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firmness to his followers, which might encourage them to resist the most powerful temptations that the prince of darkness could throw in their way. These considerations, in addition to many others, afford a strong ground for . believing that the temptation of Christ in the wilderness was, as the history itself plainly intimates, a real transaction, a personal contest between the great enemy and the great Redeemer of the human race; and in this point of view therefore I shall proceed to consider some of the most remarkable circumstances attending it, and the practical uses resulting from it *. We * It is an ingenious observation of a learned friend of mine, that the temptation of Christ in the wilderness bears an evident analogy to the trial of Adam in Paradise, and elucidates the nature of that trial in . which the tempter prevailed and man fell. The second Adam, who undertook the cause of fallen men, was subjected to temptation by the same apostate spirit. Herein the tempter failed, and the second Adam in consequence became the restorer of the fallen race of the first. St. Paul, in more places than one, points
out the resemblance between the first Adam and the ~ - $: - second ;
We are told in the first place that “Jesus was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness,” that is, not by the evil spirit, but by the Spirit of God, by the suggestions and by the impulse of the Holy Ghost, of whose divine influences he was then full. For the time when this happened was immediately after his baptism, which is related in the conclusion of the preceding chapter. We are there informed that “Jesus when he was baptized went up straightway out of the water, and, lo, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him, and, lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased *. Then (it immediately follows) was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil. In that moment of exaltation, when he was acknowledged by a voice from Heaven to be the Son of God, and when the Spirit of God had taken full possession of his soul, then it was that Jesus went forth under the guidance of that Spirit, in full confidence of his divine power, into the wilderness, to encounter the prince of this world. A plain proof that this contest was a preconcerted design, a measure approved by Heaven, and subservient to the grand design, in which our Saviour was engaged, of rescuing mankind from the dominion of Satan. The place into which our blessed Lord was thus led was the wilderness, probably the great wilderness near the river Jordan, in which Jesus was baptized, and soon afterwards tempted. This wilderness is thus described by a traveller of great credit and
second; and the temptation in the wilderness exhibits a most interesting transaction, where the second Adam was actually placed in a situation very similar to that of the first. The secrets of the Most High are unfathomable to short-sighted mortals; but it would appear from what may be humbly learnt and inferred from this transaction, that our blessed Lord's temptation by Satan was a necessary part in the divine occonomy towards, accomplishing the redemption of mankind.
and veracity, who had himself seen it. “In a few hours (says this writer) we arrived at that mountainous desert, in which our Saviour was led by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil. It is a most miserable dry barren place, consisting of high rocky mountains, so torn and disordered as if the earth had suffered some great convulsion, in which its very bowels had been turned outward. On the left hand, looking down into a deep valley, as we passed along we saw some ruins of small cells and cottages, which we were told were formerly the habitations of hermits retiring hither for penance and mortification ; and certainly there could not be found in the whole earth a more comfortless and abandoned place for that purpose. On descending from these hills of desolation into the plain, we soon came to the foot of Mount Quarantania, which they say is the mountain from whence the devil tempted our Saviour with that visionary scene of all the kingdoms and glories of this world. It is, as St. Matthew calls it, an exceeding high mountain, and in its ascent difficult and dangerous. It has a small chapel at the top, and another about half way up, on a prominent part of a rock. Near this latter are several caves and holes in the sides of the mountain, made use of anciently by hermits, and by some at this day for places to keep their Lent in, in imitation of that of our blessed Saviour*.” This was a theatre perfectly proper for the prince of the fallen angels to act his part upon, and perfectly well suited to his dark malignant purposes. Here then after our Saviour (as Moses and Elijah had done before him) had endured a long abstinence from food, the devil abruptly and artfully assailed him with a temptation well calculated to produce a powerful effect on a person faint and worn out with fasting. “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” But our Saviour repelled this insidious advice by quoting the * Maundrell.