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though overthrown they were not totally defeated. A rumor had long since been rife of the creation of another world with which they could interfere. At any rate, there must never be peace between them and the heavenly Powers. War there must be, war in secret, or war waged openly. As he ended, shield clashed against shield, and swords, quickly drawn, flashed before his eyes, and loud cries hurled defiance to Heaven.
The legions, led by Mammon, who in Heaven had been an honored architect, sought a hill near by, and quickly emptying it of its rich store of gold and jewels, built a massive structure. Like a temple in form was it, and round about it stood Doric columns overlaid with gold. No king of
any future state could boast of a grander hall than this palace of Pandemoniuin which was so quickly reared upon a hill in Hell, and to which the heralds' trumpets now summoned all the host.
On the massive throne, blazing with jewels, sat the fallen spirit, and thus addressed his followers : “ Our success is sure in whatever we undertake. We shall never be riven with internecine warfare, for surely no one will quarrel over precedence in Hell. Therefore, united, we can, sure of our success, debate of the way in which we shall take up our warfare with the powers that have overthrown us."
Moloch, Belial, Mammon, and Beelzebub spoke. Moloch was in favor of open war, since nothing could be worse than Hell, and continued assault against the Most High would, in annoying him, be a sweet revenge. Belial, who though timorous and slothful, was a persuasive orator, denounced Moloch's plan. Since the ruler of Heaven was all-powerful, and they immortal, no one knew to what greater misery he could push them ; perhaps he would bury them in boiling pitch to eternity, or inflict a thousand undreamed-of tortures. War, open and secret, he disliked, since it was impossible to conceal aught from the eye of the Most High. To make the best of Hell seemed all that was possible ; in time they might become inured to its flames and better days might come, if they but accepted their doom patiently.
Mammon also considered war impossible. They could never hope to overcome the Almighty ; neither could they hope nor wish for a reconciliation, for how hateful would be an eternity spent in cringing to one whom they hated. The desert soil of Hell teemed with riches, they could find peaceful pursuits, and it was his advice to continue there in quiet, untroubled by any thoughts of revenge.
Amid the murmur of applause that followed Mammon's speech, Beelzebub, than whom none towered higher save Satan, arose, his face grave, his attitude majestic.
Would you, Thrones and Imperial Powers," he cried, “think to build up a kingdom here, secure from the arm of Heaven? Have you so soon forgotten that this is not a kingdom ceded to you by the Most High, but a dungeon in which he has shut you for your everlasting punishment? Never will he forget that you are his prisoners; your lot will not be peace, but custody and stripes. What return can we make, then, but to think out some slow but sure and sweet revenge? It is not necessary to attempt to scale the walls of Heaven. Other things remain. There is this new world, his plaything. It may lie exposed, and we can at least make the attempt to seize it and lay it waste, and thus vex him.” As he saw their eyes sparkle, he continued : “We may in this attempt come near to the steps of our old abode and breathe again its delicious airs instead of these hellish flames. But first we must find some one, strong, wary, and watchful, to send in search of it."
Satan strode forth, his courage and his consciousness of it making his face shine with transcendent glory. “Long is the way and hard ; its dangers unknown and terrible, but I should be a poor sovereign did I hesitate in the attempt to seek it out. I do not refuse the sovereignty, for I fear not to accept as great a share of hazard as of honor. Stay here ; charm away your time, and I will seek deliverance abroad for all of us."
As he spoke he rose to depart, fearful lest others might now offer to go and share the glory with him.
The legions rose with a sound like thunder, bowed in
deepest reverence and went forth, some, to explore their dismal abode, others to amuse themselves at games, others to discuss Free Will and Fate, while their leader pursued his way toward the gate of Hell.
The nine-fold gates were of brass, iron, and adamantine rock, reaching high to the mighty roof, and most horrible were the Shapes that guarded it.
On one side sat a creature, woman to the waist, below, a serpent, surrounded by a crew of hell hounds, forever barking and then seeking refuge within her. On the other, a Shape, black, fierce, terrible, crowned with the likeness of a kingly crown, and shaking in its hands a dreadful dart. As he strode, Hell trembled. Satan, undaunted, met him with fierce words. As the two stood, their lances pointed at each other, the woman shrieked and ran between them.
“Father, rush not upon thy son! Son, raise not thy hand against thy father !” She then explained that she was Satan's daughter, Sin, who had sprung from his head full grown, and that she later became by him the mother of the creature called Death who sat with her to guard the gates.
Satan at once unfolded to them his plan of seeking the new world and making a happy home for both Sin and Death, where they could forever find food to gratify their hideous cravings. Charmed by his highly-colored pictures, and forgetful of the commands from above, Sin opened the mighty doors, so that the flames of Hell spread far out into Chaos, but her strength failed her when she attempted to close them again.
For a moment Satan looked out into the mixture of Hot and Cold and Moist and Dry that formed Chaos, and then started forth, now rising, now falling, his wings heavy with the dense masses, now wading, now creeping, until at last he reached the spot where was fixed the throne of Chaos and of Night. Here Satan learned of the situation of the new world and soon caught a glimpse of it, hanging like a star, by a golden chain, from Heaven.
Sitting in Heaven, high throned above all, God, all-seeing, all-knowing, was conscious of Satan's escape from Hell and
his approach to the new world. To his Son, sitting on his right hand, he pointed out the fallen spirit. “No prescribed bounds can shut our Adversary in; nor can the chains of hell hold him. To our new world he goes, and there, by no fault of mine, will pervert man, whom I have placed therein, with a free will ; so to remain until he enthralls himself. Man will fall as did Satan, but as Satan was self-tempted, and man will be deceived by another, the latter shall find grace where his tempter did not.”
Great was the joy of the Son when he learned that man would receive mercy for his transgression. "Pardon and mercy he shall receive,” declared the Father, “but some one must be willing to expiate his sin for him; the just must die for the unjust. Who in Heaven is willing to make the sacrifice?"
For a moment all the Heavenly quire stood mute; then the Son of God spoke and implored his father to let his anger fall on him, since he could not wholly die, but could arise from death and subdue his vanquisher.
When his Father accepted the sacrifice, and named him Son of God and Man who should hereafter be Universal King, Ruler of Heaven and Earth, Heaven rang with the shouts of the Angels, who, casting down their amaranthine wreaths until the golden pavement was covered with the garlands, took their golden harps and sang the praises of the Father and the Son.
While they sang, Satan walked over the vast globe on which he had alighted, through what in after years, when the world was peopled, was to be the Paradise of Fools, the spot to which the spirits of all things transitory and vain, of those who had worked for their reward in life instead of in Heaven, would come. He walked around the dark globe until, directed by a gleam of light, he found the spot where a ladder led up to Heaven. Just below it, down through the spheres, was the seat of Paradise to which he was bending his way.
Down through the crystal spheres he bent his way toward the Sun, which attracted him by its superior splendor. Es
pying Uriel, the Angel of the Sun, he quickly took the form of a youthful Cherub, and, approaching Uriel, told him that having heard of the new world he had been seized by a longing to quit the bands of Cherubim and see for himself the wonderful work of the Creator.
Directed by the unsuspecting Uriel, Satan sped downward and standing upon the top of Niphates, surveyed Eden.
As he looked, his spirit was troubled. He had brought Hell with him, and his unhappy thoughts boiled and surged in his troubled mind. Sun, I hate thee, because thy beams recall to me what I was and how I fell. The matchless King of Heaven deserved no such return from me. His service was easy. Had I only been created a lower Power ! — But even then, might not some higher one have led me into temptation? What shall I do, whither shall I fly, to escape infinite wrath, and infinite despair? Hell is around me, I myself am Hell! There is no hope for me. Submission is the only way left, and I could not unsay what I have said ; I could never bridge the gulf made by my revolt. Farewell to remorse! Good is forever lost to me, and I must now make Evil my good. I can at least divide the empire of the world with the King of Heaven."
As he realized how his bitter thoughts had dimmed his countenance he smoothed it over with outward calm, but not before Uriel, from the Sun, had noted and wondered over his strange gestures.
Leaping over the high natural walls of Paradise, Satan, in the form of a cormorant, perched himself on the Tree of Life. Beautiful was the scene before him. All the trees and plants were of the noblest kind. In the midst of them stood the Tree of Life with its golden fruit, and not far off the Tree of Knowledge. Southward through Eden ran a river, which, passing under a huge hill, emerged into four great streams wandering through many afterwards famous realms. Between the rows of trees stretched level lawns where grazed the happy flocks, and over the green mead were sprinkled flowers of every hue. No fairer scene ever