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fore put off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light."-" Put on the breast plate of faith and love, and for an helmet the hope of salvation." Arise and come forth, dressed in robes, and equipped with armor suitable for the business and dangers of the day. The import of the metaphor here used, is more literally expressed by your being renewed in the Spirit of your mind, and putting off the old man with his deeds, and putting on the new man which is created after the image of God. Think not then, that you have complied with this call, until your hearts are changed from the habitual love of sin, to the love of universal holiness; and conclude not, that you are the subjects of this change, until you experience the abiding fruits of it in your tempers and lives. This leads me to say,
3. They, who have awoke from their sleep and risen from the dead, will experience the properties, and maintain the exercises of a holy and spiritual life.
They will be heavenly minded. Being risen with Christ, they will set their affection on things above, for Christ is there, and their interest is there.
They will be watchful against sin and temptation. They will no more have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness; but rather reprove them. They will walk circumspectly, and abstain from the appearance of evil.
They will have a tenderness of conscience; a heart of flesh in opposition to the heart of stone. This will discover itself in a humble jealousy of themselves, in a careful inspection of their tempers and lives, in a ready conviction of sin, and easy relentings for it.
They will walk in newness of life, studying what is acceptable in the sight of God. They will no more yield themselves to sin, but. will yield themselves to God, as those who are alive from the dead, and their members instruments of righteousness to him.
They will delight in prayer. The soul born from above, looks upward, and tends to his native place. It
was said of Paul, after his conversion, "Behold, he prayeth." Paul had doubtless prayed before; for he was a Pharisee; and the Pharisees prayed long and often. But his Phariseean prayers are not reckoned here. Now it is said; "Behold he prayeth." He prayed, as a man ought to do, from his heart. His soul quickened to a new life, felt new desires, and made new requests.
They will aspire after improvements in knowledge and holiness, and delight in the means of spiritual growth. Babes in Christ long for the stature of perfect men.
You see then, what this rising from the dead means. Let us now,
III. Attend to the encouragement, which the text contains. "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light"-shall shine upon and enlighten thee.
1. This may be understood as a promise of pardon and eternal life on your repentance.
"Repent, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out." However great and numerous they are, they may all be forgiven through the blood of your Redeemer. This cleanses from all sin." "The righteousness of God through the faith of Christ is unto all who believe, and there is no difference." The greatness of your guilt is no obstruction to God's pardoning merey-it is only your impenitence which excludes you from the hopes of the gospel. See, what light arises in darkness.
2. The words farther import God's gracious attention to awakened souls, when they frame their doings to turn to him.
The call is, Awake, arise from the dead-repair to the Saviour. Say not, "We are unable to discern the way:" Christ will shine upon you and give you light. Say not, "We are unable to rise and walk :" He will meet you with his grace. Arise, he calleth you." VOL. III. 3 i
He will guide your steps. Stretch out to him your withered hand; he will give it strength. When the prodigal, having come to himself, felt his own wretched condition, and contemplated the rich supplies in his father's house-what did he say? Did he complain, "I cannot return?"-No: He resolved, "I will arise and go to my father." "And while he was yet a great way off, the father saw him, had compassion on him and ran to meet him.
Do you ask, "What can the dead do toward their own resurrection?-To what purpose are the prayers and endeavors of 'sinners for their own conversion ??? These are questions of a soul at ease-of a sluggard who pleads, "A little more sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep." Your danger has been set before you. If you have been wholly inattentive, and are still unawakened, I can only tell you again, your danger is exceeding great, and greater than before. The same stupidity, which has hindered your attention to this warning, will, I am afraid, defeat any advice which can be given you. But if, convinced of your guilt, and sensible of your danger, you seriously inquire, what you must do, you will gladly receive the word.
Acquaint yourselves, then, with the nature of religion. Think on your ways, and compare them with the word of God. Read and hear this word with honest selfapplication. Avoid whatever might extinguish your present sober sentiments. Shun the occasions of, and temptations to sin. Daily implore God's quickening and sanctifying grace, and in humble dependence on this grace form your resolutions against sin, and your purposes of new obedience.
Consider your present awakening as a new call from God to turn to him and hope in his grace. To this grace you are indebted for the work begun in you. Receive it not in vain. However insufficient you are to do any thing as of yourselves, yet remember you
are not left to yourselves. By that grace which is now striving with you, there is something which you may do. "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who worketh in you."
You see, on the one hand, how dangerous is your condition, while you continue in your sins; and on the other, how great is your encouragement to repent and seek God's mercy. If you are still unpersuaded-if neither a view of God's wrath makes you afraid, nor a view of his mercy animates your hope-if despising both the terrors of the law, and the invitations of the gospel, you go on still in your trespasses, what more shall be said?-Know, my friends, it is high time to awake out of sleep. Though you may sleep in sin, and delay your repentance, yet your judgment lingereth not, and your damnation slumbereth not; but you are bringing on yourselves swift destruction. Therefore awake, ye who sleep, and arise from the dead, for now Christ will give you light.
EPHESIANS v. 15, 16, 17.
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, because the days are evil. Wherefore be not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
THESE Ephesians, who were sometimes in darkness or Heathenism, had now by the preaching of the gospel become light in the Lord. The Apostle therefore exhorts them to walk as children of light"not as fools, but as wise." To walk in wisdom is a phrase, which may be understood as comprehending the whole of religion: But here it is used more especially to express the prudence and discretion, which ought to distinguish the Christian life. It is to walk circumspectly. And the reason assigned is, because the days are evil."
We will explain the duty, and then apply the argu
I. The duty recommended is, "to walk circumspectly."
The original word is often rendered, diligently; as where Herod inquired diligently of the wise men, what time the star appeared; and commanded them to