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and I will give thee a crown of life." It will not be questioned, that what John calls satan, verses 9, 13, 24. and chap. iii. 9. he here calls the devil. See remarks on all these passages, Section 5. which are here sufficient for an illustration. Suffer me to ask, does any one believe that the devil, a fallen angel, ever cast Christians into prison? No; but the adversaries of Christianity, then, and since, have often done this. It will not answer to say, the devil, a fallen angel, influenced the enemies of the gospel to cast Christians into prison, for this is just taking for granted the point in question. But, are our orthodox brethren aware, that their faith in the devil influencing men to sin, militates against the doctrine of total depravity? What need is there of such a being's assi ance? Total depravity is sufficient without him to produce all manner of wickedness. If men would be less wicked, without the devil's influence, then they are not so bad but he can make them worse: and who can tell but they might all be very good if he would only let them alone? Mankind are wicked enough, but all their wickedness arises from a different source. "From whence come wars and fightings? Come they not hence of your lusts which war in your members?" Is the assistance of a fallen angel required to produce them? But the reader may pursue these reflections at his leisure.


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THE first passages which present themselves for our consideration are Matth. iv. 1-12. Mark i. 12, 13. and Luke iv. 1-14. and which contain an account of our Lord's temptation. The reader will please turn to them and read them. Most religious people interpret this account literally. But concerning a literal interpretation, Essenus thus writes, p. 17-120. "The history of our Lord's temptation is commonly understood in a literal sense. Satan is supposed to be a real being; to have actually appeared and conversed with our Saviour. Having taken him up through the air to the top of the temple, and thence to some high mountain, he tempted him in the manner represented in the narrative. This interpretation is loaded not only with difficulties, but even with absurdities shocking to common sense. The learned Mr. Farmer has examined the question; and his objections to the literal translation are so numerous and decisive, that no thinking person can accede to it, without abandoning the first and most obvious principle of reason, and the tenor of the gospel. Why the devil at all assaulted our Lord, and what advantage he could possibly gain over him, has, he observes, always been acknowledged to be a great difficulty, by the advocates of the common interpretation.' But this difficulty is increased by the manner the devil proposed his temptation to our Lord. For he came to him in person, and urges temptations

such as could proceed only from an evil being. Now with what prospect of success could he tempt our Lord, if he thus exposed himself to open view? By a personal and undisguised appearance, he can never hope to prevail over the feeblest virtues, much less could he expect the illustrious person, whom he knew to be the Son of God, and who knew him to be the devil, to comply with his temptations.

"In the first temptation, in which Jesus is solicited to turn stones into bread, nothing is promised on the part of satan to gain his consent; the request of an implacable enemy, when no advantage attends it, being in itself a reason for rejecting it. But satan defeats his own temptation by asking an useless favor.

"While the foe betrays great folly in the first temptation, he supposes Christ to be actuated by still greater in the second. The people, on seeing Jesus throwing himself from the top of the temple, might conclude that he was the Son of God. But he knew that the tempter had it in his power to lead them to draw the same conclusion of himself. Satan also would throw himself down unhurt; and his miraculous preservation would prove him, as well as Jesus, to be the Son of God. Nay, he might claim the superiority; for it was a greater exertion of power to convey him from the wilderness to the top of the temple, than in sustaining his fall to the court below. What inducement, then, could Christ have for a compliance with the proposal suggested? Would he be disposed to gratify satan, by doing an act at his mere suggestion? Was he to acquire any glory, or advantage to himself? No; on the contrary, he would only have incurred the infamy of having entered the lists with the devil, without having acquired any superiority over him.

"With regard to the third temptation, the Son of God knew that the father of lies had not the empire

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of the world at his disposal, and that he therefore promised what he had not power to perform. Such a promise was rather an insult than a temptation, and was calculated only to provoke scorn or resentment. Could the devil then hope by such contemptuous treatment, to engage the Son of God to listen to his accursed counsels; and to seduce him to an act of the highest dishonor to his heavenly Father, that of paying divine homage to this infernal spirit? This interpretation represents the old serpent as acting quite out of character, and supposes him to be as void of policy as he is of goodness; inasmuch as he used the least art in proposing temptations, where the greatest would have been insufficient to insure.


"It detracts from the dignity and sanctity of the Redeemer, to be seen in conference with, and under the power of, an unclean spirit, who transports at his pleasure his sovereign and his judge from place to place; raises him to the most conspicuous stations to expose him to public derision; and wantonly and arrogantly propounds to him one foolish enterprise after another. And as the devil could have no power over our Lord unless by his free consent, Christ must have been accessary to his own dishonor, danger, and temptations.

"The common opinion further ascribes to satan the greatest miracles. It supposes that the devil, by nature a spiritual and invisible agent, has a power of assuming at pleasure a corporeal or invisible form, and of speaking with an audible voice; though there is no more ground from experience, (our sole instructor in the established law of nature.) to ascribe this power to the devil, than to ascribe life to the inanimate, or speech to the brute creation.

"It is a still greater objection to the common opiion, that it ascribes to the devil the performance of

things, not only preternatural, but absurd and impossible. Such we must reckon, his showing Christ all the kingdoms of the world from an exceedingly high mountain; for the earth being a spheroidical figure, what single mountain can command a view of all the parts of it, or those in particular which are opposite to each other? The sun itself, at its immense height above the loftiest mountains of our globe, commands and enlightens at once only a single hemisphere. Could the devil, then, from one point of view, show Christ not only the entire circumference of the globe, but also whatever constitutes the glory and grandeur of its kingdoms; and show him such infinitely numerous objects, in situations so distant and so opposite, not gradually and successively, but in one and the same instant of time? This does not seem so properly a miracle, as an absurdity and contradiction."

The question will now probably be asked-If our Lord was not literally tempted of the devil, a fallen angel, how is this account to be understood? Before directly answering this question, we shall make some general remarks on this account, in connexion with its context. The following things then appear obvious. It is evident, that our Lord's temptation took place, immediately after the descent of the Holy Spirit upon him, and just before he entered on his public ministry. See the preceding and following contexts. His temptation, was passing trial for the work given him to do, and in which he was about to engage. Again; it is equally obvious, that the tempter, devil, or satan, did not lead our Lord out into the wilderness for the purpose of tempting him, but on the contrary, he was led out there by the Spirit of God, to be tempted of the devil. See Matth. iii. 16. iv. 1. and Luke iv. 1. compared with verse 14. Again; all will allow that "the devil, satan," and "the tempter," are used as synonimous terms. Nor

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