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For Son of God to me is yet in doubt :
Of the Messiah I have heard foretold
By all the Prophets ; of thy birth at length
Announc'd by Gabriel with the first I knew,
And of th' angelic song in Bethlehem field,
On thy birth-night, that sung thee Saviour born.
From that time seldom have I ceas'd to eye
Thy infancy, thy childhood, and thy youth,
Thy manhood last, though yet in private bred ;
Till at the ford of Jordan whither all
Flock'd to the Baptist, I among the rest,
Though not to be baptiz'd, by voice from heaven
Heard thee pronounc'd the Son of God belov’d.
Thenceforth I thought thee worth my nearer view
And narrower scrutiny, that I might learn
In what degree or meaning thou art call'd
The Son of God, which bears no single sense ;
The son of God I also am, or was,
And if I was, I am ; relation stands ;



is that of plausible hypocrisy, overshadow thee; therefore also through which, when elicited by that holy thing which shall be born the sudden irritation of defeat, of thee shall be called the Son of his diabolical malignity fre- God,) and yet he doubts of his quently flashes out, and displays being the Son of God notwithitself with singular effect. Dun- standing. This is easily acster.

counted for. On the terms of 501. For Son of God to me is the annunciation Christ might yet in doubt :) The Tempter had be the Son of God in a sense heard Christ declared to be Son very particular, and yet a mere of God by a voice from heaven. man as to his nature: but the He allows him to be virgin-born. doubt relates to what he was He hath no scruples about the more than man, worth calling Son annunciation, and the truth of of God; that is, worthy to be what Gabriel told the blessed called Son of God in that high woman, (Luke i. 35. The Holy and proper sense, in which his Ghost shall come upon thee, and sonship would infer his divinity, the power of the Highest shall Calton.



All men are sons of God; yet thee I thought
In some respect far higher so declar'd.
Therefore I watch'd thy footsteps from that hour,
And follow'd thee still on to this waste wild ;
Where by all best conjectures I collect
Thou art to be my fatal enemy.
Good reason then, if I beforehand seek
To understand my adversary, who
And what he is; his wisdom, pow'r, intent;
By parl, or composition, truce, or league
To win him, or win from him what I can.
And opportunity I here have had
To try thee, sift thee, and confess have found thee
Proof against all temptation, as a rock
Of adamant, and as a centre, firm,
To th' utmost of mere man both wise and good,
Not more; for honours, riches, kingdoms, glory
Have been before contemn'd, and may again :
Therefore to know what more thou art than man,




523. -- this waste wild ;] And “tinct from any which belongs Eden rais'd in the waste wilder- “ unto the rest of the sons of ness, b. i. 7. Again, with v. 533. God, that he may be clearly Proof against all temptation, as a and fully acknowledged the rock of adamant. Compare Sams. "only-begotten Son. For alAgon. 134.

“ though to be born of a virgin

o be in itself miraculous, yet is -frock of mail Adamantean proof.

“ it not so far above the producDunster.

“ tion of all mankind, as to place

“ him in that singular eminence, 538. —what more thou art than “ which must be attributed to the man,

only-begotten. We read of Adam Worth naming Son of God by the son of God as well as Seth

voice from heaven,] the son of Adam : Luke iii. 38. See Bp. Pearson on the Creed, "and surely the framing Christ p. 106. “We must find yet a “out of a woman cannot so far

more peculiar ground of our “ transcend the making Adam “ Saviour's filiation, totally dis- “ out of the earth, as to cause so


Worth naming Son of God by voice from heaven,
Another method I must now begin.

So say’ing he caught him up, and without wing
Of hippogrif bore through the air sublime
Over the wilderness and o'er the plain ;
Till underneath them fair Jerusalem,
The holy city lifted high her towers,
And higher yet the glorious temple rear'd
Her pile, far off appearing like a mount
Of alabaster, topp'd with golden spires :
There on the highest pinnacle he set


great a distance, as we must 541. Æschylus in his Promebelieve, between the first and theus, v. 282, makes Oceanus “ second Adam." Calton. travel on a winged steed. Dun

541. -and without wing ster. Of hippogrif &c.]

545. The holy city lifted high Here Milton designed a reflec- her towers,] Matt. iv. 5. Then the tion upon the Italian poets, and Devil taketh him up into the holy particularly upon Ariosto. An city, and selteth him on a pinnacle hippogrif is an imaginary crea- of the temple, &c. Jerusalem is ture, part like an horse and part frequently called the holy city in like a griffin. See Orlando Fu- the Old Testament; but Dr. rioso, cant. iv. st. 18. or 13th Townson remarks, that St. Matstanza of Harrington's transla-thew alone of all the Evangelists tion.

ascribes titles of this kind to Je

rusalem. And this arose, as he Only the beast he rode was not of art, But gotten of a griffeth and a mare,

conceives, from St. Matthew beAnd like a griffeth bad theformer part, ing the earliest writer of the four, As wings and head, and claws that and from the character of sanchideous are,

tity being transferred, when the And passing strength and force, and others wrote, to other cities which

vent'rous heart, But all the rest may with a horse had embraced Christianity. The compare.

towers of Jerusalem are frequently Such beasts as these the hills of Ryfee mentioned in Scripture. See 2 yield,

Chron. xxvi. 9. xxxii. 5. Dunster. Though in these parts they have been

549. There on the highest pinseen but seeld.

nacle he set Ariosto frequently makes use of

The Son of God,] this creature to convey his herves He has chosen to follow the hither and thither; but Milton order observed by St. Luke in would insinuate that he em- placing this temptation last, beployed no such machinery. cause if he had with St. Matthew


The Son of God, and added thus in scorn.

There stand, if thou wilt stand; to stand upright Will ask thee skill; I to thy Father's house Have brought thee', and highest plac’d, highest is best, Now show thy progeny; if not to stand,


introduced it in the middle. it is alleged only as a reason why would have broke that fine Christ (whose divinity is conthread of moral reasoning, which cealed there) must not throw is observed in the course of the himself down from the top of other temptations. Thyer. the temple, because this would

In the Gospel account of the have been tempting God. But temptation no discovery is made in the poem it is applied to the of the incarnation; and this grand demon, and his attempt upon mystery is as little known to the Christ; who is thereby declared Tempter at the end, as at the to be the Lord his God. Calton. beginning. But now, according Bp. Pearce supposes what is to Milton's scheme, the poem in the Gospels called stiepytes, was to be closed with a full dis- and translated pinnacle, to have covery of it: there are three cir- been rather a wing of the temple, cumstances, therefore, in which Alat


of the roof of one of the poet, to serve his plan, hath its courts; probably on that side varied from the accounts in the where the royal portico was, and Gospels. 1. The critics have not where the valley on the outside been able to ascertain what the was deepest. Josephus (Antiq. Frequzsoy or pinnacle (as we trans- xv. 11. 5.) says,

« whereas the late it) was, on which Christ was valley was so deep that a man set by the demon: but whatever could scarcely see the bottom it was, the Evangelists make no “ of it, Herod built a portico of difficulty of his standing there. so vast a height, that if a man This the poet (following the “ looked from the roof of it, his common use of the word pinna- “ head would grow giddy, and cle in our own language) sup- “his sight not be able to reach poseth to be something like “ from that height to the bottom those on the battlements of our “ of the valley." Eusebius (Hist. churches, a pointed spire, on Eccles. ii. 23.) cites the account which Christ could not stand given by Hegesippus of the death without a miracle. 2. In the of St. James, in which it is said poem, the Tempter bids Christ that the Scribes and Pharisees give proof of his pretensions by brought him, επι το πτερυγιον του standing on the pinnacle, or by you, up to this elevated point of casting himself down. In the the temple, and cast him down Gospels, the last only is or could from thence. Dunster. be suggested. 3. In the Gospel 554. Now shew thy progeny ; account the prohibition Thou &c.] The general tenor of the shalt not lempt the Lord thy God thought is from St. Matth. xxvii.


Cast thyself down; safely, if Son of God :
For it is written, He will give command
Concerning thee to his angels, in their hands
They shall up lift thee, lest at any time
Thou chance to dash thy foot against a stone.

To whom thus Jesus; Also it is written,
Tempt not the Lord thy God: he said and stood:


39, 40. And they that passed had said. Now the prohibition, by reviled him, &c. saying, If Tempt not the Lord thy God, as thou be the Son of God, come alleged in the Gospels from the down from the cross. —He will give Old Testament, was in no want command concerning thee, &c. this of such an attestation: but a mirefers, according to St. Matthew racle was wanting to justify the and St. Luke, to Psalm xci. Ji, application of it to the Tempter's 12. For he shall give his angels attack upon Christ; it was for charge over thee, to keep thee in this end therefore that he stood. all thy ways ; they shall bear thee Calton. up in their hands, lest thou dash I cannot entirely approve this thy foot against a stone. Also it learned Gentleman's exposition, is written, Tempt not, &c.

Deut. for I am for understanding the vi. 16. Ye shall not tempt the Lord words, Also it is written, Tempt your God. Dunster.

not the Lord thy God, in the 561. Tempt not the Lord thy same sense in which they were God: he said and stood :) Here spoken in the Gospels; because is what we may call after Ari- I would not make the poem to stotle the areyvaigious, or the dis- differ from the Gospel account, covery. Christ declares himself farther than necessity compels, to be the God and Lord of the or more than the poet himself Tempter; and to prove it, stands has made it. The Tempter set upon the pinnacle. This was our Saviour on a pinnacle of the evidently the poet's meaning. temple, and there required of him 1. The miracle shews it to be so; a proof of his divinity, either by which is otherwise impertinently standing, or by casting himself introduced, and against the rule, down as he might safely do, if

he was the Son of God, accordNec Deus intersit, nisi dignus vin- ing to the quotation from the

dice nodus Inciderit.

Psalmist. To this our Saviour

answers, as he answers in the It proves nothing but what the Gospels, It is written again, Thou Tempter knew, and allowed be- shall not tempt the Lord thy God, fore. 2. There is a connection be- tacitly inferring that his casting tween Christ's saying and stand- himself down would be tempting ing, which demonstrates that he of God. He said, he gave this stood, in proof of something he reason for not casting himself

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