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Allure, or terrify, or undermine,
Be frustrate, all ye stratagems of Hell,
And, devilish machinations, come to nought !

So they in Heaven their odes and vigils tund:
Mean while the Son of God, who yet some days
Lodg’d in Bethabara, where John baptiz’d,
Musing, and much revolving in his breast,
How best the mighty work he might begin
Of Saviour to mankind, and which way first
Publish his God-like 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 desart wild,
And, with dark shades and rocks environ’d round,
His holy meditations thus pursued.

0, 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
To me was pleasing; all my mind was set
Serious to learn and know, and thence to do
What might be publick 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
I went into the temple, there to hear

The teachers of our law, and to propose
What might improve my knowledge or their own 3
And was admir'd by all: yet this not all
To which my spirit aspir'd ; victorious deeds
Flam'd in my heart, heroick acts; one while
To rescue Israel from the Roman yoke,
Then to subdue and quell, o'er all the earth,
Brute violence and proud tyrannick power,
Till truth were freed, and equity restord:
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 erring soul,
Not wilfully misdoing, but unware
Misled; the stubborn only to subdue.
These growing thoughts my mother soon perceiving
By words at times cast forth, inly rejoic'd,
And said to me apart, “ High are thy thoughts,
O Son, but nourish them, and let them soar
To what highth sacred virtue and true worth
Çan raise them, though above example high;
By matchless deeds express thy matchless sire,
For know, thou art no son of mortal man;
Though men esteem thee low of parentage, .

Thy father is the Eternal King who rules
All Heaven and Earth, Angels and sons of men;
A messenger from God foretold thy birth
Conceiv'd in me a virgin; he foretold,
Thou should'st be great, and sit on David's throne,
And of thy kingdom there should be no end.
At thy nativity, a glorious quire
Of Angels, in the fields of Bethlehem, sung
To shepherds, watching at their folds by night
And told them the Messiah now was born,
Where they might see him, and to thee they came,
Directed to the manger where thou lay'st,
For in the inn was left no better room :
A star, not seen before, in Heaven appearing,
Guided the wise men thither from the east,
To honour thee with incense, myrrh, and gold;
By whose bright course led on they found the place,
Affirming it thy star, new-graven in Heaven,
By which they knew the King of Israel born.
Just Simeon, and prophetick Anna, warn’d
By vision, found thee in the temple, and spake,
Before the altar and the vested priest,
Like things of thee to all that present stood.”—
This having heard, straight I again revolv'd
The Law and Prophets, searching what was writ
Concerning the Messiah, to our scribes
Known partly, and soon found, of whom they spake
I am; this chiefly, that my way must lie

Through many a hard assay, even to the death,
Ere I the promis'd kingdom can attain,
Or work redemption for mankind, whose
Full weight must be transferr'd upon my head,
Yet, neither thus dishearten'd or dismay'd,
The time prefix'd I waited; when behold
The Baptist, (of whose birth I oft had heard,
Not knew by sight,) now come, who was to come
Before Messiah, and his way prepare !
I, as all others, to his baptism came,
Which I believ'd was from above; but he
Straight knew me, and with loudest voice proclaim'd
Me him, (for it was shewn him so from Heaven,)
Me him, whose harbinger he was; and first
Refus'd on me his baptism to confer,
As much his greater, and was hardly won :
But, as I rose out of the laving stream,
Heaven opened her eternal doors, from whence
The Spirit descended on me like a dove;
And last, the sum of all, my Father's voice,
Audibly heard from Heaven, pronounc'd me his,
Me his beloved Son, in whom alone
He was well pleas'd; by which I knew the time
Now full, that I no more should live obscure,
But openly begin, as best becomes,
The authority which I deriv'd from Heaven.
And now by some strong motion I am led

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Into this wilderness, to what intent
I learn not yet; perhaps I need not know,
For what concerns my knowledge God reveals.

So spake our Morning-star, then in his rise,
And, looking round, on every side beheld .!
A pathless desart, dusk with horrid shades ;
The way he came not having mark’d, return
Was difficult, by human steps untrod :
And he still on was led, but with such thoughts
Accompanied of things past and to come
Lodg'd in his breast, as well might recommend
Such solitude before choicest society.
Full forty days. he pass’d, whether on hill
Sometimes, anon on shady vale, each night
Under the covert of some ancient oak
Or cedar to defend him from the dew,
Or harbour'd in some cave, is not reveald; :
Nor tasted human food, nor hunger felt
Till those days ended; hunger'd then at last
Among wild beasts : they at his sight grew mild,
Nor sleeping him nor waking harm’d; his walk
The fiery serpent fled and noxious worm,
The lion and fierce tiger glar d aloof. . "
But now an aged man in rural weeds,
Following, as seem'd, the quest of some stray ewe
Or wither'd sticks to gather, which might serve
Against a winter's day, when winds blow keen, .
To warm him wet return’d from field at eve,

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