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Expect with mortal pain: say where and when

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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

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

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In thee and in thy seed: nor can this be,

395

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
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

405

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,
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
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,

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Thy ransom paid, which man from death redeems,
His death for man, as many as offer'd life

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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 lifeens

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
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,

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For death, like that which the Redeemer dy'd.
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.

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445

Then to the Heav'n of Heav'ns he shall ascend

450

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,

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With glory' and pow'r to judge both quick and dead, To judge th' unfaithful dead, but to reward

461

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.

465

So spake th' Arch-Angel Michaël, then paus'd,
As at the world's great period; and our sire
Replete with joy and wonder thus reply'd:
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

470

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,

480

His people, who defend? Will they not deal

The enemies of truth? Who the shall guide

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,

486

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

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,
And oft supported so as shall amaze

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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

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,

505

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 infoll'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
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 Spi'rit and truth; the rest far greater part,
Will deem in outward rites and specious forms

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