« AnteriorContinuar »
Good soldier of Jesus Christ, thy chief danger is from within. There is a traitor in the sortress, carrying on a correspondence with the foe without. , Let him be watched night and day; let him be sacrificed without remorse. The moment he is subdued, the external enemy is stripped of his power. “Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation.” “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith.” Thou hast a weak side; there is a “sin that doth easily beset” thee, and that the tempter knoweth full well, though it may have escaped thy own penetration. Oppose to his cunning the wisdom which is from above. In a state of warfare, remember that no danger is slight, and no foe contemptible. “Be faithful unto death,” and thou shalt receive “a crown of life.” “To him that overcometh, saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, I will grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with my father in his throne.”
Men and brethren, we take encouragement to resist temptation not only from the example but from the intercession of Jesus Christ. Peter was to pass through a fiery trial, and to be singed at least, if not scorched in the flame. It was foreseen and foretold by his compassionate master; but he would not take warning ; he rushed into the snare and was taken, but was not left in it. He was delivered, raised up again, restored, and his fall was blessed to the consolation and recovery of thousands: “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” And let him that has fallen, and hath been lifted up again, “learn to walk circumspectly:” let him “not be high-minded, but fear; let him no longer trust in himself, but “let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God;” let him be merciful, as he hath obtained mercy. The grand tempter forced his way into a terrestrial paradise, into the holy city, scaled the pinnacle of the temple, mingled with the sons of God, “has transformed himself into an angel of light, and ever with a design to waste and to destroy.” But into “the paradise of God,” “that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,” shall in no wise enter any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination or maketh a lie.” Blessed state 1 when there shall be no inward corruption, and no fear of assault from without. Fear not, “The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.” “If God be for us, who can be against us 2 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth ; who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword 2 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
HISTORY OF JESUS CHRIST.
..And when the devil had ended all the temptation he departed from him for a season. And Jesus returned in the power of the spirit into Galilee : and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up ; and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias: and, when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, the spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised; to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, this day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, is not this Joseph’s son 3 and he said unto them, ye will surely say unto me this provero, physician, healthyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. And he said, verily, I say unto you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you of a truth, many widows were
in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; but unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many o were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. ...And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill, whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he, passing %. the midst of them, went his way, and came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the Sabbath days. And they were astonished at his doctrine; for his word was with power.—LUKE iv. 13–32.
WHEN the Son of God came for the Salvation of a lost world, “verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham ;” he assumed not royal state, but “the form of a servant;” his progress was marked, not by the blood of those who opposed themselves, but by the benefits which he conferred on the evil and unthankful. Subject himself to the sinless infirmities of human nature, he was experimentally taught to sympathize with the weak; “in that he himself suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”
The wilderness exhibited a wonderful display of divine nature united to humanity, of the humiliation of the “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,” and of the majesty of the mighty God, who has all creatures at his disposal, and under his control. The man “was an hungred,” and exposed to temptation, and arbitrarily disposed of by an insolent foe: He was humbled to the hearing of blasphemous suggestions,
Vol. IV. R
and the bearing of cruel and unmerited insults. The divinity miraculously sustained the infirmity of nature, quenched the fiery darts of the devil, put Satan to flight, received the homage and service of angels. In all he presented an object of admiration and love, and in every display of human excellence he exhibited a pattern for imitation. Jesus had now attained his thirtieth year. The spirit of God and of glory rested on him; and a voice from heaven had declared his generation. In the solemnity and solitude of a forty days retirement from all human converse, the order of his future procedure is settled, according to the plan of the eternal mind. Behold him then, in the power of the Spirit, in the greatness of his strength, in the travail of his soul, returning from the desert into Galilee, to enter on his arduous and important undertaking. The public attention was fixed, and expectation excited by the singular circumstances attending his birth and baptism. The discerning eye of the Baptist saw in him “the great Prophet who should come into the world,” and with the finger he pointed him out as “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” His sudden disappearance after his baptism, and after the testimony then borne to him from above, must have been an occasion of some wonder, and a subject of much conversation, for on his return, at the end of the forty days, we find his fame already spread abroad, and a general disposition to receive and hear him, manifested. And where does he begin his career, and what character does he assume, and what arms does he employ 2 At Rome, the seat of empire, in the triumphant state of a conqueror, with his sword dyed in the blood of his enemies? No, in Galilee, the proverbially reproachful residence of almost his whole life, in the humble character of a teacher of religion, and employing only the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. In this we behold him teaching us a generous superiority