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The apostle shows, however, that this is not only our duty, but our interest. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed. To every individual, the time of this life will soon be over. We have but a short season to live in this world. Every day brings the time nearer to that blessed period, when those who have believed through grace shall receive the end of their faith, the salvation of their souls,3 when they shall go to be for ever with the Lord. It becomes them, therefore, to spend the few days that are allotted to them here on earth, to the honour and praise of Him who hath called them unto His kingdom and glory.5 this consideration is founded the exhortation contained in the text: The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light; and in the two following verses, which may be regarded as a further explanation of it: Let us walk honestly as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof.


In the words to which our attention is more particularly to be directed, we may observe,

31 Peter i. 9.

4 2 Thess. iv. 7.

5 1 Thess. ii. 12.

First, two opposite things contrasted; and, Secondly, an exhortation founded upon them. First, Night and the works of darkness, and the day and the armour of light, are spoken of as being allied to each other respectively. This mortal life is compared to the night, which is a season of darkness and ignorance; for they that sleep, sleep in the night, during which time they are ignorant of what is passing around them; and they that be drunken, are drunken in the night, when they are not so open to observation as in the day-time. Thieves and robbers, for this reason, choose the night for the time of their depredations; debauchery, and all those deeds of which people are ashamed, are also in general committed during the night; and therefore these works altogether are called the works of darkness, by which all intemperate, sensual, and malignant passions, and inordinate desires are denominated.

This mortal life then is compared to the night, First, In consequence of the abounding of iniquity in the world in which we live. The works of darkness are practised openly by numbers; of whom the Psalmist says, They know not, neither will they understand, they walk on still in darkness. This is true of the world now, as it was before the Christian era. However the state of society may have been ameliorated by the diffusion of

6 1 Thess. v. 7.

7 Psalm lxxxii. 5.


Christianity, still the works of darkness are practised. Many who bear the name of Christians walk as the Gentiles walked, or live as the heathen did in the days of the apostles, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; and being past feeling, give themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. This shows that they have not learned Christ, or been taught by Him, that they have not received the truth as it is in Jesus, that the love of God is not in them; for the apostle John declares, If we say that we have fellowship with God, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth. To the true Christian, the ungodly conduct of those around him will always be a matter of grief. He will say with the Psalmist, I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved, because they keep not Thy law. 10 But while he grieves, he will have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. The sin that dwelleth in him is, however, his greatest grief. This he bewails before his heavenly Father, and prays, with the Psalmist, Cleanse Thou me from secret faults; keep back Thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me.10 Against these

8 Eph. iv. 18-21, v. 11. 91 John i. 6. 10 Ps. cxix. 158, xix. 12, 13.

he wrestles and wars in the strength of the Lord and in the power of His might, that they may not prevail over him, and bring disgrace upon his religious profession, and dishonour to God.

This mortal life is compared to the night, Secondly, Because of the ignorance of God which prevails among mankind. The fear of God is not before the eyes of men, because they know Him not. It is said, The sons of Eli were sons of Belial, they knew not the Lord." But even

in those who do know the Lord, or rather are known of Him, how much ignorance prevails. The apostle said respecting himself, Now I know in part: we know in part, and we prophesy in part: for now we see through a glass darkly." He who knows himself, feels his ignorance of Divine things, and his dulness of apprehension concerning them, because sin has so benumbed all the faculties of his soul, that he does not apprehend them as he ought. Visible and temporal things have such a hold upon his heart and mind, that those which are invisible and eternal do not affect him as their importance demands. As the night is a time of sleep and forgetfulness, so it is said, that while the Bridegroom tarried, the wise as well as the foolish virgins, all slumbered and slept.13 Hence the apostle thought it needful to exhort the Thessalonians, Let us not sleep as do others, but let us watch and be sober.14

11 1 Samuel ii. 12. 12 1 Cor. xiii. 9, 12. 13 Mat. xxv. 5,

During this night of darkness, of sin and ignorance, the Christian is exposed to the assaults of unbelief, and to temptations of various kinds; but throughout it he is ready to say with the Psalmist, I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait; my soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning.15 To such persons the apostle proclaims, The night is far spent. The time of this mortal life will soon come to an end. To the most of those who hear this proclamation, it is far spent indeed! Advancing years declare it plainly. And there is but a step between any of us and death.16 Young and old are both cut off by it; and we none of us know how soon we may be called out of this world. mankind in general have no idea that this mortal life is fitly compared to the night. This is known or perceived only by those who are not of night, nor of darkness.14 Therefore, to hear of life being far spent, is to many a most unwelcome sound. They would rather not hear of it. They would be glad if they could live in this world always, and never leave it. If such be the case with any of us, oh! let us seek grace from God to prepare us for the end


of life; that we may be

ready to meet death, whenever the summons may come. The end of all things is at hand, be ye therefore sober and watch unto prayer.1

14 1 Thess. v. 5, 6.

15 Ps. cxxx. 5, 6.

16 1 Sam. xx. 3.

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