Imatges de pÓgina
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BOOK III.

THE ARGUMENT.

Satan endeavours to awaken in Jesus a passion for glory, by particularising various great actions performed by persons at an early period of life. Our Lord replies, by showing the vanity of worldly fame, and contrasts with it the true glory of religious patience and virtuous wisdoni. 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, sinful man can have no right to it. Satan then urges our Lord respecting His claim to the throne of David ; he tells Him that the kingdom of Judæa, 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 previous sufferings, asks Satan why he should be 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 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, 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 Judæa 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 anything 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 Judæa 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 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 shown 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 convinced
Of his weak arguing and fallacious drift;

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At length, collecting all his serpent wiles,
With soothing words renewed, 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 Godlike 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 tempered 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 quelled
The Pontic king, and in triumph had rode.
Yet years, and to ripe years judgment mature,
Quench not the thirst of glory, but augment.
Great Julius, whom now all the world admires,
The more he

grew years, the more inflamed With glory, wept that he had lived so long

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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 unmixed ?
And what the people but a herd confused,
A miscellaneous rabble, who extol

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Things vulgar, and, well weighed, scarce worth the praise?
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 extolled,
To live upon their tongues, and be their talk ?
Of whom to be dispraised 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 raised.
This is true glory and renown-when God,

60 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 asked 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.

70 They err who count it glorious to subdue By conquest far and wide, to overrun Large 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

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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,
Worshipped 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 deformed,
Violent or shameful death their due reward.
But, if there be in glory aught of good,
It may by means far different be attained,
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?
Poor Socrates (who next more memorable ?),
By what he taught and suffered 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 suffered—if young African for fame
His wasted country freed from Punic rage-
The deed becomes unpraised, the man at least,
And loses, though but verbal, his reward.
Shall I seek glory, then, as vain men seek,
Oft not deserved? 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.

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Above all sacrifice, or hallowed gift,
Glory He requires, and glory He receives,
Promiscuous from all nations, Jew, or Greek,
Or barbarous, nor exception hath declared ;
From us, His foes pronounced, glory He exacts."

To whom our Saviour fervently replied :-
“And reason ; since His word all things produced,
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 ?
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 received,
Turned recreant to God, ingrate and false,
And so of all true good himself despoiled ;
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--ordained

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