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Now had the great Proclaimer with a voice
More awful than

the sound of Trumpet, cry'd
Repentance, and Heaven's Kingdom nigh at hand
To all Baptiz’d: to his great Baptism flock'd,
With awe the Regions round, and with them came
From Nazareth the Son of Joseph deem'd,
To the flood Fordan came, as then obscure,
Unmarkt, unknown; but him the Baptist soon
Descry'd, divinely warn'd, and witness bore
As to his worthier, and would have resign'd
To him his Heavenly Office, nor was long
His witness unconfirm'd: on him baptiz'd
Heav'n open'd, and in likeness of a Dove
The Spirit descended, while the Father's voice
From Heav'n pronounc'd him his beloved Son.

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That heard the Adversary, who roving still
About the World, at that assembly fam'd
Would not be last, and with the voice divine
Nigh thunder-struck, th' exalted Man, to whom
Such high attest was giv'n, a while survey'd
With wonder, then with envy fraught, and rage,
Flies to his Place, nor rests, but in mid air
To Council -summons all his mighty Peers,
Within thick Clouds and dark ten-fold involv'd,
A gloomy Confistory; and them amidst
With looks agaft and sad he thus bespake..

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O ancient Pow’rs of Air and this wide World,
For much more willingly I mention Air,
This our oid Conquest, than remember Hell
Our hated habitation; well

ye

know
How many Ages, as the years of Men,
This Universe we have posfest, and ruld
In manner at our will th' affairs of Earth,
Since Adam and his facil Consort Eve
Lost Paradise deceiv'd by me, though since
With dread attending when that fatal wound
Shall be inflicted by the Seed of Eve

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Upon

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Upon my head ; long the decrees of Heav'n
Delay, for longest time to him is short ;
And now too soon for us the circling hours
This dreaded time have compaft, wherein we
Must bide the stroak of that long threatn’d wound,
At leaft if so we can, and by the Head
Broken be not intended all our power
To be infring’d, our freedom and our being,
In this fair Empire won of Earth and Air;
For this ill News I bring, the Woman's Seed
Destin'd to this, is late of Woman born.
His Birth to our just fear gave no small cause,
But his growth now to youth's full flower displaying
All virtue, grace, and wisdom to atchieve
Things highest, greatest, multiplies my fear.
Before him a great prophet, to proclaim
His coming, is fent Harbinger, who all
Invites, and in the consecrated stream
Pretends to wash off fin, and fit them so
Purifi'd to receive him pure, or rather
To do him honour as their King: all come,
And he himself among them was baptiz'd,
Not thence to be more pure, but to receive
The Testimony of Heaven, that wlo he is
Thenceforth the Nations may not doubt; I saw
The Prophet do him reverence, on him rising
Out of the Water, Heav'n above the Clouds
Unfold her Crystal Doors, thence on his head
A perfect Dove descend, whate’er it meant,
And out of Heav'n the Sovereign voice I heard,
This is my Son belov’d, in him am pleas’d.
His Mother then is mortal, but his Sire
He who obtains the Monarchy of Heaven ;
And what will he not do t'advance his Son ?
His first-begot we know, and sore have felt,
When his fierce thunder drove us to the deep ;
Who this is we must learn, for Man he seems
In all his lineaments, though in his face
The glimpses of his Father's glory shine.
Ye fee our danger on the utmost edge

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Of hazard, which admits no long debate,

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But mult with something sudden be oppos'd,
Not force, but well couch'd fraud, well woven snares,
Ere in the head of Nations he appear
Their King, their Leader, and Supream on Earth.
1, when no other durst, fole undertook
The dismal expedition, to find out
And ruin Adan, and th' exploit performd
Successfully ; a calmer Voyage now
Will waft me ; and the way found prosp'rous once,
Induces best to hope of like success.

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He ended; and his words impression left
Of much amazement to th’infernal Crew,
Distracted and surpriz'd with deep dismay
At these sad tidings ; but no time was then
For long indulgence to their fears or grief:
Unanimous they all commit the care
And management of this main Enterprize
To him their great Dictator, whose attempt
At first against mankind so well had thriv'd
In Adam's overthrow, and led their march

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From Hell's deep-vaulted Den to dwell in light,
Regents, and Potentates, and Kings, yea Gods
Of many a pleasant Realm and Province wide,
So to the Coast of Jordan he directs
His easie steps, girded with snaky wiles,
Where he might likeliest find this new declar'd,
This Man of men, attested Son of God,
Temptation and all guile on him to try ;
So to subvert whom he suspected rais'd
To end his Reign on Earth so long enjoy'd: 125
But contrary, unweeting he fulfill'd
The purpos'd Counsel pre-ordain'd and fixt
Of the most High, who in full frequence bright
Of Angels, thus to Gabriel smiling spake.

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Gabriel, this day by proof thou shalt behold, Thou and all Angels conversant on Earth : With man or mens affairs, how I begin

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To verifie that solemn Message late,
On which I sent thee to the Virgin pure
In Galilee, that she should bear a Son

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Great in Renown and call'd the Son of God;
Then toldit her, doubting how these things could be
To her a Virgin, that on her should come
The Holy Ghoft, and the Power of the Highest
O'ershadow her: this Man born and now up grown,
To fhew him worthy of his Birth Divine

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And high Prediction, henceforth I expose
To Satan; let him tempt and now assay
His utmost subtilty, because he boasts
And vaunts of his great cunning to the throng 145
Of his Apoftafie ; he might have learnt
Less overweening, fince he fail'd in yob,
Whose constant perseverance overcame
Whate'er his cruel malice could invent.
He now shall know I can produce a Man

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Of female Seed, far abler to resist
All his follicitations, and at length
All his vast force, and drive him back to Hell,
Winning by conqueft what the first man loft,
By fallacy surpriz’d. But first I mean

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To exercise him in the Wilderness,
There he shall.first lay down the rudiments
Of his great warfare, ere I send him forth
To conquer Sin and Death the two grand foes,
By Humiliation and strong Sufferance :

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His weakness shall o'ercome Satanick strength
And all the world, and mass of finful flesh;
That all the Angels and Æthereal Powers,
They now, and men hereafter may discern,
From what consummate virtue I have chose

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This perfect Man, by merit call'd my Son,
To earn Salvation for the Sons of men.

So spake th'Eternal Father, and all Heav'n
Admiring stood a space, then into Hymns
Burlt forth, and in Celestial measures moy'd

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Circling the Throne and finging, while the hand
Sung with the voice, and this the Argument.

Victory and Triumph to the Son of God
Now entering his great duel, not of Arms,
But to vanquish by wisdom hellish wiles.

175 The Father knows the Son ; therefore fecure Ventures his filial Virtue, though untry'd, Against whate'er may tempt, whate'er seduce, Allure, or terrifie, or undermine. Be frustrate all ye stratagems of Hell,

180 And devilish machinations come to nought.

So they in Heav'n their Odes and Vigils tun'd:
Mean while the Son of God, who yet some days
Lodg'd in Bethabara where John baptiz'd,
Musing and much revolving in his breaft,

185 How best the mighty work he might begin Of Saviour to mankind, and which way

first Publish his God-like Office now mature, One day forth walk'd alone, the Spirit leading, And his deep thoughts, the better to converse 190 With solitude, till far from track of Men, Thought following thought, and step by step led on, He entred now the bordering desart wild, And with dark shades and rocks environ'd round, His holy meditation thus pursu'd.

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O what a multitude of thoughts at once
Awaken’d in me swarm, while I consider
What from within I feel my self, and hear
What from without comes often to my ears,
111 forting with my present state compar'd.
When I was yet a Child no childish play
To me was pleasing, all my mind was set
Serious to learn and know, and thence to do
What might be publick good; my self I thought
Born to that end, born to promote all truth,
All righteous things: therefore above my years,
The Law of God I read and found it sweet,

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Made

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