10 OCTOBER (PREACHED 1770)
‘But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said.’ Luke 9:32–33
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Ephesians 6:10–20
Perhaps Satan had some influence here. He is desirous to spoil our worship and to rob us of our comfort as much as he can. And many attentive observers of themselves think they know something of his practising upon their bodily indispositions in order to distract their minds. It is our wisdom in all our approaches to God, and particularly when we wait upon him in public, to pray against his wiles, and that the Lord may keep us wakeful and attentive to what we are engaged in.
This bodily weakness will have influence when we have the greatest seeming advantage to help us against it. I believe sometimes when people are drowsy they are ready to charge it upon the preacher—and indeed we have not much to say for ourselves. We wish we could speak with an earnestness and power suitable to the great subjects of our ministry, then surely we should command more attention. However, the disciples could not charge their drowsiness upon any defect in means, for Jesus was transfigured before them, and Moses and Elijah were visible in glory, yet they slept. It is therefore a deep-rooted evil which lies in our very nature and of which every spiritual worshipper must be more or less aware.
FOR MEDITATION: Though this example of the disciples, and our Lord’s gracious condescension to their weakness, affords sincere souls some encouragement under the infirmities which burden them, it gives no excuse to an allowed slothfulness. I observe at times some who sit so much at their ease and sleep with so much composure—as if they came to church for nothing else. This is shameful—I wish there was no occasion to speak of it. People should strive against it, and they who love the Lord will do so because they are losers—as the disciples were—they only awaked just in time enough to see the glory departing.
SERMON SERIES: ON THE TRANSFIGURATION, NO. 6 [2/3], LUKE 9:32–33