Зображення сторінки

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 God-head, 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, 393 But by fulfilling that which thou didst want, , Obedience to the law of God, impos'd 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 indure by coming in the flesh

405 To a reproachful life and cursed death; Proclaming 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 hated, be blasphem'd, Seis’d on by force, judg’d, and to death condemn'd A shameful and accurs’d, nail'd to the cross Fff 2


By his own nation, sain for bringing life;
But to the cross he nails thy enemies,

The law that is against thee, and the fins
Of all mankind, with him there crucify'd,
Never to hurt them more who rightly trust
In this his fatisfaction; 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 ransome 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 God-like act Annuls thy doom, the death thou shouldst have dy'd, 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 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 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 falvation; them who shall believe


Baptizing in the profluent stream, the sign
Of washing them from guilt of fin to life
Pure, and in mind prepar'd, if so befall,
For death, like that which the Redeemer dy'd. 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 feed all nations shall be blest.

Then to the Heav'n of Heav'ns 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 Heav'n; and thence shall come, When this world's dissolution shall be ripe, With glory' and pow'r to judge both quick and dead; To judge th’unfaithful dead, but to reward 461 His faithful, and receive them into bliss, Whether in Heav'n or Earth; for then the Earth Shall all be Paradise, far happier place Than this of Eden, and far happier days. 465

So spake th’Arch-Angel Michaël, then paus’d, As at the world's great period; and our fire 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 should repent me now of sin,
By me done and occasion’d, or rejoice

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
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 th' 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 armour, 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 consolations recompens’d, 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
Baptiz'd, shall them with wondrous gifts indue, 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 Heav'n: at length
Their ministry perform’d, and race well run, 505
Their doctrin and their story wriiten left,
They die; but in their room, as they forewarn,
Wolves shall succeed for teachers, grievous wolves,
Who all the fącred mysteries of Heaven
To their own vile advantages shall turn

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 shall they seek to avail themselves of names, 515
Places, and titles, and with these to join
Secular pow'r, though feigning still to act
By Spiritual, to themselves appropriating
The Spirit of God, promis'd alike and given
To all believers; and from that pretence,

520 Spiritual laws by carnal pow'r shall force On every conscience; laws which none shall find Left them inroll’d, or what the Spirit within Shall on the heart ingrave. What will they then But force the Spirit of grace itself, and bind 525

« НазадПродовжити »