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IF commentators have been divided in their opinions concerning the details of this history, we shall find that they differ far more widely in the views which they take of the whole narrative. Here we meet with a graduating scale of expositions, embracing all conceivable diversities, from the spiritualism which regards the history as nothing more than a figurative mode of inculcating doctrine, to the realism which receives every word in its most literal acceptation. We may, however, make a general division of the various explanations into two principal classes: the first consisting of those according to which the whole narrative is a mere product of 277thought, having no basis in actual facts and the second, of those in which an actual historical substratum is recognised, which allow this passage to be the record of a real temptation to which Jesus was actually subjected. For the reasons adduced in our treatise, we take up a decided position on the latter side of the question. We must, however, consider somewhat particularly the explanations of the former class, in order, by a brief refutation of these, to prepare the way for that view which appears to us the true one.

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