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cers, to take him and the Evangelifts have related that the chief priests, &c. before that time had attempted to take him, but they did not, fearing the people.

How far thefe obfervations may be admitted to explain and alfo to ascertain the true meaning of the words under confideration, is fubmitted to the judgment of the inquifitive and candid reader. In my view, they appear the most probable falutation of them; at least the literal meaning feems to be attended with confiderable, if not with infuperable difficulties, especially that of Satan's entering into Judas.


The next account of Satan I will mention, is that refpecting Peter. Luke xxii. 31, 32. Jefus faid to him, Satan hath defired to have you, that he may fift you as wheat, i. e. separate you me, like as that grain is from the chaff, not to be united to me again. But he added, I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not, i. e. in producing a final feparation from me; understanding literally, that Satan defired to have Peter for the purpose expreffed in the text, it is very natural to ask to whom it was communicated? I prefume we cannot well fuppofe it was to Jefus, because, prior to any effect it could have upon Peter, Jefus had prayed for him that his faith might not fail him in the fenfe juft mentioned. If Satan's defire was not divulged, it could operate only in himself; but if it excited him to fift Peter, yet his Lord's praying for him would render his tempting him as ineffectual as what is related of his tempting Jefus; and if, as is generally believed, that Satan knows the thoughts and actions of men, he could not but know of Jefus's interpofing in favor of his favorite difciple, and therefore that any attempt upon him must prove abortive.


That Peter's faith failed him to a great degree, is manifeft in the Evangelifts: but, in attending to what they have related as the apparent cause, or occafion of it, we shall plainly difcern it arose from a different adversary than Satan; that is, from his own natural fear of being involved as a difciple of Jefus in the condemnation, &c. which he faw it was very probable would befall him from the hatred of the high priests, &c. against him when he was prefent at his trial, and heard him accused of being a malefactor and feditious perfon, and likewife charged with having defigns against Cæfar's government, by affuming to himself the title of, King of the Jews, and himself openly accused as an accomplice with Jefus.

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This view of the caufe of Peter's faith failing him, clearly explains and accounts for it as the adversary or Satan that occafioned it. If Satan was the real caufe of his faith failing him, it must be attributed to his exciting his fear left he should fuffer with Jefus; but of this there is not the least intimation in either of the evangelifts, nor as it refpects the rest of the apostles, who, as well as he, faid, they would not deny him even unto death; but it is plain their faith failed them as well as Peter's. That which is peculiar to him is, his thrice denying him at his trial, as is particularly related. And it is evident the evangelifts have not given the leaft hint that Satan ftirred up or tempted the high priefts, &c. to act the part they did to Jefus, that occafioned Peter's fear, and which led him to deny his Lord. The true and apparent causes or occafions of the high priests, &c. proceedings against Jefus are clearly related by the evangelifts, and which began to take place long before his trial; for prior to that time the Pharifees, &c. on feveral occafions attempted to E


take him and put him to death, as is related in their writings. I may farther observe, that in every text in which is related Jesus told his disciples, or Peter in particular, that they would deny him thro' the weakness of their faith, alluding to the time when it took place; he did not give them the least hint it would arife from the inftigation of Satan on their mind. They could not have any real ground to believe this, because, as I have observed, there is not the leaft proof, either in the Old Testament, or the words of Jefus, fo far as we are capable of judging, from which they could know there was a fallen angel, or that he tempted men to fin.

Having attempted to explain the paffages wherein are related Satan's tempting Jefus and the two apostles, I will crave the reader's attention to what our Lord faid in fome of his parables of the wicked one, Satan, or the Devil, as tempting men; and the first instance is that of the fower who fowed the good feed in his field. Matt. xiii. Mark iv. Luke vii. of the feed that was fown by the highway, he faid, When one heared the word of the kingdom and understandeth it not, or hath not an honest and good heart, then cometh the wicked one and catcheth or taketh away that which was fown in his heart; or when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately and taketh away the word that was fown in their hearts. Satan's tempting thefe perfons is represented to be his taking away the word out of their heart; but not by his inftilling, or putting into it evil thoughts, or raising in it evil defires. And it is unquestionably certain, that the above account differs from all other inftances related in the New Teftament, where he is faid to tempt men. The perfons above defcribed in the parable, I think are plainly alluded to, and repre


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fented verses 13, 14, 15, as dull of hearing, having closed their eyes, left at any time they should fee with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and fhould understand with their heart, and fhould be converted, and I fhould heal them; which plainly accounts for the word that was fown in their hearts not abiding there.


In the parable of the man who made a great fupper, Luke xiv. 15, &c. as fomewhat fimilar in our Lord's intention with that just confidered; he hath explicitly affigned other and very different causes why the perfons invited to it did not accept of the invitation than that of Satan's tempting them: They are these, They all began to make excufe; the first faid, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and fee it; I pray thee have me excufed.-And another faid, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them; I pray thee have me excufed.-And another faid, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So the fervant came and fhewed his lord all these things. These causes why the word did not abide in their hearr, are fimilar with thofe Jefus affigned why the feed that was sown on stony ground, and on that where the thorns grew up and choaked it, viz. when tribulation arifeth, because of the word, and by and by they are offended; or the care of this world and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lufts of other things, and pleasures of this life, enter in and choak the word, and he beareth no fruit. These obvious and ufual occafions of temptation to the perfons reprefented in thofe parables, the people prefent could eafily understand, and alfo apply it usefully to themselves; but they could not as it refpects the fecret fuggeftions of Satan, or the Devil.

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And, in the courfe of Jefus's Ministry, he mentioned many other caufes why men did not receive the word than in those parables, as must be obvious to every one who reads with attention his difcourses to the people who attended him. Thus, when he faid to fome of the unbelieving Jews. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and feek not the honour that cometh from God only?

I will just fubjoin the following texts, in which he hath particularly mentioned several other evident causes of men's being tempted not to receive the word, that may be compared to those represented by the highway, without giving the leaft intimation of the wicked one taking away the word out of their heart. Luke xiii. 24. xiv. 25-35.

But what juft or fatisfactory proof is there to be given why it ought to be believed that Satan tempts men by taking away the word out of the heart of thofe Jefus compared to the highway on which the feed was fown, left they should believe and be faved, and yet not tempt or draw away those who have received the word with joy; and where, for a time, it promised fair for bringing forth fruit? For it is undeniable, that Jefus did not attribute it to the temptation of Satan, but to other manifeft and common temptations to men, which cannot but be admitted, and which his hearers could eafily underftand; but, I prefume, they could not, as it refpected Satan as a fallen angel, for reafons and proofs already offered. The adversary to the several perfons above represented, were the things of this world, fuch as Jefus mentioned, which too ftrongly operated upon the heart of fome of them, as reafons why the word did not take any root in it or why they did not accept of the invitation to


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