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Surcharg'd, as had 'ke 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 steadiest thoughts have search'd in vain; Why our great expectation should be call'd The Seed of Woman: Virgin Mother, hail, High in the love of Heav'n, yet from

my

loins 380 Thou shalt proceed, and from thy womb the Son Of God most High; so 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 Son Manhood to God-head, with more strength to foil Thy enemy; nor so is overcome

390 Satan, whose fall from Heav'n, a deadlier bruise, Disabled not to give thee thy death's wound: Which he, who comes thy Saviour, shall recure, Not by destroying Satan, but his works In thee and in thy seed: nor can this be But by fulfilling that which thou didst want, Obedience to the law of God, impos'd On penalty of death, and suffering death, The penalty to thy transgression due, And due to which out of thine will

grow: So only can high justice rest appaid. 401 The law of God exact he shall fulfil

Both by obedience and by love, though love
Alone fulfil the law; thy punishment
He shall endure by coming in the flesh
To a reproachful life and cursed death,
Proclaiming life to all who shall believe
In his redemption, and that his obedience
Imputed becomes theirs by faith, his merits
To save them, not their own, though legal works.
For this he shall live hated, be blasphem'd, 411
Seiz'd on by force, judg’d, and to death condemn'd
A shameful and accursid, nail'd to the cross
By his own nation, slain for bringing life;
But to the cross he nails thy enemics,
The law that is against thee, and the sins
Of all mankind, with him there crucify'd,
Never to hurt them more who rightly trust
In this his satisfaction; so he dies,
But soon revives; Death over him no power 420
Shall long usurp; ere the third dawning light
Return, the stars of morn shall see him rise
Out of his grave, fresh as the dawning light
Thy ransom paid, which man from death redeems,
His death for man, as many as offer'd life
Neglect not, and the benefit embrace
By faith not void of works: this God-like act
Annuls thy doom, the death thou shouldst have dy'd,
In sin for ever lost from life; this act
Shall bruise the head of Satan, crush his strength,
Defeating sin and death, his 'two main arms, 431
And fix far deeper in his head their stings

Than temp’ral death shall bruise the victor's heel,
Or theirs whom he redeems, a death-like sleep,
A gentle wafting to immortal life.
Nor after resurrection shall he stay
Longer on earth than certain times to appear
To his disciples, 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 440
And his salvation, them who shall believe
Baptizing in the profluent stream, the sign
Of washing them from guilt of sin to life
Pure, and in mind prepar'd, if so befal,
For death, like that which the Redeemer dy'd.
All nations they shall teach ; for from that day
Not only to the sons of Abraham's loins
Salvation shall be preach'd, but to the sons
Of Abraham's faith wherever through the world;
So in his seed all nations shall be blest. 450
Then to the Heav'n of Heav'ns he shall ascend
With victory, triumphing through the air
Over his foes and thine ; there shall surprise
The Serpent, prince of air, and drag in chains
Through all his realm, and there confounded leave;
Then enter into glory, and resume
His seat at God's right hand, exalted high
Above all names in Heav'n; and thence shall come,
When this world's dissolution shall be ripe,
With glory’and power to judge both quick and dead,
To judge th' unfaithful dead, but to reward 461
His faithful, and receive them into bliss,

Whether in Heav'n or Earth, for then the Earth
Shall all be Paradise, far happier place
Than this of Eden, and far happier days.

So spake th’ Arch-angel Michaël, then paus', As at the world's great period; and our sire Replete with joy and wonder thus reply'd :

O Goodness infinite, Goodness immense ! That all this good of evil shall produce.

470 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 (spring, Much more, that much more good thereof shall To God more glory, more good-will to men From God, and over wrath grace shall abound. But say, if our Deliverer up to Heav'n Must reascend, what will betide the few 480 His faithful, left among th' 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 th' Angel; but from Heava He to his own a Comforter will send, The promise of the Father, who shall dwell His Spi'rit within them, and the law of faith Working through love, upon their hearts shall write, To guide them in all truth, and also arm 490 With spiritual armor, able to resist Satan's assaults, and quiench his fiery darts,

What man can do against them, not afraid,
Though to the death, against such cruelties.
With inward consolations recompens’d,
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 500
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 Heav'n: 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 Heav'n
To their own vile advantages shall turn 510
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 Spi'rit of God, promis'd alike and given
To all believers; and from that pretence, 520
Spiritual laws by carnal power shall force
On every conscience; laws which none shall find

VOL.11.

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