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and gather his wheat into the garner; the society of christians, as by circumcision but he will burn up the chaff with un- he had done into the society of Jews; as quenchable fire.
a king condescends sometimes to be made In these words the Baptist compares a freeman of a city or corporation. 2. Christ, the promised Messiah, to an hus- That he might by his own baptism sancbandman, the Jewish church to a barn-floor. tify the ordinance of baptism unto his The office of the husbandman is to thrash, church. 3. That thereby he might fulfil fan, and winnow his corn, separating it from the righteousness of the ceremonial law, the chaff; preserving the one, and con
which required the washing of the priests suming the other. Learn hence, 1. That in water, when they entered upon their the church is Christ's floor. 2. That this office, as appears from Exod. xxix. 4. floor Christ will purge, and that thoroughly. Observe, 4. The great condescension of 3. That the word
of Christ is the fan in his Christ, in seeking and submitting to the hand, by and with which he will thoroughly baptism of John: Christ cometh to John, purge his floor. The church is compared not John to Christ. Behold! the Lord to a floor, upon account of that mixture seeking to his servant; Christ will be which is in the church; in a floor there is baptized of his messenger ! our Saviour's straw as well as grain, chaff as well as corn, design hereby no doubt was, to put hotares as well as wheat, cockle and darnel as
nour upon the ministry of John. O how well as good seed. Thus in the church dare the greatest upon earth despise the there is and will be a mixture of good and ministry
of man, being appointed by God, bad, saints and sinners, hypocrites and sin- which
Christ honoured in his own person, cere christians. But this Hoor Christ will and graced with his own presence ?" purge; purge it but not break it up; purge
14 But John forbad him, saying, out its corruptions, but destroy not its es
I have need to be baptized of thee, sence and existence: and the fan with which and comest thou to me? he will purge his floor is his word, ac- Note here, 1. The modesty of John's companied with the wind of discipline. refusal : John forbade him, and refused to The fan detects and discovers the chaff
, and admit him : but why? 1. In regard of the wind dissipates and scatters it; and by Christ, because he knew he needed it not : the help of both, the floor is purged. His such was his majesty and greatness, that fan is in his hand, &c.
he was above it; and such was his purity 13 Then cometh Jesus from Ga- and holiness, that he could not want it; lilee to Jordan unto John, to be bap- uncleanness: I have need to be baptized
2. In respect of himself, he knew his own tized of him. Here we have our Saviour's solemn in- that a sinner should baptize and wash him
of thee, fc. He thought it unsuitable auguration and public entrance upon his that was no simer. 3. With respect to prophetic office, by baptism, or washing the people ; lest they seeing Christ baptized, with water, according to the manner of the should apprehend him to be a sinner, and priests under the ceremonial law, Erod. xxix. 4. Where we have observable, 1.
one that wanted the baptism of repentance The circumstance of time ; Then cometh modesty of John's refusal, so the reason he
as well as themselves. Observe, 2. As the Jesus ; that is, after he had lain hid in assigns for it; I have need to be baptized Nazareth thirty years, he comes abroad, of thee: As if he had said, “ Thou art and enters upon his public, ministry. purity, I am pollution ; thou art spirit
, I Teaching us by his example, that when we are ripe and fit for public service, we the son of Adam :" such an humble appre
am flesh; thou art the Son of God, I am should no less willingly
leave our obscurity, hension has this holy man of himself. than we took the benefit of it for our pre- Learn, That the more holy a person is, the paration. Observe, 2. The action itself; more sensible he is of his unholiness ; Christ is baptized now, as he was circum- where there is most grace, there is the cised before ; not because there was any greatest sense of the want of impurity in him, either filth or foreskin,
grace. which wanted either the circumcising knife,
15 And Jesus answering said unto or the baptismal water ; yet purity itself him, Suffer it to be so now : for thus condescends to be washed, Christ to be it becometh us to fulfil all righteousbaptized; for these reasons: 1. That by ness. Then he suffered him. this symbol he might enter himself into These words contain our Saviour's reason,
why he submitted to John's baptism, be- the designation of his person, to show that cause it became him to fulfil all righteous- Christ was the person set apart for the ness; that is, to own every divine institu- work and office of a mediator. Secondtion, particularly the righteousness of the ly, For the qualification of his person for ceremonial law, which required the wash- the performance of his office. This was ing of the priests in water, when they Christ's unction, Isa. lxi. 1. when he was entered upon their office, Erod. xxix. 4. anointed above his fellows, to be the king, Learn hence, 1. That whatever the law priest, and prophet of his church. Last required in order to perfect righteousness, of all, We have the audible voice of God that Christ fulfilled in most absolute perfec- the Father pronouncing, l. The nearness tion. 2. That as it became Christ to fulfil of Christ's relation to himself, This is my the righteousness of the ceremonial law for Son, not by adoption, but by eternal himself
, so it is our duty and interest to generation. 2. The endearedness of his fulfil the righteousness of the moral law for person, This is my beloved Son. 3. The ourselves, as an evidence of our being right- fruit and benefit of this near and dear relaenus in God's sight, 1 John iii. 7. He tion unto us, In him I am well pleased. that doeth righteousness is righteous, even Note, 1. That there is no possibility for any as he is righteous.
person to please God out of Christ; both 16 And Jesus, when he was baptiz- our persons and our performances find ed, went up straightway out of the acceptance only for his sake. 2. That in
and through Christ, God is well pleased water: and, lo, the heavens were
with all believers : This is my beloved Son, opened unto him, and he saw the in whom I am well pleased, &c. Lord ! Spirit of God descending like a dove, what reviving news is this to thy church, to and lighting upon him: 17 And, lo, hear that her head and husband, her surety, a voice from heaven, saying, This is mediator, and intercessor, is that only Son my beloved Son, in whom I am well of God in whom his soul is delighted and pleased.
ever well pleased! that Son who always
pleased thee, and by and through whom Here we have the solemn inauguration thou art well pleased with, and reconciled of Christ into his prophetic office, accom
to, thy offending creatures ! panied with a threefold miracle. l. The
CHAP. IV. opening of the heavens. 2. The descent
The former part of this chapter acquaints us with of the Holy Ghost upon him like as a dove our blessed Saviour's combat with, and conquest descends. 3. God the Father's voice con
over, Satan; and the first verse informs us of the cerning the Son. The heavens were
time when and place where the combat was
fought. opened, to show that heaven, which was closed and shut against us for our sins, is THEN was Jesus led up of the Spi
rit into the wilderness, to be now opened to us, by Christ's undertaking
As the first Adam shuts us out of tempted of the devil. heaven, the second Adam lets us into it; Observe, 1. The great humiliation of the he opened heaven to us by his merito- Son of God, how exceedingly was he humrious passion, and he keeps it open by bled by the horrid temptations wherewith he his prevailing intercession. Next, the Ho. was assaulted, than which nothing could be ly Ghost descends like a dove upon our more grievous to his holy heart. What Saviour : here we have an evidence of the could be more burdensome to him that was blessed Trinity; the Father speaks from brought up from eternity with God the Fa. heaven, the Son comes out of the water, ther, than to be shut up in a wilderness with and the Holy Ghost appears upon him. the devil, there to be baited by him so many Hence we gather, That the Holy Ghost is days, having his ears filled, though not denot a quality or an operation, but a per- filed, with horrid blasphemies spit upon son, and a person really distinct from the the holy and reverend name of God!' o Father and the Son. But why did the deep abasement and wonderful humiliation Holy Spirit now descend upon Christ, of the Son of God! Observe, 2. The time seeing he was now truly and really God? when Christ entered the lists with Satan, Answ. The divinity of Christ was quiescent implied in the word then! that is, first, in him, till he entered upon his prophetic immediately after his baptism; he is no office at thirty years old, and after. And sooner out of the water of baptism, but he the Holy Ghost now descends, first, For is in the fire of temptation : secondly, immediately after the Spirit descended upon, him, he said, If thou be the Son of and the Father had by a voice from heaven God, command that these stones be manifested his complacency and satisfaction made bread. in him: This is my beloved Son, &c.
Observe here, 1. The occasion of the Note thence, That great manifestations of
temptation. 2. The temptation itself. The love from God are usually followed with
occasion was our Saviour's hunger and want great temptations from Satan. Observe, 3. of bread. Learn thence, That when God T'he place where this combat was fought, suffers any of his dear children to fall into and that is, in the wilderness. Learn thence, want,and to be straitened for outward things, That no place can privilege us from tempta- Satan takes a mighty advantage thereupon tion, or be a sanctuary from Satan's assaults :
to tempt and assault them. But what doth the solitary wilderness has a tempter in it, he tempt our Saviour tos to the sin of distrust, yea, Satan sometimes makes use of men's solitariness to farther his temptations : a cell, of God; and next to distrust his Father's
to question his Sonship, If thou be the Son a nunnery, or a cloister, are as open to providence and care, Command that these Satan as the open fields; and the persons stones be made bread. As if Satan had said, that live in them have a tempter without,
“ How unlikely is it that thou shouldest be and an enticer within, as well as other men. highly favoured, and yet deserted. What! Observe, 4. The efficient cause of Christ's the Son of God, and yet ready to starve! going into the wilderness to be tempted by Certainly if thou canst not supply thy ne, Šatan : He was led up of the Spirit, says cessities, thou art nothing akin to God.” St Matthew : The Spirit drove him, says Learn hence, 1. That Satan's grand design St. Mark : that is, the Holy Spirit of God, is, first to tempt the children of God to doubt not Satan the unclean spirit
, for the devil of their adoption; and next to distrust God's is seldom if ever called the spirit, but fatherly care over them, and provision for usually some brand of reproach is annexed, them; and last of all, to use unwarrantable as the evil spirit, or the unclean spirit. means to help themselves
. Thus Satan Christ was led by the Spirit; that is, he was
dealt with Christ, and thus he deals with carried by a strong impulse of the Spirit of christians : for to work a miracle at Satan's God into the wilderness to be tempted by direction was not a lawful mean of providing Satan. Learn hence, 1. That none of the food for himself. children of God ought to expect a freedom from temptation ; seeing Christ himself, in
4 But he answered and said, It is the days of his flesh, was strongly solicited written, Man shall not live by bread by Satan unto sin. 2. That all the tempta- alone, but by every word that protions wherewith the children of God are ceedeth out of the mouth of God. assaulted, are ordered by a divine and Observe here, The weapons which our special dispensation. Satan could not assault Saviour made use of to repel the temptaour Saviour till he was led by the Spirit into tion, and to vanquish the tempter; and the wilderness for that end; and he shall that is, the word of God: It is written. not assault any of his members, but by Learn, That the scripture, or the written divine permission.
word of God, the only sure weapon 2 And when he had fasted forty, wherewith to vanquish Satan, and to beat days and forty nights, he was after-' back all his fiery temptations. Satan himward an hungred.
self has not the impudence to oppose scripObserve here, How the divine power up- ture. What monsters of impiety then are held the human nature of Christ without they, who ridicule and deride it? They food. What Moses did at the giving of the not only run counter to the practice of Christ, law, Christ doth at the beginning of the gos- but outdo the devil himself in impudence. pel, namely, fast forty days and forty nights. 5 Then the devil taketh him up Christ hereby intended our admiration, not into the holy city, and setteth him on our imitation ; or, if our imitation, of the ac
a pinnacle of the temple. tion only, not of the time. Christ teaches
That is, Satan, by God's permission, took us by fasting and prayer to prepare our.
up his body and carried it in the air, and selves for a conflict with our spiritual ene
set it upon one of the battlements of the temmies; as he prepared himself by fasting to
ple. Learn hence, 1. What a mighty grapple with the tempter, so should we.
power evil spirits have over our bodies, if 3 And when the tempter came to God permits them to execute and exercise their power upon them. 2. That it is sticks not presumptuously to handle the owing to the gracious care and watchful holy scriptures of God with his tongue. providence of God over us, that we are Yet observe, How wretchedly the devil not hurried away bodily by Satan. Thanks wrests, perverts, and misapplies, the scripbe to God, though the devil's malice be in. ture. When God promises his angels shall finite, yet his power is limited and bounded; keep us, it is in viis, non in præcipitis; and as he cannot do all the mischief he 'lis in all God's ways, not in any of our own would to the bodies and souls of men, so he crooked paths. Note here, That although shall not do all he can. Quest. But why the children of God have the promise of the is the holy city, and holy temple, chosen guardianship of holy angels, yet then only by Satan to be the scene of this temptation ? may they expect their protection, when they Ånsw. I cannot tell, unless he apprehended are walking in the way of their duty, and (as he might) that the holiness of the place using the means for their own preservation. would aggravate the sin. No place so sa- 7 Jesus said unto him, It is writcred, no duty so holy, as to protect as from ten again, Thou shalt not tempt the Satan's assaults. This enemy pursues us even to the horns of the altar. Lord! how
Lord thy God. ought we at all times and in all place to be
Observe here, Though the devil had upon our watch and guard, especially in wrested and abused scripture, yet still Christ thy presence, because then and there Satan alleges scripture. The abuse of the holy is most active and busy, and most desirous scriptures by heretics and seducers is no arto draw us into sin.
gument against the use of them. We must
not throw away our Bibles because the 6 And saith unto him, If thou be devil quotes scripture: but as Christ here the Son of God, cast thyself down : compares scripture with scripture, so for it is written, He shall give bis should we, in order to find out the true angels charge concerning thce : and sense and meaning of it; for scripture is in their hands they shall bear theeup, most clearly expounded by scripture.
the best interpreter of itself; scripture is lest at any time thou dash thy foot This Satan Knew full well
, and therefore against a stone.
dares not make any further reply. Here we have observable, first, The sin 8 Again, the devil taketh him up which Satan tempts Christ unto: and next, into an exceeding high mountain, and
The argument which he tempts him from: sheweth him all the kingdoms of the the sin tempted to, is the sin of self-murder : Cast thyself down. Whence we learn, world, and the glory of them; 9 And That self-murder is a sin which Christ him- saith unto him, All these things will self was, and the best of saints may, by Satan, I give thee, if thou willt fall down and be tempted to the commission of. But worship me. forasmuch as Satan tempted Christ to mur- The next sin, which Satan tempts our der himself, but had not power to do it him- Saviour to, is the sin of idolatry, even to self, (do thou cast thyself down,) we learn, worship the devil himself. O thou impuThat though Satan may tempt, yet he can- dent and foul spirit! To desire thy Creator not compel; he may entice, but cannot en- to adore thee, an apostate creature; Surely force any to sin, without their own consent. there can be no sin so black and foul, so Observe, 2. The argument which Satan gross and monstrous, but that the christian uses, it is a scripture argument; he quotes may be tempted to it, when Christ himself the promise of God, He shall give his an- was tempted to worship the tempter. St. gels charge over thee. What a marvel is Matthew reads the words, If thou wilt fall here, to find Satan with a Bible under his down and worship me : St. Luke, If thou arm, and a text of scripture in his mouth! wilt worship before me. Whence we may Christ had alleged scripture before to Satan; gather, says Dr Lightfoot, That if to worhere Satan retorts scripture back again to ship before the devil be to worship the Christ: It is written, says Christ; It is devil, then to worship before an image is written, says Satan. Learn thence, That to worship the image. Obs. 2. The bait it is no wonder to hear heretics and hypo- which Satan makes use of to allure our crites quote scripture, when Satan himself Saviour to the sin of idolatry; and that durst reciteit: hethat had profanely touched was, in representing to his eye and view all the sacred body of Christ with his hand, the glories of the world in the most inviting manner, and that in a moment of time; 12 Now when Jesus had heard to the intent it might affect him the more, that John was cast into prison, he and prevail the sooner. Learn thence, departed into Galilee: 13 And leavThat the pomp and greatness, the glory ing Nazareth, he came and dwelt in of by Satan, as a dangerous snare to draw Capernaum, which is upon the seamen to a compliance with him, in his coast, in the borders of Zabulon and temptations unto sin. When Satan sets Nephthalim : 14 That it might be thee upon a pinnacle, look to thyself. fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias
10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get the prophet, saying, 15 The land thee hence, Satan : for it is written, of Zabulon, and the land of NephThou shalt worship the Lord thy thalim, by the way of the sea, beyond God, and him only shalt thou serve. Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 16
Observe here, 1. With what zeal and The people which sat in darkness indignation of spirit our blessed Saviour saw great light: and to them which repels and beats back this temptation of sat in the region and shadow of death Satan: Get thee hence. Note thence, That light is sprung up. the greater the sins are which the devil Observe here, I. Our Saviour, hearing tempts us to, the greater our zeal and in- of John's imprisonment, provides for his dignation ought to be in opposing and re
own safety, by departing into Galilee. sisting the temptation to them. A great As our holy Lord avoided persecution, so temptation must be withstood with great may we. Observe, 2. The place in Galilee resolution.
Obs. 2. The weapon with he comes to, Capernaum. Christ har which he repels and beats back the fiery three cities which he called his own; dart of Satan's temptation, and that is, with Nazareth, where he was bred; Bethlehem, the shield of scripture: It is written, thou where he was born ; and Capernaum, shalt worship the Lord thy God. Learn where he dwelt: this was a sea-coast town thence, That God is the sole object of re- in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthali. ligious worship : it is so peculiarly the Observe, 3. The special providence of God Creator's due, that to give it to any crea- in this change of our Saviour's habitation; ture is gross idolatry, and repugnant to the for by that means the prophecy, Isa. ix. 1. scriptures. No creature is to pay divine was fulfilled, which declares, that in that adoration to any but his Creator; hence it dark part of the country, the Messiah, the appears that Christ is not a creature, divine true light, should shine forth. Learn worship being given to him.
hence, 1. That a people destitute of the 11 Then the devil leaveth him, saving knowledge of the gospel are in and, behold, angels came and minis- great darkness, how great soever the light tered unto him.
of their outward comforts may be. This Observe here, 1. The issue of this people had natural light enough, and civil combat ; Satan is conquered, and quits wealth and riches, peace and plenty ; but
light enough; they had an abundance of the field! Then the devil leaveth him. they wanted the light of Christ and his teaching us, That nothing like a vigorous resistance of temptation causes the
gospel, and therefore are said to sit in to flee from us; Resist the devil, and the darkness. 2. That wherever the gospel is will flee from you. Obs. 2. Our Lord's preached amongst a people, it is a light triumph over his enemy: Behold, angels them ; quickening and enlivening, re
springing up and shining forth among came and ministered unto him ; food to viving and cheering, the souls of those his hungry body, and comfort to his tempt. who entertain it, how great soever their ed soul. They came no sooner, lest it should be thought he needed their assist- The people
that sat in darkness saw great
outward darkness and distress may be. ance; they came now, because he was light, and to them that sat in the region now pleased to make use of their assistance. and shadow of death, light is sprung Learn hence,That those who in the hour of temptation do hold out in resisting Satan, shall fipd the power and faithfulness of God
17 From that time Jesus began will not be wanting to them, to send in to preach, and to say, Repent: for succour and relief in the end.
the kingdom of heaven is at hand.