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God, and co-equal with God, and God himself, he could not be tempted, as I have before shown. Never could universal possession of all riches feel privation as the creature does, and so be tempted as the creature is. Nor could he, without such privation, ever be tempted to distrust a higher power, since, while retaining the form of God, there was no higher power.
Consequently, in order that he might be tempted, it became necessary that he should in all things be made like unto his brethren, that he might be "a merciful and faithful high priest ;" so that, having himself suffered temptation, he might be able to succor them that are tempted; so that he might be perfected as captain of salvation through such sufferings; so that “he might learn obedience by the things which he suffered.”
To this end, “though he was RICH, yet for our sakes he became POOR."
That is, as we, being creatures, are subject to privation, he became subject to it voluntarily, privation incalculable.
To this end, not regarding that equality with God which he had enjoyed from eternity as a thing to be tenaciously retained, he emptied himself, suspended the exercise of the full functions of deity, took on him a servile form, be
came an unconscious infant, and thus, being in fashion as a man, like in all points, he became susceptible of temptation, which before was impossible. Now his knowledge was, for the time being, as truly limited as that of man, and he as truly dependent on his mother's training, and the Sacred Scriptures, and the Holy Ghost, for all his ideas, knowledge, and power, as any other child. Thus he grew in knowledge. Thus he said, “I can of mine. own self do nothing.” And it is not to be supposed that he had two selfs. Thus he could say, “Of that day and that hour knoweth no man, nor the angels, nor the Son, but the Father.” Thus, too, he became capable of feeling want, privation, limitation, which before he could not. Yea, he became amazed, and his soul exceeding sorrowful even unto death.
But the consequence of this step would be inevitably to constitute him at once the especial object of temptation. · Like a lamb cast among hungry wolves, like a diamond cast among needy beggars, so was he cast among the powers of evil. And the assault upon him would commence with a fierceness and violence, a voracity proportionate to the rank he sustained and the consequences depending. This assault would be conducted upon precisely those
principles by which it would be on any and every finite being, as already explained. It would especially concentrate upon the crisis of his entrance into public life, when youth is ever most sensitive. It would form the key-note to that life's whole struggle. The same temptations which should dog his steps, and in manifold ways assail him all through his career, and which should darken to the close, and the resistance of which should cost his blood, these would be the very ones which would meet him at the threshold, to seduce or to scare him from his path. And they would come with all the power hell could command. Angels had already fallen-the human race-cherubim, seraphim, thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers. There was but one step higher temptation could itself be tempted to aspire, and that was, to one of the persons of the Trinity. That was not possible while that person retained his fullness. But no sooner did that Lord of Glory stand a man, and emptied of that fullness, than the deep heart of hell vomited forth, in sulphurous eruption, to suffocate, blast, wither, and
If he is swept by the burning tide, a throne is emptied in heaven, the Trinity broken up, redemption eternally defeated. Such, then, being the posture of affairs, we
behold Christ driven of the spirit into the wilderness. Let us consider the assault made upon him, and discover there these elements of temptation, if indeed they exist.
TEMPTATION AND VICTORY. FORTY times hath the sun rolled up from behind yon blue hills of Arabia, forty times stood vertical above that bituminous caldron of the Dead Sea, forty times gone down behind the western cliffs, and yet the conflict is not terminated; nay, rather, is approaching to its climax of assault.
April has rolled away over the broad plains of Judea, Galilee, and Gilead since first he sought these rocks. There flowers have laughed in the vales, almonds have ripened, and the orange bowers bent with golden fruit; the latter rains have invigorated the joyous soil, and the wheat fields have stood nodding before the reaper, and the songs of the sower and of the gleaner have mingled on those fertile meadows; but in these drear abodes no rain has cherished a blade of grass, no song, save of the wheeling eagle, filled the air, but on every side bleak desolation reigns.
But hark! a gush of wild, low music breathes fitfully about him, though whence the ear in