« PreviousContinue »
The Gentiles; henceforth oracles arè ceas'd,
So spake our Saviour ; but the subtle Fiend,
To hear thee when I come, (since no man comes)
To whom our Saviour, with unalter'd brow :
He added not; and Satan, bowing low His gray dissimulation, disappear’d Into thin air diffus'd: for now began Night with her sullen wings to double shade The desart; fowls in their clay nests were couch'd ; And now wild beasts came forth the woods to
END OF THE FIRST BOOK.
The Disciples of Jesus, 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 respecting the birth and early life of her Son. Satan again meets his Infernal Council, reports the bad success of his temptation of our Blessed Lord, and calls upon them for counsel and assistance. Belial proposes the tempting of Jesus with women. Satan rebukeš Belial for his dissoluteness, charging on him all the profligacy of that kind ascribed by the poets to the Heathen Gods, and rejects his proposal as in no respect likely to succeed. Satan then suggests other modes of temptation, particularly proposing to avail himself of the circumstance of our Lord's hungering; and taking a band of chosen Spirits with him, returns to resume his enterprise. Jesus hungers in the desart. Night comes on; the manner in which our Saviour passes the night is described. Morning advances. Satan again appears to Jesus, and, after expressing wonder that he should be so entirely neglected in the wilderness, where others had been miraeulously fed, tempts him with a sumptuous banquet of the most luxurious kind. This he rejects, and the banquet vanishes.--Satan, finding our Lord not to be assailed on the ground of appetite, tempts him again by offering him riches, as the means of acquiring power : This Jesus also rejects, producing many instances of great actions performed by persons under virtuous poverty, and specifying the danger of riches, and the cares and puins inseparable from power and greatness.