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by Dr. John Thomas
He believed not this angel of light and power, and would have none of his favours.
He preferred the grace of God with suffering, to the gratification of his flesh with all the pomp and pageantry of this vain and transitory world.
Its "glory" is indeed delivered to the adversary of God, His people, and His truth: and to whomsoever he wills he gives it.
The knowledge of this truth ought to deter every righteous man from seeking after it; or even accepting it, when offered upon conditions derogatory to the truth of God.
And, if those who possess it, such as kings, priests, nobles, etc., were what they pretended to be, they would follow Jesus' and Paul's examples, and renounce them all.
Christianity in high places, is Christ falling down before the adversary; and doing homage to him for the honour, riches, and power of the world.
What fellowship hath Christ with Belial?
If the principles upon which the temptation of the Lord Jesus was permitted, be understood, the necessity of putting the first Adam to the proof will be readily perceived.
Would he retain his integrity, if placed in a situation of trial?
Or, would he disbelieve God and die?
The Lord God well knew what the result would be; and had made all necessary provision for the altered circumstances which he foresaw would arise.
His knowledge, however, of what would be, did not necessitate it.
He had placed all things in a provisional state.
If the man maintained his integrity, there was the Tree of Lives as the germ of a superior order of things; but, if he transgressed, then the natural and animal system would continue unchanged; and the spiritualization of the earth and its population be deferred to a future period.
God's knowledge of what a man's character will be, does not cause Him to exempt him from trial.
He rewards and punishes none upon foregone conclusions.
He does not say to this man, "I know you are certain to turn out a reprobate, therefore I will punish you for what you would do"; nor does He say to another, "I know thee that thou wouldst do well all the days of thy life: therefore, I will promote thee to glory and honour, without subjecting thee to the tribulation of the world".
His principle is to recompense men according to what they have done, not for what they would do.
Thus he dealt with the Two Adams; and with Israel: to whom Moses says, "The Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thy heart, whether thou wouldest keep His commandments, or no".
And thus also the Lord Jesus treated Judas.
He knew he was a thief, and would betray him; yet he trusted him with the bag, and made no difference between him and the rest, until his character was revealed.
The Lord knew what was in the heart of Israel, and whether they would obey Him; but He subjected them to such a trial as would cause them to reveal themselves in their true character, and thereby justify Him in His conduct towards them.