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Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love,
Uninterrupted joy, unrival'd love,
In blissful solitude; he then survey'd
Hell and the gulf between, and Satan there
Coasting the wall of Heav'n on this side Night
In the dun air sublime, and ready now
To stoop with wearied wings and willing feet
On the bare outside of this world, that seem'd
Firm land embosom’d, without firmament,
Uncertain which, in ocean or in air.
Him God beholding from his prospect high,
Wherein past, present, future he beholds,
Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake.
ONLY begotten Son, seest thou what rage
Transports our Adversary? whom no bounds
Prescrib’d, no bars of Hell, nor all the chains
Heap'd on him there, nor yet the main abyss
Wide interrupt can hold; so bent he seems
On desperate revenge, that shall redound
Upon his own rebellious head. And now
Through all restraint broke loose he wings his way
Not far off Heav'n, in the precincts of light,
Directly tow'ards the new created world,
And man there plac'd, with purpose to assay
If him by force he can destroy, or worse,
By some false guile pervert; and shall pervert,
For Man will hearken to his glozing lies,
And easily transgress the sole command,
Sole pledge of his obedience : So will fall,
He and his faithless progeny: Whose fault ?
Whose but his own ? Ingrate he had of me
All he could have; I made him just and right,
Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.
Such I created all th' ethereal Powers
And Spirits, both them who stood, and them who fail'd;
Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell.
Not free, what proof could they have giv'n sincere
Of true allegiance, constant faith or love,
Where only what they needs must do appear'd, 105
Not what they would ? what praise could they receive ?
What pleasure I from such obedience paid,
When will and reason (reason also' is choice)
Useless and vain, of freedom both despoil'd,
Made passive both, had serv'd necessity,
Not me! They therefore as to right belong'd,
So were created, nor can justly' accuse
Their maker, or their making, or their fate,
As if predestination over-rul’d
Their will, dispos’d by absolute decree
Or high foreknowledge ; they themselves decreed
Their own revolt, not I ; if I foreknew,
Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault,
Which had no less prov'd certain unforeknown.
So without least impulse or shadow of fate,
Or ought by me immutably foreseen,
They trespass, authors 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 inthrall themselves; I else must change 125
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-depravid: Man falls, deceiv'd
By th’ other first : Man therefore shall find grace,
The other none : in mercy' and justice both,
Through Heav'n and Earth, so shall my glory' excel,
Put mercy first and last shall brightest shine.
Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance fill’d 135
All Heav'n, and in the blessed Spi'rits 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
140 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 clos'd Thy sov'reign sentence, that man should find grace; For which both Heav'n and Earth shall high extol 146 'Thy praises, with th’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, 150 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,
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
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's and blasphem'd without defence.
To whom the great Creator thus reply'd.
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 sav'd who will,
Yet not of will in him, but grace in me
Freely vouchsaf'd; once more I will renew
His lapsed pow'rs, though forfeit and inthrallid
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 deliv'rance, and to none but me,
Some I have chosen of peculiar grace
Elect above the rest; so is
The rest shall hear me call, and oft be warn'd,
Their sinful state, and to appease betimes
Th’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 pray'r, 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 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.
yet all is not done ; Man disobeying, Disloyal breaks his feälty, and sins Against the high supremacy of Heaven,
205 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 heav nly Pow'rs, where shall we find such love? Which of ye will be mortal to redeem Man's mortal crime, and just th' unjust to save ? Dwells in all Heaven charity so dear?