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Irrevocable, that his regal throne
For ever shall endure. The like shall sing
All prophecy, that of the royal stuck

325
Of David (so I name this Kiny) shall rise
A 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
But 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 tenuple, and his holy ark, 340 With all his sacred things, a scorn and prey To that proud city, whose high walls thou 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 brinjas 356 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, 300 Unseen before in Heav'n, proclaims him come, And guides the eastern sages, who inquire His place, to otfer incense, myrrh, and gold. His place of birth a solemn Angel tells 22. Thor saw'st, a strong poetical expression, and not

to be taker literally.

To simple shepherds, keeping watch by night: 365
They gladly thither haste, and, by a choir
Of squadron's Angels, hear his carol sung:
A virgin is his mother, but his Sire
The Pow'r of the Most High. He shall ascend
The throne hereditary, and bound his reign

370 With earth's wide bounds, his glory with the Heav'ns.

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'a The seed of Woman. Virgin Mother, bail! 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 love Alone fulfil the law. Thy punishment He shall endure, by coming in the flesh 103 To a reproachful life and cursed death, Proclaiming life to all who shell believe In his redemption, and that hisobodiuawa

Imputed becomes theirs by faith, his merits
To save them, not their own, though legal works.
For this he shall live hated, be blasphemed, 411
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 crucify'd,
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,
Defeating sin and death, his two main arms, 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 be 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

611. Thy enemies, the law, &c. as explained in the next

line.-Coloss, ii. 14.

Then to the Heav'n of Heav'us 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
Thro' all his realm, and there confounded leave;
Then enter into glory, and resume

450
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 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 would repent me now of sin, By me done and occasion'd, or rejoice

476 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 bis 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

$69. 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.

With spiritual armour, able to resist
Satan's ass anults, and quench his fiery darts ;
What man can do against them, not afraid,
Though to the death, against such cru :lties
With inward consolations recompensed,

495
And oft supported so as shall amaze
Their proudest persecutors : for the Spirit
Pour'd first on his Apostles, whom he sends
T'evangelize the nations, then on all
Faptized, shall them with wondrous gifts endue 500
lo speak all tongues, and do all miracles,
As did their Lord before them. Thus they win
Great numbers of each nation to receive
With juy the tidings brought from Heav'n. At length
Their ministry perform'r, and race well run, 505
Their doctrine and their story written left,
They die ; but in their room, as they forewarni,
Wolves shall succeed for teachers, grievous wolves,
Who all the sacred mysteries of Heav'n
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 shall they seek to avail themselves of names Places and titles, and with these to join

516 Secular pow'r 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 ev'ry conscience; laws which none shall find Left them inroll’d, 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,

; 307. Acts xx. 20.

514. 1 Cor. ll. 14

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