Mark 14:38

Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
For, if these things are placed in our power through the capability of nature and the freedom of the will, anyone can see that it would be useless to ask them of the Lord, and even deceitful to pray, if we ask in prayer for what our nature so constituted already possesses by our own strength. Then, the Lord Jesus would not have said: “Watch and pray,” but only “Watch, lest you enter into temptation.” He would not have said to the blessed chief of the apostles: “I have prayed for you,” but simply: “I warn you, or command you, or enjoin you that your faith should not fail.” Letter , To Pope Innocent.

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
The Lord has commanded us to watch and pray that we enter not into temptation. Obviously, if we could endow ourselves with this gift merely by willing it, we would not be asking it in prayer. If the will itself sufficed to protect us from temptation, we would not have to pray for it. But if we were not given a will at all, we would be unable to pray. Grant, then, that we may will it freely, praying that we may be made able by grace to do what we have willed, when by mercy we have attained to wise discernment. Letter , To Palatinus.

Cornelius a Lapide

AD 1637
The spirit indeed is willing: Syriac, willing and prompt.

Cyprian of Carthage

AD 258
But when we ask that we may not come into temptation, we are reminded of our infirmity and weakness in that we thus ask, lest any should insolently vaunt himself, lest any should proudly and arrogantly assume anything to himself, lest any should take to himself the glory either of confession or of suffering as his own, when the Lord Himself, teaching humility, said, "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak; "

Dionysius of Alexandria

AD 264
This is the first form of not falling into temptation, when he counsels the weak to pray not to enter into temptation. The temptation to come, for offenses must come, will require that they pray that they enter not into temptation. But the more perfect way of not entering into temptation is what he asks for the second time: “not as I will but as thou.” For God cannot be tempted, but wills to give above what we ask or think. .

Polycarp of Smyrna

AD 155
As the Lord has said: "The spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak."

Tertullian of Carthage

AD 220
He clearly acknowledged that his “soul was sorrowful, even unto death,” and his flesh weak. His intention was to show, from his troubled soul and weak flesh, that both his soul and body were fully human. For some have wrongly asserted that either the flesh or soul of Christ might be entirely different from ours. He sought by an extraordinary exhibition of the bodysoul interaction, to show that neither body nor soul has any power at all of itself apart from the spirit. This is why he states first that the spirit is willing, so that you may understand that you have within you the spirit’s strength and not merely the weakness of the flesh. From this it is hoped that you may learn what to do under challenge, by what means to do it, and how to order priorities. The weak must be brought under the strong— the flesh under the spirit. This will help you avoid making excuses, as you are now prone to do, for the weakness of your flesh while failing to understand the strength of the spirit.

Tertullian of Carthage

AD 220
Let us, however, not take premature comfort in the Lord’s acknowledgment of the weakness of the flesh. For note that he declared first of all that the spirit is willing. He wanted to show which one ought to be subject to the other: the flesh is called to be submissive to the spirit, the weaker to the stronger, so that the flesh may draw strength from the spirit. Let the spirit converse with the flesh on their common salvation. Do not despair over the hardships of prison. Rather think about the eventual outcome of the contest.

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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