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In his redemption; and that his obedience,
Imputed, becomes theirs by faith ; his merits
To save them, not their own, though legal, works. 405
For this he shall live hated, be blasphemed,
Seized on by force, judged, and to death condemn'd
A shameful and accursed, nail'd to the cross
By his own nation; slain for bringing life:
But to the cross he nails thy enemies,

410
The law that is against thee, and the sins
Of all mankind, with him there crucified,
Never to hurt them more who rightly trust
In this his satisfaction; so he dies,
But soon revives; death over him no power

415 Shall long usurp; ere the third dawning light Return, the stars of morn 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,

420 Neglect not, and the benefit embrace By faith not void of works: This godlike act Annuls thy doom, the death thou shouldst have died, In sin for ever lost from life; this act Shall bruise the head of Satan, crush his strength, 425 Defeating Sin and Death, his two main arms; Axd fix far deeper in his head their stings Than temporal death, shall bruise the Victor's heel, Or theirs whom he redeems; a death, like sleep, A gentle wafting to immortal life.

430 Nor after resurrection shall he stay Longer on earth, than certain times to appear To his disciples, men who in his life Still follow'd him; to them shall leave in charge

To teach all nations what of him they learn'd 435
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 prepared, if so befall,
For dea like that which the Redeemer died.

440
All nations they shall teach ; for, from that day,
Not only to 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 blest.

445 Then to the heaven of heavens 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 realm, and there confounded leave; Then enter into glory, and resume

451 His seat at God's right hand, exalted high Above all names in heaven; and thence shall come, When this world's dissolution shall be ripe, With glory and power to judge both quick and dead; To judge the unfaithful dead, but to reward 456 His faithful, and receive them into bliss, Whether in heaven or earth; for then the earth Shall all be Paradise, far happier place Than this of Eden, and far happier days.” 460

So spake the archangel Michael; then paused, As at the world's great period; and our sire, Replete with joy and wonder, thus replied:

“O goodness infinite, goodness immense ! That all this good of evil shall produce,

465 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

470 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 heaven Must re-ascend, what will betide the few 475 His faithful, left among the 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 the angel; “but from heaven

480 He to his own a Comforter will send, The promise of the Father, who shall dwell His Spirit within them; and the law of faith, Working through love, upon their hearts shall write, To guide them in all truth; and also arm 485 With spiritual armour, able to resist Satan's assaults, and quench his fiery darts, What man can do against them, not afraid, Though to the death ; against such cruelties With inward consolations recompensed,

490 And oft supported so as shall amaze Their proudest persecutors: for the Spirit, Pour'd first on his apostles, whom he sends To evangelize the nations, then on all Baptized, shall them with wondrous gifts endue 495 To speak all tongues, and do all miracles, As did their Lord before them. Thus they win

Great numbers of each nation to receive
With joy the tidings brought from heaven: at length
Their ministry perform’d, and race well run,

500
Their doctrine and their story written left,
They die; but in their room, as they forewarn,
Wolves shall succeed for teachers, grievous wolves,
Who all the sacred mysteries of heaven
To their own vile advantages shall turn

505 Of lucre and ambition; and the truth With superstitions and traditions taint, Left only in those written records pure, Though not but by the Spirit understood. Then shall they seek to avail themselves of names, 510 Places, and titles, and with these to join Secular power; though feigning still to act By spiritual, to themselves appropriating The Spirit of God, promised alike and given To all believers; and, from that pretence, 515 Spiritual laws by carnal power shall force On every concience; laws which none shall find Left them enroll’d, or what the Spirit within Shall on the heart engrave. What will they then But force the Spirit of Grace itself, and bind 520 His consort Liberty ? what but unbuild His living temples, built by faith to stand, Their own faith, not another's ? for, on earth, Who against faith and conscience can be heard Infallible ? yet many will presume:

525 Whence heavy persecution shall arise On all, who in the worship persevere Of spirit and truth; the rest, far greater part, Will deem in outward rites and specious forms

Religion satisfied; truth shall retire

630 Bestuck with slanderous darts, and works of faith Rarely be found. So shall the world go on, To good malignant, to bad men benign, Under her own weight groaning; till the day Appear of respiration to the just,

535 And vengeance to the wicked, at return Of him so lately promised to thy aid, The woman's Seed; obscurely then foretold, Now ampler known thy Saviour and thy Lord; Last, in the clouds, from heaven to be reveal'd 540 In glory of the Father, to dissolve Satan with his perverted world; then raise From the conflagrant mass, purged and refined, New heavens, new earth, ages of endless date, Founded in righteousness, and peace, and love; 545 To bring forth fruits, joy and eternal bliss.”

He ended; and thus Adam last replied: “How soon hath thy prediction, seer blest, Measured this transient world, the race of time, Till time stand fix'd ! Beyond is all abyss, 550 Eternity, whose end no eye can reach. Greatly instructed I shall hence depart; Greatly in peace of thought; and have my fill Of knowledge, what this vessel can contain ; Beyond which was my folly to aspire.

555 Henceforth I learn, that to obey is best, And love with fear the only God; to walk As in his presence; ever to observe His providence; and on him sole depend, Merciful over all his works, with good

560 Still overcoming evil, and by small

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