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PARADISE REGAINED.

BOOK IV.

THE ARGUMENT.

Satan, persisting in the temptation of our Lord, shows him imperial Rome in its greatest splendour, and tells him that he might, with the greatest ease, expel Tiberius, restore the Romans to their liberty, and make himself master, not only of the Roman empire, but, by so doing, of the whole world, and inclusively of the throne of David. Our Lord, in reply, expresses his contempt of grandeur and worldly power; and notices the luxury, vanity, and profligacy of the Romans, declaring how little they merited to be restored to that liberty which they had lost by their misconduct. Satan, now desperate, to enhance the value of his proffered gifts, professes that the only terms on which he will bestow them, are our Saviour's falling down and wor. shipping him. Our Lord expresses a firm but temperate indignation at such a proposition, and rebukes the tempter. Satan then assumes a new ground of temptation, and proposing to Jesus the intellectual gratifications of wisdom and knowledge, points out to him the celebrated seat of ancient learning, Athens, its schools, and other various resorts of learned teachers and their disciples. Jesus replies, by showing the vanity and insufficiency of the boasted Heathen philosophy. Satan, irritated at the failure of all his attempts, upbraids the indiscretion of our Saviour in rejecting his offers : and, having foretold the sufferings that our Lord was to undergo, carries him back into the wilderness, and leaves him there. Night comes on: Satan raises a tremendous storm, and attempts farther to alarm Jesus with frightful dreams and terrific threatening spectres. A calm, bright, beautiful morning succeeds to the horrors of night. Satan again presents himseli to our blessed Lord; and takes occasion, once more, to insult him with an account of the sufferings which he was certainly to undergo. This only draws from our Lord a brief rebuke. Satan, now at the height of his desperation, confesses that he had frequently watched Jesus from his birth, purposely to discover if he was the Messiah, and assiduously followed him, in hopes of gaining some advantage over him, which would most effectually prove that he was not really that Divine Person destined to be his “fatal enemy." In this he acknowledges that he has hitherto failed; but still determines to make one more trial. Accordingly he conveys him to the temple at Jerusalem; and, placing him on a pointed eminence, requires him to prove his divinity either by standing there, or casting himself down with safety. Our Lord reproves the tempter, and manifests his own divinity by standing on this dangerous point. Satan, amazed and terrified, instantly falls, and repairs to his infernal compeers to relate the bad success of his enterprise. Angels convey our blessed Lord to a beautiful valley, and, while they minister to him a repast of celestial food, celebrate his victory in a triumphant hymn.

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This far his over match, who, self-deceived
And rash, beforehand had no better weigh'd
The strength he was to cope with, or his own:
But as a man, who had been matchless held
In cunning, over-reach'd where least he thought,
To salve his credit, and for very spite,
Still will be tempting him who foils him still,
And never cease, though to his shame the more;
Or as a swarm of flies in vintage time,
About the wine-press where sweet must is pour'd,
Beat off, returns as oft with humming sound;
Or surging waves against a solid rock,
Though all to shivers dash'd, the assault renew,
(Vain battery !) and in froth or bubbles end;
So Satan, whom repulse upon repulse

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Yet gives not o'er, though desperate of success,
And his vain importunity pursues.
He brought our Saviour to the western side
Of that high mountain, whence he might behold
Another plain, long, but in breadth not wide,
Wash'd by the southern sea, and, on the north,
To equal length back'd with a ridge of hills,

From cold septentrion blasts; thence in the midst 31
Divided by a river, of whose banks
On each side an imperial city stood,
With towers and temples proudly elevate
On seven small hills, with palaces adorn’d,
Porches, and theatres, baths, aqueducts,
Statues, and trophies, and triumphal arcs,
Gardens, and groves, presented to his eyes,
Above the height of mountains interposed
(By what strange parallax, or optic skill

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