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THE ARGUMENT.

The Subject proposed. Invocation of the Holy Spirit.

- The Poem opens withJohn baptizing at the river Jordan. Jesus coming there is baptized; and is at. tested, by the descent of the Holy Ghost, and by a voice from Heaven, to be the Son of God. Satan who is present, upon this immediately flies up into the regions of the air ; where, summoning his Infernal Council, he acquaints them with his apprehensions that Jesus is that seed of the Woman, destined to destroy all their power, and points out to them the immediate necessity of bringing the matter to proof, and of attempting by snures and fraud, to counteract and defeat the person, from whom they have so much to dread. This Office he offers himself to undertake : and, his offer being accepted, sets out on his enterprise. - In the mean time God, in the assembly of Holy Angels, declares that he has given up his Son to be tempted by Satan; but foretells that the Tempter shall be completely defeated by him :-upon which the Angels sing a hymn of triumph. Jesus is led up by the Spirit into the wilderness, while he is meditating on the commencement of his great office of Saviour of Mankind. Pursuing his meditations he narrates, in a soliloquy, what divine and philanthropick impulses he had felt from his early youth, and how his mother Mary, on perceiving these dispositions in him, had acquainted him with the circumstances of his birth, and informed him that he was no less a person than the Son of God; to which he adds what his own inquiries and reflections had supplied in confirmation of this great truth, and particularly dwells on the recent attestation of it at the river Jordan. Our Lord passes forty days, fasting in the wilderness; where the wild beasts become mild and harmless in his presence. Satan now appears under the form of an old peasant ; and ene ters into discourse with our Lord, wondering what could have brought him alone into so dangerous a place, and at the same time professing to recognize him for the person lately acknowledged by John, at the river Jordan, to be the Son of God. Jesus briefly replies. Satan rejoins with description of the difficulty of supporting life in the wilderness; and entreats Jesus, if he be really the Son of God, to manifest his divine power, by chunging some of the stones into bread. Jesus reproves him, and at the same time tells him that he knows who he is. Satan instantly avows hime self, and offers an artful apology for himself and kis conduct. Our blessed Lord severely reprimands him, and refutes every part of his justification, Satan, with much semblance of humility, still en. deavours to justify himself ; and, professing his admiration of Jesus and his regard for virtue, requests to be permitted at a future time to heur more of his conversation ; but is answered, that this must be as he shall find permission from above, Satan then disappears, and the Book closes with a short description of night coming on in the desart.

PARADISE REGAINED.

BOOK I.

1, who ere while the happy garden sung
By one Man's disobedience lost, now sing
Recover'd Paradise to all mankind,
By one Man's firm obedience fully tried
Through all temptation, and the Tempter foil'd,
In all his wiles, defeated and repuls’d,
And Eden rais'd in the waste wilderness.

Thou Spirit, who ledst this glorious eremite
Into the desart, his victorious field,
Against the spiritual foe, and brought'st him thence
By proof the undoubted Son of God, inspire,
As thou art wont, my prompted song, else mute,
And bear, through highth or depth of Nature's

bounds,

With prosperous wing full summ’d, to tell of deeds
Above heroic, though in secret done,
And unrecorded left through many an age;
Worthy to have not remain’d so long unsung.

Now had the great Proclaimer with a voice
More awful than the sound of trumpet, cried
Repentance, and Heaven's kingdom nigh at hand
To all baptiz’d: To his great baptism flock'd
With awe the regions round, and with them came
From Nazareth the son of Joseph deem'd
To the flood Jordan; came, as then obscure,
Unmark’d, unknown; but from the Baptist soon
Descried, divinely warn’d, and witness bore
As to his worthier, and would have resign'd
To him his heavenly office; nor was long ·
His witness unconfirm’d: on him baptiz’d
Heaven open’d, and in likeness of a dove
The Spirit descended, while the Father's voice
From Heaven pronounc'd him his beloved Son.
That heard the Adversary, who, roving still
About the world, at that assembly fam’d
Would not be last, and, with the voice divine
Nigh thunder-struck, the exalted Man, to whom
Such high attest was given, a while survey'd
With wonder; then, with envy fraught and rage,
Flies to his place, nor rests, but in mid air
To counsel summons all his mighty peers,
Within thick clouds and dark ten-fold involv’d,

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