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prince of darkness, is intended to fill us with godly fear; to keep us watchful against the tremendous foe, and to endear to us the written word of the Old Tes. tament, which some Christians are apt to slight; but which furnished the Captain of our salvation with weapons wherewith to repel the bold assailant. The deity of Jesus is the sword, from which Satan shrinks; and even in the brief, but inexpressibly momentous narrative referred to, there is observable a constant reference, on our Lord's part, to the eternal God, which

appears calculated to remind the rebel that He, with whom he was presumptuously dealing, was yet the Lord his God. Some have represented this assault as planned by the evil one, to satisfy himself as to the fact of Jesus being the Christ: we cannot subscribe to this view: surely the prince of the devils was not worse informed than his subordinates, who, on the approach of our Lord, evermore yelled forth their confessions of his deity, and deprecating the visitation of his wrath. Satan knew full well, that the elect angels were no liars, like himself: and when in songs of joy and praise they announced to the shepherds the birth of “a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord,” he could not disbelieve their testimony. The particulars of that miraculous birth were not concealed from him; neither was the promise which God gave to Eve, or the prediction declared to Ahaz, unknown. Still less can we for a moment suppose that the testimony given just before, at the Lord's baptism, had escaped him. No; Satan knew with whom he had to do; and well may we tremble, when we find him taking advantage of the purest concomitants of undefiled humanity, and with them tempting the Lord his God.

Scripture likewise unfolds to us many instances in which God's servants have been assailed by the enemy, under the feigned character of a divine influence, to confirm which he has put forth all his powers, and wrought wonders. A very remarkable instance of this is found in the story of Israel's deliverance : and though it is a part of his craft to lead men so to explain away the passages touching himself, as to neutralize in a great degree God's gracious purpose in dictating them, we are not bound to follow their glosses --we may venture to take Scripture as we find it, and to believe that when the Holy Ghost says a thing, he means what he says, and not something else. The marvels that Satan wrought by means of Pharaoh's magicians were calculated not only to hården the heart of the tyrant against the truly miraculous manifestations of God's power, but also to stagger the faith of Moses and Aaron in the divine origin of their mission. We are not at liberty to call them juggling deceptions, as some do; mere sleight of hand tricks, performed by court conjurors : the word of God declares them to have been realities : and most instructive they are to us, who, looking for the national redemption and final restoration of Israel, according to the Lord's promise, now very near at hand, may expect to witness fearful things done in opposition to it by the power of Satan, who hates the Jew with an implacable hatred. We find the magicians of Egypt doing what man, without supernatural aid could never have accomplished. “ Now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments; for they cast down every man his rod, and they became (not they seemed to become) serpents : but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods.” Exod. vii. 11, 12. Herė was a great wonder wrought by the power of Satan, but overruled to the fuller proof of the mighty work of God. When Moses turned the water into blood, the magicians did the same, but of course on a very small scale, since there could be but little left for them to practise upon. Again, they were able to imitate a miracle, by bringing up frogs upon the land; but now the power of Satan ended; the next wonder was one of creation, and life, even the lowest order of animal life is not his to bestow. He can kill, when permitted; but to make alive was never given to him. His agents essayed to bring up frogs, from the recesses where they were hidden, and succeeded; but when they attempted to bring forth lice from the dust of the earth, they utterly failed. It does not appear that after this they ventured on increasing the swarms of flies, as they had done that of frogs; or to smite the cattle of the children of Israel, when the Lord had destroyed those of the Egyptians : and the next visitation drove them out of the royal presence, covered with loathsome sores which their infernal master had no power to heal.

How encouraging is this to us! Satan may do much to terrify, to perplex, and to; but as soon as he touches on a single attribute of the Most High, he fails, and is put to flight. Yet to make it appear that what he does is done immediately by the Lord, is almost always his plan. Thus we find, when destroying the flocks of Job and their attendants, he so managed his elements of destruction, that the terrified messenger of evil tidings described it as a divine visitation : “ The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep and the servants, and con. sumed them.” Job. i. 16. It could not but dreadfully aggravate the affliction of the righteous man, to regard these sore trials as marks of the Lord's indignation, proceeding directly from Him: and no doubt it was so arranged to add power to the detestable suggestion conveyed through his wife. But though Job believed the lie, his faith in God's love failed not; by faith he endured, and through faith he triumphed. If we do not distinctly see in what manner faith acts as a shield, or how effectually it quenches all the fiery darts of the wicked, it is because we do not sufficiently search the Scriptures. They abound with glorious illustrations : and the path of safety is so clearly laid down, that the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein, if they simply attend to the indications given. To those who study it with prayer, as a book written not for the learned, but for “the poor of this world,” the “ fools," the 66

babes,” to whom the Lord has declared that he will make his wonders of salvation known, the Bible is of all works the most intelligible; only rendered otherwise by the foolish “wisdom of this world,” hòlding up its moonlight to make the sun visible.' Satan owes much even to the best of commentators; for they have frequently assisted to veil both his person and his devices, by their ill-judged attempts at elucidation, which, taken in their literal sense, God's words would have revealed important practical truths respecting him.

We are dwelling principally on the display of satanic presumption as the usurping god of this world : the means by which that usurpation was effected, present a fearful view of his daring self-reliance. In his very first approach to our unhappy race, then rejoicing in sinless felicity, he deliberately contradicted the express declaration of the Most High God; and appeal. ing, as afterwards in the case of the second Adam, to a perfectly innocent, laudable desire, he stirred up Eve to seek higher attainments in knowledge, a clearer perception of good, as opposed to evil; then stimulating this thirst for information beyond due boundsleading it to overpass the landmark of submission to the Divine will, he accomplished at once what must have appeared to himself a most hazardous undertaking. To represent God as a liar could not but be congenial to the diabolical nature of the accursed spirit of evil; but that a creature so formed to know, to love, and to serve the Lord, surrounded on all sides with the profusion of his bounty, and continually drinking from the fountain of all spiritual, all intellectual, all physical enjoyment, under His paternal hand, that such a creature should at the first word be persuaded to credit the lie, and to rush into open transgression, must have been marvellous in the eyes of the tempter. How marvellous in ours must be the ex. treme daring that prompted him to the enterprise.

After such a proof of the weakness of human nature, while yet wholly untainted with sin, and the observa.

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