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Which had no less proved certain unforeknown.
So without least impulse or shadow of fate,
Or aught 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 enthral 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-depraved : man falls deceived
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 mercy, first and last, shall brightest shine.
Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance fillid
All heaven, and in the blessed spirits elect
Sense of new joy ineffable diffused.
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 closed Thy sovereign sentence, that man should find
For which both heaven and earth shall high extol
Thy praises, with the 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 loved, 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 blasphemed 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 saved 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 enthrallid
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
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 eye not shut.
And I will place within them as a guide
My umpire Conscience, whom if they will hear,
Light after light well used 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 fealty, and sins
Against the high supremacy of Heaven,
Affecting Godhead, 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 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 deadiy forfeiture, and ransom set.
And now without redemption all mankind
Must have been lost, adjudged 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, unimplored, 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
Lise 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 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
Pleased, out of heaven shalt look down and smile,
While by thee raised I ruin all my foes,
Death last, and with his carcase 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 assured 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 breathed 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 seized All heaven, what this might mean and whither tend Wondering ; but soon the Almighty thus replied :
O thou in heaven aid earth the only peace
Found out for mankind under wrath, O thou
My sole complacepce ! well thou know'st how dear
To me are all my 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 awhile, 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 restored
As many as are restored, without thee none.
His crime makes guilty all his sons; thy merit
Imputed shall absolve them 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 judged and die,
And dying rise, and rising with him raise
His brethren, ransomed with his own dear life.
So heavenly love shall outdo hellish hate,
Giving to death, and dying to redeem,
So dearly to redeem what hellish hate
So easily destroy'd, and still destroys
In those who, when they may, accept not grace.
Nor shalt thou, by descending to assume
Man's nature, lessen or degrade thine own.
Because thou hast, though throned in highest bliss
Equal to God, and equally enjoying
God-like fruition, quitted all to save
A world from utter loss, and hast been found
By merit more than birthright Son of God,
Found worthiest to be so by being good,
Far more than great or high ; because in thee
Love hath abounded more than glory abounds,
Therefore thy humiliation shall exalt
With thee thy manhood also to this throne ,
Here shalt thou sit incarnate, here shalt reign
Both God and man, Son both of God and man,
Anointed universal King ; all power
I give thee ; reign for ever, and assume
Thy merits; under thee as head supreme
Thrones, princedoms, powers, dominions, I reduce :
All knees to thee shall bow, of them that bide
In heaven, or earth, or under earth in hell.
When thou, attended gloriously from heaven,
Shalt in the sky appear, and from thee send
The summoning archangels to proclaim
Thy dread tribunal : forthwith from all winds
The living, and forthwith the cited dead
Of all past ages, to the general doom
Shall hasten; such a peal shall rouse their sleep.
Then, all thy saints assembled, thou shalt judge
Bad men and angels; they arraign'd shall sink
Beneath thy sentence; hell, her numbers full,
Thenceforth shall be for ever shut. Meanwhile
The world shall burn, and from her ashes spring
New heaven and earth, wherein the just shall dwell,
And, after all their tribulations long,
See golden days, fruitful of golden deeds,
With joy and love triumphing, and fair truth
Then thou thy regal sceptre shalt lay by,
For regal sceptre then no more shall need
God shall be all in all. But, all ye gods,
Adore him, who to compass all this dies
Adore the Son, and honour him as me.
No sooner had the Almighty ceased, but all
The multitude of angels with a shout,
Loud as from numbers without number, sweet
As from blest voices, uttering joy, heaven rung
With jubilee, and loud hosannas fill'd
The eternal regions. Lowly reverent
Towards either throne they bow, and to the ground
With solemn adoration down they cast
Their crowns, inwove with amarant and gold,
Immortal amarant, a flower which once
In Paradise fast by the Tree of Life
Began to bloom, but soon for man's offence
To heaven removed, where first it grew, there grows,
And flowers aloft shading the fount of life,
And where the river of bliss through midst of heaven
Rolls o'er Elysian flowers her amber stream ;
With these that never fade the spirits elect
Bind their resplendent locks inwreath'd with beams;
Now in loose garlands thick thrown off, the bright
Pavement, that like a sea of jasper shone,
Impurpled with celestial roses, smiled.
Then crown'd again their golden harps they took,
Harps ever tuned, that glittering by their side
Like quivers hung, and with preamble sweet
Of charming symphony they introduce
Their sacred song, and waken raptures high ;
No voice exempt, no voice but well could join
Melodious part, such concord is in heaven.
Thee, Father, first they sung, Omnipotent,
Immutable, Immortal, Infinite,
Eternal King ; thee, Author of all being,
Fountain of light, thyself invisible
Amidst the glorious brightness, where thou sitt'st
Throned inaccessible, but when thou shadest
The full blaze of thy beams, and through a cloud,