« 前へ次へ »
ing eaten bread, or enjoyed any natural means of sustenance, they had travelled all the wilderness through. In all this time, surely, they might have known that man is not sustained" by bread “only, but by every word that proceedeth out “ of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.”. Some, however, loathed this manna, and lusted for the meat of Egypt; and though indulgedwith their heart's desire, they perished miserably. How different was thespiritof Daniel and his companions ? they had early learned, that pulse and water, with faith, were far better food than the dainties of the king's table with defilement.
BROWN BREAD, WITH THE GOSPEL, IS GOOD FARE!” This was the toast of the glad tables of ancient Christians : “ Behold, we count them happy « which endure." It will be observed, that on this ground commenced the temptations of our Lord; for having fasted forly days and forty nights, and afterwards suffering pinching hunger, in the midst of a famished wilderness; the tempt
er, ever watchful for his favourable moment, - with the harmless and friendly appearance of
contriving some ready and necessary means for his relief, sought to draw him away from the immortal and unfailing source of life. From this snare of the devil, no one can escape, unless he be endowed with a spirit of deep self-denial, and be furnished, also, with a good portion of the knowledge of the word of life; which must be, moreover, entertained with a strong affection, and esteemed more than necessary food.
2. That the filiation of the kingdom, and all true affinity to God, is possessed by obedience; and that no work or miracle wrought by us, or upon us, aside from the keeping of the word, can conduce to this end, or afford the least evidence of such an attainment.
In relation to this ground, Satan beguiled
Eve. She did not sin in desiring to be like the inhabitants of heaven. Her coveting earnestly the knowledge and felicity of celestial beings, and her aspiring to a dignity commensurate to the most boundless conceptions of her soul, were passions not in the least inconsistent with her innocenee; her error consisted in the false way in which she was induced to seek for such light and glory. This was the first, and it has ever been the most successful device of the enemy.. It is now the most difficult part of the work of a watchian, to guard people against this temptation; and to impress effectually this truth upon: their minds, that there is no other possible way of obtaining the knowledge and felicity of heaven, but the humble, holy, and child-like way of
doing the will of our Father, which is in heav. en.
Corah and his company perished by this delusion. It was not wrong for them to desire to come near unto the Lord; but disregarding the true way of obedienee, they presumed that their distinguished privileges, such as the Lord's being among them, would warrant their claim to holiness, and render it safe for them to tread on holy ground. It was highly proper for king Saul to make provision for God's altar; but his purpose of substituting sacrifice in the place of obedience, was heinous as the sin of witchcraft.. The unbelieving Jews flattered themselves that they were the children of Abraham, for the reason merely that Abraham was their progenitor; whilst, by their not doing his works, but coming forward in opposition to that promised kingdom, in relation to which Abraham was made a father, they fully substantiated the fact, that in the highest and most proper sense of the parental relation, they were of another family, and of their father the devil. And thus, in the day of the Lord, many will say to him “Lord, Lord, have we not “ eaten and drunk in thy presence? and have we “ not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name “ cast out devils! and in thy name done many “ wonderful works?” Unto whom he will profess, “ I never knew you: depart from me ye “ that work iniquity.
The Devil knew that it behoved Jesus to give practical evidence that he was the Son of God; that this business was immedietely before him, and most intensely engaged his mind. He sugges.ed, therefore, that by commanding these stones to be made bread, he might not only relieve his necessities, but also give the required evidence of his being the Son of God. Nothing seemed more natural; nothing could have been more plausible, than that this great evidence should be given by some illustrious miracle. But how infinitely short would this have been of the true evidence of his sonship, viz. his obedience unto death, his dying for his enemies ! This miracle of miracles, and this alone could furnish the matchless, and all-convincing proof, as he said, John xiv. 31, " That the world may know that I love the “ Father; and as the Father gave me command
ment, even so I do.' This snare was laid for Jesus with the deepest skill; so that, if he could once have been taken, it would have entangled him fatally; for by this miracle, which was to decide the great question of his sonship, he was to exempt himself from suffering according to his Father's will; and, therefore, instead of proving the positive, it would have proved the negative, that Jesus was not, in the voluntary, high and proper sense of the word, the Son of God:* yea,
* This temptation was the same in kind with that offered by the Jews. Matth. xxvii. 40–42. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. If he be the King
deeper still; for as the proposed evidence was dictated by the Devil, and was to have resulted in a way of obedience to him; it would have proved, substantially, that Jesus was his son; and he would have been proud of him, and made him, no doubt, a great one of the earth; and to complete the evidence of concord and agreement with the Devil, he was to come to his table for bread, and practically subject himself to the curse of the serpent, by having dust made his food....... From this snare of the Devil no soul can escape unless he have found the secret of the Lord, and have gained an understanding, that he may know him that is true ; and therefore he esteems All his precepts concerning all things to be right, and he hates every false way,
3. That the word and worship of God is to be preserved pure, without variation, addition, or dimunition.
Opposition to divine authority is so manifestly dangerous, that very few, perhaps none in their first steps, will ever dare to go directly in the face of it. The way of transgressors is hard ; too hard even for the boldest of them, until it be, in some measure, smoothed by a lying tongue; and the word, which is the medium of Usis authority, be thereby essentially affected. This is done in numberless ways; sometiines by boldly contradicting the word; as Gen. iji. 5. “ Ye shail “not surely die:” or by asserting that to be the word, which it is not; as Ezek. xxii. 28. “ Thus
saith the Lord, when the Lord bath not spo“ken.” By suppressing a part of the text, as when the Devil quoted to our Lord the promise of Psalm xci. 11, 12, leaving out the specified grounds, and the first and most essential part of
of Israel, let him come down from the cross, and no will be lieve him.
the safety therein promised by the ministry of angels, viz.“
they shall have charge over thee, “ to keep thee in all thy ways;" or by declaring that some part of the word is abrogated, its authority is annulled, and that it is no more of use either for doctrine, reproof, correction, or instruction in righteousness. The inost common methods, however, and those which best succeed in rendering the authority of God void, and his commandment of none cffect, are of a kind still more hidden, and therefore more deceivable; such as ingenious comments, and plausible interpretations, unwarranted applications of the word, it being neither rightly divided, nor seasonably, nor fitly dispensed; adulterating and reducing it by mixtures of vain philosophy, false traditions, and maxims of worldly wisdom. But to point out all these 'ways of seduction would be an endless task.
Corrupting the worship of God is equally an object of the enemy. This also is effected in a great variety of ways; as when false gods, or their images, are worshipped, Exod. xxxiv, 13, 14; when the true God is worshipped by images, Exod. xx. 4, 5; or superstitiously, John iv. 23; or ignorantly, Acts xvii. 23; with unworthy thoughts of him, Psal. I. 21; or with incorrect conceptions of his being and attributes, Isai. xl. 18; when another God is worshipped together with the living and true God, 2 Kings xvii. 23 ; or when any other being beside the eternal God is worshipped in his stead, as being derived from him by procreation, emanation, or any possible or supposed act of his power; or as being invested with his authority or officiating by his appointment. When God is worshipped without faith, Heb. xi. 6; through misbelief, Acts xxvi. 9; or in a way not appointed, Col. ïi. 23; however ingenious may be the invention, old the cus