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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 130
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 135
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 expressid ; 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 144. Thy sov'reign sentence, that man should find grace; For which both Heaven and Earth shall high extol Thy praises, with the innumerable sound Of hynms and sacred songs, wherewith thy throne Encompass d shall resound thee ever bless’d. For should Man finally be lost ? should Man, 150 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.
155 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 160 Draw after him the whole race of inankind, 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:
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 175
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 180
His fallen condition is, and to me owe
Ail 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 185
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. 190
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, 195
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, i 205
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 . 210
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? 215
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 appeard, . :
Much less that durst upon his own head draw 220
The deadly 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,
225 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
230 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; 235 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 245
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 then shall 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 255
Pleased, out of Heaven shalt look down and smile ;
While, by thee raised, I ruin all my foes,
Death last, and with his carcass glut the grave :
Then, with the multitude of my redeem'd, 260
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 anru Earth the only peace Found out for mankind under wrath! O thou 275 My sole complacence! 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 loosing thee a while, the whole race lost. 280
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 285
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, 290
Imputed, shail 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, 295
And dying rise, and rising with him raise
His brethren, ransom’d 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 305
Equal to God, and equally enjoying
Godlike 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 throno :
Here shalt thou sit incarnato, here shalt reign 315
Both God and Man, Son both of God and Man,