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Temptation. 'Tis plain, in all these Ex-ȘER M, preffions, the intention is not to affirm, IX. (except perhaps in fome judicial cafes,) that God, actually and efficiently, does these things; but only, that in the course of his All-wife Providence, he justly permits them to come to pafs. Wherefore, when our Saviour teaches us to pray, that God would not lead us into Temptation; the meaning is, that he would be pleased fo to order and direct things by his All-wife Providence in This Probation-ftate, as not to fuffer us to be tempted above what we are able, but that he would with the Temp tation also make a way to escape, that we may be able to bear it. And particularly, that he would not judicially, and in an ger, give us up and leave us to the Power of Temptation, and to the Seducements of the Evil One; as he did Pharaoh and Abab, and Judas, and the Ifraelites in the Wilderness, when (as the Pfalmift expreffes it) he gave them up to their own Hearts Lufts, and let them follow their own Imaginations. But that, on the contrary, he would either, by his preventing Mercy, keep us from the Hour of Temptation; Rev.
SER M. iii. 10; or, by his gracious Support, deliver us out of it; 2 Pet. ii. 9.
5thly; FROM what St Luke records, at the Conclufion of this Hiftory of our Lord's Temptation, that the Tempter departed from him only for a Seafon; we may obferve, that though at the firft Entrance into the courfe of a religious Life, the greatest Difficulties and Temptations are generally to be expected; and when once thofe are clearly overcome, the ways of Virtue ufually become Pleasantness, and her Paths Peace; yet men ought never to look upon themselves as fecure, from the Returns of Temptation; but that the Evil One may again affault them under different Forms and Shapes, to feduce them into different kinds of Sins; grounding Temptations, perhaps, even upon their Security itself. Wherefore, we ought (says the Apostle) to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, left at any time we should let them flip; Heb. ii. 1. For, Many Wife and Good Refolutions, made with great Sincerity and right Intention, have through Negligence after fome time, and want of ferious recollection,
lection, failed of their Effect. Watch yeSER M. therefore, and be ready Always; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come: Bleed (fays our Saviour) is that Servant, whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall find fo doing; Matt. xxiv. 46.
Laftly; FROM the Particulars of our Saviour's Temptation, we may observe the Jeveral principal Ways by which the Tempter affaults men, and what are the most proper Means of refifting each Tempta
His first Temptation was founded upon bodily and temporal Wants: When he was an bungred, the Tempter faid; If thou be the Son of God, command that thefe Stones be made Bread. His meaning was; If you are the Beloved of God, do not fubmit to undergo any Hardships; but infift with God, that he show his Love to you, by Supporting you even miraculously. Want, is the great Temptation to murmuring againft God: And therefore Satan is reprefented, Job i. II; as thus pleading with God against Job; Put forth thine hand and touch all that he bath, and be will curfe thee to thy face. And the Prayer
SERM. of Agur is for this reafon given us as an XI. example; Prov. xxx. 8; Give me not pover ty,-left I take the Name of my God in The proper Prefervative against This Temptation, our Saviour teaches us in his Reply; Man fhall not live by Bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the Mouth of God. We must at all times depend upon the Protection of Providence; and confider, that as in the time of Plenty, we are fupported not by the things themselves which we enjoy, but by the Bleffing of God which alone enables them to fupport us; fo, in the Time of Want, the fame Providence, if he thinks fit, and fees that it will promote our eter nal Interest, can ftill always find proper Means of preferving us.
THE Second Temptation offered to our Lord, was: If thou be the Son of God, caft thyfelf down; down from a pinnacle of the Temple; For it is written, He fhall give his Angels Charge concerning thee,left at any time thou dash thy foot against a Stone. To This Temptation, our Lord replies, that there being a Commandment given in the Law, Thou shalt
THE Ufe therefore of This part of the History of our Lord's Temptation, may be to warn us againft Two or Three very dangerous Seducements of This kind. One is, a prefumptuous confidence or vain security, relying upon groundless Notions of Predeftination, and of God's particular Favour to us; or founded upon a False Application of conditional Promises, as if f they were abfolute: Caft thy felf down, For, it is written, be fhall give his Angels Charge concerning thee.
not tempt the Lord thy God; 'tis therefore S ER M.
ANOTHER dangerous Temptation, which we are here likewife warned of; a Temptation, contrary at first Sight to That now-mentioned, and yet in reality leading into the fame Snare; is Dif truft of God. Such a Distrust, as the Ifraelites