Page images
PDF
EPUB

100

Equal in fame to proudest conquerors.
Yet if for fame and glory ought be done,
Ought suffer'd ; if young African for fame
His wasted country freed from Punic rage,
The deed becomes unprais'd, the man at least,
And loses, though but verbal, his reward.
Shall I seek glory then, as vain men seek,
Oft not deserv’d? I seek not mine, but his
Who sent me', and thereby witness whence I am.

To whom the Tempter murm’ring thus replied.
Think not so slight of glory; therein least

105

Much suff'ring heroes next their I honour my Father, I seek not honours claim,

mine own glory, says our Saviour Those of less noisy, and less guilty

in St. John's Gospel, viii. 49, 50: fame, Fair Virtue's silent train : supreme

and this he urgeth as a proof of of these

his divine mission, vii. 18. He Here ever shines the godlike $o. that speaketh of himself, seeketh crates.

his own glory: but he that seekAnd if Mr. Addison had com- eth his glory that sent him, the pleted his design of writing a same is true, and no unrighteoustragedy of Socrates, his success ness is in him. in all probability would have 109. Think not so slight of been greater, as the subject glory; &c.] There is nothing would have been better than that throughout the whole poem more of Cato.

expressive of the true character 101. - if young African for of the Tempter than this reply. fame

There is in it all the real falseHis wasted country freed from hood of the father of lies, and the Punic rage,]

glozing 'subtlety of an insidious This shows plainly that he had deceiver. The argument is false spoken before of the elder Scipio and unsound, and yet it is veiled Africanus; for he only can be over with a certain plausible air said with propriety to have freed of truth. The poet has also by his wasted country from Punic introducing this furnished himrage, by transferring the war self with an opportunity of exinto Spain and Africa after the plaining that great question in ravages which Hannibal had divinity, why God created the committed in Italy during the world, and what is meant by second Punic war.

that glory which he expects from 106. - I seek not mine, but his his creatures. This may be no Who sent me', and thereby wit- improper place to observe to the ness whence I am.]

reader the author's great art in

Resembling thy great Father: he seeks glory, 110
And for his glory all things made, all things
Orders and governs; nor content in heaven
By all his angels glorified, requires
Glory from men, from all men good or bad,
Wise or unwise, no difference, no exemption; 115
Above all sacrifice, or hallow'd gift
Glory' he requires, and glory he receives
Promiscuous from all nations, Jew, or Greek,
Or barbarous, nor exception hath declar'd;
From us his foes pronounc'd glory he exacts. 120

To whom our Saviour fervently replied.

weaving into the body of so short We took notice of a beauty of a work so many grand points of this kind in a note upon ii. 432: the Christian theology and mo- and here we have another in. rality. Thyer.

stance not unworthy of our ob118. Promiscuous from all na servation. When the Tempter tions,] The poet puts here into had proposed to our Saviour the the mouth of the Devil the ab- baits and allurements of glory, surd notions of the apologists for he was nothing moved, but rePaganism. See Themistius, Orat. plied with great calmness and xii. de Relig. Valent. Imp. TAUTA composure of mind, ver. 43. yoreske yeeclei &c. p. 160. War. To whom our Saviour calmly thus burlon.

replied: See the Divine Legation, b. ii. sect. vi. vol. i. p. 308. ed. 1811. but now the Tempter reflects and the note on that passage, for

for upon the glory of God, our Saseveral instances of person's pro- viour is warmed upon the ocfessing these notions. Dunster.

casion, and answers with some 121. To whom our Saviour fer

eagerness and fervour. ! vently replied.] As this poein To whom our Saviour fervently reconsists chiefly of a dialogue be

plied. tween the Tempter and our Sa- And this is perfectly just, and viour, the poet must have la- agreeable to the true character boured under some difficulty in of our Saviour, who was all meekcomposing a sufficient variety of ness and forbearance in every introductory lines to the several thing that related to himself, but speeches, and it required great where God's honour was conart and judgment to vary and cerned, was warm and zealous; adapt them so properly as he as when he drove the buyers hath done to the subject in hand. and sellers out of the temple, in

125

And reason ; since his word all things produc'd,
Though chiefly not for glory as prime end,
But to show forth his goodness, and impart
His good communicable to every soul
Freely; of whom what could he less expect
Than glory' and benediction, that is thanks,
The slightest, easiest, readiest recompense
From them who could return him nothing else,
And not returning that would likeliest render
Contempt instead, dishonour, obloquy? .
Hard recompense, unsuitable return
For so much good, so much beneficence.
But why should man seek glory, who of his own
Hath nothing, and to whom nothing belongs
But condemnation, ignominy', and shame?
Who for so many benefits receiv'd
Turn'd recreant to God, ingrate and false,
And so of all true good himself despoil'd,
Yet, sacrilegious, to himself would take

130

135

140

somuch that the disciples applied which spoils the sense of the to him the saying of the Psalm- passage. ist, The zeal of thine house hath 138. -recreant] Shakespeare eaten me up, John ii. 17.

has the word, K. John, act iii. 128. The slightest, easiest, rea- s. 2. And Spenser, Faery Qu. diest recompense) The same sen- b. ii. c. vi. 28. where Mr. Warton timent in the Paradise Lost, iv. observes, that recreant knight is a 46.

term of romance, citing a pasWhat could be less than to afford

sage from the Morte Arthur. him praise,

Recreant, or recreditus, in the The easiest recompense, and pay him feudal signification, imported the thanks,

highest degree of treason, baseHow due!

ness, and cowardice. Du Cange 130. And not returning that] says, “probrosum adeo censuit We have replaced the reading of vocabulum ut illud describere nothe first edition: most of the luerit Radulphus de Glanvilla." later editions have it

Dunster. And not returning what

145

That which to God alone of right belongs;
Yet so much bounty is in God, such grace,
That who advance his glory, not their own,
Them he himself to glory will advance.

So spake the Son of God; and here again
Satan had not to answer, but stood struck
With guilt of his own sin, for he himself
Insatiable of glory had lost all,
Yet of another plea bethought him soon.

Of glory, as thou wilt, said he, so deem,
Worth or not worth the seeking, let it pass :
But to a kingdom thou art born, ordain'd
To sit upon thy father David's throne;
By mother's side thy father; though thy right
Be now in pow'rful hands, that will not part
Easily from possession won with arms:
Judæa now and all the promis'd land,
Reduc'd a province under Roman yoke,
Obeys Tiberius; nor is always ruld

150

155

151. Worth or not worth the vern it under the title of Procuseeking,] In all the editions which rator of Judæa ; our Saviour I have seen except the first, it is being then (as Dean Prideaux printed

says) in the twelfth year of his

age, but according to the vulgar Worth or not worth their seeking,

æra, which begins four years but the first edition exhibits this later than the true time, it was reading,

A.D. 8. Nor is always ruld with Worth or not worth the seeking.

temp'rate sway: and indeed the

Roman government was not al158. Reduc'd a province under ways the most temperate. At Roman yoke,] Judæa was re- this time Pontius Pilate was produced to the form of a Roman curator of Judæa; and if history province, in the reign of Au- be true, he was a most corrupt gustus, by Quirinius or Cyrenius, and flagitious governor. See parthen governor of Syria; and Co- ticularly Philo de Legatione ad ponius, a Roman of the eques- Caium. trian order, was appointed to go 159. It is there related of Pi

160

With temp'rate sway; oft have they violated
The temple, oft the law with foul affronts,
Abominations rather, as did once
Antiochus: and think'st thou to regain
Thy right by sitting still or thus retiring?
So did not Maccabeus: he indeed
Retir'd unto the desert, but with arms;
And o'er a mighty king so oft prevail’d,

165

late, that he had erected and de- 165. So did not Maccabeus:] dicated some golden shields to The Tempter had compared the Tiberius, not more to do honour profanation of the temple by the to the emperor than to ver the Romans to that by Antiochus Epipeople. On their petitioning phanes, king of Syria; and now him to remove them, he is de- he would infer that Jesus was to scribed as replying to them with blame for not vindicating his much severity, and as being of country against the one, as Judas an inexorable disposition, atspows Maccabeus had done against the urtidsyoutos, ni gae Thy Quow unan- other. He fled indeed into the mons. On this the Jews threat. wilderness from the persecutions ened to apply to Tiberius him- of Antiochus, but there he took self, whereupon Pilate began to up arms against him, and obfear, lest his various other mis- tained so many victories over his conducts should be reported to forces, that he recovered the city the emperor. Leg. ad Caium, and sanctuary out of their hands, p. 799. ed. Col. Allob. Josephus, and his family was in his brother Antiq. Jud. xviii. 5, speaks of Jonathan advanced to the high the murders committed on the priesthood, and in his brother Jews by Pilate. Dunster. Simon to the principality, and

160. —oft have they violated so they continued for several deThe temple, &c.]

scents sovereign pontiffs and As Pompey did particularly with sovereign princes of the Jewish several of his officers, who en- nation till the time of Herod the tered not only into the holy place, Great: though their father Matbut also penetrated into the holy tathias (the son of John, the son of holies, where none were per- of Simon, the son of Asmonæus, mitted by the law to enter, ex- from whom the family had the cept the high-priest alone once name of Asmonæans) was no in a year, on the great day of more than a priest of the course expiation. And this profanation of Joarib, and dwelt at Modin, of the temple might well remind which is famous for nothing 90 the author of a former one by much as being the country of Antiochus Epiphanes. See 2 the Maccabees. See 1 Maccab. Maccab. v.

Josephus, Prideaux, &c.

« PreviousContinue »