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Matthew 4:

8. Again, the Devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

9. And saith unto Him, All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.

10. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.

11. Then the Devil leaveth Him, and, behold, Angels came and ministered unto Him.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. The Devil, left in uncertainty by this second reply, passes to a third temptation. Christ had broken the nets of appetite, had passed over those of ambition, he now spreads for Him those of covetousness; He taketh him up into a very high mountain, such as in going round about the earth he had noticed rising above the rest. The higher the mountain, the wider the view from it. He shews Him not so as that they truly saw the very kingdoms, cities, nations, their silver and their gold; but the quarters of the earth where each kingdom and city lay. As suppose from some high ground I were to point out to you, see there lies Rome, there Alexandria; you are not supposed to see the towns themselves, but the quarter in which they lie. Thus the Devil might point out the several quarters with his finger, and recount in words the greatness of each kingdom and its condition; for that is said to be shewn whch is in any way presented to the understanding.

ORIGEN. (in Luc. Hom. 30.) We are not to suppose that when he shewed Him the kingdoms of the world, he presented before Him the kingdom of Persia, for instance, or India; but he shewed his own kingdom, how he reigns in the world, that is, how some are governed by fornication, some by avarice.

REMIGIUS. By their glory, is meant, their gold and silver, precious stones and temporal goods.

RABANUS. The Devil shews all this to the Lord, not as though he had power to extend his vision or shew Him any thing unknown. But setting forth in speech as excellent and pleasant, that vain worldly pomp wherein himself delighted, he thought by suggestion of it, to create in Christ a love of it.

GLOSS. (ord.) He saw not, as we see, with the eye of lust, but as a physician looks on disease without receiving any hurt.

JEROME. An arrogant and vain vaunt; for he hath not the power to bestow all kingdoms, since many of the saints have, we know, been made kings by God.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. But such things as are gotten by iniquity in this world, as riches, for instance, gained by fraud or perjury, these the Devil bestows. The Devil therefore cannot give riches to whom he will, but to those only who are willing to receive them of him.

REMIGIUS. Wonderful infatuation in the Devil! To promise earthly kingdoms to Him who gives heavenly kingdoms to His faithful people, and the glory of earth to Him who is Lord of the glory of heaven!

AMBROSE. (in Luc. c. iv. 11.) Ambition has its dangers at home; that it may govern, it is first others’ slave; it bows in flattery that it may rule in honour; and while it would be exalted, it is made to stoop.

GLOSS. (non occ.) See the Devil’s pride as of old. In the beginning he sought to make himself equal with God, now he seeks to usurp the honours due to God, saying, If thou wilt fall down and worship me. Who then worships the Devil must first fall down.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. With these words He puts an end to the temptations of the Devil, that they should proceed no further.

JEROME. The Devil and Peter are not, as many suppose, condemned to the same sentence. To Peter it is said, Get thee behind me, Satan; i. e. follow thou behind Me who art contrary to My will. But here it is, Go, Satan, and is not added ‘behind Me,’ that we may understand into the fire prepared for thee and thy angels.

REMIGIUS. Other copies read, Get thee behind me; i. e. remember thee in what glory thou wast created, and into what misery thou hast fallen.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. Observe how Christ when Himself suffered wrong at the hands of the Devil, being tempted of him, saying, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down, yet was not moved to chide the Devil. But now when the Devil usurps the honour of God, he is wroth, and drives him away, saying, Go thy way, Satan; that we may learn by His example to bear injuries to ourselves with magnanimity, but wrongs to God, to endure not so much as to hear; for to be patient under our own wrongs is praiseworthy, to dissemble when God is wronged is impiety.

JEROME. When the Devil says to the Saviour, If thou wilt fall down and worship me, he is answered by the contrary declaration, that it more becomes him to worship Jesus as his Lord and God.

AUGUSTINE. (cont. Serm. Arian. 29.) The one Lord our God is the Holy Trinity, to which alone we justly owe the service of piety.

AUGUSTINE. (De Civ. Dei, x. 1.) By service is to be understood the honour due to God; as our version renders the Greek word ‘latria,’ wherever it occurs in Scripture, by ‘service’ (servitus), but that service which is due to men (as where the Apostle bids slaves be subject to their masters) is in Greek called ‘dulia;’ while ‘latria,’ always, or so often that we say always, is used of that worship which belongs to God.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. The Devil, we may fairly suppose, did not depart in obedience to the command, but the Divine nature of Christ, and the Holy Spirit which was in Him drove him thence, and then the Devil left him. Which also serves for our consolation, to see that the Devil does not tempt the men of God so long as he wills, but so long as Christ suffers. And though He may suffer him to tempt for a short time, yet in the end He drives him away because of the weakness of our nature.

AUGUSTINE. (De Civ. Dei, ix. 21.) After the temptation the Holy Angels, to be dreaded of all unclean spirits, ministered to the Lord, by which it was made yet more manifest to the dæmons how great was His power.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. He says not ‘Angels descended from heaven,’ that it may be known that they were ever on the earth to minister to Him, but had now by the Lord’s command departed from Him, to give opportunity for the Devil to approach, who perhaps when he saw Him surrounded by Angels would not have come near Him. But in what matters they ministered to Him, we cannot know, whether in the healing diseases, or purifying souls, or casting out dæmons; for all these things He does by the ministration of Angels, so that what they do, Himself appears to do. However it is manifest, that they did not now minister to Him because His weakness needed it, but for the honour of His power; for it is not said that they ‘succoured Him,’ but that they ministered to Him.

GREGORY. (non occ. vid. in Ezek. 1:8. n. 24. in 1 Reg. 1:1. n. 1. 2.) In these things is shewn the twofold nature in one person; it is the man whom the Devil tempts; the same is God to whom Angels minister.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. Now let us shortly review what is signified by Christ’s temptations. The fasting is abstinence from things evil, hunger is the desire of evil, bread is the gratification of the desire. He who indulges himself in any evil thing, turns stones into bread. Let him answer to the Devil’s persuasions that man does not live by the indulgence of desire alone, but by keeping the commands of God. When any is puffed up as though he were holy he is led to the temple, and when he esteems himself to have reached the summit of holiness he is set on a pinnacle of the temple. And this temptation follows the first, because victory over temptation begets conceit. But observe that Christ had voluntarily undertaken the fasting; but was led to the temple by the Devil; therefore do you voluntarily use praiseworthy abstinence, but suffer yourself not to be exalted to the summit of sanctity; fly high-mindedness, and you will not suffer a fall. The ascent of the mountain is the going forward to great riches, and the glory of this world which springs from pride of heart. When you desire to become rich, that is, to ascend the mountain, you begin to think of the ways of gaining wealth and honours, then the prince of this world is shewing you the glory of his kingdom. In the third place He provides you reasons, that if you seek to obtain all these things, you should serve him, and neglect the righteousness of God.

HILARY. When we have overcome the Devil and bruised his head, we see that Angels’ ministry and the offices of heavenly virtues will not be wanting to us.

AUGUSTINE. (De Cons. Ev. ii. 16.) Luke has not given the temptations in the same order as Matthew; so that we do not know whether the pinnacle of the temple, or the ascent of the mountain, was first in the action; but it is of no importance, so long as it is only clear that all of them were truly done.

GLOSS. (ap. Anselm.) Though Luke’s order seems the more historical; Matthew relates the temptations as they were done to Adam.


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