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Expect with mortal pain : say where and when 384 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 God-head, with more strength to foil Thy enemy; nor so is overcome
390 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: nor 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 : 400 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
405 To a reproachful life and cursed death, Proclaiming life to all who shall believe In his redemption, and that his obedience Imputed becomes theirs by faith, his merits To save them, not their own, though legal works. 410 For this he shall live hated, be blasphem’d, Seis’d on by force, judg'd, and to death condemn'd As shameful and accurs'd, nail'd to the cross By his own nation, slain for bringing life;
But to the cross he nails thy enemies,
415 The law that is against thee, and the sins Of all mankind, with him there crucify'd, Never to hurt them more who rightly trust In this his satisfaction; so he dies, But soon revives ; death over him no power 420 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
425 Neglect not, and the benefit embrace By faith not void of works: this God-like act Annuls thy doom, the death thou should’st have dy'd, In sin for ever lost from life; this act Shall bruise the head of Satan, crush his strength, 430 Defeating 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 lifeeng
435 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
440 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 befall,
For death, like that which the Redeemer dy'd.
445 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.
450 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 realm, and there confounded leave; Then enter into glory, and resume His seat at God's right hand, exalted high Above all names in Heav'n; and thence shall come, When this world's dissolution shall be ripe, With glory' and pow'r to judge both quick and dead, To judge th' unfaithful dead, but to reward His faithful, and receive them into bliss, Whether in Heav'n or Earth, for then the Earth Shall all be Paradise, far happier place Than this of Eden, and far happier days.
So spake th’ Arch-Angel Michaël, then paus’d,
O GOODNESS infinite, Goodness immense !
By me done and occasion'd, or rejoice
475 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 reascend, what will betide the few His faithful, left among th’unfaithful herd, The enemies of truth? Who the 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 Heaven He to his own a Comforter will send, The promise of the Father, who shall dwell His Spi'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
490 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,
· 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 Baptiz'd, shall them with wondrous 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 Heav'n: 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, 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 pow'r, though feigning still to act By spiritual, to themselves appropriating The Spi'rit of God, promis'd alike and given To all believers; and from that pretence, Spiritual laws by carnal pow'r shall force On every conscience; laws which none shall find Left them intoll'd, or what the Spi'rit within · Shall on the heart engrave. What will they then But force the Spi'rit of grace itself, and bind 525 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:
530 Whence heavy persecution shall arise On all who in the worship persevere Of Spi'rit and truth; the rest far greater part, Will deem in outward rites and specious forms.