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the town to obtain food, but we do not seem to think
that he is really way-worn, or faint with hunger, in the
proper human sense of these terms. We read that he
actually " hungered," and that having no table, or sup-
ply, he went aside to explore a fig tree, and break his
morning fast on the fruit, but we do not think that such
a being as he could really care much for a breakfast.
He plainly declares his poverty and his outcast lot
on earth, by protesting that he has not so much as a
place for comfortable and protected sleep — "the Son
of Man hath not where to lay his head" — but we think
of him probably as meaning only to say, that he has
no property ; never as testifying his privation of com-
fort in this first article of civilized bestowment, a shel-
tered, in-door sleep — obliged, like the dumb animals, to
sleep where he may ; in the mountains, on the rocks,
sometimes under the night rains, shivering often with
cold.

Now all such miscolorings of his human experience
take him, so far, out of our tier of life, and slacken pro-
portionally our sympathy with him. And they are
beautifully corrected in the night of the boat. Jesus
had become so exhausted that he could not, in fact, sup-
port himself an hour longer, and dropped immediately
down, mind and body together, into the profoundesi



148 CHRIST ASLEEP.

sleep. Is it really no true sleep, but only a divine seem
ing? Is he conscious in it? Does he hear the storm?
dues lie feel the rain? does the plunging of the boat
startle him ? Ah ! there is reality enough here to make
a sight how affecting.

Blessed be thy rough sleep, O thou great benefactor!
thou that art wearied and spent by thy particular
works and the virtues that have gone out of thee !
What is it now to thee, that the waters drench thee, and
the fierce tempest howls in tumult round thee! Sleep
on, exhausted goodness, take thy rest in the bosom of
the storm! for it is thy Father's bosom, where they that
are weary for works of love, ma}^ safely trust, and sink
so deeply down into the abysses of sleep, that no thun-
der even may rouse them.

Notice more particularly also the conditions, or be-
stowments of the sleep of Jesus, and especially their
correspondence with his redemptive undertaking. Say-
ing nothing of infants, which in a certain proper sense
are called innocent, there have been two examples of
full grown innocent sleep in our world ; that of Adam
in the garden, and that of Christ the second Adam,
whose nights overtook him, with no place where to be-
stow himself. And the sleep of both, different as pos-
sible in the manner, is yet most exactly appropriate, in
each, to his particular work and office. One is laid to
sleep in a paradise of beauty, breathed upon by the
flowers, lulled by the music of birds and running
brooks, shaded and sheltered by the overhanging trees,
shortly to wake and look upon a kindred nature stand



CHRIST ASLEEP. 1-i?

mg by, offei-ed him to be tbe partner and second life of
his life. The other, as pure and spotless as he, and
ripe, as he is not, in the unassailable righteousness of
character, tears himself away from clamorous multi-
tudes that crowd upon him suing piteously for his care,
and drops, even out of miracle itself, on the hard plank
dock, or bottom, of a fisherman's boat, and there, in
lightning and thunder and tempest, sheeted, as it werCj
in the general wrath of the waters and the air, he
sleeps — only to wake at the supplicating touch of fear
and distress. One is the sleep of the world's father,
the other that of the world's Redeemer. One has never
known as yet the way of sin, the other has come into
the tainted blood and ruin of it, to bear and suffer un-
der it, and drink the cup it mixes ; so to still the storm
and be a reconciling peace. Both sleep in character.
Were the question raised which of the two will be cru-
cified we should have no doubt. Visibly the toil-worn
Jesus, he that takes the storm, curtained in by it as by
the curse — he is the Redeemer. His sleep agrees with
his manger birth, his poverty, his agony, his cros^ ;ind
what is more, as the curse that is maddening in his ene-
mies is the retributive disorder of God's just penalty
following their sin, so the fury of that night shadows it
all the more fitly, that what he encounters in it is the
wrathful cast of Providence.

How fitting was jt also, both that sleep should be
one of the appointments of our nature, and that
Christ should be joined to us in it. These rounds
of sleep are rounds, in fact, of bodily regeneration,

13* •



150 CHKiST ASLEEP.

and tliere is no better possible tj'pe of the re,crone
ration of a soul, than tlie recreating of a bodj, in the
article of sieep. It was spent by labor. All the func-
tions were subsiding unto weakness. The pulse ran
low and slow, the gait was loose, life itself was ebbing
consciously, and a general ferment of disability was, in
eveiy faculty, from the brain downward. The man
said he was tired, and alas! he could do nothing in
himself to mend his condition. No surgeon's or physi-
cian's art could put him up again equipped for action.
But the silent new-creator, sleep, could do it. Taking
down the spent subject of consciousness into his awful
abyss of nihility and dark un-reason, he will decom-
pose him, so to speak, and put him together again, all
lubricated for new play, and send him forth to his old
works, as it were with a new nature. We are made
familiar thus with great internal changes and mighty
new-creations, wrought by mystic powers, whose methods
we can not trace. And Christ the great moral Re-
generator goes the same rounds with us here ; suflfera
the same exhaustion, sinks into the same unconscious-
ness, rising to the same newness of life — himself regene-
rated bodily with us, as he fitly should be.

But as I have spoken of the sleep, I must also speak
Df the waking ; or at least I must so far note the man-
ner of it, as to draw from it some deeper and more fit
conception of the internal state of the sleep. It is a
natter of common remark that one who goes to his
\ight's rest charged with a purpose to rise at some
pven signal, or at some fixed hour, will catch the faint-



CHRIST ASLEEP. 161

est notification, and will almost notify himself, by a
kind of instinctive judgment, or sense of time kept
ready for the spring, even in his unconscious state. So
Christ, whose love is ready, and full-charged to catch
the faintest note of human distress, sleeps on through
all the commotion of the elements, undisturbed; but the
first cry of panic, "Lord save us, or we perish" —
louder to him than all the tumult of the sky and the
waters — 'Strikes his inward ear and brings him straight-
way to his feet. " Then he arose and rebuked the sea,
and there was a great calm." The tempest met his sov-
ereign look and fell abashed before him ; type sublime
of the diviner and more difficult calm that he will bring
to the storms of the mind. " What manner of man,"
said they, " is this, that even the winds and the sea obey
him?" A far more wonderful and greater, that he can
speak to man's guilty feeling, and the turbulent storms
of his remorse, and calm even these into peace.

But observe specially his manner when he wakes.
It is as if the great commotion round him had been
only a hymn lulling his slumber. He is not flurried or
startled by the tumult, shows no sign of confusion, or
alarm. If he sleeps, a man, he wakes, a God. You
can almost see by his waking, that his dreams have
been thoughts pure and mighty, coasting round the
horrors of a guilty wrath-stricken world on errands of
love and peace. Indeed if it has ever occurred to you
to wish that you could once look in upon the sleep of
Jesus, and distinguish accurately the dream-state of his
thought, even this you may sufficiently guess from the



152 CHRIST ASLiiEP.

manner of his waking. How majestic the tranqnillitv
of it. The tempest roaring, the men screaming, the
vessel just ready to go under — and yet, if his waking
were the sunrise, it would not be less disturbed, or less
flurried by excitement. Could any thing make it more
certain tha^ his sleeping mind has been flowing serenelyj
steadied and evened by a mighty peace. Internal pu-
rity, order, and harmony have been the paradise plainly
of his rest. In all the wild confusion of the night and
the sea without, his self-approving mind has been sleep*
ing, as it were, in a chiming of sweet melodies.
Thoughts vast, mysterious, merciful and holy, have
been coursing through his unconscious humanity, as
recollections, or recurrences of habit, from his august
and supremely good eternity ; so that when he wakes,
at the cry of his disciples, it is only to say, "peace," to
the raging elements, from that transcendent peace that
was bathing his spirit within. It was no such waking
as that of the guilty mind, haunted all night 'by spec-
tres, pursued by murderers, dropping into pitfalls,
throttled by serpents round the neck, crushed by
weights on the breast, scared by night-mare shapes in
the air — ^it was out of no such element of guilt, or dys-
peptic torment that Jesus waked. A sleep thus exer-
cised prepares to fear and the wildness of panic — if the
house be on iire, to leap into the fire, if the ship be
sinking, to leap into the waters. A good pure mind
sleeps goodness and purity, and wakes in peace ; a bad
sleeps painfully, conversing with internal horrors,
ready, when it wakes, to meet the images it has seen.



CHRIST ASLEEP. 153

Probably the sleep of a bolj mind is even more dis-
tinct from that of a bad, than its waking state is. be-
cause, in sleep, the thoughts run just as the internal
habit makes them; the superintending will-power
that musters, and drills, and artificially shapes them,
when awake, being now suspended. Hence the }:)ro-
found philosoph}^ as well as the beauty of the poet's
prayer —

"Be thine the sleep that throws
Elysium o'er the soul's repose,
Without a dream, save such as wind,
Like midnight angels, through the mind."

I am fully conscious, my friends, that I have been
discoursing on this matter of the sleep of Christ, in a
somewhat random way ; for it is a specially intangible,
unexplorable subject. ISTot an unimportant subject
either in its theological implications, or its practical re-
lations to our Christian life, but one whose value does
not so much depend on our definite interior knowledge
of it, as in the external and evident fact. It does not
definitely, or conclusively teach, but it suggests many
things, and things only suggested are often of as greac
consequence to us as things proved. Let us note a few
of the points suggested. And

1. The possible, or rather actual redemption of sleep.
Sleep is just as truly fallen as humanity itself. And
who that knows the sleeping thoughts of man, as they
are, can have any doubt of it? Nay, who that knows
the waking thoughts of man, as they ai^e, can be at all
ignorant how they will run when he sleeps? Gnawed



154 CHKIST ASLEEP.

by care, racked by ambition, bittered by the gall of
envy, sensual, selfish, fearful, hateful, a prey to bad re-
sentments, loaded and clogged by excesses, filled with
hypocondriac terrors from nerves that are shattered by
abuse, what can he be, in his sleep, but a faithful repre-
sentative of what he is awake? And hence it is even
one of the saddest known facts of the world, that it
sleeps badly — one of the most grateful and most toucli-
ing facts of the world, that Christ will even be the Ee-
deemer of sleep. He does not of course offer himself
to the state of sleep, for it would only be absurd ; but
he does undertake the regeneration of the soul in char-
acter, and that includes every thing ; for when the soul's
fearful stricture is taken off by love, when it is rested
in faith, fortified by self-government, cleared by tem-
perance and spiritual chastity, cheered by hope, it falls
into chime, inevitably, with the divine order; so that,
when the will is suspended, as in sleep, its internal
movement flows on still in the divine order, meeting
only grateful images and thoughts of peace. Hence
partly it was that so much was made of their dreams,
])y holy men of old. It was no superstition of theirs —
they had only come, so consciously, into the divine
order of health and sanctity, that when they went tc
their sleep, they seemed even to be yielding themselves
ap to a sanctified flow of the mind, and to the unob-
structed sway of a really harmonic movement with
God. Nor is any thing more certain than that souls,
advancing in holiness, will advance proportionally in
the quality of their sleep. As they are being redeemed



CHRIST ASLEEP. 155

thfjnselves. so it is a part of their divine privilege that
their sleep is also. Accordingly it is often reported by
such as have cleared the bondage of nature, and risen
to a specially high pitch of intimacy with God, that
they find a remarkable change in their sleeping thoughts.
None but Christ can sleep the sleep of Christ, and they
that are nearest to him in spirit will as certainly be most
like him, in the peace of their unconscious hours. Their
very redemption is, according to its measure, the re-
<lemption of their sleep.

2. It is another point suggested here, that there is a
right and wrong sleep, as well as a right and wrong
waking state. Sleep is the subsiding of soul and body
into nature's lap, or the lap of Providence, to recruit
exhaustion, and to be refitted for life's works. But
what right has any one to be refitted for wrong ; and
above all refitted, by the help of Providence? Such
sleep is a fraud, and the fund of new exertion obtained
by it is actually stolen. Sleep was never appointed by
God, to refit wrong-doers and disobedient children, and
enable them to be more efficient against him. Their
very sleep they go to, therefore, as a crime, and the
dark shadow of guilt curtains in their rest. ye days-
men, that a few hours hence, when your fund is spent,
will go to your sleep to be refitted for to-morrow, is it
to be a lying down upon wrong, upon sin, or will it be
upon right?— there is a very serious meaning in the ques-
tion. Will you suffer it to rise and be distinctly met,
when your head meets your pillow ? How very hard a pil
low would it be to many, if they took it understandingly



156 CHRIST ASLEEP.

Observe, meantime, how free a guarantee Christ givea
to sleep, when it is right sleep. There have been miih
titudes of devotees under the Christian name, that made
a great merit of withholding sleep, in the rigid observ-
ance of long vigils; as if the reduction of the soul's
quantity, and the obfuscation of its functions, were tlie
same thing to God as advancing in holiness. These
vigils are about the most irrational, most barren kind
of fast, that was ever invented ; for the reason that,
instead of clearing, or girding up the mind, they even
propose to make a penance of stupor and lethargy. It
is a great mistake also of some that they are jealous of
sleep, and have it as a point of merit to shorten the
hours, by a regularly enforced anticipation of the dawn.
Any such rule for the reduction of quantity is doubtful.
A much better rule respects the quality. Make it your
duty to prepare a Christian sleep ; that kind which the
exhaustion of a righteous, or right-minded industry
requires, and then you may know that Christ your mas-
ter is with you. It is remarkable that he actually tore
himself away from even his healings, and from vast mul-
titudes of people crying piteously for help. He did not
reason as some very good men often do, that he must
go on, pressed by such calls of mercy, till he could
stand no longer. He was famished with hunger, his
strength was gone, and enough, to him, was enough.
What merit could it be, if he should continue into the
night, and falling at last on the ground for faintness, be
carried off in that weak plight, to be himself commise
rated in turn ? He plucked himself away, therefore, (led



CHRIST ASLEEP. 157

to the boat, and casting himsell down, fell, at once, into
the soundest sleep. So when a man's capacity, full
spent in good, comes to its limit, and conscience audita
the reckoning of its hours, to fall back into God's sole
ke<-ping, and be recruited by unconscious rest in his
bosom, is the true Christly sleep, at once a natural be-
stowment, and a supernatural gift. Be it in a palace or
a hovel, be it on the land or on the sea, be it in out-
ward calm or storm, be it with man's approbation or
without, the resting place is glorious, the rest itself a
baptism of peace — " God giveth his beloved sleep."

3. The associations connected with the sleep of Jesus
induce a very peculiar sense of his nearness to us in it.
Only to have slept in some fisherman's hut, or about
some hunter's fire, in company with a noted or publicly
known person, gives a certain familiar kind of pleasure
to our remembrance of him. In the same way, when the
Son of God is joined to us here in a common sleep, sub-
siding nightly into unconsciousness with us, under the
same heaven, a most strange association of nearness is
awakened by the conjunction. In our very proper en-
deavor to exalt God, and give him the due honors of
majesty, we commonly push him away, just so far, into
distance ; we seat him on the circle of the firmament,
we lift him, not above the clouds only, but even above
the stars; scarcely content, till we have found some
altitude for him, higher than all points visible, and
even outside of the creation itself. When, therefore he
comes down, as the incarnate One, to be a man with us,
tired and spent as we by life's toils, when he lies so

U



158 CHRIS TASLEEP.

luimbly down that even the waters of a lake some h"an-
drecls of feet below sea level, dash over him, and there
sleeps, even as a soldier, or a sailor might, our feeling is
in a strange maze of tenderness. Our God is so nigh,
our glorious tent-mate in a guise so gentle, that we come
to look upon him in his divine sleep, more tenderly
tlian we could even in the waking mercies and chari-
ties of his life. The very heaven of sky and star,
that ceils the august chamber of his sleep, is more sanc-
tified from underneath, than before, it was from above.
The world is another world — we are other ourselves.
this nearness, this daring familiarity, shall I say, of
God ! When he says so evidently in this dear, tender,
mystery, "come," canst thou, guilty, fearing spirit,
reject an approach so lowly and so lovely! And thou
disciple too, whose faith is clouded, and upon whom the
storms of the mind, as well as the less terrible storms
of Providence, are loosed, think it not strange or dis-
heartening, that thy Master sleeps — tender and great
sign is it for you that he does — only go to him and say
"Master I perish," and have it also to say, as the
storm settles forthwith into peace, "What manner of
man is this?"

Once more the analogies of the sleep of Jesus sug-
gest the Christian right, and even duty, of those relaxa-
tions, which are necessary, at times, to loosen the strain
of life and restore the freshness of its powers. Christ,
as we have seen, actually tore himself away from multi-
tudes waiting to be healed, that he might refit himself
by sleep. He had a way too of retiring often to



CHRIST ASLEEP. 159

mountain solitudes and by -places on the sea, partly
for the resting of his exhausted energies. Sometimes
also he called his disciples off in this manner, saying —
"come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest
awhile," Not that every disciple is, of course, to re-
tire into solitudes and desert places, when he wants
recreation. Jesus was obliged to seek such places, to
escape the continual press of the crowd. In our day, a
waking rest of travel, change of scene, new society, is
permitted, and when it is a privilege assumed by faith-
ful men, to recruit them for their works of duty, they
have it by God's sanction, and even as a part of the
sound economy of Jife. Going after a turn of gaiety or
dissipation, not after Christian rest, or going after rest
only because you are wearied and worried by selfish
overdoings, troubled and spent b}^ toils that serve an
idol, is a very different matter. The true blessing of
rest is on you, only when you carry a good mind with
you, able to look back on works of industry and faith-
fulness, suspended for a time, that you may do them
more effectively. Going in such a frame, you shall rest
awhile, as none but such can rest. Nature will dress
herself in beauty to your eye, calm thoughts will fan
you with their cooling breath, and the joy of the Lord
will be strength to your wasted brain and body. Ah,
there is no luxury of indulgence to be compared with
this true Christian rest ! Money will not buy it, shows
and pleasures can not woo its approach, no conjuration
of art, or contrived gaiety, will compass it even for an
hour ; but it settles, like dew, unsought, upon the faith-



160 CHRIST ASLEEP.

ful servant of duty, bathing his weariness and recruit
Lng his powers for a new engagement in his caUmg.
Go ye thus apart and rest awhile if God permits.

But if you go to kill time, or to cheat the ennui of
an idle life, or to drown your self-remembrance in
giddy excesses, or to coax into composure nervous en-
ergies eaten out by the passion or flustered by tho
ventures of gain, there goes an enemy with you that
will bitterly mock you, giving you the type, in what you
seek but nowhere find, of that more awful disappoint-
ment that awaits the rest of eternity. What, in fact, are
you dying of now, but of rest that is no rest — the inanity
of ease and idleness, the insipid bliss of cloyed, over-
worn pleasures, nights that add weariness to the wea-
riness of the days, sabbaths of God that are bores and
not restins^s under the fourth commandment. I
would rather sleep in a fisherman's boat, in thunder and
tempest and rain, exhausted by a da}^ of useful, Christly
work, only dreaming there of the good rest to come
than to never know the exhaustions of true industry,
and spend life, lolling in equipages, and courting pleaS'
ures that will not come ! For what too are such ready
dying in their pampered bodies and worn out splen
dors, but to turn away heart-sick, as here, from the
golden sands of the river, and, chill with nervous ague,
from the shades of the trees, of life. Blessed are the
dead that die in the Lord ; for they rest from their
LABORS. Blessed only they; for where there is no
labor, spending life's capacity for God, there is, of couise,
no rest.



VIll.

CHRISTIAN ABILITY.

''^Behold also the ships, luliich though they he so greats
and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about
with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.^^
James iii. 4.

The ships that were "so great" in former days, were,
in fact, scarcely more than cock-boats, or small coasters,
scraping round the shores of the inland seas ; whereas,
now, what we call the great ships are big enough to
store in their hold, a whole armed fleet of the ancient
time, vessels and men together ; and these huge bulks
strike out on the broad oceans defying their storms, yet
still turned about, as before, with a very small helm,
whithersoever the helmsman will. There he stands at
his post, a single man, scarcely more than a fly that has
lighted on the immense .bulk of the vessel, having a
sm.all city of people and their goods in the world of
timber under him, and perhaps with only one hand,
turning gently his lever of wood, or nicely guaging the
motion of his wheel, steers along its steady track the
mountain mass of the ship, turning it always to its
course, even as he would an arrow to its mark.

Dropping now the particular reference had by our
14*



162 CHRISTIAN ABILITY.

apostle, in his illustration, to the tongue, or the power
of tlie tongue, I shall take it simply as an instance or
exhibition of what is more general, viz., the fact — Thai
man tarns about every ihing^ handles all heaviest Lalks^
'inacters all hardest difficulties in the same way; that is^
hy using a small jiower so as to get the operation of apow^r
(greater titan his own. He gets an immense ability thus,
where his sufficiency is most restricted, and his Chris-
tian ability is of just this kind. We have no power to
handle ships at sea by their bulk ; as little have we to
do or become, in the grand whole of character, what
God requires of us. The soul is a magnitude more
massive than any ship, and the storms it encounters are
wilder than those of the sea. And yet there are small



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