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And not enforc'd oft-times to part from truth,
To whom our Saviour, with unalter'd brow: "Thy coming hither, though I know thy scope, I bid not, or forbid; do as thou find'st 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 The desert; fowls in their clay nests were couch'd;
And now wild beasts came forth the woods to
BOOK II. THE ARGUMENT.
The disciples of Jesus, uneasy at his long absence, reason amongst themselves concerning it. Mary also gives vent to her maternal anxiety in the expression 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 tot he 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 the circumstance of our Lord's hungering; and, taking a. band of 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 desscribed.-Morning advances.--Satan again appears to Jesus, and, after expressing wonder that he should be so entirely neglected in the
wilderness, where others had been miracu. lously fed, tempts him with a sumptuous banquet of the most luxurious 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 under virtuous poverty, and specifying the danger of riches, and the cares and pains inseparable from power and greatness.
MEAN while the new-baptiz'd, who yet remain'd
At Jordan with the Baptist, and had seen
Andrew and Simon, famous after known,
The city of palms, Ænon, and Salem old,
"Alas, from what high hope to what relapse 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, 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 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,
"Princes, Heaven's ancient sons, ethereal
Demonian spirits now, from the element
"O, what avails me now that honour high
Spoken against, that through my very soul
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.
Threatens than our expulsion down to Hell;
If he be man by mother's side, at least
And amplitude of mind to greatest deeds.
So spake the old serpent, doubting; and from
"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 b.east, 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 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, 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, Daphne, or Semele, Antiopa, Or Amymone, Syrinx, many more
Too long, then lay'st thy scapes 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 acOf Beauty and her lures, easily scorn'd [count 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 her 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, Though ravenous, taught to abstain from what they brought:
He saw the prophet also, how he fled
As lightly from his grassy couch up rose
That open'd in the midst a woody scene;
"With granted leave officious I return,
Of thee these forty days none hath regard,
To whom thus Jesus. "What conclud'st -thou hence?
They all had need; I, as thou seest, have none." "How hast thou hunger then?" Satar replied.
Tell me, if food were now before thee set,
He spake no dream; for, as his words had end,
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. [springs, All these are spirits of air, and woods, and Thy gentle ministers, who come to pay Thee homage, and acknowledge thee their Lord: What doubt'st thou, Son of God? Sit down and To whom thus Jesus temperately replied.[eat." "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? 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?
And count thy specious gifts no gifts, but guiles."
Both table and provision vanish'd quite
"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? 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? What followers,, what retinue can'st 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,
To whom thus Jesus patiently replied.
The wise man's cumbrance, if not snare; more
To him who wears the regal diadem,
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 fa'lacy of this argument, by showing that, as goodness is the true ground on which glory is due to the great Creator of all things, s.nful 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 respecting his own pre vious 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 benevo lence 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 Cæsar 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, hav ing 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
"I see thou know'st what is of use to know,