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Irrevocable, that his regal throne
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
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
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.
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
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
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