Page images





Satan persisting in the temptation of our Lord, shows

him Imperial Rome in its greatest pomp and splendour, as a power which he probably would prefer before that of the Parthians ; and tells himn that he might with the greatest eas expel Tiberius, restore the Romans to their liberty, and make himself master not only of the Roman Empire, but by so doing of the whole world, and inclusively of the throne of David. Our Lord in reply expresses his contempt of grandeur and worldly power, notices the luxury, vanity, and profligacy of the Romans, declaring how little they merited to be restored to that liberty, which they had lost by their misconduct, and briefly refers to the greatness of his ozon future kingdom. Satan, now desperate, to enhance the value of his proffered gifts, professes that the only terms, on which he will Bestow them, are our Saviour's falling down and worshipping him. Our Lord expresses a firm but temperate indignation at such a proposilion, and rebukes the Tempter by the title of Satan for ever damned.

Satan, abashed, attempts to justify himself: he then assumes a new ground of temptation, and, proposing to Jesus the intellectual gratifications of wisdom and knowledge, points out to him the celebrated seat of ancient learning, Athens, its schools, and other various resorts of learned teachers and their disciples; accompanying the view with a highly-finished panegyrick on the Grecian musicians, poets, orators and philosophers of the different sects. Jesus replies, by showing the vanity and insufficiency of the boasted Heathen philosophy; and preferes to the musick, poetry, eloquence, and didactick policy of the Greeks, those of the inspired Hebrew writers. Satan irritated at the failure of all his attempts, upbraids the indiscretion of our Saviour in rejecting his offers ; and, having, in ridicule of his expected kingdom, foretold the sufferings that our Lord was to un dergo, carries him back into the wilderness, and leaves him there. Night comes on : Satan raises a tremendous storm, and attempts further to alarm Jesus with frightful dreams, and terrifick threatening spectres; which however have no effect upon him. A calm, bright, beautiful morning succeeds to the horrours of the night. Satan again presents himself to our blessed Lord, and, from noticing the storm of the preceding night as pointed chiefly at him, takes occasion once more to insult him with an account of the sufferings which he was certainly to undergo. This only draws from our Lord brief rebuke. Satan, now at the height of his des peration, confesses that he had frequently watched Jesus from his birth, purposely to discover if he was the true Messiah ; and, collecting from what passed at the river Jordan that he most probably was so, he had from that time more ussiduously followed him, in hopes of gaining some advantage over him, which would most effectually prode that he was not really that Divine Person destined to be his fatal Enemy." In this he acknowledges that he has hitherto completely failed; but still determines to make one more trial of him. Accordingly he cona veys him to the Temple at Jerusalem, and, placing him on a pointed eminence, requires him to prove his Divinity either. by standing there, or casting himself down with safety. Our Lord reproves the Tempter, and at the same time manifest& his own Divinity by standing on this dangerous point. Satan, amazed and terrified, instantly falls; and repairs to his Infernal Compeers, to relate the bad success of his enterprise. Angels in the mean time convey our blessed Lord to a beautiful valloy, and, while they minister to him a repast of celestial food, celebrate his victory in a triumphal hymn.

« PreviousContinue »