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"Their nature, and revoke their high decree,

"Unchangeable, eternal, which ordained

"Their freedom : they themselves ordained their fall.

"The first sort by their own suggestion fell,

"Self-tempted, self-depraved : man falls, deceived 130

"By the other first: man therefore shall find grace,

"The other none : in mercy and justice both,

"Through Heaven and Earth, so shall my glory excel;

"But mercy first and last shall brightest shine."

Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance filled
All Heaven, and in the blessed spirits elect
Sense of new joy ineffable diffused.
Beyond compare the Son of God was seen
Most glorious : in him all his Father shone
Substantially expressed; and in his face 140

Divine compassion visibly appeared,
Love without end, and without measure grace;
Which uttering, thus he to his Father spake:

"O Father! gracious was that word which closed "Thy sovran sentence, that man should find grace; "For which both Heaven and Earth shall high extol "Thy praises, with the innumerable sound "Of hymns and sacred songs, wherewith thy throne "Encompassed shall resound thee ever blest . "For should man finally be lost? should man, 150

"Thy creature late so loved, thy youngest son,
"Fall circumvented thus by fraud, though joined
"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.
"Or shall the adversary thus obtain
"His end, and frustrate thine? shall he fulfil
"His malice, and thy goodness bring to naught;
"Or proud return, though to his heavier doom,
"Yet with revenge accomplished, 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 questioned, and blasphemed, without defence." To whom the great Creator thus replied:

"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 saved who will; "Yet not of will in him, but grace in me "Freely vouchsafed : once more I will renew "His lapsed powers, though forfeit and enthralled "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 fallen condition is, and to me owe "All his deliverance, and to none but me. "Some I have chosen of peculiar grace, "Elect above the rest; so is my will: "The rest shall hear me call, and oft be warned "Their sinful state, and to appease betimes "The incensed Deity, while offered grace "Invites : for I will clear their senses dark, "What may suffice; and soften stony hearts "To pray, repent, and bring obedience due. 190

"To prayer, repentance, and obedience due,
"Though but endeavoured 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 used, they shall attain,
"And, to the end persisting, safe arrive.
"This, my long sufferance and my day of grace
"They who neglect and scorn, shall never taste;
"But hard be hardened, blind be blinded more, 200

"That they may stumble on, and deeper fall;
"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 Heaven,

"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, heavenly Powers! where shall we find such love?

"Which of ye will be mortal, to redeem

"Man's mortal crime; and just, the unjust to save?

"Dwells in all Heaven charity so dear?"

He asked, but all the heavenly quire stood mute, And silence was in Heaven : on man's behalf Patron or intercessor none appeared;

Much less, that durst upon his own head draw 220

The deadly forfeiture, and ransom set.
And now, without redemption, all mankind
Must have been lost, adjudged to Death and Hell
By doom severe, had not the Son of God,
In whom the fulness dwells of love divine,
His dearest mediation thus renewed:

"Father ! thy word is past; man shall find grace; "And shall grace not find means?—that finds her way "The speediest of thy winged messengers "To visit all thy creatures, and to all 230

"Comes unprevented, unimplored, unsought;
"Happy for man, so coming! he her aid
"Can never seek, once dead in sins and lost;
"Atonement for himself, or offering meet,
"Indebted and undone, hath none to bring.
"Behold me, then; me for him, life for life,
"I offer; on me let thine anger fall:
"Account me man; I for his sake will leave
"Thy bosom, and this glory next to thee
"Freely put off, and for him lastly die 240

"Well pleased: on me let Death wreak all his rage;
"Under his gloomy power I shall not long
"Lie vanquished: thou hast given me to possess
"Life in myself for ever; by thee I live,
"Though now to death I yield, and am his due,

"All that of me can die : yet, that debt paid,

"Thou wilt not leave me in the loathsome grave

"His prey, nor suffer my unspotted soul

"For ever with corruption there to dwell;

"But I shall rise victorious, and subdue 250

"My vanquisher, spoiled of his vaunted spoil;

"Death his death's wound shall then receive, and stoop,

"Inglorious, of his mortal sting disarmed.

"I, through the ample air, in triumph high

"Shall lead Hell captive, maugre Hell, and show

"The powers of darkness bound. Thou, at the sight

"Pleased, out of Heaven shalt look down and smile,

"While, by thee raised, I ruin all my foes—

"Death last, and with his carcass glut the grave:

"Then, with the multitude of my redeemed, 260

"Shall enter Heaven, long absent, and return,

"Father! to see thy face, wherein no cloud

"Of anger shall remain, but peace assured

"And reconcilement: wrath shall be no more

"Thenceforth, but in thy presence joy entire."

His words here ended, but his meek aspect Silent yet spake, and breathed immortal love To mortal men; above which only shone Filial obedience: as a sacrifice

Glad to be offered, he attends the will 270

Of his great Father. Admiration seized
All Heaven, what this might mean, and whither tend
Wondering; but soon the Almighty thus replied:
"O thou, in Heaven and earth the only peace
"Found out for mankind under wrath! O thou,
"My sole complacence! well thou knowest how dear
"To me are all my works; nor man the least,
"Though last created; that for him I spare
"Thee from my bosom and right hand, to save,
"By losing thee a while, the whole race lost. 280

"Thou therefore, whom thou only canst redeem,
"Their nature also to thy nature join;
"And be thyself man among men on earth,
"Made flesh, when time shall be, of virgin seed,
"By wondrous birth : be thou, in Adam's room,

"The head of all mankind, though Adam's son.

"As in him perish all men, so in thee,

"As from a second root, shall be restored,

"As many as are restored : without thee none.

"His crime makes guilty all his sons: thy merit, 290

"Imputed, shall absolve them, who renounce

"Their own both righteous and unrighteous deeds,

"And live in thee transplanted, and from thee

"Receive new life. So man, as is most just,

'' Shall satisfy for man, be judged and die;

"And dying rise, and rising with him raise

"His brethren, ransomed with his own dear life.

"So heavenly love shall outdo hellish hate,

'' Giving to death, and dying to redeem—

"So dearly to redeem what hellish hate 300

"So easily destroyed; and still destroys

'' In those who, when they may, accept not grace.

"Nor shalt thou, by descending to assume

"Man's nature, lessen or degrade thine own.

"Because thou hast, though throned in highest bliss

"Equal to God, and equally enjoying

"God-like fruition, quitted all, to save

"A world from utter loss; and hast been found,

"By merit more than birthright—Son of God,

"Found worthiest to be so by being good, 310

"Far more than great or high;—because in thee

"Love hath abounded more than glory abounds;

"Therefore thy humiliation shall exalt

"With thee thy manhood also to this throne;

"Here shalt thou sit incarnate—here shalt reign

"Both God and Man, Son both of God and Man,

"Anointed universal King: all power

"I give thee: reign for ever, and assume

"Thy merits: under thee, as head supreme,

"Thrones, Princedoms, Powers, Dominions, I reduce; 320

"All knees to thee shall bow, of them that bide

"In Heaven, or Earth, or under Earth in Hell.

"When thou, attended gloriously from Heaven,

"Shalt in the sky appear, and from thee send

'' The summoning Archangels to proclaim

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