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Home > Fathers of the Church > The Harmony of the Gospels (Augustine) > Book II, Chapter 16

The Harmony of the Gospels, Book II

Chapter 16. Of the Temptation of Jesus.

33. Matthew proceeds with his narrative in these terms: Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If you be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. And so the account continues, until we come to the words, Then the devil left him: and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him. This whole narrative is given also in a similar manner by Luke, although not in the same order. And this makes it uncertain which of the two latter temptations took place first: whether it was that the kingdoms of the world were shown Him first, and then that He Himself was taken up to the pinnacle of the temple thereafter; or whether it was that this latter act occurred first, and that the other scene followed it. It is, however, a matter of no real consequence, provided it be clear that all these incidents did take place. And as Luke sets forth the same events and ideas in different words, attention need not ever be called to the fact that no loss results thereby to truth. Mark, again, does indeed attest the fact that He was tempted of the devil in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights; but he gives no statement of what was said to Him, or of the replies He made. At the same time, he does not fail to notice the circumstance which is omitted by Luke, namely, that the angels ministered unto Him. John, however, has left out this whole passage.

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Source. Translated by S.D.F. Salmond. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 6. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1888.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1602216.htm>.

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