his Master would, as he had more than once before done, deliver himself by a miracle from the hands into which he was about to sell him: and Ananias with his wife, might have arranged their plan under the impulse of natural vanity, combined with love of money. Yet in all these cases we are distinctly told that Satan himself was present to instigate and direct; and many a recollection of our own past lives, now perhaps pain. ful and self-condemnatory, would wring our hearts with anguish and horror if we knew how far the great adversary was concerned in them, and to what extent the will of God was resisted, the cause of Christ injur. ed, and the Holy Ghost grieved, while evil spirits looked on rejoicing. We “give place to the Devil” daily; and nothing more effectually helps him to lead us into this breach of a positive command, than our readiness to forget his continual presence, either

person. ally or by his active ministers; and perhaps to leave out of sight the fact of his very existence.

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The truth being established that there exists a company of evil spirits, continually employed in resisting the power of God, and stirring up his creatures to rebel against his authority, it is not to be expected that in every instance cited as illustrating this truth, precise mention by name should be made of those who are clearly exhibited in that work. Very many cases may be adduced where such mention is distinctly made; and in tracing others to the same source, we must bear in mind the apostolic warning,

6 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God : for God cannot be tempted of evil, neither tempteth he any man; but every man is tempted when he is drawn

; away of his own lust and enticed.” James i. 13, 14. The plan, therefore, of Satan is to watch the indications of our prevailing corruptions, and to provide us with opportunities of gratifying them, that lust when it hath conceived may the more readily bring forth the sin which, as the enemy well knows, will, when it is finished, bring forth death.

Nor is it to the evil passions alone that he appeals;

his daring knows no bounds. Even in the holy nature of the man Christ Jesus, as untainted by original or by actual sin, he could seek for somewhat whereon to build a powerful temptation. He had been incessantly assailing the patient Saviour in the wilderness, during forty days; at the end of which he saw him tortured by the cravings of a hunger, which the termination of his prescribed season of fasting left him at liberty to satisfy. Now it would have been every whit as easy for our Lord, by the putting forth of his infinite power, to transform a stone into bread, as to mul. tiply five loaves to the satisfying of five thousand people; or out of the stones of the temple to raise up chil. dren unto Abraham. The desire for food was natural, lawful; yea, it was a duty to satisfy it, since prolonged abstinence must end in self

murder. We may indulge in guesses and suppositions as to the precise grounds on which the suggestion stood as a temptation of the Devil, but all that we can certainly know is, the fact, that so it was, and that as such it was rejected. Coming as it did in the shape of a proposal merely to satisfy a human want by means of his divine power, we see the deep craftiness of this insidious and perfidious tempter, and learn a solemn lesson of perpetual watchfulness, and careful sifting of whatever is suggested to our minds, whether by outward circumstances, the counsel of friends, or the seemingly intuitive suggestions of our own minds : for he who assailed the Master will not spare the servant.

Again, the object of our Lord's incarnation was 10 wrest from Satan the kingship of the world ; to cast

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him out of his possessions, to take the prey from the mighty, and deliver the lawful captive. This was to be accomplished by exceeding bitter sufferings, of whichwa foretaste was then present, in the pangs treme hunger. Humanity shrank from what Deity foreknew; and we have very touching statements from the evangelists, of the anguish that overwhelmed the blessed Jesus on the near approach of the climax of his woes. He was even brought to pray,

“O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me!" Matt. xxvi. 39. Yet in all this not a taint of evil existed; it was the innocent shrinking of innocent, holy flesh, from intense tortures. Of this Satan seems to have taken his next advantage; for he exhibited to the divine object of his infernal artifices all the kingdoms of the world, with a reference to his own acknowledg. ed sovereignty over them, and proposed terms on which he would consent to abdicate in favour of his dreaded opponent, so rendering needless the terrific conflict in which the Lord must engage to effect his expulsion by force. This was a most refined temptation : it pro. posed a single momentary act of homage, in acknowledgment of the existing supremacy of that enthroned rebel and traitor, to be followed by the instantaneous resignation of his usurped dominion into the hands of the rightful King. He saw the mortal frame drooping under prolonged inanition; he knew how closely the human mind naturally sympathized with the body's feebleness: he calculated on the effect of forty days' endurance of hunger, thirst, weariness, solitude, and unsheltered exposure ; and he, the Devil, the liar and the murderer, boldly ventured on a proposition, the nature of which sends a shudder through the heart of the Christian, for whose sake the Lord of Glory was exposed to such an indignity as this! But it gives a very terrible view of the self-confident greatness of the adversary. May it sink deep into our minds, and fill us with that salutary fear which shall keep us ever mindful of the foe's devices.

The Lord's reply was strongly indignant; “ Get thee hence, Satan!" But now this holy indignation, this desire to be freed from the presence of the archfiend, who had been harassing him for forty days and nights, this detestation of his odious suggestions, was next laid hold of as the ground-work of a third temptation. By the exercise of that mysterious power, of the nature of which we must remain ignorant, but ought never to be forgetful, the devil placed his destined conqueror on a pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem, and calling to his aid the Scriptures, which had been successfully opposed to his preceding attempts, he invited the Saviour to cast himself down; "for it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee, and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” Luke iv. 10, 11. To be at once delivered from the immediate presence of Satan, and received into the arms of the holy angels; while to decline it was ap. parently to shrink not only from the proof of his divinity, but also from a test of individual faith in the promise of God: this was a snare, the craft and subtle. ty of which are not always sufficiently considered ;

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