« السابقةمتابعة »
SER M.fuch Obfervations, as may be useful to diIX. rect us in our own Practice.
I. IN the First place, the Difficulties, which, in the Hiftory of our Saviour's Temptation, seemed moft neceffary to be explained, I have already confidered particularly in a foregoing Difcourfe; And have shown diftinctly, ift, why our Saviour, whom the Scripture elsewhere declares to have been tempted in all points like as We are, only without Sin; is yet by the Evangelifts recorded, as having been tempted only at this particular Time. 2dly, why our Saviour continued fo long in the folitary Retirement of a Defert place, and why he Fafted through all that Space of Forty days. 3dly, why our Lord, who had Power over unclean Spirits, and
could caft out Devils at his Pleafure; was
yet pleased to submit himself and condefcend fo far, as to be Tempted by the Enemy. 4thly, why the Tempter would at 'all affault our Lord, or what Advantage he could poffibly hope to gain over him. 5thly and Laftly, how and in what Senfe, fince we read no more in the Gospels, of Chrift's being Tempted after This; it is
yet faid by St Luke, at the Conclufion of SER M. this History of our Lord's Temptation, that IX. the Tempter departed from him, only for a
THESE feveral Queftions, naturally arifing in the mind of any one who carefully reads this portion of the GospelHistory; I have endeavoured to give particular and diftinct Answers to them, in the foregoing, Difcourfe. I am now in
II. Second place, to deduce from this Hiftory of our Lord's Temptation, fuch Inferences or Obfervations, as may be useful to direct us in our own Practice. And
ist, We have from hence an intimation given us, that the Devil is always ready to Tempt men to Sin. As the Good Spirit of God, is always willing to affift those who fincerely defire to be religious; and the Angels are with cheerfulness fent forth to minifter, to those who shall be Heirs of Salvation: fo the Scripture every where represents the Evil One, as delighting and watching to entice men into Sin: (1 Pet. v. 8.) Be fober, be vigi
SER M. lant; because your adversary the Devil, as a roaring Lion, walketh about, feeking whom he may devour. Again, Eph. vi. 11, 12; Put on the whole Armour of God, that ye may be able to ftand against the Wiles of the Devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against Principalities, against Powers, against the Rulers of the Darkness of This World, against fpiritual Wickedness in high Places. And ch. ii. 2; According to the Course of this World, according to the Prince of the Power of the Air, the Spirit that Now worketh in the children of Difobedience. If it be here inquired, for what Reason wicked Spirits tempt men to Sin, and what End they can propose in fo doing; the moft probable Answer is, that they do it for the very fame reasons, as wicked men tempt and feduce one an other. Partly, as esteeming it a fort of Apology or Excufe for Themfelves, if they can draw Others into the like Condemnation; and partly as being moved with En. uy, that Others fhould injoy That Happiness which they themselves have loft; and hating those, whofe manners and difpofitions are contrary to their own.
Concerning wicked Men, the Author of SER M. the Book of Wisdom Thus defcribes the IX. Temper I am speaking of; ch. ii. 12; Let us lie in wait for the righteous; because he is not for our Turn, and he is clean contrary to our Doings; -He is grievous unto us, even to behold; for his Life is not like other mens, bis ways are of another Fashion. And concerning evil Spirits, ver. 24; Through Envy of the Devil, came Death into the World; and they that hold of his fide, do find it. Nevertheless; though the Scriptures do indeed thus teach us, that the Devil is always ready to Tempt men to Sin, yet it is Always carefully to be obferved, that he can do nothing more but Tempt us. He has no Power over our Perfons, or our Wills. He can only fet before us Baits and Allurements; but we cannot be hurt by them except we yield to them and chuse them. The Treachery and Corruptness of our own Hearts within, is much more dangerous, than all the Affaults of the Enemy from without. Let no man fay, when he
is tempted, I am tempted of God, St Jam. 13; that is; let no man plead as an Ex
SER M.cufe for his Sin, that God permitted the IX. Devil to tempt him into it. (For that
This is the meaning of the Phrafe, tempted of God; appears plainly from 2 Sam. xxiv. I; compared with 1 Chron. xxi. 1 ; In one of which places, it is faid, the Lord moved David to number Ifrael and Judab; and in the other, that Satan provoked David to number Ifrael.) Let no man (fays the Apostle) plead as an Excufe for his Sin, that God permitted the Evil One to tempt him into it. For God, as he cannot himself be tempted with evil, so neither tempteth he any man; neither doth he permit the Devil to tempt any one further, than by laying before him fuch Allurements, as it is in the perfon's Power, and it is his Duty, and it is the proper Trial and Exercife of his Virtue, to refift. But every man is then, and then only, tempted; then only, effectually and finfully, tempted; when he is drawn away of his own Luft, and enticed. The Enemy of mens Salvation can do nothing more, but only entice the Covetous with Hopes of Gain, puff up the Ambitious with Expectation of Honour, allure the Voluptuous