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the death of every man who has spent his days in things pertaining to this life only; "So he awoke, and, behold, it was a dream!"
But it is high time to change this gloomy scene for one that is more agreeable. Permit me, therefore, to contrast the foregoing description of the state of man, a stranger to repentance and faith in Christ, with one of the opposite state, to which we are called in the text; 6، Awake, thou that sleepest, and "arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee "light."
And first, the sincere penitent, who really and truly turns from sin to righteousness, and from the world to Christ, passes from darkness to light. He undergoes a change, like that made in man and in universal nature by the dawning of the morning, when there is a resurrection of both. For then it is, that man awaketh out of sleep, and ariseth as it were from the dead, to behold the light looking forth from the windows of the east, and the day breaking upon the tops of the hills; at which time the shadows fly away, and the clouds parting asunder, open a passage for that life-giving luminary, whose appearance the expectation of the creature impatiently waiteth for. The sun, " that marvellous "instrument of the Most High, ariseth in glorious majesty, disclosing and adorning all things in heaven and earth. And now the darkness is past, and the light shineth, to the end that all who are risen may go forth to their work, and to their labour, until the evening. So is it likewise in the repentance of a sinAt the powerful call of God, whether by his
word read or preached, by the admonition of charitable friends, by some happy incident, or change of fortune, by the death of others, or the sickness of the party himself-for various are the methods made use of by the Divine Providence for this gracious purpose at the powerful call of God he awaketh to righteousness, and findeth himself in a new world. He perceiveth that, through the tender mercy of God, the day-spring from on high hath visited him, to give unto him the knowledge of salvation for the remission of his sins, concerning which he was before in darkness and the shadow of death. But now all the shadows of his former ignorance fly away, all his earthly prejudices and passions are overcome, and dispersing like the cloud before the morning sun, the way is prepared for the Sun of Righteousness to arise upon him. By his glorious light, all the dispensations of God, in heaven and upon earth, are made manifest; and the man, being arisen to a life of grace, goeth forth to the work of his salvation, and to his labour of love, until the evening of his day.
Secondly, a sinner by repentance is brought out of a state of insensibility into one of sensibility. No sooner is a person awaked out of sleep, but he finds. himself endued with the use of all his senses, powers, and faculties. He walketh abroad, and his eyes are blessed with a sight of the whole creation risen with him from the dead, and rejoicing in the glorious light shining upon it from above. He surveys that lovely variety which displays itself upon the face of the earth, and beholds the beauty and brightness of the firmament of heaven. But chiefly his attention
is fixed on the great ruler of the day, who gives life and comeliness to all things. His ears are entertained with the music of the birds of the air, who fail not with their sprightliest notes to salute the rising sun; and his nostrils are refreshed with the grateful smell sent forth, in the hour of prime, from the ground and its productions. He is prepared to taste with delight the food afforded him by the bounty of God; and no part of his body is without the sensation proper and necessary for it. Similar to this is the alteration which takes place in the soul of the humble penitent, when at the call of God he awakes, and arises from the dead. If the light be sweet, and it be a pleasant thing to the eyes to be. hold the sun; sweet to the mind likewise is the light of life, and a pleasant thing it is to the eyes of the understanding to behold the Sun of Righteousness, who bestows by his word that divine knowledge, that heavenly wisdom, which is to them what the material light is to the bodily organs of vision. Hereby the penitent believer is enabled to behold the wonderful works of the Lord, the mighty things he hath done for his soul, having created all things anew in Christ Jesus, and brought the world out of darkness into his marvellous light. But above all the works he is led to contemplate and to adore the Author of them all; to look up steadfastly, with St. Stephen, into heaven, and see Jesus enthroned at the right hand of the Majesty on high, enlightening and enlivening all things with the glory of his grace. And this is what St. Paul so earnestly begs of God for his Ephesian converts, that being now awake froin sin, they might
behold the works and the glory of the Redeemer. "I cease not," says he, "to make mention of you in "my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus "Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you "the spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge of him; the eyes of your understanding be'ing enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory "of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the ex"ceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who "believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised "him from the dead, and set him at his own right "hand in the heavenly places, far above all princi"pality, and power, and might, and dominion, and
every name that is named not only in this world, "but that which is to come: and hath put all things "under his feet, and given him to be the head over "all things to the church, which is his body, the ful
ness of him who filleth all in all." The hearing ear is another gift of God to the sincere penitent, who is now no longer deaf to the voice of his Redecmer, speaking to him by his holy word, which entereth through his cars into his heart: he heareth and delighteth in the melody of praise and thanksgiving, that music of the church, that voice of joy and health in the dwellings of the righteous; nay, faith carries him to the door of heaven, where listening, he heareth that new song, and those everlasting hallelujahs, in which he one day hopeth to bear his
part. And now he walketh forth in the garden of God, the holy Scripture, to enjoy that sweet-smelling savour of life unto life, which ariseth from the comfortable promises therein contained, grateful as the fragrance of the holy vestments in the nostrils of the patriarch, "as the smell of a field which the "Lord hath blessed." He "hungereth and thirst"eth after righteousness," and hath a true taste and relish for the bread of life, insomuch that he inviteth all men to partake with him, in the words of the Psalmist; "O taste, and see that the Lord is gra"cious!" And such is the sensibility of his soul, that as he feels an exquisite delight in the testimony of a good conscience, so is he pained at the recollection of the least sin; nor can he find any rest, till he has invoked the aid of the great Physician of souls by fervent and importunate prayer, opened his grief to him by a full and free confession of his guilt, and received a perfect cure from his hands, by a fresh application of his all-sufficient merits.
Thirdly, the penitent is translated from a state of delusion to a sound judgement and right apprehension of things, from shadows to realities; even as one awaketh from the romantic scenery of a dream, to behold all things as they really are, and to do his duty in that station in which God has placed him. No sooner is a man awaked to righteousness, and risen with Christ to work out his salvation, but all his former vain and unprofitable life seemeth as a nightvision. When the Lord turneth away the captivity of one whom Satan hath long bound with the chains and fetters of evil habits; when he delivereth him out