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we ourselves cannot find one) that we may be able to bear it*
3. We may learn from the conduct of our Lord under this great trial, that when temptations assail us we are not to parley or to reason with them, to hesitate and deliberate whether we shall give way to them or not, but must at once repel them with firmness and with vigour, and oppose to the dictates of our passions the plain and positive commands of God in his holy word. We must say resolutely to the tempter, as our Lord did, “ Get thee hence, Satanti," and he will instantly flee from us as he did from him.
4. It is a most solid consolation to us under such contests as these, that if we honestly exert our utmost efforts to vanquish the enemies of our salvation, most humbly and devoutly soliciting at the same time the influences of divine grace to aid our weak endeavours, the unavoidable errors and imperfections of our nature will not be ascribed to us, nor will God be extreme to mark every thing that is done amiss; for we shall not be judged by one who has no feeling of our infirmities, but by ane
# 1 Cor. x. 13. + Matth. iv. 10.
who knows and who pities them, who was himself in all things tempted like as we are, yet without sin*, and who will therefore make all due allowances for our involuntary failings, though none for our wilful transgressions.
5. And lastly, in the various allurements presented to our Lord, we see but too faithful a picture of those we are to expect ourselves in our progress through life. Our Lord's temptations were as we have seen sensual gratifications, incitements to vanity and ostentation, and the charms of wealth, power, rank, and splendour. All these will in the different stages of our existence successively rise up to seduce us, to oppose our progress to heaven, and bring us into captivity to sin and misery. Pleasure, interest, business, honour, glory, fame, all the follies and all the corruptions of the world, will each in their turn assail our feeble nature ; and through tliese we must manfully fight our way to the great end we have in view. But the difficulty and the pain of this contest will be considerably lessened by a resolute and vigorous exertion of our powers and our resources at our first setting out in * Heb. iv. 15. vi
IV. life. It was immediately after his baptism, and at the very beginning of his ministry, that our Lord was exposed to all the power and all the artifices of the devil, and completely triumphing over both, effectually secured himself from all future attempts of that implacable enemy. In the same manner it is on our first setting out in life, that we are to look for the most violent assaults from our passions within, and from the world and the prince of it without. And if we strenuously resist those enemies of ous salvation that present themselves to us at that most critical and dangerous period, all the rest that follow in our maturer age will be an easy conquest. On him who in the beginning of life has preserved himself unspotted from the world, all its subsequent attractions and allurements, all its magnificence, wealth, and splendour, will make little or no impression. A mind that has been long habituated to discipline and self-government amidst far more powerful temptations, will have nothing to apprehend from such assailants as these. But after all, our great secu, rity is assistance from above, which will never be denied to those who fervently apply for it,
And with the power of divine grace to support us, with the example of our Lord in the wilderness to animate us, and an eternity of happiness to reward us, what is there that can shake our constancy or corrupt our fidelity ? .
Set yourselves then without delay to acquire an early habit of strict self-government, and an early intercourse with your heavenly protector and comforter. Let it be your first care to establish the sovereignty of reason and the empire of grace over your soul, and you will soon find it no difficulty to repel the most powerful temptations. “ Watch ye, stand fast in the faith ; quit yourselves like men; be strong *," be resolute, be patient; look frequently up to the prize that is set before you, lest you be weary and faint in your minds. Consider that every pleasure you sacrifice to your duty here, will be placed to your credit and encrease your happiness hereafter. The conflict with your passions will grow less irksome every day. A few years (with some of you perhaps a very few) will put an entire end to it; and you will then, to your unspeakable * 1 Cor. xvi. 13.
comfort, comfort, be enabled to cry out with St. Paul, “ I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me in that day *."