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And Wisdom at one entrance quite shut out. 50
60 Stood thick as stars, and from his sight received Beatitude past utterance; on his right The radiant image of his glory sat, His only Son: on earth he first beheld Our two first parents, yet the only two
65 Of mankind, in the happy garden placed, Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love, Uninterrupted joy, unrivalla love, In blissful solitude. He then survey'd Hell and the gulf between, and Satan there Coasting the wall of Heav'n on this side Night, In the dun air sublime, and ready now To stoop with wearied wings and willing feet On the bare outside of this world, that seem'd Firm land embosom'd, without firmament,
75 Uncertain which, in ocean or in air. Him God beholding from his prospect high, Wherein past, present, future, he beholds, Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake :
Only begotten Son, seest thou what rage 20 Transports our Adversary ? whom no bounds Prescribed, no bars of Hell, nor all the chains Heap'd on him there, nor yet the main abyss Wide interrupt can hold ; so bent he seems
52. It is observed, that the same idea occurs in Milton's Prose Works. He probably alluded to Eph. i. 18.
56. Tasso may have been translated here.-Canto 1. st. 7. 62. See Heb. i. 3. also Tasso, Canto 9. st. 55.
80. Addison has judicious y observed, that it is not the imagination of Milton which is so much to be looked for in these speeches as his learning. The one could not be safely trusted in giving a living language to the wisdom of the Almighty. Notwithstanding this, however, almost every passage of the kind is remarkable fur great dignity and grandeur.
On desperate revenge, that shall redound
85 Upon his own rebellious head. And now, Through all restraint broke loose, he wings his way Not far off Heav'n, in the precincts of light, Directly tow'rds the new-created world, And man there placed, with purpose to assay
90 If him by force he can destroy, or worse, By some false guile pervert; and shall pervert, For Man will bearken 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 Spirits, 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, 105 Not what they would ? what praise could they receive? What pleasure I from such obedience paid, When will and reason (reason also is choice) Useless and vain, of freedom both despoil'd, Made passive both, had served necessity,
110 Not me? They therefore as to right belong'a, So were created, nor can justly accuse Their Maker, or their making, or their fate, As if predestination over-ruled Their will, disposed by absolute decree
115 Or high foreknowledge; they themselves decreed Their own revolt, not I. If I foreknew, Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault, Which had no less proved 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 ; for so I form'd them free, and free they must remain, Till they enthrall themselves; 1 else must change
117. If is here used in the sense of though.
Their nature, and revoke the high decree
120 Unchangeable, eternal, which ordain'd Their freedom, they themselves ordain'd their fall. The first sort by their own suggestion fell, Self-tempted, self-depraved : Man falls, deceived 130 By th' other first: Man therefore shall find grace, The other none : in mercy' and justice both, Through Heav'n and Earth, so shall my glory' excel, But mercy first and last shall brightest shine.
Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance fill'd All Heav'n, and in the blessed Spirits elect 136 Sense of new joy ineffable diffused. 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 :
( Father, gracious was that word which closed Thy sov'reign sentence, that Man should find grace ; For which both Heav'n and Earth shall high extol 146 Thy praises, with th' innumerable sound Of hymns and sacred songs, wherewith thy throne Encompass'd shall resound thee ever blest. For should Man finally be lost, should Man, 150 Thy creature late so loved, 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 By him corrupted ? Or, wilt thou thyself Abolish thy creation, and unmake, For him, what for thy glory thou hast made?
135. A difference is here marked in the effect which Homer and Milton attribute to the speeches of their several Deities, the one making terror, the other delight, the consequence. 140. See Heb. i. 3.
153. See Gen. xviii. 25.
So should thy goodness and thy greatness both 165 Be question’d and blasphemed without defence.
To whom the great Creator thus reply'd : O Son, in whom my soul hath chief delight, Son of my bosom, Son who art alone My word, my wisdom, and effectual might, 170 All hast thou spoken as my thoughts are; all As my eternal purpose hath decreed. Man shall not quite be lost, but saved who will, Yet not of will in him, but grace in me Freely vouchsafed. Once more I will renew 175 His lapsed pow'rs, though forfeit and enthrall’d By sin to foul exorbitant desires : Upheld by me, yet once more he shall stand On even ground against his mortal foe, By me upheld, that he may know how frail 180 His fall’n condition is, and to me owe All his deliv'rance, and to none but me Some I have chosen of peculiar grace Elect above the rest; so is my will: The rest shall hear me call, and oft be warn'd 185 Their sinful state, and to appease betimes Th’incensed Deity, while offer'd grace Invites; for I will clear their senses dark, What may suffice, and soften stony hearts To pray, repent, and bring obedience due. 190 To pray’r, repentance, and obedience due, Though but endeavour'd with sincere intent, Mine ear shall not be slow, mine eye not shut. And I will place within them as a guide My umpire Conscience; whom if they will hear, 195 Light after light well used they shall attain, And, to the end persisting, safe arrive. This my long suff'rance and my day of grace They who neglect and scorn, shall never taste; But hard be harden'd, blind be blinded more, 200 That they may stumble on, and deeper fall: And none but such from mercy I exclude. But yet all is not done: Man disobeying, Disloyal breaks his fealty, and sins Against the High Supremacy of Heav'n,
205 168. The reader will find Jesus Christ addressed by these titles in different parts of Scripture.
Affecting Godhead, and so losing all,
He ask'd ; but all the heav'nly choir stood mute, And silence was in Heav'n: on Man's behalf Patron or intercessor none appear'd, Much less that durst upon his own head draw 220 The deadly forfeiture, and ransom set. And now without redemption all mankind Must have been lost, adjudged to Death and Hell By doom severe, had not the Son of God, In whom the fulness dwells of love divine, 225 His dearest meditation thus renew'd :
Father, thy word is past, 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
230 Comes unprevented, unimplored, unsought? Happy for man, so coming: he her aid Can never seek, ouce dead in sins and lost : Atonement for himself or offring 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: I 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 wreck all his rage : Under his gloomy pow'r I shall not long Lie vanquish'd: thou hast given me to possess
215. See I Peter iii. 18.
217. See Rev. viii. 1. 231. Unprevented; prevent is here used according to its sense In the Latin prevenire, to come before; not preceded by any thing else. It is used in this manner in one of the prayers of our Liturgy, Prevent us, O Lord, in all our doings,' &c. that is, Let thy prace krticipate us in our designs, and so make them just and holy.