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A perfect dove descend, whate'er it meant,

And out of Heav'n the Sov'ran voice I heard,

This is my Son belov'd, in him am pieas'd. 85

His mother then is mortal, but his Sire

He who obtains the monarchy of Heav'n,

And what will he not do to' advance his Son?

His first-begot we know, and sore have felt,

When his fierce thunder drove us to the Deep; 9a

Who this is we must learn, for man he seems

In all his lineaments, though in his face

The glimpses of his Father's glory shine.

Ye see our danger on the utmost edge

Of hazard, which admits no long debate, 9$

But must with something sudden be oppos'd,

Not force, but well-couch'd fraud, well woven

Ere:in the head of nations he appear [snares,

Their Icing, their leader, and supreme on Earth.

I, when no other durst, sole undertook io»

The dismal expedition to find out

And ruin Adam, and th' exploit pefform'd

Successfully; a calmer voyage now

Will waft me; and the way found prosp'rous once

Induces best to hope of like success. 105

He ended, and his words impression left Of much amazement to th' infernal crew, Distracted and surpris'd with deep dismay At these sad tidings; but no time was then For long indulgence to their fears or grief: no Unanimous they all commit the care And management of this main enterprizc

To him their great dictator, whose attempt

At first against mankind so well had thriv'd

In Adam's overthrow, and led their march 115

From Hell's deep-vaulted den to dwell in light,

Regents and potentates, and kings, yea gods

Of many a pleasant realm and province wide.

So to the coast of Jordan he directs

His easy steps, girded with snaky wiles, no

Where he might likeliest find this new-declar'd,

This Man of Men, attested Son of God,

Temptation and all guile on him to try;

So to subvert whom he suspected rais'd

To end his reign on Earth so long enjoy'd 1 125

But contrary unweeting he fulfill'd

The purpos'd counsel pre-ordain'd and fix'd

Of the Most High, who in full frequence bright

Of angels, thus to Gabriel smiling spake:

Gabriel, this day by proof thou shalt behold, 130
Thou and all angels conversant on Earth
With man or men's affairs, how I begin
To verify that solemn message late,
On which I sent thee to the Virgin pure
In Galilee, that she should bear a son lie

Great in renown, and call'd the Son of God;
Then toldst her doubting how these things could be
To her a virgin, that on her should come
The Holy Ghost, and the power of the Highest
O'er-shadow' her: this Man born and now up-
To show him worthy of his birth divine [grown,
And high prediction, henceforth I expose i+2

To Satan; let him tempt and now assay

His utmost subtlety, because he boasts

And vaunts of his great cunning to the throng 145

Of his apostasy; he might have learnt

Less overweening since he fail'd in Job,

Whose constant perseverance overcame

Whate'er his cruel malice could invent.

He now shall know I can produce a Man 150

Of female seed, far abler to resist

All his solicitations, and at length

All his vast force, and drive him back to Hell,

Winning by conquest what the first man lost

By fallacy surpris'd. But first I mean 155

To exercise him in the wilderness,

There he shall first lay down the rudiments

Of his great warfare, ere I send him forth

To conquer Sin and Death, the two grand foes,

By humiliation and strong sufferance: 160

His weakness shall o'ercome Satanic strength,

And all the world, and mass of sinful flesh;

That all the angels and ethereal powers,

They now, and men hereafter may discern,

From what consummate virtue I have chose 165

This perfect Man, by merit call'd my Son,

To earn salvation for the sons of men.

So spake th' eternal Father, and all Heav'n. Admiring stood a space, then into hymns Burst forth, and in celestial measures mov'd, 170 Circling the throne and singing, while the hand Sung with the voice, and this the argument.

Victory' and triumph to the Son of God
Now entring his greal duel, not of arms,
But to vanquish by wisdom hellish wiles. 17 5

The Father knows the Son; therefore secure
Ventures his filial virtue, though untry'd,
Against whate'er may tempt, whate'er seduce,
Allure, or terrify, or undermine.
Be frustrate all ye stratagems of Hell, 180

And devilish machinations come to nought.

So they in Heav'n their odes and vigils tun'ds Mean while the Son of God, who yet some days Lodg'd in Bethabara where John baptiz'd, Musing and much revolving in his breast, 185 How best the mighty work he might begin Of Saviour to mankind, and which way first Publish his God-like office now mature, One day forth walk'd alone, the Spirit leading, And his deep thoughts, the better to converse 190 With Solitude, till far from track of men, Thought following thought, and step by step led on, He enter'd now the bord'ring desert wild, And with dark shades and rocks environ'd round, His holy meditations thus pursu'd. 195

O what a multitude of thoughts at once Awaken'd in me swarm, while I consider What from within I feel myself, and hear What from without comes often to my ears, 111 sorting with my present state compar'd! 200 When I was yet a child, no childish play To me was pleasing; all my mind was set

Volume III. B

Serious to learn and know, and thence to do

What might be public good; myself I thought

Born to that end, born to promote all truth, 205

All righteous things: therefore above my years,

The law of God I read, and found it sweet,

Made it my whole delight, and in it grew

To such perfection, that ere yet my age

Had measur'd twice six years, at our great feast

I went into the temple, there to hear 211

The teachers of our law, and to propose

What might improve my knowledge or their own;

And was admir'd by all; yet this not all

To which my spi'ritaspir'd; victorious deeds 215

Flam'd in my heart, heroic acts, one while

To rescue Israel from the Roman yoke,

Then to subdue and quell o'er all the earth

Brute violence and proud tyrannic power,

Till truth were freed, and equity restor'd: 220

Yet held it more humane, more heav'nly first

By winning words to conquer willing hearts,

And make persuasion do the work of Fear;

At least to try, and teach the erring soul

Not wilfully mis-doing, but unware 225

Misled; the stubborn only to subdue.

These growing thoughts my mother soon perceiving

By words at times cast forth, inly rejoic'd,

And said to me apart, High are thy thoughts,

O Son, but nourish them and let them soar 230

To what highth sacred virtue and true worth

Can raise them, though above example high;

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