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So spake th' Eternal Father, and all Heav'n Admiring food a space, then into Hymns Burft forth, and in Celestial measures mov'd 170 Circling the Throne and Singing, while the hand Sung with the voice, and this the argument.

Victory and Triumph to the Son of God Now entring his great duel, not of arms, But to vanquifh by wisdom hellich wiles. 175 The Father knows the son; therefore secure Ventures his filial Virtue, though untry'd, Against what e'er may tempt, what e'er seduce, Allure, or terrifie, or undermine. Bę fruitrate all ye stratagems of Hell, And devillich machinations come to nought.

So they in Heav'n their Odes and Vigils tun'd: Mean while the Son of God, who yet some days Lodg'd in Bethabara where John baptiz'd, Mwing and much revolving in his breast, How beft the mighey work he might begin Of Saviour to mankind, and which way first Publith his God-like Office now mature, One day forth walk'd alone, the Spirit leading ; And his deep thoughes, the better to converse 190 With - solitude, till far from track of men, Thoughe following though:, and step by ftep led on, He entred now the bordering desart wild, . And with dark fades and rocks environ'd round, His holy medication thus pursu’d.

195 o whar a multicude of thoughts at once Awaken'd in me swarm, while I consider



What from within I feel my felf, and hear,
What from without comes often to my ears,
III forting with my present ftare compar'd.
When I was yet a child, no childish play
To me was plealing, all my mind was set
Serious to learn and know, and thence to do
What might be publick good; my self I thought
Born to that end, born to promote all truth, 205
All righteous things: therefore above my years,
The Law of God I read and found it sweet,
Made it my whole delight, and in it grew
To such perfe&ion, that ere yet my age
Had measur’d twice fix years, at our great Feast 210
I went into the Temple, there to hear
The Teachers of our Law, and to propose
What might improve my knowledge or their own ;
And was admir'd by all, yet this not all
To which my Spirit aspir'd, vi&orious deeds 215
Flam'd in my heart, heroic acts, one while
To rescue Ifrael from the Roman. Yoke,
Then to fubdue and quel o'er all the earth
Brute violence and proud Tyrannick pow'r,
Till truth were freed, and equity restor’d:
Yet held it more humane, more heav'nly, first
By winning words to conquer willing hearts,
And make perswalion do the work of fears
At 'least to try, and teach the erring Soul
Not wilfully mis-doing, but unaware 225
Mil-led; the stubborn only to destroy.
These growing thoughts my Mosher foon perceiving



By words at times cast forth inly' rejoycd,
And said to me apart, High are thy thoughts
O Son; but nourish them and let them foar
Tð what heighth facred virtue and true worth
Can raise them, though above 'example high;
By matchless Deeds express thy matchlefs Sire.
For know, thou art no Son of mortal mian,
Thongh men efteem thee low of Parentage, 235
Thy Father is th' Eternal King who rules
All Heav'n and Earth, Angels and Sons of men,
A messenger from God fore-told thy Birth
Conceiv'd in me a Virgin, he foretold
Thou should't be great and fit on David's Throne,
And of thy kingdom there thall be no 'end. 241
At thy Nativity à glorious Quiré ·
Of Angels in the fields of Bethlehem fung
To Shepherds watching at their folds by night,
And told them the Mefliah now was born, 245
Where they might fee him, and to thee they came;
Directed co the Manger where thou lay'ft,
For in the Inn was left no better room:
A Star, not feen before in Heav'n appearing
Guided the Wise Men thither from the Ealt, 250
To honour thee with Incense; Myrrh, and Gold,
By whose bright course led on they found the place,
Affirming it thy Star new grav’n in Heav'n,
By which they knew the King of Israel born.
jaft Simeon and Propherick Anna, warn'd 255
By Vifion found thee in the Temple, and spake
Before the Alrar and the vested Priest,


Like things of thee to all that present stood :
This having heard, straight I again revolv'd :
The Law and Prophets, searching what was writ
Concerning the Messiah, to our Scribes 263
Known partly, and soon found of whom they (pake
I am; this chiefly, that my way must lie
Through many a hard assay even to the death,
Ere I the promis'd Kingdom can attain, 265
Or work Redemption for mankind, whose lins
Full weight must be transferr'd upon my head.
Yet neither thus dishearten'd or dismay'd,
The time perfix'd I waited, when behold
The Baptist (of whose birth I oft had heard, 270
Not knew by light) now come, who was to come
Before Messiah and his way prepare.
I as all others to his Baptism came,
Which I believ'd was from above; but he
Straighe knew me, and with loudest voice proclaim'd
Me him (for it was thew'n him so from Heav'n) 276
Me him whose Harbinger he was ; and first
Refus'd on me his Baptism to confer,
As much his greater, and was hardly won:
But as I rose out of the laving stream,

Heav'n open'd her eternal doors, from whence
The Spirit descended on me like a Dove,
And last the sum of all, my Father's poice,
Audibly heard from Heav'n, pronounc'd me his,
Me his beloved Son, in whom alone

285 He was well' pleas'd; by which I knew the time Now full, that I no more hould live obscure,



But openly begin, as best becomes
The Authority which 1 deriv'd from Heay'o.
And now by some strong motion I am led
Into this Wilderness, to what intent
I learn not yet, perhaps I need not know;
For what concerns my knowledge God reveals.

So spake our Morning Star, then in his rise,
And looking found on every side beheld 295
A pathless Desart, dusk with horrid fuades;
The way he came not having mark'd, return
Was difficult, by humane steps untrod;
And he still on was led, but with such thoughts
Accompanied of things past and to come
Lodgd in his breast, as well might recommend
Such Solitude before choicest Society.
Full forty days he pass’d, whether on hills
Sometimes, anon in shady vale, each night
Under the covert of some ancient Oak, 305
Or Cedar, to defend him from the dew,
Or harbour'd in one Cave, is not reveald;
No: tasted humane food, nor bunget felc
Till those days ended, hunger'd then at last
Among wild Beasts: they at his light grew mild,
Nor Neeping-hiin nor waking harmd, his walk 311
The fiery Serpent Aed, and noxious. Worm,
The Lion and fierce Tiger glar'd aloof.
But now an aged man in Rural weeds,
Following, as seem'd, the quest of some stray Ewe, 315
Or wither'd sticks to gather; which might serve
Against a Wiprers day when winds blow keen,

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