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SERMON 1

Matthew IV. VERSE I.

Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the

wilderness, to be tempted of the devil.

our

In this season of the year, when we are reminded of

Saviour's miraculous temptation, it is highly expedient that we should consider those perils to which we are exposed by the great deceiver of mankind; who offers to us also all the pleasures, 'and glories of the world, if we will forget the Lord our God, and fall down to the worship of the powers of darkness. Day, and night man is tempted from the path of his salvation; and on each side stand alluring pleasures, inviting him to destruction : . There are lust, avarice, and ambition; the great sin of intemperance ; deep servitude to this world; timid apostacy that corrupted the soul of Peter; revenge, that shed the blood of Abel ; cruelty, that sharpened the sword of Herod ; falsehood, by which Ananias fell; treachery, that nailed Jesus to the cross : The soul is assailed by all these powers of darkness, and no man will ever see God, who has not clad himself in the armour of righteousness, and walked unhurt through them all to the mountain of Calvary; to finish his race at that goal, to breathe his last at the feet of Christ. .

Let him among us, (say the scriptures,) who would avoid temptation, think meanly, and humbly of himself: The danger that is to be averted, must be well known, and rationally apprehended, or it will come in double terror: No confidence, I beseech you, in the strength of resolutions, in the solemnity of vows, in the force, and freshness of repentance ;-the wind scatters chaff, the waves toss down mounds of sand;

1

are more

passion sweeps before it the oaths, the
protestations, the resolves of men, and
breaks in pieces, the slender fabrics of his
soul. Before temptation, we
than angels; have I not, (the sinner says.)
mourned for my fault? am not I weary of
the bondage of this sin ? is it possible that
I shall be tempted once more, that I shall
forget all that suffering has taught me, all
that I have learnt from dejection, and self-
reproach : Alas! a word, a sound, a
sight will melt all this new wisdom into
air, and hurry us back to the same station
of sin; again we shall resolve, again feel
boldness, and pride; again learn the weak-
ness of man's nature, again know the
strength of sin, and again feel the bitterness
of repentance.

There is a degrec of fear, however which leads to despair ; our notions of the power of sin may be so excessive as to make all resistance appear hopeless; but the holy fear, of which I am speaking, is that which is opposed to rash confidence; a fear. mingled with so much hope, that it excites

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