Long sleep in any man is blame-worthy—but in a candidate
for glory it is a sinful. I may indeed rise in time to manage my temporal
affairs, as I am seldom behind with the world; but what improvement do I
make for eternal realities? "He who loves sleep," though in worldly things
he may sustain no loss, yet in spiritual things "shall be a poor man." When
I have a long journey to go, I can get up early in the morning. Now, I am on
a more momentous, and immensely longer journey, even to eternity, which
cannot be delayed a day; therefore, I have need to use my time wisely—before
the shadows of darkness overspreads me, wherein no man can walk; or the
night of death overtakes me, wherein no man can work.
Alas! allowing that I shall live some sixty years, how
far am I already advanced towards my limit! The past time is lost,
the future uncertain; but eternity is certain and approaching!
When I look back, how many healthy hours lost in sleep, superfluous sleep,
stare in my face! And now that I am convinced of the preciousness of time,
shall I squander it away in sleep? Too long in bed, is a sin of a
deeper dye than the sleeper will allow. What will I think, if sickness
renders me unfit for anything, if infirm old age confines me to my lazy bed?
How will I look back with sorrow on vigorous youthful hours lost in sleep!
hours which might have been improved for eternity, and spent in communion
Did a friend, whom I dearly love, come early in the
morning to visit me, would I not rise to entertain him, not knowing how soon
he might go away? Shall I then give the beloved of my soul worse
entertainment than my friend?
Sleep is a kind of death; therefore, when asleep, how can
I have communion with God, for God is not the God of the dead—but of the
living? He, out of sovereignty, may speak to man in a dream, in a vision of
the night; and sometimes the dreams of his people have been divine, so that,
when they awoke, their sleep has been sweet. But the duty of saints is, to
seek him with all the activity of their soul, in the full exercise of all
her powers; with the psalmist, to awake themselves early, that they may
praise him; to arise before the dawn, that they may pray to him. How am I to
blame, who indulge in long sleep! See the laborer go early to the field, the
hireling to his work; and shall I lie in bed, like one that has less to do
than they? Did my dearest Lord continue on a mount alone, all night in
prayer to God for me, and the like of me—and shall I not arise and praise
him early? The royal Psalmist could shake himself from his
midnight-slumbers, to join in the work of heaven; and shall not I rise in
Thus, indeed, I think I am punished, that the more I
indulge myself in sleep, the more I would sleep. The multitudes above rest
not day nor night. I should rest only to refresh my body, not to ruin my
soul. Alas! I have not only long sleep to lament—but that I slumber my time
away when awake!—without lifting my eye to God. Pity, in all respects, O
fountain of mercy! one who in all respects deplores himself.