And that knowing the time
That it is day and not night, the Gospel day, the day of salvation; in which the grace of God shines forth, like the sun in its meridian glory; life and immortality are brought to light, righteousness and salvation are revealed; and so a time not for sloth and sleep, but business; in which the saints should active in the exercise of grace, and discharge, of duty; owing no man anything but the debt of love; and that the dawn of grace, and day of spiritual light had broke in upon their souls, and dispelled the darkness of sin, ignorance and unbelief; that the darkness was past, and the true light shined, and the sun of righteousness was risen on them: all which they full well knew and were conscious of, and therefore should observe,
that now it is high time for us to awake out of
since sleep is for the night, and not the day; the Alexandrian copy reads, "for you". This is to be understood, not of the dead sleep of sin, in which unconverted persons are, to be awoke out of which is a work of divine power; but of the carnal security and drowsy frame of spirit which sometimes attend the churches and children of God, the wise as well as the foolish virgins; and lies in grace being dormant in, the soul; in a backwardness to duty, and a slothfulness in the performance of it; in resting in the outward duties of religion; in lukewarmness about the cause of Christ; in an unconcernedness about sins of omission and commission; and in a willingness to continue in such a sluggish frame: all which arise from a body of sin and death, and an over anxious care for the things of the world; from a weariness in spiritual exercises, and an abstinence from spiritual company and ordinances and from outward peace and liberty: such a frame of spirit, when, it prevails and becomes general is of bad consequence to the churches of Christ; the spirit of discerning, care and diligence in receiving members, are in a great measure lost, and so they are filled with hypocrites and heretics; Christ absents himself from them; leanness of soul is brought upon them; and they are in danger of being surprised with the midnight cry: the methods God takes to awaken his people out of such a sleep are various; sometimes in a more gentle way, by the discoveries his love, which causes the lips of those that are asleep to speak; sometimes by severe reproofs in the ministry of the word; and sometimes by sharp persecutions in providence; and at last it will be done by the midnight cry: the argument, showing the reasonableness of awaking out of sleep, and that it was high time to do so, follows,
for now is our salvation nearer than when we
by which is meant, not temporal salvation, or a deliverance from the persecution the saints endured in Judea, from their own countrymen, by the departure of them from Jerusalem, a little before its destruction, by the destruction of that city, and the peaceful times of Vespasian; but a spiritual and eternal salvation: not Christ the author of it, who was come to effect it; nor that itself, as obtained, which was now done, finished, and completed; nor the application of it to their souls, which also had been made; but the consummate enjoyment of it in heaven, the salvation of their souls at death, and both of soul and body at the resurrection; consisting in a freedom from every evil, and in a full possession of all that is good and glorious: this is brought nearer to the saints, to their sight and view, as their faith grows and increases; and they are nearer the enjoyment of that than when they first believed; and which is a strong reason why a sluggish, slothful frame should not be indulged; what, sleep, and heaven so near at hand! just at their Father's house, ready to enter into the joy of their Lord, into his everlasting kingdom and glory, and yet asleep!