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THE ARGUMENT.

The disciples of Jesus, uneasy at his long absence, reason 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 his 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 women. Satan rebukes him 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 himself of the circumstance of our Lord's hungering; and, taking a band of chosen spirits with him, returns to resume his enterprise.—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 him 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 him by offering him 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.

PARADISE REGAINED,

BOOK II.

MEANWHILE the new baptiz'd, who yet 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 that high authority had believ'd,
And with him talk'd, and with him lodg'd; I mean
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 increas'd, increas'd their doubt.
Sometimes they thought he might be only shown,
And for a time caught up to God, as once
Moses was in the mount and missing long;
And the great Thisbite, who on fiery wheels
Rode up to heaven, yet once again to come.
Therefore, as those young prophets then with care
Sought lost Elijah; so in each place these
Nigh to Bethabara, in Jericho

The city of palms, Enon, and Salem old,

Machærus, and each town or city wall'd
On this side the broad lake Gennesaret,
Or in Peræa; but return'd in vain.
Then on the bank of Jordan, by a creek,
Where winds with reeds and osiers whispering play,
Plain fishermen, (no greater men them call),
Close in a cottage low together got,

Their unexpected loss and plaints out breathed:
"Alas! from what high hope to what relapse
Unlook'd for are we fall'n! our eyes beheld
Messiah certainly now come, so long
Expected of our fathers; we have heard
His words, his wisdom full of grace and truth:
Now, now, for sure, deliverance is at hand;
The kingdom shall to Israel be restor❜d:
Thus we rejoic'd, but soon our joy is turn'd
Into perplexity and new amaze:

For whither is he gone? what accident
Hath rapt him from us? will he now retire
After appearance, and again prolong
Our expectation? God of Israel,

Send thy Messiah forth; the time is come!
Behold the kings of the earth, how they oppress
Thy chosen; to what height their power unjust
They have exalted, and behind them cast
All fear of thee: arise, and vindicate
Thy glory; free thy people from their yoke!
But let us wait; thus far he hath perform'd,
Sent his Anointed, and to us reveal'd him,
By his great Prophet, pointed at and shown
In public, and with him we have convers'd:

Let us be glad of this, and all our fears
Lay on his providence; he will not fail,
Nor will withdraw him now, nor will recall, [hence:
Mock us with his blest sight, then snatch him
Soon we shall see our Hope, our Joy, return."

Thus they, out of their plaints, new hope resume
To find whom at the first they found unsought:
But, to his mother Mary, when she saw
Others return'd from baptism, not her Son,
Nor left at Jordan, tidings of him none; [pure,
Within her breast though calm, her breast though
Motherly cares and fears got head, and rais'd
Some troubled thoughts, which she in sighs thus

"O what avails me now that honour high [clad: To have conceiv'd of God, or that salute, 'Hail highly favour'd, among women bless'd!' While I to sorrows am no less advanc'd, And fears as eminent, above the lot Of other women, by the birth I bore; In such a season born, when scarce a shed Could be obtained to shelter him or me From the bleak air; a stable was our warmth, A manger his; yet soon enforc'd to fly Thence into Egypt, till the murderous king Were dead, who sought his life, and missing fill'd With infant blood the streets of Bethlehem; From Egypt home return'd, in Nazareth Hath been our dwelling many years; his life Private, inactive, calm, contemplative, Little suspicious to any king; but now, Full grown to man, acknowledg'd, as I hear,

By John the Baptist, and in public shown,
Son own'd from heaven by his Father's voice,
I look'd for some great change; to honour? no;
But trouble, as old Simeon plain foretold,
That to the fall and rising he should be
Of many in Israel, and to a sign
Spoken against, that through my very soul
A sword shall pierce: this is my favour'd lot,
My exaltation to afflictions high:
Afflicted I may be, it seems, and bless'd;
I will not argue that, nor will repine.

But where delays he now? some great intent
Conceals him: when twelve years he scarce had
I lost him, but so found, as well I saw [seen
He could not lose himself, but went about
His Father's business: what he meant I mus'd,
Since understand; much more his absence now
Thus long to some great purpose he obscures.
But I to wait with patience am inur'd;
My heart hath been a store-house long of things
And sayings laid up, portending strange events."
Thus Mary, pondering oft, and oft to mind
Recalling what remarkably had pass'd
Since her first salutation heard, with thoughts
Meekly compos'd awaited the fulfilling:
The while her Son, tracing the desert wild,
Sole, but with holiest meditations fed,
Into himself descended, and at once
All his great work to come before him set;
How to begin, how to accomplish best
His end of being on earth, and mission high:

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