Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41
Words: Charles Wesley, Hymns and Sacred Poems (Bristol, England: Felix Farley, 1739), Volume 2, number 84, pages 126–27.
Music: Ellacombe, Gesangbuch der Herzogl. Wirtembergischen Katholischen Hofkapelle (Württemberg, Germany: 1784). Adapted & harmonized by William H. Monk in the 1868 appendix to Hymns Ancient and Modern, number 366 (🔊 pdf nwc).
Charles Wesley had many proofs of the truthfulness of the [second] verse of this hymn. Amongst the numerous instances of his escape from the hands of robbers and brutal persecutors, he mentions the following:
I set out for London. In a mile’s riding my horse fell lame. I sung the 91st Psalm and put myself under divine protection. I had scarce ended, and turned the hut on Shotover hill, when a man came up to me, and demanded my money, showing, but not presenting a pistol. I gave him my purse. He asked how much there was.
About thirty shillings.
Have you no more?
I will see,put my hand in my pocket, and gave him some halfpence.
He repeated the question,Have you any more?
I had thirty pounds in a private pocket; bade him search myself; which he did not choose.
He ordered me to dismount, which I did; but begged hard for my horse again, promising not to pursue him. He took my word and restored him. I rode gently on praising God. My bags, and watch, and gold, the robber was forced to leave me. By the evening I reached Westminster.
Ward, p. 114–15
Jesus, my Master, and my Lord,
I would thy will obey,
Humbly receive Thy warning word,
And always watch and pray.
My constant need of watchful prayer
I daily see, and feel,
To keep me safe from every snare
Of sin, and earth, and hell.
Into a world of ruffians sent,
I walk on hostile ground,
Wild human beasts, on slaughter bent,
And ravening wolves surround.
The lion seeks my soul to slay,
In some unguarded hour,
And waits to tear his sleeping prey,
And watches to devour.
But worse than all my foes, I find
The enemy within,
The evil heart, the carnal mind,
My own insidious sin:
My nature every moment waits
To render me secure,
And all my paths with ease besets,
To make my ruin sure.
But Thou hast given a loud alarm,
And thou shalt still prepare
My soul for all assaults, and arm
With never ceasing prayer.
Thou wilt not suffer me to sleep,
Who on Thy love depend,
But still Thy faithful servant keep,
And save me to the end.