תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

beloved Son. " What think we of Christ ?"

Do we feel that his gospel, -the atonement it reveals, the covenant it offers, the promises of grace which it conveys-afford us exactly that comfort which our hearts are in need of, and our condition requires ?

This it will do, in proportion as we understand the holiness of God, the weakness of our own hearts, and the solemnity of the judgment which is to come. We find ourselves stained with the guilt of sin; but “the blood of Christ cleanseth from all

l sin." We are not sufficient of ourselves to do any thing as of ourselves; but he has engaged to “ work in us both to will and to do." We are justly condemned as transgressors against the divine law; but “there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.” We are “ born in sin, and children of wrath ;" but he is revealed to us under the title of SAVIOUR. And we receive him as such. We receive him as “the author and finisher of our faith :” we welcome him, as“ made unto us of God, wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” And, further, we look to him as the model by which, through the Spirit working in us, we are to form ourselves, as the example by which we are to judge and examine ourselves : “understanding what the will of God is, even our sanctification,”—“proving what is acceptable unto the Lord, in all goodness, and righteousness, and truth;" and desiring to be “ made perfect in every good work, to do that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever, Amen."

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

LECTURE V.

THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS.

Mark i. 12, 13.

12. And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.

13. And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan ; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.

St. Mark gives no description of this temptation, which has been particularly related by St. Matthew. He merely intimates, that it immediately followed the baptism of Jesus ; and that it was a part of that mysterious course which had been ordained for him. The Spirit driveth him—impels him-into the wilderness : urges him to remain in the desert regions of Judea, which would not be approached by men. And he was there forty days; as Moses, long before, had remained on Mount Sinai “ forty days and forty nights, and did neither eat bread, nor drink water.”ı But in the circumstances of Jesus and of Moses there was no resemblance.

Moses was

in the mount of God, who manifested himself unto him " as a man to bis friend :” Jesus was in the wilderness, tempted of Satan, and was with the wild beasts. Because in this, as in all things, “it behoved him to 1 Ex, xxxiv. 28.

2 Ib. xxxiii. 11.

14 and

be made like unto his brethren :'s like unto those to whom he had graciously allied himself, when he assumed our nature. They are tempted of Satan.

. It was Satan who suggested to Eve, that she might venture to transgress the commands of God. And Satan is the secret author of every sin that has followed, “going to and fro upon the earth, seeking whom he may deceive, and instigate, and impel to his own ruin.

Mankind are destined to undergo these temptations; they are also required to resist them. And so the Lord Jesus has set the example both of endurance and of victory: that guided by the same word of God, and strengthened by the same spirit, they may “repel all the fiery darts of the devil.”

The case of Jesus was peculiar. But so likewise have been the circumstances of many of God's servants. Of Noah, for example. In his day, the wickedness of man was great upon the earth, “and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” “God looked upon the earth, and behold, it was corrupt : for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth; and the earth was filled with violence."5 But of Noah the Lord said,

Thee have I seen righteous before me, in the midst of this generation.” During the long period whilst theark was preparing, and Noah was “a preacher of righteousness,"o he was in the wilderness, he was tempted of Satan, he was with the wild beasts,—his righteous soul was vexed with the ungodly deeds of those

" 5

4

3 Heb. ii. 17.
5 Gen. vi. 5---12.

Job i. 7.
0 2 Pet. ii. 5.

among whom he dwelt—but he retained his faithfulness, and the devil could not “set on him to hurt him.”

Daniel offers another example. He was driven into the wilderness of Babylon; he was with the wild beasts, the idolaters and reprobates of that wicked city: he was tempted of Satan, when taken into the royal palace, and invited to “ defile himself” by fol

, lowing the heathen customs.? Again, he was tempted to fall down and worship Satan, when “the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against him,” and contrived a deep-laid scheme to divert him from praying to the true and living God, " as he had done aforetime." So likewise the apostle Paul.

Some have supposed, that when he reckons among his various trials that “after the manner of men he had fought with beasts at Ephesus,” 8 he alludes to the assaults of Demetrius and of the party which he stirred up, ready to tear in pieces the opponent of their idolatry. Certainly, however, both at Ephesus, and at Philippi, at Lystra, and at Jerusalem, he was amongst men no less fierce than beasts, and no less eager to destroy. As it had been with the Master, so it proved with the disciple. Satan had not spared the one, neither did he spare the other: he too was in the wilderness, tempted of Satan, and was with the wild beasts.

Our evangelist, however, adds, that in this conflict, and in this desert, Jesus was not left alone:

Dan. i, 8; vii. 10.

1 Cor. xv. 32. 9 See Acts xix. 29; xiv. 19; xxi. 30.

1

angels ministered unto him. In this, too," he was made like unto his brethren.” He “suffered, being tempted :” so do they. But he received that support which he required. And so, though his disciples have a wilderness to pass through which exposes their faith and piety to many dangers, they are not left alone. Elijah was not left alone, when “ he fled from the face of Jezebel.' As he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, an angel touched him, and said, Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for thee.” Daniel was not left alone, when cast into the den of lions: as he assures the king, “ My God hath sent his angels, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me."! St. Paul was not left alone, either at Ephesus, or Philippi, or Jerusalem : and more especially in his severest trial, at Rome, when he was brought before Cæsar, one greater than the angels was with him; as he has recorded his testimony, saying, “ At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me : nevertheless, the Lord stood by me, and strengthened me; and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion."?

3

[ocr errors]

There is “temptation which is common to man,' and which it is the will of God that all should undergo. “As many as will live godly in Christ Jesus,” in the midst of an ungodly world, must be prepared to be tempted of Satan.

But all men are not subjected to the same trials, or exposed to an

'I Kings xix. 5, &c. 3 Tim. iii. 16.

4 Dan. vi. 22.

1 Cor. x. 13.

« הקודםהמשך »