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Among them. How can God with such reside?
To whom thus Michael : Doubt not but that sin Will reign among them, as of thee begot; 298 And therefore was law given them to evince Their natural pravity, by stirring up Sin against law to fight: that when they see Law can discover sin, but not remove,
290 Save by those shadowy expiations weak, The blood of bulls and goats, they may conclude Some blood more precious must be paid for man, Just for unjust, that in such righteousness To them by faith imputed, they may find
295 Justificacion towards God, and peace Of conscience, which the law by ceremonies Cannot appease, nor man the moral part Perform, and, not performing, cannot live. So law appears imperfect, and but given
300 With purpose to resign them in full time Up to a better covenant, disciplined From shadowy types to truth, from flesh to spirit, From imposition of strict laws to free Acceptance of large grace, from servile fear 305 To filial, works of law to works of faith. And therefore shall not Moses, though of God Highly beloved, being but the minister Of law, his people into Canaan lead; But Joshua, whom the Gentiles Jesus call, 310 His name and office bearing, who shall quell The adversary Serpent, and bring back, Thro' the world's wilderness long wander'd, man Safe, to eternal Paradise of rest.
314 Mean while they in their earthly Canaan placed, Long time shall dwell and prosper, but when sins National interrupt their public peace, Provoking God to raise them enemies; From whom as oft he saves them penitent By judges first, then under kings ; of whom 320 The second, both for piety renown'd And puissant deeds, a promise shall receive
310. Jesus and Joshuc are the same name, the former being the Greek and the latter the Hebrew formi. Jesus is used for Joshua, Acts vii. 45. Heb. iv. 8. As the whole of this part of the poem is taken from Scripture, the reader will do well to consult the marginal references of his Bible, if he be curious to see how the author has converted tris scriptural knowledge to his ilse in this narrative, mixing with great skill history and prophecy
Irrevocable, that his regal throne
325 Of David (so I name this King) shall rise
Son, the Woman's Seed to thee foretold, Foretold to Abraham, as in whom shall trust All nations, and to kings foretold, of kings The last; for of his reign shall be no end.
330 Bat first a long succession must ensue, And his next son, for wealth and wisdom famed, The clouded ark of God, till then in tents Wand'ring, shall in a glorious temple' inshrine. Such follow him as shall be register'd
335 Part good, part bad, of bad the longer scroll, Whose foul idolatries, and other faults Heap'd to the popular sum, will so incense God, as to leave them, and expose their land, Their city', his temple, and his holy ark,
340 With all his sacred things, a scorn and prey To that proud city, whose high walls tbou saw'st Left in confusion, Babylon thence call's : There in captivity he lets them dwell The space of seventy years, then brings them back, Rememb’ring mercy, and his covenant sworn 346 To David, stablish'd as the days of Heav'n. Return'd from Babylon, by leave of kings Their lords, whom God disposed, the house of God They first re-edify, and for a while
350 In mean estate live moderate, till grown In wealth and multitude, factious they grow. But, first, among the priests dissension springs! Men who attend the altar, and should most Endeavour peace. Their strife pollution brings 356 Upon the temple' itself. At last they seize The sceptre, and regard not David's sons, Theu lose it to a stranger, that the true Anointed King, Messiah, might be born Barr'd of his right; yet at his birth a star, 300 Unseen before in Heav'n, proclaims him come, And guides the eastern sages, who inquire His place, to offer incense, myrrh, and gold. His place of birth a solemn Angel tells 342. Thor saw'st, a strong poetical expression, and nog
to be taken literally.
To simple shepherds, keeping watch by night: 36
He ceased, discerning Adam with such joy Surcharged, as had like grief been dew'd in tears, Without the vent of words, which these he breathed : O prophet of glad tidings! finisher
375 Of utmost hope ! now clear I understand What oft my steadiest thoughts have search'd in vain, Why our great expectation should be call's The seed of Woman. Virgin Mother, hail ! High in the love of Heav'n, yet from my loins 380 Thou shalt proceed, and from thy womb the Son Of God Most High; so God with Man unites. Needs must the Serpent now his capital bruise Expect with mortal pain. Say where and when 384 Their fight; what stroke shall bruise the Victor's heel.
To whom thus Michael : Dream not of their fight As of a duel, or the local wounds Of head or heel : not therefore joins the Son Manhood to Godhead, with more strength to foil Thy enemy; nor so is overcome
390 Satan, whose fall from Heav'n, a deadlier bruise, Disabled not to give thee thy death's wound: Which he, who comes thy Saviour, shall recure, Not by destroying Satan, but his works In thee and in thy seed: nor can this be, 395 But by fulfilling that which thou didst want, Obedience to the law of God imposed On penalty of death, and suff'ring death, The penalty to thy transgression due, And due to theirs, which out of thine will grow : So only can high justice rest appaid.
401 The law of God exact he shall fulfil, Both by obedience and by love, though iove Alone fultil the law. Thy punishment He shall andure, by coming in the flesh
105 To a reproachful life and cursed death, Proclaiming life to all who shall believe In his redemption, and that his obedience
Imputed becomes theirs by faith, his merits
431 And fix'd far deeper in his head their stings Than temp'ral death shall bruise the Victor's heel, Or theirs whom he redeems, a death-like sleep, A gentle wafting to immortal life.
435 Nor after resurrection shall he stay Longer on earth than certain times t'appear To his disciples, men who in his life Still follow'd him: to them shall leave in charge To teach all nations what of him they learn'd 440 And his salvation; them who shall believe Baptizing in the profluent stream, the sign Of washing them from guilt of sin to life Pure, and in mind prepared, if so befall, For death, like that which the Redeemer died. 445 All nations they shall teach ; for, from that day, Not only to the sons of Abraham's loins Salvation shall be preach'd, but to the sons Of Abraham's faith, wherever through the world ; Lo in his seed all nations shall be blest.
450 <• Thy enemies, the law., &c. as explained in the next
Then to the Heav'n of Heav'us he shall ascend
465 So spake th' Arch-Angel Michael, then paused, As at the world's great period; and our sire, Replete with joy and wonder, thus reply'd :
O Goodness infinite, Goodness immense ! That all this good of evil shall produce,
470 And Evil turn to good! more wonderful Than that which by creation first brought forth Light out of darkness! full of doubt I stand, Whether I : hould repent me now of sin, By me done and occasion’d, or rejoice
475 Much more, that much more good thereof shall spring, To God more glory, more good-will to men From God, and over wrath grace shall abound. But say: if our Deliv'rer up to Heav'n Must reascend, what will betide the few
480 His faithful, left among th' unfaithful herd, The enemies of truth? Who then shall guide His people ? who defend ? Will they not deal Worse with his followers than with him they dealt ?
Be sure they will, said the Angel; but from Heav'n He to his own a Comforter will send,
486 The promise of the Father, who shall dwell His Spirit within them, and the law of faith, Working through love, upon their hearts shall write, To g'ide them in all truth, and also arm
490 469. It has been observed by Addison that Milton, by this prophetic declaration of Michael, has made his poem conformable to the opinion of the most celebrated writers, that an epic should end prosperously.
487. Luke xxiv. 49. 490. John xvi. 13. and Eph. vi. 11.