Page images
PDF
EPUB

150

135

Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance fillid
All heaven, and in the blessed spirits elect
Sense of new joy ineffable diffus'd.
Beyond compare the Son of God was seen

Most glorious : in him all his Father shone 140 Substantially express'd; and in his face

Divine compassion visibly appear’d,
Love without end, and without measure grace ;
Which uttering, thus he to his Father spake:

“O Father! gracious was that word which clos’d 145 “ Thy sovereign sentence, that man should find grace;

“ For which both heaven and earth shall high extol

Thy praises, with the innumerable sound
Of hymns and sacred songs, wherewith thy throne

Encompass'd shall resound thee ever blest.
“ For should man finally be lost ? should man,

Thy creature late so lov'd, thy youngest son,
“Fall, circumvented thus by fraud though join'd
“ With his own folly? That be from thee far,

“ That far be from thee, Father, who art judge 155 “Of all things made, and judgest only right.

“Or shall the adversary thus obtain
“ His end, and frustrate thine ? shall he fulfil
“His malice, and thy goodness bring to nought;
“Or proud return, though to his heavier doom,
“ Yet with revenge accomplish'd, and to hell
" Draw after him the whole race of mankind
“By him corrupted? Or wilt thou thyself
“ Abolish thy creation, and unmake

“For him, what for thy glory thou hast made ? 165“ So should thy goodness and thy greatness both

“Be question'd, and blasphem'd without defence."

To whom the great Creator thus replied:
“O Son, in whom my soul hath chief delight,

“Son of my bosom, Son who art alone
170 “My word, my wisdom, and effectual might!

“ All hast thou spoken as my thoughts are, all
"As my eternal purpose hath decreed.

160

in me

66

“ Man shall not quite be lost, but sav'd who will ; “ Yet not of will in him, but

grace 175 Freely vouchsaf'd: once more I will renew

“His lapsed powers, though forfeit, and enthrallid * By sin to foul exorbitant desires;

Upheld by me, yet once more he shall stand

“On even ground against his mortal foe;
180 “ By me upheld, that he may know how frail

“ His fall'n condition is, and to me owe
“ All his deliv'rance, and to none but me.
“Some I have chosen of peculiar grace,

“ Elect above the rest ; so is my will: 185 “ The rest shall hear me call, and oft be warn'd

“ Their sinful state, and to appease betimes

The incensed Deity, while offer'd grace
“ Invites : for I will clear their senses dark,

“What may suffice; and soften stony hearts 190 “ To pray, repent, and bring obedience due.

“ To prayer, repentance, and obedience due,

Though but endeavour'd with sincere intent, “ Mine ear shall not be slow, mine eye not shut.

“ And I will place within them as a guide, 195 “My umpire, conscience; whom if they will hear,

· Light after light, well us'd, they shall attain,

And, to the end persisting, safe arrive. “ This my long sufferance, and my day of grace, “They who neglect and scorn, shall never taste; “But hard be harden'd, blind be blinded more, “ That they may stumble on, and deeper fall; And none but such from mercy I exclude. “But yet all is not done: man disobeying,

Disloyal, breaks his feälty, and sins
205 Against the high supremacy of Heaven,

Affecting godhead, and, so losing all,
“ To expiate his treason hath nought left;
“ But, to destruction sacred and devote,

“ He, with his whole posterity, must die : 210 “ Die he or justice must; unless for him

200

66

215

“ Some other able, and as willing, pay
“The rigid satisfaction-death for death.
“Say, heavenly Powers, where shall we find such love?
“ Which of ye will be mortal, to redeem

Man's mortal crime; and just, the unjust to save ? “Dwells in all heaven charity so dear ?"

He ask'd, but all the heavenly quire stood mute,
And silence was in heaven: on man's behalf

Patron or intercessor none appear'd;
220 Much less that durst upon his own head draw

The deadly forfeiture, and ransom set.
And now, without redemption, all mankind
Must have been lost, adjudg'd to death and hell

By doom severe, had not the Son of God, 225 In whom the fulness dwells of love divine,

His dearest mediation thus renew'd.

“Father! Thy word is past, man shall find grace : “ And shall grace not find means, that finds her way

“ The speediest of thy winged messengers 230 “ To visit all thy creatures; and to all

“Comes unprevented, unimplored, unsought?
“Happy for man, so coming! He her aid
“ Can never seek, once dead in sins, and lost-

“ Atonement for himself, or offering meet,
235 “ (Indebted, and undone !) hath none to bring.

“Behold me, then; me for him, life for life,
“I offer; on me let thine

anger

fall :
“ Account me man; I for his sake will leave

" Thy bosom, and this glory next to thee 240 “Freely put off, and for him lastly die

“Well pleas'd: on me let Death wreak all his rage;
“ Under his gloomy power I shall not long
“ Lie vanquish'd: thou hast given me to possess

“Life in myself for ever: by thee I live,
245 “ Though now to Death I yield, and am his due,

“ All that of me can die: yet, that debt paid,
“ Thou wilt not leave me in the loathsome grave
“His prey, nor suffer my unspotted soul

F

250

255

260

“For ever with corruption there to dwell :
“ But I shall rise victorious, and subdue
"My vanquisher spoil'd of his vaunted spoil :
“Death his death's wound shall then receive, and stoop

Inglorious, of his mortal sting disarm’d.
“I, through the ample air, in triumph high
“Shall lead Hell captive, maugre hell, and show
“ The Powers of darkness bound. Thou, at the sight

Pleas'd, out of heaven shalt look down, and smile, “ While, by thee rais'd, I ruin all my foes— “ Death last, and with his carcass glut the grave : “ Then, with the multitude of my redeem'd, , “ Shall enter heaven, long absent, and return, “Father, to see thy face, wherein no cloud Of anger shall remain, but peace assur'd

“ And reconcilement: wrath shall be no more 265 “ Thenceforth, but in thy presence joy entire.”

His words here ended, but his meek aspect
Silent yet spake, and breath'd immortal love
To mortal men; above which only shone

Filial obedience: as a sacrifice
270 Glad to be offer'd, he attends the will

Of his great Father. Admiration seiz'd
All heaven, what this might mean, and whither tend,
Wondering ; but soon the Almighty thus replied.

“ O thou, in heaven and earth the only peace 275 “ Found out for mankind under wrath! O thou,

My sole complacence! well thou knowest how dear To me are all my works, nor man the least, “ Though last created; that for him I spare

Thee from my bosom and right hand, to save, 280“ By losing thee awhile, the whole race lost.

“ Thou therefore, whom thou only canst redeem,
“ Their nature also to thy nature join ;
“ And be thyself man among men on earth,
“Made flesh, when time shall be, of virgin seed,

By wondrous birth : be thou in Adam's room
“ The head of all mankind, though Adam's son.

285

“ As in him perish all men, so in thee,
As from a second root, shall be restor'd
As

many as are restor'd; without thee none.
290 “ His crime makes guilty all his sons; thy merit,

Imputed, shall absolve them who renounce
“ Their own both righteous and unrighteous deeds,
And live in thee transplanted, and from thee

“Receive new life. So man, as is most just, 295 “ Shall satisfy for man, be judg’d and die;

“ And dying rise, and rising with him raise
“ His brethren, ransom'd with his own dear life.
“So heavenly love shall outdo hellish hate,

Giving to death, and dying to redeem300 “So dearly to redeem, what hellish hate

“So easily destroy'd, and still destroys
“ In those who, when they may, accept not grace.
"Nor shalt thou, by descending to assume

“Man's nature, lessen or degrade thine own. 305 “Because thou hast, though thron'd in highest bliss

Equal to God, and equally enjoying
“God-like fruition, quitted all, to save
A world from utter loss, and hast been found,

“ By merit more than birthright, Son of God310 “ Found worthiest to be so, by being good,

“ Far more than great, or high ;-because in thee
“ Love hath abounded more than glory abounds;
Therefore thy humiliation shall exalt

“ With thee thy manhood also to this throne :
315 “ Here shalt thou sit incarnate-here shalt reign

“Both God and man, Son both of God and man,
“ Anointed universal King: all power
“ I give thee; reign for ever,

and assume “ Thy merits ; under thee, as head supreme, 320 “ Thrones, Princedoms, Powers, Dominions, I reduce :

“ All knees to thee shall bow, of them that bide
“In heaven, or earth, or under earth in hell.
“When thou, attended gloriously from heaven,
“Shalt in the sky appear, and from thee send

« PreviousContinue »