RPM, Volume 17, Number 10, March 1 to March 7, 2015

A Practical Exposition of The Lord's Prayer

VOL. r. Part 8

By Thomas Manton


And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was after wards 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. And he answered and said, It is written, Man liveth not by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. NAT. IV. 2-4.

IN these words there are three branches:

First, The occasion.

Secondly, The temptation itself.

Thirdly, Christ's answer.

First, The occasion of the first temptation, in the second verse, 'When he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterwards an hungered.' Where take notice:

I. Of his fasting.

II. Of his hunger.

And something I shall speak of them conjunctly, something distinctly and apart.

1. Conjunctly. In every part of our Lord's humiliation, there is an emission of some beams of his Godhead, that whenever he is seen to be true man, he might be known to be true God also. Is Christ hungry? There was a fast of forty days' continuance preceding, to show how, as God, he could sustain his human nature. The verity of his human nature is seen, because he submitted to all our sinless infirmities. The power of his divine nature was manifested, because it enabled him to continue forty days and nights without eating or drinking anything, the utmost that an ordinary man can fast being but nine days usually. Thus his divinity and humanity are expressed in most or all of his actions: John i. 14, 'The word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, as the glory of the only-be gotten Son of God.' There was a veil of flesh, yet the glory of his divine nature was seen, and might be seen, by all that had an eye and heart to see it. He lay in the manger at Bethlehem, but a star appeared to conduct the wise men to him; and angels proclaimed his birth to the shepherds: Luke ii. 13, 14. He grew up from a child, at the ordinary rate of other children; but when he was but twelve years old, he disputed with the doctors: Luke ii. 42. He submitted to baptism, but then owned by a voice from heaven to be God's beloved Son. He was deceived in the fig-tree when an hungered, which shows the infirmity of human ignorance; but suddenly blasted, this manifested the glory of a divine power: Mat. xxi. 19. Here tempted by Satan, but ministered unto and attended upon by a multitude of glorious angels: Mat. iv. 11; finally crucified through weakness, but living by the power of God: 2 Cor. xiii. 4. He hung dying on the cross; but then the rocks were rent, the graves opened, and the sun darkened. All along you may have these intermixtures. He needed to humble himself to purchase our mercies; but withal to give a discovery of a divine glory to assure our faith. Therefore, when there were any evidences of human frailty, lest the world should be offended, and stumble thereat, he was pleased at the same time to give some notable demonstration of the divine power; as, on the other side, when holy men are honoured by God, something falleth out to humble them: 2 Cor. xii. 7.

2. Distinctly and apart. Where observe:

[1.] That he fasted forty days and forty nights; so did Moses when he received the law: Exod. xxxiv. 28; and at the restoring of the law Elias did the like: 1 Kings xix. 8. Now what these two great prophets had done, Christ, the great prophet and doctor of the Christian church, did also. For the number of forty days, curiosity may make itself work enough; but it is dangerous to make conclusions where no certainty appeareth. However this is not amiss, that forty days were the usual time allotted for repentance: as to the Ninevites, Jonah iii. 4; so the prophet Ezekiel was to bear the sins of the people for forty days; and the flood \vas forty days in coming on the old world: Gen. vii. 17. This was the time given for their repentance, and there fore for their humiliation; yet the forty days' fast in Lent is ill-grounded on this example, for this fast of Christ cannot be imitated by us, more than other his miracles.

[2.] At the end of the forty days he was hungered, sorely assaulted with faintness and hunger, as any other man at any time is for want of meat. God's providence permitted it, that he might be more capable of Satan's temptations; for Satan fits his temptations to men's present case and condition. When Christ was hungry, he tempteth him to provide bread, in such a way as the tempter doth pre scribe. He worketh upon what he findeth: when men are full, he tempteth them to be proud, and forget God; when they are destitute, to distrust God: if he sees men covetous, he fits them with a wedge of gold, as he did Achan; if discontented, and plotting the destruction of another, he findeth out occasions. When Judas had a mind to sell his Master, he presently sendeth him a chapman. Thus he doth work upon our dispositions, or our condition; most upon our dispositions, but here only upon Christ's condition. He observeth which way the tree leaneth, and then thrusteth it forward.

Secondly, The temptation itself, verse the third. Where two things are observable:

I. The intimation of his address, 'And when the tempter came to him.'

II. The proposal of the temptation, 'If thou be the Son of God,' &c.

I. For the address to the temptation, 'And when the tempter came to him' there two things must be explained:

1. In what manner the tempter came to Christ.

2. How he is said to come then to him.

[1.] How he came to him. Whether the temptations of Christ are to be understood by way of vision, or historically, as things visibly acted and done? This latter I incline unto; and I handle here, because it is said, 7rpoo-e\.6o)v avrS) 6 Treipd^wv, 'The tempter came to him.' This importeth some local motion and accession of the tempter to Christ, under a visible and external form and shape. As afterwards, when the Lord biddeth him be gone, 'then the devil leaveth him,' ver. 11; a retiring of Satan out of his presence, not the ceasing of a vision only. Yea, all along, he 'taketh him,' and 'sets him on a pinnacle of the temple,' and 'taketh him to an high mountain.' All which show some external appearance of Satan, and not a word that intimateth a vision. Neither can it be conceived how any act of adoration could be demanded by Satan of Christ 'fall down and worship me' unless the object to be worshipped were set before him in some visible shape. The coming of the angels to Christ when the devil left him, ver. 11, all understand historically, and of some external coming. Why is not the coming and going of the devil thus to be understood also? And if all had been done in vision, and not by converse, how could Christ be an hungered, or the devil take that occasion to tempt him? How could answers and replies be tossed to and fro, and scriptures alleged? So that from the whole view of the frame of the text,- here was some external congress between Christ and the devil. If you think it below Christ, you forget the wonderful condescension of the Son of God; it is no more unworthy of him than crucifixion, passion, and burial was. It is true, in the writing of the prophets, many things historically related were only done in vision; but not in the Gospels, which are an history of the life and death of Christ; where things are plainly set down as they were done. To men the grievousness of Christ's temptations would be much lessened, if we should think it only a piece of fantasy, and imaginary rather than real. And if his temptations be lessened, so will his victory, so will our comfort. In short, such as was Christ's journey into the wilderness, such was his fast, such his temptation; all real. For all are delivered to us in the same style and thread of discourse. Yea, further, if these things had been only in vision and ecstacy, there would have been no danger to Christ in the second temptation, when he was tempted to throw himself down from the pinnacle of the temple. Surely then he was truly tempted, and not in vision only; yea, it seemeth not so credible and agreeable to the dignity and holiness of Christ, that Satan should tempt by internal false suggestions, and the immission of species into his fancy or understanding; that Christ should seem to be here and there, when all the while he was in the desert. For either Christ took notice of these false images in his fancy, or not. If not, there is no temptation; if so, there will be an error in the mind of Christ, that he should think himself to be on the pinnacle of the temple, or top of an high mountain, when he was in the desert. It is hard to think these suggestions could be made without some error or sin; but an external suggestion maketh the sin to be in the tempter only, not in the person tempted. Our first parents lost not their innocency by the external suggestion, but internal admission of it, dwelling upon it in their minds. To a man void of sin, the tempter hath no way of tempting but externally.

[2.] How is this access to Christ said to be after his fasting, when, in Luke iv. 2, it is said, 'Being forty days tempted of the devil, and in those days he did eat nothing; and when they were ended, he afterward hungered '?

I answer (1.) Some conceive that the devil tempted Christ all the forty days, but then he tempted him invisibly, as he doth other men, striving to inject sinful suggestions; but he could find nothing in him to work upon: John xiv. 30. But at forty days' end he taketh another course, and appeareth visibly in the shape of an angel of light. He saith he came to him, most solemnly and industriously to tempt him. This opinion is probable.

(2.) It may be answered, Luke's speech must be understood: 'Being forty days in the wilderness, and in those days he did eat nothing, and was tempted;' that is, those days being ended. There is, by a prolepsis, some little inversion of the order. But because of Mark i. 13, where it is said, 'He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan, and was with the wild beasts' take the former answer.

II. The proposal of the temptation, 'If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.' Certainly every temptation of the devil tendeth to sin. Now where is the sin of this? If Christ had turned stones into bread, and declared himself by this miracle to be the Son of God, there seemeth to be no such evil in this. Like miracles he did upon other occasions; as turning water into wine at a marriage feast, multiplying the loaves in the distribution for feeding the multitude. Here was no curiosity; the fact seemed to be necessary to supply his hunger. Here is no superfluity urged into bread, not dainties or occasions of wantonness, but bread for his necessary sustenance. I answer, Notwithstanding all this fair appearance, yet this first assault which is propounded by Satan was very sore and grievous.

1. Because manifold sins are implied in. it, and there are many temptations combined in this one assault.

[1.] In that Christ, who was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to fast, and so to be tempted, must now break his fast and work a miracle at Satan's direction. The contest between God and the devil is, who shall be sovereign? therefore it was not meet that Christ should follow the devil's advice, and do anything at his command and suggestion.

[2.] That Christ should doubt of that voice that he heard from heaven at his baptism, 'Thou art my beloved Son;' and the devil cometh, 'If thou be the Son of God.' That it should anew be put to trial by some extraordinary work, whether it were true or no, or he should believe it, yea or no. No temptation so sore, no dart so poison- able, as that which tendeth to the questioning of the grounds of faith; as this did the love of God, so lately spoken of him. Therefore this is one of the sharpest arrows that could come out of Satan's bow.

[3.] It tendeth to weaken his confidence in the care and love of God's fatherly providence: being now afflicted with hunger in a desert place, where no supply of food could be had, Satan would draw him to suspect and doubt of his Father's providence, as if it were in compatible to be the Son of God and to be left destitute of means to supply his hunger, and therefore must take some extraordinary course of his own to furnish himself.

[4.] It tended to put him upon an action of vainglory, by working a miracle before the devil, to show his power; as all needless actions are but a vain ostentation.

2. Because it was in itself a puzzling and perplexing proposal, not without inconveniences on both sides, whichsoever of the extremes our Lord should choose; whether he did, or did not, what the tempter suggested. If he did, he might seem to doubt of the truth of the oracle, by which he was declared to be the Son of God, or to distrust God's providence, or to give way to a vain ostentation of his own power. If he did not, he seemed to be wanting, in not providing necessary food for his sustentation when it was in his power to do so; and it seemed to be unreasonable to hide that which it concerned all to know, to wit, that he was the Son of God. And it seemeth grievous to hear others suspicious concerning ourselves, when it is in our power easily to refute them; such provocations can hardly be borne by the most modest spirits. This temptation was again put upon Christ on the cross: Mat. xxvii. 40, 'If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.' But all is to be done at God's direction, and as it becometh our obedience to him, and respect to his glory. Satan and his instruments will be satisfied with no proofs of principles of faith, but such as he and they will prescribe, and which cannot be given without entrenching upon our obedience to God, and those counsels which he hath wisely laid for his own glory. And if God's children be surprised with such a disposition, it argueth so far the influence of Satan upon them, namely, when they will not believe but upon their own terms: as Thomas, John xx. 25, 'Except I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my ringer into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.' If we will not accept of the graces of faith as offered by God, but will interpose conditions of our own prescribing, we make a snare to ourselves. God may in condescension to a weak believer grant what was his fault to seek, as he doth afterwards to Thomas, ver. 27; but there is no reason he should grant it to the devil, he being a malicious and incorrigible spirit, coming temptingly to ask it.

3. This temptation was cunning and plausible; it seemed only to tend to Christ's good, his refection when hungry, and his honour and glory, that this might be a full demonstration of his being the Son of God. There is an open solicitation to evil, and a covert; explicit and implicit; direct and indirect. This last here. It was not an open, direct, explicit solicitation to sin, but covert, implicit, and indirect, which sort of temptations are more dangerous. There was no need of declaring Christ's power by turning stones into bread before the devil, and at his instance and suit. It was neither necessary nor profitable. Not necessary for Christ's honour and glory, it being sufficiently evidenced before by that voice from heaven, or might be evident to him without new proof. Nor was it necessary for Christ's refection, because he might be sustained by the same divine power by which hitherto he had been supported for forty days. Nor was it profitable, none being present but the devil, who asked not this proof for satisfaction, but cavil; and that he might boast and gain advantage, if Christ had done anything at his instance and direction. And in this peculiar dispensation all was to be done by the direction of the Holy, and not the impure spirit. I come now to the third branch.

Thirdly, Christ's answer, ver. 4, 'And he answered and said, It is written, Man liveth not by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.' Christ's answer is not made to that part of the proposal, 'If thou be the Son of God' but to the urgent necessity of his refection. The former was clear and evident, the force of the temptation lay not there; but the latter, which Satan sought to make most advantage of, is clearly refuted. Christ's answer is taken out of Deut. viii. 3; and this answer is not given for the tempter's sake, but ours, that we may know how to answer in like cases, and repel such kind of temptations. In the place quoted, Moses speaketh of manna, and showeth how God gave his people manna from heaven, to teach them that though bread be the ordinary means of sustaining man, yet God can feed him by other means, which he is pleased to make use of for that purpose. His bare word, or nothing; all cometh from his divine power and virtue, whatever he is pleased to give for the sustentation of man, ordinary or extraordinary. The tempter had said that either he must die for hunger, or turn stones into bread. Christ showeth that there is a middle between both these extremes. There are other ways which the wisdom of God hath found out, or hath appointed by his word, or decreed to such an end, and maketh use of in the course of his providence. And the instance is fitly chosen; for he that provided forty years for a huge multitude in the desert, he will not be wanting to his own Son, who had now fasted but forty days. In the words there is:

I. A concession or grant, that ordinarily man liveth by bread; and therefore must labour for it, and use it when it may be had.

II. There is a restriction of the grant that it is not by bread only: 'But by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.' The business is to explain how a man can live by the word of God, or what is meant by it.

1. Some take word for the word of precept, and expound it thus: if you be faithful to your duty, God will provide for you. For in every command of God, general or particular, there is a promise expressed or implied of all things necessary: Deut. xxviii. 5, 'Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store;' and Mat. vi. 33, 'Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.' Now we may lean upon this word of God, keep ourselves from indirect means, and in a fair way of providence refer the issue to God.

2. Some take the word for the word of promise, which indeed is the livelihood of the saints: Ps. cxix. Ill, 'Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever; they are the rejoicing of my heart.' God's people in a time of want can make a feast to themselves out of the promises; and when seemingly starved in the creature, fetch not only peace and grace and righteousness, but food and raiment out of the covenant.

3. Rather, I think, it is taken for his providential word or commanded blessing; for as God made all things by his word, so 'he upholdeth all things by the word of his power ': Heb. i. 3. His powerful word doth all in the world: Ps. cxlvii. 15, 'He sendeth forth his commandment on the earth; his word runneth very swiftly; he giveth snow like wool.' And then, in the 18th verse, 'He sendeth out his word, and melteth them.' As the word of creation made all things, so the word of providence sustaineth all things. This word is spoken of Ps. cvii. 20, 'He sent his word, and his word healed them; and delivered them from all their destructions.' It is dictum factum with God; if he speak but the word, it is all done: Mat. viii. 8, 'Speak but the word, and thy servant shall be whole' So Luke iv. 36, 'What a word is this 1 for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.' So of Joseph it is said, Ps. cv. 19, 'Until the time that his word came; the word of the Lord tried him;' that is, his power and influence on the hearts of the parties concerned for his deliverance. Well, then, the power of sustaining life is not in bread, but in the word of God; not in the means, but in God's commanded blessing, which may be conveyed to us by means, or without means, as God pleaseth. There is a powerful commanding word which God useth far health, strength, sustentation, or any effect wherein the good of his people is concerned. He is the great commander of the world. If he say to anything Go, and it goeth; Come, and it cometh.

Thus you have the history of the first temptation. Now for the observations.

Observe, first, That God may leave his children and servants to great straits; for Christ himself was sorely an hungered: so God suffereth his people to hunger in the wilderness before he gave them manna, Therefore it is said, Ps. cii. 23, 'He weakeneth the strength of the people in the way.' He hath sundry trials wherewith to exercise our faith, and sometimes by sharp necessities. Paul and his companions had continued fourteen days, and had taken nothing: Acts xxvii. 33. Many times God's children are thus tried: trading is dead, and there are many mouths to be fed, and little supply cometh in; yet this is to be borne: none of us more poor than Christ, or more destitute than was Christ.

Secondly, That the devil maketh an advantage of our necessities. When Christ was an hungered, then the tempter came to him; so unto us. Three sorts of temptations he then useth to us, the same he did to Christ:

[1.] Either he tempteth us to unlawful means to satisfy our hunger; so he did to Christ, who was to be governed by the Spirit, to work a miracle to provide for his bodily wants at Satan's direction; so us. Poverty hath a train of sinful temptations: Prov. xxx. 9, 'Lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.' Necessities are urging, but we must not go to the devil for a direction how to supply ourselves, lest he draw us to put our hand to our neighbour's goods, or to defraud our brother, or betray the peace of our conscience, or to do some unworthy thing, that we may live the more comfortably. You cannot plead necessity; it is to relieve your charge, to maintain life; God is able to maintain it in his own way. No necessity can make any sin warrantable. It is necessary thou shouldst not sin; it is not necessary thou shouldst borrow more than thou canst pay. or use any fraudulent means to get thy sustenance. If others be un merciful, thou must not be unrighteous.

[2.] To question our adoption, as he did the filiation of Christ: 'If thou be the Son of God.' It is no wonder to find Satan calling in question the adoption and regeneration of God's children, for he calleth in question the filiation and sonship of the Son of God, though so plainly attested but a little before: Heb. xii. 5, 'Ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as children, My son,' &c. Certainly whatever moveth us to question our interest in God's fatherly love, bare afflictions should not; for to be without afflictions is a sign of bastards. God hath no illegitimate children, but God hath de generate children, who are left to a larger discipline.

[3.] To draw us to a diffidence and distrust of God's providence: this he sought to breed in Christ, or at least to do something that might seem to countenance it, if he should upon his motion work a miracle. Certainly it is Satan's usual temptation to work in us a disesteem of God's goodness and care, and to make us pore altogether upon our wants. A sense of our wants may be a means to humble us, to quicken us to prayer; but it should not be a temptation to beget in us un- thankfulness, or murmuring against God's providence, or any dis- quietness or unsettledness in our minds. And though they may be very pinching, yet we should still remember that God is good to them that are of a clean heart: Ps. Ixxiii. 1. God hath in himself all- sufficiency, who knoweth both what we want, and what is fittest for us, and is engaged by his general providence as a faithful Creator: 1 Pet. iv. 19, 'Let them that surfer according to the will of God, commit the keeping of their souls to him in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator;' but more especially as related to us as a Father: Mat. vi. 32, 'Your heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of all these things.' And by his faithful promise, Heb. xiii. 5, 'He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.' And he will give us every good thing while we fear him: Ps. xxxiv. 9, 10, 'fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.' And walk uprightly: Ps. Ixxxiv. 11, 'For the Lord God is a sun and a shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk up rightly.' And seek it of him by prayer: Mat. vii. 11, 'Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.'

But you will say, You preach only to the poor and destitute. I answer, I speak as my subject leadeth me: it will put the point generally; Satan maketh an advantage of our condition. Christ had power to do what was suggested; every condition hath its snares, a full condition most of all: Ps. Ixix. 22, 'Let their table be a snare, their welfare for a trap.' He hideth his snares and gins to catch our souls. In all the comforts men enjoy they are apt to grow proud, to forget God, to become merciless to others who want what they enjoy; to live in vain pleasures, and to forget eternity; to live in sinful security, in the neglect of Christian duties; to be enslaved to sensual satisfactions, to be flat and cold in prayer. This glut and fulness of worldly comforts is much more dangerous than our hunger.

Thirdly, observe, In tempting, Satan pretendeth to help the tempted party to a better condition; as here he seemeth careful to have bread provided for Christ at his need, yea, pretendeth respect to his glory, and to have him manifest himself to be the Son of God, by such a miracle as he prescribeth. This seeming tenderness, counselling Christ to support his life and health, was the snare laid for him. Thus he dealt with our first parents: he seeketh to weaken the reputation of God's love and kindness to man, and to breed in the woman's mind a good opinion of himself. That his suggestions might make the greater impression upon her, he manageth all his discourse with her, that all the advice which he seemeth to give her proceeded of his love and good affection towards her and her husband, pretending a more than ordinary desire and care of man's good, Gen. iii. 5, as if he could direct him how to become a match for God himself. So still he dealeth with us; for alas! otherwise 'in vain is the snare laid in the sight of any bird,' Prov. i. 17. He covereth the snare laid for man's destruction with a fair pretence of love to advance man to a greater happiness, and so pretendeth the good of those whom he meaneth wholly to destroy. He enticeth the covetous with dishonest gain, which at length proveth a real loss: the sensual with vain pleasures, which at length prove the greatest pain to body and soul: the ambitious with honours, which really tend to their disgrace. Always trust God, but disbelieve the devil, who promoteth man's destruction under a pretence of his good and happiness. How can Satan and his instruments put us upon anything that is really good for us?

Fourthly, That Satan's first temptations are more plausible. He doth not at first dash come with 'fall down and worship me;' but only pretendeth a respect to Christ's refection, and a demonstration of his sonship. Few or none are so desperate at first as to leap into hell at the first dash, therefore the devil beginneth with the least temptations. First men begin with less evils, play about the brink of hell: a man at first taketh a liking to company, afterwards he doth a little enlarge himself into some haunts and merry meetings with his companions, then entereth into a confederacy in evil, till he hath brought utter ruin upon himself, and what was honest friendship at first proveth wicked company and sure destruction at last. At first a man playeth for recreation, then ventureth a shilling or two, afterwards, by the witchery of gaming, off goeth all sense of thrift, honesty, and credit. At first a man dispenseth with himself in some duty, then his dispensation groweth into a settled toleration, and God is cast out of his closet, and his heart groweth dead, dry, and sapless. There is no stop in sin, it is of a multiplying nature, and we go on from one degree to another; and a little lust sets open the door for a greater, as the lesser sticks set the greater on fire.

Fifthly, There is no way to defeat Satan's temptations but by a sound belief of God's all-sufficiency, and the nothingness of the creature.

[1.] A sound belief of, and a dependence on, God's all-sufficiency: Gen. xvii. 1, 'I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.' We need not warp, nor run to our shifts, he is enough to help to defend or reward us; he can help us without means, though there be no supply in the view of sense, or full heaps in our own keeping. God knoweth when we know not: 2 Pet. ii. 9, 'The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations,' &c., or by contrary means, curing the eyes with spittle and clay. He can make a little means go far. As he blessed the pulse to the captive children, Dan. i. 15, and made the widow's barrel of meal and cruse of oil to hold out, 1 Kings xvii. 14, and his filling and feeding five thousand with a few barley loaves and a few fishes, Mat. xiv. 21; on the other side he can make abundance unprofitable: Luke xii. 15, 'A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.' No means can avail unless God giveth his blessing; therefore we should not distrust his providence, nor attempt anything without God's warrant, lest we offend him, and provoke him to withdraw his blessing.

[2.] The nothingness of the creature: 'Not by bread alone.' It is nothing by way of comparison with God, nothing by way of exclusion of God, nothing in opposition to God. It should be nothing in our esteem, so far as it would be something separate from God, or in co ordination with God: Isa. xl. 17, 'All nations before him are as nothing, less than nothing and vanity;' Job vi. 21, 'Now ye are nothing' All friends cannot help, our foes cannot hurt us, not the greatest of either kind: Isa. xxxiv. 12, 'All her princes shall be nothing.' In regard of the effects which the world promiseth to its deluded lovers, all is as nothing; not only that it can do nothing to our needy souls to relieve us from the burden of sin, nothing towards the quiet and true peace of our wounded consciences, nothing to our acceptance with God, nothing for strength against corruptions and temptations, nothing at the hour of death; but it can do nothing for us during life, nothing to relieve and satisfy us in the world without God. Therefore God is still to be owned and trusted


Then 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 thyself 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. MAT. IV. 5, 6.

IN this second temptation I shall give you (1.) The history of it; (2.) Observations upon it. I. The history of it. There,

1. What Satan did.

2. What he said.

3. The soreness of the temptation.

1. What he did: 'Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple.' There (1.) Take notice of the ground which the devil chose for the conflict: 'He taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on the pinnacle of the temple.' By the holy city is meant Jerusalem, for this name is given to it in other scriptures: Isa. Iviii. 2, 'They call themselves of the holy city' And Isa. lii. 1, Ɔ Jerusalem, the holy city;' and in many other places. It was so called, because it was the seat of God's worship, and the place where God manifested his gracious presence with his people. If you ask why now it was called the holy city, since it was a city of blood, the seat of all wickedness, in which the law of God was depraved, their religion corrupted, their religion polluted? I answer, Yet there was the temple of the Lord. Some relics of good and holy men, some grace yet continued, and the only place that owned the true God, though with much corruption. The more especial place which the devil chose for the conflict was irrepvyiov rov iepov, 'the pinnacle of the temple,' or 'the wing of the temple;' meaning the border round about the flat covering of the temple to hinder any one from falling off easily, which might be adorned with pinnacles and spires, from whence one might easily fall. (2.) How the devil got him there? Whether Christ was carried through the air, or went on his feet, following him of his own accord? The last seem- eth to be countenanced by Luke; that he led him to the pinnacle of the temple, Luke iv. 9, ijyayev avrov; yet the former is preferred by most ancient and modern interpreters, and not without reason. For Christ voluntarily to follow the devil, and to go up to the top of the temple, and stand on one of the pinnacles thereof, it seemeth improbable, and would take up more time than could be spent on this temptation. He that would not obey the devil persuading him to cast himself down, that he might not tempt God, would not voluntarily have gone up with him, for that would have been the beginning of a temptation, to yield so far. Most probably, then, Satan was per mitted to carry him in the air, without doing him any hurt, to Jerusalem, and one of the pinnacles of the temple and battlements thereof. But how Christ was carried in the air, visibly or invisibly, the scripture showeth not: it affirmeth the thing, but sets not down the manner. We must believe what it asserteth, reverence what it concealeth. Here was a real translation, a transportation from place to place, not imaginary, for then Christ had been in no danger. And again, not violent, but voluntary a carrying, not a haling a leading, not a forcing, as the wrestler is drawn on to the combat. As he suffered himself to be drawn to death by Satan's instruments, so by the devil to be translated from place to place. The officers of the high priest had power to carry him from the garden to Annas, from Annas to Caiaphas, from Caiaphas to Pilate, from Pilate to Herod, from Herod to Pilate again, and then from Gabbatha to Golgotha, which could not have been unless this power had been given them from above, as Christ himself telleth Pilate, John xix. 11. So God, for his greater glory and our instruction, permitted this transportation; therefore this translation is not to be imputed to the weakness of Christ, but his patience, submitting thus far that he might experience all the machinations of Satan; and the transporting is not to be ascribed to the tempter's strength, but his boldness. Christ did not obey him, but submitted to the divine dispensation, and would fight with him not only in the desert, but in the holy city: and no wonder if Christ suffered Satan to carry him, who suffered his instruments to crucify him.

2. What he said to him, ver. 6, where take notice (1.) Of the temptation itself, 'If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down.' (2.) The reason alleged to back it, 'For it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee,' &c.

[1.] The temptation itself: 'If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down.' Mark what was the mote in the devil's eye, that Christ was declared to be the Son of God, the Messiah and Saviour of the world. He would have him to put it to this proof in the sight of all Jerusalem, wherein, if he failed, and had died of the fall, the Jews would think him an impostor; if he had escaped, he had submitted to the devil's methods, and so had run into the former sins mentioned before in the first temptation, his doing something at the devil's direction; his dis belief of the divine oracle, unless manifested by such proof as Satan required; and besides a tempting of divine providence the ordinary way was down stairs. He would have him leap, and throw himself over the battlements. It would be too long to go down stairs; he will teach him a nearer way: to cast himself down and fear no hurt, for if he were the Son of God he might securely do so. But chiefly Christ was not to begin his ministry by miracles, but doctrine not from a demonstration of his power, but wisdom. The gospel was to be first preached, then sealed and confirmed by miracles; and Christ's miracles were not to be ludicrous, but profitable not fitted for pomp, but use to instruct and help men, rather than strike them with wonder. Now this would discredit the gospel, if Christ should fly in the air; besides, we must not fly to extraordinary means, where ordinary are present.

Only, before I go off, observe that Satan did not offer to cast him down; that God did not suffer him to do, because he sought to bring Christ to sin. If Satan had cast him down, Christ had not sinned.

[2.J The reason by which he backeth the temptation. It is taken from scripture: 'For it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee.' The scripture is in Ps. xci. 11, 12, where the words run thus: 'He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.' Where,

First, Observe the devil's cunning in citing scripture. The apostle telleth us that Satan is sometimes transformed into an angel of light, 2 Cor. xi. 14. Arid we read that once he took the habit and guise of a prophet, 1 Sam. xxviii. 18; and indeed he deceiveth more by the voice of Samuel than by the voice of the dragon. We read of ra ftddr) TOV Zarava, 'The depths of Satan,' Rev. ii. 24. Here he cometh like a divine, with a Bible in \ his hand, and turneth to the place; here the enemy of God cometh with the word of God, and disguiseth the worst of actions with the best of words, opposeth God to God, and turneth his truth to countenance a lie. Being refuted by scripture, he will bring scripture too, and pretendeth to reverence that which he chiefly hateth. Christians, you have not to do with, a foolish devil, who will appear in his own colours and ugly shape, but with a devout devil, who, for his own turn, can pretend to be godly.

Secondly, That he citeth such a scripture, which exceedingly conduceth to commend the happiness of the godly; for God will not only be the keeper and guardian of them that fear him, but hath also appointed the ministry of angels; and the argument of the tempter seemeth to be taken from the less to the greater; for if it be true of every one that trusts in God, and dwelleth in the shadow of the Almighty, that God will have such a care of him, much more will he have a care of his beloved Son, in whom he is well pleased. There fore, you that are declared to be so from heaven, and having such an occasion to show yourself to be the Son of God with so much honour and profit, why should you scruple to cast yourself down?

But wherein was the devil faulty in citing the scripture? Some say in leaving out those words, in all thy ways. This was Bernard's gloss in viis, non in prcecipitiis: will keep you in your ways or duties, not in your headlong actions; these were none of his ways, to throw himself down from the battlements of the temple. This is not to be altogether rejected, because it reaches the sense; yet this omission was not the devil's fault in citing this scripture; for, all thy ways signifieth no more but in all thy actions and businesses, and that is sufficiently implied in the words cited by Satan. But the devil's error was in application. He applieth the word of God, not to instruct, but deceive; rather to breed a contempt, disdain, and hatred of scriptures, than a reverent esteem of them; to make the word of God seem uncertain; or if a reverence of them, to turn this reverence into an occasion of deceit; more particularly to tempt God to a need less proof of his power. We are not to cast ourselves into danger, that providence may fetch us off. God will protect us in the evils we suffer, not in the evils we commit not in dangers we seek, but such as befall us besides our intention.

3. The soreness of this temptation, which appeareth in several things.

[1.] The change of place. For a new temptation, he maketh choice of a new place; he could do no good on him in the wilderness, there fore he taketh him and carrieth him into the holy city. Here was a public place where Christ might discover himself with profit, and the edification of many, if he would but submit to the devil's methods. In the temple the Messiah was as in his own house, where it was fit the Messiah should exhibit himself to his people. There was an old prophecy, Mai. iii. 1, 'The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come into his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in.' And he was to send forth his rod out of Zion, even the law of his kingdom: Ps. ex. 2. If he would yield to this advice and vain glorious ostentation of his power before that numerous multitude which continually resorted to the holy things performed in the temple, how soon should he be manifested to be the Son of God, or the power of the great God. The devil doth not persuade him to cast himself from a rock or top of a tree in the desert that had been temerity and rashness but from a pinnacle of the temple, an holy place, and a place of much resort. But the Son of God was not to be discovered to the world by the devil's methods. That had been such a piece of ostentation and vainglory as did not become the Son of God, who came to teach the world humility. But, however, the temptation is grievous: in so good a design, in such an holy place, there could no ill happen to the Son of God, nor a better occasion be offered of showing himself to many, so to confirm the Jews in the truth of the oracle they had of late heard from heaven.

[2.] The change of temptations. Since he will trust, the devil will put him upon trusting; he shall trust as much as he will. There he tempted him to the use of unlawful means to preserve his life, here to the neglect of things lawful. There, that God would fail him if he were still obedient to the Spirit, and did not take another course than divine providence had as yet offered to him; here, that God would not forsake him, though he threw himself into danger. There, that he would fail though he had promised; here, that he would help though he had not promised. That faith which sustained him in his hunger would preserve him in this precipice; if he expected his preservation from God, why not now? He had hitherto tempted him to diffidence, now to prefidence, or an over-confident presumption that God would needlessly show his power. It is usual with the tempter to tempt man on both sides; sometimes to weaken his faith, at other times to neglect his duty. He was east out of heaven himself, and he is all for casting down.

[3.] The temptation was the more strong, being veiled under a pretence of scripture, and so Christ's weapons seem to be beaten back upon himself. The devil tempted him to nothing but what he might be confident to do upon the promise of God. Now it is grievous to God's children, when the rule of their lives and the charter of their hopes is abused to countenance a temptation.

II. The observations.

1. Observe, that the first temptation being rejected by Christ, Satan maketh a new assault. Though he get the foil, he will set on us again; like a troublesome fly that is often beaten off, yet will return to the same place. Thus the devil, when he could do no good upon his first patent against Job's goods and children, cometh and sueth for a new commission, that he might touch his flesh and bones: Job ii. 4, 5, 'Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.' Satan is incessant in his attempts against the saints, and is ready to assault afresh upon every occasion. Now this cometh to pass by Satan's unwearied malice, who is a sworn enemy to our peace and welfare he still 'seeketh to devour' us, 1 Peter v. 8; also from God's providence, who permitteth this that we may not be careless and secure after temptation, though we have gotten the victory; for our life is a continual warfare: Job vii. 1, 'Is there not an appointed time for man upon earth?' The same word signifieth also a warfare. Man's life is a perpetual toil, and a condition of manifold temptations and hazards, such as a soldier is exposed to; therefore we must perpetually watch. We get not an absolute victory till death. Now this should the more prevail with us, because many of God's people have failed after some eminent service performed for God. Josiah, after he had prepared the temple, fell into that rash attempt against Pharaoh Necho which cost him his life: 2 Chron. xxxv. 20, 'After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho, king of Egypt, came up to fight against Carchemish by Euphrates; and Josiah went out against him.' And Peter, after he had made a glorious confession, giveth his Master carnal counsel: Mat. xvi. 18, 'Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my church' &c.; and yet, ver. 23, 'Get thee behind me, Satan.' Many, after they have been much lifted up in consolation, do readily miscarry. First, he made a glorious confession, a sign of great faith; then carnal wisdom vents itself in some counsel concerning the ease of the flesh. Oh, what need have we to stand upon our guard, till God tread Satan under our feet! As one of the Roman generals, whether conquering or conquered, semper instaurat pugnam, so doth Satan.

2. Observe, God may give Satan some power over the body of one whom he loveth dearly. For Satan is permitted to transport Christ's body from the wilderness to the holy city, and to set it on a pinnacle of the temple. As it is very consistent with God's love to his people to suffer them to be tempted in their souls by the fiery darts of Satan, so he may permit Satan to afflict their bodies, either by himself, or by witches, who are his instruments. Thus he permitted Satan to afflict Job, chap. ii. 6, 7, 'And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thy hand, but save his life. So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils, from the sole of his foot unto his crown.' The devil may have a threefold power over the bodies of men:

[1.] By transportations, or carrying them from one place to another, which usually is not found but in those that give up themselves to his diabolical enchantments. Or,

[2.] In possessions, which were frequent and rife in Christ's time: 'My daughter is sorely vexed with a devil' Mat. xv. 22. Or,

[3.] In diseases, which is more common. Thus he afflicted Job's body with ulcers; and what we read, Ps. xli. 8, 'An evil disease cleaveth fast unto him.' It is !<2^3-">3"l 'a thing of Belial' as if it were a pestilential disease from the devil. So some understand that, Ps. xci. 3, 'Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence' As if those sudden darts of venom by which we are stricken in the plague came from Satan. Certainly evil angels may have a great hand in our diseases: Ps. Ixxviii. 49, 'He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them.' But I press it not much. Only,

(1.) A word of patience, that we would submit to God, though our trials be never so sharp. We must yield to that measure of humiliation which it shall please God to prescribe. If he should give leave to Satan to inflame our blood and trouble the humours of our body, we must not repine; the Son of God permitted his sacred body to be transported by the devil in the air.

(2.) A word of comfort. Whatever power God permitteth Satan to have over our bodies, or bodily interests, yet it is limited; he cannot hurt or molest any further than God pleaseth. He had power to set Christ on a pinnacle of the temple, but not to cast him down. He had a power to touch Job's skin, but a charge not to endanger his life: Job ii. 6, 'Behold, he is in thine hand, but save his life.' God sets bounds and limits to the malice of Satan, that he is not able to compass all his designs. Job was to be exercised, but God would not have him die in a cloud, his life was to be secured till better times.

(3.) A word of caution. Let not the devil make an advantage of those troubles which he bringeth upon our bodies, or the interests of the bodily life, yet let him not thereby draw you to sin. Here the devil may set Christ upon a precipice, but he can do him no further hurt; he may persuade us to cast down ourselves, but he cannot cast us down unless we cast down ourselves, Nemo Iteditur nisi a seipso. His main spite is at your souls, to involve you in sin. God may give him and his instruments a power over your bodily lives, but he doth not give him a power over the graces of the saints. The devil aimeth at the destruction of souls; he can let men enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, that he may deprive you of delight in God and celestial pleasures; he can be content that you shall have dignities and honours if they prove a snare to you. If the devil seek to bring you to poverty, trouble, and nakedness, it is to draw you from God. He careth not for the body but as it may be an occasion to ruin the soul.

3. Observe, If Satan lead us up, it is to throw us down. He taketh up Christ to the pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, 'Cast thyself down' He bringeth up many by little and little to some high place, that by their aspiring they may at length break their necks. Thus he did Haman, and so he doth many others, whose climbing maketh way for their greater fall. The devil himself was an aspirer, and fell from heaven like lightning: Luke x. 18, 'I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven' And though in show he may seem to befriend many that hearken to his temptations, yet in the end he crieth, 'Down with them, down with them, even to the ground' God's manner is quite contrary; when he meaneth to exalt a man, he will first humble him, and make him low: Mat. xxiii. 12, 'Whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted' But the devil's way is to lift them up to the clouds, that he may bring them down to the lowest pit of destruction. Adam, in conceit, must be like God, that indeed he may be like the beasts that perish: Ps. xlix. 20, 'Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish'

4. Observe, 'If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down' The temptation is quite contrary to what it was before. Then it was to preserve life by unlawful means, now to endanger life by the neglect of means lawful; there to distrust God's care of our preservation when he hath set us about any task or work, here to presume on his care without warrant. The devil tempts us sometimes to pamper the flesh, sometimes to neglect it in such a way as is destructive to our service. Thus the devil hurrieth us from one extreme to another, as the possessed man 'fell oft-times into the fire, and oft into the water' Mat. xvii. 15. Those that are guided by Satan reel from one extremity to another; either men slight sin and make light of it, or sinners are apt to sorrow above measure, as the incestuous Corinthian: 2 Cor. ii. 17, 'Lest perhaps such an one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow' And the apostle showeth there that these were the enterprises of Satan. Some men are careless of God's interest in the world, or else heated into the activity of a bitter zeal. Some are of a scrupulous spirit, that they may make conscience of all things; and the devil hurrieth them into a large atheistical spirit, that they make conscience of nothing. How often have we known a fond scrupulosity to end in a profane licentiousness, when they have been wearied out of that kind of frame of spirit! Some are dead and heartless, like Gallio, 'care for none of these things;' fight Christ, fight Antichrist, it is all one to them; and usually they are such as formerly have been heated with a blind and bold madness: as Peter at first refused to have his feet washed by Christ, and then would have head, hands, feet and all washed, John xiii. 8, 9, being out in both. What sad work is there made in the church of God by Solifidians and Nullifidians: heretofore it was all faith and free grace misapplied and misunderstood; and now it' is all morality and virtue, while Christ is neglected, and the mystery of the gospel little set by or valued. It is ever the devil's policy to work upon the humour of people. If they will reform the church, it shall be to a degree of separation, and condemning all churches and Christians that are not of their mode; if they be for uniting, Christ's unquestionable interests must be trodden underfoot, and all care of truth and reformation must be laid aside. If he can destroy religion and godliness no other way, he will be religious and godly himself; but it is either, as to private Christians, to set them upon overdoing, that he may make them weary of the service of Christ; or, as to the public, by crying up some unnecessary things, which Christ never commanded. If men be troubled with sin, and see a necessity of the gospel, and prize the comforts of it, the gospel must be over-gospelled, or else it will not serve their turns; and that over-gospel must be carried to such a length as to destroy the very gospel, and free grace itself. The devil first tempted the world to despise the poor fishermen that preached the gospel; but the world, being convinced by the power of the Holy Ghost, and gained to the faith, then he fought by riches and grandeur to debase the gospel; so that he hath got as much or more by the worldly glory he puts upon Christ's messengers as by persecution. Then, when that is discovered, the devil will turn reformer; and what reformation is that? the very necessary support and maintenance of ministers must be taken away. All overdoing in God's work is undoing. If Christ will trust, the devil will persuade him to trust, even to the degree of tempting God.

5. Observe, That the devil himself may pretend scripture to put a varnish upon his evil designs; for here he seeketh to foil Christ with his own weapons: which serveth to prevent a double extreme.

[1.] One is, not to be frighted with the mere noise and sound of scriptures, which men bring to countenance their errors. See whether they be not wrested and misapplied; for the devil may quote scripture, but he perverts the meaning of it. And usually it is so by his instruments; as that pope, who would prove a double power to be in him self, temporal and spiritual, by that scripture, Ecce duo gladii! 'Behold, here are two swords!' Luke xxii. 38. It is easy to rehearse the words of scripture, and therefore not the bare words, but the meaning must be regarded.

[2.] The other extreme is this: Let none vilify the scriptures, because pleaded by Satan; for so he might as well vilify human reason, which is pleaded for all the errors in the world; or law, because it is urged sometimes to justify a bad cause. For it is not scripture, that is not a nose of wax, as Papists say. It is a great proof of the authority and honour of scriptures, that Satan and his greatest instruments do place their greatest hopes of prevailing by perverting and misapplying of it.

6. Observe, That God hath given his angels a special charge about his people, to keep them, from harm. Here I shall show:

[1.] That it is so.

[2.] Why it is so.

First, That it is so is evident by the scripture, which everywhere shows us that angels are the first instruments of his providence, which he maketh use of in guarding his faithful servants: Heb. i. 14. The apostle saith, 'Are they not all, \etTovpyiKa Trvevfjuara, ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to them that shall be the heirs of salvation?' Their work and employment is to attend us at God's direction, not to be worshipped and served by us by any devotion. They are 'ministering spirits' not ours, but Christ's; he that serveth hath a master whom he serveth, and by whom he is sent forth: their work and employment is to attend us indeed, but at the command and direction of their own Master. They are not at our beck to go and come at our pleasure, neither do they go and come at their inclination, but at the commission of God: their work is appointed by him, they serve us as their Master's children, at his command and will; and whom do they serve? 'The heirs of salvation.' They are described, Titus iii. 7, 'That being justified by grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.' They are not ministers of con version and sanctification: to this ministry Christ hath called men, not angels; but in preserving the converted the angels have a hand. Therefore it is notable they are sometimes called God's angels: Ps. ciii. 21, 'Bless the Lord, all ye his hosts, ye ministers of his that do his pleasure; 'sometimes their angels: Mat. xviii. 10, 'Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones, for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven'

But whether every one hath an angel-guardian is a curious question. Sometimes one angel serveth many persons: Ps. xxxiv. 7, 'The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivered) them;' and sometimes many angels are about one person: 2 King? vi. 17, 'And, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots round about Elisha.' And here in the text quoted by Satan, 'He shall give his angels charge concerning thee.' There is not mention made of one, but many angels, and the angels in general are said to be ministering spirits. When soldiers are said to watch for a city, it is not meant that every citizen hath a soldier to watch for him.

The only place which seemeth to countenance that opinion is Acts xii. 15, 'Then said they, It is his angel.' But if Peter had a peculiar angel to guard him, and look after him then, when he was in great trouble, and detained in prison, it doth not follow that every person and everywhere should have an angel-guardian. Besides, an assertion in scripture must be distinguished from men introduced speaking in scripture. It showeth, indeed, that it was the opinion of the Jews at that time, which these holy men had imbibed and drunk in. Or it may be the word angel is only taken for a messenger sent from Peter. Why should an angel stand knocking at the door, who could easily make his entrance? And is it credible that the guardian angels do take their shape and habit whose angels they are? It is enough for us to believe that all the angels are our guardians, who are sent to keep us and preserve us, as it pleaseth God.

But what is their ministry and custody? It is not aura animarum, care and charge of souls; that Christ taketh upon himself, and performeth it by his Spirit; but ministerium externi auxilii, to afford us outward help and relief: it is custodia corporis, they guard the bodily life_ chiefly. Thus we find them often employed. An angel brought Elijah his food under the juniper-tree: 1 Kings xix. 5. An angel stirred the waters at the Pool of Siloam: John v. 4. An angel was the guide of the way to Abraham's servant: Gen. xxiv. 7, 'He will send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.' Angels defend us against enemies: Ps. xxxiv. 7, 'The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him and delivereth them;' 2 Kings xix. 35, 'The angel of the Lord went out and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand' An angel opened the prison doors to the apostles: Acts v. 19, and xii. 7.

But were not all these services extraordinary and miraculous which we may not now expect?

Ans. The visible ministry was extraordinary, proper to those times but the invisible is perpetual and ordinary, as Abraham's servant did not see the angel in the journey. The devil worketh in and about wicked men invisibly, so do the good angels.

Secondly, Reasons why it is so.

(1.) To manifest the great love and care which God hath over his people; therefore he giveth those blessed spirits, which behold his lace, charge concerning his people on earth; as if a nobleman were charged to look to a beggar by the prince of both.

(2.) We understand the operation of finite agents better than infinite. God is so far out of the reach of our commerce, that we cannot understand the particularity of his providence.

(3 ) To counterwork the devil: evil angels are 'ready to hurt us, and therefore good angels are ready to preserve us. Well might the devil be so well versed in this place; he hath often felt the effects of it; he knew it by experience, being so often encountered by the good angels in his endeavours against the people of God.

(4.) To begin our acquaintance, which in heaven shall be perfected: Heb. xii. 22, 'Ye are come to an innumerable company of angels.'

Use I. To show the happy state of God's people. No heirs of a crown have such guards as they have. Christ dwelleth in their hearts as in a throne: Eph. iii. 17, 'That Christ mav dwell in your hearts by faith.' The Holy Spirit guardeth them against all cares and fears: Phil. iv. 7, 'And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.' And the good angels are as a wall and camp about them: Ps. xxxiv. 7, 'The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them;' Mat. xviii. 10, 'Despise not one of these little ones, for verily I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.' If the angels make an account of them, surely men should not despise them; yea, rather, God esteemeth so much of the meanest of these little ones, that the good angels, who daily enjoy God's glorious presence, are ministering spirits appointed to attend them. If the Lord and his holy angels set such a price on the meanest Christians, we should be loth to despise and offend them.

2. It should breed some confidence and comfort in Christians in their sore straits and difficulties, when all visible help seemeth to be cut off. This invisible ministry of the angels is matter of faith: 2 Kings vi. 16, 17, 'And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open the young man's eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the young man's eyes, 'and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.' These were no other but the angels of God, which were as an host to defend them. Open the eye of faith, you may see God, and his holy angels to secure you.

3. Take we heed how we carry ourselves, because of this honourable presence. In congregations there should be no indecency, 'because of the angels' 1 Cor. xi. 10. In all our ways let us take heed that we do not step out of God's way. Do nothing that is unseemly and dis honest; they are spies upon us. And it is profitable for us, that they may give an account of us to God with joy, and not with grief.


Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. —Mat. IV. 7.

HERE is Christ's answer to the second temptation, where two things are observable:

First, That Christ answered.

Secondly, What he answered.

First, That Christ answered. Christ answered, the more to convince and confound this old deceiver, that he might not think that he was ignorant of his sleights, or that he fainted in the conflict; as also to instruct us what to do in the renewed assaults of the devil, to keep up our resistance still, not letting go our sure hold, which are the scriptures.

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