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Surcharg'd, as had like grief been dew'd in tears, Without the vent of words, which these he breath'd:
O prophet of glad tidings, finisher Of utmost hopel now clear I understand What oft my steadiest thoughts have search'd in vain; Why our great expectation should be call'd The seed of woman: Virgin mother, hail! High in the love of Heav'n: yet from my loins Thou shalt proceed, and from thy womb the Son Of God most High; so God with Man unites. Needs inust the serpent now his capital bruise Expect with mortal pain: say where and when Their fight, what stroke shall bruise the victor's heel?
To whom thus Michael: Dream not of their fight, As of a duel, or the local wounds Of head or heel: not therefore joins the Son Manhood to Godhead, with more strength to foil Thy enemy: nor so is overcome Satan, whose fall from Heav'n, a deadlier bruise, Disabled not to give thee thy death's wound: Which he, who comes thy Saviour, shall recure, Not by destroying Satan, but his works In thee and in thy seed: nur can this be. But by fulfilling that which thou didst want, Obedience to the law of God, impos'd On penalty of death, and suffering death, The penalty to thy transgression due, And due to theirs which out of thine will grow : So only can high justice rest appaid, The law of God exact he shall fulfil Both by obedience and by love, though love Alone fulfil the law; thy punishment He shall endure by coming in the flesh. To a reproachful life and cursed death, , * Proclaiming life to all who shall believe In his redemption, and that his obedience
3 Imputed becomes theirs by faith, his merits To save them, not their own, though legal works. For this he shall live hated, be blasphein'd, Seiz'd on by force, judg’d, and to death condemn'd, A shameful and accurs'd; Daild to the croN **
By his own nation; slain for bringing life; But to the cross he nails thy enemies, The law that is against thee, and the sins Of all mankind, with him there crucify'd, Never to hurt them more who righuy trust In this his satisfaction. So he dies, But soon revives; death over him no pow'r Shall long usurp; ere the third Return, the stars of murn shall see him rise Out of his grave, fresh as the dawning light, Thy ransom paid, which man from death redeems, His death for man, as many as offer'd life Neglect not, and the benefit embrace By faith not void of works. This God-like act Annuls thy doon, the death thou shouldst have dy'd, In sin for ever lost from life; this act Shall bruise the head of Satan, crush his strength, befeating Sin and Death, his two main arms; And fix far deeper in his head their stings Than temp'ral death shall bruise the victor's heel, Or theirs whom he redeems, a death-like sleep, A gentle wafting to immortal life. Nor after resurrection shall he stay Longer on earth, than certain times t'appear To his disciples, men who in his life Still follow'dhim: to them shall leave in charge To teach all nations what of him they learn d. And his salvation; them who shall believe Baptizing in the profluent stream, the sign of washing them from guilt of sin to life Pure, and in mind prepar'd, if so befal, For death, like that which the Redeemer dy'd. All nations they shall teach: for from that day Not only from the sons of Abraham's loins Salvation shall be preach'd, but to the sons . Of Abraham's faith wherever through the world; So in his seed all nations shall be bless'd. Then to the Heav'n of Heav'ns he shall ascend With victory, triumphing through the air Over his foes and thine, there shall surprise The serpent, prince of air, and drag in chains
Through all his realms, and there confounded leave;
So spake th’ Archangel Michael, then pausid,
O Goodness infinite, Goodness immense! That all this good of evil shall produce, And evil turn to good; more wonderful Than that which by creation first brought forth Light out of darkness! Full of doubt I stand, Whether I should repent me now of sin, By me done and occasion'd, or rejoice Much more, that much more good thereof shall spring; To God more glory, more good-will to men From God, and over wrath grace shall abound. But say if our Deliverer up to Heav'n Must re-ascend, what will betide the few His faithful, left among th' unfaithful herd, The enemies of truth? who then shall guide His people, who defend? will they not deal Worse with his followers than with him they dealt?
Be sure they will, said th' Angel; but from Heav'n He to his own a Comforter will send, The promise of the Father, who shall dwell His Sp'rit within them, and the law of faith Working through love, upon their hearts shall write, To guide them in all truth, and also arm With spiritual armour, able to resist Satan's assaults; and quench his fiery darts, What ian can do against them, not afraid, Though to the death, against such cruelties With inward consolations recompens’d,
And oft supported so as shall amaze
Rarely be found: so shall the world go on,
He ended; and thus Adam last reply'd;
To whom thus also th' Angel last reply'd: This having learn'd, thou hast attain'd the sum Of wisdom; hope no higher, though all the stars Thou knew'st by name, and all th' ethereal pow'rs;