RPM, Volume 17, Number 11, March 8 to March 14, 2015

A Practical Exposition of The Lord's Prayer

VOL. r. Part 8

By Thomas Manton

Secondly, What he answered, 'It is written,' &c. But would it not have been more satisfactory to have said, It is sufficiently manifest to me that I am the Son of God, and cared for by him, and that it is not for the children of God to run upon precipices?

I answer: It is not for human wisdom to interpose and prescribe to Christ, who was the wisdom and power of God. His answer is most satisfactory, for two reasons:

1. It striketh at the throat of the cause.

2. It doth with advantage give us other instructions.

1. Christ cutteth the throat of the temptation by quoting a passage of scripture, out of Deut. vi. 16, 'Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.' If we must not tempt God, then it doth not become Christ to tempt his Father's providence for a new proof of his filiation and care over him. Therefore the devil's temptation was neither good nor profitable, to put either his sonship or the care of God's providence to this trial; as if he had said, I shall not require any more signs to prove my filiation, nor express any doubt of his power and goodness towards me, as the Israelites did: Exod. xvii. 7, 'And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us, or not?' To which story this prohibition of tempting God alludeth.

2. He doth with advantage give us other instructions; as,

[1.] That we must not esteem the less of scripture, though Satan and his instruments abuse it; and that nothing is more profitable to dissolve doubts and objections raised from scripture, than to compare one scripture with another. For scripture is not opposite to scripture; there is a fair agreement and harmony between the truths therein compared; and one place doth not cross another, but clear and explain another. One place saith he hath a great care of his people, and useth the ministry of angels for that end and purpose; but another place saith, 'Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God;' they must not seek out dangers, and forfeit their- protection by unreasonable presumption.

[2.] It teacheth us that what the scripture speaketh to all, is to be esteemed as spoken to every singular person, for they are included in their universality. In Deuteronomy it is, 'Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God;' but Christ accommodateth it to his own purpose, 'Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.' He that is not to be tempted by a multitude, is not to be tempted by any one. So Ps. xxvii. 8, 'When thou saidst, Seek ye my face, my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.' God's words invite all, but David maketh application to himself.

[3.] Christ subjects himself to the moral law, and did apply the precepts thereof to himself, no less than to us; and so is a pattern of obedience to us, that we ought to direct and order all our actions according to the law and word of God.

Doct. Tempting of God may be a usual, but yet it is a great and heinous sin. In speaking to this point, I shall show: I. What this tempting of God is.

II. The heinousness of the sin.

I. What is this tempting of God? And here let me speak:

1. To the object.

2. To the act.

First, The object, The Lord thy God. To us Christians there is but one only true God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Now some times we are said to tempt God, and sometimes Christ, and sometimes the Spirit of God.

[1.] In scripture we are said to tempt God, as Ps. xcv. 9, 'When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works.' We tempt God either explicitly or implicitly.

(1.) Explicitly, by plain and direct words, which tend to God's dis honour; or a doubting of his prescience, power, and providence, if they have not all things given them according to their fancies and humours. As Ps. Ixxviii. 18, 19, 'They tempted God in their hearts, by asking meat for their lusts. Yea, they spake against God, and said, Can God provide a table in the wilderness?' So Exod. xvii. 7, 'Is the Lord in the midst of us, or no?' They doubted whether God's presence were among them, when they had continually such pregnant proofs of it. The words may either bear this sense, Who knows that God is present? or, Now see whether God be present, or takes any care of us, yea or no.

(2.) Implicitly, or by interpretation, which is a more secret way of tempting God, when the act speaketh it, whatever be the intention of the doer. As those who were about to lay the burden of the rites of Moses's law on the new converts of the Gentiles: Acts xv. 10, 'Now, therefore, why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the necks of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?' That is, why do you not acquiesce in the will of God, apparently manifested, as if ye did go about to try whether God did require anything of his servants besides faith in Christ? His will was clearly evident in the case by what happened to Cornelius; or as if ye would try whether God will take it well that ye should impose upon his disciples a yoke that he approveth not.

[2.] We are said to tempt Christ; and he may be considered either as in the days of his flesh, or in his state of glory, and with respect to his invisible presence:

(1.) In the days of his flesh he was frequently tempted by the scribes and Pharisees, who would not be satisfied in his mission, notwithstanding all the signs and wonders that he had wrought among them; or else sought to accuse and disgrace him, and prejudice the people against him; so Mat. xvi. 1, 'The Pharisees with the Sadducees came, arid tempting him, desired him that he would show them a sign from heaven' So Mat. xxii. 18, 'Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?' when the Pharisees and the Herodians came to question him about paying tribute. So Luke x. 25, 'A certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him,' &c.

(2.) In his state of glory, and with respect to his invisible presence. So the Israelites in the wilderness tempted him before his coming in the flesh, and Christians may now tempt him after his ascension into heaven. Both are in one place: 1 Cor. x. 9, 'Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.'

What was their tempting of Christ in the wilderness? If he be considered as God, he had a subsistence before he was incarnate of the Virgin; and in this sense, as they tempted God, so they may be said also to tempt Christ; for all the affliction, shame, and disgrace done to that people are called the reproach of Christ: Heb. xi. 25, 26, 'Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.' So their murmuring might be called a tempting of Christ. Christ was the perpetual head of the church, who in his own person did lead the people, and was present in the midst of them under the notion of the angel of the covenant. The eternal Son of God guided them in the wilderness: Exod. xxiii. 20-23, 'Behold, I will send an angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have pre pared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions; for my name is in him. But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to thy enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries; for mine angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the land of the Amorites,' &c. This angel can be no other than Christ, whose office it is to keep us in the way, and to bring us into the place which Christ hath prepared for us; he it is that must be obeyed by the people of God, and pardon their transgressions; in him is God's name, for he will not communicate it to any other that is not of the same substance with himself: God is in him, and he in the Father, and his name is 'Jehovah our Righteousness.' So Exod. xxxiii. 14, 'My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.' My presence, that is, my angel, spoken of before, called 'the angel of his presence:' Isa. Ixiii. 9, 'In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them.' This angel is called Jehovah: Exod. xiii. 21, 'And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud,' &c. This angel of God's presence was no other than Jesus Christ, the conductor of them in the wilderness, who safe-guarded them, and secured them all the way from Egypt to Canaan. And we Christians may also tempt Christ, for the apostle warneth us against it: we tempt Christ, now he is ascended into heaven, when we disobey his laws, question his authority, doubt of his promises, after sufficient means of conviction, that he is the Messias, the Son of God; grow weary of his religion, loathing spiritual manna, and begin to be glutted with the gospel, and are discouraged in the way to our heavenly Canaan, whither we are travelling.

[3.] The Holy Ghost is said also to be tempted: Acts v. 9, 'How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord?' namely, by their hypocrisy and dissimulation, putting it to the trial, whether he could discover them in their sin, yea or no; they had endeavoured, as much as in them, lay, to deceive the Spirit by keeping back part of the price; that is, by that practice they would put it to the trial, whether the Holy Ghost, yea or no, could find out that cheat and fallacy. It is not barely to deceive the apostles, who were full of the Holy Ghost, and had a discerning spirit, though to them they brought their lie. No, saith the apostle, 'Ye have not lied unto men, but unto God,' ver. 4; and therefore they are said to 'tempt the Holy Ghost' whether he could find them out or no, though they had so many experiences of his care and respect to the church, and all affairs belonging thereunto; and so the injury was done, not to the apostles, but to the Holy Ghost himself.

Secondly, the act. What is this temptation of God? Temptation is the proving and making trial of a thing or person, what he is, and what he will do. Thus we tempt God when we .put it to the trial whether God will be as good as his word, and doubt of the comminatory and promissory part thereof, or whether he will be such an one as he is taken to be. Now, this is lawful or unlawful according as the trial is made humbly and dutifully, or else proudly and sinfully, whether God will do such a thing as we have prescribed him. And again, as the trial is made necessarily or unnecessarily. Sinfully we are said to tempt God when we make an unnecessary experiment of his truth, goodness, and power, and care of us, having had sufficient assurance of these things before.

[1.] There is a tempting or proving of God in a way of duty. So we are bidden, Mai. iii. 10, 'Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now therewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it' God there submitteth to a trial upon experience; though we are to believe him upon his bare word, yet he will have us to wait for the good things promised; and in this sense it is said, 'The word of the Lord is a tried word, he is a buckler to all them that trust m him, Ps xviii 30. All those that build any hope upon it, and wait to see what the Lord will do, will find that God will stand to his word. This is a constant duty to observe God's truth and faithfulness. _ To suspend our belief till the event is distrust; but to wait, observing what God will do as to the event, is an unquestionable duty.

[2.] There is an allowed trying of God in some cases. I cannot say it is a duty, because it is only warrantable by God's special indulgence and dispensation; and I cannot say it is a sin, because of God's gracious condescension to his people: Judges vi. 39, 'And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew.' The request was not of distrust and malice, but of infirmity and from a weak faith; not out of infidelity to tempt God, but out of humility; being sensible of his own weakness, he desired this help, for the further confirmation of his faith concerning his calling to this work, as an instrument authorised, and the issue and success of it; and also to assure others who followed him. To this head I refer Thomas his proof and trial: John xx. 25, 'Except I see in his hand the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe' Here was weakness in Thomas, to suspend his faith upon such a condition; but an apostle was to be avTOTTT^, an eye-witness of those things which were done especially of his resurrection; and, therefore, Christ meekly condescended to his request, ver. 27, 'Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands, and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side, and be not faithless but believing.' I put it among infirmities: he alloweth him his trial of sense, but with some rebuke. To this head may be referred that of Hezekiah, who, when he was sick of a mortal disease, and the Lord had extraordinarily promised him, on his mourning, that he should be recovered again, he asks a sign for the confirmation of his faith and God grants it him: 2 Kings xx. 8, 9. And the instance of Ahaz, 'who when the prophet bid him 'ask a sign' he said, Isa. vii. 12, 'I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord' He believed nothing of what the prophet had spoke, and was resolved to go on in his way, but he pretended a reverent and religious respect to God. This kind of tempting God is tolerable, being an act of condescension in God to the weakness of his people.

[3.] There is a sinful tempting of God, and this is done two ways:

(1.) Generally every transgression, in a general sense, is a tempting of God: Num. xiv. 22, 'They have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice' Every eminent and notable provocation of theirs is called a tempting of God. Hereby they make trial of God's justice, whether he will execute vengeance upon them or no. Thus we tempt Christ when we fall into any voluntary and known sin, we put it to the trial what he will or can do; we enter into the lists with God, provoke him to the combat: 1 Cor. x. 22,; Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than lie? We try whether God will be so severe as his threatening speaks him to be, as if we would make some experiment of his anger, justice, and power. This kind of tempting of God is compounded of infidelity and presumption. There is infidelity in it when we dare sin against the clear light and checks of conscience, and venture upon his threatenings. You cannot drive a dull ass into the fire that is kindled before him: t Prov. i. 17, 'Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. And there is presumption in it, therefore these voluntary acts of rebellion are called presumptuous sins: Ps. xix. 13, 'Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins.' Gross and scandalous sinners are described to be such as tempt God: Mai. iii. 15, 'And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered' And Ananias and Sapphira are said to 'tempt the Holy Ghost' Acts v. 9. By open voluntary sins men dare God to his face; by secret sins we put it to the trial whether God be an all-seeing God, and will discover this hypocrisy. Both conclude they shall do well enough, though they break his laws, and run wilfully upon evil practices forbidden by his law.

(2.) More particularly we tempt God two ways in a way of dis trust or presumption. Both these arise from unbelief, though they seem to be contrary extremes; for though presumption may seem to arise from an over-much confidence, yet if it be narrowly searched into, we shall find that men presume upon unwarrantable courses, because they do not believe that God will do what is meet to be done in his own time or in his own way. As, for instance, had the Israelites believed that God, in his own time, and in his own way, would have destroyed the Canaanites, they would not have presumed, against an express charge, to have gone against them without the ark and without Moses, as they did: Num. xiv. 40, to the end: they presumed to go up unto the hill-top, and then they were discomfited. But presumption in some being most visible, in others distrust, therefore we make two kinds of them.

[1st.] In a way of distrust. And that is done several ways, but all agree in this: not content with what God hath done already to settle our faith, we prescribe means of our own, and indent with him upon terms of our own making. So the Israelites, Exod. xvii. 7, 'And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us, or not?' They had sufficient signs of God's presence the pillar of a cloud and fire, that went before them by day and by night; but they would have signs of their own. So the Jews are said to tempt Christ, because they sought a sign from heaven: Mat. xvi. 1, 'The Pharisees also, with the Sadducees, came, and, tempting, desired him that he would show them a sign from heaven.' He had given sufficient evidence of his mission and divine power in casting out devils and healing the sick and diseased; but they would have a sign from heaven, some sign of their own prescribing. The devil is ready to put such thoughts into our minds. If God be with us, let him show it by doing this or that; and we are apt to re quire stronger proofs of God's power and presence with us than he alloweth. This is a frequent sin now-a-days, and men are many ways guilty of it.

First, Some will not believe the gospel except they see a miracle or hear an oracle. Christ representeth their thoughts, Luke xvi. 30, * Nay, father Abraham, if one went to them from the dead, then they would repent' They would have other ways of assurance than God alloweth, and are not content with his word and works, by which he revealeth himself to us, but will, at their own pleasure, make trial -of his will and power, and then believe. These tempt God, and therefore no wonder if God will not do for them that which they require.

Secondly, Some will not believe God's providence, but make question of his power and goodness, and care over us and our welfare, when he hath given us sufficient proof thereof. When he hath taken care to convince our infidelity by supplying our wants, and hath done abundantly enough already for evidencing his power, justice, and truth, and readiness to help us, we will not believe unless he give us new and -extraordinary proof of each, such as we prescribe to him: Ps. xcv. 9, 10, 'When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their hearts, and they have not known my ways.' They saw his works, were fed with miracles, and clothed with miracles, yet they must have new proof still. Two ways of tempting him as to his providence the scripture mentions:

One was their setting God a task of satisfying their conceits and carnal affections: Ps. Ixxviii. 18, 'And they tempted God in their hearts, by asking meat for their lusts.' Of this sin they are guilty that must be maintained at such a rate, must have such provision for them and theirs, or else they cannot believe his truth and care of them. As the Israelites, God must give them festival diet in the wilderness, or else they will no longer believe his power and serve him.

The other way of tempting God, with respect to his providence, was by confining him to their own time, manner, and means of working: Ps. Ixxviii. 41, 'Yea, they turned back, and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.' To limit the Holy One is to con fine him within a circle of their own making, and if he doth not help them by their means, and at their time, as those in the text, they will not tarry God's leisure, they think there is no depending on him for any succour. Thus they set bounds to his wisdom and power, as if he could do no more than they conceive to be probable. Thus also we prescribe means and time to God, take upon us to set rules to him how he should govern the world. And one usual way of tempting God now is, when we will not go fair and softly in the path and pace of God's appointing, but are offended at the tediousness thereof, and make haste, and take more compendious ways of our own: Isa. xxviii. 16, 'He that believeth will not make haste;' but he that believeth not is precipitant, must have God's mercy, power, and goodness manifested to them in their own way and time.

Thirdly, Some will not be satisfied as to their spiritual estate with out some sensible proof, or such kind of assurance as God usually vouchsafeth not to his people. As suppose they must be fed with spiritual dainties, and overflow with sensible consolation in every holy duty, or else they are filled with disquieting thoughts about their acceptance with God. We must have matters of faith put under the view and feeling of sense, or else we will not take comfort in them. But we must not limit God to give proofs of his love, nor prescribe such signs as are not promised by him, but study our case in the word. For God will not always treat us by sensible experience. Thomas is allowed to touch Christ, but Mary is not allowed to touch him: John xx. 17, compared with ver. 27.

[2dly.] In a way of presumption; so we tempt God when, without any warrant, we presume of God's power and providence. As here the devil tempted Christ to cast himself down from the pinnacle of the temple, to try if he would take the charge of him in the fall; where upon Christ replieth, 'Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.' Now this is done several ways.

First, When we presume upon God's help, forsaking the ordinary way and means. Christ would not throw himself down, when he could go down by the stairs or steps of the temple. Down-stairs and over the battlements is not all one. Christ, that could walk upon the sea in the distress of his disciples, in ordinary cases taketh a ship. Whosoever will not use the ordinary means that God hath appointed, but in ordinary cases expects extraordinary supplies, tempteth God. God is able to bring water out of the rock, when there is nothing but rock and stone; but when we may hope to find spring- water, we must dig for it. God can rain manna out of heaven; but when the soil will bear corn, we must till it. When Elisha was in a little village, not able to defend him from the Syrians, he had chariots and horsemen of fire to defend him, 2 Kings vi. 17; but when he was in Samaria, a strong, walled town, and the king of Israel sent to fetch his head, he said to those that were with him, 'Shut the door,' ver. 32. Christ in the wilderness miraculously fed many; but near the city he 'sent his disciples to buy bread,' John iv. 8. When the Church of God had need of able helps at first, gifts were miraculously conferred; but afterwards every man to his study, 1 Tim. iv. 15, 'Meditate upon these things, give thyself wholly to them, that thy profiting may appear to all.' In short, God's omnipotency is for that time dis charged, when we have ordinary means to help ourselves. To disdain ordinary means, and expect extraordinary, is as if a man should put off his clothes, and then expect God should keep him from cold.

Secondly, When we expect the end without the means. If Hezekiah had refused the bunch of figs, or Paul's companions to tarry in the ship, they had tempted God. When we desire any blessing, we must not refuse or neglect any good means for attaining of it. In spiritual things this is very usual; men hope to have the end without the means. In temporal things we will soon confess there must be means used, for 'if any would not work, neither should he eat' 2 Thes. iii. 10. In warfare no victory is to be hoped for without fighting; only in spiritual matters we think to do well enough, though we never put to our endeavours to cry for knowledge, and to dig for it; this is a tempting of God: Prov. ii. 3-5, 'If thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.' We dream of heaven when there is no mortification, no exercising ourselves unto godliness. A great many say as Balaam did, 'Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his,' Num. xxiii. 10; but they care not for living the life of the righteous. If they can but charm themselves into a secure presumption of salvation, they never give diligence to make their calling and election sure. This cometh from hardness of heart, not strength of faith. Many, defer their conversion to the last, and then think that in the twinkling of an eye they shall in a trice be in heaven with Elias in whirlwind. It was a prayer of Sir Thomas More, Domine, Deus, fac me in iis consequendis operam colfacare, pro quibus obtinendis te orare soleo. 'Lord! make me to bestow pains in getting those things, for the obtaining of which I use to pray to thee.' Otherwise we tempt God.

Thirdly, When without call we rush into any danger, or throw ourselves into it, with an expectation God will fetch us off again. As if Christ, when nobody went about to thrust him down, should wilfully have cast himself down. Whether the danger be certain, or inevitable, or very probable, we must not throw ourselves on it; but, when God calls us, then we may expect his help according to his promise; as to go into places or houses infected. In spiritual cases it is often done; men that by often experience have found such and such things to be occasions to them of sinning, yet presume to do the same again; these tempt God, ride into the devil's quarters, go into dangerous places and companies where they are like to be corrupted; as Peter went into the high-priest's hall, and those that go to live in Popish families. We pray that we be not led into temptations, but when we lead ourselves, what shall become of us? as we do when, we cast ourselves upon temptations, and dangerous occasions of sin.

Fourthly, When we undertake things for which we are not fitted and prepared, either habitually or actually: as to speak largely with out meditation. When an unlearned man undertakes the handling a weighty controversy, and a good cause wanteth shoulders, we tempt God. When we undertake things above bodily strength, all will condemn us; so to undertake things that we have no ability to perform is unlawful. The sons of Sceva would take upon them to exorcise the devil, 'And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded,' Acts xix. 16.

Fifthly, Another sort of tempting God is, when we come to him with an idol in our hearts; that is, when people are resolved of a thing, they will go and ask counsel of God. In all matters we resolve on we are to take God's leave, and counsel, and blessing; but they first resolve and then ask God's counsel. And, therefore, God saith, Ezek. xiv. 4, 'Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumbling-block of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet, I the Lord will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols' Balaam had a mind to the wages of unrighteousness, but yet he durst not go without God, and, till God had permitted him, he would be asking again and again: Num. xxii. 12, compared with the 20th and 22d verses. God answered him in wrath, according to the idol of his heart. Thus you see men tempt God, when, either out of diffidence or presumption, they seek an experience of his wisdom, power, justice, truth, goodness, against his word and command, and the order he hath established; as the Israelites, when means failed, murmured and pre scribed time, means, and manner of deliverance, as if they would subject God to their lusts.

II. The heinousness of the sin.

1. Because it is a great arrogancy when we seek thus to subject the Lord to our direction, will, and carnal affections. Prescribing to God argueth too great an ascribing to ourselves. Certainly the Lord can not endure that his people, who ought wholly to depend upon him, submit to him, and be "ruled by him, should prescribe as they please how and when he should help them; and that his power and goodness should lacquey upon, and be at the beck of, our idle and wanton humours. The direction of the affairs of the world is one of the flowers of God's crown. Now to dislike of his holy government is a presumptuous arrogancy in the creature; we will take upon us to model our mercies and choose our means, and will not tarry the time that he hath appointed for our relief, but will anticipate it, and shorten it according to our own fancies. God is sovereign, we are as clay in his hands; he is our potter, and must prescribe the shape in which we must be formed, and the use we must be put to, Jer. xviii. 6: 'house of Israel, cannot I do with you as the potter, saith the Lord? Behold as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, house of Israel.' Pie hath full right to dispose of the creature as he pleaseth, and according to the counsel of his own will, to which we are to be subject without murmuring or repining. We cannot say to him, 'What makest thou? or why dost thou this?' Isa. xlv. 9: 'Woe unto him that striveth with his maker! let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth: shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands' Tempting before the event is the same almost with murmuring after the event.

2. It is great unbelief, or a calling into question God's power mercy, and goodness to us. We should entirely depend upon God for salvation, and whatsoever is necessary to salvation, and that he will supply our wants, and bring us out of every strait, in a way most conducing to our own welfare and his honour. But now we are not satisfied with the assurance God hath given us in those laws of commerce, which are established between him and us; we must have extraordinary proofs, or else we question all. Tempting God seemeth rather to be opposed to the fear and reverence that we should have of him; yet, primarily and in itself, it is rather opposite to our trust. And though we take it for a sin which argueth too much trust, or an unwarrantable boldness in expecting unusual ways of help from God, yet generally it belongeth to unbelief and diffidence, and ariseth from it. For, therefore, we put him to proof, tempt, or make trial of God, because we distrust his help, and are not satisfied with his goodness and power, till we have other testimonies thereof, than are ordinarily dispensed. Therefore this reason is given of their tempting God, because 'they believed not God, and trusted not in his salvation,' Ps. Ixxviii. 22. They must have their own salvation, their own way of supply or deliverance, or else they cannot trust God if he doth not help them at their time and by their means.

3. It looseneth the bonds of all obedience, because we set up new laws of commerce between God and us; for when we suspect God's fidelity to us, unless he do such things as we fancy, we suspect our fidelity to him. Therefore disobedience is made the fruit of tempting God: Ps. Ixxviii. 56, 'Yea, they tempted and provoked the most high God, and kept not his testimonies.' They that tempt God cast away God's rule, and God's terms of obedience, and make others to them selves. The question is, whether God shall direct us, or we him? We say, unless God will do thus and thus, we will no longer believe his power and serve him.

4. It is great ingratitude, or a lessening God's benefits and works already done for us: Ps. Ixxviii. 20, 'Behold he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people?' As if what he had done formerly were nothing. Now, God cannot endure to have his benefits lessened, or his former works forgotten and despised.

5. It is wantonness, rather than want, puts us upon tempting of God. There is a humour in men; we are very desirous to try conclusions, condemning things common, and are fond about strange novelties. It was told the Israelites, as plain as could be, that they should not reserve manna till the morning; and they need not to have reserved it, they had fresh every day; yet they would needs keep it for experiment's sake, to try whether it would stink or no: Exod. xvi. 20. And though they were forbidden to gather it on the Sabbath-day, having on the evening before enough for two days, and it was told them they should find none on the Sabbath-day, yet they must try. Where need is, there a man may commit himself to the providence of God, and rely upon him; and where means fail us, God can help us by prerogative, that we may say with Abraham, when we have no help present, 'In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen,' Gen. xxii. 14; and with Moses, when the Ked Sea was before them, and the enemy was behind them, 'Fear ye not, stand still, and ye shall see the salvation of the Lord, which he will show to you to-day,' Exod. xiv. 13. When Elias was in distress, the angel brought him meat, 1 Kings xix. 5, 6; when Hagar and Ishmael were in the wilder ness, and the bottle spent, then God comforted her from heaven, Gen. xxi. 17; when the three children were in the fiery furnace, then God sent an angel to be their deliverer, Dan. iii. 28. But now, in wanton ness to desire extraordinary proofs of God's care over us, when he hath in ordinary ways provided for us, is to tempt the Lord: Ps. cvi. 14, 'They lusted exceedingly in the desert, and tempted God in the wilderness.' When they had so many convictions of God's power and providence over them, which should in reason have charmed them into a full and cheerful resignation arid dependence upon him, they, remembering the flesh-pots in Egypt, must have their luxuriant appetites gratified; and because they had not that festival plenty, which could not be expected in the wilderness, they reproached Moses for having brought them out of Egypt, to die in the wilderness; and now God must show them a miracle, not for the supply of their wants, but to pamper and feed their lusts: Ps. Ixxviii. 18, 19, 'And they tempted God in their t heart, by asking meat for their lust: yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?' A table must be prepared; he must give them festival diet in the wilderness.

6. It argues impatiency: Ps. cvi. 13, 14, 'They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel, but lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.' The word signifies they made haste, took it ill they were not presently brought into that plenty that was promised: Num. xx. 5, 'Wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates, neither is there any water to drink,' which was the plenty that was promised in the land of Canaan. Thus they made haste, were impatient of staying God's time of giving them this inheritance; and because they had it not presently, they wished themselves back again in Egypt. Tempting is because we cannot attend the performance of God's promise in his own time. They went out passionately in the pursuit of their plenty, which they looked for; and as soon as they discovered any difficulty, conclude they were betrayed, not waiting with patience God's time, when he should accomplish his promises made to them.

7. The greatness of the sin is seen by the punishments of it. One is mentioned: 1 Cor. x. 9, 'Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.' They were bitten of serpents, because they tempted God, and murmured because of the length of the way, that they could not get presently into Canaan; and the apostle tells us that all the things which happened to Israel of old happened to them eo? TVTTOI, as patterns of providence. A people might easily read their own doom and destiny, if they would blow off the dust from the ancient providences of God, and observe what proofs and characters of his justice, wisdom, and truth are engraven there. The desert of sin is still the same, and the exactness of divine justice is still the same; and therefore what hath been is a pledge and document of what may be, if we fall into like crimes. God is impartially and immutably just; he is but one: Gal. iii. 20. God is one, always consonant unto himself, and doth like unto him self: his power is the same, so is his justice. Even the historical part of the word is a kind of prophecy, not only a register and chronicle of what is past, but a kind of calendar and prognostication of what is to come. As other histories in scripture are left upon record for our learning, so especially the history of Israel's passage through the wilderness into Canaan.

Use. Let us not tempt God in any of the kinds mentioned.

1. Not by requiring new grounds of faith, when God hath given sufficient already; not by cherishing scepticism and irresolution in point of religion, till new nuncios come from heaven, with a power to work miracles, and to be endowed with extraordinary gifts, as the Seekers do. Many waver in religion, would fain see an apparition, and have some extraordinary satisfaction, which God would not give them upon every trifling occasion. The Pharisees must have a sign from heaven; the Papists would have the Protestant teachers show their commission by miracles; the Jews would believe if Christ came down from the cross. To suspend our faith till God gives us our own terms is to tempt God; and to dispossess you of this conceit, consider:

[1.] Signs and wonders done in one age and time for the confirmation of the true religion, should suffice all ages and times afterwards; and it is a tempting God to ask more signs and wonders for the confirmation of that truth, which is sufficiently confirmed already, if there be a good and safe tradition of these things to us. The giving of the law was attended with thunderings and lightnings, and the sound of a terrible trumpet, Exod. xix., by which means the law was authorised, and owned as proceeding from God. Now, it was not needful this should be repeated in every age, as long as a certain report and records of it might convey it to their ears. In the setting up a new law, signs and wonders are necessary to declare it to be of God; but when the church is in the possession of it, these cease. So in the Christian church; when the gospel was first set on foot, it was then confirmed with signs and wonders, but now they are unnecessary. See the law and gospel compared: Heb. ii. 2-4, 'For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward: how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?'

[2.] If you had lived in the age of signs and wonders, there were hard hearts then, unbelievers then, and blasphemers then, and tempters of God then: Ps. Ixxviii. 22-24, 'Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation, though he had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven, and had rained manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven,' &c., to ver. 32, 'For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works.' Extraordinary works will not work upon them upon whom ordinary works will not prevail.

Object. But for them that have to do with the conversion of Indians and remote parts of the world, is it a tempting of God to ask the gift of miracles?

Ans. I cannot say so. God may be humbly sought unto about direction in the gifts of tongues, and healing, being so necessary for the instruments employed, as well as the conviction of the nations. I dare not determine anything in the case, but I am satisfied with Acostus his reasons why miracles are not afforded by God now, as well as in the primitive times. Then simple and unlearned men were sent to preach Christianity among the nations, where many were armed and instructed against it with all kind of learning and philosophy; but now learned men are sent to the ignorant, and are superior to them in reason, and in civility and authority; and, besides, present them a religion far more credible than their own, that they cannot easily withstand the light of it.

2. Do not run into any wilful and known sin, as if you would try how far the patience of God will go, nor abuse his fatherly goodness by going on still in your trespasses. When a man will try the patience of God without any regard of his threatenings, or the in stances of his wrath, which are before his eyes, he puts it to the proof whether God will punish him, yea or no. Remember you are no match for him: Isa. xlv. 9, 'Woe unto him that striveth with his maker! let the potsherds strive with the potsherds of the earth' As Abner said to Asahel: 2 Sam. ii. 21, 22, 'Turn thee aside to thy right hand or to thy left, and lay thee hold on one of the young men, and take thee his armour. But Asahel would not turn aside from following of him. And Abner said again to Asahel, Turn thee aside from following me: wherefore should I smite thee to the ground? 'So if you will needs be tempting and trying conclusions, and making experiments, let men meddle with their match, those who are equal to them selves, not challenging one infinitely above them; let frail man cope with man, but let him take heed of meddling with God: Ezek. xxii. 14, 'Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong in the days that I shall deal with thee?' Many foolish people say, as those in the prophet, 'It is an evil, and I must bear it;' endure it as well as I can. What! endure the loss of heaven! endure the wrath of the Almighty God! If Rachel could not endure the loss of her children, nor Jacob the supposed loss of Joseph, but, says he, 'I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning,' Gen. xxxvii. 35. If Achitophel could not endure the rejectment of his counsel, and Haman could not endure to be slighted by Mordecai, and many cannot endure the loss of a beloved child; how wilt thou endure the loss of eternal happiness? The disciples wept bitterly when Paul said, 'Ye shall see my face no more' Acts xx. 38. What will ye do, then, when God shall say, Ye shall see my face no more? Ah wretch! how canst thou endure the wrath of God? Thou canst not endure to be scorched a few days with feverish flames; thou canst not endure the acute pains of stone and gout, when God armeth the humours of thine own body against thee; thou canst not endure the scorching of a little gunpowder casually blown up; thou canst not endure the pains of a broken arm or leg; and can you endure the wrath of God, when God himself shall fall upon you with all his might?

3. When we are destitute and sorely distressed, let us wait upon God with patience, according to the tenor of his promises, and tarry his leisure, without prescribing time and means. God knoweth the fittest season, and delighteth oftentimes to show our impatience and try our faith: Mat. xv. 28, 'woman, great is thy faith!' And that his help may riot be ascribed to chance or our industry, and that we may the more prize blessings, consider you cannot be more distressed than Christ was, who seemed abandoned to Satan's power, distressed with sore hunger through his long fasting. The devil was permitted to have power over his body, to carry him to one of the pinnacles of the temple, and yet he discovered an invincible confidence and trust in God, that he would not step the least step out of God's way for his preservation in so imminent a danger.

Now that you may not tempt God:

[1.] Let your heart be deeply possessed with apprehensions of the goodness, wisdom, and power of God. The scripture telleth us for his goodness: Ps. cxix. 68, 'Thou art good, and doest good;' and again, Ps. cxlv. 9, 'The Lord is good to all.' For his wisdom: Isa. xxviii. 29, 'He is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.' His purposes are often hidden from us, but he doeth all things well; God can do more for us than seemeth probable at the present; and there fore let us not tempt him by confining him to our time, means, and manner. He may love us, and yet delay our help: John xi. 5, 6, 'Jesus loved Lazarus' and yet, ver. 6,; When he heard that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.' Then, for his power and sovereign dominion, there is not a better argument for confidence than the preface and conclusion of the Lord's Prayer. Whatsoever state you are reduced to, God is still to be trusted, who is 'Our Father, which is in heaven' and 'whose is the kingdom, power, and glory:' 2 Tim. i. 12, 'I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.' Whatsoever our straits be, he is a God still to be trusted.

[2.] Be firmly persuaded of God's care and providence over his people, and so careth for you in particular. This is assured to us by promises and by experiences. By promises: 1 Pet. v. 7, 'Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you;' Phil. iv. 6, 7, 'Be careful for nothing: but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God; and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.' By experiences: Mat. xvi. 8, 9, Ɔ ye of little faith! why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?' Christ was angry with his disciples, that they should be troubled about bread, since they had lately such experience of his power to provide bread at pleasure. Use the means God puts into your hands, and refer the success to him. You need not be anxious about anything in this world.

[3.] Let all this produce in you an holy obstinacy of trust and obedience, or an invincible confidence in God, and close adherence to him, whatever your dangers, straits, and extremities be, and this will guard your heart against all tempting of God:

(1.) A resolute trust and dependence: Job xiii. 15, 'Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him' This is the soul that is prepared to be true to God, and contentedly to bear whatever he sendeth.

(2.) A constant adherence to our duty: 'Wait on the Lord, and keep his way,' Ps. xxxvii. 34. Do not go one step out of God's way for all the good in the world. The greatest extremities are to be borne rather than the least sin yielded to: Dan. iii. 17, 18, 'Our God, whom we serve, is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of thine hand, king. But if not, be it known unto thee, king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.' Please God, and God will be always with you, when you seem to be left destitute: John viii. 29, 'And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him'


Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth 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. — Mat. IV. 8, 9

THIS is the third temptation. In handling it I shall use the former method, give you the history of the temptation, and observations thereupon.

In the history.

I. The introduction, ver. 8.

II. The temptation itself, with the grievousness of it, ver. 9. III. Christ's reply, ver. 10. First, In the introduction we have

1. The place the devil taketh him unto: an exceeding high mountain.

2. The fact: he showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them.

1. The place chosen for the conflict, 'an exceeding high mountain' For the mountain, the scripture would not name it, and we need not anxiously inquire after it, whether any near Jericho, as some say, or as others, some mountain near Jerusalem; and possibly the highest above the rest was chosen by the tempter. The pinnacle of the temple was not proper, because Jerusalem was surrounded with higher mountains on all sides: Ps. cxxv. 2, 'As the mountains are round about Jerusalem,' &c. He chose an high mountain, because of the fairer prospect, where the horizon might be as spacious as was possible, and the sight not hindered by any interposing object. God took Moses into Mount Pisgah, and showed him the land of Canaan, Deut. xxxiv. 1. The devil, who affecteth to do in evil as God doth in what is good, taketh Christ into a mountain. He leadeth us high, and promiseth us high things, that suiteth with his disposition; but it endeth in a downfall that suiteth with his condition. The close is still 'cast thyself down,' or else, as here, 'fall down and worship me.' The devil's taking him up thither is to be explained the same way with his taking him up to the pinnacle of the temple.

2. The fact, and 'showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them.' But how could the devil from one mountain show him all the kingdoms of the world, when there is none so high as that we can see the latitude of one kingdom, much less through all, partly through the unequal swellings of the earth, and partly through the weakness of the eye, which cannot reach so far? The sight could go no further than the horizon, and the other hemisphere is not to be seen at all; that part which we see is much less than that part which we see not. Therefore how could he show him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory thereof? Ans. These words must not be taken rigorously; but that he showed them: (1.) In compendia. (2.) In speculo. (3.) In colloquio.

[1.] In compendia. It maybe understood of so many kingdoms as could fall under the sight of a man looking round about him from some eminent place; as God is said to show Moses all the land of Canaan, when he did actually see only a part thereof. From that high mountain the devil gave him a view of all that was to be seen from thence; many castles, towns, and fruitful fields might be seen as a sample of the rest. It is a synechdochical hyperbole, he that showeth a part of a thing, and the chiefest part, may be said to show the thing itself.

[2.] In speculo, besides what he might reach by his sight. By way of representation and external visible species, he represented to Christ all the rest of the kingdoms of the world and the pomp and glory thereof as in a map. For Satan can object to the eyes of men the species and images of divers things; and there is no absurdity to think that this way he showed his utmost art and cunning to represent the world to Christ in as splendid and inviting a manner as he could. If you ask, therefore, why he carried him to a high mountain he might have done this in a valley or any other place as well? I answer, it is true if the discovery had been only by representation, or if the devil could have deluded Christ's fancy or imagination, so as to impress these species upon it so far as that he should seem to see what he did not see," a valley would have served turn as well as a mountain; but this was done without it, and with it, showing the glory of the world as in a map and picture, and therefore a convenient place is chosen.

[3.] In colloquio, by discourse. The temptation might be helped on by the devil's pointing at the several quarters of the world, with words relating the glory thereof, what splendour and glory the kings and nations had which adored him, all which Christ should have if he would fall down and worship him. Now all this while Satan is but making way for his purpose, thinking Christ would be ravished with this glorious sight. Possibly it was not a mere dumb show, but the tempting objects were amply set forth by Satan's speech.

Secondly, The temptation itself, where we may consider the nature and the grievousness of it.

1. The nature of the temptation, where observe two things:

[1.] An offer or a promise: all these things will I give thee.

[2.] A postulation or demand: if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

[1.] An offer or promise: 'all these things will I give thee' This is a vain boast of the tempter, who ascribeth to himself that which was proper to God, and promiseth to Christ those things which were all his before. God had said, Ps. ii. 8, 'Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession' This the devil, who affecteth to be like God, arrogateth unto himself, as if he would make him the universal king of the world. In Luke it is, chap. iv. 6, 'All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them; for that is delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will I give it' But you must not always look for truth in the devil's speeches: he is not lord of the world to dispose of it at his own pleasure. And yet it is not to be supposed he would come with a downright untruth to the Son of God, if there were no pretence or varnish for it. Therefore we must distinguish between the devil's lie and the colour thereof.

(1.) Certain it is that God doth govern all the affairs of this world, and doth put bounds and limits to Satan's power, beyond which he cannot pass, and doth often hinder his endeavours, and turn them to the quite contrary end and purpose; and if he doth not hinder them, yet he directeth them for good to his people. Therefore that power that Satan hath is not given, but permitted; not absolute, but limited. It is a lie that Satan can give these things at pleasure; see these scriptures: Ps. xxiv. 1, 'The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein;' Dan. ii. 21, 'He changeth the times and the seasons; he removeth kings, and setteth up kings;' and ver. 37, 'The God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory' All the alterations that are in the earth are of the Lord; he pulleth down, and raiseth up, as seemeth good unto him. Therefore this power of disposing kingdoms belongeth unto God.

(2.) That the Son of God is the right heir of the world: Heb. i. 2, '"Whom he hath appointed heir of all things' To whom the nations are given: Ps. ii. 8, 'Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession;' Mat. xxviii. 18, 'All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth' And therefore it was impudence in him to arrogate this power, and to promise these things to the Lord which were his before.

(3.) Though this was a He, yet here is the colour of the lie. God permitteth that men sometimes by indirect means become great in honour and dignity in this world; all which are done by the instinct of Satan and his help. And evil men often succeed in their attempts, and from hence Satan is called the prince of this world: John xii. 31, 'Now shall the prince of this world be cast out;' John xiv. 30, 'The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me;' John xvi. 11, 'Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.' Yea, Paul goeth higher, and calleth him 'the god of this world:' 2 Cor. iv. 4, 'In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not.' But this is by usurpation, not just right. And the devils are called, Eph. vi. 12, 'The rulers of the darkness of this world,' as the wicked consent to his empire and evil suggestions. But all this implieth but a limited and restrained kingdom; and the devil's impudence and falsehood lieth in this, that he interprets God's permission for a commission, his connivance for a conveyance. Indeed, there are two lies in the devil's offer: one assertory, as if the power and glory of the world were at his disposal; the other promissory, as if he would invest Christ in the full and peaceable possession thereof; whereas indeed he went about to divest and dispossess the Son of God of his right, or to tempt him to do a thing contrary to his kingdom; for he knew the abasement of Christ was the way to his glory, the cause of man's happiness, and the ruin of the kingdom of the devil; therefore he seeketh to prevent this by these magnificent promises.

[2.] The postulation or demand: 'if thou wilt fall down and worship me.' Here the devil appeareth in his own likeness. Before it was, 'if thou be the Son of God;' now it is,' fall down and worship me.' Before he appeared as a friend to advise him in his hunger; then as a divine to instruct him how to discover himself as the Messiah; now as a plain usurper of God's worship. And he demands but one act of prostration, such as was given to the kings of the East; and the Jews in that manner did worship God. There fore this was the vilest and most blasphemous suggestion which Satan could devise, that the Son of God should stoop to God's rebel. Here we see the devil not only importunate, but impudent.

2. The grievousness of the temptation, that will appear in these considerations:

[1.] Because it was represented in a matter grateful and pleasing. It was unnecessary to turn stones into bread, dangerous to throw him self down from a pinnacle of the temple; but it might seem sweet and grateful to behold the kingdoms of the world and the glory thereof; for surely the glory of the world is a bewitching object, and would much move a carnal heart. And therefore he produceth this tempting object, and sets it before Christ himself. Mark, he showed him the glory only, not the burdens, the labours, the cares, those storms of jealousy and envy which those encounter with who are at the top. This way did he now choose wherewith to assault Christ. Had he really represented the world, with all the vexations attending it, the temptation had not been so great; but he showeth the kingdoms of the world, and the glory thereof: the bait, not the hook; he talketh highly of small things, commendeth what is pleasing, but hideth the bitter of these luscious sweets; he offereth Christ the glory of the kingdoms of the world, but dissembleth the cares, the troubles, the dangers. Alas! we see the best side of those that live in courts, their gorgeous apparel, their costly entertainments, their power and great ness; but their fears of being depressed by superiors, jostled by equals, undermined by inferiors, are hidden from us.

Therefore the temptation was dexterously managed by the devil, in that he showed him the kingdoms of the world and the glory thereof. Temptations of the right hand are more dangerous than those of the left hand.

[2.] He showeth the bait before he offereth the temptation, that the world might speak for him before he spake for himself, and prepared the mind of Christ by this bewitching object before he cometh either with his offer or demand. And then afterwards, before he maketh his demand, he premiseth his offer: 'All these things will I give thee.' The offer is made before the spiteful condition is mentioned. Observe the different methods of Christ and Satan: Satan maketh show of glory first, but Christ of the cross. Satan offereth the benefit before he seemeth to require the service, as here he doth first offer and then ask; but fallaciously, for indeed he requireth a present act, but only promiseth a future compensation: 'I will give thee' all these things. Christ telleth us the worst at first: Mat. xvi. 24, 'If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.' The issue showeth the fraud of the tempter, and the misery of those poor deluded souls who hearken to him. On the contrary, the sincerity of our Lord, and the happiness of those who obey him, will soon appear. The devil will have all paid before he part with any thing; no worship, no glory. But I am carried too far: my purpose was only to show his dexterity and cunning, how he sets a colour upon sin before he mentions it, by glorious promises, and the manifold pleasure and profit which comes by it.

[3.] He doth not seek to move him by naked words, but by the sight of the thing itself. Objects move the senses, senses draw away the mind; nor are they the porters of the soul so much as the corrupters: Ps. cxix. 37, 'Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity, and quicken thou me in thy way.' If we let loose our senses without a guard, we soon contract a deadness of heart. There is nothing so soon led away as the eye, it is the broker between the heart and the object; the eye gazeth and the heart lusteth; this is the window by which Satan hath crept in, and all manner of taint hath been conveyed into the soul. In the first sin, Eve was corrupted this way: Gen. iii. 6, 'And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, &c., she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat.' Gazing on the fruit with delight, her heart was ensnared. We read of Potiphar's wife, 'She cast her eyes on Joseph,' Gen. xxxix 7; Achan, Josh. vii. 21, c When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them.' First he saw, then he coveted, then he took them, then he hid them, then Israel falls, and he is attached by lot. So it is said of Shechem and Dinah: Gen. xxxiv. 2, 'He saw her, and took her, and lay with her, and defiled her' So of Samson: Judges xvi. 1, 'He went to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.' David was ensnared by his eyes: 2 Sam. xi. 2, 'From the roof he saw a woman washing herself, and the woman was very beautiful to look upon' Naboth's vineyard was ever in Ahab's eye, as being near his palace, therefore he is troubled and falls sick for it, 1 King xxi. 1, 2. Now, because so many have been betrayed by their senses, the devil taketh this way to tempt Christ, as knowing this is the next way to the heart.

[4.] He taketh him into an high mountain, that he might look far and near, and see the more provinces, cities, and kingdoms, to move him the more. The devil was sensible that small things were not to be offered to Christ, and therefore dresseth out the temptation in as' glorious a manner as he can. The chapman of souls is grown thirsty of late, he doth not offer all the kingdoms of the earth and the glory thereof, he knoweth that we will accept of less with thanks. The devil buyeth many at a very easy price; he needeth not carry them so high as the mountain; they are contented with a little gain that is got by a fraudulent bargain in the shop. If we stand in our window, or at our doors, we meet with temptations enough to carry us away. He needeth not come with kingdoms, or with the glory of all the world: thirty pence, the price of a slave, is enough to make Judas betray his master, Mat. xxvi. 15; and the prophet telleth us of some that will transgress for handfuls of barley and pieces of bread, Ezek. xiii. 19. And those pretended prophets, too, making God the author and maintainer of their lies and deceits. And, again, of those that respect persons, whether magistrates or ministers: Prov. xxviii. 21, 'To have respect of persons is not good, for for a piece of bread will that man transgress.' And another prophet telleth us of those that 'sell the poor for a pair of shoes,' Amos ii. 6, and viii. 6. Those will take any price. And the apostle saith of Esau, Heb. xii. 16, 'For one morsel of meat he sold his birthright' So that the devil may abate a- great deal of what he offered Christ. He need not say to such, You shall have 'all these things' Nay, hold you! You shall have this petty gain, that slight pleasure and carnal satisfaction. It is a wonder to consider what small things make up a temptation to many, yea, to most. The world is so corrupt that they will violate conscience with a small hire. We are not tempted with great things, less will serve the turn. But the devil knew that small matters were no temptation to Christ, therefore he carrieth him to the mountain, that he might see the glory of all the earth, to make the temptation the more strong.

[5.] He showeth him the kingdoms of the world, ev o-Tiyprj xpovov, Luke iv. 5, in a moment of time, that circumstance is not to be passed over. When many objects and glorious come together of a sudden, they do the more surprise us. Therefore, the more to affect Christ with the splendour of these things, and on a sudden to prevail upon him, which otherwise he was not likely to do, he did not represent the glory of these kingdoms of the world to Christ that he might see them one after another, but all together, that there might be less time for consideration, that so his mind might be the more blinded by the appearing splendour of the tempting object, and his heart the more captivated thereby. Diverse things seen in one view do more surprise us than if viewed by a leisurely contemplation. Alas! we are sometimes overborne by the violence of a temptation, sometimes overtaken by the suddenness of it: Gal. vi. 1, 'Brethren, if one be overtaken in a fault,' TrpoX^drj, inconsiderately and suddenly surprised by a sin. We do many things preposterously and in haste, which we repent of by leisure. Thus the devil thought to surprise Christ, but he was aware of him.

[6.] In other temptations the tempter doth only ask a thing to be done, but here he doth ask and promise things glorious, profitable, and pleasing to carnal sense, and such as seem every way desirable. The offers of gain and glory are promised to the temptation.

[7.] He craveth but one thing, a very small thing, and this under the hope of the greatest advantage: one act of external adoration, easy to be performed; if Christ would but kneel to him, not as supreme God; an inferior adoration would have contented him: yield but a little, do but 'fall down and worship,' it shall be enough. As the heathens of old said to the Christians, Do but touch the censer. The commendation of God's servants was, that 'they had not bowed the knee to Baal,' Horn. xi. 4. The devil knoweth if he can get us to a little he shall get us to more; and the least reverence is too much to such an impure spirit.

Secondly, The observations.

I. Observe from that again the devil taketh him, That we must expect not only to be tempted, but to be often tempted. Satan hath both his wiles and darts: Eph. vi. 11, 16. He sometimes assaulteth us with the one, sometimes with the other. Therefore

1. Be not secure, but watch, and stand upon your defence. It is a careless soul that can sleep in so great a danger. There is yet a malicious tempting devil alive, who would 'sift you as wheat' Luke xxii. 31; and somewhat within you which would betray you to him if you be not wary; and you may meet with such snares as you have not yet met withal.

2. Be not overmuch troubled and dejected if you be assaulted afresh. You must make your way to heaven almost every step by conflict and conquest. Remember your baptismal vow, the obligation of which ceaseth not till your life be ended; and then you shall be out of gunshot and harm's way. Therefore still follow the captain of your salvation wherever he leadeth you. The more trials the more glory.

3. Avoid rash judgment and censure, if the same happen to others. Pirates do not use to set upon an empty vessel. The best are most assaulted. God permitteth it for their trial, and Satan hath the greatest spite at them.

II. Observe, That the more grievous temptations follow the lighter ones, and the last assaults and trials are usually the greatest. This is so, if you respect either the dexterity and cunning of the tempter, represented before, or the foulness of the temptation, viz., to idolatry. The best of God's children may be tempted to the most execrable sins. Thus usually doth Satan reserve his worst assaults for the last, and his last temptation is commonly the sorest. Dying beasts bite shrewdly; so Satan rageth most when he hath but a short time. Therefore, since our warfare is not over, let us prepare for the worst brunt, and the last efforts of Satan. If God will crown us fighting, we have no cause to complain. Many of God's servants, whom he could not draw to worldliness, sensuality, or vainglory in their lifetime, he will seek to inject blasphemous thoughts into their minds at last. But, though it be grievous, be not dismayed, your conquest is sure and near.

III. Observe, The world and worldly things are the bait and snare which the tempter offereth to Christ and his followers. As here, when he would make his last onset upon Christ, he sets before him 'the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them,' as the matter of the temptation.

1. There are three enemies of our salvation, the devil, the world, and the flesh: they are reckoned up together, Eph. ii. 2, 3, 'Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind.' The devil is the deceiver and grand architect of all wickedness; the flesh is the principle that he worketh upon, or that rebelling faculty within us that would be pleased before God; the world is the bait by which the devil would deceive us and steal away our hearts from God, for it suiteth with our fleshly appetites and desires. More distinctly that Satan is an enemy appeareth from his name, that signifieth an adversary, and in many places of scripture he is so called; as Mat. xiii. 25; 'While men slept, the enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat,' compared with the 39th verse, 'the enemy that sowed them is the devil.' He is the great enemy to God and man: 1 Pet. v. 8, 'Your adversary the devil like a roaring lion walketh about,' &c. The flesh is an enemy, yea, our greatest enemy, for it warreth. against the soul: 1 Pet. ii. 11, 'Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.' If you indulge the flesh, you are willing to lose your souls. Yea, it warreth against the spirit or better part, as contrary to it: Gal. v. 17, 'For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh:' other things could do us no harm without our own flesh. We are tempted to sin by Satan, encouraged to sin by the example and custom of the world, but inclined to sin by our own flesh. The world is an enemy of our salvation, as well as the devil and the flesh; all the other enemies get strength by it. By the bait of worldly things the devil pleaseth the flesh; we are in continual danger of being everlastingly undone by it. Whosoever is a lover of the world is presumed to be a professed enemy of God: James iv. 4, 'Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God;; 1 John ii. 15, 'If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.' It is an enemy, because it keepeth us from God, who is our chief good, and the enjoyment of him among his blessed ones, which is our last end. There is a neglect cf. God and heavenly things where the world prevaileth.

2. The devil maketh use of the world to a double end.

[1.] To divert us from God and heavenly things, that our time, and care, and thoughts may be wholly taken up about things here below: Luke xii. 19, 'Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry;' Phil. iii. 19, 20, 'They mind earthly things; but our conversation is in heaven.' These are perfectly opposite. Some are of the world, and speak of the world, and wholly mind the world, and are governed by the spirit of this world, seldom look higher, or very coldly and slightly. Thus that which should be thought of in the first place is scarce thought of at all. But, remember, he doth but offer you worldly things to deprive you of heavenly.

[2.] To draw us to some open sin for the world's sake, as here he tempted Christ to idolatry, and Demas to defection from the faith: 2 Tim. iv. 10, 'Demas hath forsaken us, having loved this present world.' Others to some carnal, fraudulent, oppressive course, whereby they are spotted by the world. The whore of Babylon propoundeth her abominations 'in a golden cup,' Rev. xvii. 4; and the great motive here is, 'All this will I give thee.' Though the devil cometh not in person to us with his offers, he doth by his instruments; as Balak, when he sent to Balaam to curse the Israelites, he promised him great rewards: Num. xxii. 17, 'I will promote thee unto very great honour, and I will do whatsoever thou sayest unto me: come there fore, I pray thee, curse me this people' So when he doth entice you by the motions of your own hearts to anything that is unlawful, to falsehood, deceit, or unjust gain, or to get and keep wealth by any base or unjust means, or doing something that is base and unworthy of your religion.

[3.] I observe that temptations from the world may prevail with us. Satan maketh use of a twofold artifice. The one is to greaten the worldly object, the other is to make us large promises of success, happiness, and contentment in our evil enterprises.

(1.) He useth this sleight here; he doth in the most enticing manner lay the world before Christ as a splendid object, to greaten it in Christ's thoughts and apprehensions. Therefore, when we begin to magnify the riches, pomp, and pleasures of the world, the devil is at our elbow, and we are running into the snare. And therefore, if we begin to say, 'Happy is the people that is in such a case,' it is time to correct ourselves and say, 'Yea, happy is the people whose God is the Lord,' Ps. cxliv. ib. Take heed the devil doth not gain this advantage over you, to make you follow the world with the greatest earnestness, and spiritual and heavenly things in a slight and overly manner. Esteem, desires, resolutions of worldly greatness, though not upon base conditions, begin the temptation. You think it is a fine thing to live in pomp and at ease, to swim in pleasures, and begin to resolve to make it your business. The devil hath you upon the hip, it is an hour of temptation.

(2.) His next course is to make large offers and promises by his instruments or your own thoughts, that though you neglect God and heaven, and do engage in some sinful course, you shall do well in the world, and enjoy full satisfaction. There is a double evil in Satan's offers and promises:

First, They are false and fallacious: 'All these things will I give thee.' Satan maketh fair offers of what he cannot perform. He promiseth many things, but doth only promise them. He offereth the kingdoms of the world to Christ, but cannot make good his word; he showeth them to Christ, but cannot give them. And this is the devil's wont, to be liberal in promises, to fill the minds of those that hearken to him with vain hopes, as if he could transfer the riches and honours of the world to whom he pleaseth, whereas they are shame fully disappointed, and find their ruin in the very things in which they sought their exaltation, and their projects are crossed, for 'the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof' 1 Cor. xi. 26.

Secondly, All the devil's offers and promises have a spiteful condition annexed. He pretendeth to give, but yet selleth at the dearest rates. It is but a barter and exchange; a flat bargain, but no gift. He must have our souls, God is dishonoured, his laws broken, his Spirit grieved. The devil staineth his grant with unjust covenants, and exacteth more than the thing is worth.

Two ways then must we defeat the temptation:

(1.) Not believing his promises, that I must be beholden to sin to make me happy. Those that by unlawful means get up to honour and wealth seem to have accepted the devil's offer; they think he is lord of the world, and all the kingdoms and the glory thereof. Do not look upon wealth as the devil's gift, as a thing to be gotten by fraud, flattery, corruption, bribery: alas! it is put into 'bags with holes' Hag. i. 6. It is called the 'deceitfulness of riches' Mat. xiii. 22. They promise that contentment and happiness which they cannot give. There is sure dependence on the Lord's, but none on Satan's promises. Young men that are to begin the world, take up this resolution: take what God sendeth, but resolve never to take wealth out of Satan's hands; what God sendeth in the fair way of his providence, by his blessing on your lawful endeavours: Prov. x. 4, 'The hand of the diligent maketh rich;' and ver. 22, 'The blessing of the Lord it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it' When you deal righteously, and do not barely heap up treasure to yourselves, but seek to grow rich toward God, to subordinate all to heaven and a better pursuit: otherwise God can find a moth and a thief for your estates.

(2.) The other way is, to consider what a sad bargain you make by gratifying the devil, and hearkening to his counsel: Mat. xvi. 26, 'What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?' A man never gets anything with Satan, but he shall lose that which is more precious; he never maketh a proffer to our advantage, but to our loss and hurt. Follow the world as hard as you can, lie, cozen, cheat, and you shall be rich; put the case, It is so, but I must lose my soul, not in a natural, but legal sense: Job xxvii. 8, 'What is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul?' He hath far better things from us than we have from him; a birthright for a mess of pottage, the hopes of heaven for an opulent condition here below. The bird buys the fowler's bait at a dear rate when his life must go for it. Thy soul must be lost, which all the gold and silver in the world cannot redeem and recover.

[4.] I observe again that Christ by his refusal hath taught us to tread the world under our feet, and all the glory of it should be an ineffectual and cold motive to a sanctified soul. If we have the same spirit that was in Christ, it will be so. All the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, was far too little to make up a temptation to him. A mortified heart will contemn all this in comparison of our duty to God, and the comfort of a good conscience, and the hopes of glory. Surely they have not the spirit of Christ who are taken with small things, with a Babylonish garment, or some petty temptation. Uses. The use is to teach us how to counterwork Satan.

1. Since he worketh upon the fleshly mind, we are to be mortified and grow dead to the world. We profess faith in a crucified Lord; we must be like him, crucified as he was crucified; then shall we glory in the cross of Christ, when we feel the virtue of it, and are planted into the likeness of it: G-al. vi. 14, 'God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.' Grow more dead to the riches, honour, pomp, pleasure, the favour, fear, love, wrath, praise and dispraise of men, that we may readily deny these things, so far as opposite to the kingdom of Christ, or our duty to God, or as they lessen our affections to him. We die as our esteem of those things doth decay; till the man's temper be altered there is no hope to prevail by argument. Only they that are made partakers of a divine nature do escape the corruption that is in the world through lust.

2. Since he worketh by representation and promise, you must be prepared against both.

[1.] As he worketh by representation of the fair show and splendid appearance of worldly things, you must check it:

(1.) By considering the little substance and reality that is in this fair appearance: 1 Cor. vii. 31, 'The fashion of this world passeth away,' ayripa. It is but a draft, an empty pageantry; so it is called, Ps. xxxix. 6, 'A vain show;' an image, shadow, or dream, that vanisheth in a trice. So Prov. xxiii. 5, 'Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not?' It was not a while ago, and within a little while it will not be again, at least to us it will not be; we must shortly bid good-night to all the world: 1 Pet. i. 24, 'All flesh is grass, and the glory thereof as the flower of the grass.' David saith, Ps. cxix. 86, 'I have seen an end of all perfection.' It is good often to inter mingle these serious thoughts of the frailty of all sublunary enjoyments, to keep us modest in what we have, or desire to have, that we may not be blinded with the delusions of the flesh, and enchanted with an admiration of worldly felicity.

(2.) As the devil seeketh to open the eye of sense, so must we open the eye of faith: 2 Cor. iv. 18, 'We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.' Things unseen must be every day greatened in our eyes, that all our pursuit after things seen may be subordinated to our desires of, and labour after, things unseen. There we must see the greatest reality, or else we have not the true Christian faith: Heb. xi. 1, 'Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.'

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