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. Book XII. But first, among the priests diffenfion springs; Men who attend the altar, and should most Endeavour peace: their strife pollution brings 3.55 Upon the temple it self: at lalt they seize The sceptre, and regard not David's-sons: Then lose it to a stranger, that the true Anointed King Messiah might be born Barr'd of His right : yet at His birth a star, 360 Unseen before in heav'n, proclaims him come; And guides the eastern sages, who inquire His place, to offer incenfe, myrrh, and gold : His place of birth a solemn Angel tells To fimple shepherds, keeping watch by night: 365 They gladly thither hafte ; and, by a choir Of squadron'd Angels, hear his carol sung. A virgin is His Mother, but His Sire The Pow'r of the Most High! He shall ascend The throne hereditary, and bound His reign 370 With earth's wide bounds, His glory with the heav'ns !"

He ceas'd, discerning Adam with such joy Surcharg'd, as had, like grief, been dew'd in tears Without the vent of words; which these he breath'd.

O prophet of glad tidings! finisher

375 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 feed of woman: Virgin Mother, hail! High in the love of heav'n! yet from my loins Thou shalt proceed, and from thy womb the Son Of Goo Most High ; so God with man unites. Needs must che serpent now his capital bruise Expect with mortal pain : say, where and when 33.42 Their fight, what stroke shall bruise the victor’s heel ?

380

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 Man-hood to GOD-HEAD, with more strength to foil

Thy Thy enemy : nor so is overcome

390 SATAN, whose fall from heav'n (1 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,

395 But by fulfilling (that which thou didft 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 theirs which out of thine will grow:

400 So only can high justice rest appaid. The law of God exact He shall fulfil, Both by obedience, and by love; though love Alone fulfil the law : thy punishment Wohall endure, by coming in the flesh

405 Tu 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 (tho' legal) works. For this He shall live hated, be blasphemd,

4111 Seiz'd on by force, judg’d, and to death condemn’d, A shameful and accurft! nail'd to the cross By His own nation; slain for bringing life. But to the cross He nails thy enemies,

415
The law that is against thee, and the fins
Of all mankind, with Him there crucify'd,
Never to hurt them more, who rightly trust
In this His fatisfaction. So He dies,
But soon revives; death over Him no pow'r
Shall long usurp: ere the thirj dawning light
Return, the stars of morn shall fee Him

rise
Out of His grave, fresh as the dawning light,
The ransom paid, which man from death redeems,
His death for man, as many as offer'd life

425
Neglect not, and the benefits embrace
By taith, not void of works. This God-like act
Annuks thy doom, the death thou shouldit have dy'd,
Ip fin for ever lost from life: this act

4:29 Shall

420

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Shall bruise the head of Satan, crush his strength,
Defeating Sin and Death, his two main arms:
And fix far deeper in his head their stings,
Than temporal death shall bruise the victor's heel,
Or theirs whom he redeems: a death-like seep!
A gentle wafting to immortal life!

435
Nor after Resurrection shall He stay
Longer on earth, than certain times t'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 falvation; them who shall believe
Baptizing in the profluent streain, the lign
of washing them from guilt of fin, to life
Pure, and in mind prepar'd (if fo befal)
For death, like that which the Redeemer dy’d. 1
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 fons
Of ABRAHAM's faith : where-ever thro' the world:
So in his feed all nations shall be bless'd.
Then to the heav'n of heav'ns shall He ascend
With victory, triumphing through the air
Over his foes and thine ; there shall surprise
The serpent, prince of air, and drag in chains
Thro' 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 the world's diffolution shall be ripe,
With glory, and pow'r, 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! 465

So spake th’ Arch-Angel MICHAEL: then pausid,
As at the world's great period : and our fire,
Replete with joy and wonder, thus reply'd,

450

456

I

O goodness infinite ! goodness immense !
That all this good of evil fhall 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 fin,

475
By me done and occafion'd; or rejoice
Much more, that much more good thereof fhall spring :
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 re-ascend, what will betide the few
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 ?

480

486

Be fure they will, said th'Angel; but from heav'n
He to his own a COMFORTER will send,
The promise of the Father: Who shall dwell
His Spirit within them; and the law of faith
Working thro' love, upon their hearts shall write,
To guide them in all truth ; and also arm

490
With spiritual armour, able to refift
SATAN's assaults, and quench his fiery darts :
What man can do against them, not afraid,
Though to the death ; against such cruelties
With inward confolations recompens'd ;

495
And oft supported so as shall amaze
Their proudest persecutors: for the Spirit
(Pour'd first on His Apostles, whom he sends
T'evangelize the nations; then, on all
Baptiz’d,) shall them with wondrous gifts endue, 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, 505
Their doctrine, and their story written left,
They die. But in their room, as they forewarn,

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Wolves

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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 Thall they seek t'avail themselves of names,
Places, and titles ; and with these to join
Secular pow'r; though feigning still to act
By fpiritual : to themselves appropriating
The Spirit of God, promis'd alike, and giv'n
To all believers: and from that pretense

520
Spiritual laws by carnal pow'r shall force
On every conscience, laws! which none shall find
Left them inrolld; or, what the Spirit within
Shall on the heart ingrave. What will they then
But force the Spirit of Grace it self, and bind

525 His confort liberty ? 'what, but unbuild His living temples, built by faith to stand, Their own faith, not another's; (for on earth, Who against faith and conscience, can be heard Infallible ?) Yet many will presume:

530 Whence heavy persecution shall arise On all, who in the worship persevere Of spirit, and truth : the rest (far greater part) Will deem in outward rites, and specious forms, Religion satisfy'd: truth shall retire

535 Bestuck with fland'rous darts; and works of faith Rarely be found. So shall the world go on, To good malignant, to bad men benign; Under her own weight groaning ; 'till the day Appear of respiration to the just,

540 And vengeance to the wicked : at return Of Him fo lately promis'd to thy aid, The Woman's Seed ; obscurely then foretold ; Now amplier known thy Saviour, and thy LORD ; Leaft, in the clouds, from heav'n to be reveal'd 545 In glory of the FATHER, to diffolve Satan, with his perverted world; then raise

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