by William Perkins
A commentary upon the temptations of Christ
This text has been initially updated from EEBO-TCP by Project Puritas (Logan West, David Jonescue, Alex Sarrouf) www.puritansearch.org Further revision and editing done by Monergism. Copyright Monergism via universal text usage permission from the above.
"The Combat Between Christ and the Devil Displayed" by William Perkins is an exploration of the spiritual warfare between Jesus and Satan, particularly focusing on the temptations of Christ in the wilderness. This book considers the contrasting experiences of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ in the desert, highlighting their different encounters with evil. John preached and baptized amidst wild men, while Christ engaged in a solitary battle against the devil among wild beasts, demonstrating his dual nature as both human and divine.
Perkins describes this encounter as a monomachy, a single combat where Christ, though fasting, hungry, and tempted, emerges victorious, thereby affirming his messianic role and divine essence. The devil's tactics of objection, temptation, and eventual retreat are outlined, showing a strategic battle for the human soul.
This text also presents the trials of Christ as reflective of the broader experience of the Church, under constant siege by Satan's malice. Perkins argues that the faithful should not be surprised by their own temptations and tribulations, as they share in Christ's sufferings. The afflictions that Christians face are part of God's plan to humble, teach, and ultimately honor them.
Perkins' narrative draws parallels between the challenges faced by Christ and those encountered by believers throughout history, from biblical figures like Abraham and Job to the everyday Christian. He points to the diverse ways God delivers his people—miraculously, mundanely, or through suffering—as evidence of his providence and care.
The book also serves as a guide on how to confront various temptations, whether from Satan, other individuals, or from within oneself. It encourages vigilance against hypocrisy, subtlety, dissembling, inquiry, apostasy, and carnality.
Perkins concludes with a message of hope, insisting that despite the continuous trials, God promises deliverance and comfort. He likens the believer’s life to a sea voyage where Christ is the pilot guiding the ship, the Church, through waves of calamity towards the haven of heaven.
Lastly, the book contains a personal note from Perkins, reflecting on his own trials and God's gracious deliverance. He reaffirms the Christian belief in the ultimate triumph over adversity through faith, patience, and the comforting presence of God's Spirit.
Published in London in 1604, the book stands as a testament to Perkins' dedication to his faith and his desire to leave behind a legacy that would continue to guide and comfort others in their spiritual battles.
Table of Contents
TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE I.
TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE II.
The Combat Between Christ and the Devil Expounded
VERSE 1: Then was Jesus led aside of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil. - MAT. 4.1.
VERSE 2: And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward hungry. MAT. 4.2.
VERSE 3: Then came to him the Tempter, and said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones may be made bread. - MAT. 4.3
VERSE 4: But he answering, said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. - MAT. 4.4.
VERSE 5-7: Then the Devil took him up into the holy city, and set him on a pinnacle of the Temple
VERSE 6: And said unto him, If thou be the son of God cast thyself down
VERSE 7: Jesus said unto him, Again it is written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. - MAT. 4.7.
VERSES 8-10: Again the Devil took him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; - MAT. 4.8, 9, 10.
VERSE 11. Then the Devil left him, and behold the Angels came and ministered unto him. - MAT. 4.11.