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Among them to declare his providence 445
To thee not known, whence hast thou then thy truth,
But from him, or his angels president
In every province, who, themselves disdaining
To approach thy temples, give thee in command
What, to the smallest tittle, thou shalt say 450
To thy adorers? Thou, with trembling fear,
Or like a fawning parasite, obey'st:
Then to thyself ascrib'st the truth foretold.
But this thy glory shall be soon retrench'd;
No more shalt thou by oracling abuse 455
The Gentiles; henceforth oracles are ceas'd,
And thou no more with pomp and sacrisice
Shalt be inquir'd at Delphos, or elsewhere;
At least in vain, for they shall find thee mute,
God hath now sent his living oracle 460
Into the world to teach his final will,
And sends his Spirit of truth henceforth to dwell
In pious hearts, an inward oracle
To all truth requisite for men to know.”
So spake our Saviour; but the subtle fiend, 465
Though inly stung with anger and disdain,
Dissembled, and this answer smooth return'd :
* Sharply thou hast insisted on rebuke,
And urg'd me hard with doings, which not will
But misery hath wrested from me. Where 470
Easily canst thou find one miserable,
And not enforc'd oft-times to part from truth,

If it may stand him more in stead to lie, *
Say and unsay, feign, flatter, or abjure ?
But thou art plac'd above me, thou art Lord; 475

From thee I can, and must, submiss endure
Check or reproof, and glad to 'scape so quit.
Hard are the ways of truth, add rough to walk,
Smooth on the tongue discours'd, pleasing to th’ car,
And tuneable as sylvan pipe or song; 480
What wonder then if I delight to hear
Her dictates from thy mouth? Most men admire
Wirtue, who follow not her lore: permit me
To hear thee when I come (since no man comes), w
And talk at least, though I despair to attain. 485
Thy Father, who is holy, wise, and pure,
Suffers the hypocrite or atheous priest
To tread his sacred courts, and minister
About his altar, handling holy things,
Praying or vowing; and vouchsaf’d his voice 490
To Balaam reprobate, a prophet yet
Inspir’d: disdain not such access to me.”

To whom our Saviour, with unalter'd brow :
“Thy coming hither, though I knew thy scope,
I bid not, or forbid; do as thou find'st 495
Permission from above; thou canst not more.”

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 500
The desert; fowls in their clay nests were couch'd;
And now wild beasts came forth the woods to roam.

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The disciples of Jesus, uneasy at his long absence, reason amongst themselves concerning it. , Mary also gives went to her maternal anariety : in the erpression 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 first temptation of our blessed Lord, and calls upon them for counsel and assistance. Belial proposes the tempting of Jesus with women. Satan rebukes 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 circumstance of our Lord's hungering ; and, taking a band of the chosen spirits with him, returns to resume his enterprise. Jesus hungers in the desert. Night comes on; the manner in which our Saviour passes the night is described. Morning advances. Satan again appears to Jesus, and, after earpressing wonder that he should be so entirely neglected in the #:::::: where others had been miraculously fed, tempts him with a sum: ptuous banquet of the most lururious 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 inder virtuous poverty, and specifying the danger of ri: Ches, and the cares and pains inseparable from power and greatness.

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MEANWHILE the new-baptiz'd, who yet remain'd
At Jordan with the Baptist, and had seen
Him whom they heard so late expressly call’d
Jesus Messiah, Son of God declar'd,
And on that high authority had believ'd, 5
And with him talk'd, and with him lodg’d; I mean
Andrew and Simon, famous after known,
With others, though in holy writ not nam'd;
Now missing him, their joy so lately found
(So lately found, and so abruptly gone), 10
Began to doubt, and doubted many days,
And, as the days increas'd, increas'd their doubt.
Sometimes they thought he might be only shown,
And for a time caught up to God, as once
3Moses was in the mount and missing long, 15
And the great Thisbite, who on fiery wheels
Rode up to heav'n, yet once again to come:

Therefore, as those young prophets then with care
Sought lost Elijah, so in each place these
Nigh to Bethabara; in Jericho 20
The city of palms, AEnon, and Salem old,
Machaerus, and each town or city wall’d
On this side the broad lake Genezaret,
Or in Peraea; but return'd in vain.
Then on the bank of Jordan, by a creek, 25
Where winds with reeds and osiers whisp'ring play,
Plain fishermen (no greater men them call),
Close in a cottage low together got,
Their unexpected loss and plaints outbreath'd;
‘Alas, from what high hope to what relapse 30
Unlook'd for are we fall'n' our eyes beheld
Messiah certainly now come, so long
Expected of our fathers; we have heard
His words, his wisdom full of grace and truth.
“Now, now, for sure, deliverance is at hand, 35
The kingdom shall to Israel be restor'd; ”
Thus we rejoic'd, but soon our joy is turn'd
Into perplexity and new amaze:
For whither is he gone, what accident
Hath rapt him from us? will he now retire 40
After appearance, and again prolong
Our expectation? God of Israël,
Send thy Messiah forth, the time is come;
Behold the kings of th’ earth, how they oppress
Thy chosen; to what highth their pow'r unjust 45
They have exalted, and behind then cast
All fear of thee; arise, and vindicate
Thy glory; free thy people from their yoke.
But let us wait; thus far he hath perform’d,
Sent his Anointed, and to us reveal’d him; 50
By his great prophet, pointed at and shown
In public, and with him we have convers'd;
Let us be glad of this, and all our fears
Lay on his providence; he will not fail,
Nor will withdraw him now, nor will recall, 55
Mock us with his blest sight, then snatch him hence;
Soon we shall see our hope, our joy, return.”
Thus they, out of their plaints, new hope resume
To find whom at the first they found unsought:
But, to his mother Mary, when she saw 60
Others return’d from baptism, not her son,
Nor left at Jordan, tidings of him none,
Within her breast though calm, her breast though pure
Motherly cares and fears got head, and rais'd
Some troubled thoughts, which she in sighs thus clad: 65
“O, what avails me now that honour high,
To have conceiv'd of God, or that salute,
“Hail, highly favour’d, among women blest!”
While I to sorrows am no less advanc'd,
And fears as eminent, above the lot 70
Of other women, by the birth I bore;
In such a season born, when scarce a shed

Could be obtain'd to shelter him or me
From the bleak air; a stable was our warmth,
A manger his; yet soon enforc'd to fly 75
Thence into Egypt, till the murd’rous king
Were dead, who sought his life, and missing fill'd
With infant blood the streets of Bethlehem;
From Egypt home return'd in Nazareth
Hath been our dwelling many years; his life 80
Private, unactive, calm, contemplative,
Little suspicious to any king; but now
Full grown to man, acknowledg'd, as I hear,
By John the Baptist, and in public shown,
Son own'd from heaven by his Father's voice, 85
I look'd for some great change; to honour? no,
But trouble, as old Simeon plain foretold,
That to the fall and rising he should be
Of many in Israel, and to a sign
Spoken against, that through my very soul 90
A sword shall pierce; this is my favour'd lot,
My exaltation to afflictions high;
Afflicted I may be, it seems, and blest;
I will not argue that, nor will repine.
But where delays he now P some great intent 95
Conceals him: when twelve years he scarce had seen,
I lost him, but so found, as well I saw
He could not lose himself, but went about
His Father's business; what he meant I mus'd,
Since understand ; much more his absence now 100
Thus long to some great purpose he obscures.
But I to wait with patience am inur'd ;
My heart hath been a store-house long of things,
And sayings laid up, portending strange events.”
Thus Mary, pond'ring oft, and oft to mind 105
Recalling what remarkably had pass'd
Since first her salutation heard, with thoughts
Meekly compos'd awaited the fulfilling:
The while her Son, tracing the desert wild,

Sole, but with holiest meditations fed, 110 T

Into himself descended, and at once
All his great work to come before him set;
How to begin, how to accomplish best
His end of being on earth, and mission high:
For Satan, with sly preface to return, 115
Had left him vacant, and with speed was gone
Up to the middle region of thick air,
Where all his potentates in council sat;
There, without sign of boast, or sign of joy,
Solicitous and blank, he thus began: 120
‘Princes, heav'n's ancient sons, ethereal thrones;
Demonian spirits now, from th’ element
Each of his reign allotted, rightlier call'd
Pow’rs of fire, air, water, and earth beneath
(So may we hold our place and these mild seats 125
Without new trouble), such an enemy
Is risen to invade us, who no less

Threatens than our expulsion down to hell;
I, as I undertook, and with the vote
Consenting in full frequence was impower'd, 130
Have found him, view’d him, tasted him; but find
Far other labour to be undergone
Than when I dealt with Adam first of men,
Though Adam by his wife's allurement fell,
However to this man inferior far; 135
If he be man by mother's side, at least
With more than human gifts from heav'n adorn'd,
Perfections absolute, graces divine,
And amplitude of minds to greatest deeds.
Therefore I am return'd , lest considence 140
Of my success with Eve in Paradise
Deceive ye to persuasion over-sure
Of like succeeding here : I summon all
Rather to be in readiness, with hand
Or counsel to assist; lest I, who erst - 145
Thought none my equal, now be over-match'd.”
So spake th' old serpent, doubting; and from all
With clamour was assur'd their utmost aid
At his command: when from amidst them rose
Belial, the dissolutest spirit that fell, 150
The sensualest, and, after Asmodai,
The fleshliest incubus; and thus advis'd:
“Set women in his eye, and in his walk,
Among daughters of men the fairest found:
Many are in each region passing fair 155
As the noon sky; more like to goddesses
Than mortal creatures, graceful and discreet,
Expert in amorous arts, enchanting tongues
Persuasive, virgin majesty with mild
And sweet allay’d, yet terrible t' approach, 160
Skill'd to retire, and, in retiring, draw
Hearts after them tangled in amorous nets.
Such object hath the pow'r to soft'n and tame
Severest temper, smooth the rugged'st brow,
Enerve, and with voluptuous hope dissolve, 165
Draw out with credulous desire, and lead
At will the manliest, resolutest breast,
As the magnetic hardest iron draws.
Women, when nothing else, beguil'd the heart
Of wisest Solomon, and made him build, 170
And made him how, to the gods of his wives.”
To whom quick answer Satan thus return’d:
“Belial, in much uneven scale thou weigh'st -
All others by thyself; because of old
Thou thyself doat'st on womankind, admiring 175
Their shape, their colour, and attractive grace,
None are, thou think'st, but taken with such toys.
Before the flood thou with thy lusty crew,
False-titled sons of God, roaming the earth,
Cast wanton eyes on the daughters of men, 180
And coupled with them, and begot a race.
Have we not seen, or by relation heard,

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