« PreviousContinue »
Worshipt with temple, priest, and sacrifice?
One is the son of Jove, of Mars the other;
Till conqu'ror Death discover them scarce men, 85
Rolling in brutish vices, and deform'd,
Violent or shameful death their due reward.
But if there be in glory ought of good,
It may by means far different be attain'd
Without ambition, war, or violence; go
By deeds of peace, by wisdom eminent,
By patience, temperancei I mention still
Him whom thy wrongs with saintly patience borne
Made famous in a land and times obscure;
Who names not now with honor patient Job? 95
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 conquerors.
Yet if for fame and glory ought be done, 100
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, 105
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 reply'd i Think not so slight of glory j therein least Resembling thy great Father i he seeks glory, 110 And for his glory all things made, all things Orders'and governs j nor content in Heav'n
By all his angels glorify'd, 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. no
To whom our Saviour fervently reply'd:
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 125
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 130
Contempt instead, dishonor, 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 135
But condemnation, ignominy', and shame i
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 140
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 145
Satan bad 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, 150
Worth or not worth the seeking, let it pass i
But to a kingdom thou art born, ordain'd
To sit upon thy father David's throne j
By mother's side thy father; though thy right
Be now in powerful hands, that will not part 155
Easily from possession won with arms i
Judae now and all the Promis'd Land,
Reduc'd a province under Roman yoke,
Obeys Tiberius; nor is always rul'd
With temp'rate sway; oft have they violated 160
The temple, oft the law with foul affronts,
Abominations rather, as did once
Antiochus i and think'st thou to regain
Thy right by sitting still or thus retiring?
So did not Maccabeus i he indeed 165
Retir'd unto the desert, but with arms j
And o'er a mighty king so oft prevail'd,
That by strong hand his family obtain'd [usurp'd,
Though priests, the crown, and David's throne
WithModin and her suburbs once content. 170
If kingdom move thee not, let move thee zeal
And duty; zeal and duty are not slow j
But on occasion's forelock watchful wait.
They themselves rather are occasion best,
Zeal of thy father's house, duty to free 175
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; 179
Reign then; what canst thou better do the while?
To whom our Saviour answer thus return'd t
All things are best fulfill'd in their due time,
And time there is for all things, truth hath saidt
If of my reign prophetic writ hath told
That it shall never end, so when begin 18 j
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 try'd in humble state, and things adverse,
By tribulations, injuries, insults, 150
Contempts, and scorns, and snares, 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 195
Well hath obey'd; just trial ere I merit
My exaltation without change or end.
But what concerns it thee when I begin
My evei lasting kingdom, why art thou
Solicitous, what moves thy inquisition? aoo
Knovv'st thou not that my rising is thy fall,
And my promotion will be thy destruction?
To whom the Tempter inly rack'd reply'd j
Let that come when it comes; all hope is lost
Of my reception into grace; what worse? 205
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, aio
The end I would attain, my final good.
My error was my error, 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 215
Willingly 1 could 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) 110
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, 425
That thou who worthiest art should'st be their king?
Perhaps thou linger'st in deep thoughts detain'd
Of th' enterprise so hazardous and high;
No wonder, for though in thee be united
What of perfection can in man be found, 23*
Or human Nature can receive, consider
Thy life hath yet been private, most part spent
Volume III. B