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3. Tambition

[What he could not do by deceit, Satan now endeavoured to effect by the greatness of his offers

Having taken Jesus to an high mountain, he "shewed him all the glory of the world"

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And promised to give it all to him, if he would only pay him one single act of adoration

Alas! how many have been allured to sin by this bait!

How many for a little honour or profit have obeyed Satan rather than God!

The proposal, however, excited in our Lord an holy indignation

He instantly spurned the tempter from him with majestic authorityh

Yet even here, as on both the former occasions, he quoted scripture in support of his conduct-]

Such temptations, however strong, were not able to overcome Jesus

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III. The issue of them

Satan, foiled in every onset, was obliged to leave the field

[He could not withstand the authoritative command of Jesus

Abashed and confounded, he, for the present, desisted from his enterprise

But he "departed only for a season," determined to repeat his assaults, whenever occasion should offerk

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Thus it is that he retreats from us, when he has been vanquished by us

He never relinquishes for a moment his purpose to destroy

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He only waits for some more favourable opportunity to renew the combat

But if, like Jesus, we resist him manfully, he shall flee from

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And in due season shall be altogether bruised under our feet"]

That evil spirit being vanquished, other spirits came to succour our victorious Lord

[Angels were sent from heaven to minister to his neces

h Ver. 10.

i Deut. x. 20.

Luke iv. 13. Accordingly we find him assaulting our Lord again, John xiv. 30. Luke xxii. 53.

11 Pet. v. 8. • Ver. 11.

m James iv. 7.

n Rom. xvi. 20.

And what delight must they feel in executing the task assigned them!

Doubtless they would congratulate him on on the victory he had gained

And Jesus, recruited by their means, would enter on his labours with redoubled vigour

#

To us also shall those benevolent spirits be sent to ministerP

They shall encamp around us in the hour of danger

They shall shield our heads, and strengthen our arms, in the day of battle

And when exhausted with conflicts, we shall receive consolation and encouragement from their hands—]

INFER

1. There is no man, however great or holy, who is not exposed to the assaults of Satan

[If the Son of God himself was not exempt, who can expect to be so?

The more holy we are, the more inveterate will Satan be against us

In the season we least expect his temptations, they may be most violent

In a season of difficulty we may be soon led to entertain hard thoughts of God

From past deliverances we may be emboldened to indulge an unwarrantable confidence

Yea, like Demas, we may turn back, through love of this present world

Let us not then be secure as though our conflicts were endedt

As long as we are in the body we must watch and pray"-] 2. The way of resisting Satan with effect, is plain and obvious

[Our Lord repelled every temptation with the word of

God

That word is a sword of divine temper, which Satan cannot withstand

It may be wielded by every one who truly relies upon itLet us not, however, wrest it to the countenancing of presumption

Let us rather labour to understand its true import-
Then our dependence on it cannot be too firm→→→→

P Heb. i. 14.

q Ps. xxxiv. 7.

r Acts xii. 15. with

Compare Gen. xvi. 7-10. with Luke xvi. 22. Ps. xci. 4, 5, 11. t Rom. xi. 20. u Matt. xxvi. 41.

Eph. vi. 17.

Christ, by his own temptations, has learned to succour us1He has assured us also that we shall not be tempted beyond our strength

In his grace let us be strong and courageous

And, having fought like him, we shall shortly triumph with him-]

y Heb. ii. 18.

z 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8.

CCLXXVIII. THE WATER TURNED INTO WINE.

John ii. 11. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory: and his disciples believad on him.

SMALL occurrences often appear important when we love the persons concerned in them

In this view the most trifling actions of our Lord demand our regard

But his miracles are worthy of our deepest attentionHe wrought them in confirmation of the doctrines he taught

And appealed to them as satisfactory evidences of his divine mission

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That referred to in the text will afford much instruction, if we consider

I. The circumstances

Our Lord was invited to the marriage-feast of a relation or friend

To honour the institution of marriage he accepted the invitationa

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There an occasion offered for working a stupendous miracle

[Probably the bridegroom was not very opulentAnd Jesus' presence might bring many unexpected guestsBefore the conclusion of the feast the store of wine was consumed

a By this we may see how vain and impious are those restraints which popery imposes upon the ministers in her communion, under the idea that the sanctity of their office forbids them from entering into the marriage state.

The virgin-mother intimated this to her son in hopes that he would work a miracle on their behalf

And he, mildly checking her interference, complied with her request

The manner in which he performed it is worthy of notice

[The Jews used much water for ceremonial washingsOur Lord ordered all the water-pots to be filled with waterc

And without any visible interposition changed the water to wine

Thus he avoided all appearance of ostentation or collusionHe made the servants vouchers for the truth of the miracle

And not only supplied the wants of the company, but rewarded the generosity of the bridegroomd_]

It soon attracted general attention

[The governor of the feast immediately distinguished its superior excellence

And complimented the bridegroom on its delicious fla

voure

This brought to light the miracle that had been wrought Nor could a doubt of its reality be left on the minds of any-]

Without seeking an improvement of this miracle in any fanciful exposition of its particular circumstances, we shall rather notice, in its general effect

b Túval, Woman, was as respectful a term as any he could use: persons of the highest distinction were so addressed. But his address was certainly a reproof to his mother for interfering with him in the discharge of his office. Nevertheless he intimated his intention of complying presently with her request: and it is evident from her charge to the servants that she understood him so. But how absurd to pray to the virgin to command her son now, when she was rebuked for counselling him in the days of his flesh!

This order was punctually executed; "they filled them up to the brim;" so that there was no room for deception by mixing wine with the water.

a The quantity must be very large, but the exact measure cannot be ascertained: if, as is probable, the feast lasted seven days, the wine thus miraculously supplied, might be intended for their use on the remaining days.

His expression "well drunk" does not apply to the guests then present: but if it did, it by no means implies excess: the word U being often used where the most perfect sobriety was ob served. See Gen. xliii. 34. in the LXX.

II. The importance of it

This was the first public miracle that Jesus wroughtAnd it was attended with the happiest effects 1. It displayed the Saviour's glory

[Jesus as the Messiah was to confirm his word by mira

cles

In the work he now performed he shewed his almighty power

Nothing could be impossible to him who could "make the water wine":

He shewed by this that he could supply our every wantAnd that he would prove himself an all-sufficient Saviour He manifested also his transcendent goodness

1

The wine, though proper for the occasion, was not absolutely necessary

Yet Jesus exerted his almighty power to provide them with it

Thus he shewed that nothing was too great for him to be

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And that his followers might rely on him for whatever could conduce to their present and eternal comfort-]

2. It confirmed the faith of his disciples.

[The disciples believed in Jesus the first moment he called them

But their faith was as yet but weak and wavering-
Now, however, their eyes were more fully opened-

They could not doubt the divine authority of him whe wrought such works

Nor could they regret that they had forsaken all to follow him

It is thus that our faith also is strengthened and confirmed→→ Nothing but experience will fully teach us

But every fresh discovery of Christ's power and grace unites us to him

And encourages us to trust in him with more implicit confidence-]

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OBSERVATIONS

1. It is our duty to enjoy the company of Jesus in our social meetings

[Religion is far from encouraging a morose seclusion from society

Or from prohibiting occasional festivities, provided they be regulated by prudence and sobriety

But they should be made the occasions of spiritual improve

ment-

f St. John again notices it in a subsequent part of his gospel, iv.

46.

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