Imatges de pÓgina
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The Spirit descended, while the Father's voice
From heaven pronounc'd him his beloved Sou.
That heard the adversary, who roving still
About the world, at that assembly fam'd.
Would not be last, and with the voice divine
Nigh thunder-struck, the exalted man, to whom
Such high attest was given, a while survey'd
With wonder, then, with envy fraught and rage,
Flies to his place, nor rests, but in mid air
To council' summons all his mighty peers, th
Within thick clouds, and dark, tenfold involv'd,
A gloomy consistory; and themiamidst, from
With looks aghast and sad, he thus bespake:)
"O ancient powers of air, and this wide world,
(For much more willingly I mention air,
This our old conquest, than remember hell,
Our hated habitation,) well ye know.
How many ages, as the years of men, a "sottaka
This universe we have possessa, and rul'd,c-fz
In manner at our will, the affairs of earth,st
Since Adam and his facile consort Eve
Lost Paradise, deceiv'd by me; though since
With dread attending when that fatal wound 65
Shall be inflicted by the seed of Eversal aid
Upon my head. Long the decrees of heaven
Delay, for longest time to chim is short; no a
And now, too soon for us, the circling hours
This dreaded time have compass'd, wherein we
Must bide the stroke of that long-threaten'd wound,
(At least if so we can, and by the head sit in 97
Broken be not intended all our power quid nod
To be infring'd, our freedom and our being, v
In this fair empire won of earth and air :)12 5 9.
For this ill news I bring, the woman's seed: IPA
Destin'd to this is late of woman bora,ilglas med
His birth to our just fear gave no small cause s
But his growth now to youth's full flower, die

Ml virtue, grace, and wisdom to achier?", ame

Things highest, greatest, multiplies my fear.
Before him a great prophet, to proclaim
His coming, is sent harbinger, who all
Invites, and in the consecrated stream
Pretends to wash off sin, and fit them, so
Purified, to receive him pure, or rather
To do him honour as their King: all come,
And he himself among them was baptiz'd;
Not thence to be more pure, but to receive
The testimony of Heaven, that who he is not
Thenceforth the nations may not doubt. I saw
The prophet do him révérence; on him, rising
Out of the water, heaven above the clouds
Unfold her crystal doors; thence on his head
A perfect dove descend, (whate'er it meant,).
And out of heaven the sovran voice I heard,
This is my Son belov'd, in him am pleas'
His mother then is mortal, but his Sire
He who obtains the monarchy of heaven s
And what will he not do to advance his Sop
His first-begot, we know, and sore have felt,
When his fierce thunder drove us to the deep & I
Who this is we must learn, for man he seems, il
In all his lineaments, though in his face i91 iede
The glimpses of his Father's glory shine.
Ye see our danger on the utmost edgeport pala
Of hazard, which admits no long debate, s
But must with something sudden be oppos'd,
(Not force, but well-couch'd fraud, well-woven
Ere in the head of nations he appear, [suares,}}
Their king, their leader, and supreme on earth.:{
I, when no other durst, sole undertooked 67
The dismal expedition to find out

And ruin Adam; and the exploit perform'd{
Successfully a calmer voyage now...

Will waft meg and the way, found prosperous once, Induces best to hope of like success.”

He ended, and his words impression left Of much amazement to the infernal crew,

Distracted and surpris'd with deep dismay
At these sad tidings; but no time was then
For long indulgence to their fears or grief t
Unanimous they all commit the care

And management of this main enterprise
To him, their great dictator, whose attempt
At first against mankind so well had thriv'd
In Adam's overthrow, and led their march
From hell's deep-vaulted den to dwell in light.
Regents, and potentates, and kings, yea gods,
Of many a pleasant realm and province wide.
So to the coast of Jordan he directs

His easy steps, girded with snaky wiles,
Where he might likeliest find this new-declar'd,
This man of men, attested Son of God,
Temptation and all guile on him to try;
So to subyert whom he suspected rais'd
'To end his reign on earth, so long enjoy'd:
But contrary, unweeting, he fulfill'd

The purpos'd counsel, pre-ordain'd and fix'd,
Of the Most High who, in full frequence bright
Of angels, thus to Gabriel smiling spake

"Gabriel, this day by proof thou shalt behold,
Thou and all angels conversant on earth
With man or men's affairs, how I begin
To verify that solemn message, late
On which I sent thee to the virgin pure
In Galilee, that she should bear a son
Great in renown, and call'd the Son of God:
Then told'st her, doubting how these things could
To her a virgin, that on her should come
The Holy Ghost, and the power of the Highest
O'ershadow her. This man, born and now up-
To show him, worthy of his birth divine [grown
And high prediction, henceforth I expose A
To Satan; let him tempt, and now assay of
His utmost subtlety, because he boasts

And vaunts of his great cunning to the throng. I Of his apostasy; he might have learnt

Less overweening, since he fail'd in Job,
Whose constant perseverance overcame
Whate'er his cruel malice could invent.
He now shal. know I can produce a man
Of female seed, far abler to resist

All his solicitations, and at length

All his vast force, and drive him back to hell; Winning, by conquest, what the first man lost, By fallacy surpris'd. But first I meatil To exercise him in the wilderness; b There he shall first lay down the rudiments Of his great warfare, ere I send him forth To conquer sin and death, the two grand foes, By humiliation and strong sufferancer; 91 His weakness shall o'ercome Satanic strength, And all the world, and mass of sinful flesh; n That all the angels and ethereal powers, They now, and men hereafter, may discern, From what consummate virtue I have chose This perfect man, by merit call'd my Son, ¿To earn salvation for the sons of men."

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

So spake the Eternal Father, and all heaven
Admiring stood a space, then into hymns
Burst forth, and in celestial measures mov'd,
Circling the throne and singing, while the hand?
Sung with the voice, and this the argument 1
Victory and triumph to the Son of God,
Now entering his great duel, not of arms,
But to vanquish by wisdom hellish wiles!
The Father knows the Son; therefore secure
Ventures his filial virtue, though untried,
Against whate'er may tempt, whate'er seduce,
-Allure, or terrify, or undermine.o

Be frustrate, all ye stratagems of hell,
And, devilish machinations, come to naught '*'*

So they in heaven their odes and vigils tun'd\' Meanwhile the Son of God, who yet some days Lodg'd in Bethabara, where John baptiz'dy furs. Blusing, and much revolving iu his breast, Yo

[ocr errors]

How best the mighty work he might begin,
Of Saviour to mankind, and which way first
Publish his godlike office now, mature,

One day forth walk'd alone, the Spirit leading,
And his deep thoughts, the better to converse
With solitude, till, far from track of men,
Thought following thought, and step by step led on,
He enter'd now the bordering desert wild,
And, with dark shades and rocks environ'd round,
His holy meditations thus pursued

"O, what a multitude of thoughts at once
Awaken'd in me swarm, while I consider
What from within I feel myself, and hear
What from without comes often to my ears,
Ill sorting with my present state compar'd!
When I was yet a child, no childish play


o me was pleasing; all my mind was set Serious to learn and know, and thence to do What might be public good; myself I thought Born to that end, born to promote all truth, All righteous things: therefore, above my years, The law of God I read, and found it sweet, Made it my whole delight, and in it grew To such perfection, that, ere yet my age Had measur'd twice six years, at our great feast went into the temple, there to hear The teachers of our law, and to propose What might improve my knowledge or their own And was admir'd by all; yet this not all To which my spirit aspir'd :. victorious deeds Flam'd in my heart, heroic acts; one while To rescue Israel from the Roman yoke; Then to subdue and que!l, o'er all the earth, Brute violence and proud tyrannic power, Till truth were freed, and equity restor❜d: Yet held it more humane, more heavenly, first By winning words to conquer willing hearts, And make persuasion do the work of fear At least to try, and teach the ering sou

« AnteriorContinua »