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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
Divine compassion visibly appeared,
"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,
"Draw after him the whole race of mankind;
"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,
"That they may stumble on, and deeper fall;
"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.
"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;
"Well pleased: on me let Death wreak all his rage;
"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
"Thou therefore, whom thou only canst redeem,
"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