Imatges de pÓgina
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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,
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 sleep,
A 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 learn'd
And his salvation : them who shall believe
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 preach'd, but to the sons
Of Abraham's faith wherever through the world;
So in his seed all nations shall be blest.
Then to the heaven of heavens he shall ascend
With victory triumphing 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;
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 Michael; then paused,
As at the world's great period; and our sire,
Replete with joy and wonder, thus replied:

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 occasion'd; or rejoice
Much more, that much more good thereof shall spring;
To God more glory, more goodwill to men
From God, and over wrath grace shall abound.

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But
say,
if our Deliverer

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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
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,
Pour'd 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,
Their ministry perform’d, and race well run,
Their doctrine and their story written left,
They die; but in their room, as they forewarn,
Wolves shall succeed for teachers, grievous wolves,
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

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y Though not but by the Spirit understood. I do not think Milton, in all his writings, ever gave a stronger proof of his enthusi. i astical spirit than in this line.-- WARBURTON.

2 Secular power.

On this subject he had been particularly copious in the tract of Reformation in England,' Prose Works, i. p. 264, ed. 1698 :"If the life of Christ be hid to this world, much more is his sceptre unoperative, but in spiritual things. And thus lived for two or three ages the successors of the apostles. But when, through Constantine's lavish superstition, they forsook their first love, and set themselves up too in God's stead, Mammon and their belly; then, taking advantage of the spiritual pover, which they had on men's consciences, they began to cast a longing eye to get the body also, and bodily things, into their command; upon which, their carnal desires, the Spirit daily quenching and dying in them, knew no way to keep themselves up from falling to nothing,

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By spiritual, to themselves appropriating,
The Spirit of God, promised alike, and given
To all believers; and, from that pretence,
Spiritual laws by carnal power shall force
On every conscience; laws which none shall find a
Left them inroll'd, 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 beard
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,
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,
The woman's seed; obscurely then foretold,
Now amplier known thy Saviour and thy Lord :
Last, in the clouds, from heaven to be reveal'd
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,e ages of endless date, but by bolstering and supporting their inward rottenness by a carnal and outward i strength."-TODD.

a Laws rhich none shall find. Laws, as Hume and Dr. Newton observe, neither agreeable to revealed or natural religion; neither to be found in Holy Scripture, or written on their hearts by the Spirit of God; Inws contrary to his promise, who has said, " I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it on their hearts,” Jer. xxxi. 33.–Todd.

b His consort liberty. "For where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty," 2 Cor. iii. 17.-Newton.

c His liring temples. Christians are called "the temples of God," 1 Cor. iii. 16, 17; and vi. 19.-NEWTON.

See also Milton's Prose Works, vol. i. p. 231, ed. 1698 :-“As if the touch of a lay Christian, who is nevertheless God's living temple, could profane dead Judaisms."Todd.

d Last, in the clouds. "Coming in the clouds of Heaven," Matt. xxvi. 64.-—“ The Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father,” Matt. xvi. 27.--Gillies.

e Nero hearens, nero earth. The very words of St. Peter, 2 Pet. iii. 13:—“Nevertheless, we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." This notion of the heavens and earth being renewed after the conflagration, and made the

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Founded in righteousness, and peace, and love;
To bring forth fruits, joy and eternal bliss.

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 fix'd! 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 deem'd weak
Subverting worldly strong,' and worldly wise
By simply meek : that suffering for truth's sake
Is fortitude to highest victory;
And, to the faithful, death the gate of life;
Taught this by his example, whom I now
Acknowledge my Redeemer ever blest.

To whom thus also the angel last replied:
This having learn'd, thou hast attain'd the sum
Of wisdom : hope no higher, though all the stars 5
Thou knew'st by name, and all the ethereal powers.
All secrets of the deep, all Nature's works,
Or works of God in heaven, air, earth, or sea,
And all the riches of this world enjoy'dst,

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habitation of angels and just men made perfect, was very pleasing to Milton, as it was to Dr. Burnet; and must be to every one of a tine and exalted imagination : and Milton has enlarged upon it in several parts of his works, and particularly in this poem, b. iii. 333, &c.; b. x. 638; b. xi. 65, 900: b. xii. 462.-NEWTOX.

Compare with this poetic passage Milton's animated description in prose of Christ's "universal and mild monarchy through heaven and earth ; where they undoubtedly, that, by their labours, counsels, and prayers, have been earnest for the common good of religion and their country, shall receive, above the inferior orders of the blessed, the regal addition of principalities, legions, and thrones, into their glorious titles; and in supereminence of beatific vision progressing the dateless and irrevoluble circle of eternity, shall clasp inseparable hands with joy and bliss in over-measure for ever." See the end of his . Reformation in England.'-Topp.

r Subverting worldly strong. "God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God bath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;" 1 Cor. i. 27. And so in the rest there is the sense of Scripture if not the very worils: as, to obey is best :-"Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice," 1 Sam. xv. 22. And, on him sole depend :-“Casting your care upon him, for he careth for you," 1 Pet. v. 7. And merciful over all his works :-“ Iis mercies aro over all his works,” Psalm cxlv. 9.NEWrox.

$ Though all the stars. The turn of the sentence resembles, as Mr. Stillingfleet observes, when St. Paul says, 1 Cor. xiii. 2 :—" And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowlege, and have not charity, I am nothing."-TODD.

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And all the rule, one empire : only add
Deeds to thy knowledge answerable; add faith,
Add virtue, patience, temperance; add love,
By name to come call’d charity, the soul
Of all the rest : then wilt thou not be loth
To leave this Paradise, but shalt possess
A paradise within thee, happier far.
Let us descend now therefore from this top
Of speculation;" for the hour precise
Exacts our parting hence; and, see! the guards,
By me encamp'd on yonder hill, expect
Their motion; at whose front a flaming sword,
In signal of remove, waves fiercely round.
We may no longer stay: go, waken Eve;
Her also I with gentle dreams have calm’d,
Portending good, and all her spirits composed
To meek submission : thou, at season fit,
Let her with thee partake what thou hast heard ;
Chiefly, what may concern her faith to know,
The great deliverance by her seed to come
(For by the woman's seed) on all mankind;
That ye may live, which will be many days,
Both in one faith unanimous, though sad,
With cause, for evils past; yet much more cheer'd
With meditation on the happy end.

He ended, and they both descend the hill :
Descended, Adam to the bower, where Eve
Lay sleeping, ran before; but found her waked;
And thus with words not sad she him received :

Whence thou return'st, and whither went'st, I know;
For God is also in sleep;i and dreams advise,
Which he hath sent propitious, some great good
Presaging, since with sorrow and heart's distress
Wearied I fell asleep: but now lead on;
In me is no delay; with thce to go,
Is to stay here; without thee here to stay,
Is to go hence unwilling: thou to me
Art all things under heaven, all places thou,
Who for my wilful crime art banish'd hence.
This farther consolation yet secure

h From this top Of speculation. From this hill of prophecy and prediction. Speculation, a watching on a tower or high place; thence a discovery, and therefore applied to the prophets in the sacred page, who are called “seers” and “watchmen,” speculators, of specula, Latin, a

“watchtower." See Ezekiel, iii, 17; and also chap. xxxiii. 3—7.-HUME.

i For God is also in sleep. See Numb. xii. 6:4" If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known anto him in a vision, and I will speak unto him in a dream.” And thus Homer, II. i. 63 :-Kai yáp q' õvap éALÓS Éotiv. And the application is very elegant in this place, as Adam's was a vision, and Eve's a dream; and God was in the one as well as in the other.-NEWTON.

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