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food. The Spirit which led him thither, doubtless, during this period, supported him; and though the Devil might hope that he would be weakened for want of sustenance, he was, in reality, by this discipline, preparing himself for the great spiritual combat which he had to undergo. But the Devil, thinking him weakened by his long fasting, and that the feeling of hunger was strong in him, came to him with the insidious temptation, “ If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones may be made bread.” Our Saviour's calm and dignified reply is a quotation from Scripture: “ It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."

Thus the Devil was foiled, and he perceived that appetite had no power over the holy Being before him. The next trial was applied to the passions of vanity and presumption.

" Then the Devil taketh him to the holy city, and setteth

1 Deut. viii. 3.

him upon a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, if thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down, for it is written, * he shall give his angels charge concerning thee, and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone?.?” This quotation was, perhaps, meant as a covert sneer at our Lord's own reference to Scripture ; and he might also hope to succeed with him, as he too often has done with others, by suggesting to them the means of "wresting the Scriptures to their own destruction ?”. But if this was his hope, he was disappointed. Once more proceeded a calm and dignified reply from the mouth of our Lord, still couched in the words of Holy Writ: “ It is written again, thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God 3."

Though foiled a second time, the Devil did not yet yield. There still remained one passion behind untried, and

2

i Psalm xci. 11.

2 Pet. iii. 16. 3 Deut. vi. 16.

one which had succeeded, even with the noblest minds ambition. On this head he, lastly, tried our Saviour. “He taketh him

up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto him, all these will I give thee if thou wilt fall down and worship me." It was with the same kind of lie that he had deceived our first parents, when he told them that “they should not surely die ";" for even if he could have performed his promise, of giving him, for a limited period, the empire of the earth, it could have been but for a few short years of unsatisfactory enjoyment. And this our Lord knew, and rejected the boastful proposal. Again does he use the language of Scripture, in the same dignified and the same unanswerable manner, but, this time, with some degree of resentful indignation; “get thee hence, Satan, for it is written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve ?." Here, then, at least for the present, ended the temptation ; the Devil fled in dismay from his conqueror, while angels came and ministered to the holy victor.

1 Gen. iii. 4.

2 Deut. vi. 13, 14.

But still it is intimated that he departed from him only “for a season';" and though we hear of no more public trials, yet can we ourselves perceive various occasions on which the snares of Satan were coyertly spread for our Lord. He tried him when he suggested to the people the wish to take him by force and make him a king? He tried him, when he incited his own disciples to desire him to call down fire from heaven to consume his enemies 3. He tried him, when, as he stood before the judgment-seat, he suggested to Pilate to intimate to him that he had power to release him *; and, under similar circumstances, when Herod sought from him a miracle 5. But, on all these occasions, and on others, which a

1 Luke iv. 13.

2 John vi. 15. 3 Luke ix. 54.

John xix. 10. 5 Luke xxiii. 8.

4

diligent perusal of the gospels will not fail to point out, still did our Saviour resist, still was his trust in God, still did he resolve to perform the work which his Father had given him to do; and still was it his prayer of calm resignation, “Not my will, but thine be done?

Among the many lessons which we may learn from this story, there is one which appears to be particularly prominent. To every evil suggestion of Satan our blessed Saviour opposed a text of Scripture; and thus was he able to fight and to conquer with “ the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God 2." And this may well incite us to the diligent perusal of that Sacred Volume, in which is contained the direct overthrow of every evil thought, and the infallible refutation of every malicious insinuation.

And engaged as we are by our Christian profession to fight “under our great leader's banner against sin, the world, and the Devil,” and by our promise to

1 Luke xxii. 42.

2

Eph. vi. 17.

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