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Preaching and Ministry
of John the Baptist. ceive that either of these two Evangelists wrote his his son-in-law (John, 18 13: Acts, 4. G). In David's Gospel with the other's before him-though many time both Zadok and Abiathar acted as high priests think this a precarious inference. that it might be (2 Samuel, 15, 35), and it seems to have been the fixed fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets. He shall be practice to have two (2 Kings, 26. 18). "the word of called & Nazarene-better, perhaps, 'Nazarene.' The God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the best explanation of the origin of this name appears wilderness." Such a way of speaking is never once to be that which traces it to the word netzer in used when speaking of Jesus, because He was him. Isaiah, 11. 1- the small 'tuig,' 'sprout,' or sucker,' self The Living Word: whereas to all merely creawhich the prophet there says, "shall come forth from ture-messengers of God, the word they spake was a the stem (or rather 'stump') of Jesse, the branch foreign element. See on John, 3. 31. We are now which should fructify from his roots." The little prepared for the opening words of Matthew. 1. In town of Nazareth- mentioned neither in the Old those days - of Christ's secluded life at Nazareth, Testament nor in JOSEPHUS-was probably so called where the last chapter left Him. came John the from its insignificance-& weak twig in contrast to a Bautist. preaching-about six months before his Masstately tree, and a special contempt seemed to rest ter in the wilderness of Judea-the desert valley of upon it-"Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? the Jordan, thinly peopled and bare in pasture, & (John, 1. 46) - over and above the general contempt in little North of Jerusalem. 2. And saying, Repent which all Galilee was held, from the number of Gen- 1 ye. Though the word strictly denotes a change of tiles that settled in the upper territories of it, and, mind, it has respect here, and wherever it is used in the estimation of the Jews, debased it. Thus, in connection with salvation, primarily to that sense in the providential arrangement by which our Lord of sin which leads the sinner to flee from the wrath was brought up at the insignificant and opprobrious to come, to look for relief only from above, and town called Nazareth, there was involved, first, a local eagerly to fall in with the provided remedy. for the humiliation; next, an allusion to Isaiah's prediction kingdom of heaven is at hand. This sublime phrase, of His lowly, twig-like upspringing from the branch | used in none of the other Gospels, occurs in this peless, dried-up stump of Jesse; and yet further, a stand-culiarly Jewish Gospel nearly thirty times; and being memorial of that humiliation which “the pro-ing suggested by Daniel's grand vision of the Son of phets," in a number of the most striking predictions, Man coming in the clouds of heaven to the Ancient bad attached to the Messiah.
of days, to receive His Investiture in a world-wide CHAPTER III.
kingdom (Daniel, 7. 13, 14), it was fitted at once both Ver. 1-12. PREACHING AND MINISTRY OF Joix. to meet the national expectations and to turn them (=Mark, 1. 1-8; Luke, 3. 1-18.) For the proper intro- into the right channel. A kingdom for which reduction to this section, we must go to Luke, 3. 1, 2. pentance was the proper preparation behoved to be Here, as BENGEL well observes, the curtain of the essentially spiritual. Deliverance from sin, the great New Testament is, as it were, drawn up, and the blessing of Christ's kingdom (ch. 1. 21), can be valued kreatest of all epochs of the Church commences. by those only to whom sin is a burden (ch. 9. 121. Even our Lord's own age is determined by it (v. 23). John's great work, accordingly, was to awaken this No such elaborate chronological precision is to be feeling, and hold out the hope of a speedy and pre. found elsewhere in the New Testament, and it comes cious remedy. 3. For this is he that was spoken of by fitly from him who claims it as the peculiar recom- the prophet Esaias, saying (ch. 11. 3), The voice of one mendation of his Gospel, that he had traced down crying in the wilderness (see on Luke, 3. 2)-the scene of all things with precision from the very first' (ch. 1.3). his ministry corresponding to its rough nature. PreHere evidently commences his proper narrative. pare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Ver. 1. "Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Ti. This prediction is quoted in all the four Gospels, berius Caesar"-not the fifteenth from his full acces-showing that it was regarded as a great outstanding sion on the death of Augustus, but from the period one, and the predicted forerunner as the connecting when he was associated with him in the government link between the old and the new economies. Like of the empire, three years earlier, about the end of the great ones of the earth, the Prince of peace was the year of Rome 779, or about four years before the to bave His immediate approach proclaimed and His usual reckoning. "Pontius Pilate being governor of way prepared; and the call here-taking it generally Judea." His proper title was Procurator, but with -is a call to put out of the way whatever would more than the usual powers of that office. After obstruct His progress and hinder His complete triholding it for about ten years, he was summoned to umph, whether those hindrances were public or perRome to answer to charges brought against him; but sonal, outward or inward. In Luke (3. 6, 6 the ere he arrived Tiberius died (A.D. 36), and soon after quotation is thus continued: "Every valley shall be miserable Pilate committed suicide. "and Herod filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought being tetrarch of Galilee (see on Mark, 6. 14), and his low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the brother Philip”-a very different and very superior rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall Philip to the one whose name was Herod Philip, see the salvation of God." Levelling and smootbing and whose wife, Herodias, went to live with Herod are here the obvious figures whose sense is conveyed Antipas (see on Mark, 6. 17)_"tetrarch of Iturea"- in the first words of the proclamation-"Prepare ye lying to the North East of Palestine, and so called the way of the Lord." The idea is, that every obstrucfrom Itur or Jetur, Ishmael's son 1 Chronicles, 1. 31), tion shall be so removed as to reveal to the whole and anciently belonging to the half-tribe of Manasseh. world the Salvation of God in Him whose name is the "and of the region of Trachonitis"-lying farther to "Saviour." (Cr. Psalm 98. 3; Isaiah, 11. 10; 49. 6; 52 10; the North East. between Iturea and Damascus : a Luke, 2. 31, 32; Acts, 13. 47.) 4 And the same John had rocky district infested by robbers, and committed by his raiment of camel's hair-that is, woven of it-and a Augustus to Herod the Great to keep in order. leathern girdle about his loins-the prophetic dress of "and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene"-still more Elijah (2 Kings, 1.8; and see Zechariah. 13. 4). and his to the North East; so called, says ROBINSON, from meat was locusts--the great well-known eastern locust. Abila, eighteen miles from Damascus. Ver. 2 "Annas a food of the poor (Leviticus, 11. 22). and wild honeyand Caiaphas being the high priests." The former, made by wild bees (1 Samuel, 14. 25, 26). This dress though deposed, retained much of his influence, and, and diet, with the shrill cry in the wilderness, would probably, as Sagan or deputy, exercised much of the recall the stern days of Elijah. 5. Then went out to power of the high priesthood along with Caiaphas him Jerusalem, and all Jadea, and all the region round
the Phariseer. about Jordan. From the metropolitan centre to the Though the stern speaker may have pointed as he extremities of the Judean province the cry of this spake to the pebbles of the bare clay bills that lay Ereat preacher of repentance and herald of the ap I around (so STANLEY'S Sinai and Palestine), it was proaching Messiah brought trooping penitents and clearly the calling of the Gentiles-at that time stoneeazer expectants. 6. And were baptized of him in Jor | dead in their sins, and quite as unconscious of it-into dra, confessing-probably confessing aloud-their sins. the room of unbelieving and disinherited Israel that This baptism was at once a public seal of their felt he meant thus to indicate. (See ch, 21. 43: Romans, need of deliverance from sin, of their expectation of 11. 20, 30.) 10. And now also--'And even already'. the coming Deliverer, and of their readiness to the ax is laid unto-lieth at'-the root of the trees-as welcome Him when He appeared. The baptism it were ready to strike: an expressive figure of imItself startled, and was intended to startle them. pending judgment, only to be averted in the way They were familiar enough with the baptism of pro next described. therefore every tree which bringeth grytes from heathenism: but this baptism of Jews not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. themselves was quite new and strange to them. 7. Language so personal and individual as this can Bat when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees scarcely be understood of any national judgment like come to his baptism, he said unto them-astonished at the approaching destruction of Jerusalem, with tho sach a spectacle-o generation of vipers-'Viper-brood;' breaking up of the Jewish polity and the extrusion expressing the deadly influence of both sects alike of the chosen people from their peculiar privileges apon the community. Mutually and entirely anta- which followed it; though this would serve as the eonistic as were their religious principles and spirit, I dark shadow, cast before, of a more terrible retributhe stern prophet charges both alike with being the tion to come. The "fire,” which in another verse poisoners of the nation's religious principles. In ch. is called "unquenchable," can be no other than that 12 34, and 23. 33, this strong language of the Baptist future "torment" of the impenitent, whose "smoke is anew applied by the faithful and true Witness to ascendeth up for ever and ever,” and which by the the Pharisees specifically-the only party that had Judge Himself is styled "everlasting punishment" real enough actively to diffuse this poison. who hath Matthew, 25. 46). What a strength, too, of just indig. Fined you given you the hint,' as the idea is--to nation is in that word "cast" or "flung into the fire !" tee from the wrath to come! - What can have brought | The Third Gospel here adds the following imporyou hither John more than suspected it was not so tant particulars, Luke, 3. 10-16: Ver. 10. “And the much their own spiritual anxieties as the popularity people"-rather, the multitudes'-"asked him, say. of his movement that had drawn them thither. What ing, What shall we do then?"- that is, to show the an expression is this. "The wrath to come!" God's sincerity of our repentance. Ver. 11. “He answer "wrath," in Scripture, is His righteous displeasure eth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let against sin, and consequently against all in whose him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath skirts sin is found, arising out of the essential and meat” provisions,' victuals'-"let him do likeeternal opposition of His nature to all moral evil. wise." This is directed against the reigning avarico This is called "the coming wrath," pot as being wholly and selfishness. (Cf. the corresponding precepts of fature-for as a merited sentence it lies on the sinner the Sermon on the Mount, ch. 6. 40-42.) Ver. 12. already, and its effects, both inward and outward, are "Then came also the publicans to be baptized, and to some extent experienced even now--but because said unto him, Master,” or Teacher," "what shall we the impenitent sinner will not until "the judgment dop'-in what special way is the genuineness of our of the great day," be concluded under it, will not have repentance to be manifested? Ver. 13. "And he said wentence publicly and irrevocably passed upon him, unto them, Exact no more than that which is apwill not have it discharged upon him and experience pointed you." This is directed against that extortion its effects without mixture and without hope. In which made the publicans a by-word. (See on ch. 6. this view of it, it is a wrath rohoily to come-as is im 46; and on Luke, 15. 1.) Ver. 14. "And the soldiers" pued in the noticeably different form of the expres -- rather, 'And soldiers'-the word means 'soldiers on son employed by the apostle in 1 Thessalonians, 1. 10. active duty'-"likewise demanded (or asked) of him, Not that even true penitents came to Jobp's baptism saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto with all these views of "the wrath to come." But them, Do violence to," or 'Intimidate,' "no man." that he says is, that this was the real import of the The word signifies to 'shake thoroughly,' and refers Sep itself. In this view of it, how striking is the word probably to the extorting of money or other property. De employs to express that step-sleeing from it-as | "neither accuse any falsely"-by acting as informers
one who, beholding a tide of fiery wrath rolling vexatiously on frivolous or false pretexts —"and be rapidly towards him, sees in instant flight his only content with your wages," or 'rations.' We may take escape! & Bring forth therefore fruits-the true read this. say WEBSTKR & WILKINSON, as a warning les clearly is 'fruit'-meet for repentance--that is, such against mutiny, which the officers attempted to supTrait us befits a true penitent. John, not being gifted press by largesses and donations. And thus the with a knowledge of the human heart, like a true "fruits" which would evidence their repentance were biointer of righteousness and lover of souls, here di- just resistance to the reigning sins-particularly of the rect them how to evidence and carry out their re. class to which the penitent belonged- and the maniDestance, supposing it genuine; and in the following festation of an opposite spirit. Ver. 16. "And as the Terbs warns them of their danger in case it were not people were in expectation"-in a state of excitement,
and think not to say within yourselves. We have looking for something new-"and all men mused in Aktuhan to our father-that pillow on which the nation their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or 20 istally reposed, that rock on which at length it | not”-rather, whether he himself might be the Christ.' pul fur I say unto you, that God is able of these stones The structure of this clause implies that they could
raise up children anto Abraham-q.d., Flatter not hardly think it, but yet could not help asking themyourselves with the fond delusion that God stands in selves whether it might not be; showing both how suc
wel of you, to make good his promise of a seed to cessful he had been in awakening the expectation of Abraham ; for I tell you that, though you were all to Messiah's immediate appearing, and the high estimacausa, God is as able to raise up a seed to Abraham tion, and even reverence, which his own character
o those stones as He was to take Abraham him commanded. Ver. 16. “John answered "-either to ves of the rock whence he was hewn, out of the that deputation from Jerusalem, of which we read
the pit whence he was digged' (Isaiah, 61. 1). I in Joho, 1. 19. &c., or on some other occasion, to
The Baptism of Water
and of the Holy Ghost, remove impressions derogatory to his blessed Master, , up John in prison." This imprisonment of John, which he knew to be taking hold of the popular however, did not take place for some time after mind-" saying unto them all”-in solemn protesta- this; and it is here recorded merely because the tion: (We now return to the First Gospel.) 11. I Evangelist did not intend to recur to his history till indeed baptize you with water unto repentance (see on he had occasion to relate the message which he sent 0. 6): but he that cometh after me is mightier than I. to Christ from his prison at Machærus (Luke, 7. In Mark and Luke this is more emphatic-"But 18, &c.). there cometh the Mightier than I," whose shoes, or 13-17. BAPTISM OF CHRIST, AND DESCENT OF THE *sandals,' I am not worthy to bear. The sandals were SPIRIT UPON HIM IMMEDIATELY THEREAFTER. tied and untied, and borne about by the meanest Mark, 1. 9-11: Luke, 3. 21, 22; John, 1. 31-34.) Bapservants. he shall baptize you - the emphatic "He;" tism of Christ (r. 13-15). 13. Then cometh Jesus from
He it is,' to the exclusion of all others that shall Galilee to Jordan uunto John, to be baptized of him. baptize you.' with the Holy Ghost. "So far from Moses rashly anticipated the Divine call to deliver entertaining such a thought as laying claim to the his people, and for this was fain to flee the house honours of Messiahship, the meanest services I can of bondage, and wait in obscurity for forty years more render to that "Mightier than I that is coming after (Exodus, 2. 11, &c.). Not so this Greater than Moses. me” are too high an honour for me: I am but the All but thirty years had He now spent in privacy at servant, but the Master is coming; I administer but Nazareth, gradually ripening for His public work, the outward symbol of purification ; His it is, as His and calmly awaiting the time appointed of the Father. sole prerogative, to dispense the inward reality.' Now it had arrived; and this movement from Galilee Beautiful spirit, distinguishing this servant of Christ to Jordan is the step, doubtless, of deepest interthroughout! and with fire. To take this as a distinct est to all heaven since that first one which brought baptism from that of the Spirit-& baptism of the Him into the world. Luke (3. 21) has this important impenitent with hell-fire-is exceedingly unnatural. addition-"Now when all the people were baptized, it Yet this was the view of ORIGEN among the Fathers; came to pass, that Jesus being baptized," &c.-imand among moderns, of NEANDER, MEYER, DE plying that Jesus waited till all other applicants for WETTE, and LANGE. Nor is it much better to refer baptism that day had been disposed of, ere be it to the fire of the great day, by which the earth and stepped forward, that He might not seem to be merely the works that are therein shall be burned up. Clearly, one of the crowd. Thus, as He rode into Jerusalem as we think, it is but the fiery character of the upon an ass "whereon yet never man sat" (Luke, Spirit's operations upon the soul-searching, consum 19. 30), and lay in a sepulchre "wherein was never ing, refining, sublimating--as nearly all good inter-man yet laid" (John, 19. 41), so in His baptism too He preters understand the words. And thus, in two suc- would be "separate from sinners." 14. But John for cessive clauses, the two most familiar emblems-water bade him-rather, 'was (in the act of] hindering him,' and fire-are employed to set forth the same purify- or 'attempting to hinder him'-saying, I have need to ing operations of the Holy Ghost upon the soul. 12. be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me! (How John Whose (winnowing) fan is in his hand-ready for use. came to recognise Him, when he says he knew Him This is no other than the preaching of the gospel, not, see on John, 1. 31-34.) The emphasis of this most even now beginning, the effect of which would be to remarkable speech lies all in the pronouns: 'What! separate the solid from the spiritually worthless, as Shall the Master come for baptism to the servant wheat, by the winnowing fan, from the chaff. (Cf. 1 the sinless Saviour to a sinner That thus much is the similar representation in Malachi, 3. 1-3.) and in the Baptist's words will be clearly seen if it be he will throughly purge his (threshing) floor-that is, observed that he evidently regarded Jesus as Himself the visible church and gather his wheat-His true-needing no purification, but rather qualified to impart hearted saints : so called for their solid worth (cf. it to those who did. And do not all his other testiAmos. 9. 9; Luke, 22. 31). into the garner-"the king- monies to Christ fully bear out this sense of the words? dom of their Father," as this "garner" or "barn" is But it were a pity if, in the glory of this testimony beantifully explained by our Lord in the parable of l to Christ, we should miss the beautiful spirit in which the Wheat and the Tares (ch. 13. 30, 43). but he will it was borne-'Lord, must I baptize Theet Can I burn up the chaff-empty, worthless professors of re- bring myself to do such a thing!-reminding us of ligion, void of all solid religious principle and char. Peter's exclamation at the supper-table, "Lord, dost acter (see Psalm 1. 4). with unquenchable fire. Singu- Thou wash my feet while it has nothing of the lar is the strength of this apparent contradiction of false humility and presumption which dictated figures to be burnt up, but with a fire that is un. Peter's next speech, " Thou shalt never wash my quenchable; the one expressing the utter destruction feet" (John, 13. 6, 8). 15. And Jesus answering said of all that constitutes one's true life, the other the unto him, Suffer it to be so now-'Let it pass for the continued consciousness of existence in that awful con- present;' q.d., Thou recoilest, and no wonder, for dition. Luke adds the following important particu- | the seeming incongruity is startling; but in the preslars, 3. 18-20 : Ver. 18. “And many other things in lent case do as thou art bidden.' for thus it becometh his exhortation preached he unto the people," show-us-"us," not in the sense of me and thee,' or 'men ing that we have here but an abstract of his teach- / in general,' but as in John, 3. 11. to fulfil all righteousing. Besides what we read in John, 1. 29, 33, 34; 3. | mers. If this be rendered, with SCRIVENER, 'every 27-36; the incidental allusion to his having taught his ordinance,' or, with CAMPBELL, 'every institution,' disciples to pray (Luke, 11. 1)-of which not a word the meaning is obvious enough: and the same sense is is said elsewhere-shows how varied his teaching was. brought out by "all righteousness," or compliance Ver. 19. “But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by with everything enjoined, baptism included. Inhim for Herodias his brother Philip's wife, and for deed, if this be the meaning, our version perhaps all the evils which Herod had done." In this last best brings out the force of the opening word "Thus." clause we have an important fact, here only men- But we incline to think that our Lord meant more tioned, sbowing how thorough-going was the fidelity of than this. The import of Circumcision and of Bapthe Baptist to his royal hearer, and how strong must tism seems to be radically the same. And if our rehave been the workings of conscience in that slave marks on the circumcision of our Lord (on Luke, 2. of passion when, notwithstanding such plainness, he | 21-24) are well founded, He would seem to have said. * did many things, and heard John gladly" (Mark. Thus do I impledge myself to the whole righteous. 6. 20). Ver. 20. "Added yet this above all, that he shutness of the Law-thus symbolically do enter on and
Pel Das Spirit
upon the Baptized Redeemet. are to full it all." Let the thoughtful reader Son of God-now and henceforward in His official uch this. Then he suffered himn-with true humility, capacity that was here visibly manifested. 17. And welling to higher authority than his own impressions lo a voice from heaven, saying. This is-Mark and Luke propriety.
give it in the direct form, “Thou art"-my beloved Dust of the Spirit upon the Baptized Redeemer Son, in whom I am well pleased. The verb is put in
1m 16. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up the aorist to express absolute complacency, once and filteay ort o-rather, 'from-the water. Mark for ever felt towards Him. The English here, at least In out of the water." and-adds Luke (3. 21), to modern ears, is scarcely strong enough. I delight' * while He was praying " a grand piece of informa comes the nearest, perhaps, to that ineffable coma Can there be a doubt about the burden of that placency which is manifestly intended, and this is the
ser: a prayer sent up, probably, while yet in the rather to be preferred, as it would immediately carry water-His blessed head suffused with the baptismal the thoughts back to that sugust Messianic prophecy
mat: a prayer continued likely as He stepped out to which the voice from heaven plainly alluded of the stream, and again stood upon the dry ground? (Isaiah, 42. 1), “Behold my Servant, whom I uphold: truck before Him, the needed and expected Spirit mine Elect, IN WHOM MY SOUL DELIGHTETH." Nor to test upon Him for it, and the glory He would then are the words which follow to be overlooked, "I have pat apoa the Father that sent Him-would not these put my Spirit upon Him: He shall bring forth judg1His breast, and find silent vent in such form as ment to the Gentiles." (The LXX. pervert this, as
a Lo. I come; I delight to do thy will, o God. they do most of the Messianic predictions, interpoFatber, glorify thy name. Show mea token for good. lating the word "Jacob," and applying it to the Jews.
& the Spirit of the Lord God come upon me, and I was this voice heard by the by-standers? From will preach the Gospel to the poor, and heal the Matthew's form of it, one might suppose it so detaken-bearted, and send forth judgment unto vic | signed: but it would appear that it was not, and protery. Whilst He was yet speaking-lo, the heavensbably John only heard and saw anything peculiar ruegend Mark says, sublimely. “He saw the about that great baptism. Accordingly, the words barens cleaning and he saw the Spirit of God de-"Hear ye Him" are not added, as at the Transfiguentir-that is, He only, with the exception of His ration. hormoured servant, as he tells us himself, John, 1.
CHAPTER IV. the by-standers apparently seeing nothing. Like Ver 1-11. TEMPTATION OF CHRIST. (=Mark, 1. 1 daw, and lighting upon him. Luke says, “in a bodily 12, 13; Luke, 4. 1-13.) 1. Then an indefinite note of ape (that is, the blessed Spirit, assuming the sequence. But Mark's word (1. 12) fixes what we
real form of a dove, descended thus upon His should have presumed was meant, that it was "immedered head. But why in this form! The Scripture diately" after His baptism; and with this agrees the to this emblem will be our best guide here. statement of Luke (4. 1). was Jesus led up-i.e., from "U dore, my and filed is one," says the song (6. 9). the low Jordan valley to some more elevated spot. This chaste purity. Asain, “Be ye harmless as of the Spirit-that blessed Spirit immediately before Gover.says Christ Himself (Matthew, 10. 16). This spoken of as descending upon Him at His baptism,
the same thing, in the form of inoffensiveness and abiding upon Him. Luke, connecting these two towards men "A conscience void of offence toward scenes, as if the one were but the sequel of the other,
and toward men" (Acts, 21. 16) expresses both says, “Jesus, being full of the Holy Ghost, returned further, when we read in the Song (2. 14), “O my from Jordan, and was led," &c. Mark's expression Guve, tast art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret has a startling sharpness about it-" Immediately
of the stairs see Isaiah, 60. 8), let me see thy the Spirit driveth Him," putteth,' or 'hurrieth, antenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy Him forth,' or 'impelleth Him.' (See the same word i ide, and thy countenance is comely"-it is shrink- / in Mark. 1. 43; 5. 40: Matthew, 9. 25; 13. 52: John, 10. 4.) ingmadesty, meekness, gentleness, that is thus charm. The thought thus strongly expressed is the mighty
y depicted In a word - not to allude to the constraining impulse of the Spirit under which He Moral emblem of the dove that flew back to the went: while Matthew's more gentle expression, "was
L bearing in its month the olive leaf of peace led up," intimates how purely voluntary on His own Bese, & 11-when we read (Psalın 68. 13), "Ye part this action was. into the wilderness-probably the Read be a the wing of a dove covered with silver, wild Judean desert. The particular spot which trawed her feathers with yellow gold," it is beauteousness | dition has fixed upon has hence got the name of Ihas is thus held forth. And was not such that Quarantana or Quarantaria, from the forty days,
daly, harmless, undefiled One," the "Separate from 'an almost perpendicular wall of rock twelve or LES! Thon art fairer than the children of fifteen hundred feet above the plain.' (ROBINSON'S
: grace is poured into Thy lips: therefore God | Palestine. I The supposition of those who incline to uch blessed Tbee for ever!" But the fourth Gospel place the Temptation amongst the mountains of
as one more piece of information here, on the Moab is, we think, very improbable. to be temptedbority of one who saw and testified of it: "John The Greek word (peirazein) means simply to try or IR round, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from make proof of; and when ascribed to God in His Bura like a dove, and IT ABODE UPON HIM." And dealings with men, it means, and can mean no more we should think that this was an accidental thing. I than this. Thus, Genesis, 22. 1, "It came to pass that w that this last particular was expressly given God did tempt Abraham," or put his faith to a severe
part of the sinn by which he was to recognise proof. (See Deuteronomy, 8. 2.) But for the most 4 lentity Him as the son of God: “And I knew part in Scripture the word is used in a bad sense, and not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, I means to entice, solicit, or provoke to sin. Hence the
e aid unto me. Upon whom thou shalt see name here given to the wicked one-"the tempter" une part descending AND REMAINING ON HIM, the (v. 3). Accordingly, "to be tempted" here is to be He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. I understood both ways. The Spirit conducted Him
record that this is the Son of into the wilderness simply to have His faith tried; Wohn, L 32-34). And when with this we compare | but as the agent in this trial was to be the wicked
predicted descent of the Spirit upon Messiah | one, whose whole object would be to seduce Him Imat, 11. 2. "And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest from His allegiance to God, it was a temptation in the you 86," we cannot doubt that it was this perma- bad sense of the term. The unworthy inference Add perfect testing of the Holy Ghost upon the I which some would draw from this is energetically
the predicted descent of the Spirit Lord shall rest from His alle the term.
The unis is energetically
Jesus is Tempted
in the Wilderness. repelled by an apostle (James, 1. 13-17). of the devil.sensation of hunger, unfelt during all the forty days, The word signifies a slanderer-one who casts imputa. seems now to have come on in all its keenness-DO tions upon another. Hence that other name given doubt to open a door to the tempter, of which he is him (Revelation, 12. 10). "The accuser of the brethren, not slow to avail himself: 9.d.. Thon still clingest to who accuseth them before our God day and night." that vainglorious confidence, that thou art the Son of Mark (1. 13) says, “He was forty days tempted of God, carried away by those illusory scenes at the JorSatan," a word signifying an adrersary, one who lies dan. Thou wast born in a stable--but thou art tho in wait for, or sets himself in opposition to another. Son of God! hurried off to Egypt for fear of Herod's These and other names of the same fallen spirit wrath-but thou art the Son of God! a carpenter's roof point to different features in his character or opera- supplied thee with a home, and in the obscurity of & tions. What was the high design of this? First, as despicable town of Galilee thou hast spent thirty we judge, to give our Lord a taste of what lay before yearg-yet still thou art the Son of God, and a voice Him in the work He had undertaken; next, to make from heaven, it seems, proclaimed it in thine ears at trial of the glorious furniture for it which He had just the Jordan! Be it so: but after that, surely thy days received; further, to give Him encouragement, by the of obscurity and trial should have an end. Why victory now to be won, to go forward spoiling prin- linger for weeks in this desert, wandering among the cipalities and powers, until at length He should make wild beasts and craggy rocks, unhonoured, unata show of them openly, triumphing over them in tended, unpitied, ready to starve for want of the His Cross; that the tempter, too, might get a taste, at necessaries of life? Is this befitting "the Son of God! the very outset, of the new kind of material in Man At the bidding of "the Son of God" sure those stones which he would find he had here to deal with; shall all be turned into loaves, and in a moment finally, that He might acquire experimental ability present an abundant repast? 4. But he answered and "to succour them that are tempted" (Hebrews, 2. 18). said, It is written (Deuteronomy, 8. 3), Man shall not The temptation evidently embraced two stages: the live by bread alone--more emphatically, as in the Greek, one continuing throughout the forty days' fast: the 'Not by bread alone shall man live' - but by every other, at the conclusion of that period. FIRST STAGE:word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Of all 2. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights. passages in Old Testament scripture, none could Luke says, “When they were quite ended." he was have been pitched upon more apposite, perhaps not afterward an hungered-evidently implying that the one so apposite, to our Lord's purpose. "The Lord sensation of hunger was unfelt during all the forty | led thee (said Moses to Israel, at the close of their days; coming on only at their close. So it was ap- journeyings) these forty years in the wilderness, to parently with Moses (Exodus, 34. 28) and Elijah humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was (1 Kings, 19. 8) for the same period. A supernatural in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his com. power of endurance was of course imparted to the mandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suf. body, but this probably operated through a natural fered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, law-the absorption of the Redeemer's spirit in the which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know: dread conflict with the tempter. (See on Acts, 0. 9.) that he might make thee know that man doth not Had we only this Gospel, we should suppose the live by bread only." &c. 'Now, if Israel spent, not temptation did not begin till after this. But it is forty days, but forty years in a waste, howling wilderclear, from Mark's statement that "He was in the ness, where there were no means of human subsistwilderness forty days tempted of Satan," and Luke's ence, not starving, but divinely provided for, on * being forty days tempted of the devil," that there purpose to prove to every age that human support
forty days' temptation before the three specific depends not upon bread, but upon God's unfailing temptations afterwards recorded. And this is what word of promise and pledge of all needful providen. we have called the First Stage. What the precise tial care, am I, distrusting this word of God, and nature and object of the forty days' temptation was despairing of relief, to take the law into my own is not recorded. But two things seem plain enough. hand? True, the Son of God is able enough to turn First, the tempter had utterly failed of his object, stones into bread: but what the Son of God is able to else it had not been renewed; and the terms in which do is not the present question, but what is Man's he opens his second attack imply as much. But duty under want of the necessaries of life. And as further, the tempter's whole object during the forty Israel's condition in the wilderness did not justify days evidently was to get Him to distrust the heavenly | their unbelieving murmurings and frequent desperatestimony borne to Him at His baptism as THE Son tion, so neither would mine warrant the exercise of OF GOD - to persuade Him to regard it as but a the power of the Son of God in snatching despairingly splendid illusion - and, generally, to dislodge from I at unwarranted relief. As man, therefore, I will His breast the consciousness of His Sonship. With await divine supply, nothing doubting that at the fitwhat plausibility the events of His previous history ting time it will arrive.' The second temptation in from the beginning would be urged upon Him in sup. this Gospel is in Luke's the third That Matthew's port of this temptation it is easy to imagine. And it order is the right one will appear, we think, pretty makes much in support of this view of the forty days clearly in the sequel. 5. Then the devil taketh him up temptation, that the particulars of it are not recorded: -rather, 'conducteth him'- into the holy city - SO for how the details of such a purely internal struggle called (as in Isaiah, 48. 2; Nehemiah, 11. 1) from its could be recorded it is hard to see. If this be correct. being "the city of the Great King." the seat of tho how naturally does the SECOND STAGE of the tempta- temple, the metropolis of all Jewish worship. and tion open! In Mark's brief notice of the temptation setteth him on a pinnacle - rather, 'the pinnacle-of there is one expressive particular not given either by the temple-a certain well-known projection. Whether Matthew or by Luke-that "He was with the wild this refer to the highest summit of the temple, whicha beasts," no doubt to add terror to solitude, and ag- bristled with golden spikes (JOSEPHUS Antiquities, gravate the horrors of the whole scene. 3. And when 6. 5. 6); or whether it refer to another peak, on Herode the tempter came to him. Evidently we have here a royal portico, overhanging the ravine of Kedron, at new scene. he said, If thou be the Son of God, command the valley of Hinnom--an immense tower built on the that these stones be made bread - rather, 'loaves,' an- very edge of this precipice, from the top of which swering to "stones" in the plural; whereas Luke, dizzy height Josephus says one could not look to the having said, "Command this stone," in the singular, bottom (Antiquitues, 16. 11, 6)-is not certain; but the adds, "that it be made bread." in the singular. The latter is probably meant. 6. And saith unto him. If thom