‘Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.’ Ephesians 5:14
Suggested Further Reading: Romans 13:8–14
Some people can walk in their sleep, and walk in dangerous places, where waking men would be unsafe. They by some strange influence seem to walk steadily and calmly along the eddies and turn by the dangers beneath; even the howling of winds abroad seems to be inoperative upon their senses; and they therefore have a kind of security which more wakefulness would remove from them. O the fatal security of some professors, and the way in which they will dally with the world, and yet keep up an outwardly consistent character. O the manner in which some Christians will go as near to the fire of sin as well may be, and be scorched by it and yet not burned. O some of you are good, excellent, moral people in the judgment of men, but nevertheless, as Christians you do not seem to be awake to the interest of Christ’s kingdom. And as a man can talk in his sleep, and walk in his sleep, there is another thing he can do better than other people, namely, dream in his sleep. He is the man to concoct plans, and find out new inventions. He can sketch out methods for building chapels, he can find ways of bringing out ministers, and doing all sorts of things, and yet he is asleep all the while. The waking man does it, and proves that he is awake by doing it, but the slumbering man only calculates, so many pounds a week, so many subscriptions, and the thing will be done; but there is never a brick to show. He dreams deliciously, but as for activity it is not there. He could always manage a Sunday school, or build a Christian interest better than anybody else, but no Sunday school or Christian interest ever does spring up under his hand, because the man’s whole activity shows itself in inventions which are never executed, and in plans which are never carried out.
For meditation: If apostles could sleep in the midst of danger (Matthew 26:40–45), and if a half-asleep apostle could dream up foolish plans without knowing what he was saying (Luke 9:32–33), we also need a reminder to be spiritually awake and alert (1 Thessalonians 5:6–8).
Sermon no. 716
3 October (Preached 7 October 1866)