Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

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 then with wondrous gifts indue 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 Heav'n: 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 Heav'n. To their own vile advantages shall turn

510 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 Spi'rit of God, promis'd alike and given To all believers; and from that pretence,

320 Spiritual laws by carnal power shall force

On every conscience; laws which none shall find
Left them inrolld, 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
His consort Liberty ? what, but unbuild
His living temples, built 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
Religion satisfy'd; Truth shall retire
Bestuck with sland'rous 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,

540 And vengeance to the wicked, at return Of him so latery promis'd to thy aid The Woman's Seed, obscurely then foretold, Now ampler known thy Saviour and thy Lord, Last in the clouds from Heav'n to be reveal'd In glory of the Father, to dissolve Satan with his perverted world, then raise From the conflagrant mass, purg'd and refin'd, New Heav'ns, new Earth, ages of endless date Founded in righteousness and peace,

and love,

550 To bring forth fruits, joy and eternal bliss.

[ocr errors]

He ended; and thus Adam last reply'd:
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
Of knowledge, what this vessel can contain ;
Beyond which was my folly to aspire.

560
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 providerce, 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,

570 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 th' Angel last reply'd: This having learn'd, thou hast attain'd the sum Of wisdom; hope no high'er, though all ihe stars Thou knew'st by name, and all th’ ethereal powers, All secrets of the deep, all Nature's works, Or works of God in Heav'n, air, earth, or sea, And all the riches of this world enjoy'dst, And all the rule, one empire; only add

[ocr errors]

580

Deeds to thy knowledge answerable, add faith,
Add virtue, patience, temperance, add love,
By name to come call's 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, 590
By me incamp'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 spi'rits composid
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, 611

600

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 Heav'n, all places thou,
Who for my wilful crime art banish'd hence.
This further consolation yet secure

620
I carry hence; though all by me is lost,
Such favour I unworthy am vouchsaf'd,
By me the promis’d Seed shall all restore.

So spake our mother Eve, and Adam heard Well pleas’d, but answer'd not; for now too nigh Th’ Arch-angel stood, and from the other hill To their fix'd station, all in bright array The cherubim descended; on the ground G}iding meteorous, as evening mist Ris'n from a river o'er the marish glides, 630 And gathers ground fast at the lab’rer's heel Homeward returning. High in front advanc'd The brandish'd sword of God before them blaz'd Fierce as a comet; which with torrid heat, And vapour as the Lybian air adust, Began to parch that temp'rate clime; whereat In either hand the hast’ning Angel caught Our ling'ring Parents, and 10 the eastern gate Led them direct, and down the cliff as fast

To the subjected plain; then disappear’d. 640 * They looking back, all th'eastern side beheld

« ZurückWeiter »