Page images
PDF
EPUB

бо

About Him all the San&tities of heav'n
Stood thick as stars, and from His fight receiv'd
Beatitude past utt'rance: on His right
The radiant image of His glory fat,
His only Son. On earth He first beheld
Our two first parents (yet the only two
Of mankind) in the happy garden plac'd,
Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love;
Uninterrupted joy, unrival'd love,
In blissful folitude. He then furvey'd ́
Hell, and the gulf between, and Satan there
Ccafting the wall of heav'n on this fide night,
In the dun air fublime; and ready now
To stoop with wearied wings, and willing feet,
On the bare outfide of this world, that feem'd
Firm land imbofom'd without firmament;
Uncertain which, in ocean, or in air.
Him God beholding from His, profpect high,
Wherein past, prefent, future He beholds,
Thus to His only Son foreseeing spake.

Only begotten Son! feeft thou what rage
Transports our adversary, whom no bounds
Prefcrib'd, no bars of hell, nor all the chains
Heap'd on him there, nor yet the main abyfs
Wide-interrupt, can hold? So bent he seems
On defperate revenge, that shall redound
Upon his own rebellious head. And now
Through all restraint broke loose, he wings his way
Not far off heav'n, in the precincts of light,
Directly towards the new-created world,

$5

65

70

75

[ocr errors]

And

100

And man there plac'd; with purpose to affay
If him by force he can destroy, or worse,
By fome falfe guile pervert: and shall pervert ;
For man will hearken to his glozing lies,
And easily tranfgrefs the fole command,
Sole pledge of his obedience: fo will fall,
He, and his faithless progeny. Whose fault?
Whose but his own? Ingrate! he had of me
All he could have: I made him juft, and right;
Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.
Such I created all th' ethereal Pow'rs,
And spirits,both them who stood, and them who fail'd :
Freely they stood who ftood, and fell who fell.
Not free, what proof could they have giv'n fincere
Of true allegiance, conftant faith, or love,
Where only what they needs must do, appear'd;
Not, what they would? What praise could they receive?
What pleasure I from fuch obedience paid,
When will and reafon (reason also is choice)
Useless and vain, of freedom both despoil'd,
Made paffive both, had ferv'd neceffity,
Not Me? They therefore, as to right belong'd,
So were created, nor can justly accuse

104

Their Maker, or their making, or their fate;
As if predestination over-rul'd

115

Their will, difpos'd by abfolute decree,
Or high fore-knowledge. They themfelves decreed
Their own revolt, not I: if I fore-knew,
Fore-knowledge had no influence on their fault,
Which had no less prov'd certain unforeknown.
E

90

95

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

So without leaft impulse, or shadow of fate,
Or ought by Me immutably foreseen,
They trespass; authors to themselves in all,
Both what they judge, and what they choose; for fo
I form'd them free, and free they must remain,
Till they inthrall themfelves; I else must change
Their nature, and revoke the high decree
Unchangeable, eternal, which ordain'd

120

126

Their freedom; they themselves ordain'd their fall.
The first fort by their own suggestion fell,
Self-tempted, self-deprav'd: man falls deceiv'd 130
By th' other first: Man therefore shall find grace;
The other none: in mercy and justice both,
Through heav'n and earth, so shall my glory excel;
But mercy, first and last, shall brightest shine.

136

Thus while God fpake, ambrofial fragrance fill'd All heav'n, and in the blessed spirits elect Senfe of new joy ineffable diffus'd. Beyond compare the Son of God was feen Moft glorious; in Him all His Father shon Substantially exprefs'd; and in His Face Divine compaffion visibly appear'd,

Love without end, and without measure grace;

Which uttering, thus He to His Father spake.

O Father! gracious was that word which clos'd Thy fov'reign fentence, that man should find grace; For which both heav'n and earth shall high extol 146 Thy praises, with th' innumerable found

Of hymns, and facred fongs, wherewith thy throne Encompass'd shall refound thee ever blest,

140

9

of fit, For fhould man finally be loft, should man
Thy creature late fo lov'd, thy youngest son,
in all Fall circumvented thus by fraud, tho' join'd
chocie With his own folly? That be from thee far,
uft remai
That far be from thee, Father, who art judge
muft ch Of all things made, and judgest only right.
Or fhall the adversary thus obtain

lect

ecree

'd

fell,

His end, and fruftrate thine; shall he fulfil
in'd the His malice, and thy goodness bring to nought,
Or proud return (though to his heavier doom,)
decer Yet, with revenge accomplish'd, and to hell
Draw after him the whole race of mankind,
find gr
By him corrupted? Or wilt thou thy felf
Abolish thy creation, and unmake

both, glory ex eft thine grance

For him, what for thy glory thou haft made?
So fhould thy goodness, and thy greatness, both 165
Be question'd, and blafphem'd without defense.
To whom the great Creator thus reply'd.
Son, in whom my foul hath chief delight,
ion of my bofom, Son who art alone

(een

hon

grace; fpake. hich c

Find gra
extel

150

thy the y thr

155

160

My word, my wifdom, and effectual might! 170
All haft thou spoken as My thoughts are, all
As My eternal purpose hath decreed.

Yet

Man fhall not quite be loft, but fav'd who will;
not of will in him, but grace in Me
freely vouchfaf'd: once more I will renew
lis lapfed pow'rs, though forfeit, and inthrall'd
y fin to foul exorbitant defires:
pheld by Me, yet once more he shall stand
In even ground against his mortal foe:

175

By Me upheld, that he may know how frail
His fall'n condition is, and to Me owe
All his deliv'rance, and to none but Me.
Some I have chofen of peculiar grace
Elect above the reft: fo is My will:

180

The rest shall hear Me call, and oft be warn'd
Their finful state, and to appease betimes
Th' incenfed Deity, while offer'd grace
Invites: for I will clear their fenfes dark,
What may fuffice, and foften ftony hearts
To pray, repent, and bring obedience due.
To pray'r, repentance, and obedience due,
(Though but endeavour'd with fincere intent)
Mine ear fhall not be flow, Mine eye not shut.
And I will place within them as a guide
My umpire Confcience; whom if they will hear,
Light after light well us'd they shall attain,
And to the end perfifting, safe arrive.
This my long fufferance, and My day of grace,
They who neglect and fcorn, shall never tafte;
But hard be harden'd, blind be blinded more;
That they may stumble on, and deeper fall:
And none but fuch from mercy I exclude.
But yet all is not done: Man disobeying,
Difoyal breaks his fealty, and fins
Against the high supremacy of heav'n,
Affecting God-head, and fo lofing all,
To expiate his treafon hath nought left:
But to deftruction facred, and devote,
He with his whole pofterity must die;

185

190

194

200

205

« PreviousContinue »