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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

Human nature, or "sinful flesh," has three principal channels through which it displays its waywardness against the law of God.

These are expressed by "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life".

All that is in the world stands related to these points of our nature; and there is no temptation that can be devised, but what assails it in one, or more, of these three particulars.

The world without is the seducer, which finds in all animal men, unsubdued by the law and testimony of God, a sympathizing and friendly principle, ready at all times to eat of its forbidden fruit.

This sinful nature we inherit.

It is our misfortune, not our crime, that we possess it.

We are only blameworthy when, being supplied with the power of subduing it, we permit it to reign over us.

This power resides in "the testimony of God" believed; so that we "are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation".

This testimony ought to dwell in us as it dwelt in the Lord Jesus; so that, as with the shield of faith, the fiery assaults of the world may be quenched by a "thus it is written," and a "thus saith the Lord".

Jesus was prepared by the exhaustion of a long fast, for an appeal to the desire of his flesh for food.

Hunger, it is said, will break through stone walls.

"He was hungry".

At this crisis, "the Tempter came to him".

Who he was does not appear.

Perhaps, Paul refers to him, saying "Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light".

Some one "came to him" who was his adversary, and who desired his ruin; or, at least, acted the part of one on the same principle that the adversary was permitted to put the fidelity of Job to the proof.

The trial of this eminent son of God, was perhaps recorded as an illustration of the temptation of the Son of God, even Jesus, to whom "there was none like in the earth, a perfect and upright man, one that feared God, and eschewed evil".

From his birth to his baptism in the Jordan, he was faultless.

But in the words of Satan concerning Job, "Did Jesus fear God for nought?

Had not God made a hedge about him?

" Yes; God was his defence: and "in keeping his testimony there is great reward".

But, the adversary calumniated Jesus, in suggesting that his obedience to God had been prompted by mercenary motives.

He "feared," not simply for what he should get, but because of his love for his Father's character as revealed in the divine testimonies.