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By some false guile pervert: and shall pervert ;
For man will hearken to his glozing lies,
And easily transgress the sole command,
Sole pledge of his obedience: so 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 just and right;
Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.
Such I created all th' ethereal powers,
And spirits, both them who stood, and them who
Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell.
Not free, what proof could they have given sincere
Of true allegiance, constant faith, or love,
Where only what they needs must do, appear'd;
Not what they would? What praise could they re-
What pleasure I from such obedience paid, [ceive?
When will and reason (reason also is choice)
Useless and vain, of freedom both despoil'd
Made passive both, had serv'd necessity,
Not me? They therefore, as to right belong,
So were created, nor can justly accuse
Their Maker, or their making, or their fate;
As if predestination over-rul'd
Their will, dispos'd by absolute decree,
Or high foreknowledge. They themselves decreed
Their own revolt, not I: if I foreknew,
Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault,
Which had no less prov'd certain unforeknown.
So without least 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 so
I form'd them free, and free they must remain,
Till they inthral themselves; I else must change
Their nature, and revoke the high decree
Unchangeable, eternal, which ordain'd
Their freedom; they themselves ordain'd their fall.
The first sort by their own suggestion fell,
Self-tempted, self-deprav'd: man falls, deceiv'd,
By the other first: man therefore shall find grace,
In mercy' and justice both,
The other none.
Through heaven and earth, so shall my glory' excel;
But mercy, first and last, shall brightest shine."
Thus while God spoke, ambrosial fragrance fill'd
All heaven, and in the bless'd spirits elect
Sense of new joy ineffable diffus'd.
Beyond compare the Son of God was seen
Most glorious; in him all his Father shone
Substantially express'd; and in his face
Divine compassion 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 sovereign sentence, that man should find grace, For which both heaven and earth shall high extol Thy praises, with th' innumerable sound
Of hymns and sacred songs, wherewith thy throne
Encompass'd shall resound thee ever bless'd.
For should man finally be lost, should man
Thy creature late so lov'd, thy youngest son,
Fall circumvented thus by fraud, though join'd
With his own folly? That be from thee far,
That far be from thee, Father, who art judge
Of all things made, and judgest only right.
Or shall the adversary thus obtain
His end, and frustrate thine? shall he fulfil
His malice, and thy goodness bring to nought i
Or proud return, though to his heavier doom,
Yet, with revenge accomplish'd, and to hell
Draw after him the whole race of mankind,
By him corrupted? Or wilt thou thyself
Abolish thy creation, and unmake
For him, what for thy glory thou hast made?
So should thy goodness and thy greatness, both
Be question'd, and blasphem'd without defence."
To whom the great Creator thus replied:
"O Son, in whom my soul hath chief delight,
Son of my bosom, Son who art alone
My word, my wisdom, and effectual might!
All hast thou spoken as my thoughts are, all
As my eternal purpose hath decreed.
Man shall not quite be lost, but sav'd who will;
Yet not of will in him, but grace in me
Freely vouchsafed: once more I will renew
His lapsed powers, though forfeit, and inthrall'd
By sin to foul exorbitant desires :
Upheld by me, yet once more he shall stand
On even ground against his mortal foe;
By me upheld, that he may know how frail
His fallen condition is, and to me owe
All his deliverance, and to none but me.
Some I have chosen of peculiar grace
Elect above the rest; so is my will:
The rest shall hear me call, and oft be warn'd
Their sinful state, and to appease betimes
Th' incensed Deity, while offer'd grace
Invites: for I will clear their senses dark,
What may suffice, and soften stony hearts
To pray, repent, and bring obedience due.
To prayer, repentance, and obedience due,
Though but endeavour'd with sincere intent,
Mine ear shall not be slow, mine eye not shut:
And I will place within them as a guide
My umpire Conscience; whom if they will hear,
Light after light well us'd they shall atain
And to the end persisting, safe arrive.
This my long sufferance, and my day of grace,
They who neglect and scorn shall never taste;
But hard be harden'd, blind be blinded more,
That they may stumble on and deeper fall;
And none but such from mercy I exclude.
But yet all is not done. Man disobeying
Disloyal breaks his fealty, and sins
Against the high supremacy of heaven,
Affecting Godhead, and so losing all,
To expiate bis treason hath nought left,
But to destruction, sacred and devote,
He with his whole posterity must die;
Die he or justice must; unless for him
Some other able, and as willing, pay
The rigid satisfaction, death for death.
Say, heavenly powers, where shall we find such love?
Which of ye will be mortal to redcem
Man's mortal crime, and just, th' unjust to save?
Dwells in all heaven charity so dear?"
He ask'd, but all the heavenly choir stood mute, And silence was in heaven: on man's behalf Patron or intercessor none appear'd:
Much less that durst upon his own head draw
The deadly forfeiture, and ransom set.
And now, without redemption, all mankind'
Must have been lost, adjudg'd to death and hell
By doom severe, had not the Son of God,
In whom the fulness dwells of love divine,
His dearest mediation thus renew'd.
"Father, thy word is pass'd; man shall find grace ::
And shall grace not find means, that finds her way,
The speediest of thy winged messengers,
To visit all thy creatures, and to all
Comes unprevented, unimplor'd, unsought?
Happy for man, so coming! he her aid
Can never seek, once dead in sins and lost;
Atonement for himself, or offering meet,
(Indebted and undone !) hath none to bring.
Behold me then! me for him, life for life
I offer; on me let thine anger fall;
Account me man. I for his sake will leave
Thy bosom, and this glory next to thee
Freely put off, and for him lastly die
Well pleased on me let death wreak all his rage;
Under his gloomy power I shall not long
Lie vanquish'd; thou hast given me to possess
Life in myself for ever; by thee I live,
Though now to death I yield, and am his due
All that of me can die; yet that debt paid,
Thou wilt not leave me in the loathsome grave
His prey, nor suffer my unspotted soul
For ever with corruption there to dwell;
But I shall rise victorious, and subdue
My vanquisher, spoil'd of his vaunted spoil;
Death his death's wound shall then receive, and
Inglorious, of his mortal sting disarm'd.
I through the ample air in triumph.high.
Shall lead hell captive, maugre hell! and show
The powers of darkness bound. Thou at the sight
Pleas'd, out of heaven shalt look down, and smile;
While by thee rais'd I ruin all my foes,
Death last, and with his carcass glut the grave:
Then with the multitude of my redeem'd.
Shall enter heaven, long absent, and return,
Father! to see thy face, wherein no cloud
Of anger shall remain: but peace assur'd
And reconcilement: wrath shall be no more
Thenceforth, but in thy presence joy entire."
His words here ended, but his meek aspect
Silent yet spake, and breath'd immortal love
To mortal men, above which only shone
Filial obedience: as a sacrifice
Glad to be offer'd, he attends the will
Of his great Father. Admiration seiz'd
All heaven, what this might mean, and whither tend,
Wond'ring; but soon th' Almighty thus replied:
"O thou, in heaven and earth the only peace
Found out for mankind under wrath! O thou,
My sole complacence! well thou know'st how dear
To me are all thy works, nor man the least,
Though last created; that for him I spare
Thee from my bosom and right hand, to save,
By losing thee a while, the whole race lost.
Thou, therefore, whom thou only canst redeem,
Their nature also to thy nature join,
And be thyself man among men on earth,
Made flesh, when time shall be, of virgin seed,
By wondrous birth: be thou, in Adam's room,
The head of all mankind, though Adam's son.
As in him perish all men, so in thee,
As from a second root, shall be restor'd
As many as are restored, without thee none.
His crime makes guilty all his sons; thy merit
Imputed shall absolve thein who renounce
Their own both righteous and unrighteous deeds,
And live in thee transplanted, and from thee
Receive new life. So man, as is most just,
Shall satisfy for man, be judg'd, and die,