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Christian Watchfulness.

Christian Watchfulness.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY ALEXANDER PENROSE FORBES, D.C.L.,


S. Mark xiii. 37.
" And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch."
BY ALEXANDER PENROSE FORBES, D.C.L.,


S. Mark xiii. 37.
" And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch."

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Oct 09, 2013
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06/28/2014

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CHRISTIA WATCHFULESS.BY ALEXADER PEROSE FORBES, D.C.L.,S. Mark xiii. 37." And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch."Very solemn are the warnings addressed toHis people by Him who knew all things, — verycontinuous is the claim upon our attention bythe Wisdom of God. While the world tries tostun us by its noise, and pleasure closes our earsto any whispers but its own, and the wickedspirits are ever busy to catch and draw awayour attention from the real objects of our so-licitude, the calm voice of Wisdom crying inthe streets, (once actually in the flesh heard inthe thoroughfares of Jerusalem, and now re-echoed throughout the whole earth by theChurch of God,) is heard above the din andhum of men, sharp and clear, exciting us towatchfulness and prayer.202 Christian Watchfulness.And what is watchfulness? It is walkingcircumspectly, not as fools, but as wise. It isbeing sober and vigilant, as S. Peter says. Itis taking care and heed to ourselves in all ouractions, considering the very great importanceof all we do here, because of its effect upon thatwhich is to come. Oh, dear brethren, if youwould but think how very important the mosttrivial action of the day becomes when viewedas to its effect upon the eternal destination of your souls, I am sure you would come to seehow merciful was the intimation of our DivineLord, when He commanded you to watch — and more than that — you would also see whaturgent necessity, what constraining induce-ments are laid upon you, to observe what Hehas thus graciously commanded.
 
And what are we to watch? Everything:every hour of our lives, every power of oursouls, every organ of our bodies, every inclina-tion of our spirits, every thought in our hearts,every word on our lips, is to be the object of our solicitude and concern. And not theseonly, but the motives which impel them are tobe searched into. First, then, we must takeheed to our understandings, since from them isthe upspring of so many things ; keep we our judgments clear and sound, uninfluenced by pre- judice, unswayed by passion; and take we^oodChristian Watchfulness. 203care that our thoughts be pure, knowing thatfrom the heart are the issues of life. We can-not exaggerate the importance of the guardian-ship of the thoughts, for not to mention thatfrom these all evil passions and unjust worksdo proceed, be it never forgotten that badthoughts indulged in, are in themselves (with-out reference to consequences) intrinsically sin-ful, and that God will punish the proud thoughtand angry wish, as surely as He will punishthe oppressor's wrong and the hater's blow.Many, many souls have been lost by mere sinsof thought. The sin which has taken the placeof the awful crime of idolatry in the Christiandispensation — covetousness — is a sin of thought;and to plead that the foul thought grew notinto the unholy act, will fail to stop the swordof the avenging Angel and arrest the Judgmentof the King of Saints.And next, guard we our wills and aflfections.These mighty powers were placed within us tobe exercised. The whole strength of each man'scharacter depends upon the firmness of his will,as the engagingness and beauty thereof dependupon the warmth of his affection. These powersmay be perverted to the service of the devil,but they were originally formed for a differentend. They were implanted in man that he
 
might love God above all things, and that, am-204 Christian Watchfulness*mated by this high motive, he might dare and dogreat things for His honour. It is the combina-tion of these two powers in the paths of religionwhich makes the truly good man — ^it is theirperversion, or weakening, or paralyzing, whichmakes the bad man. The bad are generallyboth weak and wicked; in the one case, thewill is wrong ; in the other, the aflfections. If this be so, the watch over our wills and affec-tions becomes most important. We cannot saythat the Apostle^s injunction — to set the affec-tion on things above — or the touching demandof God by the wise man — ^^ My son, give Methine heart^^ — or the clear enunciation of thenecessity of tearing from us even an eye or aright hand which tends to divert our affectionsfrom the Supreme Good — or the high and holyprecepts of the love of God — are superfluous orunnecessary. The importance of the objectitself deserves it; and this is enhanced whenone sees how little these motives are attendedto; for what trash men barter their precioussouls ! — what empty, vain, unsatisfying fanciestake up within them the place of the calm, con-straining love of God, which should be themainspring of their actions 1And next guard we our tongues — let us pur-pose that our mouth shall not transgress — letus take heed unto our ways that we offend notChristian Watchfulness. 205with our tongue. Let us keep our mouth aswith a bridle. This is very clearly taught inthe Holy Scripture, for ^^ If any man amongyoTi seem to be religious, and bridleth not histongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man'sreligion is vain ;" and our blessed Lord Him-

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