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For whither is he gone, what accident
Hath rapt him from us? will he now retire
After appearance, and again prolong
Our expectation? God of Israel,
Send thy Messiah forth, the time is come;
Behold the kings of the Earth, how they oppress
Thy chosen; to what height their power unjust
They have exalted, and behind them 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,
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,
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
Others return'd from baptism, not her son,
Nor left at Jordan, tidings of him none, [pure,
Within her breast though calm, her breast though
Motherly cares and fears got head, and rais'd
Some troubled thoughts, which she in sighs thus clad.
“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
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,
Thence into Egypt, till the murderous 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
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,
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 Israël, and to a sign
Spoken against, that through my very soul
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 2 some great intent
Conceals him: when twelve years he scarce had
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
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, pondering oft, and oft to mind
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,
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,
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. [thrones;
“ Princes, Heaven's ancient sons, ethereal
Demonian spirits now, from the element
Each of his reign allotted, rightlier call’d
Powers of fire, air, water, and earth beneath,
(So may we hold our place and these mild seats
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,
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 fel.
However to this man inferiour far:
If he be man by mother's side, at least
With more than human gifts from Heaven adorn'd,
Perfections absolute, graces divine,
And amplitude of mind to greatest deeds.
Therefore I am return'd, lest confidence
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
Thought none my equal, now be over-match'd.”
So spake the old serpent, doubting; and from all
With clamour was assured their utmost aid
At his command: when from amidst them rose
Belial, the dissolutest spirit that fell,
The sensuallest, 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
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 to approach,
Skill'd to retire, and, in retiring, draw
Hearts after them, tangled in amorous nets.
Such object hath the power to soften and tame
Severest temper, smooth the rugged'st brow
Enerve, and with voluptuous hope dissolve,
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,
And made him bow, 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'dst on womankind, admiring:
Their shape, their colour, and attractive grace,
None are, thou think'st, but taken with such to vs.
Before the flood thou with thy lusty crew, False titled sons of God, roaming the Earth, Cast wanton eyes on the daughters of men, And coupled with them, and begot a race. Have we not seen, or by relation heard, In courts and regal chambers how thou lurk'st, In wood or grove, by mossy fountain side, In valley or green meadow, to way-lay Some beauty rare, Calisto, Clymene, Dohne, or Semele, Antiopa, 0. Amymone, Syrinx, many more Too long, then lay'st thy seapes on names ador'd, Apollo, Neptune, Jupiter, or Pan, Satyr, or Faun, or Sylvan” But these haunts Delight not all ; among the sons of men, How many have with a smile made small account Of Beauty and her lures, easily scorn’d All her assaults, on worthier things intent Remember that Pellean conqueror, A youth, how all the beauties of the East He slightly view'd, and slightly overpass'd; How he, surnam'd of Africa, dismiss'd, In his prime youth, the fair Iberian maid. For Solomon, he liv'd at ease, and full of honour, wealth, high fare, aim'd not beyond Higher design than to enjoy his state; Thence to the bait of women lay expos'd: But he, whom we attempt, is wiser far Than Solomon, of more exalted mind, Made and set wholly on the accomplishment Of greatest things. What woman will you find, Though of this age the wonder and the fame, On whom his leisure will vouchsafe an eye Of fond desire? Or should she, confident, As sitting queen ador'd on Beauty's throne, Descend with all her winning charms begirt To enamour, as the zone of Venus once Wrought that effect on Jove, so fables tell; How would one look from his majestic brow, Seated as on the top of Virtue's hill, Discountenance her despis'd, and put to rout All ber array; her female pride deject, Or turn to reverent awe' for Beauty stands In the admiration only of weak minds Led captive ; cease to admire, and all her plumes Fall flat, and shrink into a trivial toy, At every sudden slighting quite abash'd. Therefore with manlier objects we must try His constancy; with such as have more show Of worth, of honour, glory, and popular praise, Rocks, whereon greatest men have oftest wreck'd; Or that which only seems to satisfy Lawful desires of nature, not beyond; And now I know he hungers, where no food is to be found, in the wide wilderness: The rest commit to me; I shall let pass No advantage, and his strength as oft assay.” He ceas'd, and heard their grant in loud acclaim; Then forthwith to him takes a chosen band Of spirits, likest to himself in guile, To be at hand, and at his beck appear, If cause were to unfold some active scene Of various persons, each to know his part: Then to the desert takes with these his flight; Where, still from shade to shade, the Son of God After forty days fasting had remain'd, Now hungering first, and to himself thus said. “Where will this end? four times ten days I've pass'd
Wandering this woody maze, and human food
Nor tasted, nor had appetite; that fast
To virtue I impute not, or count part
Of what I suffer here; if nature need not,
Or God support nature without repast
Though needing, what praise is it to endure?
But now I feel I hunger, which declares
Nature hath need of what she asks; yet God
Can satisfy that need some other way,
Though hunger still remain : so it remain
Without this body's wasting, I content me,
And from the sting of famine fear no harm;
Nor mind it, fed with better thoughts, that feed
Me hungering more to do my Father's will.”
It was the hour of night, when thus the Son
Commun'd in silent walk, then laid him down
Under the hospitable covert nigh
Of trees thick interwoven; there he slept, .
And dream’d, as appetite is wont to dream,
Of meats and drinks, nature's refreshment sweet:
Him thought, he by the brook of Cherith stood,
And saw the ravens with their horny beaks
Food to Elijah bringing, even and morn, [brought:
Though ravenous, taught to abstain from what they
e saw the prophet also, how he fled Into the desert, and how there he slept Under a juniper; then how awak'd He found his supper on the coals prepar'd, And by the angel was bid rise and eat, And eat the second time after repose, The strength whereof suffic'd him forty days: Sometimes that with Elijah he partook, Or as a guest with Daniel at his pulse. Thus wore out night; and now the herald lark Left his ground-nest, high towering to descry The Morn's approach, and greet her with his song: As lightly from his grassy couch up rose Our Saviour, and found all was but a dream; Fasting he went to sleep, and fasting wak'd. Up to a hill anon his steps he rear'd, From whose high top to ken the prospect round, If cottage were in view, sheep-cote, or herd; But cottage, herd, or sheep-cote, none he saw ; Only in a bottom saw a pleasant grove, With chant of tuneful birds resounding loud : Thither he bent his way, determin'd there To rest at noon, and enter'd soon the shade High-roof"d, and walks beneath, and alleys brown, That opened in the midst a woody scene; Nature's own work it seem'd (Nature taught Art) And, to a superstitious eye, the haunt [round, Of wood-gods and wood-nymphs: he view'd it When suddenly a man before him stood; Not rustic as before, but seemlier clad, As one in city, or court, or palace bred, And with fair speech these words to him address'd.
“With granted leave officieus I return, But much more wonder that the Son of God In this wild solitude so long should bide, Of all things destitute; and, well I know Not without hunger. Others of some note, As story tells, have trod this wilderness; The fugitive bond-woman, with her son Out-cast Nebaioth, yet found here relief By a providing angel; all the race Of Israel here had famish'd, had not God Rain’d from Heaven manna; and that prophet bold, Native of Thebez, wandering here was fed Twice by a voice inviting him to eat: Of thee these forty days none hath regard, Forty and more den- here indeed.”
To whom thus Jesus. hence? They all had need ; I, as thou seest, have none.” “How hast thou hunger then 2" Satan replied. “Tell me, if food were now before thee set, Would'st thou not eat?”—“Thereafter as I like The giver,” answer'd Jesus. “Why should that Cause thy refusal 2" said the subtle fiend. “Hast thou not right to all created things? Owe not all creatures by just right to thee Duty and service, nor to stay till bid, But tender all their power 2 Nor mention I Meats by the law unclean, or offer'd first To idols, those young Daniel could refuse; Nor proffer'd by an enemy, though who Would scruple that, with want oppress'd? Behold, Nature asham'd, or, better to express, Troubled, that thou should'st hunger, hath purvey’d From all the elements her choicest store, To treat thee, as beseems, and as her Lord, With honour: only deign to sit and eat.” He spake no dream; for, as his words had end, Our Saviour lifting up his eyes beheld, In ample space under the broadest shade, A table richly spread, in regal mode, With dishes pil'd, and meats of noblest sort And savour; beasts of chase, or fowl of game, In pastry built, or from the spit, or boil'd, Gris-amber-steam'd ; all fish, from sea or shore, Freshet or purling brook, of shell or fin, And exquisitest name, for which was drain'd Pontus, and Lucrine bay, and Afric coast. (Alas, how simply, to these cates compard, Was that crude apple that diverted. Eve 1) And at a stately side-board, by the wine That fragrant smell diffus'd, in order stood Tall stripling youths rich clad, of fairer hue Than Ganymed or Hylas; distant more Under the trees now tripp'd, now solemn stood, Nymphs of Diana's train, and Naiades With fruits and flowers from Amalthea's horn, And ladies of the Hesperides, that seem'd Fairer than feign'd of old, or fabled since Of faery damsels, met in forest wide By knights of Logres, or of Lyones, Lancelot, or Pelleas, or Pellenore. And all the while harmonious airs were heard Of chiming strings, or charming pipes; and winds Of gentlest gale Arabian odours fann'd From their soft wings, and Flora's earliest smells. Such was the splendour; and the tempter now His invitation earnestly renew’d. “What doubts the Son of God to sit and eat? These are not fruits forbidd'n ; no interdict Defends the touching of these viands pure; Their taste no knowledge works, at least of evil, But life preserves, destroys life's enemy, Hunger, with sweet restorative delight. All these are spirits of air, and woods, and springs, Thy gentle ministers, who come to pay Thee homage, and acknowledge thee their Lord: What doubt'st thou, Son of God? Sitdown and eat.” To whom thus Jesus temperately replied. “Said'st thou not that to all things I had right? And who withholds my power that right to use? Shall I receive by gift what of my own, When and where likes me best, I can command 2 I can at will, doubt not, as soon as thou, Command a table in this wilderness, And call swift flights of angels ministrant
Array'd in glory on my cup to attend:
Why should'st thou then obtrude this diligence,
In vain, where no acceptance it can find 2
And with my hunger what hast thou to do?
Thy pompous delicacies I contemn,
And count thy specious gifts no gifts, but guiles."
To whom thus answer'd Satan malecontent.
“That I have also power to give, thou seest;
If of that power I bring thee voluntary
What I might have bestow'd on whom I pleas'd,
And rather opportunely in this place
Chose to impart to thy apparent need,
Why should'st thou not accept it? but I see
What I can do or offer is suspect:
Of these things others quickly will dispose,
Whose pains have earn'd the far-fet spoil.”
Both table and provision vanish’d quite
With sound of harpies' wings and talons heard:
Only the impôrtune tempter still remain'd,
And with these words his temptation pursued.
“By hunger, that each other creature tames,
Thou art not to be harm'd, therefore not mov’d ;
Thy temperance invincible besides,
For no allurement yields to appetite;
And all thy heart is set on high designs,
High actions: but wherewith to be achiev'd 2
Great acts require great means of enterprise;
Thou art unknown, unfriended, low of birth,
A carpenter thy father known, thyself
Bred up in poverty and straits at home,
Lost in a desert here and hunger-bit :
Which way, or from what hope, dost thou aspire
To greatness? whence authority deriv'st 2
What followers, what retinue canst thou gain,
Or at thy heels the dizzy multitude,
Longer than thou canst feed them on thy cost?
Money brings honour, friends, conquest, and realms
What rais’d Antipater the Edomite,
And his son Herod plac'd on Judah's throne,
Thy throne, but gold that got him puissant friends?
Therefore, if at great things thou would'st arrive,
Get riches first, get wealth, and treasure heap,
Not difficult, if thou hearken to me:
Riches are mine, fortune is in my hand;
They whom I favour thrive in wealth amain,
While virtue, valour, wisdom, sit in want."
To whom thus Jesus patiently replied.
“Yet wealth, without these three, is impotent
To gain dominion, or to keep it gain'd.
Witness those ancient empires of the Earth,
In height of all their flowing wealth dissolv’d:
But men endued with these have oft attain’d
In lowest poverty to highest deeds;
Gideon, and Jephtha, and the shepherd lad,
Whose offspring on the throne of Judah sat
So many ages, and shall yet regain
That seat, and reign in Israel without end.
Among the Heathen, (for throughout the world
To me is not unknown what hath been done
Worthy of memorial,) canst thou not remember
Quintius, Fabricius, Curius, Regulus?
For I esteem those names of men so poor,
Who could do mighty things, and could contemn
Riches, though offer'd from the hand of kings.
And what in me seems wanting, but that I
May also in this poverty as soon
Accomplish what they did, perhaps and more?
Extol not riches then, the toil of fools,
The wise man's cumbrance, if not snare; more ap.
To slacken Virtue, and abate her edge,
Than prompt her to do aught may merit praise. What if with like aversion I reject Riches and realms? yet not for that a crown, Golden in show, is but a wreath of thorns, Brings dangers, troubles, cares, and sleepless nights, To him who wears the regal diadem, When on his shoulders each man's burden lies; For therein stands the office of a king, His honour, virtue, merit, and chief praise, That for the public all this weight he bears. Yet he, who reigns within himself, and rules Pissions, desires, and fears, is more a king; Which every wise and virtuous man attains; And who attains not, ill aspires to rule Cities cf men, or headstrong multitudes, Subject himself to anarchy within, Or lawless passions in him, which he serves. But to guide nations in the way of truth By saving doctrine, and from errour lead To know, and knowing worship God aright, is yet more kingly ; this attracts the soul, Governs the inner man, the nobler part; That other o'er the body only reigns, And oft by force, which, to a generous mind, So reigning, can be no sincere delight. Besides, to give a kingdom hath been thought Greater and nobler done, and to lay down Far more magnanimous, than to assume. Riches are needless then, both for themselves, And for thy reason why they should be sought, To gain a sceptre, oftest better miss'd.”
Satan, in a speech of much flattering commendation, endeavours to awaken in Jesus a passion for glory, by particularising various instances of conquests achieved, and great actions performed, by persons at an early period of life. Our Lord replies, by showing the vanity of worldly fame, and the improper means by which it is generally attained ; and contrasts with it the true glory of religious patience and virtuous wisdom, as exemplified in the character of Job. Satan justifies the love of glory from the example of God himself, who requires it from all his creatures. Jesus detects the fallacy of this argument, by showing that, as goodness is the true ground on which glory is due to the great Creator of all things, sinful man can have no right whatever to it. — Satan then urges our Lord respecting his claim to the throne of David ; he tells him that the kingdom of Judea, being at that time a province of Rome, cannot be got possession of without much personal exertion on his part, and presses him to lose no time in beginning to reign. Jesus refers him to the time allotted for this, as for all other things; and, after intimating somewhat reing his own previous sufferings, asks Satan, why he should be so solicitous for the exaltation of one, whose rising was destined to be his fall. Satan replies, that his own desperate state, by excluding all hope, leaves little room for fear; and that, as his own punishment was equally doomed, he is not interested in preventing the reign of one, from whose apparent benevolence he might
rather hope for some interference in his favour.
— Satan still pursues his former incitements; and, supposing that the seeming reluctance of Jesus to be thus advanced might arise from his being unacquainted with the world and its glories, conveys him to the summit of a high mountain, and from thence shows him most of the kingdoms of Asia, particularly pointing out to his notice some extraordinary military preparations of the Parthians to resist the incursions of the Scythians. He then informs our Lord, that he showed him this purposely that he might see how necessary military exertions are to retain the possession of kingdoms, as well as to subdue them at first, and advises him to consider how impossible it was to maintain Judea against two such powerful neighbours as the Romans and Parthians, and how necessary it would be to form an alliance with one or other of them. At the same time he recommends, and engages to secure to him, that of the Parthians; and tells him that by this means his power will be defended from any thing that Rome or Caesar might attempt against it, and that he will be able to extend his glory wide, and especially to accomplish, what was particularly necessary to make the throne of Judea really the throne of David, the deliverance and restoration of the ten tribes, still in a state of captivity. Jesus, having briefly noticed the vanity of military efforts and the weakness of the arm of flesh, says, that when the time comes for his ascending his allotted throne he shall not be slack: he remarks on Satan's extraordinary zeal for the deliverance of the Israelites,
to whom he had always showed himself an enemy, and declares their servitude to be the consequence of their idolatry; but adds, that at a future time it may perhaps please God to recall them, and restore them to their liberty and native land.
So spake the Son of God; and Satan stood
A while, as mute, confounded what to say
What to reply, confuted, and convinc'd
Of his weak arguing and fallacious drift;
At length, collecting all his serpent wiles,
With soothing words renew'd, him thus accosts.
“I see thou know'st what is of use to know,
What best to say canst say, to do canst do;
Thy actions to thy words accord, thy words
To thy large heart give utterance due, thy heart
Contains of good, wise, just, the perfect shape.
Should kings and nations from thy mouth consult,
Thy counsel would be as the oracle
Urim and Thummim, those oraculous gems
On Aaron's breast; or tongue of seers old,
Infallible: or wert thou sought to deeds
That might require the array of war, thy skill
Of conduct would be such, that all the world
Could not sustain thy prowess, or subsist
In battle, though against thy few in arms.
These God-like virtues, wherefore dost thou hide,
Affecting private life, or more obscure
In savage wilderness? wherefore deprive
All Earth her wonder at thy acts, thyself
The fame and glory, glory the reward
That sole excites to high attempts, the flame
Of most erected spirits, most temper'd pure
Ethereal, who all pleasures else despise,
All treasures and all gain esteem as dross,
And dignities and powers all but the highest?
Thy years are ripe, and over-ripe; the son
Of Macedonian Philip had ere these
Won Asia, and the throne of Cyrus held
At his dispose; young Scipio had brought down
The Carthaginian pride; young Pompey quell’d
The Pontic king, and in triámph had rode.
Yet years, and to ripe years judgment mature,
Quénch not the thirst of glory, but augment.
Great Julius, whom now all the world admires,
The more he grew in years, the more inflam'd
With glory, wept that he had liv'd so long
Inglorious: but thou yet art not too late.”
To whom our Saviour calmly thus replied.
“Thou neither dost persuade me to seek wealth
For empire's sake, nor empire to affect
For glory's sake, by all thy argument.
For what is glory but the blaze of fame,
The people's praise, if always praise unmix'd?
And what the people but a herd confus'd,
A miscellaneous rabble, who extol
Things vulgar, and well weigh'd, scarce worth the
They praise, and they admire, they know not what,
And know not whom, but as one leads the other;
And what delight to be by such extoll'd,
To live upon their tongues, and be their talk,
Of whom to be disprais'd were no small praise?
His lot who dares be singularly good.
The intelligent among them and the wise
Are few, and glory scarce of few is rais'd.
This is true glory and renown, when God,
Looking on the Earth, with approbation marks
The just man, and divulges him through Heaven
To all his angels, who with true applause
Recount his praises: thus he did to Job,
When to extend his fame through Heaven and Earth,
As thou to thy reproach may'st well remember,
He ask'd thee, ‘Hast thou seen my servant Job’’
Famous he was in Heaven, on Earth less known ;
Where glory is false glory, attributed
To things not glorious, men not worthy of fame.
They err, who count it glorious to subdue
By conquest far and wide, to over-run
arge countries, and in field great battles win,
Great cities by assault: what do these worthies,
But rob and spoil, burn, slaughter, and enslave
Peaceable nations, neighbouring, or remote,
Made captive, yet deserving freedom more
Than those their conquerors, who leave behind
Nothing but ruin wheresoe'er they rove,
And all the flourishing works of peace destroy ;
Then swell with pride, and must be titled Gods,
Great Benefactors of mankind, Deliverers,
Worshipt with temple, priest, and sacrifice?
One is the son of Jove, of Mars the other;
Till conqueror Death discover them scarce men,
Rolling in brutish vices, and deform’d,
Violent or shameful death their due reward.
But if there be in glory aught of good,
It may by means far different be attain'd,
Without ambition, war, or violence;
By deeds of peace, by wisdom eminent,
By patience, temperance: I mention still
Him, whom thy wrongs, with saintly patience borne,
Made famous in a land and times obscure;
Who names not now with honour patient Job 2
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 aught be done,
Aught suffer'd ; if young African for fame
His wasted country frced from Punic rage;
The deed becomes unprais'd, the man as least,
And loses, though but verbal, his reward.
Shall I seek glory then, as vain men seek,
Oft not deserv'd? I seek not mine, but his
Who sent me; and thereby witness whence I am."
To whom the tempter murmuring thus replied.
“Think not so 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 recompense
From them who could return him nothing else,
And, not returning that, would likeliest render
Contempt instead, dishonour, obloquy 2
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,
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 father; though thy right
Be now in powerful hands, that will not part
Easily from possession won with arms:
Judaea 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 2
So did not Maccabeus: he indeed
Iłetir'd unto the desert, but with arms;
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
With Modin and her suburbs once content.
If kingdom move thee not, let move thee zeal
And duty; and zeal and duty are not slow,
But on occasion's forelock watchful wait: