Matthew 26:40
Then Jesus returned to the disciples and found them sleeping. "Were you not able to keep watch with Me for one hour?" He asked Peter.
Sermons
Sunday Next Before EasterThomas ArnoldMatthew 26:40
JudasMarcus Dods Matthew 26:14-25, 47-50
The Agony in the GardenJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 26:36-46
All Sins DangerousBishop Henshaw.Matthew 26:40-45
Christian CautionSunday Teacher's TreasuryMatthew 26:40-45
Christian VigilanceT. H. Walker.Matthew 26:40-45
Christ's Consideration for the Weakness of His FollowersT. G. Herren.Matthew 26:40-45
Conflict of Flesh and SpiritSpencer.Matthew 26:40-45
Conflict of the Spirit with the FleshJ. G. Pilkington.Matthew 26:40-45
Danger of Sleep in Times of TemptationR. South, D. D.Matthew 26:40-45
Entering into TemptationE. Stillingfleet.Matthew 26:40-45
How to Treat TemptationW. Mason.Matthew 26:40-45
Importance of ResolutionE. Stillingfleet.Matthew 26:40-45
Lip-DevotionR. South, D. D.Matthew 26:40-45
PrayerW. Leechman.Matthew 26:40-45
Prayer in Time of TemptationR. South, D. D.Matthew 26:40-45
Preparing for TemptationR. South, D. D.Matthew 26:40-45
Sins of InfirmityT. Sherlock, D. D.Matthew 26:40-45
Sins of Will and Sins of InfirmityE. Stillingfleet.Matthew 26:40-45
Sleep on Now, EtcJohn Trapp.Matthew 26:40-45
Spirit Willing, Flesh WeakJohn Whitty.Matthew 26:40-45
TemptationA. Watson, D. D.Matthew 26:40-45
The Attractions of Two WorldsE. Stillingfleet.Matthew 26:40-45
The Defence of PrayerE. Stillingfleet.Matthew 26:40-45
The Disciples in GethsemaneC. J. Proctor.Matthew 26:40-45
The Sentinel and the ArsenalG. H. Jackson.Matthew 26:40-45
The Willing Spirit and the Weak FleshC. Bradley.Matthew 26:40-45
Watch and Pray -- Danger Lurking in TriflesC. H. Spurgeon.Matthew 26:40-45
Watch Our StrengthA. Watson, D. D.Matthew 26:40-45
Watch the Beginnings of SinT. H. Walker.Matthew 26:40-45
Watch the Occasions of SinT. H. Walker.Matthew 26:40-45
Watchfulness and PrayerR. South, D. D.Matthew 26:40-45
WatchingR. South, D. D.Matthew 26:40-45
Watching unto PrayerDr. Edmond.Matthew 26:40-45
Watching with ChristH. W. Beecher.Matthew 26:40-45
What is WatchfulnessE. Stillingfleet.Matthew 26:40-45


Wherein does the scene of Calvary differ from the scene of Gethsemane? It would be easy to point out the sameness, the essential oneness, of the two scenes. But there is a difference. It lies in this: At Calvary the physical suffering is prominent. Our thought is sympathizingly occupied with our Lord's bodily agonies, and bleeding, breaking heart. At Gethsemane the physical is subordinate, the mental and spiritual are prominent; we are in the presence of an awful soul struggle. Life is everywhere a conflict. Earth is a great battlefield. What does it all mean? Conflict in the heart. Conflict in the home. Conflict in the nation. Conflict everywhere. If we get light on the mystery anywhere, we get it in the garden of Gethsemane, where the Son of man is seen in bitter, almost overwhelming conflict.

I. THE CONFLICT OF LIFE IS REALLY A CONFLICT OF WILLS. God is the supreme will; and his will ought to be supreme with his creatures. But to man has been entrusted a limited free will. That free will man has exercised until it has become masterful, and is constantly setting itself against God's will. Bodily conditions, the slavery of the senses, the attractions of the seen and temporal, all help to the strengthening of man's will, man's wilfulness, so that the fight sometimes becomes severe. Our Lord, in taking on himself our human nature, took on him our sense-conditioned human will. And this in Gethsemane tried a wrestling with the will of God.

II. THE TRIUMPH IN THE CONFLICT OF LIFE IS YIELDING OUR WILL TO GOD'S WILL. This is the triumph of Gethsemane. Our Lord did not want the Divine will to be altered. He wanted to gain the full surrender of his whole nature - body, mind, soul - to the acceptance of the will. Man never gives up his will save as the issue of a fierce struggle. What force can renew and strengthen man's will so that it shall accept God's will, and make it his?

1. The truth as it is in Jesus.

2. The work wrought through for us by Jesus.

3. The grace won for us and given to us by Jesus.

4. The actual present power exerted on us by Jesus.

5. The constrainings of the love of Jesus.

Christ came to make the will of God infinitely attractive to us. He is the gracious Persuader of the human will. - R.T.









Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation
Sunday Teacher's Treasury.
Who sleeps by a magazine of gunpowder needs to take care even of sparks. Who walks on ice, let him not go star-gazing, but look to his feet, and take care of falling. "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation," is a warning which no good man should disregard.

(Sunday Teacher's Treasury.)

When an archer shoots his arrow at a mark, he likes to go and see whether he has hit it, or how near he has come to it. When you have written and sent off a letter to a friend, you expect some day that the postman will be knocking at the door with an answer. When a child asks his father for something, he looks in his face, even before he speaks, to see if he is pleased, and reads acceptance in his eyes. But it is to be greatly feared that many people feel, when their prayers are over, as if they had quite done with them; their only concern was to get them said. An old heathen poet speaks of Jupiter throwing certain prayers to the winds — dispersing them in empty air. It is sad to think that we so often do that for ourselves. What would you think of a man who had written and folded and sealed and addressed a letter flinging it out into the street, and thinking no more about it? Sailors in foundering ships sometimes commit notes in sealed bottles to the waves, for the chance of their being some day washed on some shore. Sir John Franklin's companions among the snows, and Captain Allen Gardiner dying of hunger in his cave, wrote words they could not be sure any one would ever read. But we do not need to think of our prayers as random messages. We should therefore look for reply to them, and watch to get it.

(Dr. Edmond.)

A sentinel posted on the walls, when he discerns a hostile party advancing, does not attempt to make head against them himself, but informs his commanding officer of the enemy's approach, and leaves him to take the proper measure against the foe. So the Christian does not attempt to fight temptation in his own strength. His watchfulness lies in observing its approach, and in telling God of it by prayer.

(W. Mason.)

Not only (says Manton) do great sins ruin the soul, but lesser faults will do the same. Dallying with temptation leads to sad consequences. Caesar was killed with bodkins. A dagger aimed at the heart will give as deadly a wound as a huge two-handed sword, and a little sin unrepented of will be as fatal as a gross transgression. Brutus and Cassius and the rest of the conspirators could not have more surely ended Caesar's life with spears than they did with daggers. Death can hide in a drop, and ride in a breath of air. Our greatest dangers lie hidden in little things. Milton represents thousands of evil spirits as crowded into one hall; and truly the least sin may be a very pandemonium, in which a host of evils may be concealed — a populous hive of mischiefs, each one storing death. Believer, though thou be a little Caesar in thine own sphere, beware of the bodkins of thine enemies. Watch and pray, lest thou fall by little and little. Lord, save me from sins which call themselves little.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

All consciences, like all stomachs, are not alike. How many do we see digest those sins with ease, which others cannot get down with struggling. One strains at a gnat, while another swallows a camel. He that will keep clear of great sins must make conscience of all. I will think no sin little, because the least endangers my soul; and it is all one whether I sell my Saviour for thirty pence with Judas, or for half I am worth with Ananias; whether I go to hell for one sin, or for many.

(Bishop Henshaw.)

Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, as he was passing on the way, espied a boy with a bird tied in a string to a stone; the bird was still taking wing to fly away, but the sterne kept her down. The holy man made good use of this sight, and, bursting into tears, said, "Even so it is betwixt the flesh and the spirit; the spirit is willing to mount upwards in heavenly thoughts and contemplation, but the flesh keeps it down, and, if possible, would not admit of the least thought of heaven.

(Spencer.)

Man is a trinity consisting of body, soul, and spirit. The word soul, in the language of Scripture, is not used in its modern significance. It stands for that part of our nature which we have in common with the brutes that perish. The spirit likewise in the language of both Old and New Testaments stands for that intelligent nature in man which the brutes have not. The spirit is the seat of the will, for it is written, "the spirit is willing." The spirit is the perceptive and reflective faculty in man, for "no man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man that is in him." The text suggests to us that though the spirit of man be illumined by the Spirit of God, the weakness of the flesh may bear him down. The word "flesh," in scriptural language, means something quite different from "body." It points to the nature of man as endowed with all its wondrous adaptations to the world in which he lives, which adaptations indeed supply his strongest temptation to forget God. Satan goeth about with muffled feet, seeking whom he may devour. As in the natural world there are subtle influences at work, in the power of electricity for example, which we can measure but cannot see, so there are angels bad as well as good, the one ministering to that minding of the flesh which is death, the others to that minding of the spirit which is life and peace. Heavenly influences begin with the spirit, affect the lower or soulish nature, and through it regulate the actions of the body.

(J. G. Pilkington.)

Luther reads the words indicatively, and by way of question, thus: Ah! do ye now sleep and take your rest? Will ye, with Solomon's drunkard, sleep upon a mast-pole? take a nap upon a weathercock? Thus this heavenly Eagle, though loving His young ones dearly, yet pricks and beats them out of the nest. The best (as bees) are killed with the honey of flattery, but quickened with the vinegar of reproof.

(John Trapp.)

I. A CHARACTERISTIC OF THE CHRISTIAN — a willing spirit.

1. This is true of every one of Christ's real disciples on earth.

2. We must set no bounds to the degree of the Christian's willingness.

3. Christ constantly tested it. "Sell all that thou hast."

II. THE CHRISTIAN'S INFIRMITY. "The flesh is weak."

1. True in prayer.

2. True in Bible reading.

3. True in Christian effort.

4. True in our losses and afflictions.

5. We must expect to experience more and more of this weakness of our mortal nature as life progresses.

III. THE COMPASSION OF OUR LORD FOR THE CHRISTIAN UNDER HIS INFIRMITY. Rebuke is soon followed by compassion. He was now overwhelmed with misery; but suffering did not make Him selfish.

IV. THE CONDUCT WE ARE TO PURSUE UNDER OUR INFIRMITIES. Are we to allow the weak flesh to do as it will? We are to watch and pray.

(C. Bradley.)

I. THE CHRISTIAN IS A SENTINEL; HIS CAPTAIN IS CHRIST; AND THE WORD OF COMMAND IS "WATCH"

1. TO be watchful implies wakefulness.

2. Watchfulness implies discrimination. A sentinel must distinguish between an enemy and a friend.

3. A sentinel will scrutinize and test the character.

II. IT IS NOT SUFFICIENT TO ENGAGE A SENTINEL TO WATCH AGAONST THE INVASION OF THE FOE: nor is it enough that he be faithful, and give the signal of alarm when needed. The arsenal is necessary; without this the sentinel would be weak and useless. "But in Me is thy help found."

III. THE INSEPARABLE RELATION OF WATCHFULNESS AND PRAYER. Thus are we saved from entering into temptation, since where a man is fully in it, there is an end of watching, and an indisposition to pray.

(G. H. Jackson.)

I shall not follow this history further, except to develop this single fact — the need which our God has of our affection, and our sympathy, and our presence with Him. I know not how it is with you, but it is just this that makes me love God. It is just this need of being loved in God, and just this sense of loneliness without it, that calls forth my affection for Him. Power may be venerable, and wisdom may be admirable; but only affection is lovable. It is a marvel, if it be true — and blessed be God, it is true — that while we can do nothing to the Divine stature, and while we can do nothing to the Divine wisdom, it is in the power of a heart that knows how to love, to do much for the Divine happiness. For we are not to say that God is perfect in the sense that He can never feel any more. That is carrying philosophy to insanity. Every heart that loves God makes Him experience a Divine gladness. Every soul that lifts itself up into the presence of God with adoration of love makes Him happier. And now, further, is there not a relationship of this scene to our relations in this life, and to our experiences? Is Christ still upon earth in any such sense that it may be said that we are watching with Him here? I remark, that Christ's life is going on in this world; that it is developing here, I had almost said in some respects more wonderful/y, than in heaven itself. In other words, the next representation is, that Christ has mingled His spirit with the hearts of the race; that by His life and example He is teaching men. And, above all, by His spiritual influences, Christ is germinating in the race His own nature, and is bound to carry the race above its animal conditions, and into the transcendent sphere where He Himself is. Wherever, then, in all the earth, there are those who need guidance; wherever there are those who need instruction; wherever there are those who are seeking the upward way, and looking about for some one to guide them — there the Saviour is with them. He, then, is watching with Christ, if these be truths, who watches with the Saviour in his earthly ministrations. Those who are in the midst of the glare and growth of material things in this life, and identify themselves, notwithstanding, with the interior, with the spiritual, with the religious affairs of men, may fitly be said to be watching with Christ. Still further, those especially who are watching as Christ taught that we should watch, are those who watch for the souls of men, and not for Christ alone. A man can watch with Christ in his own experiences, as well as in the experiences of others.

(H. W. Beecher.)

As all war is to be carried on partly by our own strength and partly by that of allies and auxiliaries called in to our aid and assistance, so in this Christian warfare the things which properly answer those two are watchfulness and prayer: forasmuch as by watchfulness we exert and employ our own strength, and by prayer we engage God's; and if ever victory and success attend us in these encounters, these two must join forces, heaven and earth must be confederate, and where they are so, the devil himself, as strong as he is, and as invincible a monarch as he would be thought to be, may yet be forced to go off with a pluribus impar, and to quit the field with a frustration and a battle.

(R. South, D. D.)

I. Imports a strong, lively, abiding sense and persuasion of the exceeding greatness of the evil, which we watch and contend against.

II. Imports a diligent consideration and survey of our own strengths and weaknesses compared with those of our enemy.

III. Watchfulness implies a close and thorough consideration of the several ways by which temptation has at any time actually prevailed either upon ourselves or others.

1. For himself. Every man should know the plagues of his own heart, and what false steps he has made in the several turns and periods of his Christian course, by what means he fell, and upon what rocks he split.

2. Let the watchful Christian carry his eye from himself to others, and observe with what trick and artifice the tempter has practised upon them.

IV. Watchfulness implies a continual, actual intention of mind upon the high concern and danger which is before us, in opposition to sloth, idleness, and remissness.

V. Watching implies a constant and severe temperance in opposition to all the jollities of revelling and intemperance.

(R. South, D. D.)

It is not in the power of man to secure or defend himself against temptation, something above him must do it for him, as well as very often by him; and prayer is that blessed messenger between heaven and earth, holding a correspondence with both worlds, and by a happy intercourse and sure conveyance carrying up the necessities of the one, and bringing down the bounties of the other. To render prayer prevalent and effectual, there are required to it these two qualifications:

1. Fervency or importunity.

2. Constancy or perseverance. Men too often divide between watching and prayer, and so use and rely upon these duties separately, which can do nothing but in conjunction. For watchfulness without prayer is presumption, and prayer without watchfulness is a mockery. By the first a man invades God's part in this great work, and by the latter he neglects his own. Prayer not assisted by practice is laziness, and contradicted by practice is hypocrisy; it is indeed of mighty force and use within its proper compass, but it was never designed to supply the room of watchfulness, or to make wish stand in the stead of endeavour.

(R. South, D. D.)

Wise combatants will measure swords before they engage. And a discreet person will learn his own weaknesses rather by self-reflection than by experience. For to know one's self weak only by being conquered, is doubtless the worst sort of conviction.

(R. South, D. D.)

Another instance I have met with in story of a certain general, who going about his camp in the night, and finding the watch fast asleep upon the ground, nails him down to the place where he lay with his own sword, using this expression withal, "I found him dead, and I left him so."

(R. South, D. D.)

Lip-devotion will not serve the turn. It undervalues the very things it prays for. It is indeed the begging of a denial, and shall certainly be answered in what it begs.

(R. South, D. D.)

I. Give an explication of the words.

II. Show that our present state is imperfect, and there will always be defects — defects in our spiritual frame, defects in our obedience, defects in our approaches to God in our religious duties.

III. If the spirit be willing, and our infirmities are truly lamented. and we watch and pray against them, God will graciously accept us, approve of our sincere desires and endeavours, and pardon our failings.

IV. That this grace of God and the Redeemer is matter of great comfort to the sincere Christian, a support to him under a sense of his weakness and unworthiness, and an encouragement to engage in solemn duties, particularly in the celebration of the ordinance of the Lord's Supper, with readiness and cheerfulness, and without amazing, distracting dread and terror.

(John Whitty.)

I. Explain the nature of prayer, and set it in its true light, by stripping it of all foreign and superfluous circumstances. In order to understand the nature of prayer, let us take notice that the inward acts of mind and heart exerted in it, from which the outward expressions should flow, and by which they should be animated, are principally these three following:

1. A lively and intimate persuasion that we are utterly insufficient for our own happiness, and that we depend upon our Maker for all we possess here or hope to enjoy hereafter.

2. The second act of the soul exerted in prayer, is the lifting it up with the utmost ardour to that greatest and best of beings who brought us into life, and assigned us our station in it.

3. The third act of mind is a firm belief and assured trust in that God to whom we pray, and on whom we depend.

II. Vindicate prayer from the objections commonly urged against it.

1. That an omniscient God already knows what we want before we ask it. Answer: The real design of prayer is, in the first place, to express, under a lively impression of the presence of God, the sense we have of our dependence upon Him: and, in the second place, to express our earnest desires of having all those sentiments and pious dispositions which it is proper for us to entertain and cultivate.

2. That since God is infinite in goodness, He is always disposed to bestow on His creatures whatever is proper for them, and, since He is infinite in wisdom, He will always choose the fittest times and best manner of bestowing. Answer: Prayer is not designed to move the affections of God, it works its effect on us, as it contributes to change the temper of our minds.

3. Prayer can be of no importance, for all things are already fixed by an unalterable decree of God. Answer: None ever maintained that God hath determined events to happen without any means, and prayers are the proper means of obtaining spiritual blessings.

III. The advantages which arise from the sincere and steadfast performance of this duty.

1. As a break in our worldly life.

2. As inspiring us with the love, and animating us to the practice, of every virtue.

3. Putting us into the best frame and situation of mind for receiving the influences of heavenly light and grace.

4. Raising the human soul to an uncommon pitch of grandeur and elevation.

5. Giving a wonderful strength and firmness to the soul which is under the full power and influence of it. Since, then, prayer is a reasonable thing in itself, it must be both our duty and our interest to continue instant in it.

(W. Leechman.)

To tempt is in general no more than to try, and a state of temptation is a state of trial; to pray therefore that we may not be put into a state of temptation, is to pray ourselves out of this world, which was designed by God for a state of trial in order to another world. Therefore, when we pray not to be led into temptation, the meaning is, that God by His wise providence would keep us from such trials as, according to the ordinary measures of grace, we should hardly be able to withstand. For, although it be possible for those to whom God gives extraordinary assistance, not only to resist the temptation, but to triumph over it, and to shake off temptations as St. Paul did the viper from his hand, yet, considering the frailty of human nature, and that God is not obliged to give assistance in difficult cases, it is a wise and becoming petition for us to our heavenly Father, that He would not lead us in this manner into temptation.

(E. Stillingfleet.)

It is the love of this world, that is, of the riches and honours of it, which make the sins of ambition and covetousness so plausible and prevailing among those who profess to believe another world. Their souls are like a piece of iron between two loadstones of an unequal magnitude and distance; the one is far greater, and hath more force in itself to attract, but it is placed at a far greater distance; the other is much less, but very near, and therefore may more powerfully draw, than that which is more forcible but farther off.

(E. Stillingfleet.)

One of the best means in the world to withstand temptations to sin, because —

1. It keeps the mind steady and fixed, and therefore ready to resist the temptation when it comes.

2. Because it takes off the false colours and appearances of things; for everything may be represented plausibly to an irresolute mind.

(E. Stillingfleet.)

By what certain rules may we proceed to judge what sins are wilful and presumptuous, and what are sins of infirmity, or such as come from the weakness of the flesh. We have two ways to judge by.

1. From the nature of moral actions.

2. From the Scriptures, declaring what sins are inconsistent with the state of salvation.For there are two sorts of infirmities:

1. Such as belong to particular actions.

2. Such as belong to our state and condition.There are three things which do very much alter and discriminate the nature of moral actions.

1. The choice and consent of the will.

2. The time and deliberation about it.

3. The manner of committing it.

(E. Stillingfleet.)

It is a constant care of ourselves and actions. We walk as it were upon precipices, and therefore had need to look to our standing, when we see persons falling on every side.

(E. Stillingfleet.)

Prayer, when duly performed, not only diverts, and raises, and composes the mind, and so breaks the force of a present temptation, hut when a close siege is laid, it keeps the passage open for supplies from heaven, and brings down those supports which may enable us to endure.

(E. Stillingfleet.)

I. WHAT IS THE SCRIPTURE SENSE OF INFIRMITY?

1. The state of human nature is such as to be liable to many pains, diseases, and at last to death. In this sense Christ is said to bear our infirmities, being by the law of His nature subject to the like weakness — hunger, thirst, sleep, dread of pain.

2. Men are not more weak in their bodies than in their minds, nor more exposed to bodily pains than to the impressions of sin, which is our spiritual disease.

3. Next to this general sense of infirmity comes the particular infirmities included in it. It is urged in defence that these passions are natural; also that they are inherent. That a natural passion has the same author with nature, and belongs to us as we are men, therefore not to be avoided. None of these have infirmity enough to be an excuse for sin.

II. WHAT SORT OF SINS THEY ARE WHICH WILL ADMIT OF AN EXCUSE BECAUSE OF THE INFIRMITY FROM WHICH THEY PROCEED. There is an imperfection in the obedience of the best of men — coldness in devotion, wandering thoughts, which is a weakness to be forgiven. The one way to entitle us to the plea is by endeavouring sincerely and universally to obey the will of God.

(T. Sherlock, D. D.)

I. The NEED OF REBUKE.

II. The method of Christ; rebuke is TEMPERED AND LIMITED. The flesh is to be rebuked for its weakness, the spirit commended and strengthened for its willingness. Had Christ been of the spirit of some He would have allowed no such palliation of their weakness. How Christ put His knowledge of man into the other side of the balance — "He knew what was in man." Imagine the disappointment with which the disciples awoke to find that their firm resolves had vanished. These words of Christ show rather His intense appreciativeness of all the concealed willingness of men than any desire to set their failure in aggravated form. He used His knowledge for their help, not hurt. He sees the redeeming brightness. Foster willingness of spirit.

III. Lastly, what a strengthened and rightly directed will can do; how it can rise above the flesh. We see it in worldly pursuits. How eagerly a man will pursue an idea when it masters his will. The ideal religious life is just a new ambition with Divine help to reach it.

(C. J. Proctor.)

I. The SOURCES of temptation.

1. Temperament and disposition.

2. The circumstances with which a man is surrounded and the training under which he has been brought up.

II. Passing from the sources of temptation, let me speak of THE NECESSITY OF WATCHING AGAINST IT.

1. One reason is our ignorance of self.

2. Watchfulness is needed because the trial of man's character is life-long.

3. Watchfulness of spirit will effect much, but it will be greatly helped if combined with a spirit of devotion. It gives him strength which in one sense is his own, but in a truer and higher sense is not his own. A sense of religious responsibility to God strengthens the sense of right against wrong. When he is resisting temptation he is not fighting singlehanded, but has the eternal law and will of God on his side. In every encounter it helps a man mightily to know that he is not single.

(A. Watson, D. D.)

Men may be on their guard against their infirmities, but unwary where they deem themselves strong. And just as every reader of history is familiar with stories which tell how fortresses and castles were taken by the enemy, not on their weak and well-guarded side, but on the side where they were deemed impregnable, and where watching was thought useless, so has it been a thousand times in the history of the human mind and life. The faithful Abraham fell into distrust; the meek Moses was ruffled in spirit; the wise Solomon was overreached by acts which he might have withstood; the courageous Peter, even when warned by Christ, was drawn into an act of cowardice. So we often see it in common life. We see the man of strong understanding thrown off his guard, and doing foolish things; the man of integrity, by some impulse, turned aside from the straight path.

(A. Watson, D. D.)

I. To show the IMPORTANCE OF AND NECESSITY of Christian vigilance. From —

1. The commands and exhortations of Scripture.

2. The deceitfulness and depravity of the human heart. The illusions it practices on itself. Like an ingenious advocate whose object is to colour and recommend a bad cause, it employs the most deceitful sophistry; and sin is artfully pleaded for on the various grounds of constitution, custom, expediency, and necessity.

3. The temptations to which we are exposed.

(1)The temptations of the world.

(2)Satan.

4. The sins into which many of the people of God have fallen through its neglect. Noah, David, Hezekiah, and Peter. No dependence can be placed in elevated station, piety, or experience. Adam fell when all was beautiful.

5. Review your own experience and see the need for vigilance.

II. The NATURE OF THE DUTY enjoined.

1. A deep and abiding conviction of danger.

2. A diligent use of appointed means. Avoid all occasions of sin; watch the beginnings of sin; watch your besetting sin; watch your thoughts; watch your company; watch your pursuits; watch in dependence upon God.

III. The PERSONS ON WHOM THIS DUTY OUGHT ESPECIALLY TO BE ENFORCED.

1. TO ministers and all who occupy official stations in the Church of God.

2. It applies to the aged. They are not beyond the reach of temptation.

3. It applies to the young.

4. It applies to heads of families.

IV. TO ENFORCE THE OBSERVANCE OF THIS DUTY.

1. Think of the salvation of the soul.

2. Think of the consequences resulting from the neglect of this duty.

3. Think of the glory of God.

(T. H. Walker.)

Avoid all occasions of sin. Boston justly remarks, that, "as one who carries gunpowder would not wish to be where sparks are flying, lest he should be destroyed; so should we carefully avoid such places and company as may lead into sin."

(T. H. Walker.)

All sin proceeds by rapid and beguiling steps; and when its influence is once yielded to, who can determine .all the possible declinations from rectitude which may afterwards follow? In its first approach it may seem altogether harmless; it may be nothing more than thought. The spark may seem to be harmless; but it shall enkindle a conflagration that shall resist, by its violence, the united wisdom and power of man. The shell may seem to be insignificant, but it contains a substance which, when matured, shall be "a serpent in the path, or adder by the way, that biteth the horse's heel, so that the rider thereof falleth backward." The rill that steals silently over the sod may appear trivial; but it shall multiply its waters, until it mocks the man who shall say, "Here shall thy proud waves be stayed."

(T. H. Walker.)

Applying the subject to ourselves.

I. Is THE SPIRIT WILLING? Are we willing, in the sense of being resolved, and bent upon doing God's will, following after holiness, and showing sympathy with Christ by bearing the cross for His sake? Yet —

II. THE FLESH MAY BE WEAK.

1. In religious exercises.

2. In the tasks and duties of our Christian life.

3. Most of all in suffering and trial.

III. THE COMFORT AND USE OF CHRIST'S GRACIOUS SAYING TO US IN SUCH TIMES AS THESE.

1. It is a word of kind apology.

2. There is a tone of warning in it.

3. Our duty therefore is to do our utmost to keep awake and to maintain communion with our Lord. "Watch and pray."

IV. Look forward to a better life.

(T. G. Herren.)

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Matthew 26:39
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