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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 Michael; 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

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 re-ascend, what will betide the few

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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 recompensed,
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 then with wondrous gifts indue
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,

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
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
Secular power; 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,
Spiritual laws by carnal power shall force


every 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
His consort liberty? what, but unbuild

His living temples, built by faith so stand,
Their own faith, not another's? for, on earth,
Who against faith and conscience can be heard
Infallible? yet many will presume:
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 rights and specious forms
Religion satisfied: truth shall retire

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,
And vengeance to the wicked; at return
Of him so lately promis'd to thy aid,

The Woman's Seed; obscurely then foretold.
Now amplier known thy Saviour and thy Lord :
Last, in the clouds, from heaven to be reveal'd
In glory of the Father, to dissolve.

Satan with his perverted world; then raise
From the conflagrant mass, purg'd and refin'd,
New heavens, new earth, ages of endless date,
Founded in righteousness, and peace, and love;
To bring forth fruits, joy and eternal bliss! >>
He ended; and thus Adam last replied:

« How soon hath thy prediction, seer blest,
Measur'd this transient world, the race of time,
Till time stand fix'd? beyond is all abyss,
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.
Henceforth I learn, that to obey is best,
And love with fear the only God; to walk
As in his presence; ever to observe
His providence; and on him sole depend,
Merciful over all his works, with good
Still overcoming evil, and by small
Accomplishing great things; by things deem'd weak
Subverting worldly strong, and worldly wise

By simply meek: that suffering for truth's sake
Is fortitude to highest victory,

And, to the faithful, death the gate of life;
Taught this by his example, whom I now
Acknowledge my Redeemer ever blest. »

To whom thus also the angel last replied:
« This having learn'd, thou hast attain'd the sum
Of wisdom; hope no higher, though all the stars
Thou know'st by name, and all the ethereal powers,
All secrets of the deep, all nature's works,

Or works of God in heaven, air, earth, or sea,
And all the riches of this world enjoyd'st,
And all the rule, one empire; only add
Deeds to thy knowledge answerable; add faith,
Add virtue, patience, temperance; add love,

(By name to come call'd charity) the soul
Of all the rest: then wilt thou not be loth
To leave this paradise, but shalt possess
A paradise within thee, happier far.

« Let us descend now therefore from this top Of speculation; for the hour precise


Exacts our parting hence and see! the guards,
By me encamp'd on yonder hill, expect

Their motion; at whose front a flaming sword,
In signal of remove, waves fiercely round :
We may no longer stay: go, waken Eve;
Her also I with gentle dreams have calm'd
Portending good, and all her spirits compos'd
To meek submission: thou, at season fit,
Let her with thee partake what thou hast heard;
Chiefly what
may concern her faith to know,
The great deliverance by her seed to come
(For by the Woman's Seed) on all mankind:
That ye may live, which will be many days,
Both in one faith unanimous, though sad,
With cause for evils past; yet much more cheer'd
With meditation on the happy end. »

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He ended, and they both descend the hill.
Descended, Adam to the bower, where Eve
Lay sleeping, ran before; but found her wak'd;
And thus with words not sad she him receiv'd.

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« Whence thou return'st, and whither went'st, I know :
For God is also in sleep; and dreams advise,
Which he hath sent propitious, some great good
Presaging, since with sorrow and heart's distress
Wearied I fell asleep but now lead on;

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