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Holy One," whereby they were set apart unto, and fitted for their great work; thus were they strengthened to begin and pursue a career which will be felt till time expire. The same Spirit is promised, and is given to us to "help our infirmities," to "guide us into all truth," to take what is Christ's and shew it unto us, to "comfort us in all our tribulation," to shew us things to come. We look not for a miraculous effusion, to enable us to speak with tongues, to prophecy, to work miracles; but we have good ground to ask and to hope that God will give us "the spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." "O send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead me, let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles; then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy."
Our blessed Lord entered on his public ministry at the age of thirty, and it was accomplished within the space of little more than three years. Think how much was done in that short space. Were the things which Jesus did, as they stand on this record, and the "many other things" not recorded therein, to be written every one," such would be their number and their lustre, that they would to the world appear to be absolutely incredible, and therefore the world would not be disposed to receive them. Here we have an illustrious pattern of the employment, of the improvement of time." I must work," says he, " the works of Him that sent me, while it is day;" the duty of the season in its season. How ought we to blush at our laborious idleness, at our pompous nothings! What have we to shew for our thirty, forty, fifty, threescore years? Hardly enough to furnish a decent inscription for a tombstone. Were the history of the most industrious and useful life to be fairly delineated, the world would have cause to wonder at the frequent and hideous chasms, the wild confusion, the indecent rapidity, the causeless delay which the detail would present. What a picture then must the life of the professedly idle and dissipated, of the pro
fligate and vicious exhibit! All enters into the book of God's remembrance, and must all come into judgment. What precious time, what invaluable opportunities of doing and of receiving good, have been shamefully neglected, have been vilely cast away!
What moment granted man without account?
Much is irretrievably lost. Who knows how little may remain?" Now it is high time to awake out of sleep the night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly as in the day," and "put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ." "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil."
HISTORY OF JESUS CHRIST.
Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights he was afterwards an hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, if thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, it is written, man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. And the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple and saith unto him, if thou be the Son of God cast thy self down for it is written, he shall give his angels charge concerning thee; and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, it is written again, thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, and saith unto him, all these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him get thee hence, satan: for it is written thou shalt wor ship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.-MATT. iv. 1. 11.
WONDERFUL is the influence which external
objects possess over the mind of man: wonderful it is to reflect how body and spirit act upon each other. VOL. IV. P
On a simple determination of the will, every limb is in motion, every nerve is exerted; and the man is burning under the line, or freezing at the pole. Let the blood be transmitted with a little more than usual rapidity, or move a little more sluggishly, and all the mental faculties are deranged, a new world arises, every former idea is blotted out. The glance of that eye, at one time chills me with terror, and at another it melts me into love. This note rouses me to the battle, and that soothes me into melancholy. Internal serenity and depression are produced by a clearer or grosser state of the air. And if we are thus liable to be affected by objects merely material, what must be the influence of mind upon niind! How powerful must be the sympathy, how prompt the communication of kindred spirits, intuitively perceiving and interchanging mutual sentiments of kindness, gratitude or esteem? Who can conceive or explain the influence which beings wholly spiritual, may exercise over the human species, creatures composed of matter and spirit, whose senses, whose imagination, whose memory, whose understanding, all are so easily impressible?
Of all the faculties which spiritual beings possess, that of rendering themselves the objects of sense, most of all exceeds our comprehension. They present a form, they utter, and receive, and return articulate sounds, and anon they are "vanished into air, thin air." The appearance of Gabriel to Zacharias and to Mary, and of the multitude of the heavenly host to the shepherds, is a striking demonstration of it. We have before us another instance of this astonishing faculty, in a spirit of a very different character, and for a very different purpose-Satan, the destroyer, "foe to God and man," tempting Christ in the wilderness.
The two evangelists who have given us the history of this temptation in detail, differ only in respect of the order of the facts related, that which is placed second in St. Matthew's Gospel, is the third in Luke's, and
that which is the second in Luke is the third in Matthew. We have chosen to follow the latter, because, as he was shortly after called to the office of apostleship, he probably received the history from Christ's own mouth; and because the words which He addresses to the wicked one, in the close of the third temptation, according to Matthew's statement of it, "Get thee behind me, Satan," seem to have concluded the scene. The slight difference, however, serves only to confirm the authenticity of both historians, as it is a proof that the one did not copy from the other. We now proceed to the temptation itself.
"And when the tempter came to him, he said, if thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread." Attend to the season which he laid hold of. It was at the moment that he saw Jesus ready to faint with hunger. Attend to the place; it was in the wilderness, which produced nothing fit for food. Attend to the suggestion; it presents nothing apparently offensive. He only wishes a little seasonable relief to one under the pressure of the greatest distress, and that relief procured by means at once simple and innocent. The law had relaxed somewhat of its severity in favour of cases like the present, by exempting from the punishment of theft, the person who had committed it only to satisfy his hunger. But here there was not the shadow of a crime; He had but to employ the power which he certainly possessed, and which he lawfully might exercise. It would be a demonstration of his immediate reliance on his heavenly Father; it would remove all doubt respecting the divinity of his mission. Who could refuse to acknowledge Him who was thus declared to be the Son of God? He himself wants only this proof to induce him, like another Herod, to fall down and worship him.
It is clear that the tempter, when he used the expression "the Son of God," did not fully apprehend the import of what he said, that he did not mean by