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Now had the great Proclamer, with a voice
As to his worthier, and would have refign'd
the Baptift had notice given him before, that he might certainly know the Meffiah by the Holy Ghoft defcending and abiding upon him. And I knew him not, but he that fent me to baptize with water the fame faid unto me, Upon whom thou shalt fee the Spirit defcending and remaining on him, the fame is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghoft. John I. 33. But it appears from St. Matthew, that the Baptist knew he was baptized and before the him and acknowledged him, before Holy Ghost defcended upon him. Mat. III. 14. I have need to be bap→ tized of thee, and comeft thou to me? To account for which we must admit with Milton, that another divine revelation was made to him at this very time, fignifying that this was the perfon, of whom he had had fuch notice before.
26. divinely warn'd] To comprehend the propriety of this word divinely the reader must have B 4
Nigh thunder-ftruck, th' exalted man, to whom
O ancient Pow'rs of air and this wide world,
his eye upon the Latin divinitus, from Heaven, fince the word divinely in our language fcarce ever comes up to this meaning. Milton ufes it in much the fame fenfe in Paradife Loft. VIII. 500.
She heard me thus, and though divinely brought. Thyer.
41. Within thick clouds &c] Milton in making Satan's refidence to be in mid air, within thick clouds and dark, feems to have St. Auftin in his eye, who speaking of the region of clouds, ftorms, thunder &c ays ad ifta caliginofa, id eft, ad hunc aerem, tanquam ad carcerem, damnatus eft diabolus &c. Enarr. in Pf. 148. S. 9. Tom. 5. p. 1677. Edit. Bened. Thyer.
How many ages, as the years of men,
At least if so we can, and by the head
To be infring'd, our freedom and our being,
fpeeches in his former council, and therefore has affign'd the best reafon he could for not making any in this.
74. Purified to receive him pure,] Alluding to the Scripture expreffion 1 John III. 3. And every man that bath this hope in him, purifieth himfelf even as he is pure.
83. A perfect dove defcend,] He had expreffed it before ver. 30. in Likeness of a dove, agreeably to
St. Matthew, the Spirit of God defcending like a dove, III. 16. and to St. Mark, the Spirit like a dove defcending upon him, I. 10. But as Luke fays, that the Holy Ghoft defcended in a bodily fhape, III. 22. the poet fuppofes with Tertullian, Auftin, and others of the fathers, that it was a real dove, as the painters always represent it.
91. Who this is we must learn,] Our author favors the opinion of