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One common effect, of either sleeping too long, or lying too long in bed, is weakness of sight, particularly that weakness which is of the nervous kind. When I was young, my sight was remarkably weak. Why is it stronger now, than it was forty years ago? I impute this, principally, to the blessing of God, who fits us for whatever He calls us to; but, undoubtedly, the outward means, which He has been pleased to bless, was the rising early in the morning.
But this fashionable intemperance does also hurt the soul, in a more direct manner. It sows the seeds of foolish and hurtful desires, and dangerously inflames our natural appetites. It breeds and continually increases sloth, so often objected to the English nation. It opens the way, and prepares the soul, for every other kind of intemperance. It breeds a universal softness and faintness of spirit, making us afraid of every little inconvenience, unwilling to deny ourselves pleasure, or to take up, or bear, any cross. And how then shall we be able (without which we must drop into hell) to “ take the kingdom of heaven tion, and vigour of grace in the heart, of that zealous man: but the experience of one individual is not a uni. versal standard. Perhaps the whole truth of the matter never was better generalized, than in our pithy English Proverb-
Early to bed, and early to rise,
Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. In the Treatise on Early Rising (see p. 172), Mr. Law considerately begins with—“I take it for granted that every Christian, who is in health, is up early in the morning."--ED.
by violence”? It totally unfits us for enduring hardship, as good soldiers of Jesus Christ; and, consequently, for fighting the good fight of faith, and laying hold on eternal life.
II. It now remains to inquire, How we may redeem the time ; how we may proceed in this important affair; in what manner shall we most effectually practise this important branch of temperance.
I advise all who are thoroughly convinced of the unspeakable importance of it, not to suffer that conviction to die away, but instantly begin to act suitably to it. Only, do not depend on your own strength: if you do, you will be utterly baffled. Be deeply sensible, that, as you are not able to do any thing good of yourselves, so here, in particular, all your strength, all your resolution, will avail nothing. Whoever trusts in himself, will be confounded. I never found an exception. I never knew one, who trusted in his own strength, that could keep his resolution for a twelve-month.
I advise you, secondly, Cry to The Strong, for strength. Call upon Him who hath all power in heaven and earth; and believe that He will answer the prayer that goeth not out of feigned lips. As you cannot have too little confidence in yourself, so you cannot have too much in Him. Then, set out in faith ; and surely His strength shall be made perfect in your weakness!
I advise you, thirdly, add to your faith prudence. Use the most rational means to attain your purpose. Particularly, begin at the right end; otherwise you will lose your labour. If you desire to rise early, sleep early: secure this point, at all events. In spite of the most dear and agreeable companions, in spite of their most earnest solicitations, in spite of entreaties, railleries, or reproaches, rigorously keep your hour. Rise up precisely at your time, and retire without ceremony. Keep your hour, notwithstanding the most pressing business: lay all things by till the morning. Be it ever so great a cross, ever so great self-denial, keep your hour, or all is over.
I advise you, fourthly, Be steady. Keep your hour of rising without intermission. Do not rise two mornings, and lie in bed the third ; but, what you do once, do always.—" But my head aches." Do not regard that; it will soon be over." But I am uncommonly drowsy; my eyes are quite heavy.” Then you must not parley; otherwise it is a lost case; but start up at once. And if your drowsiness does not go off, lie down for awhile an hour or two after. But let nothing make a breach upon this rule: rise, and dress yourself, at your hour.
Perhaps you will say—“The advice is good, but it comes too late; I have made a breach already. I did rise constantly for a season; nothing hindered me. But I gave way by little and little; and I have now left it off for a considerable time.”—Then, in the name of God, begin again! Begin to-morrow; or rather to-night, by going to bed early, in spite of either company or business. Begin with more self
diffidence than before ; but with more confidence in God.
But do not imagine that this single point, rising early, will suffice to make you a Christian. No: although that single point, the not-rising, may keep you a Heathen, void of the whole Christian spirit; although this alone (especially if you had once conquered it) will keep you cold, formal, heartless, dead; and make it impossible for you to get one step for ward in vital holiness; yet this alone will go but a little way to make you a real Christian. It is but one step out of many; but, it is one. And having taken this, go forward. Go on to universal selfdenial, to temperance in all things, to a firm resolution of taking up daily every cross, whereto you are called. Go on, in a full pursuit of all the mind that was in Christ; of inward, and then outward, holiness. So shall you be not almost, but altogether, a Christian: so shall you finish your course with joy: you shall wake up after His likeness, and be satisfied.
Rev. Thomas Scott.
(FROM HIS COMMENTARY.)
GENESIS v. This chapter contains nearly all the history, that God hath pleased to transmit to us, of the Antediluvian World, which subsisted for the space of 1656 years. Considering how long men lived and had children, before the Flood, we may well suppose that the earth was filled with inhabitants ; and conjecture, with apparent probability, that there were many flourishing kingdoms, many revolutions in states, many mighty achievements and renowned characters, which are all now buried in oblivion : while nothing is recorded but what relates to the holy seed; among whom true religion was maintained, and who, doubtless, were despised and hated in their generation. In the judgment of God, the saints are the only excellent and eminent persons, and true religion the grand concern on earth; compared with which, all things else are scarcely worth mentioning.
The power of God alone, “in whom we live, and