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النشر الإلكتروني

Now had the great Proclaimer with a voice
More awful than the found of Trumpet, cry'd
Repentance, and Heaven's Kingdom nigh at hand
To all Baptiz'd: to his great Baptifm flock'd,..
With awe the Regions round, and with them came
From Nazareth the Son of Jofeph deem'd,
To the flood Jordan came, as then obfcure,
Unmarkt, unknown; but him the Baptift foon
Defcry'd, divinely warn'd, and witnefs bore
As to his worthier, and would have refign'd
To him his Heavenly Office, nor was long
His witnefs unconfirm'd: on him baptiz'd
Heav'n open'd, and in likeness of a Dove
The Spirit defcended, while the Father's voice
From Heav'n pronounc'd him his beloved Son.

That heard the Adverfary, who roving ftill
About the World, at that affembly fam'd
Would not be laft, and with the voice divine
Nigh thunder-ftruck, th' exalted Man, to whom
Such high atteft was giv'n, a while furvey'd
With wonder, then with envy fraught, and rage,
Flies to his Place, nor refts, but in mid air
To Council fummons all his mighty Peers,
Within thick Clouds and dark ten-fold involv'd,
A gloomy Confiftory; and them amidst
With looks agaft and fad he thus befpake.

O ancient Pow'rs of Air and this wide World,
For much more willingly I mention Air,
This our oid Conqueft, than remember Hell
Our hated habitation; well ye know
How many Ages, as the years of Men,
This Universe we have poffeft, and rul'd
In manner at our will th' affairs of Earth,
Since Adam and his facil Confort Eve
Loft Paradife deceiv'd by me, though fince
With dread attending when that fatal wound
Shall be inflicted by the Seed of Eve

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Upon my head; long the decrees of Heav'n
Delay, for longest time to him is short;
And now too foon for us the circling hours
This dreaded time have compaft, wherein we
Muft bide the ftroak of that long threatn'd wound,
At least if fo we can, and by the Head
Broken be not intended all our power
To be infring'd, our freedom and our being,
In this fair Empire won of Earth and Air;
For this ill News I bring, the Woman's Seed
Deftin'd to this, is late of Woman born.
His Birth to our juft fear gave no small cause,
But his growth now to youth's full flower difplaying
All virtue, grace, and wisdom to atchieve
Things higheft, greatest, multiplies my fear.
Before him a great prophet, to proclaim
His coming, is fent Harbinger, who all
Invites, and in the confecrated stream
Pretends to wash off fin, and fit them fo
Purifi'd to receive him pure, or rather
To do him honour as their King: all come,
And he himself among them was baptiz'd,
Not thence to be more pure, but to receive
The Teftimony of Heaven, that who he is
Thenceforth the Nations may not doubt; I saw
The Prophet do him reverence, on him rifing
Out of the Water, Heav'n above the Clouds
Unfold her Crystal Doors, thence on his head
A perfect Dove defcend, whate'er it meant,
And out of Heav'n the Sovereign voice I heard,
This is my Son belov'd, in him am pleas'd.
His Mother then is mortal, but his Sire
He who obtains the Monarchy of Heaven;
And what will he not do t' advance his Son?
His firft-begot we know, and fore have felt,
When his fierce thunder drove us to the deep;
Who this is we must learn, for Man he feems
In all his lineaments, though in his face
The glimpfes of his Father's glory shine.
Ye fee our danger on the utmoft edge

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Of hazard, which admits no long debate,
But muft with fomething fudden be oppos'd,
Not force, but well couch'd fraud, well woven fnares,
Ere in the head of Nations he appear

Their King, their Leader, and Supream on Earth.
I, when no other durft, fole undertook
The difmal expedition, to find out
And ruin Adam, and th' exploit perform'd
Successfully, a calmer Voyage now
Will waft me; and the way found profp'rous once,
Induces beft to hope of like fuccefs.

He ended; and his words impreffion left
Of much amazement to th' infernal Crew,
Distracted and furpriz'd with deep dismay
At thefe fad tidings; but no time was then
For long indulgence to their fears or grief:
Unanimous they all commit the care
And management of this main Enterprize
To him their great Dictator, whofe attempt
At first against mankind fo well had thriv'd
In Adam's overthrow, and led their march
From Hell's deep-vaulted Den to dwell in light,
Regents, and Potentates, and Kings, yea Gods
Of many a pleasant Realm and Province wide,
So to the Coaft of Jordan he directs
His eafie fteps, girded with fnaky wiles,
Where he might likelieft find this new declar'd,
This Man of men, attefted Son of God,
Temptation and all guile on him to try;
So to fubvert whom he suspected rais'd
To end his Reign on Earth fo long enjoy'd:
But contrary, unweeting he fulfill'd
The purpos'd Counfel pre-ordain'd and fixt
Of the moft High, who in full frequence bright
Of Angels, thus to Gabriel fmiling fpake.

Gabriel, this day by proof thou shalt behold, Thou and all Angels converfant on Earth With man or mens affairs, how I begin

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To verifie that folemn Meffage late,
On which I fent thee to the Virgin pure
In Galilee, that she should bear a Son

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Great in Renown and call'd the Son of God;
Then toldft her, doubting how these things could be
To her a Virgin, that on her should come
The Holy Ghoft, and the Power of the Highest
O'erfhadow her: this Man born and now up grown,
To fhew him worthy of his Birth Divine
And high Prediction, henceforth I expose
To Satan; let him tempt and now assay
His utmost fubtilty, because he boafts
And vaunts of his great cunning to the throng
Of his Apoftafie; he might have learnt
Lefs overweening, fince he fail'd in Job,
Whose constant perfeverance overcame
Whate'er his cruel malice could invent.
He now fhall know I can produce a Man
Of female Seed, far abler to refift
All his follicitations, and at length
All his vaft force, and drive him back to Hell,
Winning by conquest what the first man loft,
By fallacy furpriz'd. But first I mean
To exercise him in the Wilderness,
There he shall firft lay down the rudiments
Of his great warfare, ere I fend him forth
To conquer Sin and Death the two grand foes,
By Humiliation and strong Sufferance :
His weakness fhall o'ercome Satanick strength
And all the world, and mass of finful flesh;
That all the Angels and Æthereal Powers,
They now, and men hereafter may discern,
From what confummate virtue I have chofe
This perfect Man, by merit call'd my Son,
To earn Salvation for the Sons of men.

So fpake th' Eternal Father, and all Heav'n
Admiring ftood a space, then into Hymns
Burst forth, and in Celestial measures mov'd

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Circling the Throne and finging, while the hand
Sung with the voice, and this the Argument.

Victory and Triumph to the Son of God
Now entering his great duel, not of Arms,
But to vanquish by wisdom hellish wiles.
The Father knows the Son; therefore fecure
Ventures his filial Virtue, though untry'd,
Against whate'er may tempt, whate'er feduce,
Allure, or terrifie, or undermine.
Be fruftrate all ye ftratagems of Hell,
And devilish machinations come to nought.

So they in Heav'n their Odes and Vigils tun'd:
Mean while the Son of God, who yet fome days
Lodg'd in Bethabara where John baptiz'd,
Mufing and much revolving in his breast,
How beft the mighty work he might begin
Of Saviour to mankind, and which way firft
Publish his God-like Office now mature,
One day forth walk'd alone, the Spirit leading,
And his deep thoughts, the better to converse
With folitude, till far from track of Men,
Thought following thought, and ftep by step led on,
He entred now the bordering defart wild,
And with dark fhades and rocks environ'd round,
His holy meditation thus purfu'd.

O what a multitude of thoughts at once
Awaken'd in me fwarm, while I confider
What from within I feel my felf, and hear
What from without comes often to my ears,
Ill forting with my present state compar'd.
When I was yet a Child no childish play
To me was pleafing, all my mind was fet
Serious to learn and know, and thence to do
What might be publick good; my felf I thought
Born to that end, born to promote all truth,
All righteous things: therefore above my years,
The Law of God I read and found it fweet,

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