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Wherein past, present, future, he beholds,
Only begotten Son, seest thou what rage 80
85 Upon his own rebellious head. And now, Through all restraint broke loose, he wings
way Not far off Heav'n, in the precincts of light, Directly tow'rds the new-created world, And Man there plac'd, with purpose to assay go If him by force he can destroy, or worse, By some false guile pervert; and shall pervert, For Man will hearken to his glozing lies, And easily transgress the sole command, Sole pledge of his obedience: So will fall, 95 He and his faithless progeny. Whose fault? Whose but his own ? Ingrate, he had of me All he could have; I made him just and right, Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall. Such I created all th’ ethereal pow'rs 100 And Sp'rits, both them who stood and them
who fail'd. Freely they stood, who stood, and fell, who fell. Not free, what proof could they have giv'n sincere Of true allegiance, constant faith, or love, Where only what they needs must do appear'd,
Not what they would ? what praise could they receive?
106 What pleasure I from such obedience paid, When will and reason (reason also 's choice) Useless and vain, of freedom both despoil'd, Made passive both, had serv'd necessity, Not me? They therefore as to right belong’d, So were created, nor can justly' accuse Their Maker, or their making, or their fate, As if predestination over-rul'd Their will, dispos'd by absolute decree 115 Or high foreknowledge; they themselves decreed Their own revolt, not I. If I foreknew, Foreknowledge had no influ'nce on their fault, Which had no less prov'd certain unforeknown. So without least impulse or shadow of fate, 120 Or aught by me immutably foreseen, They trespass, authors to themselves in all Both what they judge and what they choose ;
I form'd them free, and free they must remain,
Through Heav'n and Earth, so shall my glory'
excel, But mercy
first and last shall brightest shine. Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance fillid All Heav'n, and in the blessed Sp'rits elect 136 Sense of new joy ineffable diffus'd. Beyond compare the Son of God was seen Most glorious; in him all his Father shone Substantially express'd; and in his face 140 Divine compassion visibly appear’d, Love without end, and without measure grace; Which utt'ring, thus he to his Father spake:
O Father, gracious was that word which clos’d Thy sov’reign sentence, that Man should find grace;
145 For which both Heav'n and Earth shall high extol Thy praises with th' innumerable sound Of hymns and sacred songs, wherewith thythrone Encompass'd shall resound thee ever blest. For should Man finally be lost, should Man, 150 Thy creature late so lov'd, thy youngest son, Fall circumvented thus by fraud, though join'd With his own folly ? that be from thee far, That far be from thee, Father, who art Judge Of all things made, and judgest only right. 155 Or shall the Adversary thus obtain His end, and frustrate thine? Shall he fulfil His malice, and thy goodness bring to nought, Or proud return, though to his heavier doom, Yet with revenge accomplish’d, and to Hell 160
Draw after him the whole race of mankind,
To whom the great Creator thus reply'd:
eternal purpose hath decreed.
grace Elect above the rest; so is my
may suffice, and soften stony hearts
To pray’r, repentance, and obedience due,
eye not shut.
He ask'd; but all the heav'nly choir stood mute,