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In all these attacks [the temptation of Christ in the wilderness] the enemy is overcome, and destroyed by the heavenly power. The devil ought now to have yielded.

But nevertheless he does not yet cease. He suborns with his wonted snares, and stimulates with rage the Scribes and Pharisees and all that band of wicked men.

They, after various arts and lying devices of the heart, in which, serpent-like, they thought to deceive the Lord by professions of faithfulness, did not prevail.

At last they attacked Him with open violence and a most cruel kind of suffering.

They did this that, through the indignity of the thing, or the pain of punishment, He might either do or say something unrighteous, and thus destroy the human nature which He bore, and His soul be left in hell, which had one law to retain the sinner.

For the sting of death is sin. Christ therefore endured, and did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth, as we have said, not then even when He was led as a victim. 

This was to conquer, to be condemned without sin! For the devil had received over sinners the power which he claimed for himself over the Immaculate One.

And thus he himself was overcome; decreeing that against the Holy One which was not allowed him by the law that he had received.

Whence says the Prophet David to the Lord, That Thou mightest be justified in Thy saying, and clear when Thou art judged. 

And thus, as St Paul says, Having led principalities in triumph, Christ condemned sin in the flesh, nailing it to His Cross and blotting out the hand-writing of death.

Thence it was that God left not His soul in hell, nor suffered His Holy One to see corruption. 

Accordingly, having trodden under-foot the stings of death He rose again on the third day in the flesh, reconciling it to God, and restoring it to immortality, having overcome and blotted out sin.

But if He only conquered, what did He confer on others? Hear briefly. The sin of Adam had passed on the whole race. For by one man (as says St Paul) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men. 

Therefore also the righteousness of Christ must needs pass over to the whole race; and as Adam by sin destroyed his race, so must Christ by righteousness give life to all His race.

This St Paul urges, saying, For as by the disobedience of one, many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous. That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life.

Pacian of Barcelona (c.310-391): Discourse on Baptism, 4-6.

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