And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
I. TO EXPLAIN AS EXERCISE OF SECRET DEVOTION. It is little we know of the private life of Christ. In silence there is much instruction. He was often in private retirement (Luke 6:12; Luke 21:37; Luke 22:39; John 6:15).
1. The occasion on which our Lord betakes Himself to this exercise of secret devotion. You observe the connection — after a day of laborious occupation in the public exercises of religion, He sought an opportunity for secret devotion: the one no excuse for the neglect of the other. In the public exercises of religion we most need the private exercises of devotion. There are reasons for this. It is in private that the impressions of the public ordinances must be maintained on the mind. It prevents relapse. Besides, this is a time of peculiar temptation. If a Christian in his public exercises had attained to high enjoyment, every stratagem will be used by Satan to rob him of his treasure. Besides, it is necessary to follow our public services with secret exercises, that we may bring the former to the test. In public we are apt to be excited, but feelings that are excited may be deceitful; and every wise man will test these feelings in the presence of God alone.
2. The next circumstance in this exercise that attracts our attention is the time that our Lord was pleased to choose for it — "In the morning." His self-denial. The morning is favourable to devotion, our minds are not yet disturbed by the cares of the day. What anxiety to give God the best of His services.
3. The place He sought for it. The works of the Divine hand are aids to devotion.
4. The exercise itself — "He prayed." Christ as man needed to pray. We can conceive of Adam in innocence praying; but our Lord needed prayer, as being the subject of sinless infirmity; but above all as Mediator. Suggest a few aids to secret devotion —
(3) a determination of future obedience.Christ came out of His solitude with purposes to do the will of His heavenly Father.
II. I AM TO ENFORCE THE DUTY OF SECRET DEVOTION BY A CONSIDERATION OF ITS BENEFITS.
1. It has a tendency to produce godliness. Because it brings us into contact with God. It produces simplicity, and godly sincerity, and gentleness.
2. Secret devotion is most favourable to the comfort of the mind. Devotion soothes the mind; it elevates the mind. It imparts joy in religion.
3. Secret devotion is most favourable to usefulness. The secret of usefulness among men is a spirit of piety toward God.
Parallel VersesKJV: And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.