[Written for the Sentinel]

"He that overcometh"

As Jesus fasted in the wilderness
And prayed for strength, the tempter came to him
Prepared to overcome the pure in heart,
And murmured, knowing him to be an hungered:
If it be true thou art the Son of God,
Command these stones that they be turned to bread,
For truly thou hast fasted long enough.

But Jesus mused, knowing the tempter's voice,
And said man shall not live by bread alone
But by God's Word. Then Satan could not answer,
But took him up into the holy city,
And from the temple's mighty pinnacle
Looked, crying: If thou be the Son of God,
Cast thyself down; for hath it not been said,
He gives His angels charge to keep thee safe
And bear thee always, lest at any time
Thou dash thy foot against a cruel stone?
But Jesus, knowing well whereof he spoke,
Answered him in like manner: It is written
Of old, thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

Then to the summit of the utmost mountain
Satan, resolved to win him, made his way
And pointed out the kingdoms of the world,
Lying in splendor half a league below—
Damascus, and the towers of Judea,
Glittering in the radiance of day—
And said, These will I give thee for thine own
If thou wilt but fall down and worship me.
But Jesus, turning from the panorama
Of earthly power and splendor, knew the voice
For what it was, knew that he could not fear
Who served one master, good, and one alone.
Strength lifted him. Thou Satan, get thee hence!
I tell thee it is written, thou shalt serve
The Lord thy God, and worship none beside.
The word was scarcely spoken till the one
Who tempted him had vanished without trace,
Like darkness fleeing at the touch of light;
And Jesus stood alone—yet not alone,
For angels, holy concepts winged with love,
Appeared, as gentle ministers of heaven,
And all the air was swiftly purified
In that still spot where Jesus knelt and prayed.

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