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Our Savior makes this question, Matth. 11. 7. upon their going out to see John [the] Baptist, What went ye out to see? As if he should have said, They would have never gone out into the wilderness, except it had been to see some great and worthy matter: and behold a greater and a worthier matter hear[1]. If there be any thing in the wilderness worthy the going out to behold, this is a matter much [more] worthy of it.

Or if there be any matter worthy the hearing, it is worthy our attention to hear; not Michael the Archangel disputing about the body of Moses with the devil Jude 9,[2] but our own matter, argued by two such cunning adversaries; to see the combat betwixt

our grand enemy,

            who goes about like a roaring lion seeking to devour,[3]

versus our Arch-duke: for so he is called, Heb. 12. 2[4]

to see our King of old, Psalm. 74. 12;[5] the pawn [the thing given in pledge of future action] of our inheritance, and our Prince of new [our new Prince],

or Prince by usurpation[6],

[versus] the Prince of this world, John 14. 30[7]

 enter the lists [assigned to battle] together;

to see the wisdom of the new Serpent[8],

match the craftiness and subtilty of the old serpent, Rev. 12. 9.[9]

to see the Lion of the Tribe of Judah[10]

combatting with the roaring lion, 1. Pet. 5. 8.

If anything be worthy the sight, it is this.

Though there should come no profit to us by the victory, yet were it worth the sight, in this respect, only to behold how these Champions [combatants] behave themselves; that so we may be warned beforehand, by seeing the strength of our Adversary: and that also seeing the manner of his fight, and of our Savior’s defense, we may be instructed how to arm ourselves, and how to war accordingly.

For let us be sure, that since the Devil spared not to tempt our Savior,

he will be much more bold with us:

If he have done this to the green tree,

            what will become of the dry? Luke 23. 31.[11]

If he have sought our overthrow in Christ,

            how much more will he do it in ourselves?

If our days here be but as the days of an hireling, Iob. 7. 1[12].

& our whole life be but as a continual warfare, 2. Tim. 2. 4.[13]

            then is it behooveful for us [it behooves us] to have some intelligence [information about, like military intelligence] of our enemies forces & drifts [movements, tricks]

 It is said, his darts are fiery, Eph. 6. 16. Here we may see the manner of his casting them, that so Satan should not circumvent vs, 2. Cor. 2. 11[14]. Let us mark how our Savior wards [protects, prevents, “ward-off”] and defends himself, that so we may be armed with the same mind, 1. Pet. 4. 1. Let us therefore go out into the wilderness to see it.


 This section makes an interesting rhetorical movement: it is a call for the hearer (or reader as we are) to come out to the wilderness to see this battle. The first elements is Jesus’ question: Why did you go out to see John the Baptist in the wilderness? It must have been something very important to go out to the wilderness. Well, I am before you, and to see me is even more important. Thus, it is good to go even to the wilderness to see Jesus.

And here is something “wonderful” (to take the sermon title) to see: a Combat between the Arch Fiend and Christ. Then, in a series of contrasting titles taken from Scripture he sets out the combatants. It is our new Prince set out against the Prince of this World.

Andrews uses the word “lists” to describe their conflict. This alludes to “trial by combat” where a point is provided by contest. This is described here: https://chaucer.fas.harvard.edu/pages/trial-combat

In Andrews’ time, the procedure would have been already past tense. While there might be a duel, it was a private affair. Trial by combat is an official governmental act involving combatants contesting the truth of a proposition. I imagine that such language would have sounded “romantic”, similar as it might to us. But this battle would be of cosmic proportions.

This leads to the conclusion: If anything is worthy of our attention, surely this battle has the merit to engage our attention.

He then offers a second reason: this of self-interest. The adversary who fought with “our Savior” will have no hesitation to attack us. So rather than the participant in an honorable trial by combat, this monster is a marauder who could attack us at any time. Since this danger is personal, and will come, we would be wise to prepare to defend ourselves.

He lays out this argument by means of a series if-then statements:

If he attacked Jesus, he will attack us. This is stated in three different ways. He then concludes with the proposition that our life is promised to be one of weary warfare. Therefore, it will be wise to prepare for the battle which will come.

[1] When Jesus asks What do you go out to see in the wilderness; that is, when you went out to see John the Baptist, why did you go? It must have been something quite important to you to do this thing.

[2] Jude 9 (ESV) “But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you.’”

[3] 1 Peter 5:8–9  “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”

[4] I’m not sure of his reference here: The word “Duke” is not used of Jesus in the Geneva Bible, and the Greek of Hebrews 12:2 would not support such a translation.  Hebrews 12:2 (ESV)  “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

[5] Psalm 74:12 (ESV)

            Yet God my King is from of old,

working salvation in the midst of the earth.

[6] By destroying the works of the devil.

12 The reference in the original was to John 4:30, but it was plainly a reference to 14:30, (ESV), “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me.” The Geneva Bible has “prince” for “ruler”.

[8] This is an interesting rhetorical move by Andrews. Jesus says that we are to be as wise as serpents, Matthew Matthew 10:16 (ESV) “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” In context, Jesus is preparing his disciples for the conflict they will face in the world.

[9] Revelation 12:9 (ESV)  “And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”

[10] Revelation 5:5 (ESV)  “And one of the elders said to me, ‘Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.’”

[11] Luke 23:29–31 (ESV) “29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31 For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?’”

[12] Job 7:1 (ESV) “Has not man a hard service on earth,

      and are not his days like the days of a hired hand?”

[13] Paul is providing Timothy with a series of analogies as to why he should dedicate himself to the service of ministry without distraction. One of the analogies is to a soldier: 2 Timothy 2:4 (ESV)   “No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.” Andrews turns the analogy in a different direction and says our life is one of being a soldier. Thus, the image from Paul becomes a suggestion for his point.

[14] 2 Corinthians 2:11 (Geneva) “Lest Satan shulde circumuent us: for we are not ignorant of his enterprises.”

2 Corinthians 2:11 (ESV)  “so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.”