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towards the Israelites of old. They also were in a desert; they also were oppressed by famine; yet God was still their tender Father, and he mercifully interposed to deliver them, raining down manna from heaven for their support. Of the affection of this God and Father I am confident, and in him I trust, knowing that even though I cannot obtain bread, the ordinary provisions of nature, yet his paternal goodness can support me by innumerable other means.' In this manner the Saviour repels the first temptation. And what are we to learn from this first temptation? Children of affliction, it affords consolation and instruction for you. Satan often suggests to those believers who are in circumstances of distress and sorrow, “ If ye were the children of God, he would not visit you with such calamities.” Afflicted Christian, remember Israel, remember thy Saviour; and then thou wilt acknowledge that distresses are not only consistent with, but that they even proceed from, the love of thy Father; then thou wilt be enabled with holy Job to say, “ Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him." Learn also, ye who are chas. tened by the Lord, never to distrust Providence, nor to use unjustifiable means for your relief. How often does the adversary say to us, “ Command these stones to become bread;" better your situation, supply your wants, get delivered from your burdens, by those means which are in your power, even though these means are not such as you would wish to use in other circumstances. Let us, after the example of our Lord, repel all such suggestions by a full and entire reliance upon the providence of God, by a perfect submission to his holy will, and by an unshaken persuasion that he will deliver us from our burthens when they shall have answered the henevo,a

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lent ends for which they were sent. The goodness of God can find us out in the middle of a desert; in the most unprosperous circumstances; and if our faith endures the trial, his angels will be sent to minister unto us. Some hand unlooked for, the instrument and messenger of an invisible power, may administer an abundant supply of all our wants; and they who trust to the declarations of the divine word shall not be disappointed.

Satan, repelled in this first assault, presents a new set of images to the fancy of the Saviour; so that in imagination he is placed on the pinnacle of the temple, and the second temptation suggested to him, “ If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down, for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee, and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone." The tempter, finding that he could not seduce our Lord to distrust God, and knowing how inclined man is to pass from one extreme to its opposite, endeavours here to lead him into presumption; and to further his purpose, and throw around it an air of piety, he quotes a passage of scripture, which however he curtails and misapplies. The substance of this sug. gestion is this: . You have just declared that you have a full trust in the favour and protection of God. Cast yourself down then from this pinnacle ; for the promise and providence of God are both engaged to defend you.' This temptation was no less speedily repulsed than the other. “ It is written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” To tempt God, is a frequent expression in the Holy Scriptures, and sig. nifies to require unreasonable proofs of his providence; or presumptuously to rush into danger, and then to look for his protection. The purport of our Saviour's reply then is this : • My Father has given me sufficient proofs of his affection and care; to demand further testimonials would be, not to trust, but presumptuously to tempt him.' In this manner the Saviour repels the second temptation. And what are we to learn from this second temptation? It affords a striking reproof to all such as attempt to sanctify their sloth by pretending to trust in God without using the means that he has enjoined. Sometimes we see men totally neglecting their secular concerns, and urging in their defence that they trust in God; frequently we see men in their religious concerns sitting with folded arms, totally neglecting all means to acquire or strengthen the sentiments of piety, and urging in their defence that they trust in God. Foolish mortals! why will ye not perceive the difference between trusting and tempting God? Why will ye not acknowledge, that in your conduct you are acting conformably to that same temptation of Satan which was here rejected by our Lord ?

Satan, not yet disheartened, makes a last assault, which, for malignity and wickedness, exceeds either of the preceding, and which was probably intended to disturb and harass the Saviour, rather than with any hope that he would comply with it. In fancy the Saviour is upon a high mountain, “ and all the kingdoms of the world and their glory" are spread before him. The adversary then suggests to him, “ All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” He had seduced the first Adam, by the hope of being like God; he endeavours to seduce the second Adam, by the hope of being the sovereign monarch of the world. He dares to propose the most execrable idolatry to Him who came into the world to destroy all idolatry, and to establish

the worship of the only living and true God. “ There is a point, beyond which patience ceases to be a virtue, and degenerates into weakness.” On hearing these blasphemies, the Saviour, who had hitherto Contented himself with gently turning aside the darts which had been thrown at him, could no longer retain his indignation, but drives the tempter away by those powerful words: “Get thee hence, Satan. It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” The agitation into which this last horrid suggestion threw the mind of Jesus, chased

away the lassitude and weakness caused by his fasting, restored his bodily and mental powers to their usual vigour, and made all the temptations with which Satan had harassed him to vanish. · Angels came and ministered unto him." He, who had endured hunger without relinquishing his hope and confidence, had a supply of refreshment from heaven itself. He, who had refused to tempt God by requiring unreasonable proofs of his paternal affection and care, received the most illustrious marks of the affection of his Father. He, who accepted not honour and power

when offered him by Satan, was attended, as the Lord of heaven and earth, by the spirits of the Most High. In this manner the Saviour repels the third temptation; and what are we to learn from his conduct? To despise the delusive enjoyments and the unsubstantial pleasures of earth; to view with contempt the world, when tendered to us as the reward of sin, and to reject with indignant scorn both the offer and the offerer; to keep fresh upon our minds a sense of our obligations to God; to know no other ambition than that of serving him and keeping his commandments; and to reject, with abhorrence and indignation, every temptation that would draw

us aside from him. Oh! if we always acted thus, Satan, discomfited, would flee from us; the angels would minister unto us; and the Captain of our salvation, in whose paths we should tread, would approve and bless us.

We shall conclude this discourse by some general observations resulting from the subject.

1. What cause do we see, from the view of Jesus in the desert, to admire the matchless

and compassion of our Redeemer! If a sinful suggestion produce such grief in the soul of a believer, who nevertheless has but a feeble idea of the infinite odiousness of sin, who is but partially sanctified, who always bears within him the remains of corruption, which are flattered by these suggestions, then judge what inconceivable anguish, what unutterable distress the Saviour must have experienced, when this flood of temptations was poured in upon him; upon him, the Holy of Holies, who knew all the guilt of sin, and who, by his nature and inclinations, was infinitely removed from it! Yet to such woes the Saviour willingly submitted, that he might thereby afford us consolation and confidence in our spiritual combats. And surely we must experience abundant consolation from this event. It is cheering to the mind perplexed by temptation, to reflect that our Lord has experienced temptation, and therefore can 'sympathize with us; that our Lord has experienced the joy of being delivered from temptation, and therefore will be ready to afford us deliverance. Well might Paul say, with so much exultation, 'We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with a feeling of our infirmities, but one who was tempted in all points like as we are; and in that he was tempted, is able” and disposed " to succour them

grace

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