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through a disbelief of the divine faithfulness and love. Let us beware of such an attack, and learn what rehstance we should make.
It would have been easy for our Lord to accomplish what Satan proposed; but he would not even feem to distrust the care of Providence; and he has left us an example of a firm reliance upon God in the severest difficulties. He replied, therefore, from the fcriptures, “ Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God *.” Thus he has taught us, to be more anxious. to obtain the divine blefling, than a supply of food, which of itself can adıninister no nutriment to the body. We should not dare to pursue any unlawful: course, or take one step out of the road of duty, for the providing even of necessary support. Let us preferve our dependence upon the God of heaven, who in a thousand ways can.give us bread to.eat, or even sustain us without it..
2. Jesus was then tempted to presumption.. “ The Devil taketh him up into the holy city” (in what way we do not enquire, nor is it neceffary to know), " and fetteth him on a pinnacle of the temple.” Here again the address was most artful: he would now.persuade him, to prefume upon his relation to God, in the belief of which he could not be shaken, to make an improper display of it, and to expect protection without a sufficient warrant. c. If thou be the Son: of God,” said he, “cast thyself down from hence; for it is written, He shall give his Angels charge concerning thee to keep thee; and in their hands they fhall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone +." Satan, we observe, can appeal to scripture, to serve his own purposes. But here he produced a false, because a partial, quotation.
He @mitted to mention from the origi
THY WAYS;" for this opposed his design; fince it teaches us, that then only we may depend on God for our preservation, when we are in our appointed place. No security is promised to those who are out of the way
In this instance likewise we behold the admirable wisdoin of our Lord, wresting the scripture out of the hands of his adversary, and confounding him with it. He replied, “ It is written again, Thou thalt not tempt the Lord thy God *." We are forbidden, then, to prescribe unto God what evidence he shalí afford us, or to presume upon his care over us in that line of conduct, which he has not authorized. Yet to this very sin the followers of Christ are generally. urged. Indeed, they are in danger from the two oppolite extremes. For, if Satan be baffled in one point, he will try another; and therefore it will be an advantage to be apprized of his devices. What? though you be the children of God, and can maintain your hope in him: consider well, where you venture your
foot. He is not bound by any promise to comply with your vain wishes, or to preserve you, where your proper duty does not call you. Dare not, then, however you may be solicited, to deviate from the right path for the display of your own abilities, without any view to the glory of God.
3. An attempt was made to seduce the Saviour by fuch an offer, as a proud and ambitious mind would greedily have catched at. 66 The Devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and theweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, in a moment of time.” We do not well understand how he conducted this stratagem: but, being permitted to try all his artifices, he had some method of representing the most delightful prospect of earthly pomp and grandeur, that could be exhibited. or conceived.
Pretending, therefore, to have the absolute disposal : every thing in his own hands, he promised to deliver
up the whole power and magnificence to Jesus, on condition of receiving an act of adoration from him. How daring the scheme! how detestable the falfhood, which fupported it!
The delign of Satan is the same in all his affaults, but he does not always avow or discover it. down, and worship me,” is in effect the meaning of every temptation. And, ah! how frequently does he succeed! He still continues to offer the luft of the eyes and the pride of life;" and these are the baits, which thousands seize with eagerness to their eternal ruin. “ All this,” says he, « will I give thee;" and thus he persuades men to barter away their consciences, and to forsake God and his truth, from the prospect of worldly advantages. But we would remind you, while you listen to fuch folicitations that you will probably be disappointed. He, to whom you hearken, is a deceiver and a liar. It is not in his power to bestow what he promises, and what you desire to obtain. Or, if your largest wishes could be gratified, your possessions would still be poor. and conteinptible.
At length the holy resentment of Jesus was roused; and, while he let the tempter know that he underftood his real character, he rejected his proposal with abhorrence:-“ Get thee behind me, Satan ; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and bim only thou shalt serve *." We learn, then, how to repel the attacks of our enemy.
We must possess the utmost firmness of opposition, and despise every offer of temporal advantage, which might induce us to depart from our God. We must determine to yield oo, reverence or obedience to any but Him; and then we fall be proof against all the enticements of the world.
* Deut. vi. 13
The conflict was ended, and the victory obtained. Satan departed, yet only “ for a seafon," intending on some other occasion to renew the assault: and immediately a company of holy Angels came to minister to the relief of Jesus, and to rejoice with him on his glorious triumph.
How replete with instruction is this history! It affords a striking representation of the power; the malice, and the subtilty of our adversary, and the nature of that warfare, to which we are called. You, who follow Christ, must expect to be conformed to him in his temptations. An oppolition of the very fame nature will be made against you. Do not stagger in your minds, when you come into the conflict; nor decline the combat, though most fevere, but arm yourfelves for it. “. Resist the Devil, and he will fee from you*,
as he did from Jesus. For this purpose, befides the other parts of the Christian's armour,“ take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of Godt." Study, how you may ufe this weapon to the best advantage; that you may be able to answer and repel every suggestion with, It is written."
But here also are exhibited the grace and tenderness of our Redeemer. How astonishing the humiliation, to which he submitted! Painful to himself; yet most salutary in its confequences to us! Now we are assured, that “he is able to succour you who are tempted I," that he is « touched with a feeling of your infirmities |l,” and that “he will not suffer
you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape ti" Yes, in due time you shall triumph over all the malice of your enemies. The victory of Jesus was an earnest
† Eph. vi. 17. 1 Heb. ii. 13.
+ 1 Cor. x. 13.
of victory to his people. “ The God of peace shal! bruise Satan under your feet shortly *.” Angels are anxiously observing your conduct. In the view of such witneffes, “ stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong t,” and soon they will congratulate you, on having obtained a glorious and everlasting conqueft.
But are not many unacquainted with this spiritual warfare? If you make no resistance, but willingly comply with the solicitations of Satan, you may escape fome of the difficulties which the Christian soldier meets with. All may seem to be peace with you: but the reason is, the prince of darkness holds his pas lace in your hearts, and, while you allow him the polfeffion, he will not disturb you. But you are no other than his vassals, « led captive by him at his will.” We entreat you to arise, and assert your
lin berty: for to what tremendous consequences will a continuance in your present bondage lead you! Cry mightily to God, that he would rescue you from it, and thus «s' deliver you from the power of darkness, and translate you into the kingdom of his dear Son f.
* Rom. xvi. 20.
t 1 Cor. xvi. 23•
Col. i. 13.