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Defcry'd, divinely warn'd, and witness bore
As to his worthier, and would have refign'd
To him his heavenly office, nor was long
His witness unconfirm'd: on him baptiz'd
Heav'n open'd, and in likeness of a dove
The spirit descended, while the father's voice
From heav'n pronounc'd him his beloved fon.
That heard the adversary, who roving ftill
About the world, at that affembly fam'd
Would not be laft, and with the voice divine
Nigh thunder-ftruck, th' exalted man, to whom
Such high atteft was giv'n, a while furvey'd
With wonder, then with envy fraught, and rage,
Flies to his place, nor refts, but in mid air
To council fummons all his mighty peers,
Within thick clouds and dark ten-fold involv'd,
A gloomy confiftory; and them amidst
With looks agaft and fad he thus befpake.

O antient pow'rs of air and this wide world,
For much more willingly I mention air,
This our old conqueft, than remember hell
Our hated habitation; well ye know
How many ages, as the years of men,
This universe we have possest, and rul'd
In manner at our will th' affairs of earth,
Since Adam and his facil confort Eve
Loft paradife deceiv'd by me, though fince
With dread attending when that fatal wound
Shall be inflicted by the feed of Eve
Upon my head, long the decrees of heav'n
Delay, for longeft time to him is fhort;

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And now too foon for us the circling hours
This dreaded time have compast, wherein we
Muft bide the ftroak of that long threatn'd wound,
At least if so we can, and by the head
Broken be not intended all our power
To be infring'd, our freedom and our being,
In this fair empire won of earth and air:
For this ill news I bring, the woman's feed
Deftin'd to this, is late of woman born,

His birth to our just fear gave no small cause,
But his growth now to youth's full flow'r, difplaying
All virtue, grace, and wisdom to atchieve
Things higheft, greateft, multiplies my fear.
Before him a great prophet, to proclaim

His coming, is fent harbinger, who all
Invites, and in the confecrated ftream
Pretends to wash off fin, and fit them fo
Purifi'd to receive him pure, or rather

To do him honour as their king; all come,
And he himself among them was baptiz'd,
Not thence to be more pure, but to receive
The teftimony of heav'n, that who he is
Thenceforth the nations may not doubt; I saw
The prophet do him reverence, on him rising
Out of the water, heav'n above the clouds
Unfold her chryftal doors, thence on his head
A perfect dove defcend, what e'er it meant,
And out of heav'n the fov'reign voice I heard,
This is my fon belov'd, in him am pleas'd.
His mother then is mortal, but his fire,
He who obtains the monarchy of heav'n,

And what will he not do to advance his fon?
His firft-begot we know, and fore have felt,
When his fierce thunder drove us to the deep;
Who this is we must learn, for man he seems
In all his lineaments, though in his face
The glimpfes of his father's glory fhine;
Ye fee our danger on the utmost edge
Of hazard, which admits no long debate,
But must with something sudden be oppos'd,

Not force, but well couch'd fraud, well woven fnares,
Ere in the head of nations he appear

Their king, their leader, and fupream on earth.
I, when no other durft, fole undertook

The dismal expedition to find out

And ruin Adam, and th' exploit perform'd
Successfully; a calmer voyage now

Will waft me; and the way found profp'rous once
Induces beft to hope of like fuccefs.

He ended, and his words impreffion left
Of much amazement to th' infernal crew.
Diftracted and furpriz'd with deep dismay
At these fad tidings; but no time was then
For long indulgence to their fears or grief:
Unanimous they all commit the care
And management of this main enterprize
To him their great dictator, whofe attempt
At first against mankind fo well had thriv'd
In Adam's overthrow, and led their march
From hell's deep-vaulted den to dwell in light,
Regents and potentates, and kings, yea gods
Of many a pleasant realm and province wide.

So to the coaft of Jordan he directs
His eafie fteps; girded with fnaky wiles,
Where he might likeliest find this new-declar'd,.
This man of men, attefted fon of God,
Temptation and all guile on him to try;
So to fubvert whom he fufpected rais'd
To end his reign on earth so long enjoy'd:
But contrary unweeting he fulfill'd
The purpos'd counsel pre-ordain'd and fixt
Of the most high, who in full frequence bright
Of angels, thus to Gabriel fmiling fpake.
Gabriel this day by proof thou fshall behold,
Thou and all angels converfant on earth
With man or mens affairs, how I begin
To verifie that folemn meffage late,
On which I fent thee to the virgin pure-
In Galilee, that she should bear a fon
Great in renown, and call'd the son of God;
Then toldft her, doubting how these things could be:
To her a virgin, that on her should come
The Holy-Ghost, and the power of the highest
O'er-shadow her: this man born and now up-grown,
To shew him worthy of his birth divine
And high prediction, henceforth I expofe
To fatan; let him tempt and now aflay
His utmost fubtility, because he boafts
And vaunts of his great cunning to the throng
Of his apoftafie; he might have learnt
Less overweening, fince he fail'd in Job,
Whose conftant perfeverance overcame
What e'er his cruel malice could invent.-

He now shall know I can produce a man
Of female feed, far abler to refift

All his follicitations, and at length

All his vaft force, and drive him back to hell,
Winning by conqueft what the first man lost
By fallacy furpriz'd. But first I mean
To exercise him in the wilderness,

There he shall first lay down the rudiments
Of his great warfare, ere I send him forth
To conquer fin and death the two grand foes,
By humiliation and strong sufferance:
His weakness shall o'ercome fatanick strength
And all the world, and mass of finful flesh;
That all the angels and aetherial powers,
They now, and men hereafter may discern,
From what confummate virtue I have chofe
This perfect man, by merit call'd my son,
To earn falvation for the fons of men.

So spake th' eternal father, and all heav'n Admiring stood a space, then into hymns Burst forth, and in celestial measures mov'd Circling the throne and finging, while the hand Sung with the voice, and this the argument. Victory and triumph to the son of God Now entering his great duel, not of arms, But to vanquish by wifdom hellish wiles. The father knows the fon; therefore fecure Ventures his filial virtue, though untry'd, Against what e'er may tempt, what e'er feduce, Allure, or terrifie, or undermine.

Be fruftrate all ye ftratagems of hell,

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