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"ment of time"." But it is sufficient to understand by this expression, that a glowing description of these scenes was given by the tempter, accompanied with such delusive pretences of his own power to confer these imaginary blessings, as might operate most readily on an unsuspecting mind. For, only to human passions could such motives be addressed; and it is evident that the tempter believed Jesus to be neither infallible nor impeccable. The proposal was also in full accordance with the known expectations of the Jewish people, who looked for the establishment of dominion over other nations. They were prepared to enlist under any leader in such an enterprise. They even conceived it to have been prophetically announced as the great purpose of the Messiah's coming, and waited to be led on by him to universal conquest. Humanly speaking, indeed, great were the temptations to be encountered by our Saviour in this respect; and he had power at command to effect whatever he might take in hand. But however captivating these views, had he entered into them, the great end for which he lived and died had remained unaccomplished, and
s Luke iv. 5.
the power of Satan would still have enslaved the world. The triumph would have been not his own, but that of his insidious foe, the deceiver of mankind. With holy indignation, therefore, he spurns at the tempter's offer, and with an authoritative rebuke drives him from his presence :-"Get thee hence, Satan; "for it is written, Thou shalt worship the "Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou " serve."
Such was the result of these daring efforts of the adversary to frustrate the merciful dispensation of the Almighty for the redemption of mankind. He commenced the attack before our Lord publicly entered on his ministry. "And when he had ended all the tempta"tions," says St. Luke, "he departed from him " for a season." No further personal trials of this kind are recorded. But that he instigated the Jews to take away the life of Jesus, and to inflict upon him the most bitter sufferings, we may gather from our Lord's emphatical saying to his cruel persecutors, "This is
hour, and the power of darkness "." Yet in these very circumstances, how marvellously was the original sentence upon the evil one fulfilled! The serpent bruised the heel of the Messiah, the seed of the woman; but in that v Luke xxii. 53.
t Luke iv. 13.
same event the seed of the woman bruised the serpent's head. For by His death He de
stroyed him that had the power of death, "that is, the Devil".
What, then, is the practical improvement which we ourselves may derive from meditating on this memorable conflict between the destroyer and the Saviour of mankind?
1. First, it admonishes us not to expect that we can pass through our Christian warfare without temptations from the same hostile quarter.
"The disciple is not above his
Master, nor the servant above his Lord.” If our Lord endured such trials, so must we. And "blessed is the man that endureth them "for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life which the Lord hath promised "to them that love him " It is no mark of God's displeasure, that he suffers such things to befall us, since he spared not from them even his beloved Son, "in whom he was well "pleased." This let every Christian bear in mind; nor think it "a strange thing" when these trials occur. Let him expect them, prepare for them, and look for help and strength to Him who is "mighty to save."
2. Secondly, this narrative shews that the tempter is not irresistible. It affords an ediw Hebr. ii. 14.
* James i. 12.
y 1 Peter iv. 12.
fying and an encouraging comment on the exhortation, "Resist the Devil, and he will "flee from you." It was in his human nature that our Lord underwent these trials; and since in that nature he was susceptible of all its feelings, its troubles, and its dangers, his example is perfectly applicable to ourselves. Be it also remembered, that although the Almighty permits such trials of our faith and patience, he is in no respect the author of sin. Therefore, "let no man say, when "he is tempted, I am tempted of GOD: for "God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: but every man is
tempted, when he is drawn away of his "own lust, and enticed"." With every temptation there is a way to escape, "that we may "be able to bear it "."
3. Another consolation is derived from this portion of our Lord's history, that he who thus experimentally felt the power of temptation will hereafter come to be our Judge. This office devolves on him who partook of the infirmities incidental to our condition, and knows the dangers and difficulties to which we are exposed. "We have not," says the Apostle, "an High Priest who cannot be "touched with the feeling of our infirmities;
z James i. 13, 14.
a 1 Cor. x. 13.
"but was in all points tempted like as we
are, yet without sin:" and "therefore," he adds, "let us come boldly unto the throne "of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and "find grace to help in time of need "." It is impossible to place the subject in a more affecting point of view.
4. Lastly, we are taught by our Lord's conduct in this scene of trial, how we are to withstand the tempter. Our Lord repelled his solicitations by the power of that Sacred Word, which, to use St. Paul's expression, “is
quick and powerful, and sharper than any "two-edged sword." This too is the instrument with which we must combat the assaults of wicked spirits, wicked men, and our own corrupt inclinations. The word of God is a Christian's armour. When tempted to do amiss, the immediate application of the commands or prohibitions of Holy Writ will not fail to recall him to a sense of duty. But the decision must be prompt and unhesitating. How striking, in this respect, was the contrast between our Lord's conduct and that of our first parents! The first Adam yielded, and fell; the last Adam resisted, and triumphed. Jesus listened to no persuasions; he cited the plain commands of God, and the
b Hebr. iv. 15, 16.