Luke 4:2
where for forty days He was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He was hungry.
Sermons
Solitude and StruggleW. Clarkson Luke 4:1, 2
The Temptation of ChristR.M. Edgar Luke 4:1-13
An ExampleBishop Hacker.Luke 4:2-4
Christ not Harmed by TemptationH. Wonnacott.Luke 4:2-4
Christ Tempted with GoodG. Macdonald, LL. D.Luke 4:2-4
Christ Tempted, Yet SinlessArch. bishop Trench.Luke 4:2-4
Christians TemptedBishop Hacker.Luke 4:2-4
Christ's Antipathy Against SinD. Dyke.Luke 4:2-4
Christ's Conflict and OursJ. J. Van Oosterzee, D. D.Luke 4:2-4
Comfort from Christ's TemptationRautenberg.Luke 4:2-4
Distress Favourable to TemptationBishop Andrewes.Luke 4:2-4
Face to Face with SatanW. Arthur, D. D.Luke 4:2-4
FastingA. B. Grosart, LL. D.Luke 4:2-4
FastingBishop Cowper.Luke 4:2-4
Fasting a Source of TrialJ. H. Newman, D. D.Luke 4:2-4
FastingsF. W. Krummacher, D. D.Luke 4:2-4
Fire in UsBishop Andrewes.Luke 4:2-4
Good Christians Tempted MostD. Dyke.Luke 4:2-4
How Should the Tempter Ever have Thought of Tempting with Any Hope of Overcoming the Son of GodA. B. Grosart, LL. D.Luke 4:2-4
Lessons from Our Lord's TemptationBishop S. Wilberforce.Luke 4:2-4
Let Us not Aid Our AccuserA. Farindon, D. D.Luke 4:2-4
Meaning of TemptJ. Owen, D. D.Luke 4:2-4
Oil Taken from the LampBishop Hacker.Luke 4:2-4
Reasons for the FastBishop Cowper.Luke 4:2-4
Satan a RealityBishop Hacker.Luke 4:2-4
Satan a TempterR. Gilpin.Luke 4:2-4
Satan Adapts His TemptationsCaryl.Luke 4:2-4
Satan Invades Holy DutiesBishop Andrewes.Luke 4:2-4
Satan is Sometime Incessant in TemptationsH. Gilpin.Luke 4:2-4
TemptationC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 4:2-4
TemptationA. B. Grosart, LL. D.Luke 4:2-4
Temptation a CorrectiveBishop Hacker.Luke 4:2-4
Temptation Associated with Sinless InferiorityD. Dyke.Luke 4:2-4
Temptation SanctifiedBishop Hacker.Luke 4:2-4
Temptations Adapted to Temperament and ConditionD. Dyke.Luke 4:2-4
Temptations in YouthH. Wonnacott.Luke 4:2-4
Temptations IncessantD. Dyke.Luke 4:2-4
Tempted Like as We AreW. M. Taylor, D. D.Luke 4:2-4
Tempter and AccuserBishop Cowper.Luke 4:2-4
The Best of Men not Exempt from TemptationLuke 4:2-4
The Design of Christ's TemptationBishop Andrewes.Luke 4:2-4
The Design of the Three TemptationsF. Godet, D. D.Luke 4:2-4
The Devil a Living FoeA. B. Grosart, LL. D.Luke 4:2-4
The Devil the Accuser and Defamer of GodA. Farindon, D. D.Luke 4:2-4
The Devil the Architect of EvilLuke 4:2-4
The Devil's Real Character DisclosedM. Faber.Luke 4:2-4
The Existence of Evil SpiritsJames Foote, M. A.Luke 4:2-4
The Fasting and Temptation of JesusH. Bushnell, D. D.Luke 4:2-4
The General Elements of the TemptationsCaleb Morris.Luke 4:2-4
The Hour of Triumph is the Hour of TemptationD. Parker Morgan, M. A.Luke 4:2-4
The Nature of Satan's TemptationR. Gilpin.Luke 4:2-4
The Nature of the Three TemptationsCaleb Morris.Luke 4:2-4
The Reality of Our Lord's Contest with SatanBishop S. Wilberforce.Luke 4:2-4
The Secret of VictoryCaleb Morris.Luke 4:2-4
The Temptation of ChristBishop S. Wilberforce.Luke 4:2-4
The Temptation of the FleshW. Clarkson Luke 4:2-4
The Three TemptationsH. Wace, D. D.Luke 4:2-4
The Wicked .Free Frets TemptationD. Dyke.Luke 4:2-4
Typical TemptationsJ. J. Van Oosterzee, D. D.Luke 4:2-4
We Will ConsiderCaleb Morris.Luke 4:2-4
Why Christ Would Submit to be TemptedR. Gilpin.Luke 4:2-4
Why is He Called the Devil?D. Dyke.Luke 4:2-4
Why was Christ Tempted?D. Dyke.Luke 4:2-4
There can be no question as to the reality of the temptation. Without contending for the strictly literal sense of the passage, we do maintain that the temptation was a very real thing to our Lord. It constituted a serious struggle through which he went, out of which he came forth victorious, by passing through which he was our Exemplar. We cannot afford to lose this aspect of his life, this view of our Lord himself; but we must beware lest we do; for "if we shrink from believing that he really felt the force of temptation... we make that Divine life a mere mimic representation of griefs that were not real, and surprises that were feigned, and sorrows that were theatrical. But thus we lose the Savior." It was a real conflict that is here depicted; and the first stage of it was that through which we have all, in our time, to pass - the stern contest with the temptation of the flesh.

I. THE SEVERITY OF THE TEMPTATION. "He hungered" after long fasting. Hunger, in its severer forms, is unknown to us. In a country like this we have no experience of it. We can only judge of it from the testimony of those who have endured it; and, thus judging, we are sure that it is a very urgent, imperious, almost irresistible craving. The extremities and inhumanities to which it has driven men who are not naturally inhuman tell their own tale with terrible force. Our Master was suffering, we may well believe, from the most severe pangs of want. There were stones of the size and color of such a loaf as he would have given everything (it would be right to give) to obtain. By an easy exertion of his miraculous power he could turn the one into the other. Why not do so? Because to do that would be to take himself out of the hands of that heavenly Father to whose care he was committed, and manifest distrust in his providential goodness. Or because to do so would be to employ his Divine power first on his own behalf, instead of using it, as on the occasion of its first exercise it behoved him to employ it, on behalf of others. Or because to do that would be to give present and bodily cravings precedence of the great concerns of the kingdom of God. For some such reason our Lord thought that it would be wrong or, at any rate, undesirable for him to act on the suggestion, and he forbore. Temptation of the fleshly kind comes to us in the shape of hunger, or thirst, or sexual passion.

1. These trials of our moderation and self-government are more or less severe according to

(1) our temperament and

(2) our circumstances.

2. They may lead us into errors and evils which are

(1) mistakes to be avoided; or

(2) indiscretions to be condemned and regretted, and, of course, forsaken; or

(3) vices and sins which are shameful and deadly,

which stain the conscience, which ruin the reputation, which lead down to swift destruction.

II. THE WAY OF VICTORY. When the hour of conflict comes we must gird ourselves for the fight; and though the peril may be great because the enemy is strong, yet have we great resources, and there is no reason why we should not win the battle. We should call to our help our regard for:

1. The will of God as revealed in his Word; that "sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God," should be at hand with us as it was with our great Leader: "It is written."

2. The penalty of disobedience - a very heavy one in its ultimate issues.

3. The example of our Divine Master, calmly putting aside the false suggestion, preferring to suffer rather than to sin.

4. The consideration that sin excludes us from other and higher blessings. Better far, in the thought of Christ, to rest in bodily hunger, committing himself to the faithfulness of the holy Father. And how much better than any physical enjoyment is the satisfaction of spirit which attends purity and piety! Not the bread of bodily comfort, but the sense of God's abiding favor, the continuance of the friendship of Christ, the cherishing of a heavenly hope, - that is the good thing to prize and to pursue. - C.







Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in these days He did eat nothing.
A great part of the force and power of Christ's example here is lost upon men, through their slipping it aside, by secretly imagining that, after all, His case and theirs are wholly different. They read of His being tempted; and as they do not disbelieve the Scriptures, they admit in a certain way that He was — that is, they never question it. But, practically speaking, and meaning by temptation such temptations as they yield to, they do not believe that He was tempted; they have a secret reserve — " Christ was tempted, as far as He could be tempted; but how could He who was God as well as man be really tempted? What was there in Him to tempt?" By such questions the practical example of our Lord is set aside; and men lose the benefit designed for them in Scripture, in its narrative of these awful struggles of the prince of darkness with the Captain of our salvation.

1. To be truly tempted, Christ must be truly man. Unless His temptations, sufferings, and death were all wrought in appearance only, there must be that nature truly in Him which is capable of these accidents. And this, in its fullest significance, is the doctrine of the Catholic Church. And to the full perception of this truth, it must be noted, that the nature He took was the human nature as it was in His mother; not, as some have fancied, the nature of Adam before his fall; for how should He have obtained that nature from the Virgin Mary, who herself possessed it not? and if He had, how could He have been "in all points tempted like as we are, sin only excepted"? for we know not that in Adam's body were all those sinless infirmities which dwell in ours, and which indeed we acknowledge in our Lord's. Before the fruit of the forbidden tree had poisoned the currents of his blood, we know not that pain, and weariness, and sickness could have invaded that body which from God's hand had come forth " very good," and which, we doubt not, by the fruit of the tree of life was to have been strengthened till it could not taste of death. But the body which Christ assumed was subject, like our own, to those infirmities which have not in them the nature of sin, and yet which sin has brought into our nature. The contrary opinion has arisen from the pious but mistaken fear, lest in allowing that Christ took the very nature of His mother, we should, unawares, allow that He took what was sinful; but the true answer to this apprehension is, that the Eternal Son took to Himself in the womb of the Virgin, not a human person, but humanity — humanity, which, if it had been impersonated in one of us would have been sinful, but which could not be sinful until it was a person, and was never a person till it was in the Christ. "To His own person" (says Hooker) "He assumed a man's nature." The flesh, and the conjunction of the flesh with God, began at one instant. And that which in Him made our nature uncorrupt, was the union of His Deity with our nature.

2. These two natures, though thus conjoined in one person, were not confounded the one with the other; neither was the proper Godhead of the Son diminished by inferior admixture, nor the humanity swollen out of the true limits of its essential properties by the alliance of Deity. To it, indeed, Deity added that infinite worth which made it a fit sacrifice for sin; to it that grace of unction unmeasured, by which it was held up ever without spot of iniquity; but still each nature was separate and unconfused; and thus, in the unity of the Godhead could Christ declare on earth that the Son of Man was in heaven; thus could He truly suffer and die in His human body, though the Godhead is impassable and immortal; thus could He, in His human soul, be "in an agony," though Deity can never suffer; thus could He pray, "Father, not My will, but Thine, be done," while He could declare, "I and My Father are one." Here, then, was the provision made for the reality of His temptation: for in whatever way Satan can approach us from without, by the influences of a spiritual presence, as suggesting to the imagination, and throwing into the mind, that which is at once temptation, and becomes sin as soon as the will has given to it the first beginnings of assent; in this same way are we enforced, by the verity of His human soul, to believe that the Son of God could be approached by Satan. So that to make His exposure to temptation perfect, we must suppose no sinless avenues to its approach, which in us are open, closed in Him. The fiery darts, indeed, found in that most true loyal soul no sinful tendencies on which to fall; they were cast back at once from the confines of His imagination by a will truly in accordance with the will of the Father, and dwelt in beyond measure by the present influence of the Spirit of all grace. So that, with a perfect exposure to temptation, spot of sin there could be clearly none.

(Bishop S. Wilberforce.)

When we read of the tempter approaching with his wiles Him whom we know to be the Lord incarnate, God the Maker of all being, we have something of the feeling with which we read of those imaginary conflicts in which man is supposed to strive with beings of a higher order: we feel, that is, as if there could be no real contest; that it is but the apparent acting out of what would be naturally impossible. When we compare the paltry baits with the infinite worthiness of Him to whom they were proffered, we feel so sure of the conclusion, that, knowing the craft and subtlety of the tempter, we cannot believe that he could thus attempt to turn aside the perfect uprightness of God's only Son. Here, then, we need the recollection, that to him had not been made the revelation we possess of Christ's eternal power and Godhead; that from him was kept secret the virginity of Mary and Him who was born of her, as also the death of our Lord — three of the mysteries the most spoken of in the world, yet done in secret by God; that all he knew was that this was the champion of man, the Holy One of God, the Second Adam, with whom, as with the first, was to be his great struggle for the dominion of the world. He knew that he had triumphed once, by like temptations, over the same nature unfallen; and how should it fare better now?... When we look at the temptation in this light, how strikingly does it fall in with the whole course of God's revealed dealings! Throughout the Old Testament Satan is scarcely mentioned; and in the New he is less emphatically the enemy of God than of Christ, as if between the prince of this world and the Son of Man must be the mighty struggle. The devil (says ) was to be overcome, not by the power of God, but by His righteousness.

(Bishop S. Wilberforce.)

As this subject will yield both motives and measures for obedience, so too will it supply us with directions for the due resisting of temptation. The Commander suffered Himself to be tempted, that He might teach His soldier to contend, says ; He taught thee to bear, and He taught thee by bearing. A broad light is thrown by it on every part of temptation.

1. We see the need of watching alway. No height of piety is a sufficient safeguard against danger. We must, therefore, be prepared for conflict, not merely with the principle of evil, but with an actually living, subtle, and most powerful enemy. The principle of evil can mean nothing else than our own inward inclinations to it. By this our Master could not have been tempted, for He had no evil inclination; either, therefore, He could not be tempted, or it must be by a spirit external to Himself, and having, therefore, truly a separate existence.

2. We see the sort of wiles against which we must watch. The evil which seems farthest off is often the nearest. The fast of forty days had surely shown the absolute dominion with which the flesh was curbed in Him to whom the tempter came; yet is His first temptation a suggestion that He should turn the stones around Him into bread.

3. We see, too, with how prompt a readiness the forms of temptation are exchanged. It is not one, and then rest. From sensuality and doubt, how easily did Satan turn to presumption, and from that pass over to the baits of earthly glory, as instruments wherewith to beguile that human heart which only was for ever proof against his snares! And so, when we have resisted the coarser temptations of sensuality or a thirst for worldly advancement, how readily do self-applauding thoughts spring up to poison the purged soil of the heart; or, when we have shut out the louder solicitations of evil, are we drawn unawares, and, if need be, by the very words of Holy Writ, into an attempt to worship God in some new way, and so to approach His altar with an abominable offering of a party-zeal or self-taught service! Conclusion: And so, all through the struggle, how full of teaching is our blessed Lord's example! With what a perfect patience did He endure the struggle to the end; not, as we are wont to do, fretting under it, and peevishly longing for the "rest of the garner," while it is God's will that we should still be "planted in the field." And yet, with this entire patience, how prompt was His resistance, never yielding for a moment to that which He endured to the end. How directly was the sword of the Spirit raised against each following temptation, and how did it pierce through the fraud! And as there is here full instruction how to resist the evil one, so is there, too, a sure earnest of our victory. Satan dared, indeed, to assault our Lord, but He did not triumph over Him. He overcame the devil in our nature, that we might be partakers of His triumph. From us He took flesh, that we from Him might have salvation. In Him we were tempted; in Him we vanquish Satan. He has passed through the battle; but He will not forget those whom He has left to follow Him. He is God over all; but He has not ceased to be the Virgin's Son. Let us trust more in His sympathy, and cast ourselves more on His care.

(Bishop S. Wilberforce.)

There was at college, m my day, a young man whose career ran side by side with mine. We matriculated at the same time, and at the same time took our degree. This young man was like unto him of whom we read in the Gospel, "the only son of his mother, and she was a widow." To his undying honour be it said he remembered that his mother was a widow, and that she looked to him then as she had once looked to his father. Most careful was he never to spend more than was needful, knowing that each shilling he spent left so much less in that widow's purse. Most indefatigable was he in his reading, knowing that it depended on his position in the class-list whether he could secure his fellowship and so provide a home for that widowed mother. Day after day would he sit over his books; and night after night, when all else was shrouded in darkness, the flickering lamp in that student's room would tell of the midnight reader. Throughout the whole of that university career, never was known a more earnest nor a more frequent worshipper in the house of God. Regularly as the hour for Divine service came round, so regularly was that widow's son seen to enter that house of prayer. Days, and months, and years, rolled on, and at length the eventful day arrived, when — examinations passed, successfully passed — the tidings went rapidly round from mouth to mouth that the pattern son and student had nobly won his class, his first class. That evening I sought my friend, yea, and I found him; but where? in what condition? There, on the floor of his room, almost senselessly drunken, lay the dutiful son, the pattern student, the frequent and earnest worshipper. Alas! alas I how truly had the tempter marked his time; the hour of that young man's triumph was the hour of his fall.

(D. Parker Morgan, M. A.)

It is one of the most ruinously successful artifices of the great adversary of men, to persuade them that he has no existence; for thus he throws them off their guard, and makes them believe that from him, at least, they have nothing to fear; and thus the very sentiment which would appear to them to annihilate his being, completely establishes over them the plenitude of his power. The doctrine of Scripture in reference to the fallen angels has been most usually opposed by the weapons of ridicule — a mode of attack which says little for the goodness of the cause in which it is employed; for why resort to an expedient so very low, and so far from pious, if solid argument were at command? In opposition, however, to the commonly-received opinions on this subject, reason is sometimes appealed to, not only by declared infidels, but, what is far more strange, by some who assume the Christian name. But why should these opinions be reckoned improbable, or absurd? So far is the existence of beings only spiritual from being improbable, that when it is considered that the Creator Himself is a pure spirit, it is in itself more probable and mere easy to be supposed, that He should form creatures purely spiritual, than creatures partly spiritual and partly material. Nor is it at all improbable that angels should fall, any more than that man should have fallen. Nor, again, is it improbable that both the holy and the fallen angels should be employed, or permitted, to take some part in the affairs of men; that they do so is at least quite capable of proof, though not an original dictate of reason. Were it in our power to visit distant worlds, we should, without question, occasionally do so: and we should, on these visits, not be altogether unconcerned spectators of what is going on, but should in some cases interfere, properly or improperly, according to our different views and dispositions. The same thing, then, may be considered as probable with regard to angels, both good and bad. It is to be supposed that they do thus visit us and act among us, unless, indeed, they be positively prohibited by God. Nor is there any impossibility, or improbability, in the nature of things, that spirits should communicate to us thoughts both holy and sinful. We communicate thoughts to each other, in various ways, of which, if we had not been constituted exactly as we are, it would have been impossible for us to form any conception. Hence it follows that there may be other ways of communication still which we cannot conceive. It will not be disputed that angels communicate their thoughts to each other, and yet we cannot comprehend how they do so; why, then, should our ignorance of the manner in which they ascertain our thoughts, and communicate thoughts to us, be viewed as a proof that no such intercourse can exist? It may, indeed, be objected, that when men hold such intercourse with men, they are conscious of the presence and actings of each other; whereas they are not conscious either of the presence or of the communications of good or bad spirits, and therefore ought to conclude against such presence and such communications. To this we reply, that if such consciousness be demanded, there are many well-authenticated instances of it, in which men have been sensible of the presence and words and actings of these spirits. Notice, however, to what an extreme of impiety and atheism it would lead, to say that ideas cannot be conveyed to us by any being of whose presence and acts we are not conscious; for this would exclude the great Creator Himself from all access to the souls he has made. Both reason and Scripture lead us to believe that God does direct our minds, though we are not sensible of His presence and agency. Why, then, may not the same thing hold substantially with regard to the holy and fallen angels? Thus the objection, by proving too much, proves nothing. Is there not then, on the whole, something rational in the idea that good angels may promote man's holiness, and evil angels his disobedience? On the supposition of that agency being equal on both sides, man would be no loser. On the supposition of the favourable influence being at least more general than the unfavourable, man would be obviously a gainer. It is possible, too, that the permission of some unfavourable interference might serve important purposes to man, and be overruled for the greater glory of God. Thus the subject has a very different aspect in the eye of reason, from what some profane witlings and self-conceited objectors pretend. Viewed, again, in the light of revelation, though many points are left obscure, there are many points cleared up, on the subject of the fallen angels. We are told that they were originally holy and happy in heaven, like those who are now confirmed in blessedness; that one of them of high rank, now called Satan, or the devil, by way of horrid eminence, instigated by pride and ambition, rebelled against God, and was joined in his rebellion by a great multitude of the heavenly host; that they were banished from heaven; that no means are appointed for their recovery; that they are reserved under chains of darkness unto the judgment of the great day; that though they are in general confined, they, and especially their chief, are permitted, at times, to go a certain length in their endeavour to extend the dominion of sin to which they are prompted by their malice and wickedness; that the devil was the successful tempter of our first parents; that he has been instrumental in many of the crimes and calamities of mankind; that he opposed the Sou of God, and excited to His crucifixion; that he and his associates have habitually acted, as far as they could, as the deceivers and destroyers of men; that they will continue in the same desperate course till the end of time: and that then their power will be crushed, and they will be left to lie for ever under the load of guilt and misery which they have brought upon themselves.

(James Foote, M. A.)

There is a difficulty connected with our Lord's temptation, which has, I suppose, more or less clearly presented itself to every one who has sought at all to enter into the deeper significance of this mysterious transaction. The difficulty and dilemma may be stated thus: Either there was that in Christ which more or less responded to the temptation — how then was He without sin, seeing that sin moves and lives in the region of desires quite as really as in that of external acts? or there was nothing in Him that responded to the suggestions of the tempter — where then was the reality of the temptation, or what was the significance of that victory which in the wilderness He won? The secret of the difficulty which these alternatives present to our minds, so that sometimes it appears to us impossible that Christ's temptation should have had anything real in it, leaving Him as it did wholly unscathed, lies in the mournful experience which we in our own spiritual life, have made, namely, that almost all of our temptations involve more or less of sin, that the serpent leaves something of his trail and slime even there where he is not allowed to nestle and make his home. Conquerors though we may be, yet we seldom issue from the conflict without a scratch — a hurt it may be which soon heals, but which has left its cicatrice behind it. The saint, if he shine as a diamond at last, yet it is still as a diamond which has been polished in its own dust. For we may take up arms against the evil thought, we may rally the higher powers of our souls, and call in the might of a Mightier to put the evil and its author to flight, yet this we seldom do till it has already found some place within us. Our acquiescence may have been but momentary yet even the moment during which the evil was not abhorred and loathed is irreconcilable with the idea of an absolute holiness, which is as a mirror whose perfect brightness no lightest breath has ever troubled or tarnished for an instant. The reconciliation of an entire sinlessness in Christ with the reality of the temptations to which He was exposed lies in this, that there was never in Him this momentary delectation; even as there need not be in us; and would not be, if we always were, and had always in time past been, upon our highest guard.

(Arch. bishop Trench.)

— The temptation in the wilderness is the image of the conflict of the Christian life.

1. The temptation.

2. The enemy.

3. The attack.

4. The weapon.

5. The victory.

6. The crown.Finally, the question: If you fight against Christ, how can you still have courage; if you fight under Christ, how can you still be anxious?

(J. J. Van Oosterzee, D. D.)

The three temptations of the Lord typify those employed against men by Satan at the different stages of life. Sensuality is especially the sin of the youth, ambition especially that of the man, avarice especially that of the old man. Whoever has overcome the first of these three temptations must count upon the second; whoever sees the second behind him will soon be covertly approached by the third. But in all temptations, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Over against forty days' temptation in the first stand the forty days' peace and joy in the second life of the Lord.

(J. J. Van Oosterzee, D. D.)

Christ was tempted even as we are, yet without sin. This word is —

1. A light for our blindness.

2. A spur for our slackness.

3. A staff for our weakness.

(Rautenberg.)

There is no sin in being tempted: for the perfect Jesus "was in all points tempted like as we are." Temptation does not necessitate sinning: for of Jesus, when tempted, we read "yet without sin." Not even the worst forms of it involve sin: for Jesus endured without sin the subtlest of temptations, from the evil one himself.

1. It may be needful for us to be tempted —

(1)For test. Sincerity, faith, love, patience, are thus put to proof.

(2)For growth. Temptation develops and increases our graces.

(3)For usefulness. We become able to comfort and warn others.

(4)For victory. How glorious to overcome the arch-enemy.

(5)For God's glory. He vanquishes Satan by feeble men.

2. Solitude will not prevent temptation.

(1)It may even aid it. Jesus was tempted in the wilderness.

(2)Nor will fasting and prayer always keep off the tempter; for these had been fully used by our Lord.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

What is Christ doing in this long solitude and silence of the wilderness? To say that He is fasting does not satisfy our inquiry. Who has not wished many times that he could have the record of these forty days? We know that He is not bewailing His sins; nor afflicting Himself purposely in penances of hunger and starvation; nor wrestling with the question whether He will undertake the work to which He is called. But these are negations only, and I think we shall be able to fix on several important points where we know sufficient in the positive to justify a large deduction concerning the probable nature of the struggle through which Jesus is here passing.

1. He has a nature that in part is humanly derived. But now it is opened to Him that He is here not as here belonging; that He is sent, let down into the world, incarnated into human evil.

2. It is not to be doubted that He had internal struggles of a different nature, growing out of His hereditary connection with our humanly disordered and retributively broken state. I refer, more especially, to what must have come upon Him under the law of bad suggestion.

3. It is not to be doubted that His human weakness made a fearful recoil from the lot of suffering, and the horrible death now before Him.

4. There comes upon Him also, at the point of His call or endowment, still another and vaster kind of commotion, that belongs even to His Divine nature. The love He had before to mankind was probably more like that of a simply perfect man. Having now the fallen world itself put upon His love, and the endowment of a Saviour entered consciously into His heart, His whole Divinity is heaved into such commotion as is fitly called an agony.

5. Once more, the mind of Jesus, in His forty days' retirement and fasting must have been profoundly engaged and powerfully tasked in the unfolding of the necessary plan.

(H. Bushnell, D. D.)

Whensoever he tempteth he taketh this advantage, if he can discover or obtain it. He is wiser than to set sail against wind and tide, to row against the stream; therefore he labours all he can to find which way the stream of man's affections runs; and to what sins his relations, his calling, or his opportunities lay him most open and obnoxious; accordingly he lays his snares, and spreads his net. When he meets with a proud man, him he tempteth with high thoughts: when he meeteth with a covetous man, him he tempteth to the love of the world; he lays a golden bait of profit before his eyes: the adulterous he leads to the harlot's house. For howsoever it be true, that every man hath in him a principle suiting to every sin; yet it is a truth too, that every man is not equally active for, or disposed unto every sin; and every man hath not every particular sin predominant in him: now Satan, when he seeth what is predominant in any man, then he fashioneth and frameth a temptation suitable.

(Caryl.)

The temptations assail you most fiercely now, at the outset of your life. You are like those who have to build the breakwater against the sea. And the great struggle with the waves is for the foundation; every stone laid is laid in fiercest struggle; after the foundation, the work can proceed, Now, you are laying the foundation. Yield once to temptation, let but once the tempter be your master, and he may lead you for evermore in chains. Be strong and be very courageous. "Take to yourself the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand in this evil day, and having done all to stand!"

(H. Wonnacott.)

His purity will not be sullied by temptation. Temptation cannot defile. The unclean bird, as he flaps his black wings in flight, may throw his shadow on the whiteness of the mountain snow, but it is not stained. The clear blue of highland lake may be darkened by overshadowing blackness, but the lucid depth is undefiled. Christ may be tempted, but temptation harms only as it is entertained, and dallied with, and obeyed.

(H. Wonnacott.)

Perhaps very few of you know how a man feels when, for the first time, he finds himself, as I remember finding myself, within a few inches of a serpent — when he sees the cobra di capello rearing its head ready to strike, and knows that one stroke of those fangs is death — certain death. That moment he experiences a varied passion, impossible to describe. Fear, hatred, loathing, the desire to escape, the desire to kill, all rush into one moment, making his entire being thrill. Now, take two men: one is in the face of that serpent; the other is in the presence of the old serpent called Satan, the devil; one is in danger of the sting; the other is in danger of committing sin. Which of the two has most reason to flee?(W. Arthur, D. D.)

Felix Neff was often heard singing praises to God, when alone in his room. Worldly men said of him: "What a singular being! he seems unhappy, and yet, when he is alone, he is always singing!" It was because Neff rejoiced in the Lord. Yet his friends relate that he had also great spiritual trials. He said that he was sometimes so assailed by the adversary of souls, that he seemed to himself to be surrounded with ruins, and he lost for a moment even the hope of being saved. But soon he resumed courage. "He who has taken me into fellowship with Himself is faithful," said he; "and if, on account of my many unfaithfulnesses, He hides for a moment His face, I hope ever in Him: I know in whom I have believed!

The word "tempt," in the simple notion of it, signifies to try, to experiment, to prove, as when a vessel is pierced, that the nature of the liquor it contains may be ascertained. Hence God is said sometimes to tempt, and we are commanded as our duty to tempt, or try, or search ourselves to know what is in us, and to pray that God would do so also. So temptation is like a knife that may either cut the meat or the throat of a man; it may be his food or his poison, his exercise or his destruction.

(J. Owen, D. D.)

Here we may note a distinction of temptations, besides that of invisible and visible: that some are movable and short fits, and as it were skirmishes, in which he stays not long, and others are more fixed and durable. We may call them solemn temptations, in which Satan doth, as it were, pitch down his tents, and doth manage a long siege against us.

(H. Gilpin.)

If any one say He was not moved by any of those temptations, he must be told that then they were no temptations to Him, and He was not tempted; nor was His victory of more significance than that of the man who, tempted to bear false witness against his neighbour, abstains from robbing him of his goods. For human need, struggle and hope, it bears no meaning; and we must reject the whole as a fantastic folly of crude invention, a mere stage show; a lie for the poor sake of the fancied truth. But asserting that these were real temptations if the story is to be received at all, am I not involving myself in a greater difficulty still? For how could the Son of God be tempted with evil? In the answer to this lies the centre, the essential germ of the whole interpretation: " He was not tempted with evil, but with good"; with inferior forms of good, that is, pressing upon Him, while the higher forms of good held themselves aloof, biding their time, that is, God's time. I do Dot believe that the Son of God could be tempted with evil, but I do believe that He could be tempted with good — to yield to which temptation would have been evil in Him — to the universe.

(G. Macdonald, LL. D.)

In these three characteristic temptations we are —

1. To look for the central principles of Christ's work brought to the test at the outset of His career.

2. To discern, in some degree at least, the central points of the trial of all human souls which our Lord felt in all its intensity.

(H. Wace, D. D.)

I. THE TEMPTED. I would say here that I believe in one malignant powerful spirit. I believe the devil has a personal existence. He must have influenced the mind of Christ in one of two ways; either immediately, or by means of external agency. Which was it? Judge ye.

II. THE TEMPTED. Notice three things.

1. The fact that pure human nature should have been tempted thus at all. Jesus had no sympathy with evil, yet here we find evil coming in contact with Him.

2. This temptation assailed Him immediately after His investiture with singular glory.

3. These temptations came to Christ just as He was beginning His great work of mediation on earth.

III. THE TEMPTATION. Notice

I. The scenes.

(1)In the wilderness;

(2)in the holy mountain;

(3)in the holy city.

2. There is an appropriateness between each of these temptations, and the scenes where they occurred.

(1)The first is the temptation of poverty.

(2)The second to greatness and officialism.

(3)The third to ostentation.

3. In each temptation, Christ was either tempted to use a wrong end or to use wrong means to secure His end, and this is the whole of temptation.APPLICATION: You who are tempted, remember —

1. That the only pure Being on earth was tried by three dreadful temptations.

2. That our nature has vanquished temptation.

3. That He who was tempted and overcame is our Friend and Brother, and High-priest.

(Caleb Morris.)

I. ABUSE OF POWER.

II. PERVERSION OF TRUTH. "It is written," said the tempter.

III. MAKING PRESENT HAPPINESS THE END OF LIFE.

(Caleb Morris.)

I. IN THE FIRST, TO CONVERT STONES INTO BREAD, Christ, if He had yielded to it would have sinned against —

1. The law of spiritual self-government.

2. The laws that govern natural life.

3. The law of miracles.

II. IN THE TEMPTATION TO FALL DOWN AND WORSHIP.

1. The essence consisted in the giving up of spiritual power to worldly grandeur.

2. The tempter sinned

(1)against the spirit of the Bible;

(2)against the unity of the Bible;

(3)against the authority of the Bible.

III. IN THE TEMPTATION TO CAST HIMSELF DOWN FROM THE PINNACLE OF THE TEMPLE, CHRIST WAS TEMPTED TO DO THREE THINGS.

1. To seek personal applause.

2. To use unnatural means to secure it.

3. In doing all this, falsely to trust to God for protection.

(Caleb Morris.)

The history of these temptations furnishes us with the principles on which they may be vanquished. Not by fasting; for He was tempted while He was fasting. Not by retiring from the world; for He was tempted while He was alone. But by the deep indwelling of truth. Not by outward truth, but by truth m us. A man may have truth in his book, and his book in his pocket. He may have it in his creed, and have it in his brain, and yet not possess one truth that will enable him to conquer a single temptation. Christ repelled temptation by indwelling truth. Christ repelled temptation by a threefold statement: "Man shall not live by bread alone"; "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God"; "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." These words may be summed up — man by God; man for God; man according to God.

(Caleb Morris.)

1. To arouse in Jesus a painful sense of the contrast between the abundance due to His Divine greatness and the miserable destitution in which He found Himself.

2. To provoke Him to win universal empire by a sudden exhibition of Divine power rather than by a patient manifestation of the Divine character.

3. To lead Him to presume on the favour and love of which the voice from Heaven had just assured Him.

(F. Godet, D. D.)

There is —

I. AN APPEAL TO APPETITE. It is here that temptation first and most strongly besets a youth. The great turning question of life is, "Am I to be the body's; or is the body to be mine, and mine for God's?" He only can be truly said to live who, by faith in God's Word and obedience unto Him, seeks constantly to serve the Lord.

II. AN APPEAL TO AMBITION. The same insidious temptation is, in one form or another, repeated in the case of every man; and for the most part, in the commencement of his career, he has to fight the battle, or to yield himself a captive. God's way to honour and power and wealth is still steep, and arduous and rugged; and to the man who is wearifully exerting himself to overmaster its difficulties, Satan comes, offering his short and easy road to the summit of his ambition — in how many cases, alas! with the most complete success. Avoid the devil's short cuts, and make the words of our Lord, "Thou shalt worship," &c., the motto of your lives. Listen to the words of Havelock when told that there were prejudices against him in certain quarters on account of his religion: "I humbly trust that in that great matter I should not change my opinions and practice, though it rained garters and coronets as the reward of apostasy."

III. AN APPEAL TO FAITH. This as insidious as the rest. Jesus had already repelled the tempter by expressing His confidence in God, and allegiance to His Father; and to that very principle which had before foiled him, he addresses himself now; as if he had said, "Dost thou trust God? come, and I will place thee in circumstances such as will make manifest to all His guardian care of Thee." The principle of Christ's answer is this: We are never to be guilty of tempting Providence by setting either His natural or spiritual laws at defiance. If we are in danger, in God's service, we may rely that He will be with us. But we have no right to imagine that He will suspend the law of gravitation, whenever we choose to leap over a precipice; or that He will suspend the spiritual laws which regulate the actions of our souls, whenever we put ourselves in the way of temptation. APPLICATION: YOU may overcome every temptation by giving up the fortress of your soul to this same Jesus, who vanquished Satan here.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

We learn much of Satan, our great adversary, from the different ways in which he attempted to lead our Lord astray.

I. THE POVERTY OF SATAN. How little he has to offer Christ — not so much as bread, only stones.

II. HIS IMPUDENCE. Repelled once, he returns to the attack, and asks for adoration to be given him, a lost and fallen angel, by the Lord of heaven and earth.

III. His weakness. He did not cast our Lord down: not even bind Him; no power to force — he can only try to persuade. Sin is not so strong as it is often represented.

IV. HIS CRAFT.

1. He attacks the Lord's weakness by fasting. As the general surveys the most likely time to raise the siege of a beleaguered city, so the devil always watches his opportunity.

2. He pretends to ask a most simple request, when it is really hard and most difficult.

3. He graduates his temptations. In the first temptation, he places himself before man; then, before an angel; lastly, in the place of God. All sin is graduated.

V. HIS LIES. He promises —

1. That which he has not to give.

2. That which he has no intention of giving.CONCLUSION:

1. Fear not this devil.

2. Ever watch for him.

3. Meet him boldly, and you will overcome him.

(M. Faber.)

The devil is the great architect of wickedness, as Christ is the Prince of life and righteousness.

Here in this chapter the devil doth "strive to put out the very eye of God's providence," that he might shake Christ's faith, as it were, and drive Him to distrust. He accuseth His wisdom in our retirement and secret sins, and that with some scorn: "Tush, God doth not see it: nor is there knowledge in the Most High" (Psalm 73:11). He accuseth His justice, and puts stout words into our mouths when we deny our obedience: "It is in vain to serve the Lord: and what profit is there that we have kept His ordinances?" (Malachi 3:14.) He defames His mercy, when, remembering our sins, we fall under them, as a burden too heavy for us (Psalm 38:4), and as if God had "forgotten to be merciful" (Psalm 77:9). He roars loud against His very power in the mouth of a Rabshakeh, and would persuade the Israelites that to say God should deliver them was nothing else but to deliver themselves up to famine and thirst (2 Kings 18:30). He casts his venom upon all the Divine attributes, and makes them the inducements to sin, which are the strongest motives to goodness. He never presents God to us as He is, but in several forms and all such as may drive us from one attribute to run us on another. He presents Him without an eye, that we may do what we list; without a hand, that we may trust in a hand of flesh; without an ear, that our blasphemies may be loud. He makes us favourable interpreters of Him before we sin, and unjust judges of Him when we have sinned. He makes Him a libertine to the presumptuous, and a Novatian to the despairing, sinner; being a liar in all, whose every breath is a defamation. Nulla spud cum tuttis ratio vincendi, as was said of king Philip: "He is not ashamed of any lie that may lead us from the truth." And as he defameth God unto us, so in every sin almost he accuses us unto ourselves. In the heat of our zeal he accuseth us of madness, that we may be remiss; and in our meekness he chargeth us with folly, that we may learn to be angry. In our justice he calls us tyrants, that we may yield it up unto unnecessary pity; and in our compassion he urgeth the want of justice, that, to put on the new man, we may put off all bowels of mercy. He accuseth our faith to our charity, and persuades us that for all our good works we are none of the faithful; and our charity to our hope, as if it were so cold it could kindle no such virtue within us. From religion he drives us on to superstition, and from the fear of superstition into that gulf of profaneness which will swallow us up. And then, when he hath us in his nets, when he hath by accusing us unto ourselves made us guilty indeed, when by accusing our virtues he hath brought us to sin, he draws his bill of accusation, and for one sin writes down a hundred.

(A. Farindon, D. D.)

The word signifies a slanderer or accuser. And he accuseth —

1. To God;

2. To man.

1. To God he accuseth man; hence called the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12.). And thus he accused Job (Job 1. and 2.).

2. To man. He accuses(1) God Himself, as to our first parents, as envying their felicity, and over-hardly dealing with them in their restraint of that fruit, and so still he doth in the matter of reprobation and the commandments of the law.(2) He accuses or slanders the graces of God, he brings an ill name upon them to discredit them with us. Thus he slanders zeal to be rashness, justice to be cruelty, wisdom to be craft, mercy to be fond softness, humility to be baseness.(3) He slanders the servants of God, that they are hot, fiery, furious, factious, enemies to Caesar, curious, proud, &c.(4) His neighbours, and such with whom he hath to deal, by suggesting false suspicions and surmises against them.(5) His own self, by enraging his conscience against him. Now Satan especially is an accuser, in accusing us to God and our own consciences. And he cloth this specially —

(a)After the committing of some grievous sin which he tempted us unto. Before he seemed our friend, and put upon sin a goodly vizor, but now he plucks it off, and urges us to desperation.

(b)In some more grievous trial, and specially at the hour of death.

(c)At the day of judgment.

1. It being the devil's office to be an accuser or slanderer, let us take heed of doing such ill offices. Let the devil have his own office, let us not go about to take it out of his hands.

2. Since the devil is an accuser, it must make us wary over our ways, as we are wary in our worldly estates of the promoter, of pickthanks, and tale-bearers. He will accuse falsely when there is no cause, much more then will he accuse when we give him cause by our sins. Howbeit, even here will he be a false accuser and slanderer, by making that to be treason which is but patty larceny, and sins of infirmity to be the unpardonable sin against the Holy Ghost.

(D. Dyke.)

Let us then say with Joseph, "'How can I commit this wickedness, and sin against God' (Genesis 39:9), who would save me? and how can I commit this, and help the devil, my enemy, to accuse me?" In the affairs of this world we are very sly and cautious, and will not give any advantage to those whom we suppose to be no well-willers unto us. Nay, many times we abstain from things not unlawful, in the presence of those we do not love, because we fear whatsoever we do will be misinterpreted, and can expect no better gloss than that which malice will make. And shall we be so confident on the greatest enemy of mankind as to help his malice, and to further and promote the desire which he hath of our ruins? Shall I fill this accuser's mouth with arguments against myself, and even furbish and whet the sword of my executioner? This is a folly which we cannot but be ashamed of; and yet in every sin we commit, we commit this folly. But yet, in the last place, as St. John saith, "If we sin, we have an Advocate" (1 John 2:1); so say I, If we sin, and the devil put up his bill of accusation against us (as most certainly he will), let us learn to accuse ourselves; and that will make his accusation void, and cancel his bill. From a broken and a contrite heart let us say, "We have sinned," and he hath nothing to say. Let us confess our sins, and we have put the adversary to silence.

(A. Farindon, D. D.)

1. That we might see the horrible rage and senseless madness of the devil against God and our salvation.

2. That we should know how fit it is there should be trials of ministers before they enter into their functions.

3. That ministers might know who will be their special adversary they must conflict with in their ministry.

4. That we might see how fit it is that ministers and men of great callings should be fitted and prepared for the good discharge of them by temptation, and by their own experience might learn to relieve others (2 Corinthians 1:4).

5. To give us warning to look to ourselves. If Satan durst set upon Christ, who was as green wood, and had abundance of moisture to quench the heat of his fire, what then will he do to us that are dry, and quickly set on fire?

6. To overcome our temptation with His as He did our death with His. For as death lost his sting lighting on Christ, so also Satan's temptations, and the foil He gave Satan was for us.

7. That by suffering that which was the desert of our sins, his love towards us might appear the more.

8. That there might be some answering to the Israelites being forty years in the desert in many trials and temptations. A day answering a year, as there was before in Christ's going into Egypt.

9. That our Lord might the better know how to pity, and tender, and relieve us with comforts, when we are in temptation. They pity us most in our sicknesses, that have felt the same themselves.

(D. Dyke.)

1. Thus was Christ evidenced to be the second Adam, and the seed of the woman. His being tempted, and in such a manner, doth clearly satisfy us that He was true man. .2. This was a fair preludium and earnest of that final conquest over Satan, and the breaking down of his power.

3. There was a more peculiar aim in God by these means of temptation to qualify Him with pity and power to help (Hebrews 2:18; Hebrews 4:15).

4. The consequence of this experimental compassion in Christ was a further reason why He submitted to be tempted, to wit, that we might hare the greater comfort and encouragement in the expectancy of tender dealing from Him.

5. A further end God seemed to have in this, viz., to give a signal and remarkable instance to us of the nature oftemptations; of Satan's subtlety, his impudency. That neither height of privilege, nor eminency of employment, nor holiness of person, will discourage Satan from tempting, or secure any from his assaults. The best of men in the highest attainments may expect temptations.Grace itself doth not exempt them.

1. For none of these privileges in us, nor eminencies of grace, want matter to fix a temptation upon. The weaknesses of the best of men are such that a temptation is not rendered improbable, as to the success, by their graces.

2. None of us are beyond the necessity of such exercises. It cannot be said that we need them not, or that there may not be holy ends wherefore God should not permit and order them for our good. Temptations, as they are in God's disposal, are a necessary spiritual physic. The design of them is to humble us, to prove us, and to do us good in the latter end (Deuteronomy 8:16). Nothing will work more of care, watchfulness, diligence, and fear in a gracious heart, than a sense of Satan's designment against it.

3. The privileges and graces of the children of God do stir up Satan's pride, revenge, and rage against them. This is also of use to those that are apt to be confident upon their successes against sin through grace. Satan, they may see, will be upon them again; so that they must behave themselves as mariners, who, when they have got the harbour, and are out of the storm, mend their ship and tackling, and prepare again for the sea. That there may be temptations without leaving a touch of guilt or impurity behind them upon the tempted. It is true this is rare with men. The best do seldom go down to the battle, but in their very conquests they receive some wound; and in those temptations that arise from our own hearts, we are never without fault; but in such as do solely arise from Satan, there is a possibility that the upright may so keep himself, that the wicked one may not so touch him as to leave the print of his fingers behind him. But the great difficulty is, How it may be known when temptations are from Satan, and when from ourselves?To answer this I shall lay down these conclusions:

1. The same sins which our own natures would suggest to us, may also be injected by Satan.

2. There is no sin so vile, but our own heart might possibly produce it without Satan.

3. There are many cases wherein it is very difficult, if not altogether impossible, to determine whether our own heart or Satan gives the first life or breathing to a temptation.

4. Though it be true, which some say, that in most cases it is needless altogether to spend our time in disputing whether the motions of sin in our minds are firstly from ourselves or from Satan, our greatest business being rather to resist them than to difference them; yet there are special cases wherein it is very necessary to find out the true parent of a sinful motion, and these are when tender consciences are wounded and oppressed with violent and great temptations, as blasphemous thoughts, atheistical objections, &c. As Joseph's steward hid the cup in Benjamin's sack, that it might be a ground of accusation against him, so doth the devil first oppress them with such thoughts, and then accuseth them of all that villainy and wickedness, the motions whereof he had with such importunity forced upon them; and so apt are the afflicted to comply with accusations against themselves, that they believe it is so, and from thence conclude that they are given up of God, hardened as Pharaoh, that they have sinned against the Holy Ghost, and finally that there is no hope of mercy for them. All this befalls them from their ignorance of Satan's dealings, and here is their great need to distinguish Satan's malice from their guilt.

5. We may discover if they proceed from Satan, though not simply from the matter of them, not from the suddenness and independency of them, yet from a due consideration of their nature and manner of proceeding, compared with the present temper and disposition of our heart.As —

1. When unusual temptations intrude upon us with a high impetuosity and violence, while our thoughts are otherwise concerned and taken up.

2. While such things are borne in upon us, against the actual loathing, strenuous reluctancy, and high complainings of the soul, when the mind is filled with horror and the body with trembling at the presence of such thoughts.

3. Our hearts may bring forth that which is unnatural in itself, and may give rise to a temptation that would be horrid to the thoughts of other men.

4. Much more evident is it that such proceed from Satan, when they are of long continuance and constant trouble.Application: The consideration of this is of great use to those that suffer under the violent hurries of strange temptations.

1. In that sometime they can justly complain of the affliction of such temptation, when they have no reason to charge it upon themselves as their sin. Satan only barks when he suggests, but he then bites and wounds when he draws us to consent.

2. That not only the sin but the degree also, by just consequence, is to be measured by the consent of the heart.

(R. Gilpin.)

1. For faith, that the temptations of Christ have sanctified temptations unto us: that whereas before they were curses, like unto hanging on a tree; now, since Christ hath been both tempted and hanged on a tree, they be no longer signs and pledges of God's wrath, but favours. A man may be the child of God notwithstanding, and therefore he is not to receive any discouragement by any of them.

2. Besides the sanctifying, it is an abatement, so that now when we are tempted, they have not the force they had before: for now the serpent's head is bruised, so that he is now nothing so strong (as he was) to cast his darts. Also the head of his darts are blunted.

(Bishop Andrewes.)

And therefore if we be wise, let us resist him in the first, give no place to him when he is a tempter, so shall we not fear him, when he is an accuser, nor feel him as a tormenter.

(Bishop Cowper.)

So Satan troubles not such as are under his power already; such as are empty of grace he desires not to winnow, for what have they in them to be sifted out? The dog barks not at the dumb sticks, but at strangers: when the door is wide open, and there is free ingress and egress, there is no knocking; but if once shut up, then still one or other is rapping and bouncing. The wicked have the doors of their hearts set wide open to Satan, therefore he raps not there by tentation, but at the godlies, that shut and bar up this door against him. They then that brag they were never troubled with Satan's temptations, do thereby profess their want of grace. If they had any spiritual treasure this thief would be dealing with them. If they had been taken out of the hands of Satan by the power of Christ, he would have raged, and took on, labouring with all his might to recover his prey. A lion scorns to meddle with a mouse, and so doth this roaring lion with thee that hath no booty for him. While Jacob continued under Laban's tyranny, and would be made his drudge, and his pack-horse, all was well; but when once he began to fly, he makes after him: and so cloth the devil; when any one parts from him to Christ, then he is as a bear robbed of her whelps.

(D. Dyke.)

All good Christians, then, must be tempted. But if any of them be of better graces than other, or calleth forth to higher place and service than other, they are specially eyesores to Satan, they are a fair mark for the arrows of his tentations.

(D. Dyke.)

1. In these temptations, we may note there were external objects as well as insinuated suggestions.

2. These temptations were complex, consisting of many various designs, like a snare of many cords or nooses. When he tempted to turn stones to bread, it was not one single design, but many, that Satan had in prosecution. As distrust on one hand, pride on another, and so in the rest. The more complicated a temptation is, it is the greater.

3. These were also perplexing, entangling temptations. They were dilemmatical, such as might ensnare, either in the doing or refusal.

4. These temptations proceeded upon considerable advantages. His hunger urged a necessity of turning stones into bread.

5. These temptations were accompanied with a greater presence and power of Satan.

6. The matter of these temptations, or the things he tempted Christ to, were great and heinous abominations.

7. All these temptations pretended strongly to the advantage and benefit of Christ, and some of them might seem to be done without any blame; as to turn stones to bread, to fly in the air.

8. Satan urged some of them in a daring, provoking way — "If thou be the Son of God?"

9. These temptations seem to be designed for the engagement of all the natural powers of Christ; His natural appetite in a design of food; His senses in the most beautiful object, the world in its glory; the affections, in that which is most swaying, pride.

10. Some of these warranted as duty, and to supply necessary hunger, others depending upon the security of a promise — "He shall give His angels charge," &c.

(R. Gilpin.)

There are three distinct names given to him in these temptations.

1. His name "Satan" shows his malice and fury, which is the ground and fountain whence all that trouble proceeds which we meet with from him.

2. He is styled "the tempter," and that signifies to us how he puts forth this malice, his way and exercise in the exertion of it.

3. He is called "the devil " or accuser, expressing thereby the end and issue of all. From this name, then, here given, we may observe: — That it is Satan's work and employment to tempt men. Implying

(1)That though there be never so many tempters, yet Satan is the chief.

(2)That he makes temptation his proper employment.That Satan doth so, I shall evidence by these few notes:

1. Temptation is in itself a business and work.

2. Satan gives up himself unto it, is wholly in Mark 2:3. He takes a delight in it, not only from a natural propensity, which his fall put upon him, whereby he cannot but tempt — as an evil tree cannot but bring forth evil fruits — but also from the power of a habit acquired by long exercise, which is accompanied with some kind of pleasure.

4. All other things in Satan, or in his endeavours, have either a subserviency, or some way or other a reference and respect to temptation. His power, wisdom, malice, and other infernal qualifications, render him able to tempt.

5. He cares not how it goes on, so that it go on; as a man that designs to be rich, cares not how he gets it; which shows that tempting is general in his design.

(1)He sticks not to lie and dissemble.

(2)He will tempt for a small matter; if he can but gain a little, or but molest us, yet he will be doing.

(3)He will not give over for a foil or disappointment.

(4)He is not ashamed to tempt contradictory things: he tempted Christ against the work of redemption.

(5)Any temptation that he sees will hold, he takes up.

(6)He will sometime tempt where he hath not probability to prevail, even against hope. The use of the observation is this, If it be his business to tempt, it must be our work to resist.

(R. Gilpin.)

1. That ministers of the gospel, and all who have to deal with souls, need temptation. How pre-eminently was Jesus an experimental minister!

2. That when temptation cometh of God, we are all the better of it.

3. That deliverance from temptation equally with the temptation itself, to be a blessing, must be from the Lord. It was not until the devil had ended the temptation, all the temptation, that he departed. But when he had ended it, he did depart. Now, mark what immediately followed, viz., that as the Lord had been "led up" of the Spirit "to be tempted," so He was "led out" from the temptation. I read (Luke 4:14): "And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee." My friends, there is instruction for us here. We must "abide" under our trial without impatience, without murmuring, without "making haste," if we would be "led out" as well as "led up."

(A. B. Grosart, LL. D.)

? — I may reply —

I. The devil was — in the Bible sense — a "fool," I use the word "fool" — a Bible word — in its deepest and most awful meaning. It seems to me that it is not sufficiently kept in mind that sin had and has the same binding, stupefying effects on Satan that we see it have on bad men. Let a man persist in ungodliness, and see how his very eyes are put out, and how "foolish" he becomes. I should grant the devil's craft and cleverness, but not his common sense, much less wisdom; and he "cannot see afar off." There was pride in particular, to give the tempter a very lofty estimate of his own capacity. The tempter knew the effect which the lofty prize of sovereignty for which he had struck had upon his mind, and with his own self-estimate welded impenetrably by pride, he may have reasoned from himself to Christ in the prospect of that immense bribe of empire with which he was to "tempt"; while again, in retrospect, there was the great and very mournful fact, that not one "in the likeness of sinful flesh" assaulted by him, had stood immaculate, i.e., without yielding less or more. The Incarnation, by the very broadness of Him who was "to be tempted," presented many sides upon which hope of partial success might hang.

II. The devil had grounds to expect success, and motives of a commanding kind. I find in that curse the warrant, if I may so speak, of the temptation of the Lord Jesus. The promise gave power to the serpent to bruise the heel of the woman's seed.

(A. B. Grosart, LL. D.)

Here is no fate, law, machinery, impersonality merely, but a living friend and a living foe seeking our souls. I apprehend it should impart a more intense reality to our lives did we habitually grasp this verity of our "ever-living advocate," and ever-living accuser — both, not one merely.

(A. B. Grosart, LL. D.)

O how He hath sanctified temptations, and made them wholesome, which before were rank poison!

(Bishop Hacker.)

Christ was tempted, to give us an example how to encounter with the roaring lion, and to win the mastery. As a young learner will observe diligently every ward and thrust that an experienced gladiator makes, so the Holy Ghost hath set down for our advertisement every passage, how Christ did turn and wind the delusions of the serpent.

(Bishop Hacker.)

As a little wedge is beaten in sometimes to drive out a greater, so a little temptation is suffered to creep in that a bigger mischief may not enter. The falling into some sins in the best of God's servants is an anticipation against pride, that they may not be puffed up with their own righteousness. Some errors and offences do rub salt upon a good man's integrity, that it may not putrify with presumption.

(Bishop Hacker.)

As if the sheep should think wolves were but a tale, there were no such creatures that sought to devour them.

(Bishop Hacker.)

If Beelzebub was busy with the master, what will he be with the servants?

(Bishop Hacker.)

To us the devil needs bring but a pair of bellows, for he shall find fire within us; but to Christ he was fain to bring fire too.

(Bishop Andrewes.)

But in Christ there was an antipathy against sin, as in the stomach against some meats, the which the more we are urged to eat of them, the more we loathe them; whereas in other meats that we especially love, the very sight of them is persuasion enough to eat of them. Christ's heart to Satan's temptations was as a stone or brass wall to an arrow, repulsing them back presently. Our hearts are as a butt, where they may easily fasten themselves. Ours is a barrel of gunpowder to the fire, Christ's as water, and therefore He said, "The prince of this world is come, and hath nought in Me" (John 14:30).

(D. Dyke.)

The more we strive and beat them away, the more, like flies, they come upon us.

(D. Dyke.)

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