Page images
PDF
EPUB

he understood that by doing so he should be instrumeni. tal to the MESSIAH's fulfilling all rigbreous':ess.

Our Lord had been circumcised, in order to fu'fil in his own divine person the Jewish law; and he suh. mitted to be baptized in order to sanctify the Sacrament of Baptism, which was to be to Christians instead of the Jewish rite of circumcision, hut probably there was still a higher reason~ when our Lord had been baprized in sorder to fulfil all righteousnes', the Holy Ghost visibly descended upon him, and he was declared by a voice from heaven to be the beloved Son of God, in whom he w?s well pleased. These circumstances were perhaps intended to enco rage those who should afterwards be baptized with a view to righteousness, io hope that they should be acknowledged as the adopard child n of God, and receive the Baptism of the Holy Ghost; for it was xpon the human nature of the second Acam, the great representative of all mankind, that the Holy SPIRIT descended.

JESUS, knowing that it was the will of the EterNAL FATHER that he should enter on his ministry, left his private retirement at Nazareth, and came to Johr to be baptized, that he might authorise the Baptist's proceedings by his public approbation of them, and also receive the testimony of the Holy SPIRIT, that He was the MESSIAH.

We cannot form an exact conception of the descent of the Holy Spirit,, which on this occasion assumed a visible appearance ;

but from John's prediction concern. ing the nature of the Me SIAH's ofice *, we may sup. pose, that it resembled FIRE descending gently on his head, like the hovering of a dove. Thus was Jesus, in

* He shall baptize with the Holy Ghost and with Fire.
D%

orden.

order to distinguish him as the Son of God, visibly anointed with the spirit of understandiug, &c.* ; and we shall find that this Spirit actually résted upon him. :

It appears from the testimony of John, that he was not only assured by the Holy Spirit, that Jesus was the Christ, but was also made acquainted with the divine nature of the Messiah; for, in respeet to his birth and ministry, Jesus was after John, but the WORD was before him, having existed with The FATHER from all eternity

SECTION XVIII.

THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS.

From Luke, Chap. iv.-Matthew, Chap. iv. And Jesus, being full of the Holy Ghost, returned from Jordan, and was led by the spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil.

And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered.

And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

But he answered and said, It is written, Man, shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of Godt.

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 concern. ing thee, and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. * See Sect, xviii.

+ Deut. viii. 3.

JESUS

Jesus saith unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempe the LORD thy God.

Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high: mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them:

And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan : for it is written, Thou shalt worship the LORD thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

. Then the devil leaveth him, and behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.

In order to understand what is here related of our LORD's being tempted by the Devil, we must still consider him, with reference to his human nature, as the second Adam,

When our first parents, through the temptation of Satan, disobeyed the Divine command, human nature (which at that time was comprised in them) fell undec. the condemnation of death, and they could not them. selves restore life to it; but it pleased God, ever merci. ful and kind to His creatures, to give comfort to the offending pair, and to their posterity through them, by promising that the seed of the woman should, by bruising the serpent's head (or vanquishing the enemy that se. duced mankind to sin), repair the mischief which they had done to their species; and, in order to heighten their comfort, the LORD God immediately gave them a visible security for the performance of this promise, by degrading the serpent, which had been the visible agent in their seduction. It has already been proved, from the miraculous con

ception

D 3

eeption of Jesus, that He was the promised seed, arit God acknowledged Him as His BeLOVED Sor, at bis baptism,

The Apostle St. Paul, in his epistles, speaks of CHRIST as a second Adai*, in whom all who were dead, or under the condemnacion of death, through the first Adam, should be made alive.

It has been shewn in a former section, that our Lor) had in reality a human nature ;--when this nature ar. rived at full maturity, and He was, according to the Jewish law, of age to become a teacher, it was the will of the Father that He should begin His work as the rea storer of righteousness; the first part of which work was, to resist temptation as the second Adam, and to teach mankind, by his example, how to overcome the Devil.

The first Adam, when tempted to eat the forbidden, fruit, was in possession of the human faculties in full perfection, the natural man was perfect in him; but he yielded to temptation, and brought death upon hinself® and all mankind. The second Adam, immediately after his baptism, was filled wiih the Holy Ghost, the Spiri: of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of coun, sel and strength, the spirit of he knowledge and the fear of JEHOVAH t; by The Spirit He was instructed, that it W-s necessary for Him to submit to temptation, and Ho suffered himself to be led by the Spirit into the wilderness, instead of following the inclinations of hunan na. turi, which (as we may judge from curselves) would have led him away from the arduous trial that was prepared for Him.

In the wilderness Jesus continued many days se. cluded from human society. During this seclusion (as we may conjecture from his subsequent conduct) the

1 Cor. xv. Rom. v.

+ See Section xvii.

whole

whole of what He was required to do and suffer, in order to redem mankind (who were in the sight of God created anew in Hin) was laid before Him; and the glory of the eternal kingdom (possessed by His · Divine nature from all eternity) promised to His human nature 'as a reward for His perfect obedience to the will of God. This stup.ndous work was too great for a perely huran being to perform; but as our Lord un, der,tood the happy eff-cts His obedience would produce to mankind, and was aequainted with the presence of the Divine nature in Him, He willingly aod deliberately undertook it, resolving to follow the dictates of the WORD, and, by this means, to subdue in His mind all human inclinations that should be contrary to them; to perform the conditions, and pay down the price of ous redemption.

For forty days our LORD was miraculously sustained without food ; but when He had received full informa. tion concerning what was required of Him and formed His resolution, miraculous support was withdrawn, and the ETERNAL FATHBR, for our sakes, submitted His BELOVED Son to be tempted, that He might in all ohings be like unto His brethren of the human race; and be able, after having overcome temptation, to succour them that are tempted.

Behold then the seed of the woman, the second Adamy not in a terrestrial paradise surrounded with delights, but in a dreary wilderness, with no visible means of sa. tisfying the demands of hunger, which began to be very urgent ! SATAN, now at liberty to assail Him, imme. diately made his approach, full of the malignant desige of completing the ruin of mankind, by seducing the second Adam as he had done the first. Under what form

• Heb. ii.. 17, 18.

« PreviousContinue »