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Wherein past, present, future, he beholds,
Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake:
Only begotten Son, seest thou what
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
85 Upon his own rebellious head. And now, Through all restraint broke loose, he wings
Not far off Heav'n, in the precincts of light,
Directly tow'rds the new-created world,
And Man there plac'd, with purpose to assay go
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, 95
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 pow'rs
100 And Sp'rits, 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,
Not what they would ? what praise could they receive ?
106 What pleasure I from such obedience paid, When will and reason (reason also 's 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 115 Or high foreknowledge; they themselves decreed Their own revolt, not I. If I foreknew, Foreknowledge had no influ’nce on their fault, Which had no less prov'd certain unforeknown. So without least impulse or shadow of fate, 120 Or aught by me immutably foreseen, They trespass, authors to themselves in all Both what they judge and what they choose;
I form'd them free, and free they must remain,
Till they enthrall themselves; I else must change
Their nature, and revoke the high decree I 26
Unchangeable, eternal, which ordain'd
Their freedom, they themselves ordain’d their fall.
The first sort by their own suggestion fell, 129
Self-tempted, self-deprav’d: 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, But mercy first and last shall brightest shine.
Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance fillid All Heav'n, and in the blessed Sp'rits elect 136 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 utt'ring, thus he to his Father spake :
O Father, gracious was that word which clos'd Thy sov'reign sentence, that Man should find grace;
145 For which both Heav'n and Earth shall high extol 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 160
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'd 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, 170
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
Freely vouchsaf’d. Once more I will renew 175
His lapsed pow'rs, though forfeit and inthrall’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 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
will: The rest shall hear me call, and oft be warn'd Their sinful state, and to appease betimes 186 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.
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,
Light after light well us'd they shall attain, 196
And, to the end persisting, safe arrive.
This my long suff'rance 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 : 201
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 Heav'n,
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 heav'nly Pow'rs, where shall we find such
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? 216
He ask'd; but all the heav'nly choir stood mute,
And silence was in Heav'n: on Man's behalf
Patron or intercessor none appear'd,