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They open to themselves at length the way
Up hither, under long obedience try'd,


And Earth be chang'd to Heav'n, and Heav'n to Earth,
One kingdom, joy and union without end.
Mean while inhabit lax, ye Pow'rs of Heaven,
And thou my Word, begotten Son, by thee
This I perform, fpeak thou, and be it done:
My overshadowing Spi'rit and might with thee 165
I send along; ride forth, and bid the deep
Within appointed bounds be Heav'n and Earth,
Boundless the deep, because I am who fill
Infinitude, nor vacuous the fpace.
Though I uncircumfcrib'd myself retire,
And put not forth my goodness which is free

the Angels frequently visiting Earth, and Men being tranflated to Heaven.

162. Mean while inhabit lax, Dwell more at large, there being

more room now than there was be

fore the rebel Angels were expell'd,

or than there will be after Men are tranflated to Heaven. If this be

the meaning, we cannot much com

mend the beauty of the fentiment, as it intimates that the Angels might be straiten'd for room in Heaven.

165. My overshadowing Spirit] As God's Spirit is faid to do, Luke I 35. The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest



and we

hall overshadow thee:
read Gen. I. 2. that the Spirit of
the face of the waters. The Spirit
God moved, or rather brooded, upon
of God cooperated in the creation,
with the Son.
and therefore is faid to be fent along

168. Boundless the deep. &c] The the space contain'd in it is not vafenfe is, the deep is boundless, but cuous and empty, because there is an infinitude and I fill it. Tho' I, who am myself uncircumfcrib'd, fet bounds to my goodness, and do not exert it every where, yet neither neceffity nor chance influence my actions, &'c.

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To act or not, neceffity and chance

Approach not me, and what I will is fate.

So fpake th' Almighty, and to what he spake
His Word, the filial Godhead, gave effect.

Immediate are the acts of God, more swift
Than time or motion, but to human ears
Cannot without procéfs of speech be told,
So told as earthly notion can receive.


Great triumph and rejoicing was in Heaven,


When fuch was heard declar'd th' Almighty's will;

Glory they fung to the moft High, good will

To future men, and in their dwellings peace:

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182. Glory they fung to the most

High, &c.] The Angels are very properly made to fing the fame divine fong to usher in the creation, that they did to usher in the fecond creation by Jefus Chrift, Luke II. 14. And we cannot but approve Dr. Bentley's emendation, Glory they fung to God moft High, inftead of to the most High, as it improves the measure of the verfe, is more oppos'd to men immediately following, and agrees better with the words of St. Luke, Glory to God in the higheft, and on earth peace, good will towards

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Glory to him, whofe juft avenging ire
Had driven out th' ungodly from his fight
And th' habitations of the juft; to him

Glory and praife, whose wisdom had ordain'd
Good out of evil to create, inftead

Of Spi'rits malign a better race to bring

Into their vacant room, and thence diffuse

His good to worlds and

ages infinite.

So fang the Hierarchies: Mean while the Son
On his great expedition now appear'd,

Girt with omnipotence, with radiance crown'd
Of majesty divine; fapience and love

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The Meffiah, by whom, as we are 192. Mean while the Son &c.] told in Scripture, the worlds were made, comes forth in the power of his Father, furrounded with an host

Immenfe, and all his Father in him fhone. About his chariot numberlefs were pour'd Cherub and Seraph, Potentates and Thrones, And Virtues, winged Spi'rits, and chariots wing'd From th' armoury of God, where ftand of old 200 Myriads between two brazen mountains lodg'd Against a folemn day, harness'd at hand, Celestial equipage; and now came forth Spontaneous, for within them Spirit liv'd,

of Angels, and clothed with fuch a majesty as becomes his entring upon a work, which according to our conceptions appears the utmost exertion of omnipotence. What a beautiful defcription has our author raifed upon that hint in one of the Prophets! And behold there came four chariots out from between two mountains, and the mountains were mountains of brass. (Zech. VI. 1.) I have. before taken notice of these chariots of God, and of the gates of Hea ven; and fhall here only add, that Homer gives us the fame idea of the latter, as opening of themfelves; though he afterwards takes off from it by telling us, that the Hours firft of all removed thofe prodigious heaps of clouds which lay as a barrier before them. Addifon.

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206. On golden hinges moving,] Gates moving found on hinges. So III. 37. Thoughts move harmonious numbers.


Attendent on their Lord: Heav'n open'd wide 205 Her ever during gates, harmonious found

On golden hinges moving, to let forth

The King of Glory in his pow'rful Word
And Spirit coming to create new worlds.

On heav'nly ground they stood, and from the fhore
They view'd the vast immeasurable abyfs

Outrageous as a fea, dark, wafteful, wild,
Up from the bottom turn'd by furious winds



Horace expreffes it in the fame man- Hic fuperum fator informem fpecu

ner, Ep. II. II. 86.

Verba lyræ motura fonum connec

tere digner?

The infernal doors had no fuch harmony; they grated harsh thunder that fbook Erebus, II. 881. Richardfon.

210. On beavenly ground they food,

&c.] I do not know any thing in the whole poem more fubdime than the defcription which follows, where the Meffiah is reprefented at the head of his Angels, as looking down into the Chaos, calm ing its confufion, riding into the midst of it, and drawing the firft out-line of the creation, Addifon.

211. They view'd &c.] Milton's defcription of God the Son and his attendent Angels viewing the vast unmeasurable abyss &c has a great resemblance to the following paffage in Vida. Chrift. Lib. 1.

latus acervum,

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