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Thou and all Angels conversant on earth
With man or men's affairs, how I begin
To verify that folemn message late,
On which I sent thee to the Virgin pure
In Galilee, that she should bear a fon


Great in renown, and call'd the Son of God;

Then toldst her doubting how these things could be
To her a virgin, that on her should come
The Holy Ghost, and the pow'r of the Highest
O'er-fhadow her: this man born and now up-grown,
To fhew him worthy of his birth divine
And high prediction, henceforth I expose
To Satan; let him tempt and now assay
His utmost subtlety, because he boasts

And vaunts of his great cunning to the throng 145
Of his apoftafy; he might have learnt
Lefs overweening fince he fail'd in Job,
Whose constant perfeverance overcame
Whate'er his cruel malice could invent.
He now shall know I can produce a man
Of female feed, far abler to resist

All his folicitations, and at length

All his vaft force, and drive him back to Hell,
Winning by conqueft what the first man loft
By fallacy furpris'd. But first I mean
To exercise him in the wilderness,
There he shall first lay down the rudiments
Of his great warfare, ere I fend him forth





To conquer Sin and Death, the two grand foes,
By humiliation and strong sufferance:
His weakness shall o'ercome Satanic strength,
And all the world, and mass of finful flesh;
That all the Angels and ethereal Powers,
They now, and men hereafter may difcern,
From what confummate virtue I have chose
This perfect man, by merit call'd my Son,
To earn falvation for the fons of men.

So fpake th' eternal Father, and all Heaven
Admiring stood a space, then into hymns
Burst forth, and in celestial measures mov'd,
Circling the throne and finging, while the hand
Sung with the voice, and this the argument.
Victory' and triumph to the Son of God
Now entring his great duel, not of arms,
But to vanquish by wisdom hellish wiles.
The Father knows the Son; therefore fecure
Ventures his filial virtue, though untry'd,
Against whate'er may tempt, whate'er seduce,
Allure, or terrify, or undermine.
Be fruftrate all ye ftratagems of Hell,
And devilish machinations come to nought.

So they in Heav'n their odes and vigils tun'd:
Mean while the Son of God, who yet some days
Lodg'd in Bethabara where John baptiz'd,
Mufing and much revolving in his breast,
How beft 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 folitude, till far from track of men,
Thought following thought, and step by step led on,
He enter'd now the bord'ring desert wild,
And with dark fhades and rocks environ'd round,
His holy meditations thus purfu'd.

O what a multitude of thoughts at once
Awaken'd in me swarm, while I confider
What from within I feel myself, and hear
What from without comes often to my ears,
Ill forting with my present state compar'd!
When I was yet a child, no childish play
To me was pleasing; all my mind was fet
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 fuch perfection, that ere yet my age

Had measur'd twice fix years, at our great feast 210

I 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 Ifrael from the Roman yoke,
Then to fubdue and quell 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 heav'nly first
By winning words to conquer willing hearts,
And make perfuafion do the work of fear;
At least to try, and teach the erring foul
Not wilfully mis-doing, but unware
Misled; the flubborn only to subdue.

These growing thoughts my mother foon 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 foar
To what highth facred virtue and true worth
Can raise them, though above example high;
By matchlefs deeds express thy matchless Sire.
For know, thou art no fon of mortal man;
Though men efteem thee low of parentage,
Thy Father is th' eternal King who rules
All Heav'n 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 fit 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 fung
To fhepherds watching at their folds by night,
And told them the Meffiah now was born
Where they might fee him, and to thee they came,
Directed to the manger where thou lay'st,


For in the inn was left no better room:
A ftar, not seen before, in Heav'n appearing
Guided the wife men thither from the east,
To honor thee with incenfe, myrrh, and gold,
By whose bright course led on they found the place,
Affirming it thy flar new grav'n in Heaven,
By which they knew the king of Israel born.
Juft Simeon and prophetic 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 food.
This having heard, strait I again revolv'd
The law and prophets, searching what was writ 260
Concerning the Meffiah, to our fcribes



Known partly, and foon found of whom they spake
I am; this chiefly, that my way must lie
Through many a hard affay ev'n to the death,
Ere I the promis'd kingdom can attain,
Or work redemption for mankind, whose fins
Full weight must be transferr'd upon my head.
Yet neither thus difhearten'd or dismay'd,
The time prefix'd I waited, when behold
The Baptift (of whose birth I oft had heard,




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