Page images
PDF
EPUB

Wife or unwife, no difference, no exemption;
Above all facrifice, or hallow'd gift,
Glory he requires, and glory he receives
Promifcuous from all nations, Jew, or Greek,
Or barbarous, nor exception hath declar'd;
From us his foes pronounc'd glory he exacts.

To whom our Saviour fervently reply'd.
And reafon; fince his word all things produc'd.
Though chiefly not for glory as prime end,
But to fhew forth his goodness, and impart
His good communicable t'ev'ry foul
Freely; of whom what could he less expect
Than glory and benediction, that is, thanks,
The flightest, easiest, readiest recompence
From them who could return him nothing else,
And
not returning what would likelieft render
Contempt in stead, dishonour, obloquy?
Hard recompence, unfutable return
For fo much good, so much beneficence.
But why should man feek glory? who of his own
Hath nothing, and to whom nothing belongs
But condemnation, ignominy, and shame?
Who for fo many benefits receiv'd,
Turn'd recreant to God, ingrate and false,
And fo of all true good himself defpoil'd;
Yet, facrilegious, to himself would take
That which to God, alone of right belongs:
Yet fo much bounty is in God, fuch grace,
That who advance his glory, not their own,
Them he himself to glory will advance.

So fpake the Son of God: and here again

Satan had not to answer, but stood struck
With guilt of his own fin; for he himself
Infatiable of glory had lost all:
Yet of another plea bethought him soon.

Of glory, as thou wilt, said he, fo deem,
Worth or not worth their fecking, let it pass:
But to a kingdom thou art born, ordain'd
To fit upon thy father David's throne,
By mother's fide thy father; though thy right
Be now in pow'rful hands, that will not part
Eafily from poffeffion won with arms.
Judaea now and all the promis'd land,
Reduc'd a province under Roman yoke,
Obeys Tiberius: nor is always rul'd
With temp'rate fway; oft have they violated
The temple, oft the law with foul affronts,
Abominations rather, as did once
Antiochus: and think'st thou to regain
Thy right by fitting still, or thus retiring?
So did not Machabaeus: he indeed
Retir'd unto the defart, but with arms;
And o'er a mighty king so oft prevail'd,
That by strong hand his family obtain❜d,
Tho' priests, the crown, and David's throne ufurp'd,
With Modin and her fuburbs once content.

If kingdom move thee not, let move thee zeal

And duty; zeal and duty are not slow,
But on occafions forelock watchful wait:
They themselves rather are occafion best;
Zeal of thy father's house, duty to free
Thy country from her heathen servitude;

[ocr errors]

So fhalt thou best fulfill, best verify

The prophets old, who fung thy endless reign,
The happier reign the fooner it begins:

Reign then; what canft thou better do the while?
To whom our Saviour anfwer thus return'd.
All things are best fulfill'd in their due time,
And time there is for all things, truth hath faid:
If of my reign prophetic writ hath told,
That it shall never end, fo when begin
The father in his purpose hath decreed,
He in whofe hand all times and feafons roll:
What if he hath decreed that I fhall firft
Be try'd in humble state, and things adverfe,
By tribulations, injuries, infults,

Contempts, and fcorns, and fnares, and violence,
Suffering, abstaining, quietly expecting,
Without distrust or doubt, that he may know
What I can fuffer, how obey? who best
Can fuffer, best can do; best reign, who firft
Well hath obey'd; just trial ere I merit
My exaltation without change or end.
But what concerns it thee when I begin
My everlasting kingdom, why art thou
Solicitous, what moves thy inquisition?
Know'st thou not that my rifing is thy fall,
And my promotion will be thy destruction?

To whom the tempter inly rack'd reply'd:
Let that come when it comes; all hope is loft
Of my reception into grace; what worse?
For where no hope is left, is left no fear;
If there be worfe, the expectation mors

Of worse torments me than the feeling can.
I would be at the worst; worst is my port,
My harbour and my ultimate repose,
The end I would attain, my final good.
My error was my error, and my crime
My crime: whatever, for itself condemn'd,
And will alike be punish'd; whether thou
Reign or reign not; though to that gentle brow
Willingly I could fly, and hope thy reign,
From that placid aspect and meek regard,
Rather than aggravate my evil state,

(Would stand between me and thy fathers irc,
Whofe ire I dread more than the fire of hell).
A shelter, and a kind of fhading cool
Interpofition, as a fummer's cloud.

If I then to the worst that can be haste,
Why move thy feet fo flow to what is beft,
Happiest both to thy felf and all the world,
That thou who worthiest art should'st be their king►
Perhaps thou lingrest, in deep thoughts detain’d
Of th' enterprize so hazardous and high;
No wonder; for though in thee be united
What of perfection can in man be found,
Or human nature can receive, confider,

Thy life hath yet been private, most part spent
At home, scarce view'd the Galilean towns,
And once a-year Jerusalem, few days

Short fojourn; and what thence could'st thou observe?
The world thou haft not seen, much less her glory,
Empires, and monarchs, and their radiant courts,
Best school of best experience, quickest in sight

[ocr errors]

In all things that to greatest actions lead.
The wisest, unexperienc'd, will be ever
Tim'rous and loth, with novice modesty,
(As he who fecking asses found a kingdom)
Irrefolute, unhardy, unadvent'rous:
But I will bring thee where thou foon shalt quit
Those rudiments, and fee before thine eyes

The monarchies of th' earth, their pomp and state,
Sufficient introduction to inform

Thee, of thy felf so apt, in regal arts,

And regal mysteries, that thou may'st know
How best their opposition to withstand,

With that (such pow'r was giv'n him then) he took The Son of God up to a mountain high. It was a mountain, at whose verdant feet A fpacious plain, out-stretch'd in circuit wide, Lay pleasant; from his fide two rivers flow'd, Th'one winding, th’other straight, and left between Fair champain with less rivers intervein'd, Then meeting join'd their tribute to the sea; Fertil of corn the glebe, of oyl and wine, With herds the pastures throng'd, with flocks the hills; Huge cities and high towṛ'd, that well might seem The feats of mightiest monarchs, and so large The profpect was, that here and there was room For barren defart fountainless and dry. To this high mountain top the tempter brought Our Saviour, and new train of words began.

Well have we speeded, and o'er hill and dale, Forest and field, and flood, temples and tow'rs Cut shorter many a league; here thou behold'st

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »