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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.”

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So spake the Arch-angel 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,

470 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,

480 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 iruth; and also arm

190 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,

495 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, 500 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,

505 Their doctrine and their story written, left, They die ; but in their room, as they forewarn,

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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 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
His consort liberty ? wliat, but unbuild
His living temples, built by faith to stand,
Their own faith, not another's : for on earth,
Who against faith & conscience can be heard
Infallible? yet many will presume:
Whence heavy persecution shall arise
On all, who in the worship persevere,

truth; the rest, far greater part,
Will deem, in outward rites & specious forms,
Religion satisfied ; truth shall retire,
Bestuck with slanderous darts, & 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 & 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, purged and refined,
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 bless'd,
Measured this transient world, the race of time,
Till time stand fix'd ? beyond is all abyss,

Of spirit

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Eternity, whose end no eye can reach.
Greatly instructed, I shall hence depart,
Greatly in peace of thought, & have my fiú
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 bless’d.”

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 kņew'st by name, & 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'd'st,
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 callid 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 ; & 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, & all her spirits composed
To meek submission : thou, at season fit,
Let her with thee partake what thou hast heard ;
Chiefly what my 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,

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