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own observation and experience. By them that llumber, we understand such as are, as it were, half alleep, between sleeping and waking, heavy in all their duties, and listless without Life and Spirit in what they do. By them that Sleep, we understand such whose Senses are for that time, quite useless, quite overcome with Sleep, so as. to be in a manner like Dead Men as to all ra. tional Actions. And thus it is with all Men more or less, nor the wiseft or the best, but we fometimes slumber and fleep.
1. We are all good and bad tre apt to sumber and be drowsy, both in all Religious and Holy Duties, and in warching against Temptaa cions. And as one in an imperfect sleep or Number, has a thousand fancies and foolish thoughts in his Head, and considers nothing throughly and to purpose, but many thingsjumbled together confusedly : So is it too much with us all. We Pray, and Hear, and Read, and Meditate, Dully, Coldly, Heavily and Confufedly. We have too little warmth and vi. gour, and Spirit in all we do, and a thousand vain and idle Thoughts difturb us. And whilst we should be on our watch against Temptations, we are Remiss, and imaginations of our own Strength, or little danger, and the harmless use of the thing too often abate our Vigilance. And indeed not to insist on particulars, we Number away thus the greatest part of our cime in a listlessness of Mind, and are regardless how we spend it, whether in vain Thoughts or idle Words, or frivolous Discourses, or childish Mirth ; and are seldom fo throughly awake, as we ought to be: And,
2dly. We are often, even the best of us, cast into a dead Sleep for a time, drawn for want of care and vigilance into many actual Sins, as David into Adultery and Murder, and St. Peter into denying of Christ. Or if by the Grace of God we are kept from gross and notorious Sins, yet are there both omissions of doing Good, and commissions of doing Evil, greater or smaller, that we are ever and anon guilty of. In many things we offend all. Fa. 3. 2. Who can say, he has cleansed his Heart from all evil Thoughts and Defires; or that he offends not fometimes with his Tongue; or that he attends so diligently to all his Actions, that he leaves no duty undone, or that he doth nothing that is Sinful ? No, if we j'ay we have no Sin, we deceive ourselves, i Fob. 1. 8. We must all confess, not the best of us excepted, that we are too apt to slumber and fleep. This is enough. ift. To keep the best of us very humble in the Sense of our weakness, that sometimes (as the Apostles) cho' so often warned by our loving Saviour, and in the midst of so many dangers, yet we are sometimes unable to watch with him one hour. 2dly. To excite us to more care, considering that how much more apt we are by nature to fall asleep, the more means we should use to keep ourselves awake. And 3dly, to make us more compassionate towards others, and not to infult over them, when we see them overtaken in a fault, considering ourselves how apt we are to be. Tempred. Gal. 6. 1. Therefore with all meekness and pitty, we should endeavour to awake and restore them ? 'Tis cruelty to Pinch and Beat those who will be awakened with a Call. But now there may be very ill use made of what has been said, if it be not rightly taken. For on the one fide (may the wicked Men fay) if all Sleep, the good as well as bad, wife and foolish, we do no worse than the best do, and therefore we may escape as well 26 they. And on the other side, if all Sleep (may the scrupulous Christian say) then are we in the same condition with the worst, and how can we hope for better usage than they ? It is necessary therefore to Thew,
2. What's the difference between the sleeping of the wise and of the foolish Virgins. And tho'chey all slepe we shall find, their guilt was not all alike, for then they should have fared alike at the Bridegroom's coming, either all should have entered in with him, or all should have been shut out by him. But seeing it was not so, we are sure they were not alike faulty, tho' they all Number'd and flept, Consider then,
1. It is not all one to Sleep always, or very much; and now and then to fall asleep, and that seldom. And thus it is with these two forts, the good and bad Christian. The foolish Virgin or bad Christian, either slumbers or fieeps always, is never throughly awake to God, sleeps on in an habitualcourse of Negligence and Wickedness, and if he seem awake doing any good thing, he doth but seem so, for he is still slumbering, and doch all in meer formality, which is but a shadow of Religion, as a Dream is of waking. Or it his Conscience be sometimes awakened, it is but for a Fir, and he quickly falls alleep, returns to his Sin and careless course of Life again. But now the wise Virgin or good Chriftian, is in the main habit and course of his Conversation awake, careful to serve God, and but feldom is surprized by Sleep, or by Tempration led into Sin: he is quickly awake again,
and the very Vexation and Grief he has for having flept, keeps him awake, and more watchful over himself for the time to come. .
2. 'Tis not all alike, to Sleep willingly, to delighe in Sleep, and to use means of provoking Sleep ; and to Sleep unwillingly, through mere infirmity of nature, and against all the means one can use to keep himself Awake. And this the difference between the Wise and Foolish, good and bad Christian. The bad Chriftian indulgeth himself in Sleep or Sinfulness, and delight in nothing more than in fulfilling his Lusts of all sorts. He therefore shuns not, but ventures upon Temptations, as pleasing Allurements to Sleep ; and takes Opiates to make him Sleep. If his Corscience be awakned, and grow so troublesom to him, that it will not let him Sleep quietly, he seeks out means to filence it, Sinful Company, Drunkenness, Feasting, Sporting, any thing he can think on, to still the disturbance it makes in his Breast, that he may Sleep again : He makes him a soft and easy Bed, shuts the Windows, forbids all Noise that he may Sleep; that is, he useth, Idleness, Ease and Pleasure; fhuts out Reading, Medication, &c. least the Light should break in upon him, and keep him Awake; and will not endure Reproof, Rebuke, or feasonable Admonition, the ungrateful Noise that would keep him from Sleep. But now on the contrary, the good Man cakes all the care he can to keep himfeli Awake, his Conscience sensible and render, and his Thoughts busy about his Work. He perfectly hates Sleeping, Carelessness and Sin, and delights in his Dury, and useth all helps to keep himielf constantly awake. If he chance to Nod, even that itartles him, and makes him afraid of falling allecp. He shuns all provo
cations to Sleep, all immoderate Pleasures, all Drunkenness and Gluttony, and Temptations of any sort. He Prays and Reads, and keeps good Gompany, and is exceeding thankful to any one chat with seasonable Reproof or Admonition awakens him, and keeps constantly in the Lights and busy at some good work, that he may prevent his falling asleep any more.
3. It is not all one to sleep till all the Oil be spent, and be without Supply; and to sleep and wake again before the Lamp be gone out, and having Oil remaining to supply ic with. Now the foolish Virgin, or negligent Christian lets the time sip, and sleeps our the Opportunity, and takes no care till it be too late to prepare his Soul by repentance of all Sins, and the Practice of. Christian Vercues, till the Bridegroom come; and so hath no time to prepare for Heaven ins But the good Christian plieth his time, and lays hold always on the present Opportunity, and by daily repentance and amendment of Life, renews ing his Vows, and strengthening his Resolucions, and making the Practice of Goodness easy and familiar to him, tho' he may slip into Sin, is eae lily recovered, and has only that one Sin to repent of wholly, and not that neither as a wiltul one, when he is called forth.
It is easy then to see a great difference between these two sorts of Slumberers and Sleepers, so that the one have no reason to encourage themfelves by the Example of the o:her, nor the 0. ther any reason to be dejected by any sort of likeness to the firt. We come therefore
3dly, to the reason of this numbering and sleeping, which is the Bridegroom's carrying. While the Bridegroom tarried, &c. viz. Christ's