صور الصفحة
PDF

some extraordinary military preparations of the Parthians to resist the incursions of the Scythians. He then informs our Lord, that he showed him this purposely that he might see how necessary military exertions are to retain the possession of kingdoms, as well as to subdue them at first; and advises him to consider how impossible it was to maintain Judea against two such powerful neighbours as the Romans and Parthians, and how necessary it would be to form an alliance with one or other of them. At the same time he recommends, and engages to secure to him, that of the Parthians; and tells him that by this means his power will be defended from any thing that Rome or Caesar might attempt against it, and that he will be able to extend his glory wide, and especially to accomplish, what was particularly necessary to make the throne of Judea really the throne of David, the deliverance and restoration of the ten tribes, still in a state of captivity. Jesus, having briefly noticed the vanity of military efforts and the weakness of the arm of flesh, says, that when the time comes for ascending his allotted throne he shall not be slack: he remarks on Satan's extraordinary zeal for the deliverance of the Israelites, to whom he had always showed himself an enemy, and declares their servitude to be the consequence of their idolatry; but adds, that at a future time it may perhaps please God to recall

them, and restore then to their liberty and native land.

PARADISE REGAINEI).

BOOK III.

SO spake the Son of God; and Satan stood
Awhile, as mute, confounded what to say,
What to reply, confuted, and convinced
Of his weak arguing, and fallacious drift;
At length, collecting all his serpent wiles, 5
With soothing words renew’d, him thus accosts.
*I see thou know'st what is of use to know,
What best to say canst say, to do canst do;
Thy actions to thy words accord; thy words
To thy large heart give utterance due; thy heart 10
Contains of good, wise, just, the perfect shape.
Should kings and nations from thy mouth consult,
Thy counsel would be as the oracle
Urim and Thummim, those oraculous gems
On Aaron's breast; or tongue of seers old 15
Infallible: or wert thou sought to deeds
That might require th’ array of war, thy skill
Of conduct would be such, that all the world
Could not sustain thy prowess, or subsist
In battle, though against thy few in arms. 20
These god-like virtues wherefore dost thou hide, -
Affecting private life, or more obscure
In savage wilderness? wherefore deprive
All earth her wonder at thy acts, thyself
The fame and glory; glory, the reward 25
That sole excites to high attempts, the flame
Of most erected spi'rits, most temper'd pure
Ethereal, who all pleasures else despise,
All treasures and all gain esteem as dross,
And dignities and pow'rs all but the highest? 30

Thy years are ripe, and over-ripe; the son
Of Macedonian Philip had ere these
Won Asia, and the throne of Cyrus held
At his dispose; young Scipio had brought down
The Carthaginian pride; young Pompey quell'd 35
The Pontic king, and in triñmph had rode.
Yet years, and to ripe years judgment mature,
Quench not the thirst of glory, but augment.
Great Julius, whom now all the world admires,
The more he grew in years, the more inflam'd 40
With glory, wept that he had liv'd so long
Inglorious: but thou yet art not too late.”
To whom our Saviour calmly thus reply'd,
“Thou neither dost persuade me to seek wealth
For empire's sake, nor empire to affect 45
For glory's sake, by all thy argument.
For what is glory but the blaze of fame,
The people's praise, if always praise unmix'd?
And what the people but a herd confus'd,

A miscellaneous rabble, who extol 50 Things vulgar, and, well weigh'd, scarce worth the praise?

They praise, and they admire, they know not what,
And know not whom, but as one leads the other;
And what delight to be by such extoll'd,
To live upon their tongues and be their talk, 55
Of whom to be disprais'd were no small praise?
His lot who dares be singularly good.
Th’ intelligent among them and the wise
Are few, and glory scarce of few is rais'd.
This is true glory and renown, when God 60
Looking on th' earth, with approbation marks
The just man, and divulges him through Heav'n
To all his Angels, who with true applause
Recount his praises: thus he did to Job,
When, to extend his fame through Heav'n and Earth,
As thou to thy reproach may'st well remember, 66
He ask'd thee, ‘Hast thou seen my servant Job:"
Famous he was in Heav'n, on Earth less known;
Where glory is false glory, attributed

To things not glorious, men not worthy' of fame. 7 They err, who count it glorious to subdue By conquest far and wide, to over-run Large countries, and in field great battles win, Great cities by assault: what do these worthies, But rob and spoil, burn, slaughter, and enslave 75 Peaceable nations, neighb'ring, or remote, Made captive, yet deserving freedom more Than those their conquerors, who leave behind Nothing but ruin wheresoe'er they rove, And all their flourishing works of peace destroy; go Then swell with pride, and must be titled Gods, Great benefactors of mankind, deliverers, Worshipt with temple, priest, and sacrifice? One is the son of Jove, of Mars the other; Till conqu'ror Death discover them scarcemen, 85 Rolling in brutish vices, and deform’d, Violent or shameful death their due reward. But if there be in glory aught of good, It may by means far different be attain'd, Without ambition, war, or violence; 90 By deeds of peace, by wisdom eminent, By patience, temperance: I mention still Him, whom thy wrongs, with saintly patience borne, Made famous in a land and times obseure; Who names not now with honour patient Job: 95 Poor Socrates, (who next more memorable?) By what he taught, and suffer'd for so doing, For truth's sake suffering death, unjust, lives now Equal in fame to proudest conquerors. Yet if for fame and glory aught be done, 109 Aught suffer'd; if young African for fame - ' His wasted country freed from Punic rage; The deed becomes unprais'd, the man at least, And loses, though but verbal, his reward. Shall I seek glory then, as vain men seek, 105 Oft not deserv’d 2 I seek not mine, but his Who sent me', and thereby witness whence I am.” To whom the Tempter murm'ring thus reply'd.

* Think not so slight of glory; therein least Wol. II. D

[ocr errors]

Resembling thy great Father: he seeks glory, 110
And for his glory all things made, all things
Orders and governs; nor content in Heav'n
By all his Angels glorify'd, requires
Glory from men, from all men, good or bad,
Wise or unwise, no difference, no exemption; 115-
Above all sacrifice, or hallow'd gift,
Glory” he requires, and glory he receives,
Promiscuous from all nations, Jew, or Greek,
Or barbarous, nor exception hath declar'd;
From us, his foes pronounc'd, glory” he exacts.” 120
To whom our Saviour fervently reply'd.
“And reason; since his word all things produc'd,
Though chiefly not for glory as prime end,
But to show forth his goodness, and impart
His good communicable to every soul 125
Freely; of whom what could he less expect
Than glory' and benediction, that is, thanks,
The slightest, easiest, readiest recompense
From them who could return him nothing else,
And, not returning that, would likeliest render 130
Contempt instead, dishonour, obloquy 2
Hard recompense, unsuitable return
For so much good, so much beneficence!
But why should man seek glory, who' of his own
Hath nothing, and to whom nothing belongs 135
But condemnation, ignominy", and shame?
Who, for so many benefits receiv'd,
Turn’d recreant to God, ingrate and false,
And so of all true good himself despoil'd;
Yet, sacrilegious, to himself would take 140
That which to God alone of right belongs:
Yet so much bounty is in God, such grace,
That who advance his glory, not their own,
Them he himself to glory will advance.”
So spake the Son of God; and here again 145
Satan had not to answer, but stood struck
with guilt of his own sin; for he himself,
Insatiable of glory, had lost all;
Yet of another plea bethought him soon.

« السابقةمتابعة »