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Seized on by force, judged, and to death con

demned

A shameful and accursed, nailed to the cross
By his own nation, slain for bringing life;
But to the cross he nails thy enemies,
The law that is against thee and the sins
Of all mankind with him there crucified,
Never to hurt them more who rightly trust
In this his satisfaction. So he dies,
But soon revives; Death over him no power
Shall long usurp; ere the third dawning light
Return, the stars of morn shall see him rise
Out of his grave, fresh as the dawning light,
Thy ransom paid, which man from death
redeems,

His death for man-as many as offered life
Neglect not, and the benefit embrace

419

By faith not void of works. This godlike act Annuls thy doom, the death thou shouldst have died

In sin for ever lost from life; this act

Shall bruise the head of Satan, crush his

strength,

430

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 sleepA gentle wafting to immortal life.

Nor after resurrection shall he stay

Longer on earth, than certain times to appear To his disciples, men who in his life

Still followed him; to them shall leave in

charge

To teach all nations what of him they learned And his salvation, them who shall believe 441 Baptizing in the profluent stream-the sign

Of washing them from guilt of sin to life
Pure, and in mind prepared, if so befall,
For death like that which the Redeemer died.
All nations they shall teach; for, from that
day,

Not only to the sons of Abraham's loins

Salvation shall be preached, but to the sons
Of Abraham's faith, wherever through the
world;

So in his seed all nations shall be blest.
450
Then to the Heaven of Heavens he shall ascend
With victory, triúmphing through the air
Over his foes and thine; there shall surprise
The Serpent, Prince of air, and drag in chains
Through 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 Heaven; and thence shall

come,

When this world's dissolution shall be ripe, With glory and power to judge both quick and dead

460

To judge the unfaithful dead, but to reward
His faithful, and receive them into bliss,
Whether in Heaven or earth; for then the
earth

Shall all be Paradise, far happier place
Than this of Eden, and far happier days!"
So spake the Archangel Michaël; then
paused,

As at the world's great period; and our sire,
Replete with joy and wonder, thus replied:

66

470

O Goodness infinite, Goodness immense ! That all this good of evil shall produce, 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 sin

By me done and occasioned, or rejoice

Much more that much more good thereof shall spring,

480

To God more glory more good-will to men
From God, and over wrath grace shall abound.
But say, if our Deliverer up to Heaven
Must reascend, what will betide the few
His faithful, left among the 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 ?"

"Be sure they will," said the Angel; "but from Heaven

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 through love, upon their hearts shall write,

To guide them in all truth, and also arm 490
With spiritual armour, able to resist

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 consolations recompensed,
And oft supported so as shall amaze
Their proudest persecutors. For the Spirit,
Poured first on his Apostles, whom he sends
To evangelize the nations, then on all
Baptized, shall them with wondrous gifts endue
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 Heaven;
at length,

501

Their ministry performed, and race well run, Their doctrine and their story written left, They die; but in their room, as they fore

warn,

Wolves shall succeed for teachers-grievous wolves,

510

Who all the sacred mysteries of Heaven
To their own vile advantages shall turn
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 shall they seek to avail themselves of

names,

Places, and titles, and with these to join
Secular power, though feigning still to act
By spiritual; to themselves appropriating
The Spirit of God, promised alike and given
To all believers; and, from that pretence, 520
Spiritual laws by carnal power shall force
On every conscience, laws which none shall
find

Left them enrolled, or what the Spirit within Shall on the heart engrave. What will they then,

But force the Spirit of Grace itself, and bind
His consort 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;
Whence heavy persecution shall arise
On all, who in the worship persevere
Of Spirit and Truth; the rest (far greater
part)

530

Will deem in outward rites and specious forms Religion satisfied; Truth shall retire

Bestuck with slanderous 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,

And vengeance to the wicked, at return
Of him so lately promised to thy aid,

540

The Woman's Seed, obscurely then foretold, Now amplier known thy Saviour and thy Lord; Last, in the clouds, from Heaven to be revealed

In glory of the Father, to dissolve

Satan, with his perverted world; then raise
From the conflagrant mass, purged and refined,
New Heavens, new earth, ages of endless date,
Founded in righteousness and peace and love,
To bring forth fruits, joy and eternal bliss!" 551
He ended, and thus Adam last replied:
"How soon hath thy prediction, Seer blest,
Measured this transient world, the race of time,
Till time stand fixed! Beyond is all abyss-
Eternity, whose end no eye can reach.
Greatly instructed I shall hence depart,
Greatly in peace of thought, and have my fill
Of knowledge, what this vessel can contain;
Beyond which was my folly to aspire.
Henceforth I learn that to obey is best,
And love with fear the only God, to walk
As in his presence, ever to observe
His providence, and on him sole depend,
Merciful over all his works, with good
Still overcoming evil, and by small
Accomplishing great things-by things deemed
weak

560

Subverting worldly strong, and worldly wise By simply meek; that suffering for truth's sake

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