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PARADISE REGAINED.

BOOK II.

THE ARGUMENT.

The disciples of Jesus, uneasy at his long absence, reason amongst thomselves concerning it. Mary also gives vent to her maternal anxiety; in tho expression of which she recapitulates many circumstances respecting the wirth 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 Belial for his dissoluteness, charging on him all the profligacy of that kind described 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, Anding our Lord not to be assailed on the ground of appetite, tempts him again 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

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Andrew and Simon, famous after known,
With others, though in holy writ not named;
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 increased, increased 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 Tishbite, 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, Ænon, and Salem old,
Machærus, and each town or city wall’d
On this side the broad lake Genezaret,
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 outbreathed:

“ Alas, from what high hope to what relapse 30 Unlook'd for are we fallen! 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 restored ;' Thus we rejoiced, 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 bis Anointed, and to us reveal'd him,

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By his great prophet, pointed at and shown
In public, and with him we have conversed;
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,
Mock us with his blest sight, then snatch him hence:
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

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Others return'd from baptism, not her son,
Nor left at Jordan tidings of him none,
Within her breast though calm, her breast though pure,
Motherly cares and fears got head, and raised
Some troubled thoughts, which she in sighs thus clad:

“O, what avails me now that honour high,
To have conceived of God, or that salute,
Hail, highly favour'd, among women blest!'
While I to sorrows am no less advanced,
And fears as imminent, above the lot

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Of other women, by the birth I bore;
In such a season born, whence scarce a shed
Could be obtain'd to shelter him or me
From the bleak air: a stable was our warmth,

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