Page images
PDF
EPUB

Who names not now with honour patient Job ?
Poor Socrates, (who next more memorable ?)
By what he taught, and suffer'd for so doing,
For truth's sake suffering death, unjust, lives now
Equal in fame to proudest conquerours.
Yet if for fame and glory aught be done,
Aught suffer'd ; if young African for fame
His wasted country freed from Punick 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 deservd? I seek not mine, but his
Who sent me; and thereby witness whence I am.

To whom the Tempter murmuring thus replied.
Think no: too slight of glory; therein least
Resembling thy great Father : He seeks glory,
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;
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,

To whom our Saviour fervently replied. 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 recompence;
From them who could return him nothing else,
And, not returning that, would likeliest render
Contempt instead, dishonour, obloquy?
Hard recompence, 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
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 fathers though thy right
Be now in powerful 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 rul'd
With temperate 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 desart, but with arms;
And o'er a mighty king so oft prevaild,
That by strong hand his family obtain’d,
Though priests, the crown, and David's throne

usurp'd,
With Modin and her suburbs once content,
If kingdom move thee not, let move thee zeal
And duty; zeal and duty are not slow,
But on oceasion's forelock watchful wait:
They themselves rather are occasion best;
Zeal of thy father's house, duty to free
Thy country from her Heathen servitude,
So shalt thou best fulfil, best verify

The Prophets old, who sung thy endless reign; .
The happier reign, the sooner it begins :
Reign then; what canst thou better do the white?

To whom our Saviour answer thus return'd. .
All things are best fulfill’d in their due time;
And time there is for all things, Truth hath said.
If of my reigo prophetick Writ hath told,
That it shall never end, so, when begin,
The Father in his purpose hath decreed ;
He, in whose hand all times and seasons roll.
What if he hath decreed that I shall first
Be tried in humble state, and things adverse,
By tribulations, injuries, insults, ..
Contempts, and scorns, and spares, and violence,
Suffering, abstaining, quietly expecting,
Without distrust or doubt, that he may know
What I can suffer, how obey? Who best
Can suffer, best can do; best reign, who first
Well hath obey'd ; just trial, ere I merit
My exaltation without change or end.
But what concerns it thee, when I begin
My everlasting kingdom? Why art thou
Solicitous ? What moves thy inquisition ?
Know'st thou not that my rising is thy fall,
And my promotion will be thy destruction ?

To whom the Tempter, inly rack’d, replied.
Let that come when it comes; all hope is lost
Of my reception into grace ; what worse?
For where no hope is left, is left no fear :

If there be worse, the expectation more
Of worse torments me than the feeling can,
I would be at the worst: worst is my port,
My harbour, and my ultimate repose;
The end I would attain, my final good.
My errour was my errour, and my crime
My crime; whatever, for itself condemn'd;
And will alike be punish’d, whether thou
Reign, or reign not; though to that gentle brow
Willingly could I fly, and hope thy reign,
From that placid aspect and meek regard,
Rather than aggravate my evil state,
Would stand between me and thy Father's ire,
(Whose ire I dread more than the fire of Hell,)
A shelter, and a kind of shading cool
Interposition, as a summer's cloud,
If I then to the worst that can be haste,
Why move thy feet so slow to what is best,
Happiest, both to thyself and all the world,
That thou, who worthiest art, should'st be their

king?
Perhaps thou linger'st, in deep thoughts detain'd
Of the enterprise so hazardous and high ;
No wonder ; for, though in thee be united
What of perfection can in man be found,
Or human nature can receive, consider,
Thy life hath yet been private, most part spent
At home, scarce view'd the Galilean towns,

« PreviousContinue »