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[A Sermon preached in Lent.]
MAT T. iv. I.
the Wilderness, to be tempted of the De
HE History of our Saviour's Serm.
serve particular Explication
SERM. 1. In the first place, it may be inVIII. quired, why our Saviour, whom the Scríp
ture elsewhere declares to have been tempted in all points like as we are, only with out Sin; is yet by the Evangelists recorded, as having been tempted only at This particular Time : Then was Jefus led up to be tempted. Then : That is, as soon as he had been baptized.” So St Mark explains it, ch. i. 11, 12. At his Baptism there came a Voice from Heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased : And immediately the Spirit drideth him into the Wilderness. The Reason is, because he Then began to enter upon his Office, of preaching the Doctrine of Salvation ; That Doctrine, by which the Works and Kingdom of the Devil, the Power and Dominion of Sin over Mankind, was to be destroyed. Before This, we do not read of his being Tempted ; because his Life being private like that of other men, his Temptations were fo likewise, Sin only always excepted. Neither, After This, is there any mention of his being Tempted any more ; because the Tempter being at This Time
thoroughly vanquished, did not hereafter Serm. hope to prevail fo much by Tempting, as
VIII. by Opposing and Persecuting him. The proper Time of Tryal, was just after his Baptism, at the first entring into his Office. And as the Tempter might reason nably think This the likeliest Season, to assault him with Success ; so the Wifdom of God knew on the contrary, that it was the fittest Time for his repulsing and triumphing over the Tempter, For This reason the Text takes notice, that Iefus was led up of the Spirit, that is, not by the Evil Spirit, but by the Good Spirit of God, was he led up to his Temptation. So St Luke expressly, ch. iv. 1, Jesus, being full of the Holy Ghost, returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the Wilderness. And indeed it is observable, that our Saviour, who before his Incarnation appeared to Moses and the Patriarchs in the form of God, that is, invested with the immediate Glory and Power of his Father ; on the contrary, all the time of his residing bere upon Earth, appeared [rev@beis] divested of That Globeing made in the Likeness of Man ;
Sự R M.and is accordingly represented through the VIII.
whole Gospel, as acting and working under the Conduct of the Holy Spirit ; and having (as our Lord speaks concerning Himself, Job. ii. 34.) given the Spirit unto bim, not by Measure.
2. It may be enquired, why our Saviour continued so long in the folitary Retirement of a Defert place, and why he Fasted through all that Space of Forty Days. As to his Retirement in general, and his Fasting or Humiliation during that Retirement ; the Reason of it seems to have been, that he might prépare himself beforehand by Meditation and Prayer, for the executing of that Great Office which he was about to undertake. Thus Moses, the Giver of the Law. Thus Elijah, the Head of the Antient Prophets. Thus John Baptist
, the Fore-runner of our. Lord, before the day of bis showing unto Israel; Luke i. 80. Thus the Apostles of our Lord, at the time of their sending for Paul and Barnabas to preach, fasted and prayed ; Acts xiii. 3. And when they first ordained Elders in every Church, they prayed with Fafting, ch. xiv.
our Saviour, admonishing his Disciples Serm.
VIII. concerning some extraordinary miraculous Gifts, with which they were to be indued; This kind, faith he, goeth not out, but by Prayer and Fasting ; Matt. xvii. 21. In ordinary cases, it is to be understood by Us as a Rule and Example in proportion, that in undertaking any Office, and especially any Sacred Function, we be not rafh and precipitate, careless; and full of worldly Thoughts and Designs; but that, withdrawing our Minds from the World, and attending serioufly to the promoting of God's Glory, or the Interest of Truth and Virtue among Men, we beg the Divine Assistance to enable us, and by Meditation and Study strengthen our own Resolutions of being Diligent, and improve our Qualifications towards being more Successful, in the Performance of our Duty.
As to the particular Space of Time wherein our Saviour fafted, which was forty days ; This was an Accomplishment of those Antient Types, when Mofes was with the Lord in the Mount forty days and forty nights, and did neither eat bread, nor drink water ; (Exod. xxxiv. 28.) and Elijah, (1 Kings xix. 8.) went in the