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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 tnou 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.
Hence Jesus knew what was before him. He knew what God had said to the serpent in the garden of Eden. He knew therefore that his sufferings and death would arise from the agency of whim who had the power of death, that is the devil.” Therefore through the power of the prince of this world, Jesus was taken, and by the wicked hands of the seed of the serpent, crucified and slain.
The beloved Son had the promise of his heavenly Father, to carry him triumphantly and joyfully through every scene of suffering which he had to pass for tho redemption of a lost world.
Christ told bis apostles that he had a great desire to cat the passover with them before he suffered. He seems now to speak of sufferings with an emphasis. He had a view of himself under the scourge of "the inhuman Romans;" “as if the exquisite tortures of crucifixion were not sufficient without adding to them those of the scourge.” He had a view of the most brutal mockery and cruel insults which the Roman soldiers were about to exercise toward him. “And they put a crown of thorns upon his head, and a reed in his right hand.” “And they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.”—And after they had mocked him
- They "led him away to be crucified.” He now saw the scene which was before them in the garden of Gethsemane; and he saw the cross on which he was to bleed and die. He wished to avoid no suffer- . ings wbich it behoved him to suffer. After the eating of the passover, and the institution of the Lord's Supper, having sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. Then said Jesus unto them, "All ye shall be offended because of me this night; for it is written, I will smite the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad." No wc nder that the disciples of Christ were to be offended because, or on account of him that night, for there was before
them the most solemn night which had ever occurred. Christ, their Shepherd, was, that night, to be betrayed and to be delivered up to be crucified. Peter, however, thought that he should not be offended; for, “T'hough all men, said he, shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples." Soon after, commenced the dreadful conflict, expressed by the agony of Christ in the garden. Knowing what was before them, he said to his disciples, Pray that ye enter not into temptation Then all of a sudden, being "withdrawn a stone's cast from them, he kneeled down and prayed, saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless, not my will but thine be done. And there appeared an angel from heaven strengthening him. And, being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the earth.”*
Now it is asked, what was the cause of this extreme distress of the blessed Redeemer, whose blood was about to be shed for man's salvation? Some think it was from the immediate hand of his heavenly Father. A certain English author, on these words in Matthew, “And he began to be sorrowful and very heavy,” observes as follows; this sorrow was“on account of some painful and dreadful sensations which were impressed upon his soul by the immediate hand of God.” Why any one should think, that the extreme agony of Christ was occasioned by an impression of the immediate hand of God upon him, I cannot conceive. It appears to me, that, instead of its being from the immediate hand of God, it was from the immediate hand of Satan. This agony of Christ, which occasioned his sweating as it were great drops of blood, will be grant
* Luke xxi