And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he said to his disciples, Sit you here, while I shall pray.…
I. THE SPIRIT'S NEED OF OCCASIONAL SOLITUDE. We need to collect and concentrate ourselves. "We must go alone. We must put ourselves in communication with the internal ocean, not go abroad to beg a cup of water of the urns of other men. I like the silent church before the service beans better than any preaching. How far-off, how cool, how chaste the persons look, begirt each one with a precinct or sanctuary! So let us always sit" (Emerson).
II. ITS NEED TO THROW ITSELF ON GOD. We ask advice of others too much, and depend on human sympathy when we ought only to depend on God. But God does not speak his deepest messages to men amidst a mob, but in the desert, when they are alone with him. Amidst the confusion of opinion and conjecture, his will becomes clear to us. In solitude it shines, the pole-star of our night. His will is ever wisest and best. It is ever possible to follow: -
"When duty whispers low, 'Thou must,'
The soul replies, 'I can!'" It is ever safest: -
"'Tis man's perdition to be safe
When for the truth he ought to die."
III. THE NEED OF WATCHFULNESS AND PRAYER. Porphyry says, in his affecting life of the great philosopher Plotinus, that the latter, though full of suffering, never relaxed his attention to the inner life; and that this constant watchfulness over his spirit lessened his hours of sleep. And he was rewarded by an intimate union with, or absorption in, the Divinity. He was ever interrogating his soul, lest it should be yielding to fallacy and error. This was the great man of whom his disciple again says, that he was ashamed of having a body. Even in ascetic extremes, there are lessons for us. "The spirit indeed is forward, but the body is feeble." - J.
Parallel VersesKJV: And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray.