Evening, October 23, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” — Luke 22:46
When is the Christian most liable to sleep? Is it not when his earthly circumstances are prosperous? Have you not found this to be so? When you had troubles daily to take to the throne of grace, were you not more wakeful than you are now? Easy roads make sleepy travelers. Another dangerous time is when all goes pleasantly in spiritual matters. In Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian did not go to sleep when lions were in the way, or when he was wading through the river, or when fighting with Apollyon; but when he had climbed half way up the Hill Difficulty, and came to a delightful arbor, he sat down, and immediately fell asleep, to his great sorrow and loss. The enchanted ground is a place of balmy breezes, laden with fragrant odors and soft influences, all tending to lull pilgrims to sleep. Remember Bunyan’s description: “Then they came to an arbor, warm, and promising much refreshing to the weary pilgrims; for it was finely formed overhead, beautified with greens, and furnished with benches and settees. It had also in it a soft couch, where the weary might lean.” “The arbor was called the Slothful’s Friend, and was made on purpose to allure, if it might be, some of the pilgrims to take up their rest there when weary.” Depend upon it; it is in easy places that men shut their eyes and wander into the dreamy land of forgetfulness. The old Scot Ebenezer Erskine wisely remarked, “I like a roaring devil better than a sleeping devil.” There is no temptation half so dangerous as not being tempted. The distressed soul does not sleep; it is after we enter into peaceful confidence and full self-assurance that we are in danger of slumbering. The disciples fell asleep after they had seen Jesus transfigured on the mountain top. Take heed, joyous Christian, good natures are near neighbors to temptations: be as happy as you will, only be watchful.