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he less power now that he is in heaven? Has he not " the residue of the Spirit," yea, and " all the fulness of the Godhead dwelling in him?" Why then should any be discouraged? What though our sins be great? can he not forgive them? What though our habits be deeply rooted? can he npt overcome them? What though our temptations be manifold? can he not deliver us out of all? Be our " enemies ever so mighty, He that dwelleth on high is mightier.rt Let us all surround him in expectation of his benefits; and "we shall End him able to save us to the uttermost.'*}
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[Let us now picture to ourselves the state of the- multitudes who had touched him: what joys! what raptures! what ecstacies! what congratulations from surrounding friends! what universal shouts and acclamations; to the honour of Jesus! None ascribing their recovery to an arm of flesh; but all acknowledging Jesus as the sole author of their happiness! And why should it not be thus withus at this time? Surely, if this: whole congregation would but vie with-each other in their endeavours to obtain his blessing, they would soon have far moreabundant cause for joy, tbaa fever they had* Ay-hose bodily health was restored: for their souls should be freed from the deadly malady of sin, yea, "virtue should come forth from him to heal us all."]
Our Lord's Messiahship had just before been audibly attested hy a voice from heaven
[This should seem, at first sight, to be a very unfavourable season—/:
One would think that the testimony so given should doubly fortify the mind of Jesus—-'
Hut Satan knows that exalted enjoyments are apt to put us off our guard— ',.',''
We are but too ready'to be puffed up with any distinguished favours—
And to grow secure when we appear to be established with grace**—*'
Hence Satan is watchful to improve such opportunities against las— He iausaulted Paul as soon n» he had descended from'the third heavensb— i ■:. Ii
And vanquished Peter immediately after the highest honour had been conferred upon Mm«*—11 'I'v
Such as the seasons too when, with most violence, he 'assaults Uu— '■'<' . .''.' ■.'■!. • '''■ '<• i •:.<■i
In them■ therefore we should stand more particularly on our guard—]■ ■ ■ ■:''"' ''•f. ':n■f' • ' v■\ ■ ■<.». ...'«.. ■.
But to coiintertx lance that,' he had been Itjff'a'tang time without (bod—
[He had been led into the wilderness immediately "by the Spirit" of God— r.-^^
Yet no supply of food had been given him for the space of "forty days"—
This seemed to indicate that his heavenly Father had forgotten him—
Satan took advantage of this circumstance to assault him more fiercely— .\ , ■,...,'..
Thus he makes his attacks on us in a season of spiritual desertion— , ..; ■ .■>,-■
If in a time of unusual light and joy he seas us vulnerable, much more does he in an hour of darkness and distress—
As he prevailed against Eve in the absence of her husband, so he assails us with more effect in the,absence of our God—
We should be aware therefore of his devices, and armourselves more particularly in the times and seasons of hit approach—] '• ■ ■ ''
Satan seizing his opportunity, exerted all his power and cunning to tempt him
■ ■ i .■ i ... i
• Ps. xxx. 6, 7. b a qor. xii. j, 4, 7.
• Matt.xvi. 17, 18, 19,22,23.
II. The particular temptations with which he assaulted him
Luke intimates that during the whole forty days Satan continued his attack—
But there are three temptations specified, as being the last and most violent
1. To distrust
[Jesus, as man, was entirely dependent on his heavenly Father—
And was therefore bound to wait till the Father should send hiin relief—
As Moses and Elias had done before, he had already fasted forty days—
Being oppressed with hunger, Satan urged him to "turn the stones into bread' —
And to demonstrate his Messiahship by providing this supply for himself—
But such an act would have argued a distrust of God's providence—
Our Lord therefore repelled the temptation with the shield of faith—
And shewed from scripture, the folly of complying with that request of Satand—]
[Satan always endeavours to drive men to extremes— He took our Lord (doubtless by his own consent, and as one man would take another) to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple—
He then urged him, in proof of his Messiahship, to cast himself down—
And, in support of his request, urged a promise expressly made to the Messiahe—
But, in quoting the passage, he omits a very essential partf—>God will support, not Jesus only, but all his children, in the way of duty—
This however does not warrant any to rush needlessly into dangerSuch an act as Satan recommended would have been presumptuous—
Our Lord therefore rejected the proposal with abhorrence— And justified his refusal by a more apposite portion of holy scriptures—]
'A Ver. 4. with Deut. viii. 3. « Ver. 6. with Ps. xci. 11,12.
f The promise is restricted; " In all thy ways;" that is, in all the ways where duty calls us; but not in all the ways to which presumption might carry us. s Ver. 7. with Deut. vi. 16. Vol. III. Gg
3. To ambition [What he could not do by deceit, Satan now endeavoured to effect by the greatness of his offersHaving taken Jesus to an high mountain, he "shewed him all the glory of the world"—
And promised to give it all to him, if he would only pay him one single act of adoration—
Alas! how many have been allured to sin by this bait!— How many for a little honour or profit have obeyed Satan rather than God!—
The proposal, however, excited in our Lord an holy indignation— He instantly spurned the tempter from him with majestic authorityh—
Yet even here, as on both the former occasions, he quoted scripture in support of his conducti—]
Such temptations, however strong, were not able to overcome Jesus
III. The issue of them
Satan, foiled in every onset, was obliged to leave the field
[He could not withstand the authoritative command of Jesus—
Abashed and confounded, he, for the present, desisted from his enterprise—
But he "departed only for a season," determined to repeat his assaults, whenever occasion should offerk—
Thus it is that he retreats from us, when he has been vanquished by us—'
He never relinquishes for a moment his purpose to destroy usi—
He only waits for some more favourable opportunity to renew the combat— But if, like Jesus, we resist him manfully, he shall flee from usm—
And in due season shall be altogether bruised under our feet"—]
That evil spirit being vanquished, other spirits came to succour our victorious Lord
[Angels were sent from heaven to minister to his necessities"—
b Ver. 10. t Dcut. x. 20.
k Luke iv. 13. Accordingly we find him assaulting our Lord again, John xiv. 30. Luke xxii. 53. '1 Pet. v. 8.
■ James iv. 7. n Ron), xvL 20. "Ver. 11.
And what delight must they feel in executing the task assigned them!—
Doubtless they would congratulate him on on the victory he had gained— ■
And Jesus, recruited by their means, would enter on his labours with redoubled vigour—
To us also shall those benevolent spirits be sent to minister''—
They shall encamp around us in the hour of danger'—
They shall shield our heads, and strengthen our arms, in the day of battler—
And when exhausted with conflicts, we shall receive consolation and encouragement from their hands'5—]
1. There is no man, however great or holy, who is not exposed to the assaults of Satan
[If the Son of God himself was not exempt, who can expect to be so?—
The more holy we are, the more inveterate will Satan be
In the season we least expect his temptations, they may be
In a season of difficulty we may be soon led to entertain
hard thoughts of God—
From past deliverances we may be emboldened to indulge
an unwarrantable confidence— Yea, like Demas, we may turn back, through love of this
present world— Let us not then be secure as though our conflicts were
As long as we are in the body we must watch and prayu—]
2. The way of resisting Satan with effect, is plain and obvious
[Our Lord repelled every temptation with the word of GodThat word is a sword of divine temper, which Satan cannot withstand*—
It may be wielded by every one who truly relies upon it— Let us not, however, wrest it to the countenancing of presumption—
Let us rather labour to understand its true import—