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ciation of His authority, or by disobedience to His commands, will find them to prove a curse instead of a blessing.
Satan on this occasion felt the power of the command of the Lord Jesus. It is said, Then the devil leaveth Him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him. What a sensible change must our blessed Lord have found in His company! Instead of being in the society of a tempter, who tried to persuade Him to do wrong, He received comfort and support in the attendance upon Him of ministering angels from heaven. This was not the only occasion on which He was thus consoled and strengthened in the hour of distress. For at another time of overpowering distress, we are told that there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven, strengthening Him.94 We may naturally suppose that on this occasion they administered relief to His necessities, of which Satan had taken advantage in order to give effect to his temptations. Their extraordinary aid was requisite in a time of extraordinary need.
These temptations which our most adorable Redeemer endured, are left on record for our instruction; that we may learn from His example how to resist most effectually the snares and assaults of the enemy of our souls. We are
to do this by following the plain directions of the word of God. This is the two-edged sword of the Spirit, which, being used with prayer for Divine aid, will always put to flight our subtil foe. But we are also taught from these temptations, as was before observed, that our blessed Saviour became intimately acquainted with the wiles of the devil, in order that He might be able to succour them that are tempted. For since He Himself suffered from the temptations of the enemy of God and man, we are assured that He can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.95 Since He was tempted to fulfil the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and to gratify the pride of life,96 He can sympathise with His people who are tempted in these respects. What encouragement does this consideration afford to the believer in Christ, when he is exposed to the assaults and temptations of Satan, and is suffering from the conflict. He is hereby assured that grace to help in time of need will be given to him, so that, when he resists the devil, the tempter will flee from him. The children of God must expect to be assaulted continually with the temptations of Satan. The Apostle therefore exhorts them, as good soldiers of Christ Jesus,97 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of
95 Hebrews ii. 18, iv. 15. 96 1 John ii. 16. 97 Ephes. vi. 11, 12.
the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood only, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness, or wicked spirits, in high places. Such are the formidable foes with which all who fight the good fight of faith, and would lay hold on eternal life, have to contend. We have no might of our own for the contest, but almighty power is on the side of those who humbly seek help from on high. The God of peace will bruise Satan under their feet, who put their trust in Him, so that the adversary of their souls shall not be able to prevail against them. Let us seek His help in the time of our need, and all will be well. He will preserve us in all dangers, and deliver us from falling into the temptations and snares of the powers of darkness. Let us then take the word of God for our directory continually; and let us lay open all our doubts, and difficulties, and distresses at the throne of grace. Let us pour out the desires and feelings of our hearts before the Lord our God, and make Him our refuge at all times. Thus the temptations of Satan will be overruled to our benefit, and to his confusion. We shall be made more than conquerors through Christ strengthening us; we shall be enabled to triumph over all the power of the enemy of our souls.
THE SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT.
THE WOMAN OF CANAAN.
Matthew xv. 28.
THEN JESUS ANSWERED AND SAID UNTO HER, O WOMAN, GREAT IS THY FAITH : BE IT UNTO THEE EVEN AS THOU WILT. AND HER DAUGHTER WAS MADE WHOLE FROM THAT VERY HOUR.
In the Gospel for last Sunday we had an account of the unsuccessful attempts of Satan, the enemy of mankind, to seduce our blessed Saviour from the path of duty. In that which comes before us this day we see the power which he was permitted in times past to exercise over the sinful children of men. This seems to have been manifested particularly in the countries that bordered upon the land of Israel. The power which Satan exercises in heathen lands
has always been most dreadful. The Psalmist declares that the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty.98 And in those parts of the world where Christianity is unknown, and its influence is not felt, his tyranny is still found to be most oppressive. He sports with the calamities of mankind, and if he cannot injure their persons, he delights in any mischief which he may be able to effect; as it appeared in the case of the herd of swine, into which the devils were permitted by our Saviour to enter, among the Gergesenes : behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters ;99 as was related in the Gospel for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany.
On the occasion before us, we are told, that Jesus went thence, from the borders of the lake of Galilee, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. These places were celebrated ports on the Mediterranean Sea ; to which, at one time, all the trade of that part of the world was directed. These two cities are mentioned in ancient history as places of great celebrity. And in the Old Testament they are frequently spoken of as being renowned for the multitude of their ships, and for their commerce. Their trade had, however, been removed to other quarters, before the time of our Saviour. The great