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To conquer Sin and Death, the two grand foes,
By humiliation and strong sufferance: 16o
His weakness shall o'ercome Satanic strength,
And all the world, and mass of sinful flesh;
That all the Angels and ethereal Powers,
They now, and men hereafter may discern,
From what consummate virtue I have chose 165
This perfeół man, by merit call'd my Son,
To earn salvation for the sons of men.
So spake th' eternal Father, and all Heaven
Admiring stood a space, then into hymns
Burst forth, and in celestial measures mov’d, 17o
Circling the throne and singing, while the hand
Sung with the voice, and this the argument.
Vićtory' and triumph to the Son of God
Now entring his great duel, not of arms,
But to vanquish by wisdom hellish wiles. 175
The Father knows the Son; therefore secure
Ventures his filial virtue, though untry'd,
Against whate'er may tempt, whate'er seduce,
Allure, or terrify, or undermine.
Be frustrate all ye stratagems of Hell, 18o
And devilish machinations come to nought.
So they in Heav'n their odes and vigils tun'd:
Mean while the Son of God, who yet some days
Lodg'd in Bethabara where John baptiz'd,
Musing and much revolving in his breast, 185
How best the mighty work he might begin


Of Saviour to mankind, and which way first
Publish his God-like office now mature,
One day forth walk'd alone, the Spirit leading,
And his deep thoughts, the better to converse 190
With solitude, till far from track of men,
Thought following thought, and step by step led on,
He enter'd now the bord'ring desert wild,
And with dark shades and rocks environ'd round,
His holy meditations thus pursu'd. I95

O what a multitude of thoughts at once
Awaken'd in me swarm, while I consider
What from within I feel myself, and hear
What from without comes often to my ears,
Ill sorting with my present state compar'd! 2OO
When I was yet a child, no childish play
To me was pleasing; all my mind was set
Serious to learn and know, and thence to do
What might be public good; myself I thought
Born to that end, born to promote all truth, 2O5
All righteous things: therefore above my years,
The law of God I read, and found it sweet,
Made it my whole delight, and in it grew
To such perfeótion, that ere yet my age
Had measur'd twice six years, at our great feast 210
I went into the temple, there to hear
The teachers of our law, and to propose
What might improve my knowledge or their own;
And was admir’d by all: yet this not all


To which my Spirit aspir'd; vićtorious deeds 215
Flam'd in my heart, heroic acts, one while
To rescue Israel from the Roman yoke,
Then to subdue and quell o'er all the earth
Brute violence and proud tyrannic power,
Till truth were freed, and equity restor'd: 22O
Yet held it more humane, more heav'nly first
By winning words to conquer willing hearts,
And make persuasion do the work of fear;
At least to try, and teach the erring soul
Not wilfully mis-doing, but unware 225
Misled; the stubborn only to subdue.
These growing thoughts my mother soon perceiving
By words at times cast forth inly rejoic'd,
And said to me apart, High are thy thoughts
O Son, but nourish them and let them soar 230
To what highth sacred virtue and true worth
Can raise them, though above example high;
By matchless deeds express thy matchless Sire.
For know, thou art no son of mortal man;
Though men esteem thee low of parentage, 235
Thy Father is th' eternal King who rules
All Heav'n and Earth, Angels and Sons of men;
A messenger from God foretold thy birth
Conceiv'd in me a virgin, he foretold
Thou should'st be great and fit on David's throne,
And of thy Kingdom there should be no end. 241
At thy nativity a glorious quire -
Of Angels in the fields of Bethlehem sung
To shepherds watching at their solds by night,
And told them the Messiah now was born 245
Where they might see him, and to thee they came,
Direéted to the manger where thou lay'st,
For in the inn was left no better room:
A star, not seen before, in Heav'n appearing
Guided the wise men thither from the east, 250
To honor thee with incense, myrrh, and gold,
By whose bright course led on they found the place,
Affirming it thy star new grav’n in Heaven,
By which they knew the king of Israel born.
Just Simeon and prophetic Anna, warn'd 255
By vision, found thee in the temple', and spake
Before the altar and the vested priest,
Like things of thee to all that present stood.
This having heard, strait 'I again revolv'd
The law and prophets, searching what was writ 26o
Concerning the Messiah, to our scribes
Known partly, and soon found of whom they spake
I am; this chiefly, that my way must lie
Through many a hard assay ev'n to the death,
Ere I the promis'd kingdom can attain, 265
Or work redemption for mankind, whose fins
Full weight must be transferr'd upon my head.
Yet neither thus dishearten’d or dismay’d,
The time prefix'd I waited, when behold
The Baptist (of whose birth I oft had heard, 27o

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