April 25 PDF Print E-mail
"In the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed." — Mark 1:35

And yet he had been greatly occupied the whole of the day preceding this. We think little of time, but he never passed an idle hour. The whole of his life said, "I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is yet day: the night cometh wherein no man can work." He was really a man; he took our infirmities, and wearied nature required repose; but he distinguished between the necessary and the needless, and even between refreshment and indulgence; and while he enjoined self-denial upon his disciples, as the very first lesson in his school, "He pleased not himself."

It is allowed, that as to the measure of sleep, no one rule can be laid down for all. Some require more than others. But it is questionable whether they require much more. Yea, it may be questioned, whether they require any more, as to length. What they want more of is better sleep, and the quality would be improved by lessening the quantity. Let those who are now so wakeful, and restless, and can only sleep sound when they ought to be rising, let them try the expedient, and see whether a few hours of sweet and solid sleep be not preferable to the privilege of being bedridden, rather than of enjoying repose.

We should also inquire too, whether we have not produced the habit itself that now demands so much to satisfy it. If so, we are accountable for the cause, as well as the effect.

We should also be always fearful and suspicious when our reasonings and pleadings are on the side of gratification and ease. It is here, where nothing sinful is thought of, and no danger appears, it is here we peculiarly need the admonition, "Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

Some live only to do evil. We do not wish them to rise early. They are only harmless while they sleep.

Some live a life of mere indolence and ease. They are indeed free from vice, but they have no useful employment. It is of little importance at what time they rise. There is very little difference between their sleeping and wakeful hours. The one is as barren as the other of any active endeavours to glorify God, or serve their generation, or work out their own salvation.

But surely there are some who feel that life is infinitely important; who know that they are placed here to gain good and to do good; who remember that the only opportunities they have for both, are short and uncertain: surely these will not sleep as do others — surely these will feel the excitement and reproach. It is high time to awake out of sleep: they that sleep, sleep in the night.

In a word, has not early rising every recommendation? Is it not physically advantageous? Is it not better for health? Consult your strength, your appetite, your nerves, your spirits, your complexion. Ask your physician. Is there a medical man upon earth that would risk his reputation by a contrary opinion? Sinclair, in his volumes on health and longevity, remarks, that though those who lived to a very great age differed in many things, they all resembled each other here. There was not one of them but rose early.

Is it not desirable as to our civil concerns? What an advantage has a tradesman by early rising, in planning and arranging his concerns for the day; in forwarding his work, and placing it under his command; and in having leisure for any incidental engagement, without stopping or deranging the usual course of his calling. While another, who has said, A little more sleep, a little more slumber; and who begins at ten what he should have commenced at six, is thrown into haste and confusion; hurries on to overtake himself; finds through the day his duty a turmoil and feels himself a drudge. If we turn from the shop and look into the family, what a difference between the early and late; and the early and the late servant! Even those who do not practise early rising themselves, plead for the importance of it in their domestics, and would never engage them without it. Indeed the reputation of every individual, whatever be his condition in life, is concerned in it; and his character, in the feelings of others, is unavoidably lowered by late rising, unless there be a known and justifiable cause.

Above all, is it not morally important? The Heathens said, the morning was the friend to the Muses. It is surely a friend to the Graces. If it be the best time for study, it is also the best time for devotion. It is better to go from prayer to business than from business to prayer. Intercourse with God prepares us for our intercourse with our fellow- creatures; and for every occurrence, whether pleasing or painful. Who would go out in the morning, not knowing what a day may bring forth, and feeling his ignorance, and weakness, and depravity, and danger without retiring first and committing himself to God? Boerhaave, the celebrated physician, rose early in the morning, and, through life, his practice was to retire an hour for private prayer and meditation. This, he often told his friends, gave him firmness and vigour for the business of the day. He commended it, therefore, from experience, as one of the best rules of life. The great Judge Hale, too, rose early, and retired for prayer, and read a portion of God's Word; without which, he said, nothing prospered with him all the day. But see the Lord of all; what did He?

Morning Exercises For Everyday In The Year
By Rev. William Jay

 
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