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[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"
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
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
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
He only waits for some more favourable opportunity to renew the combat
But if, like Jesus, we resist him manfully, he shall flee from
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—]
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
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-
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
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
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
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
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
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
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-
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-]
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
f St. John again notices it in a subsequent part of his gospel, iv.