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Reader. It is sufficient for us to | angel of a high order, even the Prince know, that we have here the history or Guardian Angel of Judea, and of a real event, not of a mere vision
have offered to transfer to Jesus or dream; and that the temptation the exercise of his authority on conpresented itself to our Lord from dition of his receiving personal howithout, not being in any way the mage. But this is merely my own produce of his own pure and holy conjecture. mind. We read of what our blessed Theophilus. How did the Tempter Lord, in his conflict with evil, actu- convey our Lord from place to place? ally saw, and heard, and did, and Reader. Some interpreters, in said.
times past, hastily concluded that he We cannot suppose that the Temp- carried his sacred person through the ter appeared in his own character. air ;-a supposition which suited the Many think that he assumed a hu- purpose of painters much more than man form; or that he appeared as it tended to the promulgation of an angel.–For my own part, I think truth.--The word translated “takit clear, from Luke iv. 6, that, in eth him" in vv. 5, 8, is that which the third part of the temptation, is used by Greek writers to express Satan professed to be the Guardian the act of a person who induces anoAngel of Judea. It seems probable ther to accompany him to a certain also that, in the second part, he pro- place. St. Matthew himself employs fessed to be an angel of light; im- this word again in ch. xvii. 1,4“ Jeplying that he was at hand as one of sus taketh Peter, James, and John those of whom it had been written his brother, and bringeth them up “He shall give his angels charge into an high mountain." over thee.” Perhaps it was one part ever imagine that our Lord carried of Satan's policy to pretend to greater these disciples through the air? and greater degrees of excellence and The truth is, all that the Evangelist authority in the successive stages of says in the chapter now before us is, his temptation, with a view to gain that Satan induced our Lord to go to influence over the object of his as- the Temple, and to the mountain, in sault. He may have appeared first his
his company. as a man, a weary traveller in the Theophilus. What is meant by the wilderness; then, having failed in “ pinnacle of the Temple” in ver. 5? his first attack, and having prevailed Reader. Probably a part of the on our Lord to accompany him to balustrade surrounding the roof;the roof of the Temple, he may have or, a high, tower-like part of the declared himself an angel, charged building, with a flat roof, forming a with the protection of good men; | wing, or side, of the Temple. Some and lastly, in order to hold out a suppose it to have been a part called still more powerful inducement to The King's Gallery, built by Herod, the mind of his intended victim, he looking over a deep part of the valmay have professed himself to be an ley beneath. But this is uncertain.
Mary. Do you think that our of a real transaction; not the record Lord was really taken up into a of a series of phantoms. Let us look mountain ?
at it in some practical points of view. Reader. The Evangelist says that Here we discover our great Chamhe was, and therefore I know it as a pion and Redeemer, our second head fact. I cannot agree with those in- and representative, engaged in a conterpreters who suppose that the flict with that evil and seducing spieighth verse describes only some- rit who was successful in his assault thing which took place in the way upon our first parents. of vision, or by an impression made Christ victorious, and the Tempter on the imagination. The Tempter defeated; and thus we behold a patinduced our Lord to go with him to tern and a pledge of our own trithe top of some lofty mountain, com- umph in the spiritual warfare, if we manding an extensive prospect of resist the adversary of our souls, the provinces of the holy land; and in humble dependence on divine then, having caused him to reflect strength. upon the fertility, and various re- Hence, too, we are encouraged to sources, of the country, he made him remember, not only that the Captain an offer of dominion over this beau- of our Salvation is “able to succour tiful region, as a stepping-stone to them that are tempted," but also universal empire.
that he can sympathise with them in Travellers say that there is a very
their sorrows, and can have compashigh mountain in the wilderness of sion on them, from his own personal Judea, which commands an exten- acquaintance with the trials that besive prospect of the holy land. set them. Heb. ii. 18. ---Perhaps we may obtain a just Nor should we omit to consider idea of the meaning of the verse in this temptation as an instance of our question, by comparing it with what Lord's great condescension, and deep is said concerning the view enjoyed humiliation, on our behalf. It was, by Moses from Mount Nebo.-Read, doubtless, a part of his sufferings to at your leisure, Deut. xxxiv. 1-3. endure the presence of ungodly sugSome suppose that our blessed Sa- gestions, not indeed in his mind, but viour stood on the same spot, the yet directly addressed to it from top of Pisgah.
without, and seeking to gain admisTheophilus. I collect, from your sion. It was, to say the least, an remarks, that you do not think such insult which he endured for our particulars of any importance ; but sake. Let us feel grateful to him that you advise us to regard the for all that he suffered, and for all whole transaction as bearing the
that he performed, and is ready to stamp of plain reality.
perform, on our behalf!
Then was Jesus led up.- When
was this? Soon after he had been READER. This is the narrative baptized, and had received a testi
mony in his favour by a voice from order us into circumstances of tempheaven ! Neither our religious privi- tation for our trial, we must not think leges, nor any tokens of divine fa- it strange, but double our guard." vour, will secure us from being Our Lord was thus led by the Spitempted. The exercise of such pri- rit as into a field of battle. This vileges, and the possession of such conflict was a part of the great consingular blessings, may be speedily test between Christ and Satan, befollowed by some heavy assaults of forehand determined and foretold. our spiritual enemy.
Gen. iii. 17. “Thanks be to God, fit to send something to try us, or to
which giveth us the victory through keep us humble, after we have re- our Lord Jesus Christ !" ceived great honours or comforts ; Into the wilderness.-Even in soli. just as a “thorn in the flesh ” tude temptation may approach us. sent as
a messenger of Satan” to To be tempted of the devil.-In the buffet the Apostle Paul, after he temptations to which our Lord was had been caught up into the third exposed on this occasion, the allureheaven.
ments of pleasure, or of present and Then ;-soon after a solemn at- apparent good, were brought to bear testation had been given to the Son- upon his soul, with concentrated ship and Messiahship of Jesus. What force. He afterwards engaged in better preparation for temptation, or conflict with temptations incident defence against it, can we have, than upon a dread of pain, or of present an assurance, on scriptural grounds, and apparent evil, which combined, that we are indeed the sons of God, with all their power, towards the living under his protection, and in close of his ministry, and more espepossession of his favour!
cially when he was taken with wicked Then ;—just before his entrance hands to be crucified and slain. But upon the work of his public ministry. neither the love of pleasure nor the Are we about to engage any dread of pain availed to seduce him portant work, especially in any un- from his innocence and holy integdertaking on behalf of God and reli- rity. He overcame temptation in all gion ? Let us remember, that we its essential varieties of form. are exposed to peculiar temptations, It has been reinarked that, of the according to our circumstances. “My three temptations in the wilderness, son," says the son of Sirach, "if thou the first was addressed to the purely come to serve the Lord, prepare thy- sensual principle of human nature, self for temptation." Eccles. ii. 1. the second to the purely intellectual
Jesus was led up by the Spirit ; i.e. principle, and the third to the two under the influence, or by an im- combined. Perhaps this observation pulse, of the Holy Spirit. Hence it is more ingenious than solid. But it has been truly remarked that "our is right for us to remember that care must be not to enter into temp- temptation presents itself sometimes tation; but, if God, by his providence, to one faculty, and sometimes to an
other. And we should be on our privileges as believers ;-to distrust guard accordingly.
Divine Providence or grace, and He was afterward an hungred.— hence to entertain hard thoughts of Satan watches for his advantage, or God. If is a favourite word with for a good opportunity of presenting Satan. It is part of his "grand dehis temptations.
sign to tempt the children of God, Extreme want or distress exposes first, to doubt of their adoption ; men to the power of some tempta- next, to distrust God's fatherly care tions. When good men are suffering over them; and, last of all, to use temporal privations, they ought to unwarrantable means to help themstand upon their guard, and to pray
selves." for grace, against the peculiar dan- Command that these stones be made gers of their situation. “In all time bread.—The Tempter adapts his sugof our tribulation, good Lord, deliver gestions to the circumstances of those
whom he assaults.—He sought to inObserve, when our Lord was duce our Lord to work a miracle, for tempted, he was an hungred. Our his own support and comfort, and in first parents, when they were as- compliance with his own will. Our saulted, were in a well-stored gar- Lord exercised his miraculous powden, where they had means of enjoy- ers only for the good of others, in ing a plentiful supply of food, if proof of his mission, and in obedithey had religiously abstained from ence to his Father's will. taking the forbidden fruit. But Je. But he answered and said, It is sus was in a wilderness, and destitute written.- We must confront temptaof any apparent means of subsist- tion to sin with plain and pertinent ence, to be obtained in a lawful declarations of Holy Scripture. The How much more has he done than word of God is the sword of the Spimerely to restore what we lost by rit (Eph. vi. 17); and, if we would Adam's fall!
conquer, we must use it. If thou be the Son of God. -None The quotation made by our Lord so holy as to escape temptation ;- is remarkably appropriate, as you even incarnate Deity was assailed by may find by a reference to the text it.
and context, Deut. viii. 3–5. The A voice from heaven had declared, words cited contain an answer di“This is my beloved Son."-Satan rectly in point; and the rest of the would have led Jesus to doubt the passage (" He suffered thee to huntruth of God's word,—to doubt con- ger ;-as a man chasteneth his son”) cerning his own character,—to fall is full of arguments against Satan's into distrust and impatience.—He insidious temptation. would induce us to commit the same Man shall not live by bread alone, sins ;-to dispute God's word (Hath but by every word that proceedeth out God said so or so ? Is it true?);—to of the mouth of God ; i. e. man's life doubt concerning our condition and may be supported, not only by the
use of ordinary food, but by any be interpreted by Scripture; one pasmeans which God
may be pleased to sage to be weighed against another, appoint-by the word or command and to be expounded by it. And of God. Let us exercise faith in we must confute the abuse or misapthis promise, if ever we are reduced plication of Scripture, by the word to the extremity of temporal want. of God rightly applied. “Although the fig-tree shall not Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy blossom,"-you know the rest. Hab. God.- Having proofs sufficient of iii. 17, 18.
the divine presence and protection, Cast thyself down.—Here the De- in accordance with that promise, we vil sought to induce our Lord to em- must not seek for more, -as the ploy his miraculous energies for the Israelites did at Massah. purpose of display or vain glory; Let us imitate our Saviour's beauand attempted to draw him into the tiful example, by renouncing our sin of presumptuous and unwarranted own will in dutiful subjection to the confidence in a divine promise. will of God.
Observe the craft of the tempter. All these things will I give thee.He had failed in endeavouring to A false promise, which he was unable lead Jesus into distrust; he now to fulfil !—Perhaps this last temptaseeks to make him fall by means of tion was the strongest of all. How the opposite temper.
dangerous are worldly honours when Cast thyself down. — The Devil employed as means of temptation !persuades and entices men to evil; The temptations of Satan are often but he cannot compel them to per- plausible. But “the more ingenious form it. He cannot hurt us without he is to take advantage against us, our own consent. James i. 13-15. the more industrious we must be to
For it is written; in Ps. xci. 11, give him none." “From the crafts 12.—Here is Satan quoting Scrip- and assaults of the Deyil, good Lord, ture! He can do so now; and we deliver us.” must be on our guard against the We'must not consent to take even abuse of the sacred volume in sup- that which has been promised to us, port of sin and error. The words in a sinful way. Our Lord would “in all thy ways" are here omitted; not receive the Messiah's kingdom and the promise is misapplied, inas- at the Devil's hand. much as it belongs properly to those Him only shalt thou serve.--The who are in the way of faith and one, true, and eternal God, the duty, trusting in God to deliver Maker of heaven and earth, is the them, not from dangers into which only proper object of worship and they run, but from those into which adoration. Let us worship him, in they have been brought. Let us spirit and in truth, as he has merciwalk in God's ways, and then cast fully revealed himself to us in the ourselves
Gospel of his Son. It is written again.—Scripture is to
The Devil leaveth him.“ Resist