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use of those divine powers, with which he was intrusted, on his own account, or for his own gratification or preservation; but only as proofs of his mission and authority from God. Therefore, weary and ready to sink, as he often was, under toils of body and of mind, and exposed to dangers and to death, we never find him working a miracle for his own relief: but his resource was in the dictates of his own prudence,-in prayer and patience.
The second temptation, to cast himself down from a wing of the temple in the sight of the crowds that were worshiping there, to draw their admiration and induce them to believe in him, gave occasion to the reply that showed his humble and unaspiring teniper. This would also be a guide to him for his conduct afterwards that he was not to venture upon dangers rashly, without being called to them in expectation of an extraordinary deliverance, but to wait the divine direction what kind of miracles he was to perform to convince men of the truth that he was to make no ostentatious use of his miraculous powers; never to turn them in any way to promote his own honour and glory, but that of God who gave them, and to serve his purposes in the salva
tion of mankind. And the whole gospel history attests how well the humble Jesus had profited by this instruction, in that constant astonishing annihilation of himself and all his powers, before the great God, (whom we ordinary mortals are so apt to be vain before, and to assume so much to ourselves,) referring every thing and every person to him, as being all in all,--himself nothing but his instrument ;-but in which he looked upon himself as most highly honoured, as in truth he was; for to be employed, and approved, and applauded by the Most High and Holy God as he was, is the highest conceivable honour.
In our Lord's refusal with such ready disdain of the last offer that was made him of all the kingdoms of the world, he showed a character already superior to the alluring temptations of ambition and earthly greatness, which he afterwards cultivated through life and confirmed to the last.
It was a snare into which a virtue less perfect than that of our great Master might easily fall, that, by attaining to power and high place, there might be greater means and op. portunities of doing good, and therefore that it might be right to pursue them. But he saw the
the fatal consequences of such delusions: that new and lofty stations produce and fill the mind with other thoughts and aims, and leave no room to be good. He had another line of conduct prescribed to him, from which he never. deviated :-His kingdom was not to be of this world; nor was it from present motives and considerations of honour or profit that himself or his followers were to act, but from a view to God, and the virtuous felicity of another state.
I trust that these slight touches of our Lord's holy and excellent character, which have been given, will furnish matter of use-ful contemplation to carry home with you, and induce us all to endeavour to transplant into our own lives and conduct some portion of those rare virtues, in which he was so emi.
I shall close the whole with two remarks out of many others that will present themselves to you. And,
We here see the absolute necessity of firm resolution and fortitude in all who would support a character of virtue and religion.
As soon as our Lord entered upon his public life and station, it was represented to him in the manner I have been explaining, that it would be full of dangerous trials and difficulties, such as he found it; yet a pleasing prospect of overcoming them was opened to him. This victory, nevertheless, was to be the fruit of his own patience, self-denial, and circumspection.
And the same dispositions and care are surely requisite for us, if we would behave ourselves uprightly in this our difficult probationary state, or in earnest seek to be recovered from the ways of sin and the world, in which we may be entangled.
For many who are still sensible of the wretchedness and everlasting disgrace of vice of any sort if persisted in, have not the courage to abandon it. In an hour of solitude and sober reflection, forced upon them by sickness or other circumstances, they will form and lay down new schemes of a better conduct, very different from what they have hitherto pursued; and yet become in the end lost to virtue and goodness, for want of proper vigour and sincerity to execute their plans.
And we sometimes have cause to observe with concern, those who had made considerable
able improvements in piety and virtue, fall away by degrees, by mixing more and too easily with the world and its ways, till they have grown quite indifferent to the gospel.
It is easy to descant and philosophize upon temptations at a distance; but the arduous point is, to act our part right when they are at hand.
To assist him, our Saviour was taught here to consider beforehand the dangers that would befall him and less circumspection than this surely cannot secure us.
Our steadiness and integrity is not properly known to ourselves till tried. And what may be a very severe trial to one, may be hardly any to another.
Every one therefore must look to his own state, and begin with the weak and vulnerable part of his own temper and constitution: whatever passion or appetite is immoderate, there to put the due check and restraint; or, on the other hand, which is most difficult, to awaken the grovelling low-thoughted mind, buried in sloth and vicious indolence, where scarcely any desire towards God, or love of truth and goodness, has ever been sufficiently kindled and excited.