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But what if better counsels might erect
Our minds, and teach us to cast off this yoke ?
Will

ye

submit your necks, and choose to bend
The supple knee? ye will not, if I trust
To know ye right, or if ye know yourselves
Natives and sons of heav'n, possest before
By none, and if not equal all, yet free,
Equally free; for orders and degrees
Jar not with liberty, but well consist.
Who can in reason then or right assume
Monarchy over such as live by right
His equals, if in power and splendour less,
In freedom equal? or can introduce
Law and edict on us, who without law
Err not? much less for this to be our Lord,
And look for adoration, to th' abuse
Of those imperial titles, which assert
Our being ordain'd to govern, not to serve ?

Thus far his bold discourse without control
Had audience, when among the seraphim
Abdiel, than whom none with more zeal adored
The Deity, and divine commands obey'd,
Stood up, and in a flame of zeal seyere
The current of his fury thus opposed.

O argument blasphemous, false, and proud,
Words which no ear ever to hear in heav'n
Expected, least of all from thee, ingrate,
In place thyself so high above thy peers.
Canst thou with impious obloquy condemn
The just decree of God, pronounced and sworn,
That to His only Son, by right endued
With regal sceptre, every soul in heav'n
Shall bend the knee,' and in that honour due
Confess him rightful king? unjust thou say'st,
Flatly unjust, to bind with laws the free,
And equal over equals to let reign,
One over all with unsucceeded power.

1

1 Phip, ti. 9, 10, 11,

2

Shalt thou give law to God?' shalt thou dispute
With him the points of liberty, who made
Thee what thou art, and form’d the pow’rs of heav'n
Such as he pleased, and circumscribed their being ?
Yet by experience taught we know how good,
And of our good, and of our dignity
How provident He is; how far from thought
To make us less, bent rather to exalt
Our happy state under one head more near
United. But to grant it thee unjust,
That equal over equals monarch reign:
Thyself though great and glorious dost thou count,
Or all angelic nature join'd in one,
Equal to him begotten Son, by whom
As by His word the mighty Father made
All things, ev’n thee, and all the spirits of heav'n
By him created in their bright degrees,”
Crown'd them with glory, and to their glory named
Thrones, dominations, princedoms, virtues, powers,
Essential powers; nor by his reign obscured,
But more illustrious made, since he the head
One of our number thus reduced becomes;
His laws our laws, all honour to him done
Returns our own.

Cease then this impious rage,
And tempt not these; but hasten to appease
Th' incensed Father, and th' incensèd Son,:
While pardon may be found in time besought.

So spake the rvent angel; but his zeal
None seconded, as out of season judged
Or singular and rash; whereat rejoiced
The Apostate, and more haughty thus replied.

That we were form'd then say'st thou ? and the work
Of secondary hands, by task transferr'd
From Father to his Son ? strange point and new!
Doctrine which we would know whence learn'd: who saw
When this creation was ? remember'st thou
Thy making, while the Maker gave thee being ?

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1 Rom. ix. 20.

% Colos. i. 15, 16, 17.

3 Psalm ii.

We know no time when we were not as now;
Know none before us, self-begot, self-raised
By our own quick’ning power, when fatal course
Had circled his full orb, the birth mature
Of this our native heav'n, ethereal sons.
Our puissance is our own, our own right hand
Shall teach us highest deeds, by proof to try
Who is our equal: then thou shalt behold
Whether by supplication we intend
Address, and to begird th' Almighty throne
Beseeching or besieging. This report,
These tidings carry to th' anointed king;
And fly, ere evil intercept thy flight.

He said, and, as the sound of waters deep,
Hoarse murmur echo'd to his words applause
Through the infinite host; nor less for that
The flaming seraph fearless, though alone
Encompass'd round with foes, thus answer'd bold.

O alienate from God, O spirit accurst,
Forsaken of all good, I see thy fall
Determined, and thy hapless crew involved
In this perfidious fraud, contagion spread
Both of thy crime and punishment. Henceforth
No more be troubled how to quit the yoke
Of God's MESSIAH; those indulgent laws
Will not be now vouchsafed, other decrees
Against thee are gone forth without recall :
That golden sceptre which thou didst reject
Is now an iron rod, to bruise and break
Thy disobedience. Well thou didst advise ;
Yet not for thy advice or threats I fly.
These wicked tents devoted, lest the wrath
Impendent raging into sudden flame
Distinguish not; for soon expect to feel
His thunder on thy head, devouring fire.
Then who created thee lamenting learn,
When who can uncreate thee thou shalt know.

So spake the seraph Abdiel faithful found,
Among the faithless faithful only he:
Among innumerable false unmoved,

Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified,
His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal;
Nor number, nor example with him wrought
To swerve from truth, or change his constant mind
Though single. From amidst them forth he pass’d,
Long way through hostile scorn, which he sustain'd
Superior, nor of violence fear'd aught;
And with retorted scorn his back he turn'd
On those proud tow'rs to swift destruction doom’d.

BOOK V I.

THE ARGUMENT.

Raphael continues to relate how Michael and Gabriel were sent forth to battle against Satan and his angels. The first fight described : Satan and his powers retire under night: he calls a council, invents devilish engines, which in the second day's fight put Michael and his angels to some disorder; but they at length pulling up mountains overwhelmed both the force and machines of Satan ; yet the tumult not 80 ending, God on the third day sends Messiah his Son, for whom he had reserved the glory of that victory. He in the power of his Father coming to the place, and causing all his legions to stand still on either side, with his chariot and thunder driving into the midst of his enemies, pursues them unable to resist towards tho wall of heaven ; which opening, they leap down with horror and confusion into the place of punishment prepared for them in the deep. Messiah returns with triumph to his Father.

till morn,

All night the dreadless angel unpursued
Through heav'n's wide champaign held his way,
Waked by the circling hours, with rosy hand
Unbarr'd the gates of light. There is a cave
Within the mount of God, fast by his throne,
Where light and darkness in perpetual round
Lodge and dislodge by turns, which makes through heav'n
Grateful vicissitude, like day and night:
Light issues forth, and at the other door
Obsequious darkness enters, till her hour
To veil the heav'n, though darkness there might well
Seem twilight here; and now went forth the morn
Such as in highest heav'n, array'd in gold
Empyreal, from before her vanish'd night,
Shot through with orient beams : when all the plain
Cover'd with thick embattled squadrons bright,
Chariots, and flaming arms, and fiery steeds,
Reflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view.
War he perceived, war in procinct, and found
Already known what he for news had thought
To have reported: gladly then he mix'd
Among those friendly powers, who him received
With joy and acclamations loud, that one,
That of so many myriads fall’n get one

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