‘He was tempted as we are but did not sin’

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And this anticipation is confirmed by the history of our Lord’s temptation in the wilderness. It began, you will observe, with an attempt on the part of the evil one to make Him break His fast improperly. It began, but it did not end there. It was but the first of three temptations, and the other two were more addressed to His mind, not His bodily wants. One was to throw Himself down from the pinnacle, the other the offer of all the kingdoms of the world. They were more subtle temptations. Now, I have used the word ‘subtle’ already, and it needs some explanation. By a subtle temptation or a subtle sin, I mean one which it is very difficult to find out. Everyone knows what it is to break the ten commandments, the first, the second, the third, and so on. When a thing is directly commanded and the devil tempts us directly to break it, this is not a subtle temptation but a broad and gross temptation. But there are a great many things wrong which are not so obviously wrong. They are wrong as leading to what is wrong or the consequence of what is wrong, or they are wrong because they are the very same thing as what is forbidden, but dressed up and looking differently. The human mind is very deceitful; when a thing is forbidden, a man does not like directly to do it, but he goes to work if he can to get at the forbidden end in some way.

extract of Surrender to God , 5 March, 1878. St Chad’s, Birmingham