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death and the resurrection; and the figure of speech they have built their conclusions on is this figure of sleep. But let us take this figure, sleep-let it be construed as the metaphor. When a person is asleep, what is it that rests? It is simply the muscles, and the nerves, and the wearied limbs; the heart goes on beating, the lungs respiring and expiring; and, what is remarkable in sleep, the soul never sleeps at all : it seems that when one is asleep, the soul often travels to far-distant lands, or sails upon the bosom of the deep, amid the blue hills and the green glens of other parts of the land, exploring, thinking, searching, studying. Sometimes, when we wake, we recollect—oftentimes we forget ; but I believe never is the soul absolutely insensible—never does it literally become dead to every thought and object, all that enters by the avenues of the senses. And, therefore, if sleep be the metaphor, it does not prove that the soul is insensible, but only that the body, the outward garment only, having been worn and wasted in the wear and toil of this present life, is folded up and laid aside in that wardrobe, the grave, a grave as truly in the keeping of the Son of God as are the angels of the skies and the cherubim in glory. “ Them which sleep in Jesus” — what a beautiful thought !—"Will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not go before "_" prevent" is the old word, from prævenio, “ to go before ”_"them which are asleep."
Now, what does this show? That the Saviour-for it is of him he is speaking—shall descend from heaven; that blessed Saviour, who once came to this world, and died for us, will come to this world again, and quicken the dead, and restore all things ; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. You will notice that them that are asleep he brings with him : there are two things predicated; there are those he brings with him, and those that are dead in Christ on the earth, whom he will quicken; that is, the souls of believers, now in perfect joy, will accompany Christ when he descends to this world, and on the very place where they laid down their earthly tenements, their mortal garments, will they put them on, raised in resurrection glory and beauty; and so shall they be for ever with the Lord. What a thought is here ! the near and dear relative you have lost—the Christian husband, the Christian wife, the Christian child, the Christian parent, now separated from you, is not separated for ever: he will come back to you; for them that sleep in Christ will he bring with him; and then the dead shall be raised; and “we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
What a tremendous gap, were these words expunged from the Bible !—what a blank world, had we no such sweet music as this !--what a dreary prospect, if we had no such revelation! Thanks be to God, for all he tells the living, for all he speaks to us about the dead ; for the precepts of the gospel to direct the living, and for the doctrines of the gospel to reveal the state of the dead; and, above all, for the hopes that stretch into eternity, and shall never be disappointed !
CHAPTER IV. 11.
THE QUIET HEART.
It seems, at first, altogether incompatible with what appears to us the dignity of the gospel, to descend to some of those minute practical prescriptions which are scattered through the length and breadth of this blessed volume; and yet when the Spirit of God does so, he only acts in the written Word in perfect harmony with what he does in the outward and visible creation. As much care is expended in the beautifying of the leaves of a wild field-flower as there is expended in polishing one of the remotest or the nearest fixed stars. So true is this, that it is difficult to say whether the exquisite organisms displayed by the microscope or the magnificent orbs disclosed by the telescope are most perfectly and beautifully finished. If, then, in God's outer world he shows himself taking care of all that is exquisitely minute, as well as of all that is magnificently great, is it not in perfect harmony with his doings in the outer world, when we find him in this inner world prescribing what is useful to man as a member of society, as well as unfolding what is the way for an immortal soul to beat its path to glory?
Then, in the second place, I wish you to notice from this, as one of many practical prescriptions from which
I have addressed you, that our religion is a religion for time as well as for eternity. Many people take up the very erroneous notion that all they have to do with the Bible is to find the way to heaven. I admit that is the great object of it; but then it must not be denied nor concealed, that, in prescribing the path to heaven, it prescribes by the way much that is necessary to our comfort midway, or essential to our speedy progress. Very often we should stumble and fall, and, it might possibly be, perish, if we did not hear, as it is beautifully said, a voice upon the right hand and upon the left, saying, “ This is the way ; walk ye in it.”
Now, this book was inspired to make us happy in our passage to heaven, as well as to make us everlastingly happy when we cross the margin and mingle with the groups of the blessed ; and in order that we may taste something of its sweetness by the way, it gives us earnests and foretastes of the future, and teaches us how those earnests and foretastes may be best reaped and enjoyed in our passage thitherward. The prescription here is a very simple one ; and yet there is something exquisitely beautiful about it. He asks his people to be quiet. What is meant by this ? First of all, he asks you to be quiet, or, concentrate, call in, thoughts that you are prone to dissipate upon a thousand things, and fix them on the duty which God has assigned you in his own providential arrangements. Many Christians are prone to disperse their energies; and in attempting to do everything, they come practically to do nothing ; by grasping too much, they miss what they would otherwise successfully attain. To be quiet, and do your own business, means, therefore, to call in and concentrate all your thoughts and energies. Duty
so seen in the providence of God requires this. Thus you will best attain the great end of this life, and yet not necessarily miss the yet greater end and glory of the life to come. In the second place, I would understand this quiet, in connexion with doing your own business, to comprehend composure of mind. A person whose mind is distracted with anxieties about many things, is very likely to do badly the one thing that belongs to him. Besides, when the mind is disturbed and distracted about a thousand things, you are not able to pursue with success that great thing, or useful or necessary thing, which God has given you as your daily mission to accomplish. Therefore pray that you may have quiet : rest in the Lord; wait patiently for him; and thus you shall have an inner peace that all the outer storms of the world will not be able to shake. In the third place, I regard this quiet, in connexion with doing our own business, as a prescription to pursue the course marked out for us, and to keep within it, as long as we see it is God's providential will that we should occupy it. When the apostle asks you to be quiet, and to study your own business, he does not bid you cease to be energetic, active, and effective; but first to gather up, and gather in, and then carry out all your force of character within the limits that God has chalked out for you, and there quietly, but not indolently, study to do your own business.
I would attach to the word “ quiet” here, the idea of composure in looking at and estimating the events that transpire around you, whether they be clouds or sunsbine, prosperity or trouble. When a person's mind is at rest in reference to the main thing, and is persuaded that God reigns, he can look around upon events that