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is such, that “ by him many sons are brought to glory,” at the 10th verse. “ Sanctified while they live,” at the 11th verse. Satan, their deadly enemy, subdued for them, at the 14th and 15th verses.
The more distinguishing any love is, the greater is that love. Now Jesus Christ, as the great load-stone, passes by the golden metal of angels, and draws unto himself the iron metal of mankind : at the 16th verse : For verily, he took not on him the nature of angels ; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.'
Again, the more the person loving does suffer for the person loved, the more and the greater is the love. Christ suffered death, and he was while he lived subject to our infirmities, and unto our temptations. “He was in all things made like unto us,” at the 17th verse.
“ And he was tempted as we are tempted, that he might succour those that are tempted," at the 18th verse.
And would you have an account or a reason of all this? It is that he might show mercy unto the children of men : verse the 17th : “ Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” If he were not made like unto us, in regard of our infirmities, he could not so experimentally pity us under our infirmities. If he were not tempted like unto us, he could not so feelingly succour us under our temptation; and so he had not been so fit to have been our High Priest: but our High Priest he is gone into the holy of holiest, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto us, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest : “ for in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”
I will not hold you longer in the coherence, or division of the words, or further explication: I shall open the words, God willing, more particularly and distinctly, as I shall come to the observations that shall be raised from them. And I begin with the last, being made the reason of the former. 6 For in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” Tempted twice : he tempted, and they tempted.
This word tempted, or tempt, it is given in Scripture phrase sometimes to God, sometimes to man, and sometimes to the devil; and accordingly it is used three ways. Sometimes it is used for to prove; and so God is said for to tempt, in the xiïith of Deuteronomy. Sometimes it is used for to try, to make experiment of a thing, or a person, whom or which we did not know before ; and so it is given to man, as I take it, in the vith of Judges. Sometimes it is used for a solicitation, and drawing unto what is evil; and so it is given unto the devil, in the ivth of Matthew, Christ " was led into the wilderness to be tempted.” If ye look into the Scripture, ye do not find in all the Old Testament, that the word temptation is given to Satan, that Satan was said to tempt any: Satan did frequently tempt, we read in the Old Testament; but, I say, the word tempt is not given unto him. Satan tempted Job, but Job's afflictions in the Old Testament are not called Satan's temptations. As our Lord and Saviour Christ in the Old Testament was vailed, the Old Testament was full of Christ, yet Christ was hidden there: so was Satan and his temptations masked. Now when the light of the glorious gospel shined more clearly in the coming of Jesus Christ, as Christ's vail was taken off, so Satan's mask was taken off. Satan's temptations are no longer called afflictions, but bare temptations, throughout the New Testament. Indeed, this word temptation, in the phrase of the New Testament, is used sometimes for affliction, sometimes for Satan's suggestions, sometimes for our own sins. Temptation used for our afflictions : in the ist of James, 2nd verse, “ Rejoice when ye fall into divers temptations ;" that is, afflictions. Sometimes for the devil's
suggestions—solicitations to evil: so in the ivth of Matthew, Christ is “ led into the wilderness to be tempted.” Sometimes for our own sins : Galatians the vith chapter and the 1st verse, “ If any man be overtaken with an infirmity, you that are spiritual, restore him, considering that you also may be tempted.” Now though our Saviour Christ is said to be tempted, in the two first respects, and not in the third; yet when it is said here in the text, “ He himself hath suffered being tempted;" I take it to be meant in the second way, not the first, for otherwise there would be an identity thus : He himself hath suffered, having suffered: that would be the
sense of it else. And though we ourselves are said to be tempted in all three respects; in regard of afflictions, Satan's suggestions, and our own corruptions and sins; yet when it is said in the latter, end of the verse, “ He is able to succour them that are tempted;" I take it to be meant especially in the two last respects, and not in the first: for it hath relation unto that which goes before, the last verse being a reason of the latter end of the 17th verse: “ To make reconciliation for the sins of the people ; for in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” Hence the observation that I shall present unto you is only this.
That God doth suffer his own servants, and dearest children, to be sorely tempted; yea, even to suffer by the hand of the temptation.
Our Lord and Saviour Christ, the Son of God, the only beloved Son of God, yet, saith the text, “ He himself hath suffered being tempted :” not only tempted, but suffered being tempted. And it is said of his brethren, (for so his people are called in the beginning of the 17th verse,) that they are tempted. “ He is able to succour them that are tempted.” Succouring pre-supposeth suffering.
For the opening and clearing of this truth, I shall deliver myself these three ways.
First, That there is a suffering, afflictive dispensation in every temptation, though it does not prevail.
Secondly, That the saints and people of God do thus suffer, and why?
Thirdly, Answer to an objection; and so come to the application.
First, There is a vexing, corroding, afflictive disposition in every temptation, when it takes least, though it do not prevail. These granadoes, fire-balls, fire-darts of Satan, have a danger with them; though they do not burn down our spiritual building to the ground, they are afflictive, there is somewhat of a suffering with them. Paul calls his buffetings, a thorn, or a prick in the flesh: a buffeting and therefore afflictive: a thorn, or a prick in the flesh, and therefore afflictive. Notable is that expression which our Saviour Christ useth in the xxiind of Luke, at the 31st verse, to Peter. “ Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to have you
sift you as wheat," There is never a word here. but carries a suffering with it. It is some affliction, to have so great an adversary as an angel is, who is great in power; the devil is called an angel, and he is called Satan, that is an adversary. Satan hath desired: the word that is used there, desired, it is not used again in the New Testament, as I rememher. But in other authors that use it, it signifies such a desiring, as when one man does challenge another into the field to a duel : or such a desiring as when a man comes and calls for open, and public punishment upon a man : and all this is suffering and afflictive. Or, as your translation hath it: Satan hath desired to have
you; he does not say thus: Satan hath desired to sift you; but Satan hath desired to have you. Is it not an affliction to a child, to hear a beggar stand craving and begging of his father to have him away, to carry him away from his house ? there is never a temptation, but in that temptation Satan desires to have you, you that are the children of God, Satan desires to have you. Then again,“ He hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat.” Now though in sifting there is a separation between the chaff and the wheat, yet it is not without a concussion, and a shaking of the wheat : the wheat and the grain is shaken, though the chaff be blown aside, and laid on heaps. And though through the skill of the sifter, the wheat may be so kept, as it does not fall into the chaff-heap; yet notwithstanding there is some danger in sifting, that the grain should fall over into the heap of chaff, and be burnt with the chaff: so here. Especially where Satan, the great destroyer of mankind, hath the fan in his hand : saith Christ,“ Satan hath desired to have you," and hath desired to have you, “that he may sift you as wheat;" and I tell you there is so much danger in it, that nothing but my prayer can secure you, “ But I have prayed for you.” So that you see, there is something of a suffering in a temptation. You know it was a law in the Old Testament, that if a woman were abroad in the fields, and there met her some that offered yiolence to her; if she cried out, and did not consent, she was not guilty : but now, though she were not guilty, but innocent, if she were abused, it would bea continualaffliction to a modest good woman. So it is here, Satan comes to meet us, and though we do not consent to him, yet a gracious heart cannot but look upon it
as an affliction, to be thus followed, and hunted with a temptation. And the Holy Ghost alluded to this practice, when he saith here in the text, Jesus Christ is able to succour : the word succour, ponoa, signifies such a succouring as brings in help unto those that cry out; to come in, and run in with help upon one's crying out. In the xiith of the Revelations, it is said, “ Woe to the inhabitants of the earth; for the devil is come down with great wrath, for he knows that his time is short." There is a woe in it, where the devil comes down with great wrath. Now he looks upon all the saints, as having their time but short, and he comes down upon them in great wrath with his temptations : and there is a woe in it, although the temptation takes not: and for aught I know, upon this account, the New Testament may so promiscuously use the word temptation, both for affliction, and Satan's suggestions, even because seldom any affliction comes, but it does bring temptation with it: never any temptation but brings affliction : always something of a suffering in every temptation, even at that very time when it does least prevail. This is the first thing.
Secondly, Doth God suffer his own children thus to suffer?
Yes, And many times the best, most tempted; the best men meet with the worst temptations; those that are most eminently godly, are most foully assaulted. David, Job, Peter, Paul, and Christ himself was. Yea, God doth not only suffer Satan to come, and present evil objects before his servants, but suffers him to go so far, as to solicit, to press, to follow on his temptation. And therefore it is said concerning David, “That Satan stood up, and provoked him to number the people.” He did not only present an evil object to him, but he followed his temptation, he solicited, he stood up and provoked David to number the people.
Yea, God doth not only suffer this : but at that very time, when the saints have had most of God, then they have suffered by the hand of temptation. When Paul had been taken up into the third heaven, then a messenger, Satan, was sent to buffet him: And when Jesus Christ had heard the voice, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased ;" Then, (says the text in the ivth of Matthew 1,)“ was he led by the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil.” And so with the saints now: when they have been, as it