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I came among the sons of God, when be Gave up into my hands Uzzean Job To prove himn and illustrate his high worth; And when to all his angels he proposed To draw the proud king Ahab into fraud, That he might fall in Ramoth, they demurring, I undertook that office, and the tongues Of all his flattering prophets glibb'd with lies To his destruction, as .I had in chargé; For what he bids I do: though I have lost Much lustre of my native brightness, lost To be belov'd of God, I have not lost To love, at least contemplate and admire What I see excellent in good, or fair, Or virtuous; I should so have lost all sense. What can be then less in me than desire To see thee and approach thee, whom I know Declar'd the Son of God, to hear attent Thy wisdom, and behold thy godlike deeds? Men generally think me mueh a foe To all mankind : why should I ? they to me Never did wrong or violence : by them I lost not what I lost ; rather by them I gain'd what I have gain'd, and with them dwell Copartners in these regions of the world, If not disposer; lend them oft my aid, Oft my advice, by presages and signs, And answers, oracles, portents, and dreams, Whereby they may direct their future life, Envy they say excites me, thus to gain Companions of my misery and woe. At first it may be : :but long since with woe Nearer acquainted, now I feel, by proof, That fellowship in pain divides not smart, Nor lightens ought each man's peculiar load. Small consolation then, were man adjoin'd: This wounds me most, (what can it less ?) that man, Man fallen shall be restor’d, I never more.

To whom our Saviour sternly thus replied.:

Deservedly thou griev'st, compos'd of lies From the beginning, and in lies wilt end;

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Who boast'st release from hell, and leave to come
Into the heaven of heavens: thou corvest indeed
As a poor miserable captive thrall
Comes to the place where he before had sat
Ainong the prime in splendour, now depos’d,
Ejected, emptied, gazed, unpitied, shunn'd,
A spectacle of ruin or of scorn
To all the host of heaven: the bappy place
Imparts to thee no happiness, no joy,
Rather inflames thy torment: representing
Lost bliss, to thee no more comm

So never more in hell than when in heaven.
But thou art serviceable to heaven's King,
Wilt thou impute t'obedience what thy fear
Extorts, or pleasure to do ill excites?
What but thy malice mov'd thee io misdeem
Of righteous Job, then cruelly to afflict him
With all infictions? but his patience won.
The other service was thy chosen task,
To be a liar in four hundred mouths ;
For lying is thy sustenance, thy food.
Yet thou pretend'st to truth; all oracles
By thee are given, and what confess'd more true
Among the nations ? that Irath been thy craft,
By mixing somewbat true to vent more lies.
But what have been thy answers? what but dark,
Ambiguous, and with double sense deluding,
Which they who ask'd have seldom understood,
And, not well understood, as good not known?
Whoever by consulting at thy shrine
Return'd the wiser, or the more instruct,
To fly or follow what concernd bim most,
And run not sooner to his fatal snare?
For God hath justly given the nations up
To thy delusions; justly, since they fell
Idolatrous: but when his purpose is
Among them to declare his providence
To thee not known, whence hast thou then thy truth,
But from him, or his angels president
In every province, who themselves disdaining
To approach thy temples, give thee in command


What, to the smallest tittle, thou shalt say
'Fo thy adorers? Thou, with trembling fear,
Or like a fawning parasite, obey’st:
Then to tlıyself abscrib'st the truth foretold.
But this thy glory shall be soon retrench'd ;
No more shalt thou by oracling abuse
The Gentiles; benceforth oracles are ceas'd,
And thou no more with pomp and sacrifice
Shalt be inquir'd at Delphos, or elsewhere;
At least in vain, for they shall find thee mute.
God hath now sent his living oracle
Into the world to teach his final will,
And sends his Spirit of truth benceforth to dwell
In pious hearts, an inward oracle
To all truth requisite for men to know.”

So spake our Saviour; but the subtle fiend,
Though inly stung with anger and disdain,
Dissembled, and this answer smooth return'd:

“ Sharply thou hast insisted on rebuke, And urg'd me hard with doings, which not will But misery hath wrested from me. Where Easily canst thou find one miserable, And not enforc'd oft-times to part from truth, If it may stand bim more in stead to lie, Say and unsay, feign, flatter, or abjure? But thou art plac'd above me, thou art Lord; From thee I can, and must, submiss endure Check or reproof, and glad to 'scape so quit. Hard are the ways of truth, and rough to walk, Smooth on the tongue discours'd, pleasing to th*ear And tunable as sylvan pipe or song; What wonder then if I delight to hear Her dictates from thy mouth ? Most men admire Virtue, who follow not her lore: permit me To hear thee when I come (since no man comes) And talk at least, though I despair to' attain. Thy Father, who is holy, wise, and pure, Suffers the hypocrite or atheous priest To tread his sacred courts, and minister About his altar, handling holy things, Praying or powing, and vouchsaf’d

his voice

"To Balaam reprobate, a propbet yet Inspir'd ? disdain not such access to me."

To whom our Saviour with unalter'd brow: 16 Tby coming bither, 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 ber sullen wings to double-shade The desert ; fowls in their clay nests were couch'd;' And now wild.beasts.came forth the woods to roam.

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THE ARGUMENT. The disciples of Jesus, uneasy at his long absence, re son: 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 bis 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 woman. Satan rebukes Belial for his dissoluteness, charging on him all the profligacy of that kind. ascribed by the poets to the heathen gods, and rejects his proposal, as in no respect likely to succeed.' Satan then suggests other modes of temptation, particularly proposing to avail him. self of the circumstance of our Lord's hungering; and, taking a Land of chosen spirits with him, returns to resume his enterprize. Jesus hungers in the desert. Night comes on; the : manner in which our Saviour passes the night is described. 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 miraculously fed, tempts bim 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 line again by offering bim 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..

MEANWHILE the new baptiz'd, whoʻyet remain’d
At Jordan with the Baptist, and had seen

Him whom they heard so late expressly call’d. ! Jesus,, Messiah, Son of God declar'd,

And on tbat high authority: bad believ'd,.
And with him talk'd, and with him lodg’d, (I meam
Andrew and Simon, famous after known,
With others, though in holy, writ not nam'd,)
Now missing him, their joy, so lately found,
So lately found, and so abruptly gone,
Began to doubt, and doubted many days,
And as the days increasid, increas'd their doubt:;;

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