Page images
PDF
EPUB

470

475

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
By me done and occasion’d or rejoice
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 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 th' angel ; but from heaven 495 He to his own a Comforter will send,

480

had so many other qualifications manner raised to a greater hapto recommend it, was deficient piness, than that which they in this particular. It is here had forfeited: in short, Satan therefore that the poet has is represented miserable in the shewn a most exquisite judg- height of his triumphs, and ment, as well as the finest in- Adam triumphant in the height vention, by finding out a me- of misery. Addison. thod to supply this natural de- 475. or rejoice fect in his subject. Accordingly Much more, that much more he leaves the adversary of man- good thereof shall spring, kind, in the last view which He seems to have remembered he gives us of him, under the that rant of one of the Fathers, lowest state of mortification and Ofelix culpa, quæ talem de disappointment. We see him tantum meruit habere redempchewing ashes, grovelling in the torem! O happy fault, which dust, and loaden with super- deserved to have such and so numerary pains and torments. great a Redeemer! As in what On the contrary our two first follows, To God more glory, &c. parents are comforted by dreams he alludes to the heavenly hymn, and visions, cheered with pro Glory to God in the highest, &c. mises of salvation, and in a

[ocr errors]

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,

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 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,

505

487. The promise of the Fa- against the wiles of the devilther,] Luke xxiv. 49. And be wherewith ye shall be able to hold I send the promise of my quench all the fiery darts of the Father upon you.

wicked. 490. To guide them in all 493. What man can do against truth,] John xvi. 13. When the them, not afraid, Spirit of truth is come, he will Though to the death,] guide you into all truth.

So this passage is pointed in 490. ---and also arm Milton's own editions, and I With spiritual armour, able to suppose the construction to be, resist

Not afraid of what man can do Satan's assaults, and quench against them though to the death, his fiery darts,]

though it be persecution to death Alluding to Eph. vi. 11, &c. itself; and it is an allusion to Put on the whole armour of God, Psal. Ivi. 11. I will not be afraid that you may be able to stand what man can do unto me.

510

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, 515
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

520

507. but in their room, as his enthusiastical spirit than in they forewarn,

this line. Warburton. Wolves shall succeed &c.]

I suppose he alluded to 1 Cor. So St. Paul had forewarned the ii. 14. The natural man receiveth elders of the church at Miletus, not the things of the Spirit of to which the author here al- God : for they are foolishness ludes, Acts xx. 20. For I know unto him; neither can he know this, that after my departure shall them, because they are spiritually grievous wolves enter in among discerned: understanding it as you, not sparing the flock. See some enthusiastic sectarists have too his Considerations touching understood it. the likeliest means to remove hire- 522. -laws which none shall lings out of the Christian Church. find &c.] Laws neither agreeVol. i. p. 563. edit. 1738. Not able to revealed or natural relong after, as the Apostle fore- ligion, neither to be found in told, hirelings like wolves came holy Scripture, or written on in by herds, &c.

their hearts by the Spirit of 514. Though not but by the God, according to that divine Spirit understood.) I do not promise, Jer. xxxi. 33. I will think Milton in all his writings put my law in their inward parts, ever gave a stronger proof of and write it in their hearts.

525

530

Left them inroll’d, or what the Spi'rit within
Shall on the heart ingrave. 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
Religion satisfied; 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,
And vengeance to the wicked, at return
Of him so lately promis’d to thy aid
The Woman's Seed, obscurely then foretold,

535

540

526. His consort liberty ?] For 534. Will deem] This is the where the Spirit of the Lord is, genuine reading of the first there is liberty. 2 Cor. iii. 17. edition; in the second it was

527. His living temples,] Chris- printed by mistake Well deem; tians are called the temples of but absurd as this reading is, God, 1 Cor. iii. 16, 17. and vi. it has been followed in all the 19.

editions which I have seen, till 532. On all who in the worship Mr. Fenton's and Dr. Bentpersevere

ley's. of spirit and truth ;]

540. —the day of respiration] He alludes to John iv. 23. The This is what the Scripture calls true_worshippers shall worship the times of refreshing, Acts jii. the Father in spirit and in truth. 19.

545

550

Now amplier 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,
To bring forth fruits, joy and eternal bliss.

He ended ; and thus Adam last replied.
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.
Henceforth I learn, that to obey is best,
And love with fear the only God, to walk

555

560

546.

to dissolve 2 Pet. iii. 13. Nevertheless re, Satan with his perverted world,] according to his promise, look for An expression of the same im- new heavens and a new earth, port, as when the light is said wherein dwelleth righteousness. to dissolve the darkness,

This notion, of the heavens and Extulit os sacrum cælo, tenebrasque

earth being renewed after the resolvit. Virg. Æn. viii. 591. conflagration, and made the ha

bitation of angels and just men Our author probably borrowed made perfect, was very pleasing the phrase from Scripture, 2 Pet. to our author, as it was to Dr. jii. 11, 12. Seeing then that all Burnet, and must be to every these things shall be dissolved, &c. one of a fine and exalted imaginthe heavens being on fire shall be ation; and Milton has enlarged dissolved. And he had men- upon it in several parts of his tioned before, ver. 459. this works, and particularly in this world's dissolution.

poem, iii. 333, 8c. x. 638. xi. 65, 549. New heav'ns, new earth,] 900. xii. 462.

« PreviousContinue »