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Our fathers, brethren, kept this rest, and then it was well with them—they prospered in what they undertook because, on the whole, they were a religious God-fearing people—and who shall say that, if this great bond of piety be broken, England will not fall from her high place among the nations ?
Let all, then, who love their country-who care about what may happen to this great land, not only while themselves are on it, but ages hence, in the generations to come, let all such unite in honouring this ordinance of God, this foundation stone of true religion.
Let it not be laid at our door that the mischief first begun with us—that it was in our time that neglect of the Lord's Day spread far and wide throughout the land. Let not those who shall write our history, have to record of us, to our shame and reproach—“Those were the days when a Christian people, once famous for piety, left off to behave themselves wisely, and opened the door to all ungodliness by profaning the Sabbath !”
Lest this should happen, let an effort now be made to stave off such a reproach. Let those who have influence exert it to promote amongst us a better observance of Sunday. Let each do his part, as each may, to bring about so desirable an end.
By abstaining ourselves from questionable pursuits on this sacred day-by seeking God's courts, undeterred by little difficulties of weather and the like—by laying aside all that may be called unnecessary business—by keeping the heart free for God, and open to all good and religious impressions-by employing our leisure in kindly intercourse, and holy reading-let us make manifest to all
men that we have entered into the blessed rest of the Lord's Day.
Others, in due time, will follow-some out of every house will surely be won from their present carelessness and neglect, by the mere force of good example. We may be opposed by them at the first, but we shall have their thanks by-and-by. They will confess, whom we have gained over to refrain their foot from the Sabbath, that ours is the better part. They will, when they have tried it, when they have themselves tasted of its comfort, say with us, Blessed is the man that keepeth the seventh day to sanctify it, as the Lord commanded us !
Por in that He Himself hath suffered, being tempted, He is able to succour
them that are tempted.
It is of our Lord's Temptation, brethren, that I would speak to you this morning. We have read the account of it again in the second lesson, and it may be well, while it is yet fresh in our minds, to dwell upon it, and mark in how many ways it has been written for our learning
Perhaps of all the lessons which we ought to gain from this subject, the greatest is that which the text presents to us—In that He Himself hath suffered, being tempted, He is able to succour us when we are tempted.
Experienced Himself in our troubles—a Fellow-Sufferer with us in all we undergo-walking with us, Himself unhurt, in the midst of the fire, the Lord has, we are sure, the closest sympathy with us in all our trials the will, and also the power to help us to the uttermost.
And if He has the will and power to help us, then it follows that we should make Him our refuge in all seasons of trouble and temptation, should come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may find mercy and grace to help in time of need.
Another great use of the Lord's Temptation will be the help we may get from it in resisting the devil. For herein, as in so many other points, Christ has set us an example—gone before us in the way.
Bearing these two things in mind-Ist, that our Lord suffered, being tempted, in order to a more perfect sympathy with us when we are tempted ; and 2ndly, that in the manner in which He met temptation He is our pattern, let us go on to consider the several stages of the Temptation itself.
Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungered. And when the Tempter came to Him, he said, If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
The temptation here was to distrust God and the attack was made on that side of our human nature where we are commonly the weakest—the side of bodily appetite.
For forty days had the Lord been without food, and His body was enfeebled by the long fast. As the Son of God, He could have provided for Himself instant refreshment. He who fed the five thousand with five loaves, and the four thousand with seven loaves, could not lack the power to find food for Himself.
And this is what Satan suggested to Him now-If
Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
But no—the time was not yet come for Jesus to work miracles. Besides, had He listened to the Tempter, had He turned the stones into bread, He would have been no example to us. And remember that, throughout all the Temptation, the Lord had us in mind, and acted and spoke for our good. Instead, then, of being beguiled by this crafty wile of the devil, He put it from Him, with these grand and instructive words—It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
You know the place where it is so written (Deut. viii. 3), and also the occasion. It occurs in the exhortation of Moses to the Israelites, and the reference is to that providential supply of food by which the Israelites were sustained of old, when they despaired of life, by God in the wilderness.
Our Lord checks Satan, and crushes his suggestion with this thought, that “God will provide”—that they who wait on Him, shall want for nothing—that He can and does furnish food, and all other needful things, for those who trust in Him, even though they may not be able themselves to see the channel of His mercies, the quarter from whence the help is to come.
And 0, brethren, what a valuable lesson there is for us here! How truly are we concerned to fix deeply in our mind this reply of our Lord to Satan—It is written, man shall not live by bread alone !
Yes, it is written—that we might be patient under poverty, calm under sorrow, resigned in all things to the