Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

250

256

290

Forbidden knowledge by forbidden means.
This

yet I apprehend not, why to those
Among whom God will deign to dwell on earth
So many and so various laws are given;
So many laws argue so many sins
Among them; how can God with such reside?

To whom thus Michael. Doubt not but that sin
Will reign among them, as of thee begot;
And therefore was law given them to evince
Their natural pravity, by stirring up
Sin against law to fight ; that when they see
Law can discover sin, but not remove,
Save by those shadowy expiations weak,
The blood of bulls and goats, they may conclude
Some blood more precious must be paid for man,
Just for unjust, that in such righteousness
To them by faith imputed they may

find Justification towards God, and peace Of conscience, which the law by ceremonies Cannot appease, nor man the moral part Perform, and not performing cannot live. So law appears imperfect, and but given With purpose to resign them in full time Up to a better covenant, disciplin'd From shadowy types to truth, from flesh to spirit, From imposition of strict laws to free Acceptance of large grace, from servile fear To filial, works of law to works of faith. And therefore shall not Moses, though of God Highly belov'd, being but the minister

295

300

303 310

320

Of law, his people into Canaan lead;
But Joshua, whom the gentiles Jesus call,
His name and office bearing, who shall quell
The adversary serpent, and bring back
Through the world's wilderness long wander'd man
Safe to eternal paradise of rest.
Mean while they in their earthly Canaan plac'd 315
Long time shall dwell and prosper, but when sins
National interrupt their public peace,
Provoking God to raise them enemies,
From whom as oft he saves them penitent,
By judges first, then under kings; of whom
The second, both for piety renown'd
And puissant deeds, a promise shall receive
Irrevocable, that his regal throne
For ever shall endure; the like shall sing
All prophecy, that of the royal stock
Of David, (so I name this king, shall rise

I
A son, the woman's seed to thee foretold,
Foretold to Abraham, as in whom shall trust
All nations, and to kings foretold, of kings
The last, for of his reign shall be no end.
But first a long succession must ensue,
And his next son, for wealth and wisdom fam’d,
The clouded ark of God, till then in tents
Wand'ring, shall in a glorious temple enshrine.
Such follow him, as shall be register'd
Part good, part bad, of bad the longer scroll;
Whose foul idolatries, and other faults
Heap'd to the popular sum, will so incense

325

330

335 340

350

God, as to leave them, and expose their land,
Their city, his temple, and his holy ark,
With all his sacred things, a scorn and prey
To that proud city, whose high walls thou saw'st
Left in confusion, Babylon thence call’d.
There in captivity he lets them dwell
The space of seventy years, then brings them back,
Remembʼring mercy and his covenant sworn
To David stablish'd as the days of heaven.
Return'd from Babylon by leave of kings
Their lords, whom God dispos'd, the house of God
They first re-edify, and for a while
In mean estate live moderate, till grown
In wealth a multitude, factious they grow :
But first among the priests dissension springs,
Men who attend the altar, and should most
Endeavour peace : their strife pollution brings
Upon the temple it self: at last they seize
The sceptre, and regard not David's sons ;
Then lose it to a stranger, that the true
Anointed king Messiah might be born
Barr'd of his right; yet at his birth a star
Unseen before in heaven proclaims him come ;
And guides the eastern sages, who inquire
His place, to offer incense, myrrh, and gold :
His place of birth a solemn angel tells
To simple shepherds, keeping watch by night; 365
They gladly thither haste, and by a choir
Of squadron'd angels hear his carol sung.
A Virgin is his mother, but his sire

355

360

370

'st

pack.

375

God

380

[ocr errors]

The

power of the Most High ; he shall ascend The throne hereditary, and bound his reign With earth's wide bounds, his glory with the heavens.

He ceas’d, discerning Adam with such joy
Surcharg'd, as had like grief been dew'd in tears,
Without the vent of words, which these he breath'd.

O prophet of glad tidings, finisher
Of utmost hope ! now clear I understand
What oft my steadiest thoughts have search'd in vain,
Why our great expectation should be call?d
The seed of woman: Virgin Mother, hail,
High in the love of heaven, yet from

my

loins
Thou shalt proceed, and from thy womb the Son
Of God most high; so God with man unites.
Needs must the serpent now his capital bruise
Expect with mortal pain : say where and when
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 Godhead, with more strength to foil
Thy enemy; nor so is overcome
Satan, whose fall from heaven, 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,

390

395

370 bound] Hume and Newton cite Virg. Æn. i. 287.

'Imperium Oceano, famam qui terminet astris.' Upton refers to Psalm ii. 8. Isaiah ix. 7. Zechariah ix. 9.

405

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
To save them, not their own, though legal, works.
For this he shall live hated, be blasphem'd,
Seiz'd on by force, judg’d, and to death condemnd
A 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

409

415

6

6

401 appaid) i. e. "satisfied; the language of Chaucer and Spenser. See Urry's Gloss. Chaucer. Todd.

409 merits) Pearce, Newton, and the other critics, acknowledge the difficulty of this passage. Mr. Todd speaks of an ingenious writer, who reads • merit's,' with an elision. Bentley prefers • Do save them,' which is justly objected to by Pearce. I propose to read

and that his obedience Imputed, becomes theirs by faith ; his merits

So save them, not their own, though legal works.' This reading appears to me to render the passage clear, without any further alteration of the text than the substitution of S for T.

« ZurückWeiter »