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usually also reject the doctrine of redemption through the blood of atonement. If, therefore, we begin by rejecting the doctrine of evil spirits, we shall, in consistency, be forced to end by rejecting the doctrine of the divine goodness in the revelation of God, and the gift of his Son to save us.
But if, now, we admit the reality of the Satanic presence in the temptation, we shall find no difficulty in admitting, with most orthodox writers, that Satan possessed, for the time, the power to lead Jesus from the wilderness to the Temple, and from the Temple to the mountain. "It is not to be wondered at,” says Gregory, “that Christ should permit himself to be led about by the Devil, since he permitted himself to be crucified by his members."
There is no reason to doubt that Satan was present to the senses of his great Antagonist. The theory that he came only spiritually, injecting into the mind of our Lord certain thoughts and impressions, violates the spirit of the sacred narrative, if it does not the letter. Ellicott remarks the objective character of the inspired language: Satan CAME to Christ; he proposed that Jesus should FALL DOWN and worship him; he LEFT the scene of his defeat at the command of his conqueror. Alford argues that the angels must have been manifest to Jesus in bodily form, as afterwards in Gethsemane, where, it is said, they “appeared” to him, and that they came bearing food, having a strictly objective mission. But the statements concerning the manifestations of Satan are even more realistic than those concerning the presence of the angels. Oosterzee misrepresents the view we hold, and sneers at its advocates, for teaching that Satan became, for the time, actually incarnate. But the sneer is as groundless as the misrepresentation; such an idea was never advanced by any one, since the beginning of the world. There is no evidence that spirits need to assume flesh, in order to become visible. "If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual.” It was doubtless as easy for Satan to make himself visible as it is for angels, who have so often appeared to men; for he has power to transform himself into an angel of light.
We know not what form Satan assumed. Let us, however, accept the suggestion of Beecher, and repudiate the gross idea of the Papal hierarchy which has passed into legend and art, the picture of a mean, low, sooty being, with the extremities of a fabulous beast. We might, without violence, adopt the conception of Beecher, that Satan came as an angel of light; or that of Stier, that his appearance in the first temptation was that of a human friend, and in the second that of a sinless angel. But whatever the form of Satan may have been, we must understand, with Milton, that Jesus knew him at a glance. That he does not express his recognition of his adversary until the close, does not at all militate against this conclusion; for, as Alford observes, he utters his knowledge of the tempter's real character then, only because the tempter had with his own words unmasked.
The ingenuity of Satan, in his encounter with Jesus, is very conspicuous. He seizes the outward circumstances of our Lord, and seeks to turn them to his purpose. When he would tempt him through appetite, he comes to him in a moment of intense hunger and in a wilderness, where, without the exercise of miraculous power, the hunger could not be fed. When he would tempt him to presumption and spiritual pride, he sets him on the temple, whose hallowed scenes and memories might, he thought, tend to inspire in the heart of Jesus, as they did in the hearts of the whole Jewish nation to which he belonged, a fanatical confidence in divine interposition. When he would tempt him to unhallowed ambition, he takes him to a high mountain, where the extensive prospect, accompanied by insidious words, might suggest to him the vision of the whole world. In all this he sought the advantage of a law recognized throughout the Scriptures, that spiritual and prophetic men are greatly affected in even their higher moods and utterances by sensuous objects; witness the influence of the savory food prepared by Jacob on the blessing of his father, of the harp on a remarkable prophecy of Elisha, and of the huge and grotesque sculptures of Babylon on the dreams and writings of Daniel. Greswell remarks that, in the first temptation of the series, Satan makes an appeal to the Scriptures; but since Jesus replies by a quotation from the sacred volume, in the second temptation, taking the previous reply of our Lord as a clue to the heart he would mislead, He also appeals to the same divine authority. We may observe, further, that being foiled by the weapons of Scripture which he had taken up, he abandons them in the third temptation, and resorts to ordinary language. Oosterzee observes that our Lord's first reply to Satan is an expression of absolute trust in the care of God; hence, in soliciting him to cast himself from the Temple, Satan shrewdly attacked him on the side, thus exposed, of filial confidence. Origen finely remarks the singular discretion of Satan, in quoting only a part of the Psalm to which he appeals in the second temptation. Why does he omit the next verse, unless from a consciousness that he himself was the being whose defeat was foretold, when the Holy Spirit said:
1 Christ had, as one of his ordinary and normal powers, the ability to behold all things; while on earth he is " in heaven," He knows all hearts. The vision of the whole world was therefore not a miracle; as when one calls our attention to an object, or shows it, there is no miracle in the glance we give it.
“Thou shalt tread upon the lion and the adder; the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.” Almost all writers have noticed the lie, mingled with truth to make it palatable, in which in the third temptation Satan claims dominion over the whole world as a divine gift.
Among strictly orthodox writers, there is little controversy about the import of the several temptations. Gregory, somewhat narrowly, finds in the first an address to the appetite; in the second, an address to the ambition; and in the third, an address to covetousness. But Ambrose has been followed by the majority of orthodox writers, who find in the first temptation an address to the appetite; in the second, an address to spiritual pride; and in the third, an address to ambition. This will correspond well with the usual analysis of the temptation in Eden, where the first part was played by appetite, and the second by spiritual pride in the prospect of being as gods; and the third by ambition to know good and evil for one's self, that is, to be a law to one's self, without reference to the divine law, to be monarch, without allegiance to heaven. We should beware, however, of depending much on such analogies, since the temptations of Jesus may have far exceeded in their range, as they did in their power, those before which our first parents fell. Greswell observes how the temptations increase in wickedness, each being more awful than the preceding. Ambrose rightly says that, in these three temptations are the materials for every crime; they touch all departments of our nature. We need not, however, press this view to the extreme, as the declaration of the writer to the Hebrews, that Jesus "was tempted in all points like as we are,” while it has primary reference to the three closing scenes of the trial we are studying, must also be understood to embrace in its glance the struggles of the forty days of fasting, and also the subsequent assaults of Satan, which closed only with the death of Jesus, by which they were forever repelled, and at which Luke hints when he says the Devil left him, at the close of the temptation, only “for a season."
The relation of the temptation to the sinlessness of Jesus, is noticed in the Scriptures: "He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin." This statement of the sacred writer leaves room, however, for three questions :
1. Was Jesus peccable? The controversy concerning the peccability of Jesus is largely one of words, rather than ideas; and a mutual understanding of the terms employed in it should do much to reconcile the two parties. By the peccability of Jesus is not meant an actual sinfulness. Nor is it intended to teach that he inherited from his mother the taint of her nature. The meaning is simply that, in temptation, his will was free to reject the overtures of Satan, or to yield to them. In one sense, we may say that the will of Christ was bound by a necessity not to sin. Edwards uses the word NECESSITY in reference to the will, in the simple sense of CERTAINTY. You love wealth ardently; this is your strongest motive; and it is therefore CERTAIN that you will choose riches rather than poverty. And this CERTAINTY Edwards calls necessity. But at the same time he pleads strongly for the freedom of the will, and holds it perfectly consistent with this kind of necessity, which is only certainty. We agree with Kurtz, that in this sense of certainty Christ was bound; that is, his holy affections rendered his choice certain. But he was bound in no other sense than we are all bound, by the preponderance of our affections, to particular decisions. He was free just as we are all free. And in this sense, the only sense in which the word is used, Jesus was peccable. And we say with Schaff, that the peccability of Jesus gives the temptation its sole value. For if he was not free to stand or fall, the temptation was no temptation, and his resistance no voluntary resistance. The whole trial is resolved into a mere Gnostic show and sham.
2. Did the temptation of Jesus touch his humanity alone, or did it affect his whole person ? Alford observes that Christ always replies as a man to the suggestions of Satan. But this was surely not because the temptations were addressed merely to his human nature; for the first and second temptations were directly addressed to his divine nature: “If thou be the Son of God." It was rather because he was enduring temptation for the human race, as its head and deliverer, as one made, for a vicarious purpose, under the law, and foregoing, for the time, all miraculous methods of resistance. Those who hesitate to admit that the whole person of Christ participated in the temptation, base their objection on the declaration of Scripture that “God cannot be tempted with evil.” They are moved to this interpretation of the passage by an obscure feeling that divinity would be contaminated by such contact with evil, forgetting that temptation is not necessarily contamination. But now, neither can God be limited in knowledge: “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world." Yet Jesus, in his whole person, is represented by the sacred writers as having come within certain limitations of knowledge. Nay, he himself assures us that the Son of God is thus limited; for in professing his inability to define the date of the last day, he speaks of himself as “the Son," in distinction
" 1 Farmer's Inquiry, p. 12.
from “the Father."! We must suppose, then, that those passages which declare that God cannot be tempted, like those which teach his absolute omniscience, refer not to the divine nature in its state of humiliation, but in its proper state of heavenly glory. We may freely admit, however, that the temptations of Jesus came to him through the gateway of his humanity, just as all his sufferings and conflicts came. Without the incarnation, he would not have felt poverty, hunger, desertion, enmity, the storms of sorrow, the pangs of death.
, We rank the temptation with his other sorrowful experiences, as having affected his whole being; but as having approached him owing to his peculiar state of humiliation, and through the avenue of his humanity.
3. How deep did the temptation of Jesus sink? Dr. Leonard Woods represents it as a force not only FROM without, but CONTINUING without. The difference between Jesus' temptations and ours is, that while his had no lodgment in his emotions and desires, ours gain such a lodgment. He was the gold from which the acid rolls without leaving a mark; we are the alloy which it bites before it departs. We must beware of pushing this view too far; for it would turn the temptation of Christ into a mere semblance, with no value in the plan of redemption, and with no influence on his intelligence of sin and his sympathy with sinners. On the other hand, we must avoid ascribing to Jesus the least degree of consent to the solicitations with which he was tormented. Gregory distinguishes three stages of temptation : 1. Suggestion; 2. Delight; 3. Consent. We must ascribe to Jesus the first stage of suggestion. The second stage was his in a modified form; he was capable of delight in the prospect of famine satisfied; but the suggestion that he should satisfy it sinfully, filled him with horror. He was capable of delight with the care of his Father; but the thought of tempting that care, which was really to act at once a boast and a doubt of it, filled him with horror. He was capable of delight with the prospect of universal dominion; but the temptation to gain it by allegiance to Satan, filled him with horror. The first element, of suggestion, came from without. The second element, of delight, went only so far as was innocent. There was no delight in the wrong; there was not even a moment of wavering towards it. If we feel that we are at times tempted more deeply than this, it is because we take into our idea of temptation that which does not really belong to it, namely, sin. Gregory's third stage of temptation is not properly the last stage of temptation; it is the first stage of sin. Thus Jesus was really tempted as far as we are ever strictly speaking tempted, yet without sin.
I Mark xiii. 32.