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tural doctrine of the Holy Trinity start objections against the will of in Unity.
Christ." Reader. Yes. “ At the baptism I have need to be baptized of thee. of our great High Priest, there was It is said of John that “he was filled an exhibition to the senses of the with the Holy Ghost” from his
very Three Persons in the ever-blessed infancy. (Luke i. 15). But “they Trinity, each acting according to the who have much of the Spirit of God, economy of the scheme of redemp- yet, while here, in this imperfect tion; the Father appointing the Son state, see that they have need of to be Mediator, the Son accepting more, and need to apply themselves the appointment, and the Holy Spirit to Christ for more.'
~ The more anointing him with the oil of glad- holy a person is, the more sensible ness above his fellows, and qualify- he is of his unholiness; where there ing him for the work he had under- is most grace, there is the greatest taken." “ It is impossible to explain sense of the want of grace,"—the this transaction consistently in any deepest conviction of remaining imother way than by admitting this purity and imperfection, and the most truth, that there are three equal per-earnest desire for final and complete sons in the divine nature, or essence,
deliverance.—John made this conand that each of these sustains an im- fession in public, and in the presence portant part in the work of redeem- of those who had a high opiñon of ing men.”
his character and dignity. Let not our honour, or our desire of esteem,
make us ashamed to acknowledge our READER. Let us now consider need of Christ. this history in some practical points Comest thou to me ?—How lovely of view.
is the conduct of the Baptist, as a Then cometh Jesus—unto John.— picture of humility! Such also was “How dares the greatest upon earth the humility of his pious mother ;despise the ministry of man, being “Whence is this to me that the appointed by God, which Christ mother of my Lord should come to honoured in his own person, and me ?” (Luke i. 43).—But God degraced with his own presence !" lights to honour and exalt the lowly:
John forbad him.—So also did St. and he “has farther honour in store Peter, when our Lord went about to for those whose spirits continue low wash his feet (John xiii. 6–8). when their reputation rises.” "Christ's gracious condescensions are Thus it becometh us to fulfil all so surprising, as to appear at first in righteousness. This conduct
becomes credible to the strongest believers; us, as the disciples of our Lord and so deep and mysterious, that even Master. “ They who are of greatest those who know his mind well can- attainments in gifts and graces, should not soon find out the meaning of yet, in their place, bear their testithem, but, by reason of darkness, mony to instituted ordinances, by a humble and diligent attendance on the office and work of the Redeemer them; that they may give a good ex- (Ps. lxxxix. 27; Rom. i. 4).—He is ample to others,” as well as that they the beloved of the Father ;-his dear may themselves receive the appointed Son, or the Son of his love, as it is and expected blessing.
elsewhere expressed (Col. i. 13).Then he suffered him.—Here ob. And the consideration of this truth serve that “the same modesty which may well be a source of great commade John at first decline the honour fort and encouragement to us, as beChrist offered him, now made him do lievers in his name. As such we the service Christ enjoined him.” are accepted in the Beloved ; Eph. And hence we may learn, for the i. 6. Yes :-“Let all the world take guidance of our own conduct, that notice, that this is the Peacemaker, no pretence of humility will excuse the Daysman, who has laid his hand our declining, or retiring from, a upon us both; and that there is no duty which we may be summoned to coming to God as a Father, but by fulfil.
Christ as a Mediator; John xiv. 6. Lo, the heavens were opened unto In him our spiritual sacrifices are achim.-And, in one sense, not unto ceptable, for he is the altar that sanchim alone. “In and through Jesus tifieth every gift; 1 Pet. ii. 5. Out Christ, the heavens are opened to the of Christ, God is a consuming fire ; children of men. Sin shut up heaven, but, in Christ, a reconciled Father. put a stop to all friendly intercourse This is the sum of the whole Gosbetween God and man;
pel; it is a faithful saying, and worChrist has opened the kingdom of thy of all acceptation, that God has heaven to all believers.' Divine light declared, by a voice from heaven, and love are darted down upon the that Jesus Christ is his beloved Son children of men, and we have bold-in whom he is well pleased ; with ness to enter into the holiest. We which we must by faith cheerfully have receipts of mercy from God, we concur, and say, that he is our bemake returns of duty to God; and loved Saviour, in whom we are well all by Jesus Christ, who is the ladder pleased,"—in whose hands we are that has its foot on earth and its top willing to entrust our highest interin heaven, by whom alone it is that ests, and to whose governance and we have any comfortable correspond guidance we are willing to yield ourence with God, or any hope of getting selves, in body, soul, and spirit. to heaven at last." Lo, a voice from heaven, saying,
HYMN. This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.–Our Lord Jesus
Jesus, how precious is thy name! Christ is the Son of God, by eternal
Beloved of the Father Thou ! generation (Col. i. 15; Heb. i. 3);
Oh, let me catch th' immortal flame
With which angelic bosoms glow. by supernatural conception (Luke i.
As angels love thee, I would love, 35); and by special appointment to And imitate the bless'd above.
My Prophet Thou, my heavenly guide, 6 And saith unto him, If thou Thy sweet instructions I will hear:
be the Son of God, cast thyself The words that from thy lips proceed,
Oh, how divinely sweet they are ! down: for it is written, He Thee, my great Prophet, I would love,
shall give his angels charge conAnd imitate the bless'd above.
cerning thee: and in their hands My great High Priest, whose precious blood Did once atone upon the cross,
they shall bear thee up, lest at Who now dost intercede with God,
any time thou dash thy foot And plead the friendless sinner's cause; In Thee I trust; Thee would I love,
against a stone. And imitate the bless'd above.
7 Jesus said unto him, It is My King supreme, to thee I bow,
written again, 'Thou shalt not A willing subject at thy feet;
tempt the Lord thy God. All other lords I disavow, And to thy government submit:
8 Again, the devil taketh him My Saviour-king this heart would love,
up into an exceeding high mounAnd imitate the bless'd above.
tain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the
glory of them; $ XII.
9 And saith unto him, All CHAP. IV. 1–11. these things will I give thee, if
thou wilt fall down and worship Then was Jesus-led up of "the
me. spirit into the wilderness to be
10 Then saith Jesus unto tempted of the devil.
him, Get thee hence, Satan : for 2 And when he had fasted
it is written, Thou shalt worforty days and forty nights, he ship the Lord thy God, and him was afterward an hungred.
only shalt thou serve. 3 And when the tempter came
11 Then the devil leaveth to him, he said, If thou be the him, and, behold, “angels came Son of God, command that these and ministered unto him. stones be made bread.
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the
Reader. Do any questions arise in mouth of God.
your minds respecting this remark
able portion of the sacred narrative? 5 Then the devil taketh him
Theophilus. In what manner may up into the holy city, and set
we suppose this Temptation to have teth him on a pinnacle of the been conducted ? And in what form temple,
did the Tempter appear?
a Mark i. 12, &c. Luke iv. 1, &c. b See 1 Kings xviii. 12 Ezek. iii. 14, & viii. 3, & xi. 1, 24, & xl. 2, & xliii. 5. Acts viii. 39.-c Deut. viii. 3.- Neh. xi. 1, 18. Is. xlviii. 2, & lii. l; ch. xxvii. 53. Rev. xi. 2.-e Ps. xci. 11, 12.- Deut. vi. 16.-9 Deut. vi. 13, & x. 20. Josh. xxiv. 14. 1 Sam. vii. 3.-h Heb. i. 14.
Reader. It is sufficient for us to angel of a high order, even the Prince know, that we have here the history or Guardian Angel of Judea, and of a real event, not of a mere vision
have offered to transfer to Jesus or dream; and that the temptation the exercise of his authority on conpresented itself to our Lord from dition of his receiving personal howithout, not being in any way the mage. But this is merely my own produce of his own pure and holy conjecture. mind. We read of what our blessed Theophilus. How did the Tempter Lord, in his conflict with evil, actu- convey our Lord from place to place? ally saw, and heard, and did, and Reader. Some interpreters, in said.
times past, hastily concluded that he We cannot suppose that the Temp- carried his sacred person through the ter appeared in his own character. air ;-a supposition which suited the Many think that he assumed a hu
purpose of painters much more than man form; or that he appeared as it tended to the promulgation of an angel.–For my own part, I think truth.—The word translated “takit clear, from Luke iv. 6, that, in eth him" in vv. 5, 8, is that which the third part of the temptation, is used by Greek writers to express Satan professed to be the Guardian the act of a person who induces anoAngel of Judea. It seems probable ther to accompany him to a certain also that, in the second part, he pro- place. St. Matthew himself employs fessed to be an angel of light; im- this word again in ch. xvii. 1,—“Jeplying that he was at hand as one of sus taketh Peter, James, and John those of whom it had been written his brother, and bringeth them up “He shall give his angels charge into an high mountain.” Did you over thee." Perhaps it was one part ever imagine that our Lord carried of Satan's policy to pretend to greater these disciples through the air? — and greater degrees of excellence and The truth is, all that the Evangelist authority in the successive stages of says in the chapter now before us is, his temptation, with a view to gain that Satan induced our Lord to go to influence over the object of his as- the Temple, and to the mountain, in sault. He may have appeared first his company. as a man, a weary traveller in the
Theophilus. What is meant by the wilderness; then, having failed in "pinnacle of the Temple” in ver. 5? his first attack, and having prevailed Reader. Probably a part of the on our Lord to accompany him to balustrade surrounding the roof; the roof of the Temple, he may have or, a high, tower-like part of the declared himself an angel, charged building, with a flat roof, forming a with the protection of good men; wing, or side, of the Temple. Some and lastly, in order to hold out a suppose it to have been a part called still more powerful inducement to The King's Gallery, built by Herod, the mind of his intended victim, he looking over a deep part of the valmay have professed himself to be an ley beneath. But this is uncertain.
Mary. Do you think that our of a real transaction; not the record Lord was really taken up into a of a series of phantoms. Let us look mountain ?
at it in some practical points of view. Reader. The Evangelist says that Here we discover our great Chamhe was,
and therefore I know it as a pion and Redeemer, our second head fact. I cannot agree with those in- and representative, engaged in a conterpreters who suppose that the flict with that evil and seducing spieighth verse describes only some- rit who was successful in his assault thing which took place in the way upon our first parents.
We see of vision, or by an impression made Christ victorious, and the Tempter on the imagination. The Tempter defeated; and thus we behold a patinduced our Lord to go with him to tern and a pledge of our own trithe top of some lofty mountain, com- umph in the spiritual warfare, if we manding an extensive prospect of resist the adversary of our souls, the provinces of the holy land; and in humble dependence on divine then, having caused him to reflect strength. upon the fertility, and various re- Hence, too, we are encouraged to sources, of the country, he made him remember, not only that the Captain an offer of dominion over this beau- of our Salvation is “ able to succour tiful region, as a stepping-stone to
them that are tempted," but also universal empire.
that he can sympathise with them in Travellers say that there is a very
their sorrows, and can have compashigh mountain in the wilderness of sion on them, from his own personal Judea, which commands an exten- acquaintance with the trials that besive prospect of the holy land. set them. Heb. i. 18. - Perhaps we may obtain a just Nor should we omit to consider idea of the meaning of the verse in
this temptation as an instance of our question, by comparing it with what Lord's great condescension, and deep is said concerning the view enjoyed humiliation, on our behalf. It was, by Moses from Mount Nebo.-Read, doubtless, a part of his sufferings to at your leisure, Deut. xxxiv. 1-3. endure the presence of ungodly sugSome suppose that our blessed Sa- gestions, not indeed in his mind, but viour stood on the same spot, the yet directly addressed to it from top of Pisgah.
without, and seeking to gain admisTheophilus. I collect, from your
It was, to say the least, an remarks, that you do not think such insult which he endured for our particulars of any importance ; but
sake. Let us feel grateful to him that you advise us to regard the for all that he suffered, and for all whole transaction as bearing the that he performed, and is ready to stamp of plain reality.
perform, on our behalf!
Then was Jesus led up.-When
was this? Soon after he had been READER. This is the narrative baptized, and had received a testiK 2