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came it about Mainly through being unemployed. Mark the time of its occurrence. It was when he was doing nothing. Instead of going to the wars at the head of his army, he delegated his authority to officers and stayed at home. It was a fatal mistake. Walking listlessly on the house-top, his eye fell on the lovely woman, and we know the sin shame, and sorrow that ensued. We are never so likely to become victim to temptation as when we grow weary in well doing. Usefulness is safety Doing good to others cannot fail to do good to us. It requires a costly instrument and much toil to force the atmosphere out of a vessel ; thi air-pump must be employed with patience and skill. After all your effort moreover, you have nothing but an empty receptacle. There is an easie and better way. Pour water into it, and by its superior density i forbids the atmosphere occupying its place. Fill the soul with benevolen wishes, loving purposes, hallowed aspirations for the salvation of sinners and this will more effectually force out the pollution and sin within thai a twelvemonth's watching against temptation. To have robust faith and powerful love, unyielding courage, and vigorous obedience, we must wor] for Christ.
4. Sleep is a delusive condition. A single word explains our meaning -dreams. The judgment being torpid, we are led captive by the wildes vagaries. The imagination runs riot. The poor thinks that he is rich and the rich that he is poor; the sick fancies that he is strong, and thi strong that he is sick. The analogy between the mental and the spiritua holds good here also. Conduct affects creed. “He that doeth the wil of my Father in Heaven shall know of the doctrine, whether it bt of God.” To see the truth in its full proportions and real lovelines we must look at it through a moral stereoscope having the two medis of thought and action. The words of Chrysostom are eloquent and impressive; “ As the corn, if it be let lie for ever in the barns, is con sumed, being devoured of the worm ; but if it is brought forth and cas in the field, is multiplied and renewed again; so also the spiritual word if it be evermore shut up within the soul, being consumed and eatei into by envy, sloth, and decay, is quickly extinguished; but if, as on 1 fertile field, it is scattered on the souls of the brethren, the treasure i multiplied to them that receive it, and to him that possessed it; and a a fountain from which water is continually drawn forth, is thereby rathe purified, and bubbles up the more ; but being stanched, fails altogether so the spiritual gift and word of doctrine, if it be continually drawi forth, and if who will has liberty to share it, rises up the more ; but i restrained by envy and a grudging spirit, diminishes, and at last perishe altogether.” This is a true witness. Delusive doctrinal dogmas fre quently fall to the lot of such as are slothful. Latitudinarian dreams o fatalistic nightmares occupy their thoughts. He who does not want t do good will try to believe either that no good needs doing, or that another will do it for him.
II. The Question Asked. " Simon, sleepest thou ?" 1. “ Sleepes thou ?” thou, so privileged ? Simon, James, and John were speciall honoured. They had enjoyed greater favours than any of the apostles They were with Christ when He was transfigured; with Him when He raised the daughter of Jairus ; with Hin in Gethsemane. To Simon, moreover, it had been said: “Thou art Peter, upon this rock will I build my church.” Nor was that all. Had he not also been the subject of special supplication ? “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.” How large, therefore, had been his blessings. “Simon, sleepest thou ?" meant far more than, “Thomas," or " Andrew," or "Philip, sleepest thou ?" Surely, one so highly privileged ought not to have slept during his Master's suffering.
The application is obvious. That the heathen should be the victims of spiritual slumber is not surprising. No marvel, moreover, that the vicious and the worldly should be apathetic as touching the “one thing needful.” But that Christians should be, is passing strange. “Thou who art pardoned ; thou who hast had strength given in time of need; thou who hast the promise of eternal glory, sleepest thou ?” Switzerland, with all its tranquil beauty and rugged magnificence, has never produced a great poet, painter, or musician. Indeed, the peasants who live there, environed in loveliness, scarce ever notice it; whereas Tennyson's native place was the dreary fens of East England, and James Montgomery wrote most of his sweetest hymns in a dingy Sheffield counting-house. Not seldom do we find the counterpart of this in religion. Those that have the most valuable advantages sometimes profit least by them. They are "like the brook Kedron which, though it rolled round the Holy City under the very shadow of the temple, fell into the Dead Sea at last.”
2. “Sleepest thou ?” thou who hast been commanded to watch ? Matthew and Luke tell us that Jesus had wished the apostles to watch. Therefore, their slumber was a violation of his injunction. Although He made this request under circumstances so solemn as to render it doubly imperative on them to comply with it, they slept. Be it ours to remember that if We are apathetic and indolent in reference to our work as Christians, we act in direct opposition to our Lord's will. “Go, work to-day in my vineyard.” “Do good to all men.” “ Always abound in the work of the Lord.” It is His desire that we should toil vigorously for the world's salvation. Like glass, we are to admit and reflect light. The fig tree was banned, not for having bad fruit, but for having no fruit at all. "Wicked and slothful servant" is a suggestive combination of terms. To do nothing is to do wrong. If we sleep, we do it in plain, inexcusable violation of our Saviour's command.
3. “ Sleepest thou ?” thou who hast promised so much ?--Simon had said, " Though all should forsake thee, yet will not I ever forsake ; I am ready to go with thee to prison and to death.” This made his want of vigilance more blameworthy. He had broken his word. He let his vow, born of impulse, soon come to grief. Ours is a parallel case when we sluniber at the post of duty. That is not what we told our Lord we would do ; far otherwise. When we united ourselves in fellowship with his people we thereby pledged ourselves to be something more than mere recipients of mercy. Whenever we have taken the symbolic bread and Wine it has been a sacrament, an oath-taking on our part as soldiers of the Cross. In hymns and in prayers we have often declared that we would labour for Christ. Sleepest thou, then ? thou that hast promised to keep awake ?
4. “ Sleepest thou ?” thou of whom so little is asked ? Observe the second question of our Saviour, “Couldst thou not watch one hour ?” “One hour; that was all. Not all night; not part of the night; only “one hour.' It was not much to request. So with us. Christ is perfectly reasonable. “ Faithful with a few things” is his sole demand. He does not ask us to conquer sin and overcome temptation. That would be commanding us to watch all night. He simply says, “ Pray for power to do this ; seek strength of me in order that you may be victorious. Watch one hour!” He does not ask us to convert and renew our fellow-men. That, too, would be commanding us to watch all night. He merely declares, “Preach the truth, and I will make it effectual. Watch one hour.” Shame on us if we are indolent under circumstances like these !
5. “ Sleepest thou ?" when thou mightest gain so much by being awake ? We know what it is to read about our Lord's passion, but what must it have been to have seen it? How full of solemn influence ! how powerful for good in its memories! This Simon missed. He lost it through not watching. And what will not he forfeit who is spiritually indolent, and none can fully estimate the future blessings which are thus foolishly and needlessly thrown away. Oh, the rich recompense of those who patiently and self-denyingly work for the salvation of sinners Their heavenly welcome shall be such as shall infinitely more than compensate for everything done and suffered. Grand was the return of veteran Roman legions after a long campaign. When, with sun-burnt visages, rent raiment, dinted helmets, bloodstained swords, ragged standards, and ominous scars, they marched along the broad thoroughfares of the Eternal City, clouds of witnesses surrounded them, multitudes thronged about them, housetops were peopled, balconies were crowded, and windows were filled with loudly-applauding spectators, flowers were thrown in the soldiers' way, and wreaths encircled them. Faint figure, that, of the “ abundant entrance” that we shall have if we “fight the good fight of faith.” God shall greet us, the Church triumphant shall salute us, angels shall rejoice over us, and sainted friends shall come forth to meet us.
6. “Sleepest thou ?” when the opportunity for watching will so soon be gone? The time for showing sympathy with the suffering Saviour was short. It was quickly past. “Sleep on now, and take your rest; he is at hand that betrayeth me.” As if He had said, “ You have lost your opportunity ; the hour for help is gone. You have let it fly away all unimproved.” Christian brethren, our hour will shortly be over. Byand-bye we shall be unable to serve God as we now can do. Only in this world can we seek men's salvation. Our golden opportunity will very speedily be gone. Let us be earnest while it remains. Asking divine help, be it ours, with greater zeal and unabated vigour, to act the part of ambassadors for Christ. Now, now, now, is the time for us to toil !
THE VILLAGE CARPENTER. HAVING tarried a few days in a and feared they would execute their beautiful village of the West, I em- | threats upon him; but he calmly barked in a vessel which was crossing said, “Those tracts, sir, are mine. I one of the great lakes. Three other have but a few, as you see; but they individuals had taken passage, and are very good, and you may take night coming on found us waiting one if you wish. I brought them on for a breeze.
board to distribute, but you were all About nine o'clock, as the sails too busy last night." The sailor were hoisted, acother passenger came | smiled, and walked away, making no on board. When we had cleared the reply. harbour he entered the cabin, and We were soon called to breakfast seemed to suppose that he was alone; , with the captain and mate. When for we had all retired to our berths. we were seated at table, “Captain," The lamp was burning dimly on the said our young companion, “as the table, but it afforded sufficient light | Lord supplies all our wants, if for me to discover that he was young. | neither you nor the passengers obSeating himself beside it, he drew a ject, I would like to ask his blessing book from his pocket and read a fow on our repast.” “If you please,” minutes. Suddenly, from on deck, replied the captain, with apparent was heard the voice of the captain good-will. In a few minutes the uttering oaths, terrific beyond de cook was on deck, and informed the scription. The youth arose, laid his sailors, who were instantly in an upbook on the chair, and, kneeling roar, and their mouths filled with beside it, in a low whisper engaged curses. The captain attempted to in prayer. I listened attentively, apologise for the profanity of his and though his soul seemed to burn men, saying, “It was perfectly comwithin him, I could gather only an mon among sailors, and they meant occasional word, or part of a sen no harm by it." tence, such as “mercy," "dying “With your leave, captain,” said heathen,” “ sinners,” &c. Presently the young stranger, “I think we can he seemed in an agony of spirit for put an end to it." these swearers, and could scarcely Himself a swearer, and having suppress his voice while pleading just apologised for his men, the capwith God to have mercy on them. | tain was puzzled for an answer; but My soul was stirred within me. after a little hesitation replied, “I There was a sacredness in this place, might as well attempt to sail against and I was self-condemned, knowing a head wind as to think of such a that I also professed the name of thing." Jesus, and had retired with my “But I meant all I said,” added tellow-passengers to rest, not having the young man. spoken of God or committed myself “Well, if you think it possible, to his care.
you may try it," said the capEarly in the morning I was tain. awakened by a loud voice at the As soon as the breakfast was over, door of the companion-way, — the oldest and most profane of the "Here! whose tracts are these?” sailors seated himself on the quarterfollowed by other voices in threats deck to smoke his pipe. The young and imprecations against tract distri man entered into conversation with butors, Bethels, temperance 80 him, and soon drew from him a his
tory of the adventures of his life. I thought of the young stranger, From his boyhood he had followed the
ocean. He had been tossed on the deck and sang a hymn. It was a billows in many a tempest; had | happy place, a floating Bethel. Invisited several missionary stations instead of confusion and wrath, there different parts of the world, and was sweet peace and solemnity. We gave his testimony to the good effects ceased just as the setting sun was of missionary efforts among the na flinging upon us his last cheerful tives of the Sandwich Islands. Proud rays. of his pautical skill, he at length | The captain, deeply affected, went boasted that he could do anything into the cabin, lit his lamp, took his that could be done by a sailor.
Bible, and was engaged in reading "I doubt it," said the young till we had retired to rest. man.
After this, for three days, we re"I can," answered the hardy tar, gularly attended family worship, and “and will not be outdone, my word had much interesting conversation for it."
on various subjects; for there was " Well, when a sailor passes his nothing in the religion of the young word he ought to be believed. I stranger to repress the cheerfulness know a sailor who resolved that he of social intercourse. From his fawould stop swearing; and he did miliarity with the Bible, his readiness
in illustrating its truths and pre"Ah !" said the old sailor, “ you've senting its motives, and from his anchored me; I'm fast-but I can fearless but judicious and persevering, do it.”
steps, we concluded that he was a “I know you can," said the young minister of the Gospel. From all he man, " and I hope you will anchor saw, he gathered laurels to cast at all your shipmates' oaths with his Master's feet, and in all his yours.”
movements aimed to show that eterNot a word of profanity was after nity was not to be trifled with. A wards heard on board the vessel. few hours before we arrived in port During the day an opportunity pre we ascertained that he was a mechanic sented itself; he conversed with each -a village carpenter. sailor singly on the subject of his Before we reached the wharf, the soul's salvation, and gained the captain came forward, and with much hearts of all.
feeling bade him farewell; declared After supper he requested of the that he was resolved to live as he captain the privilege of attending had done no longer. His wife, he worship in the cabin. His wishes said, was a Christian, and he meant were complied with, and soon all on to go and live with her; and added board, except the man at the helm, “ I have had ministers as passen were assembled. The captain brought gers on my vessel, Sabbath-day out a Bible, which he said was given and week-days, but never before him in early life by his father, with have I been so touchingly reminded a request that he would never part of the family altar where my de with it. We listened as our friend parted parents knelt.” As we lef read Matthew's account of Christ's the vessel, every countenance showed crucifixion and resurrection; and that our friend had, by his decided then, looking round upon us, he yet mild and Christian faithfulness said, “He is risen-yes, Jesus lives; won the gratitude of many, and th let us worship bim.”
esteem of all. It was a melting scene. Knees We soon found ourselves in a cana that seldom bowed before now knelt boat, where were about thirty pas at thë altar of prayer, while the so- sengers of various ages and charac lemnities of eternity seemed hanging ters; and my curiosity was not over us. After prayer we went on 1 little excited to learn how my com