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down forever. Not only would the great plan of human redemption have proved abortive, but Satan would have snatched the sceptre from the hand of the Anointed One and shouted his victory in the face of God. We are amazed to think of the only Begotten being near the yielding point in the presence of the fallen Lucifer, but the Book says He was tempted.
Some may contend that He could not have yielded ; all the while He was conscious of divine security. This conclusion forces another untenable proposition : If He could not have yielded, His humanity was not real, but veiled in His divinity; the temptation was only a shadow. We insist that as a man Jesus was tempted; He could have called to His aid supernatural intervention, but He did not. The issue was met as every man must meet it; it was manhood that conquered. Had He yielded, both manhood and divinity would have become subservient to the enemy. “ Fall down and worship me was the proposition.
Now we wish to make a few deductions from our Lord's temptation. Whatever includes the greater includes the lesser-a fortiori. Natural man reached his highest expression in Jesus of Nazareth; He was God's exponent of human perfection. There were no weaknesses, no lack of pose or symmetry; His penetration and judgment of others were absolutely accurate. From the beginning He had known the Evil One who faced Him. Now, with all those perfect endowments, the record says He was tempted. The ingenuity of Satan was sufficient to bring out all the resources of the Son of God. Here was the greatest, wisest, purest and strongest man that ever walked upon the earth—susceptible, influenced, strained to the “snapping point,” when attacked by the Tempter. What will be the inevitable fate of you and me, dear reader, whenever he selects us as his victims ?
The unmistakable teachings of the Word are that every temptation to which man is or ever has been subjected came fresh from the seething caldron of the pit. The student of human conduct has observed universal adaptability of all temptation. A great sagacious intelligence seems to be managing personally, through his cohorts, this campaign of promising propositions. There are some who can be incited to commit horrible crimes, such as murder, incendiary, born perhaps with vicious tendencies, but this class is comparatively small; others are susceptible to deeds of milder character. It would matter little to an army approaching a fortification where or how the attack should be made if the walls at every point were weak and crumbling. No time is spent in reconnoitre and playing for position; but if the battlements be strong, a faulty place must be located if there be one. Satan rarely ever blunders in laying his temptations; he is a most skillful strategist. As the world's tempter he reveals an ingenuity that is truly astounding; it should cause the bravest heart to shudder once the eyes are opened to the source. Knowledge of his approaches, marches, countermarches, advancings, and retreats—all with a specific object-ought to be a great breakwater.
A writer gives us a striking word picture of Satan's methods : “ As the enemy who lays siege to a city finds out the weakest portion of the wall, or the best spot to batter it, or the lowest and safest place to scale it, or where the intervening obstacle may be easiest overcome, or where an advantage may be taken, or where an entrance may be effected, or when is the best time, or what is the best means to secure the desired end, so the arch-deceiver and destroyer of souls goes about, watchful, intent upon ruin, scanning all the powers of the mind, inspecting all the avenues to the heart and assailing every unguarded spot. Sometimes he attacks our understanding by injecting erroneous doctrine; sometimes our affections by excessive devotion to things we love; sometimes our wills by strengthening them in wrong directions; sometimes our imaginations by vain, foolish, trifling thoughts; and sometimes our feelings by too high or too low excitation."
Some one has called Satan and his subordinates not omnipresent, but “ shifting imps." They swarm the air, invisible, because they are spirit, watching for opportunities to edge their way into the hearts of mankind. They are shifting position, always to a point of least resistance. Like a current of electricity, always flowing from a point of higher potential pressure to one of lower, if points are connected by a conductor. The metallic substances from which the current starts and towards which it flows are called “electrodes,” and are always of different potentiality. The current passes from the one of higher to the lower. Man in his own strength is the lower, and unprotected by the Spirit of God cannot resist the evil currents flowing from Satan continually.
THE CONFIDENCE MAN “ In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”—2 Corinthians iv. 4.
HISTORY is one long, tragic recital of human sorrow and suffering; but there is far more unwritten history than has ever been recorded on the printed page. Along the march of civilization all that has come down to us are the lives and doings of great men; we know little of the heart agonies of the race—such
cannot be recorded—language is inadequate. Most of history is a record of man's inhumanity to man, but historians deal with these dark pages only on the higher levels. The greatest suffering, the bitterest cries of anguish, the deepest wails of despair are in the lowlands of human life: down where its pathos can never be known. The darkest tragedies of war are lost by the gallant heroism of some officer; the blood and carnage are overshadowed and forgotten by the heralds of victory. The real pathos of war remains unnoticed by the chroniclers and correspondents; it is found in the heart suffering of the dying in the trenches; the black pall that settles over the homes made desolate by the news from the front.
The saddest stories of life will never be told; they are the voiceless agonies and smothered sobs from victims of human treachery and deceit. Millions are shambling on their weary way, waiting for the end, whose hearts are dead and buried in graves of misplaced confidence. More domestic lights have been extinguished, more love dreams turned from a sweet phantasy to an horrid nightmare, more bodies fished from the river, more shocking tragedies have resulted directly from this cause misplaced and wrecked confidence-than from all other causes of human wretchedness.
An illustration from actual life will serve to bring the caption of this chapter—the Confidence Manout in bold relief. An honest old farmer, whose horizon had not extended beyond the obscure Indiana neighbourhood, sold his little home and started for Kansas, hoping to enlarge his possessions and give his sons and daughters a larger sphere of opportunity. That they might see the wonders of a great city, arrangements were secured for a three days' stop-over at St. Louis. The Confidence Man saw them pass through the iron gate into the lobby. He first noted the train on which they had come to the city. With great enthusiasm he greeted the old gentleman, introduced himself, extending a business card of his « firm.” With cunning palaver, and the guilelessness of the farmer-item after item of information as to name and where they came from were obtained. The man who said he thought he recognized the old gentleman soon became satisfied of ithaving an uncle living in the same county-and “ I have often heard him speak of you, etc., etc.”
It required only a short time to not only gain the