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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 Heaven, 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 suffering death, The penalty to thy transgression due, And due to theirs which out of thine will grow; 400 So only can high Justice rest appaid. The law of God exact he shall fulfil Both by obedience and by love, though love Alone fulfil the law; thy punishment He shall endure, by coming in the flesh

405 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 To save them, not their own, though legal, works. 410 For this he shall live haled, be blasphemed, Seized on by force, judged, and to death condemn'd A shameful and accursed, nail'd to the cross By his own nation; slain for bringing life: But to the cross he nails thy enemies,

415 The law that is against thee, and the sins

Of all mankind, with him there crucified,
Never to hurt them more who rightly trust
In this his satisfaction; so he dies,
But soon revives: Death over him no power 420
Shall long usurp; ere the third dawning light
Return, the stars of morn shall see him rise
Out of his grave, fresh as the dawning light,
Thy ransom paid, which Man from death redeems;
His death for Man, as many as offer'd life 425
Neglect not, and the benefit embrace
By faith not void of works: this godlike act
Annuls thy doom, the death thou shouldst have died,
In sin for ever lost from life; this act
Shall bruise the head of Satan, crush his strength, 430
Defeating Sin and Death, his two main arms;
And fix far deeper in his head their stings
Than temporal 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 to 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 befal,
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;
So in his seed all nations shall be bless'd;

450 Then to the Heaven of Heavens he shall ascend With victory, triumphing through the air

Over his foes and thine: there shall surprise
The Serpent, prince of air, and drag in chains
Through all his realm, and there confounded leave:
Then enter into glory, and resume

456
His seat at God's right hand, exalted high
Above all names in Heaven; and thence shall come,
When this world's dissolution shall be ripe,
With glory and power to judge both quick and dead;
To judge the unfaithful dead, but to reward 461
His faithful, and receive them into bliss,
Whether in Heaven or Earth; for then the Earth
Shall all be Paradise, far happier place
Than this of Eden, and far happier days.

465 So spake the Archangel Michael; then paused, As at the world's great period; and our sire, Replete with joy and wonder, thus replied:

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 should 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 Deliverer up to Heaven Must reascend, what will betide the few

480 His faithful, left among the 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 Heaven 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 guide them in all truth; and also arm

490 With spiritual armor, able to resist Satan's assaults, and quench his fiery darts; What man can do against them, not afraid, Though to the death; against such cruelties With inward consolation recompensed,

495 And oft supported so as shall amaze Their proudest persecutors: for the Spirit, Pour'd first on his Apostles, whom he sends To evangelize the nations, then on all Baptized, shall them with wondrous gifts endue 500 To speak all tongues, and do all miracles, As did their Lord before them. Thus they win Great numbers of each nation to receive With joy the tidings brought from Heaven: at length Their ministry perform’d and race well run, 505 Their doctrine and their story written left, They die; but in their room, as they forewarn, Wolves shall succeed for teachers, grievous wolves, Who all the sacred mysteries of Heaven To their own vile advantages shall turn

510 Of lucre and ambition; and the truth With superstitions and traditions taint, Left only in those written records pure, Though not but by the Spirit understood. Then they shall seek to avail themselves of names, Places, and titles, and with these to join

516 Secular power; though feigning still to act By spiritual, to themselves appropriating The Spirit of God, promised alike and given To all believers; and, from that pretence,

520 Spiritual laws by carnal power shall force On every conscience; laws which none shall find Left them inrolld, or what the Spirit within Shall on the heart engrave. What will they then

But force the Spirit of Grace itself, and bind 525
His consort Liberty? What, but unbuild
His living temples, built by faith to stand,
Their own faith, not another's? For, on earth,
Who against faith and conscience can be heard
Infallible? yet many will presume:

530
Whence heavy persecution shall arise
On all, who in the worship persevere
Of spirit and truth; the rest, far greater part,
Will deem in outward rites and specious forms,
Religion satisfied; truth shall retire

535 Bestuck with slanderous darts, and works of faith Rarely be found: so shall the world go on, To good malignant, to bad men benign; Under her own weight groaning; till the day Appear of respiration to the just,

540
And vengeance to the wicked, at return
Of him so lately promised to thy aid,
The Woman's Seed; obscurely then foretold,
Now ampler known thy Saviour and thy Lord;
Last, in the clouds, from Heaven to be reveal'd 545
In glory of the Father, to dissolve
Satan with his perverted world; then raise
From the conflagrant mass, purged and refined,
New Heaven, new Earth, ages of endless date,
Founded in righteousness, and peace, and love; 550
To bring forth fruits, joy and eternal bliss.

He ended; and thus Adam last replied:
How soon hath thy prediction, Seer bless'd,
Measured this transient world, the race of time,
Till time stand fix'd! Beyond is all abyss,

555
Eternity, whose end no eye can reach.
Greatly instructed I shall hence depart,
Greatly in peace of thought; and have my fill
Of knowledge, what this vessel can contain;
Beyond which was my folly to aspire.

560

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