In that He suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted. For we have not an high-priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
I suppose no truth can be dearer to a human heart than these two,—the sympathy of the Son of Man in temptation, the victory of humanity in the Son of Man over evil. For we are so tried and tossed, so compassed around with pain, so much apparently the sport of fanciful passion, so curiously framed as it were for temptation, with high aspirations living in us along with base desires; so hovering ever on the verge of good and ill, and so weak to choose the good ; so troubled by the necessity of battle when our heart is weary with the passionate longing for rest; so sick of ourselves and of the vile cravings which at times possess us, —that God knows we do want some sympathy higher than any one on earth can give us,—some sympathy which will not weaken but strengthen; some certainty that the Eternal Love and Righteousness can feel with us and assist us. Therefore it is the deepest blessedness to know that One who shared in our nature—the proper Divine Man— was in the days of His flesh a partaker of “our strong crying and tears,” and “learned obedience by the things which He suffered,” for then we know that He can, in His triumphant nature, be still “touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” Brethren, who are struggling with evil within you and without, you have with you the exalting power-bestowing sympathy of the Son of God and Son of Man. Another consoling truth is that humanity has conquered evil. Take that great fact as the foundation of all action. There has been human temptation without human fall. There has been one Man at least who has met sin on its own ground and has baffled the tempter. He is your own Brother and your God. Sin is at His feet, and death and hell. Brethren, if we love Him, they shall be at ours. We look forward, then, not to defeat, but to victory,—to individual victory, to universal victory. The conquest in the
wilderness is the earnest of a greater conquest yet to be. All! why should we faint and falter and despair, when that is so divinely true? We are fellow-workers with the Almighty Goodness to that majestic end. Therefore, conquer evil in your- selves in the strength of Christ. Personally, that is the only thing worth living for. And once you have begun to conquer evil in your own heart, you will be able to contend to the death against evil without you in the world. Let us pray with added fervor that He who fought and won the battle in the wilderness may give us power to do our duty against all wrong and all sin, with our whole heart and soul and mind and strength. Confirm us in each good resolve; The tempter’s envious rage subdue; Turn each misfortune to our good; Direct us right in all we do.
O LORD God of infinite mercy, who hast sent Thy Holy Son into the world to redeem us from intolerable misery; let my faith, I beseech Thee, be the parent of a good life, a strong shield to repel the fiery darts of the devil; and grant that I may be supported by its strength in all temptations, and refreshed by its comforts in all my sorrows, till from the imperfections of this life it may arrive at the consummation of an eternal and never-ceasing love; through Jesus Christ. Amen.