Wright - BT300 W8 1788

LORD and SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST. 33, felf for the great work which lay before him ; and, by baffling the temptations of the evil fpirit, might triumph over the grand enemy of mankind in our fiead, and point out to us the duty of withfiand- ing his temptations. It behoved him in all things to be like to his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high- pirieft : for in that he hathfuffered being tempted, he is able to fuccour them that are tempted. That part of the wilder- nefs 'into which the holy Jesus retired, is fuppofed to be about four miles from the river Jordan, and twenty from Jeru- falem. It was in. every refpea, a difmal and uncomfortable fituation, dry, barren, and wafle, furrounded by vaft craggy mountains, frequented by wild beafis, foli- tary, dreary, and forlorn. In this dreadful retreat, our great Re- deemer remained forty days (the fame time which Mofes was in the mount, when he received the law) amidit the bowlings of beafis ofprey, and the confiant temptations of wicked fpirits, who, no doubt, ufed all their arts to interrupt his meditations and difturb his peace. The defart was barren and dry, it produced nothing to eat; nor was there any water toallay the thirfi. The Son of God failed forty days, being fup- ported by divine power ; at the end of which time he felt the calls ofnature, and the painful fenfations of hunger and thirfi. What our Lord filtered from the tempta- tions and delufive arts ofthe wicked fpirits, during his forty days abode in the defart, is not particularly recorded ; but it feems at the end of that time, he was attacked by the prince of apoftate angels himfelf. It is not to be fuppofed but a fpirit, fo fubtle and vigilant, muff be fully acquainted with the late manifeflation of divine glory, which had, at CHRIST'S baptifm, declared him the Son of God ; nor could he be ignorant of the circumfiances attending his birth, and the various teffimonies of his divinity during the courfe of his life. But the great adverfary ofmankind,though No, 8. , he mull certainly be convinced that he was an extraordinary perfetn, feems not to be fully fatisfied that he was the Son of God ; and to prove this important point, took this opportunity when he was affliaed with hunger and thirfi, to ply him with his temptations. The wily tempter approached the holy Jesus, very likely in human fhape, and knowing the extremity of his hunger, expofiulated with' him, why he would endure fuch hardfhips, when it was in his power fo eafily to find relief. If thou be the Son of God, faid he, command that theft (tones be made bread. This temptation, feeming fo kind and harmlefs, was the more dangerous the crafty fiend defigning to allure our great Redeemer to fome fuperfluous alla of his divine power, to fupply his pre- tent neceffity, which might have been contrary to an entire refignation and obedience to the will of his heavenly Fa- ther; but our Lord repelled this infinua- ting temptation, by quoting the words of Mofes, which implied, that God, when he pleafes, can by extraordinary means fupply the wants of his creatures, and pro- vide food for the fupport of the human race, Man (hall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. The crafty fiend repulfed in this fìrII open attempt on the bleffed Jesus, pro- ceeded to a fecond trial to enfnare our exalted Saviour ; in order to which, it is afferted by the evangelifi, that he took him to the holy city,* and fet him upon the pinnacle of the temple. Our great Redeemer mull be hurried through air to the diftance of twenty miles : it is fuppofed he was fet upon fome fpire on the fouth fide of the temple ; probably on that part which was called Herod's tower, which was built upon the edge of a rock, under which was a valley of prodigious depth. Jo- fephus writes, that he thatwas on the top of this tower, and looked down to the valley beneath, his head would immediately fwim, and grow dizzy ; nay, it was farther I than