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met living eyes, and fairest of all were the two stately forms, in whose looks shone the divinity of their Maker. Hand in hand they passed through the garden, refreshed themselves with the delicious fruits, and were happy in each other.
As he gazed on them while the animals fell asleep and the sun sank below the horizon, Satan, still torn with conflicting emotions, ruminated over the unhappiness he was to bring the lovely pair. He admired them, he could love them; they had not harmed him, but he must bring unhappiness upon them because of their likeness to their Creator. Through them only could he obtain his longedfor revenge.
Anxious to learn where to attack them, he prowled about them, now as a lion, now as a tiger, listening to their conversation. They spoke of their garden, of the Tree of Life, and of the forbidden Tree of Knowledge. “In the day ye eat thereof, ye shall surely die,” had been their warning. Eve recalled the day of her creation, when she had first fled from Adam, and then yielded to his embraces, and Satan, watching their caresses, envied and hardened his heart. “ Live while ye may !” he muttered. “ Soon will I return and offer you new woes for your present pleasures.'
In the mean time, Gabriel, warned by Uriel, who suspected that an evil spirit had crept into Paradise, had set watches around the garden. Ithuriel and Zephon, sent to search for him, spied Satan in the form of a toad, sitting near the ear of Eve, tainting her dreams with foul whispers. Touched by Ithuriel's spear, he was forced to resume his own shape and was taken to Gabriel. The angry Satan attempted to use force, but warned by a sign from Heaven that his strength was insufficient, fled, murmuring, through the night.
When morning dawned on Eden, a morn of unimaginable beauty, Adam waked Eve from her restless slumbers, and heard her troubled dreams, in which she had been tempted to taste of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. He comforted her, and after their morning hymn, in which they glorified their Creator, they set about their pleasant work of pruning the too luxuriant vines of their Paradise. In the mean time, the Father above, knowing the design of Satan, and determined that man should not fall without warning, sent Raphael down to Adam to tell him that he was threatened by an enemy, and that, as a free agent, if he fell, his sin would be upon his own head.
Six-winged Raphael swept down through the spheres and stood in Paradise, welcomed by Adam. Eve hastened to set before their guest every delicacy that Eden knew, and while she was preparing these Adam listened to the Angel's warning
To emphasize the sin of disobedience, Raphael related to the pair the story of Satan's conspiracy with the other powers because the Father had proclaimed the power of his Son. The Father, knowing Satan's confidence in himself, had allowed him for two days to fight an equal number of his legions of angels, among whom was Abdiel who had fled, indignant, from Satan's ranks, and on the third day, when the legions of evil lay crushed beneath the mountains which the shining angels had heaped upon them, the Son of God drove forth in his chariot, and single-handed, forced them before him, terror-stricken, until, Heaven's wall having opened, they fell downward for nine days, in horror and confusion into the depths of Hell. The Messiah, returning home in triumph in his chariot, was welcomed by the bright orders into the home of his Father.
Delighted by the recital of Raphael, Adam asked him to relate the story of the Creation, and explain to him the motion of the celestial bodies. He then told Raphael of his own creation ; how he awoke as from a sleep and found the Sun above him and around him the pleasant groves of Paradise ; how he named the animals as they passed before him, according to the will of God, and how he had pleaded with his Maker for a companion and equal, until the Creator, casting him into a sound sleep, took from his side a rib and formed from it his beauteous Eve. As Adam concluded, the setting sun warned Raphael to depart.
Satan, after fleeing from Gabriel, had hidden in the dark parts of the earth, so that he could creep in at night unseen of Uriel. After the eighth night, he crept in past the watchful Cherubim, and stealing into Paradise, wrapped in the mist rising over the river that, shooting underground, rose up as a fountain near the Tree of Life, he crept, though not without loathing, into the serpent, in which form he could best evade the watchful eyes of the heavenly guards and accomplish his purpose.
When morning dawned, Eve asked Adam for once to permit her to work alone, so that they might accomplish more. Adam, who constantly desired her presence, prayed her to remain, warning her of the enemy of whom Raphael had spoken, and telling her that they could resist temptation more easily together than when separated. But Eve was obdurate, and Adam finally consented that she should go alone to work.
As she moved among the groves, tying up the drooping flowers, like to Pomona in ner prime, or to Ceres, the sight of so much beauty, goodness, and innocence moved even the serpent, as he approached, intent on the destruction of her happiness. But as he looked, the thought of her joy but tortured him the more, since happiness was no longer possible for him.
This was before the serpent had been compelled to crawl his whole length on the ground, and as he moved on, fold on fold, his head proudly reared, his scales brilliant in color, he was not an unpleasant object to look upon. He circled about Eve as though lost in admiration, until her attention was attracted, and then astounded her by addressing her in her own language. When she demanded by what means he had acquired speech, he told her by the plucking and eating of a certain tree in the garden, which he had no sooner tasted than he felt his inward powers to develop until he found himself capable of speech.
Eve at once asked him to take her to the tree, but when she recognized the forbidden Tree of Knowledge, she demurred, assuring the serpent that God had commanded
them not to touch it, for if they ate of it, they should surely die. “Am I not alive?” asked her tempter, " and have I not eaten of it? Is it not a rank injustice that you should be forbidden to taste it and to lack the Knowledge of Good and Evil which it would give you ? Where can the offence lie? It must be envy that causes such a prohibition.”
His words, the sight of the fruit, and natural hunger all prevailed on Eve, and she plucked a branch from the tree and tasted the fruit. As she ate she saw Adam coming in search of her, holding a garland which he had been binding to crown her. To his reproaches, she replied with the arguments of her tempter, until Adam, in despair, determined to taste the apple that he might not lose Eve. Paradise without her would not be Paradise, and no new wife could make him forget her.
After the first exhilaration of the food was past they began to reproach each other, mindful of their destiny, of which they had been warned by Raphael, and, engaged in this fruitless chiding, they were found by the Son, who, informed of their transgression by the angels, sought them out in their place of concealment. Adam and Eve he sentenced to a life of sorrow and labor, the serpent to go despised and ever at enmity with man. Then, pitying the unhappy pair, he clad them in skins and re-ascended to Heaven.
While this was occurring in Eden, Sin and Death, feeling in some mysterious way the success of their parent, determined to leave Hell and seek their new home. Passing through Chaos, they pushed the heavy elements this way and that, cementing them with Death's mace until they constructed of them a bridge from the gates of Hell to the point on earth at which Satan had first alighted, and here met him, just returning, flushed with success, to Hell.
All the followers of Satan were gathered in Pandemonium to hear the news of his success, which he related, overjoyed at having wrought the ruin of mankind and revenged himself on God by so small a thing as the eating of an apple. As he concluded and stood waiting their applause, he heard a universal hiss, and saw himself surrounded by serpents, and himself changing into an enormous dragon. The great hall was filled with the monsters, scorpions, asps, hydras, and those who stood waiting without with applause for their leader were likewise changed into loathsome reptiles. Without the hall a grove sprang up, loaded with tempting fruit, but when, tortured with thirst, they tried to eat, it turned in their mouths to bitter ashes. After a time they were permitted to take again their own shapes, but were compelled to resume this serpent-form for a certain number of days each year, to crush their pride.
When God saw the entrance of Sin and Death into the world, he proclaimed to his Saints that their seeming victory was but temporary, and that eventually his Son would defeat Sin, Death, and the Grave, and seal up the mouth of Hell. Then, as the Halleluias rang out, he ordered the angels to make certain changes in the universe as a punishment to man. The Sun was so to move as to affect the earth alternately with a cold and heat almost unbearable; to the Moon were assigned her motions; the other planets were to join in various ways, often “ unbenign.” The winds were assigned their stations to torment the earth and sea, and the thunder was set to strike terror to the heart of man. The poles of the earth were pushed aslant, and soon the effects of the changes were felt in heat, cold, wind, and storm.
Adam, though absorbed in his own misery and momentarily expecting Death, saw the changes, and bemoaned his woes the more. How would his mysterious progeny despise him, since he was the cause of their being brought into the world of woe! When Eve attempted to comfort him he drove her from him with harsh words, saying that in time to come women would be the unhappy cause of all man's misery, as she had been of his. At last, seeing the futility
, of his outcries Adam began to cheer his wife, recalling the promise that their offspring should crush the head of the serpent, and suggested to her that they go to their former place of prayer and pour forth to God their true contrition and repentance.