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lays sorest at him by temptations. His eye was never off from our Saviour, all the time of his sequestration; and now, that he thinks he espies any one part to lie open, he drives at it with all his might. We have to do with an Adversary no less vigilant than malicious, who will be sure to watch all opportunities of our mischief; and, where he sees any advantage of weakness, will not neglect it. How should we stand upon our guard, for prevention; that both we may not give him occasions of our hurt, nor take hurt by those we have given!
When our Saviour was hungry, Satan tempts him in matter of food ; not then, of wealth or glory. He well knows, both what baits to fish withal, and when and how to lay them. How safe and happy shall we be, if we shall bend our greatest care, where we discern the most danger!
In every temptation there is an appearance of good ; whether of the body, of mind, or estate. The first is, the lust of the flesh, in any carnal desire; the second, the pride of heart and life; the third, the lust of the eyes.
To all these the First Adam is tempted, and in all miscarried ; the Second Adam is tempted to them all, and overcometh. The first man was tempted to carnal appetite, by the forbidden fruit; to pride, by the suggestion of being as God; to covetousness, in the ambitious desire of knowing good and evil. Satan, having found all the motions so successful with the First Adam in his innocent estate, will now tread the same steps in his temptations of the Second. The stones must be made bread; there is the motion to a carnal appetite: the guard and attendance of angels must be presumed on; there is a motion to pride : the kingdoms of the earth and the glory of them must be offered ; there, to covetousness and ambition. Satan could not but have heard God
This is my well beloved Son. He had heard the message and the carol of the angels; he saw the Star, and the journey and offerings of the sages; he could not but take notice of the gratulations of Zachary, Simeon, Anna; he well knew the predictions of the prophets : yet, now that he saw Christ fainting with hunger, as not comprehending how infirmities could consist with a Godhead, he can say, If thou be the Son of God. Had not Satan known that the Son of God was to come into the world, he had never said, If thou be the Son of God. His very supposition convinces him. The ground of his temptation answers itself
. If therefore Christ seemed to be a mere man, because after forty days he was hungry, why was he not confessed more than a man, in that for forty days he hungered not?
The motive of the temptation is worse than the motion ; If thou be the Son of God. Satan could not choose another suggestion of so great importance. All the work of our redemption, of our salvation, depends upon this one truth, Christ is the Son of God. How should be else have ransomed the world ? how should he have done, how should he have suffered, that, which was satisfactory to his Father's wrath ? How should his actions or passion have been valuable to the sin of all the world? What marvel is it, if we, that are sons by adoption, be assaulted with the doubts of our interest in God, when the natural Son, the Son of his Essence, is thus tempted ? Since all our comfort consists in this point, here must needs be laid the chief battery; and here must be placed our strongest defence.
To turn stones into bread, had been no more faulty in itself, than to turn water into wine; but, to do this in a distrust of his Father's Providence, to abuse his power and liberty in doing it, to work a miracle of Satan's choice, had been disagreeable to the Son of God.
There is nothing more ordinary with our Spiritual Enemy, than, by occasion of want, to move us to unwarrantable courses: Thou art poor; steal: thou canst not rise by honest means; use indirect.” How
easy had it been for our Saviour, to have confounded Satan by the power of his Godhead! But he rather chooses to vanquish him by the Sword of the Spirit, that he might teach us how to resist and overcome the powers of darkness. If he had subdued Satan by the Almighty power of the Deity, we might have had what to wonder at; not, what to imitate: now he useth that weapon, which may be familiar unto us; that he may teach our weakness how to be victorious.
Nothing in heaven or earth can beat the forces of hell, but the word of God. How carefully should we furnish ourselves, with this powerful munition ! How should our hearts and mouths be full of it! Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes. O take not from me the words of truth. Let them be my songs in the house of my pilgrimage: so shall I make answer to my blasphemers.
What needed Christ to have answered Satan at all, if it had not been to teach us that temptations must not have their way; but must be answered by resistance, and resisted by the word ?
I do not hear our Saviour aver himself to be a God, against the blasphemous insinuation of Satan; neither do I see him working this miraculous conversion, to prove himself the Son of God: but, most wisely, he takes away the ground of the temptation. Satan had taken it for granted, that man cannot be sustained without bread; and therefore infers the necessity of making bread of stones. Our Saviour shews him from an infallible word, that he had mislaid bis suggestion; that man lives not by usual food only, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. He can either sustain without bread, as he did Moses and Elias ; or with a mira. culous bread, as the Israelites with manna ; or send ordinary means miraculously, as food to his prophet by the ravens ; or miracu. lously multiply ordinary means, as the meal and oil to the Sareptan widow. All things are sustained by his almighty word.
Indeed we live by food, but not by any virtue that is without God; without the concurrence of whose Providence, bread would rather choke than nourish us. Let hin withdraw his hand from his creatures, in their greatest abundance we perish. Why do we therefore bend our eyes on the means, and not look up to the hand, that gives the blessing? What so necessary dependance hath the blessing upon the creature, if our prayers hold them not together? As we may not neglect the means, so we may not neglect the procurement of a blessing upon the means; nor be unthankful to the hand, that hath given the blessing.
In the first assault, Satan moves Christ to doubt of his Father's Providence, and to use unlawful means to help himself; in the next, he moves him to presume upon his Father's protection, and the service of his blessed angels. He grounds the first upon a conceit of want; the next, of abundance. If he be in extremes, it is all to one end, to mislead unto evil. If we cannot be driven down to despair, he labours to lift us up to presumption. It is not one foil that can put this bold spirit out of countenance. Temptations, like waves, break one in the neck of another. While we are in this warfare, we must make account, that the repulse of one temptation doth but invite to another.
That Blessed Saviour of ours, that was content to be led from Jordan into the Wilderness, for the advantage of the first temptation, yields to be led from the Wilderness to Jerusalem, for the advantage of the second. The place doth not a little avail to the act. The Wilderness was fit for a temptation arising from want; it was not fit for a temptation moving to vain-glory: the populous city was the fittest for such a motion. Jerusalem was the glory of the world ; the temple was the glory of Jerusalem ; the pinnacles, the highest piece of the temple: there is Christ content to be set, for the opportunity of temptation.
O Saviour of Men, how can we wonder enough at this humility of thine, that thou wouldest so far abase thyself, as to suffer thy pure and sacred body to be transported, by the presumptuous and malicious hand of that Unclean Spirit! It was not his power,
it was thy patience, that deserves our admiration.
Neither can this seem over-strange to us, when we consider, that if Satan be the head of wicked men, wicked men are the members of Satan. What was Pilate, or the Jews that persecuted thine innocence, but limbs of this devil ? and why are we then amazed, to see thee touched and locally transported by the head, when we see thee yielding thyself over to be crucified by the members ? If Satan did the worse and greater mediately by their hands, no marvel if he do the less and easier immediately by his own; yet neither of them without thy voluntary dispensation. He could not have looked at thee, without thee.
And, if the Son of God did thus suffer his own holy and precious body to be carried by Satan, what wonder is it, if that Enemy have sometimes power given him, over the sinful bodies of the adopted sons of God? It is not the strength of faith, that can secure us from the outward violences of that Evil One. This difference I find, betwixt his spiritual and bodily assaults: those are beaten back by the shield of faith; these admit not of such repulse. As the best man may be lame, blind, diseased ; so, through the per
luable to the sin of all the world? are sons by adoption, be assaulted in God, when the natural Son, tempted ? Since all our comfort needs be laid the chief battery; strongest defence.
To turn stones into bread, had than to turn water into wine; but, Father's Providence, to abuse his work a miracle of Satan's choice, of God.
There is nothing more ordinary by occasion of want, to move us to : art poor; steal : thou canst not ri rect."
How easy had it been for our Sa tan by the power of his Godhead! quish him by the Sword of the Sp to resist and overcome the powers Satan by the Almighty power of what to wonder at; not, what to imi which
be familiar unto us; tl. how to be victorious.
Nothing in heaven or earth can word of God. How carefully sh this powerful munition ! How sł full of it! Teach me, O Lord, the from me the words of truth. Let my pilgrimage : so shall I make
What needed Christ to have not been to teach us that temptatio must be answered by resistance, a
I do not hear our Saviour aver blasphemous insinuation of Satan this miraculous conversion, to pro most wisely, he takes away the had taken it for granted, that bread; and therefore infers then Our Saviour shews him from ar laid his suggestion ; that man every word that proceedeth fro sustain without bread, as he culous bread, as the Israelite miraculously, as food to b lously multiply ordinary m widow. All things are se
Indeed we live by for God; without the con rather choke than noi creatures, in their
! ses, it is easy
aubt to eat rachon.
martable as e mattended. 1981 var guard: The creatures are
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the eyes of the
and scom tot The sun or the light e much less there Sewalls, no balts sin dungeons, for danger or so glorious
an mislays it saad tut of dat in
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them kept, not in their sins: they may
tempt him : he meant to encourage their tion. To cast ourselves upon any immencans fail not, is to disobey, instead of
challenge God on his word; we may not e may make account of what he promised;
promises to unjust examinations; and trial of his power, justice, mercy, by
could not elude the force of this divine sees how vainly he tempteth Christ to
, do I see him setting upon the Son of led, when he is resisted. Neither Diffican fasten upon Christ. He shall be tried
expert fencer, that challenges at all weaenemy. In vain shall we plead our skill in
It must be our wisdom, to be prepared as those, that hold towns and forts, do not from incursions, but from the cannon and
e Serpent traverse his ground, for an adis not high enough for his next temptation;
brist to the top of an exceeding high mounitched fields strive for the benefit of the hill, un. That, which his servant Balak did by doth now immediately; change places, in the obscure country will not move us, he ndo; if not our home, the tavern ; if not As no place is left free by his malice, so prejudicial by our carelessness; and, as we ver ourselves, so then most, when the opof suspicion.
carried up so high, but for prospect? If earth and their glory were only to be pretion, the valley would have served'; if to the hill could suffice. Circular bodies, though en at once. This shew was made to both : ing round about Judea, were represented to of them, to the imagination. Satan meant the e fancy, no less than the fancy could tempt the thousand souls have died of the wound of the ot let in sin at the window of the eye or the door nnot enter into our hearts. any pomp, majesty, pleasure, bravery, in the should it be, but in the courts of princes; whom de his images, his deputies, on earth? There are
sumptuous feasts, rich jewels, honourable attendus triumphs, royal state: these, Satan lays out to the