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النشر الإلكتروني

For Son of God to me is yet in doubt:
Of the Messiah I have heard foretold
By all the Prophets; of thy birth at length
Announc'd by Gabriel with the first I knew,
And of th' angelic song in Bethlehem field,
On thy birth-night, that sung thee Saviour born.
From that time seldom have I ceas'd to eye
Thy infancy, thy childhood, and thy youth,
Thy manhood last, though yet in private bred;
Till at the ford of Jordan whither all
Flock'd to the Baptist, I among the rest,
Though not to be baptiz'd, by voice from heaven
Heard thee pronounc'd the Son of God belov❜d.
Thenceforth I thought thee worth my nearer view
And narrower scrutiny, that I might learn
In what degree or meaning thou art call'd
The Son of God, which bears no single sense;
The son of God I also am, or was,
And if I was, I am; relation stands ;

is that of plausible hypocrisy, through which, when elicited by the sudden irritation of defeat, his diabolical malignity frequently flashes out, and displays itself with singular effect. Dun

ster.

501. For Son of God to me is yet in doubt:] The Tempter had heard Christ declared to be Son of God by a voice from heaven. He allows him to be virgin-born. He hath no scruples about the annunciation, and the truth of what Gabriel told the blessed woman, (Luke i. 35. The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall

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overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God,) and yet he doubts of his being the Son of God notwithstanding. This is easily accounted for. On the terms of the annunciation Christ might be the Son of God in a sense very particular, and yet a mere man as to his nature: but the doubt relates to what he was more than man, worth calling Son of God; that is, worthy to be called Son of God in that high and proper sense, in which his sonship would infer his divinity. Calton.

All men are sons of God; yet thee I thought
In some respect far higher so declar'd.
Therefore I watch'd thy footsteps from that hour,
And follow'd thee still on to this waste wild;

Where by all best conjectures I collect
Thou art to be my fatal enemy.

Good reason then, if I beforehand seek
To understand my adversary, who
And what he is; his wisdom, pow'r, intent;
By parl, or composition, truce, or league
To win him, or win from him what I can.
And opportunity I here have had

To try thee, sift thee, and confess have found thee
Proof against all temptation, as a rock

Of adamant, and as a centre, firm,

To th' utmost of mere man both wise and good,
Not more; for honours, riches, kingdoms, glory
Have been before contemn'd, and may again :
Therefore to know what more thou art than man,

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"tinct from any which belongs "unto the rest of the sons of

God, that he may be clearly "and fully acknowledged the "only-begotten Son. For al

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though to be born of a virgin "be in itself miraculous, yet is "it not so far above the produc"tion of all mankind, as to place " him in that singular eminence, "which must be attributed to the "only-begotten. We read of Adam "the son of God as well as Seth "the son of Adam: Luke iii. 38. "and surely the framing Christ "out of a woman cannot so far "transcend the making Adam "out of the earth, as to cause so

Worth naming Son of God by voice from heaven,
Another method I must now begin.

So say'ing he caught him up, and without wing
Of hippogrif bore through the air sublime
Over the wilderness and o'er the plain;
Till underneath them fair Jerusalem,
The holy city lifted high her towers,
And higher yet the glorious temple rear'd
Her pile, far off appearing like a mount
Of alabaster, topp'd with golden spires:
There on the highest pinnacle he set

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541. Eschylus in his Prometheus, v. 282, makes Oceanus travel on a winged steed. Dun

ster.

545. The holy city lifted high her towers,] Matt. iv. 5. Then the Devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, &c. Jerusalem is frequently called the holy city in the Old Testament; but Dr. Townson remarks, that St. Matthew alone of all the Evangelists ascribes titles of this kind to Jerusalem. And this arose, as he conceives, from St. Matthew being the earliest writer of the four, and from the character of sanctity being transferred, when the others wrote, to other cities which had embraced Christianity. The towers of Jerusalem are frequently mentioned in Scripture. See 2 Chron. xxvi. 9. xxxii. 5. Dunster. 549. There on the highest pinnacle he set

The Son of God,] He has chosen to follow the order observed by St. Luke in placing this temptation last, because if he had with St. Matthew

The Son of God, and added thus in scorn.

There stand, if thou wilt stand; to stand upright Will ask thee skill; I to thy Father's house Have brought thee', and highest plac'd, highest is best, Now show thy progeny; if not to stand,

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Tegov or pinnacle (as we translate it) was, on which Christ was set by the demon: but whatever it was, the Evangelists make no difficulty of his standing there. This the poet (following the common use of the word pinnacle in our own language) supposeth to be something like those on the battlements of our churches, a pointed spire, on which Christ could not stand without a miracle. 2. In the poem, the Tempter bids Christ give proof of his pretensions by standing on the pinnacle, or by casting himself down. In the Gospels, the last only is or could be suggested. 3. In the Gospel account the prohibition Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God

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is alleged only as a reason why Christ (whose divinity is concealed there) must not throw himself down from the top of the temple, because this would have been tempting God. But in the poem it is applied to the demon, and his attempt upon Christ; who is thereby declared to be the Lord his God. Calton.

Bp. Pearce supposes what is in the Gospels called yox, and translated pinnacle, to have been rather a wing of the temple, a flat part of the roof of one of its courts; probably on that side where the royal portico was, and where the valley on the outside was deepest. Josephus (Antiq. xv. 11. 5.) says, "whereas the

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valley was so deep that a man "could scarcely see the bottom "of it, Herod built a portico of

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so vast a height, that if a man "looked from the roof of it, his "head would grow giddy, and "his sight not be able to reach "from that height to the bottom "of the valley." Eusebius (Hist. Eccles. ii. 23.) cites the account given by Hegesippus of the death of St. James, in which it is said that the Scribes and Pharisees brought him, επι το πτερύγιον του vov, up to this elevated point of the temple, and cast him down from thence. Dunster.

554. Now shew thy progeny ; &c.] The general tenor of the thought is from St. Matth. xxvii.

Cast thyself down; safely, if Son of God:
For it is written, He will give command
Concerning thee to his angels, in their hands
They shall up lift thee, lest at any time
Thou chance to dash thy foot against a stone.
To whom thus Jesus; Also it is written,
Tempt not the Lord thy God: he said and stood:

39, 40. And they that passed by reviled him, &c. saying, If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.-He will give command concerning thee, &c. this refers, according to St. Matthew and St. Luke, to Psalm xci. 11, 12. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways; they shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Also it is written, Tempt not, &c. Deut. vi. 16. Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God. Dunster.

561. Tempt not the Lord thy God: he said and stood:] Here is what we may call after Aristotle the avayagis, or the discovery. Christ declares himself to be the God and Lord of the Tempter; and to prove it, stands upon the pinnacle. This was evidently the poet's meaning. 1. The miracle shews it to be so; which is otherwise impertinently introduced, and against the rule,

Nec Deus intersit, nisi dignus vin

dice nodus Inciderit.

It proves nothing but what the Tempter knew, and allowed before. 2. There is a connection between Christ's saying and standing, which demonstrates that he stood, in proof of something he

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had said. Now the prohibition, Tempt not the Lord thy God, as alleged in the Gospels from the Old Testament, was in no want of such an attestation: but a miracle was wanting to justify the application of it to the Tempter's attack upon Christ; it was for this end therefore that he stood. Calton.

I cannot entirely approve this learned Gentleman's exposition, for I am for understanding the words, Also it is written, Tempt not the Lord thy God, in the same sense in which they were spoken in the Gospels; because I would not make the poem to differ from the Gospel account, farther than necessity compels, or more than the poet himself has made it. The Tempter set our Saviour on a pinnacle of the temple, and there required of him a proof of his divinity, either by standing, or by casting himself down as he might safely do, if he was the Son of God, according to the quotation from the Psalmist. To this our Saviour answers, as he answers in the Gospels, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God, tacitly inferring that his casting himself down would be tempting of God. He said, he gave this reason for not casting himself

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