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Then, toldft her doubting how these things

could be To her a virgin , that on her should come The Holy Ghost, and the pow'r of the Highest O'er-shadow her:. this man born and now up

grown,

140 To show him worthy of his birth divine And high prediction, henceforth I expose To Satan; let him tempt and now allay His utmost subtlety, because he boasts And vaunts of his great cunning to the

throng

145 Of his apostály; he might have learnt Less overweening, since he fail'd in Job, Whose constant perseverance overcame Whate'er his cruel malice could invent. He now shall know I can produce a man 150 Of feniale seed, far abler to rehist All his solicitations, and at length All his vast force, and drive him back to Hell, Winning by conquest what the first man loft By fallacy surpris'd. But first I mean 155 To exercise him in the wilderness, There he shall first lay down the rudiments Of his great warfare, ere I send him forth To conquer Sin and Death, the two grand foes, By humiliation and strong (ufferance: 166 His weakness shall o'ercome Satanic strengih, And all the world, and mass of finful flesh;

That all the Angels and ethereal Powers,
They now, and men hereafter may discern,
From what consummate virtue I have chose 165
This perfect man, by merit call'd my Son,
To earn salvation for the sons of men.

So (pake th' eternal Father, and all Heaven Admiring stood a space, then into hymns Burst forth, and in celestial measures mov'd, 170 Circling the throne and linging, 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 vanquish by wisdom heilish wiles. 175 The Father knows the Son; therefore secure Ventures his filial virtue, though untry'd, Against whate'er may tempt, whate'er seduce, Allure, or terrify, or undermine. Be frustrate all ye stratagems of Hell, 180 And devilish machinations come to noughi.

So they in Heav'n their odes and vigils tund: Mean while the Son of God, who yet some

days Lodg'd in Bethabara, where Jobu baptiz'l, 185 How best the mighty work he might begin Of Saviour to mankind, and which way first Publish his God-like office now mature, One day forth walk'd alone, the Spirit lea

ding,

And

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And his deep thoughts, the better to con

verse

190 With solitude, till far from track of men, Thought following thought, and step by step

led on,

com

1

He enter'd now the bord’ring desert wild,
And with dark shades and rocks environ'd

round,
His holy meditations thus pursu'd. 195

( what a multitude of thoughts at once Awaken'd in me (warm, while I consider What from within I feel myfelf, and hear What from without comes osten to my ears, Ill sorting with my present state

par'd!

200
When I was yet a child, no childish play
To me was pleasing; all my mind was set
Serious to learn and know, and thence to do
What might be public good; myself 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 perfection, that ere yet my age
Had measur'd twice fix years, at our great

feast
I went into the temple, there to hear
The teachers of our law, and to propose

210

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What might improve my knowledge or their

own; And was admir'd by all: yet this not all To which my fpi'rit aspir'd; victorious

deeds

215 Flam'd in my heart, heroic acts, one while To rescue Israel from the Roman yoke, Then to subdue and quell v'er all the earth Brurte violence and proud tyrannic power, Till truth were freed, and equity restor'd: 220 Yet held it more humane, more heav'nly first By winning words to conquer willing hearts, And make persuafion do the work of fear; At least to try, and teach the erring soul Not wilfully mis-doing, but unware 225 Mis ed; the stubborn only to subdue. These growing thoughts my mother soon per

ceiving By words at times cast forth inly rejoic'd, And said to me apart, High are thy thoughts, O Son, but nourish them and let them

foar

30 To what highth sacred virtue and true worth Can raise them, though above exan ple high; By matchless deeds express by matchless Sire. For know, thou art no son of morial man; Though men efteem thee low of

parentage,

235 Thy father is th' eternai King, who rules

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All Heav'n and Earth, Angels and Sons of

men; A messenger from God foretold thy birth Conceiv'd in me a virgin, he foretold Thou should'st be great, and sit on David's

throne,

240 And of thy kingdom there should be no

end. At thy nativity. a glorious quire Of Angels in the fields of Bethlehem sung To Chepherds watching at their folds by night, And told them, the Messiah now was born, 245 Where they might see him, and to thee they

came, Directed to the manger where thou lay'st, For in the inn was left no better ruom: A star, not seen before, in Heav'n appearing Guided the wise men thither from the east, 250 To honor thee with incense, myrrh, and gold, By whose bright course led on they found

the place, Affirming it thy star new grav’n in Heaven, By which they knew the king of Israel born. Just Simeon and prophetic Anna, warn’d 255 By vision, found thee in the temple', and

(pake Before the altar and the vested priest, Like things of thee to all that present stood. This having heard, strait I again revolvid

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