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Through many a hard assay, even to the death,

Ere I the promised kingdom can attain,

Or work redemption for mankind, whose sins

Full weight must be transferred upon my head.

Yet, neither thus disheartened or dismayed,

The time prefixed I waited; when behold

The Baptist, (of whose birth I oil. had heard,

Not knew by sight,) now come, who was to come

Before Messiah, and his way prepare!

1, as all others to his baptism came,

\Vhrch lbelieved was from above; but he

Straight knew me, and with loudest voice pro

claimed

Me him (for it was shown him so from Heaven,)

Me him, whose harbinger he was; and first

Refused on me his baptism to confer,

As much his greater, and was hardly won:

But asl rose out of the laving stream,

Heaven opened her eternal doors, from whence

The Spirit descended on me like a dove;

And last, the sum of all, my Father’s voice,

Audibly heard from Heaven, pronounced me his,

Me his beloved Son, in whom alone

He was well pleased; by which I knew the time

Now full, that I no more should live obscure,

But openly begin, as best becomes,

The authority which l derived from Heaven.

And now by some strong motion I am led

Into this wilderness, to what intent

I learn not yet; perhaps I need not know,

For what concerns my knowledge God reveals.” So spake our Morning Star, then in his rise,

And looking round on every side beheld

A pathless desert, dusk with horrid shades;

The way he came not having marked, return

“In difficult, by human steps untrod:

And he still on was led, but with such thoughts

Accompanied of things past and to come

Lodged in his breast, as well might recommend

Such solitude before choicest society.

Full forty days he passed, whether on bill

Sometimes, anon in shady vale, each night

Under the covert of some ancient oak,

Or cedar, to defend him from the dew,

Or harboured in one cave, is not revealed;

Nor tasted human food, nor hunger felt,

Till those days ended; hungered then at last

Among wild beasts: tney at this sight grew mild,

Nor sleeping him nor waking harmed; his walk

The fiery serpent tied, and noxious worm,

The lion and fierce tiger glared aloof.

But now an aged man in rural weeds,

Following, as seemed, the quest of some stray

ewe,

Or withered sticks to gather, which might serve

Against a winter’s day, when winds blow keen,

To warm him wet returned from field at eve,

He saw approach, who first with curious eye

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“ Sir, what ill chance hath brought thee to this place So for from path or roz-d of men, who pass In troop or caravan? for single. none Durst ever, who retumed, and dropt not here His carcass, pined with hunger and withdrought. I ask the rather, and the more admire, For that to me thou seem‘st the man, whom late Our new baptizing Prophet at the ford Of Jordan honoured so, and called thee Son OfGod: I saw and heard, for we sometimes \Vho dWell int .is wild, constrained by want, come forth To town or village nigh, (nighest is far,) Where nught we hear, and curious are to hear What happens new; fame also finds us out." To whom the Son of God. “ Who brought me hither, \Vill bring me hence; no other guide I seek." “ By miracle he may," replied the swain, “What other way I see not; for we here Live on tough roots and stubs, to thirst inurlrl More than the camel, and to drink go far, Men to much misery and hardship born: But, if thou be the son of God, command That out of these hard stones be made thee bread, So shalt thou save thyself, and us relieve,

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He ended, and the Son of God replied. " Thinkest thou such force in bread"! I! it not written, (For I discern thee other than thou seemest,) Man lives not by bread only, but each word Proceeding from the mouth of God, who fed Our fathers here with manna’l in the mount Moses was forty days, nor cnt, nor drank; And forty days Elijah, without food, Wandered this barren waste; the same I now: Why dost thou then suggest to me distrust, Knowing who I am, as I know who thou art '1” Whom thus answered the arch fiend, now imdisguised. " 'Tis true, I am that Spirit unfortunate, Who, leagued with miilions more in rash revolt, Kept not my happy station, but was driven With them from bliss to the bottomless deep, Yet to that hideous place not so confined By rigour unconniving, but that oft, Leaving my dolorous prison, I enjoy Large liberty to round this globe of earth, Or range in the air; nor from the Heaven of Heavens Hath be excluded my resort sometimes. I came among the sons of God, when he Gave up into my hands Uzzean Job To prove him, and illustrate his high worth; And, when to all his angels he proposed To draw the proud king Ahab into fraud

Perumd him. then with words thus uttered spake. ,That he might fall in Ramoth, they demurring,

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I undertook that oflice, and the tongues

Of all his flattering prophets glibbed with lies

To his destruction, as I had in charge;

For what he bidsl do. Thoughl have lost

Much lustre of my native brightness, lost

To be beloved of God, I have not lost

To love, at least contemplate and admire,

What I see excellent in good, or fair,

Or virtuous; I should so have lost all sense:

v:ll&i can be then less in me than desire ‘

To see thee and approach thee, whom I know

Declared the Son of God, to hear attent

Thy wisdom, and behold thy godlike dceds'l

Men generally think me much a foe

To all mankind: why should I? they to me

Never did wrong or violence; by them

I lost not what I lost, rather by them

I gained what I have gained, and with them dwell,

Copartner in these regions of the world,

If not disposer; lend them oft my aid,

0ft my advice by presages and signs,

And answers, oracles, portcnts and dreams,

Whercby they may direct their future life.

Envy they say, excites me, thus to gain

Companions of my misery and we.

At first it may be; but long since with wo

Nearer acquainted, now I feel, by proof,

That fellovvship in pain divides not smart,

Nor lightens aught each man’s peculiar load.

Small consolation then, were man adjoined:

This wounds me most, (what can it less?) that

man,

Man fallen shall be restored, I never more.”
To whom our Saviour stcrnly thus replied.

" Deservedly thou griev’st, composed of lies

From the beginning, and in lies wilt end;

Who boast'st release from hell, and leave to come

Into the Heaven of Heavens: thou com'st indeed,

As a poor miserable captive thrall

Comes to the place where he before had sat

Among the prime in splendour, now deposed,

Ejected, emptied, gazed unpitied, shunned,

A spectacle of ruin, or of scorn,

To all the host of Heaven: the happy place

lmparts to thee no happiness, no joy;

Rather inflamcs thy torment; representing

Lost bliss, to thee no more communicable,

So never more in hell than when in Heaven.

But thou art serviceable to Heaven’s King.

‘V'llt thou imputc to obedience what thy fear

Extorts, or pleasure to do ill excites?

\Vhat but thy malice moved thee to misdeem

Of righteous Job, then cruelly to afflict him

With all inflictions‘! but his patience won.

The other service was thy chosen task,

To be a liar in four hundred months;

For lying is thy sustenance, thy food.

Yet thou pretendest to truth; all oracles

By thee are given, and what confessed more true

Among the national that hath been thy craft,

By mixing somewhat true to vent more hes.

But what have been thy anwcrs, what but dark

Ambiguous, and with double ansc dcluding,

Which they who asked have seldom understood:

And not well understood as good not known'l

Who ever by consulting at thy shrine

Returned the wiser, or the more instruct,

To fly or follow what concerned him most,

And run not sooner to his fatal snare'l

For God hath justly given the nations up

To thy delusions; justly, since they fell

Idolatrous: but, when his purpose is

Among them to declare his providence

To thce not known, whence hast thou then thy truth,

But from him, or his angels president

In every province! who, themselves disdaining

To approach thy temples, give thee in command

\Vhat, to the smallest tittle, thou shalt say

To thy adorcrs'l thou, with trembling fear,

Or like a fawning parasite, obey'st;

Then to thyself ascrib’st the truth foretold.

But this thy glory shall be soon rctrcnchcd;

No more shalt thou by oracling abuse

The Gentiles; henceforth oracles are ceased,

And thou no more with pomp and sacrifice

Shall be inquired at Delphos, or elsewhere;

At least in vain, for they shall find thee mute.

God hath now sent his living oracle

Into the world to teach his final will,

And sends his Spirit of truth henceforth to dwell

In pious hearts, an inward oracle

To all truth requisite for men to know."

So spake our Saviour; but the subtle Fiend, Though inly stung with anger and disdain, Dimmblcd, and this answer smooth returned.

“ Sharply thou hast insisted on rebuke,

And urged me hard with doings, which not will

But misery hath wrestcd from me. “'hcrc

Easily can’st thou find one miserable,

And not enforced ofttimcs to pa 7. from truth,

If it may stand him more instead to lie,

Say and unsay, feign, flatter, or abjure,

But thou art placed above me, thou art Lord;

From thee I can, and must submiss, endure

Check or rcproof, and glad to ’scapc so quit

Hard are the ways of truth, and rough to walk ,

Smooth on the tongue discourse-d, pleasing to the ear

And tuncablo as sylvan pipe or song;

What wonder then if I delight to hear

Her dictates from thy mouth”! most men admire

Virtue, who follow not her lore: permit me

To hear thee when I come, (since no man COIIlt’a,)

And talk at least, though I despair to attain.

Thy father, who is holy, wise, and pure,

Suffers the hypocrite or atheous priest

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To tread his sacred courts, and minister

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About his altar, handling holy things,
Praying or vowing; and vouchsafed his mice
To Balsam reprobate, a prophet yet
I nspired: disdain not such access to me.”
To whom our Saviour, with unaltered brow.
“ Thy coming hither, though I know thy scope,
I hid not, or forbid; do as thou find’st
Permission from above; thou canst not more."
He added not; and Satan, bowing low
[Iis gray dissimulation, disappeared
into thin air difl'used: for now began
Night with her sullen wings to double-shade
The desert; fowls in their clay nests were couched;

And now wild beasts came forth the woods to roam.‘

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THE ARGUMENT.

The disciplu of Jmus, uneasy at his long absence, reason amongst themselves concerning it. Mary also gives vent to her maternal anxiety; in the expression of which she recapitulates many circumstances respeuing the birth and early life ofher Sort—Satan again meetshislnfernal Counril, reports the bad Btlt‘tfli! of his lile temptation of our Blessed lord, and calls upon them for counsel and assimmcs. Belial pm tempting ofJestis with women. Satan rebukes Delia] for his :hswlutenmx, charging on him all the protiigscy of that kind ascribed by the poets to the heathen gods, and rejects his pro pond as in no respect likely to succeaL Ethan then sugng other modes of temptation, particularly proposing to avail

nlmselfof the circumstance of our Lord's hungoring; andl

taking a band of chosen spirits with hitn, returns to resume his enterprise—Jesus hungers in the descrL Night comes on: the manner in which our Fai'iuul' pas-rs the night is described—Moming ndt'anros—Saurn again appears to JesuS, and, after expressing wonder that he should be an entirely neglected in the wilderness, where other! had been miraculously fed, tempts hint with a sumptuous banquet of the most luxurious kind—This he rejects, and the banquet vanishes.— Satan, finding our Lord not to he ass-'rilul on the ground of appetite, tempts him again by offering him riches, as the means ol'acquiring power: this Jt’RUB aha rejects, producing many lnsuurces of great actions performed by persons under virtuous poverty, and specifyhg the danger of riches, and the carer and pains inseparable "rem power and greatness.

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M EANVVIIILE the new baptized, who yet remained
At Jordan with the Baptist, and had seen

Him whom they heard so late expressly called
Jesus Messiah, Son of God declared,

And on that high authority had believed,

And with him talked and with him lodged; Imean
Andrew and Simon, famous alter known,

With others though in holy writ not named;
New missing liitrt their joy so lately found,

(So lately found, and so abruptly gone,)

Began to doubt and doubted many days,

And. as the days increased, increased their doubt; Sometimes they thought he might be only shown, And for a time caught up to God, as once

Moses was in the mount, and missing long;

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Rode up to Heaven, yet once again to come; Therefore, as those young prophets then with can Sought lest Elijah, so in each place these Nigh to Bethahara in Jericho Tire city of palms, linen and Salem old, Machrerus, and each town or city waited On this side the broad lake Genezaret, Or in Penna; but returned in vain. Then on the bank ofJordan, by a creek, Where winds with reeds and osiers whispering Play, Plain fishermen, (no greater men them call,) ,Close in a cottage low together got, Their unexpected loss and plaints out breathed. “Alas, front what high hope to what relapse Unlocked for are we fallen! our eyes beheld Messiah certainly now come, so long Expected of our fathers; we have heard His words, his wisdom full of grace and truth; ' Now, now, for sure, deliverance is at hand, Tire kingdom shall to Israel be restored: Thus we rejoiced, but soon our joy is turned into perplexity and new amaze: For whither is he gone, what accident Hath wrapt him from not will he now retire After appearance, and again prolong , Our expectation] God of lsrael, Send thy Messiah forth, the time is come! Behold the kings of the earth, how they oppress Thy chosen; to what height their power unjust ,Thcy have exalted, and behind them cast ,IAll fear of thee; arise and vindicate Thy glory; free thy people from their yoke! ' But let us wait; thus far he hath performed, .Sent his Anointed, and to us revealed him, IBy his great Prophet, pointed at and shown ‘ In public, and with him we have conversed; [Let us be glad of this, and all our fears ] Lay on his providence; he will not fail, Nor will withdraw him now, not will recall, Mock us with his blest sight, then snatch him hence; Soon we shall see our Hope, our Joy return.” Thus they, out of their plaints, new hope ro sumo To find whom at the first they found unsought: But, to his mother Mary, when she saw Others returned from baptism, not her son, Nor lelt at Jordan tidings of him none, Within her breast, though calm, her breast theugi pure, Motherly cares and fears got head, and raised Some troubled thoughts, which she in sighs thus clad. " 0 what avails me now that honour high To have conceived of God, or that salute, ‘ Hail, highly favoured, among women blessed" \Vhile l to sorrows am no less ad\ atrccd. And fears as eminent, above the lot

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Of other women, by the birth I bore; In such a season born, when scarce a shed Could be obtained to shelter him or me From the bleak air; a stable was our warmth, A manger his; yet soon enforced to fly Thence into Egypt, till the murderous king Were dead, who sought his life, and missing filled \Vith infant blood the streets of Bethlehem: From Egypt home returned, in Nazareth Hath been our dwelling many years; his life Private, unactive, calm, contemplative, Little suspicious to any king; but now, Full grown to man, acknowledged, as I hear, By John the Baptist, and in public shown, Son owned from Heaven by his Father’s voice, I looked for some great change; to honour? no; But trouble, as old Simeon plain foretold, That to the fall and rising, he should be Of many in Israel, and to a sign Spoken against, that through my very soul A sw \rd shall pierce: this is my favoured lot, My exaltation to afllictions high; Afflicted l maybe, it seems, and blest; I will not argue that, nor will rcpine. But where delays he now'i some great intent Coneeals him: when twelve years he scarce had seen, I lost him, but so found, as well as saw He could not lose himself, but went about His Father’s business; what he meant I mused, Since understood; much more his absence now Thus long to some great purpose be obscures. But I to wait with patience am inured; My heart hath been a. storehouse long of things And sayings laid up, portending strange events." Thus Mary, pondering oft, and oft to mind Recalling what remarkably had passed Since first her salutation heard, with thoughts Meekly composed awaited the fulfilling: The while her son, tracing the desert wild, Sole, but with holiest meditations fed, Into himself descended, and at once All his great Work to come before him set; How to begin, how to accomplish best His end of being on earth, and mission high: For Satan, with sly preface to return, Had lefi. him vacant, and with speed was gone Up tothe middle region of thick air, Where all his potentates in council sat; There, without sign of boast, or sign of joy, Solicitous and blank, he thus began. “ Princes, Heaven’s ancient sons, ethereal thrones, Demonian spirits now, from the element Each of his reign allotted, rightlier called Powers of fire, air, water, and earth beneath. (So may we hold our place and these mild seats Without new trouble,) such an enemy is risrn to invade us, who no less

Threatens than our expulsion down to hell.

I, as I undertook, and with the vote

Consenting in full frequenee was empowered,
Have found him, viewed him, tasted him; but tin)
Far other labour to be undergone

Than when l dealt with Adam, first of men,
Though Adam by his wife’s allurement fell,
However to this Man inferior far;

If he be man by mother’s side, at least

tVith more than human gifts from Heaven adorneu, Perfections absolute, graces divine,

And amplitude of mind to greatest deeds.
Therefore I am returned, lest confidence

Of my success with Eve in Paradise

Deceive ye to persuasion over sure

Oflikc succeeding here: I summon all

Rather to be in readiness, with hand

Or counsel to assist; lest I, who crst

Thought none myequal, now be m‘ermatched."

So spake the old Serpent, doubting; and from all
With clamour was assured their_ utmost aid
At his command: when from amidst them rose
Bella], the dissolutest spirit that fell,

The sensualist, and, alter Asmodai,
The fleshliest incubus; and thus advised.

“ Set women. in his eye, and in his walk
Among daughters of men the fairest found:
Many are in each region passing fair
As the noon sky; more like to goddesses
Than mortal creatures; graceful and discreet,
Expert in amorous arts, enchanting tongues
Pursuasive, virgin majesty with mild
And sweet allayed, yet terrible to approach;
Skilled to retire, and, in retiring, draw
Hearts alter them tangled in amorous nets.
Such object bath the power to soften and tamc
Severest temper, smooth the rugged’st brow
Enerve, and with voluptuous hope dissolve,
Draw out with credulous desire, and lead
At will the manliest, resolutest breast,

As the magnetic hardest iron draws.
Women, when nothing else beguiled the heart
Of wisest Solomon, and made him build,

And made him how, to the gods of his wives."

To whom quick answer Satan thus returned
“ Belial, in much uneven scale thou weighest
All others by thyself: because of old
Thou thyself doted'st on womankind, ad minng
Their shape, their colour, and attractive grace,
None are, thou think'st, but taken with such toys
Before the flood, thou with thy lusty crew,
False titled sons of God, roaming the earth,
Cast wanton eyes on the daughters of mm,
And coupled with them, and beget a race.
Have we not seen, or bv relation heard,

In courts and regal eha nbers how thou lurk'lt.
In wood or grove, by m-msy fountain side,
In valley or green meadow, to waylay

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Some beauty rare, Calisto, Cl ymene

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Daphne, or Snnele, Antiopa,

Or Amyinone, Syrinx, many more

Too long; then lay’st thy scopes on names adored,

Apollo, Neptune Jupiter, or Pan,

Satyr, or Faun, or Sylvan? But these haunts

Delight not all; among the sons of men,

How many have with a smile made small account

Of Beauty and her lures, easily scorned,

All her assaults,on worthier things intentl

Remember that Pcllean conqueror,

A youth, how oil the beauties of the east

He slightly viewed, and slightly overpassed;

How be summed of Africa dismissed,

In his prime youth, the fair Iberian maid.

For Solomon, he lived at ease, and full

Of honour, wealth, high fare, aimed not beyond

Higher design than to enjoy his state;

Thence to the bait of women lay exposed:

But he whom we attempt is wiser far

Than Solomon, of more exalted mind,

Made and set wholly on the accomplishment

Of greatest things. “’hat woman will you find,

Though of this age the wonder and the fame,

On whom his leisure will vouchsafe an eye

Of fond desire? or should she, confident,

As sitting queen adored on Beauty’s throne,

Descent! with all her winning charms begirt

To enamour, as the zone of Venus once

Wrought that effect on Jove, so fables tell:

How would one look from his majestic brow,

Seated as on the top of virtue’s hill,

Discountenance her despised, and put to rout

All her array; her female pride deject,

Or turn to reverent swe'. for beauty stands

ln the admiration only of weak minds

Led captive; cease to admire, and all her plumes

Fall flat, and shrink into a trivial toy,

At every sudden slighting quite abashed:

Therefore with manlier objects we must try

His constancy ; with such as have more show

01' worth, of honour, glory, and popular praise;

Rocks, whereon greatest men have oltest wrecked;

Or that which only seems to satisfy

Lawful desires of nature, not beyond;

And now I know he hungers, where no food

ls to be found, in the wide wilderness:

The rest commit to me; l shall let pass

N0 advantage, and his strength as all assay."
He ceased, and heard their grant in loud as-

claim:

l'hen forthwith to him takes a chosen band

Ofspirits, likest to himself in guile,

To be at hand, and at his beck appear,

If cause were to unfold some active scene

3f various persons, each to know his part:

Then to the desert takes with these his flight;

\Vhere, still from shade to shade, the Son of God

After forty days fasting had remained,

New hungering first, and to himself thus said.

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“ Where will this end'l four times ten days I"! assed

\Vzindering this woody maze, and human food
Nor tasted, nor had appetite; that fast
To virtue l iniputc not, or count part
Of what I sutl'cr here; ifnaturc need not,
Or God support nature without repast
Though needing, what praise is it to endure'l
But now I feel 1 hunger, which declares
Nature hath need of what she asks; yet God
Can satisfy that need some other way,
Though hunger still remain; so it remain
Without this body’s wasting, l content me,
And from the sting of famine fear no harm;
Nor mind it, fed with better thoughts, that feed
Me hungering more to do my Father's will."

It was the hour of night, when thus the Son
Communed in silent walk, then laid him down
Under the hospitable covert nigh
Of trees thick interwoven ; there he slept,

And dreamed, as appetite is wont to dream,

Of meats and drinks, nature’s refreshment sweet.

Him thought, he by the brook of Cherith stood,

And saw the ravens with their horny beaks

Food to Elijah bringing, even and morn,

Though ravenous, taught to abstain from what they brought:

He saw the prophet also,how he lied

Into the desert, and how there he slept

Under ajuniper; then how awaked

He found his supper on the coals prepared,

And by the angel was bid rise and eat,

And eat the second time after repose,

The strength whereof sulliccd him forty days:

Sometimes that with Elijah he partook,

Or as a guest with Daniel at his pulse.

Thus wore out night; and now the herald lark

Left his ground—nest, high towering to drscry

The mom’s approach, and greet her with his song;

As lightly from his grassy couch up rose

Our Saviour, and found all was but a dream;

Fasting he went to sleep, and fasting wake-d.

Up to a hill anon his steps he reared,

From whose high top to ken the prospect round,

If cottage were in view, sheepcote, or herd;

But cottage, herd, or sheep-cote none he saw;

Only in a bottom saw s pleasant grove,

With chant of tuneful birds resounding loud:

Thither he bent his way, determined there

To rest at noon; and entered soon the shade

High roofed and walks beneath, and alleys brown.

That opened in the midst a woody scene;

Nature’s own work it seemed, nature taught art,

And, to a superstitious eye, the haunt

Of woodgods and woodnymphs: be viewed it round.

‘Vhen suddenly a man before him stood,

Not rustic as before, but seemlier clad,

As one in city, or court, or palace bred,

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