!-
"Far from this world of grief and sin, With God eternally shut in."
Your head will wear a crown, your hand shall grasp the palm of victory! You, even you, shall walk the golden streets and seethat Face which is brighter than the sun! It may be that tonight you will be made free in the New Jerusalem-tonight you mayleave that narrow room and that hard bed, the abode of poverty and care-and you may be away up where they keep eternal Sabbathsand the congregations never break up. You will be there, Brother and Sister, even you! There is a crown in Glory which nohead can wear but yours. You will be there!
Well, now, it seems to me that if I can realize that in so short a time my eternal salvation shall be consummated and I, evenI, shall be among the blood-washed throng and see my Savior's face, I cannot any longer neglect a single opportunity of servingHim! I cannot any longer let poor souls go down to Hell without endeavoring to save them! I cannot any longer neglect prayer-neglectopportunities of usefulness-or live otherwise than as a man should live who has his foot upon the doorstep of Heaven and hisfinger on the latch! What manner of persons ought you to be to whom Heaven is guaranteed by promise and to whom it has beensealed by blood to be your special heritage-the portion of a people whom every moment brings nearer to eternal joy? What mannerof persons ought you to be? May the Spirit of God make you to be just that, now, and He shall have praise forever. Amen.
I have said nothing to the unconverted because I have been admonishing you Believers to say something to them. If you willcatch the spirit of my text, you will, each one, feel for them and begin to speak. But if I were to wrench the text from itsconnection and apply it to the unconverted, what a sledge hammer it would be! Shall I read the text as I should have to readit if it spoke to the unregenerate? It runs to the Christian, "Now is your salvation nearer than when you believed." But oh,you unconverted men and women, must I read the text as it would have to run if it were written to you?
"It is high time that you should awake out of sleep, for now is your damnation nearer than when you first heard the Gospeland rejected it." Take heed, take heed! God grant you Grace to take heed and to believe in Christ. Amen and Amen!