Page images
PDF
EPUB

And Thi Mu At Bro To In For Del His But All Thi Befc His

Descry'd, divinely warn'd, and witness bore
As to his worthier, and would have resign'd

To him his heavenly office, nor was long
His witness unconfirm’d: on him baptiz'd
Heav'n open'd, and in likeness of a dove
The spirit descended, while the father's voice
From heav'n pronounc'd him his beloved son.
That heard the adversary, who roving still
About the world, at that assembly fam'd
Would not be laft, and with the voice divine
Nigh thunder-ftruck, th' exalted man, to whom
Such high attest was giv’n, a while survey'd
With wonder, then with envy fraught, and rage,
Flies to his place, nor refts, but in mid air
To council summons all his mighty peers,
Within thick clouds and dark ten-fold involv'd,
A gloomy consistory; and them amidst
With looks agast and fad he thus bespake.

O antient pow'rs of air and this wide world,
For much more willingly I mention air,
This our old conquest, than remember hell
Our hated habitation; well ye know
How many ages, as the years of men,
This universe we have poffeft, and ruld
In manner at our will th'affairs of earth,
Since Adam and his facil confort Eve
Lost paradise deceiv'd by me, though sinee.
With dread attending when that fatal wound
Shall be inflicted by the feed of Eve
Upon my head, long the decrees of heav'n
Delay, for longest time to him is short;

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

And now too foon for us the cireling hours
This dreaded time have compast, wherein we
Must bide the stroke of that long threaten'd wound,
At least if so we can, and by the heads
Broken be not intended all our power
To be infring'd, our freedom and our being,
In this fair empire won of earth and air:
For this ill news I bring, the woman's feed
Destin'd to this, is lace of woman born,
His birth to our juft fear gave no fmall cause,
But his growth now to youth's full flow'r, displaying
All virtue, grace, and wisdom to akchieve
Things highest, greatest, multiplies my fear.
Before him a great prophet, to proclaim
His coming, is fent harbinger; who all
Invites, and in the confecrated stream
Pretends to wash off sin, and fit them fo
Purifi'd to receive him pure, or rather
To do him honour as their king; all come,
And he himself among them was bapriz'd,
Not thence to be more pure, but to receive
The testimony of heav'n, that who he is
Thenceforth the nations may not doubt; I saw
The prophet do him reverence, on him rising
Out of the water, heav'n above the clouds
Unfold her chirystal doors; thence on his head
A perfect dove defcend, what e'er it meant,
And out of heav'n the fov'reign voice I heard,
This is my son belov'd, in hiin am pleas'd.
His mother then is mortal, but his fire,
He who obtains the monarchy of heav'n;

So Hi w T T SC T В. T O 0

1

T

And what will he not do to advance his fon?
His first-begot we know, and fore have felt,
When his fierce thunder drove us to the deep;
Who this is we must learn, for man he seems
In all his lineaments, though in his face
The glimpses of his father's glory line;
Ye see our danger on the utmost edge
Of hazard, which admits no long debate;
But must with something sudden be oppos’d,
Not force, but well couch'd fraud, well woven snares,
Ere in the head of nations he appear
Their king, their leader, and supream on earth.
I, when no other durst, fole undertook
The dismal expedition to find out
And ruin Adam, and th'exploit perform'd
Successfully; a calmer voyage now
Will waft me; and the way found prosp?rous once
Induces best to hope of like fuccess.
He ended, and his words impression left
Of much amazement to th' infernal crew.
Distracted and surpriz'd with deep dismay
At these sad tidings; but no time was then
For long indulgence to their fears or grief:
Unanimous they all commit the care
And management of this main enterprize.
To him their great dictator, whose attempt
At first against mankind so well had thriv'd
In Adam's overthrow, and led their march.
From hell's deep-vaulted den to dwell in light,
Regents and potentates, and kings, yea gods
Of

many a pleasant 'realm and province wide.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

So to the coast of Jordan he directs
His easie steps; girded with snaky'viles,
Where he might likeliest find this now-declara,
This man of men; attested foul of God;
Temptation and all guile on him to try;
So to subvert whom he suspected rais'd
To end his reign on earth so long enjoy'd:
But contrary unweeting he fulfilled
The purpos d counsel pre-ordaind and fixt
Of the Most High, who in full frequence bright
Of angels, thus to Gabriel smiling spakei
Gabriel this day by proof thou Malt behold,
Thou and all angels converfant on earth
With man or mens affairs, howl begin
To verific that folemn meflage late,
On which I sent thee to the virgin pure
In Galilee, that she should bear a fon
Great in renown, and call'd the son of God;
Then toldft her, doubting how these things could be
To her a virgin, that on her should come
The Holy Ghost, and the power of the Highest
O'er-shadow her: this man born and now up-grown,
To fhew him worthy of his birth divine
And high prediction, henceforth I expose
To Satan; let him tempt and now aslay
His utmost subtility, because he boasts
And vaunts of his great cunning to the throng
Of his apostasie; he might have learnt
Less overweening, since he fail'd in Job,
Whose constant perseverance overcame
What e'er his cruci malice could invent,

He now fall know I can produce a man
Of female seed, far abler to resist
All his sollicitations, and at length
All his vast force, and drive him back to hell,
Winning by conquest what the first man loft
By tallacy surpriz’d. But first I mean
To exercise him in the wilderness,
There he shall first lay down the rudiments
Of his great warfare, ere I send him forth
To conquer sin and death the two grand focs,
By humiliation and strong fufferance:
His weakness shall o'ercome satanick strength
And all the world, and mafs of finful flesh;
That all the angels and aetherial powers,
They now, and men hereafter may disi ern,
From what consummate virtue i have chose
This períet man, by merit call’d my son,
To earn falration for the fons of men.

So spake th'eternal Father, and all heav'n
Admiring stood a fpace, then into hymns
Burst forth, and in celestial measures mov'd
Circling the throne and finging, while the hand
Sung with the voice, and this the argument.

Victory and triumph to the son of God, Now entering his great duel, not of arms, But to vanquish by wisdom hellifh wiles. The father knows the son; therefore focure Ventures his filial virtue, though untsy'd, Against what e'er may tempt, what e'er feduce, Allure, or terrifie, or undermine. Be frustrate all ye stratagems of hell,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »