Page images

Acceptance of large grace, from fervile fear
To filial, works of law to works of faith.
And therefore shall not Moses, though of God
Highly belov'd, being but the minifter

Of law, his people into Canaan lead;
But Joshua whom the Gentiles Jefus call,
His name and office bearing, who fhall quell
The adverfarie ferpent, and bring back

Through the world's wilderness long wander'd man
Safe to eternal Paradife of reft.

Meanwhile they in their earthly Canaan plac't
Long time shall dwell and profper, but when fms
National interrupt their public peace,
Provoking God to raise them enemies:

From whom as oft he faves them penitent
By judges first, then under kings; of whom
The fecond, both for pietie renown'd
And puiffant deeds, a promise shall receive
Irrevocable, that his regal throne
For ever fhall endure; the like shall fing
All prophecie, that of the royal stock
Of David (fo I name this king) fhall rife
A fon, the woman's feed to thee foretold,
Foretold to Abraham, as in whom shall truft
All nations, and to kings foretold, of kings
The laft, for of his reign fhall be no end.
But first a long fucceffion must enfue,
And his next fon for wealth and wisdom fam'd,
The clouded ark of God till then in tents
Wandring, shall in a glorious temple enshrine.
Such follow him, as fhall be register'd

Part good, part bad, of bad the longer ferowle,
Whofe foul idolatries, and other faults
Heapt to the popular fumme, will so incenfe
God, as to leave them, and expofe their land,
Their citie, his temple, and his holy ark
With all his facred things, a fcorn and prey
To that proud citie, whofe high walls thou fawst
Left in confufion, Babylon thence call'd.

There in captivitie he lets them dwell

The space of feventie years, then brings them back,
Remembring mercie, and his cov'nant fworn

To David, stablisht as the dayes of heav'n.
Return'd from Babylon by leave of kings
Their lords, whom God difpos'd, the houfe of God
They first re-edifie, and for a while

In mean estate live moderate, till grown
In wealth and multitude, factious they grow;
But first among the priests diffenfion springs,
Men who attend the altar, and should most
Endeavour peace: their ftrife pollution brings
Upon the temple itfelf: at laft they seise
The scepter, and regard not David's fons,
Then loose it to a stranger, that the true
Anointed king Meffiah might be born
Barr'd of his right; yet at his birth a star
Unfeen before in heav'n proclaims him come,
And guides the eaftern fages, who enquire
His place to offer incense, myrrh, and gold;
His place of birth a folemn angel tells
To fimple fhepherds, keeping watch by night?
They gladly thither haste, and by a quire

Of fquadron'd angel hear his carol fung.
A virgin is his mother, but his fire
The power of the most high; he shall afcend
The throne heredetarie, and bound his reign
With earth's wide bounds, his glory with the heav'ns.
He ceas'd, difcerning Adam with such joy
Surcharged, 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
What oft my fteddieft thoughts have searcht in vain,
Why our great expectation should be call'd
The feed of woman: virgin mother, haile,
High in the love of heaven, yet from my loins
Thou shalt proceed, and from thy womb the fon
Of God moft high; fo 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 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 fon
Manhood to god-head, with more strength to foil
Thy enemie; nor fo is overcome

Satan, whofe fall from heav'n, a deadlier bruise,
Difabl'd not to give thee thy deaths wound:
Which he, who comes thy faviour, fhall recure,
Not by destroying Satan, but his works
In thee and in thy feed: nor can this be,
But by fulfilling that which thou didst want,
Obedience to the law of God, impos'd

On penaltie of death, and fuffering death,
The penaltie to thy tranfgreffion due,
And due to theirs which out of thine will grow :

So onely can high justice rest appaid,
The law of God exact he shall fulfill
Both by obedience and by love, though love
Alone fulfill the law, thy punishment
He shall endure by coming in the flesh
To a reproachful life and curfed death,
Proclaiming life to all who fhall believe
In his redemption, and that his obedience
Imputed becomes theirs by faith, his merits
To fave them, not their own, though legal works.
For this he fhall live hated, be blafphem'd,
Seis'd on by force, judg'd, and to death condemn'd
A fhameful and accurft, 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 fins
Of all mankind, with him there crucifi'd,
Never to hurt them more who rightly truft
In this his fatisfaction; so he dies,
But foon revives, death over him no power
Shall long ufurp; ere the third dawning light
Return, the stars of morn shall fee him rife
Out of his grave, fresh as the dawning light
Thy ranfom paid, which man from death redeems,
His death for man, as many as offer'd life
Neglect not, and the benefit imbrace

By faith not void of works: this god-like act
Annuls thy doom, the death thou fhouldst have dy'd,

In fin for ever loft from life; this act

Shall bruise the head of Satan, crush his strength
Defeating fin 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 refurrection shall he stay
Longer on earth then certain times to appeer
To his difciples, 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 falvation, them who shall believe
Baptizing in the profluent ftreame, the fign
Of washing them from guilt of fin to life
Pure, and in mind prepar'd, if fo befall,
For death, like that which the Redeemer dy'd.
All nations they shall teach; for from that day
Not only to the fon's of Abraham's loines
Salvation shall be preacht, but to the fons
Of Abraham's faith wherever through the world;
So in his feed all nations fhall be bleft.
Then to the heav'n of heav'ns he shall afcend
With victory, triumphing through the air
Over his foes and thine; there shall surprise
The ferpent, prince of air, and drag in chains

Through all his realme, and there confounded leave; Then enter into glory, and resume

His feat at God's right hand, exalted high

Above all names in heav'n; and thence shall come, When this world's dissolution fhall be ripe,

« PreviousContinue »