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To David, stablish'd as the days of Heaven.
Return'd from Babylon by leave of kings
Their lords, whom God dispos'd, the house of God
They first re-edify; and for a while

In mean estate live moderate; till grown
In wealth and multitude, factious they grow:
But first among the priests dissention springs,
Men who attend the altar, and should most
Endeavour peace: their strife pollution brings
Upon the temple itself: at last they seize
The sceptre, and regard not David's sons;
Then 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,
Unseen before in Heaven, 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
To simple shepherds, keeping watch by night;
They gladly thither haste, and by a quire
Of squadron'd angels hear his carol sung.
A virgin is his mother, but his sire

The power of the Most High: he shall ascend

The throne hereditary, and bound his reign

With Earth's wide bounds, his glory with the Heavens."

He ceas'd, discerning Adam with such joy Surcharg'd, as had like grief been dew'd in tears, Without the vent of words; which these he breath'd.

"O prophet of glad tidings, finisher

Of utmost hope! now clear I understand

[vain;

What oft my steadiest thoughts have searched in

Why our great Expectation should be call'd
The seed of woman: virgin mother, hail,
High in the love of Heaven; yet from my loins
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
Their fight, what stroke shall bruise the victor's
[fight,

heel."

To whom thus Michael.

"Dream not of their

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

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
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 :
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
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.
For this he shall live hated, be blasphem'd,

Seiz'd on by force, judg'd, and to death condemn'd
A shameful and accurs'd, nail'd to the cross
By his own nation; slain for bringing life:
But to the cross he nails thy enemies,
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
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

Neglect not, and the benefit embrace

By faith not void of works: this God-like act Annuls thy doom, the death thou should'st have

died,

In sin for ever lost from life; this act

Shall bruise the head of Satan, crush his strength, 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.

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
And his salvation; them who shall believe
Baptizing in the profluent streain, the sign
Of washing them from guilt of sin to life
Pure, and in mind prepar'd, if so befall,
For death, like that which the Redeemer died.
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 blest.

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

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
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.”

So spake the arch-angel Michaël; then paus'd, 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, 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

[spring;

By me done, and occasion'd; or rejoice
Much more, that much more good thereof shall
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 re-ascend, what will betide the few
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,

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
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,
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 endue
To speak all tongues, and do all miracles,

As did their Lord before them.

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Thus they win

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