Matthew 4:1
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
Sermons
Analogy Confirm the Doctrine of a TempterR. Watson.Matthew 4:1
Christ TemptedW.F. Adeney Matthew 4:1
Christ Tempted in the WildernessC. Bradley.Matthew 4:1
Christ Tempted of the Devil in the WildernessD. Moore, M. A.Matthew 4:1
Christian Maturity a Safeguard Against TemptationHacket., Burkit.Matthew 4:1
Divine Sympathy the Outcome of Divine TemptationDr. Taylor.Matthew 4:1
How We are to Overcome Our TemptationsDr. J. P. Lange., Bishop Lancelot Andrewes.Matthew 4:1
Inward Purity the Best Defence Against TemptationW. Perkins, D. D.Matthew 4:1
Moral TestingW. O. SimpsonMatthew 4:1
Our Great AdversaryMatthias Faber.Matthew 4:1
Reasons Why Our Lord was Led to be TemptedNorman Macleod, D. D.Matthew 4:1
Satan an Indirect Tempter as the Corrupter of Our NatureW. H. Hutchings, M. A.Matthew 4:1
Satan Tempts Those Who AreJames Marchant.Matthew 4:1
Solitude Favourable to Temp-RationW. Perkins, D. D.Matthew 4:1
Spiritual Delight Varied by Severe TemptationH. Shaw., G. S. Barrett, B. A.Matthew 4:1
Study the EnemyHacker.Matthew 4:1
Temptation a Ministerial QualificationT. Manton, D. D.Matthew 4:1
Temptation a Tes of Ability for Special WorkT. Manton, D. D.Matthew 4:1
Temptation Conducive to BeautyL. H. Wiseman., L. H. Wiseman.Matthew 4:1
Temptation Conducive to StrengthDr. Landels.Matthew 4:1
Temptation no Evidence of Divine DisfavourD. Bagot, B. D.Matthew 4:1
TemptationsClaude de Lingeirdes., Farindon.Matthew 4:1
The Entrance into TemptationW. H. Hatchings, M. A.Matthew 4:1
The First Temptation of ChristVariousMatthew 4:1
The Instrument and the Divine Ordering of the TemptationG. S. Barrett, B. A.Matthew 4:1
The Leadings of the SpiritR. Tuck Matthew 4:1
The Model TemptationR. Tuck Matthew 4:1
The Personality of SatanW. H. Hatchings, M. A.Matthew 4:1
The Possibility and Necessity of the TemptationG. S. Barrett, B. A.Matthew 4:1
The Practical Results of This AdmissionMatthew 4:1
The Preliminaries of the Ordeal Temptations of Jesus ChristP.C. Barker Matthew 4:1
The Reality of the TemptationMatthew 4:1
The Retirement of Our Lord into the Wilderness TeachesS. Baring. Gould, M. A.Matthew 4:1
The Soul Must Select a Guiding InfluenceW. H. Hutchings, M. A.Matthew 4:1
The TemptationH. Parr.Matthew 4:1
The Temptation in the WildernessGeorge MacDonaldMatthew 4:1
The Temptation of ChristR. Watson.Matthew 4:1
The Temptation of Christ, and its Subjective ResultsT. McRae, M. A.Matthew 4:1
The Temptation of JesusSermons by the Monday ClubMatthew 4:1
The Temptation of JesusAnon.Matthew 4:1
The Temptation of JesusD. C. Hughes, M. A.Matthew 4:1
The Tempter First Seeks to Pain a Little AdvantageT. Taylor, D. D.Matthew 4:1
The Tempter Ignored is the Tempter AssistedL. H. Wiseman M. A.Matthew 4:1
The Tempter Seeks to Destroy Eminent MenT. Taylor.Matthew 4:1
The Tempter Seeks to Frustrate Eminent GraceT. Smith.Matthew 4:1
The Tempter's Allies Within the SoldMatthew 4:1
The Tempter's Power LimitedNorman Macleod, D. D.Matthew 4:1
The Victory of the KingAlexander MaclarenMatthew 4:1
The Wicked Insensible to TemptationT. Smith.Matthew 4:1
The Wilderness: TemptationS. D. GordonMatthew 4:1
What Satan Knew of ChristL. H. Wiseman.Matthew 4:1
The TemptationJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 4:1-11
The Temptation of JesusMarcus Dods Matthew 4:1-11
The very fact that Christ was subject to temptation is immensely significant, both as regards his nature and life and as regards our experience of temptation.

I. THE PICTURE OF CHRIST. We see him assailed by the tempter, wrestling with the fiend, and flinging the monster at every bout. Jesus tempted in the wilderness appears Very different from the Christ seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Here some remarkable features of his nature and work are unveiled.

1. His perfect humanity. Plainly Jesus was a Man. He lacked nothing that is truly and essentially human. Fie had a human soul to be tempted, as well as a human body to suffer hunger. In the temptation he comes down to the level of our poor, toiling, fighting humanity. Thus all the grandeur of his Divinity does not remove one jot from the completeness of his humanity.

2. His brotherly sympathy. "He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15), in order that he might be able to succour the tempted (Hebrews 2:18). This was his apprenticeship to his office of High Priest. He understands our battle with evil, for he fought a similar battle himself.

3. His redeeming work. Christ came to overthrow the works of the devil. He began by facing and conquering the spirit of evil himself. Satan had never been completely vanquished before. The utter rout of his forces in this battle in the wilderness must have left him weakened for all future encounters.

4. His victorious purity. Christ was tempted, yet he did not fall. He came out of the ordeal tested and revealed in his sinless strength. Now it cannot be said that the goodness of Christ is only perfect because he had not an opportunity to do wrong. He was met by the strongest possible inducements to sin. Yet he resisted them. The result was all gain. It was good for Christ to be tempted. Therefore he was led by the Spirit to the wilderness.

II. THE REVELATION OF TEMPTATION.

1. Temptation may come from without. St. James shows how it often springs up in our own hearts from the evil lurking there. Old sins shed seeds which spring up as new sins. But this is not the only way in which temptations arise, or the first man could not have been tempted, nor could Christ. Adam and Eve were tempted by the serpent, and Christ was tempted by the devil.

(1) Therefore a good man is not to expect to be free from temptation.

(2) Temptation is no sign of sin. The tempted need not accuse themselves of guilt in their being liable to temptation. Sin only begins when we yield to temptation in our own wills.

2. Temptation lays hold of innocent desires. Christ was tempted by sinful appeals to what was innocent within him. He was tempted to gratify natural desires - hunger, etc., but in a wrong way. He had not our indwelling sins to urge him to evil, but he had greater powers to keep in control. It would seem that, with the descent of the Holy Spirit at his baptism, there had come the consciousness of his great and awful power to work miracles. His temptations were inducements to abuse that power for selfish ends. Every new acquisition is a new ground for temptation; every enlargement and growth of faculty carries with it fresh possibilities of evil - and also, if the evil is resisted, of good. - W.F.A.







To be tempted of the devil.
I. If our Lord had not become incarnate He would never have been tempted, for temptation is not possible to God. God is above the possibility of temptation; the beasts are below it. The possession of an animal nature is not the only source of temptation, or the "angels who kept not their own principality" could never have fallen. The conditions of and moral goodness possible to a creature involve the possibility of its opposite. Was not Christ too good to be tempted?

1. All human goodness needs the strain of temptation to reveal its reality and depth. Even when that goodness, as in the case of the Man Christ Jesus, and in His case alone, is absolutely without fault or imperfection, temptation is still required to prove its strength, and by the proof to reveal the depth and solidity of its foundations in the soul. The ship that lies at anchor in the harbour when hardly a breath of wind ripples the surface of the water, may hold to her moorings, but" this is no proof of the strength and soundness of her cable, for no strain has been put upon it; but if she is out at sea, and caught in a furious storm, and drifting fast on to a lee shore, and then lets go her anchor, and it holds, there is proof enough of the quality of her cable. But temptation strengthens goodness by assaulting it. There are some shells which cling to the rocks in spite of the continual buffeting of the tides, but those shells are thickest and strongest where the tide has smitten them with its fullest might, and so the defences of the soul against evil are strong in proportion to the evil which has been resisted. And this is why no human character becomes stable or strong in goodness until it has been exposed to temptation. Shield it from all the fierce blasts of temptation, preserve it in a forced isolation from the world, and it will remain as unstable as water beneath a summer sky: but let the rough frosts of winter fall on it, and the biting winds lash it, and it will slowly knit itself into compact and solid strength, and, like the ice, will defy the storm which has only given it strength by attacking it. But we have not exhausted the meaning of our Lord's temptations.

1. They had a representative as well as a personal significance. He was the Head of the human race.

2. It was the first great act of the redemption of the race from sin.

3. The shame and reproach of our first parents are rolled away, as the Son of Man returns from this conflict victorious.

(G. S. Barrett, B. A.)

1. The evangelists were thoroughly convinced of its reality.

2. The other references to it in the New Testament point in the same direction (Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 2:18).

3. Assuming the existence of Satan he is not likely to have engaged our Lord in any unreal way. What is meant when it is said it was impossible for Christ to have sinned? Certainly not that it was a physical impossibility, as when we say that it is impossible for a man of luxury to feel the temptation a starving man feels to steal. It was a moral impossibility; He would not elect to yield. We are certain of Christ's immovable loyalty to righteousness. Temptation is not in itself an admission of moral imperfection, so was not inconsistent with the holy character of our Lord. All Christ's temptations came to Him from without, not from within Him. An inward bias to evil is not essential to temptation; temptation may appeal to what is best within us, to satisfy lawful appetites by unlawful means. Thus the reality of Christ's temptations remain unbroken.

1. The reality of Christ's temptations affects their entire moral significance. We feel the moral sublimity of His character.

2. It affects us as well as Himself: His sympathy with us and our realization of His sympathy with us.

1. We may learn that it is never the will of God we should voluntarily enter into temptation.

2. We ought to pray that God would not "bring" us into it.

3. But should God lead us, as He led Christ, into temptation, then we may confidently appeal to God for grace to overcome.

(G. S. Barrett, B. A.)

1. By the fact that he is a mere creature.

2. By the providence of God.

3. By man's will.

4. We ought not to exaggerate the power of Satan, let us beware of underrating it.

(Norman Macleod, D. D.)

1. In order that the reality and glory of His Sonship might be made manifest.

2. That He might redeem man from the evil to which he was subjected by the fall of the first Adam.

3. That He might become experimentally acquainted with the evil of sin.

4. The temptation of our Lord was a chief element in His sufferings for us as our Mediator.

5. Evil is compelled to glorify God.

(Norman Macleod, D. D.)

1. There seems little reason to doubt that Satan knew Jesus to be the promised One, whose advent the prophets had foretold. The artful use he made of Scripture upon the pinnacle of the temple sufficiently shows his acquaintance with Holy Writ.

2. Satan also supposed, apparently, that Christ possessed superhuman powers.

3. But although Satan was thus far m possession of the truth respecting Christ, it does not follow that he "knew the whole truth respecting Him.

4. If Satan had no just view of the person of Christ, of His true divinity, he would necessarily have imperfect views of His perfect holiness. Even if this view be not admitted, if any person should still believe that Satan did understand the divinity, and consequently the immaculate purity, of our Lord, it is not incredible nor surprising, even on this supposition, that he should attempt to lead Him into sin. For it is possible that he was judicially blinded, that he might not see the hopelessness of his attempt.

(L. H. Wiseman.)

I. The TIME of the temptation. Immediately after our Lord's baptism. The time reveals one object of the temptation — the unveiling of the tactics of the Evil One; it was "for a precaution to us." The opening of heaven from above was followed by the opening of hell from beneath. We have to guard the treasure of grace after it is given. When we are expecting peace and joy we have suddenly to enter into struggles, darkness, and desolation. God has an object in permitting the assaults of Satan at such a time; to keep the soul low when from the presence of Divine favour there may be risk of self-exaltation.

II. The INFLUENCE under which Christ was led to the scene of conflict — "led up of the Spirit."

1. The source of the influence. The Holy Spirit. This in accord with other notices of His relations with the incarnate Lord. Christ was conceived by the Holy Ghost; preached under His guidance.

2. The extent of the Spirit's influence. A stronger term is used by St. Mark — "The Spirit driveth Him." "We must not enter into temptation unless it be under the guidance of the Spirit of God in the way of providence. The Spirit's movements are often to be known by their contrariety to our inclinations, and should lead to solitude, mortification, etc.

III. The PLACE whither Christ was led. Christ called to meet the tempter in the wilderness, that by His unassisted might the victory should be won. Thus He sanctified times of retreat and states of retirement. They should form a part of the preparation for the ministerial office.

(W. H. Hatchings, M. A.)

I. The PERSONALITY of the Evil One. Influence is that which flows out from personality. In proving the existence of God arguments from design are used; so it would be difficult to reconcile the condition of the world in its misery with the Divine goodness unless some other agent be at work in it. All nations in the past have borne witness to a belief in spiritual beings. The evil of the inner life bears the same testimony; no mental law accounts for it. Made clear by revelation. Christ's words and work proclaim existence of the Evil One. The writers of the New Testament testify to the personality of Satan (Acts 5:3). The temptation makes this clear.

II. His QUALIFICATIONS for the office of Tempter.

1. Skill; he has an angelic nature; great experience.

2. Power;

(1)rule, power;

(2)does not stand alone in his work;

(3)the third source of power lies in that mysterious relation between fallen man and the Tempter which necessitated redemption, and which justified the expression, "Prince of this world."

3. Malice: with skill and power is combined unceasing hostility to God and man. But while we note the extent of Satan's power we must not forget its limits. As a creature he possesses finite capacities. His knowledge is restricted in two ways: he cannot discern our thoughts, nor by himself read the future. True, he has acquired a conjectural knowledge. Also limits placed upon his power: on the Divine side there is the law of permission; on our side, of free will. Formidable as the enemy is, there is no ground for despondency, nor excuse for failure in the conflict. In the history of the Tempter see an instance of the fearful way sin may be permitted to run its course.

(W. H. Hatchings, M. A.)

Among military rules there is one in all authors which brings some advantage with it to study the nature and condition of our enemy.

(Hacker.)

I. A FEW GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS UPON THIS SUBJECT.

1. That we are to understand the account of the Evangelist as the history of an actual occurrence.

2. It may assist our thoughts to be reminded of the true character of our Lord's person.

3. That this history represents one great being, as the head of others, employed in the work of tempting men, and frustrating the designs of God.

4. Did Satan know the Person he assaulted? and could he have any hope of success? He knew something of our Lord's character, as appears from the question, "If Thou be the Son of God." But wicked minds often commit great blunders and engage in hopeless tasks.

II. GREAT PRACTICAL LESSONS WHICH THE TRANSACTION APPEARS DESIGNED TO TEACH.

1. The deep humiliation of our Lord.

2. The variety of those temptations by which men are assaulted.

(1)They are subject to necessities.

(2)They are tempted to presumption.

(3)Temptations to the worldly spirit.

3. We see here the means of effectually resisting temptation.

4. That temptation simply considered is not sin.

(R. Watson.)

I. The CIRCUMSTANCES under which it took place.

1. Time when happened.

2. Influence by which directed.

3. Place where enacted

4. Exercise by which prefaced — "Fasted."

II. The PARTICULARS of which it consisted.

1. Distrust.

2. Presumption.

3. Apostacy: to renounce His allegiance to God.

(1)The vision.

(2)The offer.

(3)The condition.

III. The CONSEQUENCES.

1. Satan defeated.

2. Jesus comforted.Uses:

1. Warning.

2. Direction.

3. Encouragement.

(H. Parr.)

Sermons by the Monday Club.
I. WHY was Jesus tempted?

1. Because He was a man.

2. Because He was the Messiah.

II. WHAT is the significance of the several temptations?

1. In the first, Christ is urged to satisfy hunger by working a miracle. Christ refused, because miraculous power must not be used simply for personal advantage. Christ recalls the great fact that God feeds man with spiritual food.

2. Satan perceives Christ's frame of mind: Is Christ filled with confidence in His Father? From the Temple roof Christ is asked to cast Himself down. The act urged would have been presumptuous, ostentatious, and untimely. The third temptation was to sacrifice principle to policy. All His suffering might be prevented by a momentary act.

III. LESSONS.

1. Temptations ply us through the constitutional avenues of our being.

2. Scripture may be misapplied to lead us into sin.

3. Resistance of temptation is aided by familiarity with God's Word.

4. A Divine peace follows the resistance of temptation.

(Sermons by the Monday Club.)

I. WHY our Lord was tempted.

1. "Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest," etc.

2. To convey to all His people an assurance that there is a limit to the power of Satan.

II. How our Lord was tempted.

1. The time selected.

2. The circumstances skilfully adapted to the temptation.

III. How TO OVERCOME temptations.

1. To have God's Word in our hearts.

2. To have God's fear before our eyes.

(D. Moore, M. A.)

I. THE PERSON TEMPTED.

1. See here the depth of our Lord's abasement.

2. See the height of His love.

II. THE PART WHICH GOD TOOK IN OUR LORD'S TEMPTATIONS. "Led by the Spirit."

III. THE TIME OF OUR LORD'S TEMPTATIONS.

1. It was immediately after God had put on Him special honour.

2. Just before He entered upon His great ministerial work.

IV. THE PLACE where the Lord Jesus was tempted. Look on the exalted Jesus as the once tempted Jesus.

(C. Bradley.)

I. The sons of God are NOT EXEMPTED FROM TEMPTATION. Many new converts cherish false expectations concerning the peace which, in the Word of God, is promised them.

II. Temptation is NOT THE SAME THING AS SIN. TO be tempted may cause us much pain and sorrow, but it is not sin.

III. Temptations are DIVINELY ORDERED, both as to time and measure (ver. 1; Job 1:12; Job 2:6).

IV. After a season of special grace, we may expect a season of special trial. "Then" (ver. 1). It is not the vessel in ballast. but the vessel richly laden that is in danger from pirates.

V. Satan ADAPTS HIS TEMPTATIONS to our character and circumstances. Hence our watchfulness must be intelligent and comprehensive.

VI. THE HOLIEST THINGS MAY BE PERVERTED BY SATAN into instruments of temptation (vers. 3, 4, 6).

VII. Though temptations are varied in form, they are FEW IN KIND. Jesus was tempted to three things. "Then the devil leaveth Him," because he had exhausted all his means of assault.

VIII. VICTORY ITSELF MAY EXPOSE "US TO ASSAULT. We must not think we are rid of him when we have beaten him off. Watch.

IX. In the Word of God we have A SUFFICIENT ARMOURY OF DEFENCE (vers. 4, 7, 10).

X. In the stress and agony of the conflict, when we are tempted to yield by the fear that resistance is hopeless, let us remind ourselves that GOD HAS PROMISED GRACE TO SUPPORT US in the struggle, and a glorious reward when the victory is won.

(Anon.)

I. The necessity for some moral testing at the outset of life.

II. Preparations for testing come in our outward circumstances.

III. Such testings, or temptings, take a great variety of forms.

IV. The essence of all such testing is the finding out whether we really mean to live for Self or to live for God.

V. The force to resist evil lies in having our will set on God.

VI. The weapons with which to resist evil are God's Word. Learn: —

1. Well-taught childhood prepares for the temptations of life.

2. Early decision for Christ is the best safeguard against the tempter's power.

3. Temptations come to men still in the same three forms as they did to Jesus (1 John 2:16).

4. We only conquer as we are strong in God and in His Word.

5. A first conquest of evil should not lead us to think that the Tempter is conquered, nor make us cease to " watch and be sober."

(W. O. Simpson)

I. BEGINNERS WITH DIFFICULTIES;

II. PROGRESSORS WITH LANGUOR. Satan makes out the way of holiness to be —

(1)Long;

(2)rough;

(3)uncertain;

III. THE PERFECT WITH SCRUPLES AND ANXIETIES. Satan destroys —

(1)Tranquillity of soul;

(2)All spiritual joy;

(3)All sense of progress. A scruple is metaphorically derived from a small stone, which, getting inside the shoe or sandal, causes pain to the feet at every step.

(James Marchant.)

His —

I. POVERTY. He had nothing to offer Jesus Christ sufficient to allure Him.

II. IMPUDENCE. Repelled once, he returns to the attack. No sense of defeat or shame.

III. WEAKNESS. He did not cast our Lord down. He had no power to force.

IV. CRAFTINESS. He attacks our Lord's weakness by fasting. He graduates his temptations.

V. Is FALSE.

1. Promises that which he cannot give.

2. That which he has no intention of giving.

(Matthias Faber.)

1. Humility when most favoured by God; when most illumined and blessed by His Spirit.

2. The necessity of preparation for every work done for God, if that work is to be really fruitful.

3. All missionary and ministerial work is to be begun with self.

4. Preparation is necessary against the temptations of the Evil One.

(S. Baring. Gould, M. A.)

I. Temptations of Satan are to be FEARED:

(1)For the skill and method with which he tempts;

(2)Because his warfare is spiritual.

II. Temptations are SUCCESSIVE and variable. Satan

(1)changes the objects and manners of the temptation;

(2)Not tempting in more than one particular at a time.

III. Temptations are preserved by Satan in order and METHOD.

1. With pleasure, then with vainglory.

2. With riches and ambition.

IV. Temptations and their purposes are often HIDDEN. The serpent is seldom seen in its entire or full length.

V. Temptations are set LIKE SNARES. There are many social questions on which he suggests an inversion of God's moral laws.

VI. Temptations are often MADE IN SECRET. They lose their power if divulged. Many n plot is overthrown by discovery.

VII. Temptations are SUITED TO OPPORTUNITY. There are certain moral qualities nearly allied to certain vices; as harshness to cruelty and pride; as softness to luxury and dissipation.

VIII. Temptations have OPPOSITE METHODS. Gentle persuasion first, violent constraint afterwards.

IX. All temptations are ALIKE IN EFFECT.

1. Some strike the tempted one, laying him low by unexpected occurrences.

2. Others creep into the mind little by little, killing while resisting by soft suggestions.

X. Temptations are INTERMITTENT. The devil departs for a season, but returns to be victorious when least expected.

(Claude de Lingeirdes.)It is not enough for Him to fulfil the law, but He suffers Himself to be tempted to break it.

(Farindon.)

I. WE ARE ALL TEMPTED. Satan is behind all temptations.

II. SOME OCCASIONS ARE MORE SUITABLE TO THE TEMPTER'S PURPOSES THAN OTHERS. Moments of joy, sorrow, or unwatchfulness he often seizes.

III. THE TEMPTATION TO SIN FOR THE SAKE OF BREAD IS COMMON, and many are misled by it. Many who shrink from dark ways are guilty of distrust in their temporal circumstances. What an affluence of victorious power there is in that, "Hence, Satan."

(Dr. J. P. Lange.)

I. Though the devil come not in person to us, as he did to Christ, yet HE COMES BY HIS INSTRUMENTS. Balak sent to Balaam.

II. There be some that will say THEY WERE NEVER TEMPTED WITH KINGDOMS. It may well be, for it needs not, when less will serve. The devil need never carry us so high as the mount, the pinnacle is high enough; yea, the lowest steeple in all the town would serve the turn. Let us but stand in our window, or in our doors, if he will give us but so much as we see there, he will tempt us thoroughly. We will accept it, and thank him too.

III. In temptation there is BOTH FIRE TO CONSUME OUR FAITH, AND A DART TO WOUND OUR CONSCIENCES,

(Bishop Lancelot Andrewes.)

1. Succour.

2. Sympathy.

3. Example.

(T. McRae, M. A.)

1. Divinely permitted.

2. Humanly conditioned.

3. Diabolically caused.

4. Cunningly planned.

5. Successfully resisted.

(D. C. Hughes, M. A.)

Do not men tempt each other? Sinners entice. Some men are public tempters; tempters of a nation, of an age, to bad feelings, principles, and practices. A Voltaire is a tempter by his wit; a Hume, by his sophistry; a Rousseau, by eloquence; a Byron, by the splendours of poetic genius. Every bad man in an elevated situation is a public tempter.

(R. Watson.)

Green wood will not burn; dry wood soon takes fire; he then who, although he does not act the part of an incendiary, dries the wood in order that it may the sooner ignite, has a real share in the cause of the conflagration.

(W. H. Hutchings, M. A.)

As when a ship nears land, various pilots are sometimes seen to approach and bid for her guidance; then one, and then another, comes up to the vessel till the terms are settled, after which the successful applicant may be watched as the ship is towed out of the channel into the river. So the soul must agree to accept some guiding influence amongst the different ones which beset her, and to be controlled and conducted afterwards by it.

(W. H. Hutchings, M. A.)

This mingling of contraries runs through all our history. The scenery of a human life, like the scenery of nature, has its fertile plains, its grim ravines, its bleak and barren hills. Now it is bathed in the sunlight of a great joy, again it is overcast and saddened by the sorrows whose memory will never fade.

(H. Shaw.)Close to those sunlit heights there yawn downwards at our feet black and awful precipices, and one false step may be fatal.

(G. S. Barrett, B. A.)

The smallest bird can pick off the blossoms of a tree; if that blossom be not nibbled away, but grow a fair apple, the hurt is small that the fowls of the air can do unto it: so the firstlings of a godly life are in the greatest danger; Satan wants no sagacity to observe his advantages, but is aware that if the camp put their spade into the ground for a few days, and cast their trenches, they will hardly be displanted.

(Hacket.)Christ is no sooner out of the water of baptism than He is in the tire of temptation.

(Burkit.)

Ministers should not only be men of science, but of experience.

(T. Manton, D. D.)

This is not without the good providence of God, who hereby will prove His servants, to whom He will commit some special work.

(T. Manton, D. D.)

If Satan can foil the leaders, the bands are soon overcome; smite the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; cast down cedars, and they will crush many shrubs with their fall.

(T. Taylor.)

Jesus was not less the well-beloved Son of God in the wilderness of Judaea, than when He had just come up out of the waters of Jordan.

(D. Bagot, B. D.)

The unfurnished house is safe; danger is to be apprehended only when the dwelling is well-stocked with money, plate, or jewels. The traveller may proceed with immunity, whose empty purse presents no attraction to the robber.

(T. Smith.)

The bird that is captured by the fowler's snare, or overspread by his net, is unaware of her thraldom so long as she ties still, or continues feeding on the earth; but no sooner does she try to soar aloft and seek the heavens, than her perplexity begins, and the more she strives, the more she feels herself ensnared.

(T. Smith.)

No man was ever worth much who did not pass through some severe ordeals. A mushroom or a cucumber may be raised in the summer-house: not so the oak. When you want that to grow you plant it on the mountain slope, where it strikes its roots deeper into the soil, and becomes more compact in its fibre, because of the resistance it offers to the passing storm. The human frame, if it is to acquire strength, must not be wrapped for years in swaddling clothes, but trained to run in the race, and wrestle in the strife. The good soldier is not made in time of peace.

(Dr. Landels.)

Put a burning match to tinder or gunpowder, and it will kindle presently; but put it to water, and it will quench it straight: so it fareth in temptations. Our corrupt hearts, like tinder, do easily suffer corruption to kindle in us; but Christ's most holy heart did presently quench the evil of Satan's motions. And thus we see how Christ was tempted, and yet without sin.

(W. Perkins, D. D.)

The lonely tree stands more exposed to the tempest than that which is encircled by its fellows.

(W. Perkins, D. D.)

The pebble cannot be polished without friction, nor can the graces of the Christian be fully developed without trials.

(L. H. Wiseman.)A Christian tempted in business is like a ship in a gale; occupation and necessary, duties are the friendly windward headlands which break the force of the gale, under whose shelter the vessel may ride in safety; but he who is tempted in solitude is like the ship which has to encounter the full fury of the hurricane in the unsheltered open sea.

(L. H. Wiseman.)

We read that when King Richard I. had been on the sea near Sicily like to be drowned, he recalled that ancient and barbarous custom whereby the goods of shipwrecked men were escheated to the crown, making provision that those goods should be preserved for the right owners.

(Dr. Taylor.)

If we had no enemies to batter down our wails and holds without us, we have inward and domestic rebels and traitors which continually betray us.

As a cunning thief, if he can find room but for the point of a wrenech, will quickly make strong doors to fly open.

(T. Taylor, D. D.)

Some deny the existence of Satan. He knows that he can often work most effectually where his presence is least suspected. As a perfect orator wholly forgets himself, being absorbed in his subject, so Satan, as a consummate tempter, is willing to be himself forgotten, if his ends be accomplished, A thief never wishes to make himself conspicuous. Accordingly, the most subtle and dangerous temptations are precisely those which we least imagine come from the devil.

(L. H. Wiseman M. A.)

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