Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26: 41
Solomon tells us of some that lie down on the top of a mast in the midst of the sea (Prov. 23:34). This is an accurate picture of men who are overtaken by a false security at the brink of destruction. If any have ever done so, the disciples in the garden certainly did. Their master was just a little distance from them offering ‘up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears’ (Heb. 5:7), while they slept. He was beginning to taste the cup that was filled with the curse and wrath due to their sins. The Jews were nearby and armed for his and their destruction. Jesus had earlier informed them that this was the night of his coming betrayal and death. The disciples saw that Jesus was ‘sorrowful and troubled’ (Matt. 26:37). He entreated them to tarry and watch with him. He was dying, and that for them. In this condition, as he left them for a little while, like men who had forsaken all their love toward him or care for themselves, they fell fast asleep. Even the best of saints being left to themselves will quickly appear to be less than men, to be nothing. All of our own strength is weakness, and all of our own wisdom is folly. Peter was one of those that fell asleep,, and that soon after he has expressed such self-confidence that he would not forsake him even if all others did. Our Saviour said to Peter, ‘Could you not watch with me one hour?’ It is an amazing thing to consider that Peter should make so high a promise, and then immediately be s careless and remiss in the pursuit of it. We find, however, in our own hearts the same root of treachery abiding and working. It bears fruit in us every day. Jesus sought to stir them up to see their condition, their weakness, and danger. Ruin lay right at their door. They needed to rise, watch and pray.
Sinclair Ferguson has publicly stated that no one has had a greater spiritual impact on his life than William Still! William Still was the minister of Gilcomston South Church, Aberdeen, from 1945 to 1997. While his name may not feature in the official annals of the Church of Scotland, it is doubtful whether any other individual in his Church during the latter half of the twentieth century had such a profound or widespread influence. For over fifty years Mr. Still pioneered a single-minded commitment to expository preaching and congregational prayer which made Gilcomston a beacon of Reformed and evangelical Christianity in Scotland.
A man whose very life breathed the grace and love of God, no one who ever met him, received his counsel, or sat under his ministry, could have escaped the sheer Christlikeness of Mr. Still’s life. In the early days of his ministry he wrote: “There is no part of me, or of my life, that I will withhold from the work that God has called me to.”
It was one of the marks of his evident commitment to the service of Christ that he devoted himself to the pastoral care of his people, providing them with daily Bible reading notes that would feed their souls and prepare them for works of service. The “Notes”, which appeared in the monthly “Congregational Record,” soon became highly sought after across Scotland, the United Kingdom, and even to the far-flung corners of the world, increasing in many a love for and commitment to the Word of God.
Drawn from every book in the Bible, this selection, edited and arranged by David C. Searle, will take the reader through the year with William Still. These pages will explain what it means to live under the authority of Scripture, to exalt the glorious Person of Christ, and to rejoice in the wonder of the gospel.