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His dearest mediation thus renew'd :
“Father! thy word is pass'd, man shall find grace
And shall grace not find means, that finds her way
The speediest of thy winged messengers,
To visit all thy creatures, and to all
Comes unprevented, unimplored, unsought?
Happy for man, so coming; he her aid
Can never seek, once dead in sins and lost :
Atonement for himself, or offering meet,
Indebted and undone, hath none to bring :
235 Behold me then ; me for him, life for life I offer ; on me let thine anger fall: Account me man; 1, for his sake, will leave Thy bosom; and this glory, next to thee, Freely put off; and for him lastly die,
240 Well pleased. On me let Death wreak all his
rage ; Under his gloomy power, I shall not long Lie vanquish'd ; thou hast given me to possess Life in myself for ever ; by thee I live, Though now to Death I yield, and am his due, 245 All that of me can die : yet that debt paid, Thou wilt not leave me in the loathsome grave, His prey, nor suffer my unspotted soul, For ever with corruption, there to dwell. But I shall rise victorious, and subdue
250 My vanquisher, spoild of his vaunted spoil. Death his death's wound shall then receive, and stoop Inglorious, of his mortal sting disarm’d. I, through the ample air, in triumph high, Shall lead Hell captive, maugre Hell, and show 255 The Powers of darkness bound. Thou, at the sight Pleased, out of Heaven shalt look down and snuile ; While, by thee raised, I ruin all my foes, Death last, and with his carcass glut the grave : Then, with the multitude of my redeem'd,
260 Shall enter Heaven, long absent, and return, Father! to see thy face, wherein no cloud Of anger shall remain, but peace assured, And reconcilement : wrath shall be no more Thenceforth, but in thy presence joy entire.”
265 His words here ended; but his meek aspect Silent yet spake, and breathed immortal love To mortal men; above which only shone Filial obedience. As a sacrifice Glad to be offer'd, he attends the will
270 Of his great Father. Admiration seized All Heaven ; what this might mean, and whither terd
Wondering : but soon the Almighty thus replied.
“O thou, in Heaven and Earth the only peace
Found out for mankind, under wrath ! O thou,
My sole complacence ! well thou know'st how deai
To me are all my works, nor man the least,
Though last created ; that for him I spare
Thee from my bosom and right hand, to save,
By losing thee a while, the whole race lost.
Thou, therefore, whom thou only canst redeem,
Their nature also to thy nature join ;
And be thyself man, among men on earth,
Made flesh, when time shall be, of virgin seed,
By wondrous birth. Be thou, in Adam's room,
The head of all mankind, though Adam's son.
As in him perish all men, so in thee,
As from a second root, shall be restored
As many as are restored ; without thee, none.
His crime makes guilty all his sons; thy merit
Imputed shall absolve them, who renounce
Their own both righteous and unrighteous deeds,
And live in thee transplanted, and from thee
Receive new life. So man, as is most just,
Shall satisfy for man, be judged and die;
And dying rise, and, rising, with him raise
His brethren, ransom'd with his own dear life.
So heavenly love shall outdo hellish hate,
Giving to death, and dying to redeem;
So dearly to redeem, what hellish hate
So easily destroyed, and still destroys
In those who, when they may, accept not grace.
Nor shalt thou, by descending to assume
Man's nature, lessen or degrade thine own.
Because thou hast, though throned in highest bliss,
Equal to God, and equally enjoying
Godlike fruition, quitted all, to save
A world from utter loss, and hast been found,
By merit more than birthright, Son of God;
Found worthiest to be so, by being good,
Far more than great or high : because in thee,
Love hath abounded more than glory abounds,
Therefore, thy humiliation shall exalt,
With thee thy manhood, also to this throne.
Here shalt thou sit incarnate, here shalt reign,
Both God and Man, Son both of God and Man,
Anointed universal King. All power
I give thee; reign for ever,
and assume Thy merits: under thee, as head supreme,
Thrones, princedoms, powers, dominions, I reduce :
All knees to thee shall bow, of them that bide
In Heaven or Earth, or under Earth in Hell.
When thou, attended gloriously, from Heaven,
Shalt in the sky appear, and from thee send
The summoning Arch-angels to proclaim
Thy dread tribunal; forthwith, from all winds,
The living, and forth with, the cited dead,
Of all past ages, to the general doom
Shall hasten ; such a peal shall rouse their sleep.
Then all thy saints assembled, thou shalt judge
Bad men and Angels; they arraign'd shall sink
Beneath thy sentence; Hell, her numbers full,
Thenceforth shall be for ever shut. Meanwhile
The world shall burn, and from her ashes spring
New heaven and earth; wherein the just shall dwell,
And, after all their tribulations long,
See golden days, fruitful of golden deeds,
With joy and love triumphing, and fair truth.
Then thou thy regal sceptre shalt lay by,
For regal sceptre then no more shall need,
God shall be all in all. But all ye Gods,
Adore him, who to compass all this dies;
Adore the Son, and honor him as me.”
No sooner had the Almighty ceased, but all
The multitude of Angels, with a shout,
Loud, as from numbers without number, sweet,
As from bless'd voices, uttering joy; Heaven rung
With jubilee, and loud hosannas tillid
The eternal regions : lowly reverent,
Towards either throne they bow, and to the ground,
With solemn adoration, down they cast
Their crowns, inwove with amaranth and gold
Immortal amaranth, a flower, which once
In Paradise, fast by the tree of life,
Began to bloom; but soon, for man's offence,
To Heaven removed, where first it grew; there grows,
And Aowers aloft, shading the fount of life,
And where the river of bliss, through midst of Heaven,
Rolls o'er Elysian flowers her amber stream ;
With these, that never fade, the Spirits elect
Bind their resplendent locks, inwreathed with beams.
Now in loose garlands, thick thrown off, the bright
Pavement, that like a sea of jasper shone,
Impurpled with celestial roses, smiled.
Then, crown'd again, their golden harps they took,
Harps ever tuned, that, glittering by their side,
Like quivers hung, and with preamble sweet
Of charming symphony, they introduce
Their sacred song, and waken raptures bigh :
No voice exempt, no voice but well could join
such concord is in Heaven.
“Thee, Father," first they sung, "omnipotent!
Immutable, immortal, infinite,
Eternal King! Thee, Author of all being,
Fountain of light, thyself invisible,
Amidst the glorious brightness, where thou sit'st
Throned inaccessible ; but when thou shadest
The full blaze of thy beams, and through a cloud
Drawn round about thee, like a radiant shrine,
Dark with excessive bright, thy skirts appear ;
Yet dazzle Heaven, that brightest Seraphim
Approach not, but with both wings veil their eyes."
" Thee,” next they sang, “ of all creation first,
Begotten Son, divine similitude;
In whose conspicuous countenance, without cloud
Made visible, the Almighty Father shines,
Whom else no creature can behold : on thee
Impress'd, the effulgence of his glory abides;
Transfused on thee, his ample Spirit rests.
He Heaven of Heavens, and all the powers therein,
By thee created, and by thee, threw down
The aspiring dominations : thou, that day,
Thy Father's dreadful thunder didst not spare,
Nor stop thy flaming chariot-wheels, that shook
Heaven's everlasting frame ; while o'er the necks
Thou drovest f warring Angels disarray'd.
Back from pursuit, thy powers, with loud acclaim,
Thee only extolla, Son of thy Father's might,
To execute fierce vengeance on his foes :
Not so on man: him, through their malice fall’n,
Father of mercy and grace, thou didst not doom
So strictly, but much more to pity incline.
No sooner did thy dear and only Son
Perceive thee purposed, not to doom frail man
So strictly, but much more to pity inclined,
He, to appease thy wrath, and end the strife
Of mercy and justice, in thy face discern'd,
Regardless of the bliss, wherein he sat,
Second to thee, offer'd himself to die
For man's offence. O unexampled love,
Love no where to be found, less than divine,
Hail, Son of God! Saviour of men ! Thy name
Shall be the copious matter of my song,
Henceforth, and never shall my harp thy praise
Forget, nor from thy Father's praise disjoin."
Thus they in Heaven, above the starry sphere 415
Their happy hours in joy and hymning spent.
Meanwhile, upon the firm opacous globe
Of this round world, whose first convex divides
The luminous inferior orbs, enclosed
From Chaos, and the inroad of darkness old,
420 Satan alighted walks. A globe far off It seem'd, now seems a boundless continent, Dark, waste, and wild, under the frown of Night, Starless exposed, and ever-threatening storms Of Chaos blustering round, inclement sky;
423 Save on that side, which from the wall of Heaven, Though distant far, some small reflection gains Of glimmering air, less vex'd with tempest loud: Here walk'd the fiend at large in spacious field. As when a vulture, on Imaus bred.
430 Whose snowy ridge the roving Tartar bounds, Dislodging from a region scarce of prey, To gorge the flesh of lambs, or yeanling kids, On hills, where flocks are fed, flies toward the springs Of Ganges, or Hydaspes, Indian streams :
435 But in his way, lights on the barren plains Of Sericana, where Chineses drive, With sails and wind, their cany wagons light: So, on this windy sea of land, the fiend Walk'd up and down, alone, bent on his prey :
440 Alone, for other creature in this place, Living or lifeless, to be found was none; None yet, but store hereafter, from the earth, Up hither, like aërial vapours, flew, of all things transitory and vain, when sin
445 With vanity had fill’d the works of men : Both all things vain, and all who on vain things Built their fond hopes of glory, or lasting fame, Or happiness in this, or the other life: All, who have their reward on earth, the fruits
450 Of painful superstition, and blind zeal, Nought seeking but the praise of men, here find Fit retribution, empty as their deeds : All the unaccomplish'd works of Nature's hand, Abortive, monstrous, or unkindly mix'd,
455 Dissolved on earth, fleet hither, and in vain, Till tinal dissolution, wander here ; Not in the neighbouring moon, as some have dream'd; Those argent fields, more likely ha'sitants,