Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

Thy gentle ministers, who come to pay
Thee homage, and acknowledge thee their Lord :
What doubt'st thou, Son of God? Sit down and eat."

To whom thus Jesus temperately replied:
“ Said'st thou not that to all things I had right?
And who withholds my power that right to use?
Shall I receive by gift what of my own,
When and where likes me best, I can command ?
I can at will, doubt not, as soon as thou,
Command a table in this wilderness,
And call swift flights of angels ministrant
Array'd in glory on my cup to attend :
Why shouldst thou then obtrude this diligence,
In vain, where no acceptance it can find ?
And with my hunger what hast thou to do?
Thy pompous delicacies I contemn,
And count thy specious gifts no gifts, but guiles."

To whom thus answer'd Satan malcontent: “ That I have also power to give, thou seest: If of that power I bring thee voluntary What I might have bestow'd on whom I pleased, And rather opportunely in this place Chose to impart to thy apparent need, Why shouldst thou not accept it? but I see What I can do or offer is suspect: Of these things others quickly will dispose, Whose pains have earn’d the far-fet spoil.” With Both table and provision vanish'd quite [that With sound of harpyies' wings and talons heard : Only the' importune Tempter still remain'd, And with these words his temptation pursued :

By hunger, that each other creature tames, Thou art not to be harm’d, therefore not moved: Thy temperance, invincible besides,

For no allurement yields to appetite ; !
And all thy heart is set on high designs,
High actions : but wherewith to be achieved ?
Great acts require great means of enterprise :
Thou art unknown, unfriended, low of birth,
A carpenter thy father known, thyself
Bred

up in poverty and straits at home,
Lost in a desert here and hunger-bit :
Which way, or from what hope, dost thou aspire
To greatness ? whence authority derivest?
What followers, what retinue canst thou gain,
Or at thy heels the dizzy multitude,
Longer than thou canst feed them on thy cost?
Money brings honor, friends, conquest, and realms :
What raised Antipater the Edomite,
And his son Herod placed on Judah’s throne,
Thy throne, but gold that got him puissant friends?
Therefore, if at great things thou wouldst arrive,
Get riches first, get wealth, and treasure heap,
Not difficult, if thou hearken to me:
Riches are mine, fortune is in my

hand; They whom I favor thrive in wealth amain, While virtue, valor, wisdom, sit in want."

To whom thus Jesus patiently replied : “ Yet wealth, without these three, is impotent To gain dominion, or to keep it gain'd. Witness those ancient empires of the earth, In highth of all their flowing wealth dissolved: But men endued with these have oft attain'd In lowest poverty to highest deeds ; Gideon, and Jephtha, and the shepherd lad, Whose offspring on the throne of Judah sat So many ages, and shall yet regain That seat, and reign in Israel without end.

Among the heathen (for throughout the world
To me is not unknown what hath been done
Worthy' of memorial), canst thou not remember
Quintius, Fabricius, Curius, Regulus ?
For I esteem those names of men so poor,
Who could do mighty things, and could contemn
Riches, though offer'd from the hand of kings.
And what in me seems wanting, but that I
May also in this poverty as soon
Accomplish what they did, perhaps and more?
Extol not riches then, the toil of fools,
The wise man's cumbrance, if not snare; more apt
To slacken virtue, and abate her edge,
Than prompt her to do aught may merit praise.
What if with like aversion I reject
Riches and realms ? yet not, for that a crown,
Golden in show, is but a wreath of thorns ;
Brings dangers, troubles, cares, and sleepless
To him who wears the regal diadem, [nights,
When on his shoulders each man's burden lies;
For therein stands the office of a king,
His honor, virtue, merit, and chief praise,
That for the public all this weight he bears.
Yet he, who reigns within himself, and rules
Passions, desires, and fears, is more a king :
Which
every

wise and virtuous man attains ;
And who attains not, ill aspires to rule
Cities of men, or headstrong multitudes,
Subject himself to anarchy within,
Or lawless passions in him, which he serves.
But to guide nations in the way

of truth
By saving doctrine, and from error lead
To know, and knowing worship God aright,
Is yet more kingly: this attracts the soul,

Governs the inner man, the nobler part;
That other o'er the body only reigns;
And oft by force, which, to a generous mind,
So reigning, can be no sincere delight.
Besides, to give a kingdom hath been thought.
Greater and nobler done ; and to lay down
Far more magnanimous, than to assume.
Riches are needless then, both for themselves ;
And for thy reason why they should be sought,
To gain a sceptre, oftest better miss’d.”

[blocks in formation]

4

BOOK III.

The argument.
Satan, in a speech of much flattering commendation, endea-

voars to awaken in Jesus a passion for glory, by particular-
izing various instances of conquests achieved, and great
actions performed, by persons at an early period of life.
Our Lord replies, by showing the vanity of worldly fame,
and the improper means by which it is generally attained;
and contrasts with it the true glory of religious patience
and virtuous wisdom, as exemplified in the character of
Job. Satan justifies the love of glory from the example of
God himself, who requires it from all his creatures. Jesas
detects the fallacy of this argument, by showing that, as
goodness is the true ground on which glory is due to the
great Creator of all things, sinful man can have no right
whatever to it.-Satan then urges our Lord respecting his
claim to the throne of David : he tells him that the king-
dom of Judea, being at that time a province of Rome, can-
not be got possession of without much personal exertion on
his part, and presses him to lose no time in beginning to
reign. Jesus refers him to the time allotted for this, as
for all all other things; and, after intimating somewhat
respecting his own previous sufferings, asks Satan, why he
should be so solicitous for the exaltation of one, whose
rising was destined to be his' fall. Satan replies, that his
own desperate state, by excluding all hope, leaves little
room for fear; and that, as his own punishment was
equally doomed, he is not interested in preventing the
reign of one, from whose apparent benevolence he might
rather hope for some interference in his favor.--Satan still
pursues his former incitements; and, supposing that the
seeming reluctance of Jesus to be thus advanced might
arise from his being anacquainted with the world and its
glories, conveys him to the summit of a high mountain, and
from thence shows him most of the kingdoms of Asia, par-
ticularly pointing out to his notice some extraordinary
military preparations of the Parthians to resist the incur-

« ZurückWeiter »