The whole world is, with respect to the future eternal
state, as it were, fast asleep. In this night of universal darkness and
ignorance, the greater part are dreaming in their sleep, and believing
themselves to be wide awake, are verily persuaded that their delusions are
real, because their dreams are regular. Yes, like night-walkers, they
perform the actions of a busy world in their sleep; and, confident that they
are in the full use and exercise of their reason, they wage war, they buy
and sell, they marry and are given in marriage, and weary and fatigue
themselves in this continual dream. Now, who can persuade us in a dream,
that we ourselves are dreaming? This is the true but melancholy condition of
the most part of mankind—They dream, while they think themselves to be
awake, and slumber over the day of life, while they seem to exert the
greatest activity to obtain solid and substantial good.
Alas! neither admonition nor reproof, nor the sad example
of ten thousand dreamers who have gone before, can awake individuals, until
they are led by the hand of death behind the curtain, and made to look at
fully on the eternal world. Nor is the general race of slumberers to be
roused, until the last trumpet sound in their affrighted ears, and eternity
expands awful and unknown, in their staring eyes.
There are, however, a few, (and but a few, alas!) who are
spiritually awake, and whose thoughts pierce through the dark shadows of
this dismal night, into the light of glory, and the regions of bliss. Such
look beyond the glittering and deceitful vanities of honors, riches,
pleasures, and applause—which are the present chase, (which should be the
shame,) and future cheat, (which shall be the sorrow,) of a comatose world.
And yet, in this imperfect state, even they are but like men struggling with
the darkness of the night-watches, waiting for the morning-light, and
wishing for the perfect day. Such, however, are the only people who have
their loins girt; and their lamps burning, in expectation of the Bridegroom,
at whose coming the day will break, the shadow flee away, and a light, seven
times brighter than the noonday sun, shall shine forever on them.
Then, and not until then, shall the darkness pass, and
the true light without interruption shine. While in the dark we wander,
while in the gloom we grope, waiting for the longed-for day, we are ready to
fall asleep, and to spend our time in slumbering thoughtlessness, in drowsy
inactivity. But when the day of glory shall spring, when the light of his
countenance is lifted up on us forever, and the noon of uninterrupted
communion spreads around us, then, unconscious of the falling shades,
unconscious of returning night—divine strength from the Rock of ages shall
invigorate every power of mind to adore the Most High, with all the ardor of
seraphic love—in pleasureful, uninterrupted and eternal worship.