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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
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.

So spake the Arch Angel Michaël; then paus’d,
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, 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 goodwill to men From God; and over wrath grace shall abound. But say, if our Deliverer up to Heaven Must reascend, what will betide the few 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 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 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 recompens'd,
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
Baptiz’d, shall them with wonderous gifts endue
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,
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
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,
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,
Spiritual laws by carnal power shall force
On every conscience; laws which none shall find
Left them inroll’d, or what the Spirit within
Shall on the heart engrave. What will they then
But force the Spirit of Grace itself, and bind

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: 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 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, And vengeance to the wicked, at return Of Him so lately promised to thy aid, The Woman's Seed ; obscurely then foretold, Now amplier known thy Saviour and thy Lord; Last, in the clouds from Heaven to be reveald In glory of the Father, to dissolve Satan with his perverted world; then raise From the conflagrant mass, purg'd and refin'd, New Heavens, new Earth, ages of endless date, Founded in righteousness, and peace, and love ; To bring forth fruits, joy, and eternal bliss !

He ended; and thus Adam last replied. How soon hath thy prediction, Seer blest, Measur'd this transient world, the race of time, Till time stand fix’d! Beyond is all abyss, Eternity, whose end no eye can reach. Greatly instructed I shall hence depart; Greatly in peace of thought; and have my fill

Respiration :' refreshing. See Acts iii. 19.

Of knowledge, what this vessel can contain;
Beyond which was my folly to aspire.
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
Still overcoming evil, and by small
Accomplishing great things, by things deem'd weak
Subverting worldly strong, and worldly wise
By simply meek; that suffering for truth's sake
Is fortitude to highest victory,
And, to the faithful, death the gate of life;
Taught this by his example, whom I now
Acknowledge my Redeemer ever blest.

To whom thus also the Angel last replied.
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 the ethereal powers,
All secrets of the deep, all Nature's works,
Or works of God in Heaven, Air, Earth, or Sea,
And all the riches of this world enjoy'dst,
And all the rule, one empire; only add
Deeds to thy knowledge answerable; add faith,
Add virtue, patience, temperance; add love,
By name to come call’d charity, the soul
Of all the rest: then wilt thou not be loath
To leave this Paradise, but shalt possess
A Paradise within thee, happier far. ---
Let us descend now therefore from this top
Of speculation: for the hour precise
Exacts our parting hence: and see! the guards,
By me encamp'd on yonder hill, expect
Their motion; at whose front a flaming sword,

In signal of remove, waves fiercely round.
We may no longer stay; go, waken Eve;
Her also I with gentle dreams have calm’d,
Portending good, and all her spirits compos'd
To meek submission: thou, at season fit,
Let her with thee partake what thou hast heard;
Chiefly, what may concern her faith to know,
The great deliverance by her seed to come
(For by the Woman's seed) on all mankind:
That ye may live, which will be many days,
Both in one faith unanimous, though sad,
With cause, for evils past; yet much more cheer'd
With meditation on the happy end.

He ended, and they both descend the hill;
Descended, Adam to the bower, where Eve
Lay sleeping, ran before; but found her wak’d;
And thus with words not sad she him receiv'd.

Whence thou return'st, and whither went'st, I know;
For God is also in sleep; and dreams advise,
Which He hath sent propitious, some great good
Presaging, since with sorrow and heart's distress
Wearied I fell asleep: But now lead on;
In me is no delay; with thee to go,
Is to stay here; without thee here to stay,
Is to go hence unwilling; thou to me
Art all things under Heaven, all places thou,
Who for my wilful crime are banish'd hence.
This further consolation yet secure
I carry hence; though all by me is lost,
Such favour I unworthy am vouchsaf'd,
By me the Promised Seed shall all restore.

So spake our mother Eve; and Adam heard,
Well pleas'd but answer'd not: For now, too nighı
The Arch-Angel stood; and from the other hill

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