THE SLEEP OF GOD'S PEOPLEJOHN M. ASHLEY"It is high time to awake out of sleep." — Rom. xiii. ii.Introduction. — Advent is a season of diligent preparation forthe coming of Jesus Christ in the soul and to judgment; aseason especially in which we ought to awake out of oursleep of sin. That sin is a sleep can be easily seen from thefour following analogies.I. Sleep is an image of death. — The man asleep is as onedead, and if he cannot be awakened he is really dead. Sleep,like sin, like death, deprives us of a large portion of life, anda life without fruit is worse than death. Axe and fire areprepared for the unfruitful tree. The sleeping sinner is worsethan the beast, for he is a debtor to eternal death.II. Sleep generates deceptions. — We dream in sleep of riches, pleasures, and delights, of the worlds in which thewaking sinner rejoices as if they were real, whereas he holdsonly the shadow of such things, which melt away upon hisawaking out of the sleep of sin. (Job xx. 8 ; xxvii. 19.)III. Sleep raises false fears. — The sleeper sees and fearsdangers which are not, but neither sees nor fears those whichare real. So sinners ever fear shadows, but regard not realand live dangers ; they fear the transitory death of the body,but not the eternal death of the soul ; the separation of thesoul from that God Who is the blessed life of souls; theyfear poverty, but not hell. (Ps. xiv. 5.)IV. Sleep continues the deception. — The sleeper does notknow of his mistake, he cannot be persuaded of it until hewakes up in hell. (Ps. Ixxvi. 5.)Epilogue* — Need of awaking before the final arousing.
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