INTRO TO THE THIRD TEMPTATION
Twice repelled, the enemy returned for the third and last time. His attack upon the physical side had resulted in the demonstration of the possibility of righteousness to a Man Whose conception of life was that bread sustenance is secondary, and the spiritual relation preeminent. Thus foiled, he had proceeded to attempt the ruin of Jesus on the spiritual side of His nature, by endeavoring to interfere with the simplicity of His trust in God. Here again he was utterly defeated, and the truth demonstrated, that trust which refuses to make any un-ordained experiments, is proof against all opposition.
Now against this human being, in Whom the relation between body and spirit is perfectly balanced, because the whole life is lived in right relation to God, the enemy comes with A NEW ATTACK, in which he attempts to work the ruin of Jesus in the sphere of His specific mission.
This is in many ways the boldest and most daring adventure of the devil. For this last attempt he casts off all disguise, and presuming upon the awful victories he has won in the history of the human race, he definitely asks the worship of Christ. Never up to that moment, in the history of the race, had any individual soul proved strong enough to finally resist this terrible foe. Through thirty years of lonely conflict, and forty days of special testing, and two fierce and fearful attacks, the Man Jesus has remained the Victor. There remains but one chance. Having failed to ruin Him in His essential manhood, it may yet be possible to lure the perfect Servant from the pathway of perfect service. Through the previous conflicts, the Victor has stripped the vanquished of his disguise, and again and again revealed the true motive and awful malice of evil, though it had been skillfully hidden behind arguments the most plausible.
Now the enemy strips himself of all disguise, ceases to make use of secondary causes, and definitely asks the worship of Christ. It is his last and most daring bid for possession of the citadel hitherto successfully held against him.