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The Call to Diligence.

The Call to Diligence.

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Romans xiii. 12.
The night is far spent ; the day is at hand.

Romans xiii. 12.
The night is far spent ; the day is at hand.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Aug 06, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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THE CALL TO DILIGECE. BY REV. CHARLES P. McILVAIE,Romans xiii. 12. The night is far spent ; the day is at hand. The whole duration of our existence, here and hereaf- ter, is, in these words, divided into two parts — night and day — a single night, a single day. The night begins at birth, the day begins at death. To those who are this side of the grave, it is night; to those who are beyond the grave, it is day. They who died in the Lord, have now the day of endless glory; they who died in their sins, have also their endless day; but as the scriptures speak of it, it is ^*the day of wrath, and of the revela- tion of the righteous judgment of God."* You will observe that the relative position of night and day, in regard to the life of man, is not the same in the text as in certain other passages of scripture. Some- times the comparison is between our present life and our approaching death; between the life that now is, as the only time to work out our salvation, and death, as the final termination of all opportunity of preparing to meet our God; and then the present life is our dat/y and death is represented as a coining night Of this sort is the comparison in those words of our Lord, " I must work • Romans ii. 5. 172 SERMO vm. the works of Him that sent me, while it is day; the night Cometh, when no man can work."*
But here the comparison is not between life and death, but between two divisions of life — ^the life that we have now, before we die, and the life we shall have when we die. Hence, the present is the night, the future the day. " The night is far spent ; the day is at hand." To some here, it is very near the break of day. I. I will show in what sense our present life is justly called the rdght. 1st. It is our time of ignorance. At the very best of our condition this side the grave, we walk in igno- rance in respect to matters in the works and ways of God, so innumerable, so immeasurable, that our light elsewhere is but as the spark of the fire-fly upon the bosom of the night. But mistake me not; I do not mean that we have not a clear, and most precious, and sufficient revelation of the truth and will of God, in regard to all things which it was the purpose of God to reveal, as necessary to our doing his will, and attaining our salvation. There is light enough in the Bible, when received by a lowly and pray- erful mind, and when pursued with ready obedience, to teach all we have need, for present duties and interests, to know concerning God and ourselves; His will, and our duty ; His salvation, through Christ, and our way by which to obtain it ; light enough about the way of life, and the passage of death, and the awards and the heri- tage of eternity, and the love and wrath of God, to guide, to stimulate, to comfort us, if we will **run with patience the race that is set before us." But still, even there, John iz. 4. THE GALL TO DILIGECE. 17S where the precious revelation of the word of God is most direct and full, and where the meek and lowly mind is conscious that it needs no more^ it is revelation directed
only here and there, touching only certain points, and em- inences, and headlands. It is but reflected and partial light — the moon, not the sun; the light of niffht, in which we can see enough to shape our course and be com- forted ; not the broad, penetrating daylight, scattering the mists, illuminating the valleys, filling the forests, reveal- ing all things. Surely, when you think of the works of God immedi- ately around us, and of what the wisest know of them, you will feel that now is the rdght Who but the most learned in the various departments of what science calls the works of nature^ but religion calls the works of God, can have a just impression of how lit- tle we are capable of knowing there ? We speak, indeed, and justly, of great advances beyond the knowledge of preceding ages, in that field ; wonderful discoveries, as- tonishing results of vast researches. But let us remem- ber, these are all comparative. They are vast and won- derful compared with what was known before; but, com- pared with what we must know remains unknown, and im- possible to be known in the present life — compared with vast regions of knowledge in the works of God, all around, and all above, and within the circle of our constant view, but into which the researches of man have never pene- trated, and in this life cannot penetrate one single step — what is all human attainment here, but the laborious climbing up of now and then an eminence, only to see a boundless expanse, where foot of man hath never trod? 174 SERMO Yin. Our kmp is better, and shines further and brighter, than that of previous centuries. It has greatly extended our illuminated circle. But after all, it is a lamp — ^not the sun; the night is relieved, not broken. It is a very little way that we can go without being lost in the unmit-

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