« ElőzőTovább »
who was manifested to destroy the works of the devil, or evil desire.
2d. Our Lord's second temptation is related verse 5-8. “Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto 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." What iempter, it will be asked, now assailed our Lord ? In order to answer this question, several things must be noticed. The scene of this temptation is not laid in the wilderness, but in Jerusalem, and at the temple there, where all the tribes of Israel assembled to worship. Further, the Jews at that time were not only in high expectation of Messiah’s appearance, but they expected him to come in a miraculous way for their deliverance and glory. The scene is laid at the place suited to the nature of the temptation. On the other hand, our Lord was just about to enter on the work given him to do. Unless we say that he was ignorant and stoical, we must allow him to feel sensibly, in view of of the sufferings which awaited him. In fact, if we admit that he foresaw what afterwards took place, and was not deeply affected by the prospect, yea, wished if possible to avoid it, we must believe him destitute of the common feelings and sinless frailties of our nature. If after he had learned obedience by the things which he suffered, he said, " Father let this cup pass from me,” can any man think, that nature would not say the same, yea, suggest some mode of escaping them, when he surveyed the whole scene of suffering at the commencement? To deny this, is to deny that our Lord was a man, and a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Yea, to deny that our Lord possessed the fine feelings and tender
sensibilities which so conspicuously shone in him. It is in fact saying, our Lord was totally unconcerned about the success of his future ministry among the Jews, that he had no desire that they should receive him as the true Messiah, and that no reflections passed through his mind respecting the best manner in which he might gain the attention and affections of bis nation. What then was the tempter? It was flesh and blood suggesting the propriety of accomodating himself to the prevailing opinions and expectations of the Jews to secure his success : or, their prevailing expectations and opinions, presenting themselves to his mind, pointed out a course, which, if pursued, he would avoid all opposition from them, and be received as their Messiah. What was this? The Jews expected their Messiah to come from heaven, or in a miraculous manner among them. This is generally admitted. It was suggested, cast thyself down from the pinnacle of the temple among them, while at worship in the court below : seeing you fall from such a stupendous height unhurt, they will immediately receive you as the Messiah, and invest you with all the honors, powers, and emoluments of the Jewish church. If, or rather, since thou art the son of God, there can be no danger, “ 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." But our Lord did not listen to flesh and blood, reasoning on the principles of accommodation, but repelled the temptation by saying—“it is written, again, thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” A compliance with it would have been presumption, a perversion of Scripture in justification of it, and doing evil that good might come. It would have been sacrificing truth at the shrine of prejudice and popular opinion, and shrinking from trials and sufferings through
which he must pass, if he would accomplish the end of his mission. It behoved Christ to suffer, Luke xxiv. 46.
3d. The third temptation is stated in verses 8, 9. “ Again the devil taketh bim up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; and saith unto him, all these things will give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” What devil or tempter now templed our Lord ? It was certainly that which said to him, if thou wilt fall down and worship nte ; and which said, Luke iv. 6. "All tbis power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.” Well, allow me to ask, had a fallen angel all these things at his disposal? Could he confer all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them? No man will say so; nor does our Lord call him a liar or deceiver, in promising such things. What then promised, and could confer all these things on our Lord, if he would fall down before it, worship, or submit to it, as the term worship signifies? I answer; in the days of our Lord the power of the Romans bad subdued all the then known world. To whomsoever they would they gave its kingdoms, and the glory of them. Tbis was done by the power or force of arins. If our Lord * would then make his extraordinary power the means of propagating his kingdom, he might raise himself to the head of the Roman empire, or become master of the whole world. The tempter then was the glory and grandeur of the world presented to the Saviour's mind, to excite his ambition to use his power in raising himself to universal empire. But this temptation he repelled by saying—“ get thee hence satan (or adversary) for it is written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." It
is added, that satan departed from him for a season, which intimates that our Lord was assailed with similar temptations afterwards. But was he ever tempted afterwards by a fallen angel or evil spirit ? Nothing of the kind appears, but he was certainly tempted afterwards with like temptations to those I have mentioned. In short, these three temptations, are, for substance all the various temptations with which our Lord was assailed during his ministry. Indeed, they comprise all that is in the world, which prove tempters to mankind. 66 The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,” 1 John ii. 16. Was not our Lord, during his ministry, repeatedly hungry, and under temptation to supply his wants by his divine power? Certainly he was, but we find he always resisted such a temptation, and trusted in God for food, in the ordinary course of providence. Again, was he not under strong temptations to sacrifice truth and duty to the prejudices and opinions of the Jews, in order to his ministry being useful among them? No one will deny this. But do we ever find him making sinful compliances with them, to induce them to receive him as their Messiah ? No, he was deaf to all such temptations and allurements. Again, during his ministry, he had temptations presented to him to raise himself to a throne, yea, to the empire of the world. The people seeing his power, on one occasion would have come by force to make him a king. But did he encourage them, or avail himself of this, to raise himself to honor and glory? AH know that the reverse of this was the case. likewise accused of making himself a king. But he repelled the charge by saying his kingdom was not of this world. He was indeed born to be a king, to sway a sceptre over the whole world, and to break in pieces every other kingdom. But his sceptre was a sceptre of righteousness. He was to judge the world
in righteousness, and the people with his truth. He is to reign until all his enemies are made his footstool, but they are to be conquered, not by fire and sword, but by truth and love. All these temptations, our Lord encountered during his ministry, but was more than a match for them all. He suffered being thus tempted, that he might know how to succor them that are tempted to turn aside from truth and duty in his service by similar allurements. But alas ! how many “ Vicars of Bray” have professed to be his servants, who have counted gain godliness, and sacrificed every thing for the honor, the power, and the wealth of the world.
Such are my views of our Lord's temptation, but my limits forbid entering more minutely into a detail of the evidence whereby they might be supported. It is easily perceived, that these views are in accordance with the meaning of the terms devil and satan, as used in other parts of Scripture, and agree to the tempter which tempts men every day. But to understand a fallen angel designated by these terms, is not supported by other parts of Scripture, and involves this account in absurdities and utter impossibilities.
Mark iv. 15. "And these are they by the way side, . where the word is sown; but when they have heard, satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts." By comparing Luke viii. 12. the devil is said to do this, and in Matth.xiii. 19. it is said to be done by the wicked one," or raiber "the wicked," for one is in italie. Satan, devil, and wicked, are all terms used to express the same thing. What satan, devil, or wicked one, then took away the seed of the word sown in men's hearts? It has been shown that the terms devil and satan, are often used to designate the Jews, the adversaries of our Lord and his dactrine. That they were wicked