« FöregåendeFortsätt »
Anointed. Men have enlisted themselves into the service of Satan, to destroy their only Saviour. Christ camic into the world not to condemn the world, but to deliver men from the power of Satan and the dominion of sin; and yet, however astonishing the thought, men, and even the rulers among men, bow their necks to the service of that evil spirit, who is the prince of the power of the air, and, that worketh in the children of disobedience. This strong enemy walks about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour; nevertheless, the persons whom he wishes to devour are as voluntary in his service, as if he were their rightful Lord and Sovereign.
When we were without strength, and totally unable to save ourselves from sin and Satan, Christ, the great Redeemer, came for our salvation. That is, "when we were yet without strength, in due time, Christ died for the ungodly." When Christ died for the ungodly, he received a bruise upon his heel; but he effected a deadly wound upon the very head of the serpent.
Satan sought the ruin of man at first, and continues to seek his ruin, principally out of enmity to Christ. The serpent knew what God designed to do. He knew what was the purpose of God, the counsel of heaven concerning him: but to submit to his government, or to fulfil the divine decree, was never in the heart of Satan.
God informed the serpent in the garden of Eden, what the decree was respecting him. The serpent beguiled our first parents and they did eat-"And the Lord God said unto the serpent, because thou hast done this thou art cursed-And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." Hence, it is evident, that Satan knew what the divine purpose was respecting him; and what was the divine purpose respecting the Seed of the woman; "It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
If the serpent knew that the Lord God was stronger than he, and had more wisdom and understanding than he, then he knew that in some future period, one would arise, from whom he would receive a bruise which would prove his everlasting overthrow. Satan knew from the declaration now cited, that he should bruise the heel of Christ. Of this he was as certain, as that in the contest, he should receive a mortal wound upon his head. God said to the serpent, Thou shalt bruise his heel. The decree went forth from the Lord of hosts: and as soon as the Word was made flesh, Satan was ready to enter upon the work, which, by the decree was marked out for him. Though he had his work marked out and bounded by an eternal decree, saying, "Hitherto shalt thou come and no further, here shall thy proud waves be stayed;" yet it was in the heart of Satan not to bring to pass, but to frustrate the divine decree. He used all his strength, all the powers and faculties of his mind to reverse the decree; and therefore to bruise the head of Christ, and save his own; yea, it was in his heart, no doubt, to escape the slightest bruise.
The sufferings of Christ from the beginning to the end of his days while in the flesh, are expressed in God's declaration to the serpent, by a bruise on his heel. And as God told the serpent that he should be the agent, by whom this bruise should be effected, we clearly see, yea, we are certain, what would be the immediate origin of all his sufferings.
When Christ came into the world, being born of a woman, he was possessed of a nature capable of being bruised. Satan could not reach Christ so as to bruise him, until he was possessed of human nature; and this human nature is expressed by "his heel." Hence, when Christ came into the world, and was manifested to Israel, by his introduction into his priestly office, by the baptism of John at the banks of Jordan, Satan knew him. Although four thousand years had rolled away since God said to the serpent, Thou
shalt bruise his heel, yet he had not forgotten the divine declaration. It was, no doubt, as fresh in his mind as if it had been made but the day before. He no sooner saw him than he attacked him. Knowing that by his subtlety he had destroyed the moral character of our first parents, he made the same attempt upon Him who had come into the world to repair the ruins of the apostasy.
Satan was allowed a fair opportunity to try his strength and subtlety upon the integrity, uprightness, and covenant faithfulness of our Divine Redeemer. "Jesus," therefore, "was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil." Our mother Eve was made by the subtlety of the serpent to believe a lie. He said to her, "Thou shalt not surely die." The fruit of the forbidden tree being good and pleas ant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat. Satan made her believe that if she would eat of that tree it would be for her benefit; for "God doth know," said he, "that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened; and ye shall be as gods knowing good and evil.”
The devil went to our first parents with murder in his heart, and with a lie upon his tongue: "he was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." And when the father of lies came to our blessed Saviour, the poison of asps was, indeed, under his lips. His words were as smooth as oil, but drawn swords were in his heart. But that the temptations of Satan might have all the weight which it was possible for a temptation to have upon Christ, he was permitted to come to him when he was "an hungered," having fasted forty days and forty nights. And when the devil came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. The Son of God, the saviour, resisted this
temptation by saying to him, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word which proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him 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. It is evident by this, that the devil was well acquainted with the letter of the word of God; but never was he disposed to make a right application of it. The holy Jesus withstood him with another passage from the word of truth, and said, It is written again, "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." The devil was not yet discouraged in his attempts to seduce the immaculate Jesus, and therefore, "taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this 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." The kingdoms of the world and the glory of them belonged not to Satan to give. Besides, the glory and beauty, the power and grandeur of this world had no alluring charms in the eyes of the innocent Jesus, sufficient to induce him to do an evil action. He resisted the devil with a firm mind, holding fast his integrity: for "Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and behold, angels came and ministered unto him." Luke says, "When the devil had ended all the temptations he departed from him for a season."
The Lord's Anointed was able to resist and overcome all the temptations which it was in the power of his subtle adversary to suggest. And when the
holy angels saw the beloved Jesus successful in resisting the temptations of Satan they came and ministered unto bim.
Blessed indeed was this meeting of the heavenly hosts, with the triumphant Jesus of Nazareth.* Michael the Prince of angels, was able to conquer Satan, by arguments drawn from the oracles of God: “he durst not, however, bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee."
Agreeably to the statement now made, we see that Satan was permitted an opportunity to try his subtlety, and the strength of his malignant mind upon the uprightness and integrity of the Son of God: but he gained nothing: Christ still retained his character as the holy One, being harmless, undefiled, and separate from sin: agreeably to the saying of our blessed Lord to his disciples, “hereafter will not talk much with you; for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.”+
The next attempt of the prince of darkness was to kill the body of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, Jesus knowing this, said, “As the lightning that sbin. eth from one part under heaven, unto the other part; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.” At another time, he said to his disciples, But who say ye that I am? Peter answering, said, The Christ of God. And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing, saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and chief priests, and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day."
*“After his temptation, when he had vanquished the prince of darkness, behold, angels came and ministered unto him."
Porteus Bp. of London, John xiv, 30, 31.