« PreviousContinue »
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, The other none : In mercy and justice both, Through Heaven and earth, so shall my glory excel, But merey, first and last, shall brightest shine. .
Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance filled All Heaven, and in the blessed 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 lis Father spake.
O Father, gracious was that word which clos'd Thy sovran sentence, that Man should find grace ; For which both Heaven and Earth shall both extol Thy praises, with the innumerable sound Of hymns and sacred songs. wherewith thy throne Encompass'd shall resound thee ever blest. 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,
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
eternal purpose hath decreed :
Man shall not quite be lost, but sav'd who will ;
Yet not of will in him, but grace
Freely vouchsaf'd; once more I will renew
His lapsed powers, though forfeit, and enthrall’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 fall’n 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
The rest shall hear me call, and oft be warn’d
Their sinful state, and to appease betimes
The 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
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 attain, 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 feälty, and sins Against the high supremacy of Heaven, Affecting God-head, and, so losing all, To expiate his 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 redeem
Man's mortal crime, and just the unjust to save ?
Dwells in all Heaven charity so dear?
He ask'd, but all the heavenly quire stood mute,
And silence was in Heaven: On Man's behalf
Patron or intercessour 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 past, 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 pleas'd; 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 yaid,
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 stoop
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 aspéct