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To his destruction, as I had in charge,
For what he bids I do: though I have lost
Much lustre of my native brightness, loft
To be belov'd of God, I have not lost
To love, at least contemplate and admire 380
What I fre excellent in good, or fair,
Or virtuous, I should Co have lost all fenfe.
What can be then less in nie than desire
To see thee and approach thee, whom I know
Declar'd the Son of God, to hear a tent 335
Thy wisdom, and behold thy Godlike deeds ?
Men generally think me much a foe
To all mankind: why should I? they to me
Never did wrong or violence; by them
I loft not what I lost, rather by them 390
I gain’d what I have gain’d, and with them

dwell
Copartner in these regions of the world,
If not disposer; lend thein oft my aid,
Oft my advice by prelages and ligne,
And answers, oracles, portents and dreams, 395
Whereby they may direct their future life.
Envy they say excites me, thus to gain
Companions of my misery and woe.
At first it may be; but long lince with woe
Nearer acquainted, now I feel by proof, 400
That fellowship in pain divides not Intart,
Nor lightens ought each man's peculiar load."
Small consolation then, were inan adjoin'd:

This wounds me most (what can it less?) that

nian, Man fall’n shall be restor'd, I never more. 405

To whom our Saviour Iternly thus reply'd. Defervediy thou griev'st, compos'd of lies From the beginning, and in lies wilt end; Wło boast'st release from Hell, and leave to

come

Into the Heav'n of Heav'ns ; thou com'ft in

deed,

410 As a poor miserable captive thrall Comes to the place, where he before had sat Among the prime in fplendor, now depos'd, Ejected, emptied, gaz'd, unpitied, slunn'd, A spectacle of ruin or of scorn

415 To all the host of Heav'n: the happy place Imparts to thee no happiness, no joy, Rather inflaines thy torment, representing Loft bliss, to thee no more communicable, So never more in Hell, than when in Hea

420 But thou art serviceable to Heav'n's King. Wilt thou impute to' obedience, what thy fear Extorte, or pleasure to do ill excites ? What but thy malice mov'd thee to misdeem Of righteous Job, then cruelly to afflict.

hirn

425 With all inflictions ? but his patience won. The other service was thy chosen task,

ven.

To be a liar in four hundred mouths;
For lying is thy sustenance, thy food.
Tet thou pretend'st to truth; all oracles 430
By thee are giv'n, and what confess’d more

true
Among the nations that hath been thy craft,
By mixing somewhat true to vent more lies.
But what have been thy answers, what but

dark, Ambiguous and with double sense delu

ding,

435 Which they who ask'd have seldom under

stood, And not well understood as good not known? Who ever by consulting at thy shrine Return'd the wiser, or the more instruct To fly or follow what concern’d him most, 440 And run not sooner to his fatal (nare! For God hath justly giv'n the nations up To thy delusions; justly, since they fell Idolatrous: but when his purpose is Among them to declare his providence 445 To thee not known, whence halt thou then

thy truth, But from him or his Angels prefdent In every province? who themselves disdai

ning T'approach thy temples, give thee in com

mand

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What to the smallest tittle thou shalt say 450
To thy adorers; thou with trembling fear,
Or like a fawning parasite obey'lt;
Then to thyself ascrib'st the truth foretold.
But this thy glory shall be soon retrench’d;
No more shalt thou by, oracling abufe 455
The Gentiles; henceforth oracles are ceas'd,
And thou no more with pomp and sacrifice
Shalt be inquir'd at Delphos elsewhere,
At least in vain, for they shall find thee

mute.

God hath now sent his living oracle 460
Into the world, to teach his final will,
And sends his Spirit of truth henceforth to

dwell
In pious hearts, an inward oracle
To all truth requisite for men to know.
So spake our Saviour; but the subtle
Fiend,

465 Though inly ftung with anger and disdain, Dillembled, and this answer finooth return'd.

Sharply thou hast insisted on rebuke, And urg'd me hard with doings, which not

will But milery hath wrested from me: where 470 Easily canft ihou find one miserable, And not enforc'd oft-times to part from

truth; If it may stand him more in stead to lie,

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Say and unsay, feign, flatter, or abjure ?
But thou art plac'd above me, thou art

Lord;

475 From thee I can and must submiss indure Check or reproof, and glad to 'scape lo

quit. Hard are the ways of truth, and rough to

walk, Smooth on the tongue discours’d, pleasing to

th' ear,

And tuneable as sylvan pipe or long; 480
What wonder, then if I delight to hear
Her dictates from thy mouth? most men ad-

mire
Virtue, who follow not her lore: permit me
To hear thee when I come (lince no man comes)
And talk at least, though I despair to' at-

tain.

485 Thy Father, who is holy, wise and

pure,
Suffers the hypocrite or atheous priest
To tread his sacred courts, and minister
About his altar,'handling holy things,
Praying or vowing ,

vowing, and vouchsaf'd his
voice

490 To Balaam reprobate, a prophet yet Inspir'd; disdain not such access to me.

To whom our Saviour with unalter'd brow. Thy coming hither, though I know thy scope, I bid not or forbid; do as thou find'st 495

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