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Muit reafcend, what will betide the few
450 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, faid th' angel ; but from heav'ı He to his own a Comforter will fend, The promise of the Father, who shall dweil His Spi'rit within them, and the law of faith Working through love, upon their hearts shall write, To guid them in all truth, and also arm With fpiritual armcur, able to rcfift Satan's affaults, and quench his fiery darts, What man can do against them, not afraid, Though to the death, against such cruelties With inward confolations recompens'd,
495 And oft supported so as fhall amaze Their proudelt persecutors: for the Spirit Pour'd first on his apostles, whom he fends To' evangelize the nations, then on all Baptize'd, shall them with wondrous gift indue, sco To speak all tongues, and do all miracles, As heir Lord before them. Thus they win Great numbers of each nation to receive With joy the tidings brought from heav'n: at length, Their miniftry perform'd, and race well run, 505 Their doctrine and their story written left, They die.
But in their room, as they forewarn, Wolves thall succeed for teachers, grievous wolves, Who all the sacred mysteries of heaven To their own vile advantages shall turn
$10 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,
Founded in righteousness, and peace, and love, 559 To bring forth fruits, joy and eternal bliss.
He ended ; and thus Adam last reply'd. How soon hath thy predi&tion, feer blefs'd, Measur'd this transient world, the race of time, Till time stand fix'd ? Beyond is all abyss, 555 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 As in his presence, ever to observe His providence, and on him fole depend, Merciful over all his works, with good
565 Still overcoming evil, and by small Accomplishing great things, by things deem'd weak Subverting worldly strong, and worldly wise By fimply meek; that suffering for truth's fake 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 blefs'd,
To whom thus also th' angel last reply'd. This having learn'd, thou hast attaind the sum 575 Of wisdom; hope no high'er, though all the 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 heaven, air, earth, or fea, And all the riches of this world enjoy’dft, And all the rule, one empire ; only add Deeds to thy knowledge answerable, add faith, Add virtue, patience, temperance, add love, By name to come call'd Charity, the soul
Of all the rest : then wilt thou not be loath 535
great deliverance by her seed to come. 600
Whence thou return'st, and whither went'st, I know;
This further confolation yet secure
620 Icarry hence; though all by me is lost, Such favour I unworthy am vouchfaf'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 6202 Th' archangel stood, and from the other hill To their fix'd station, all in bright array, The Cherubim descended; on the ground Gliding 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 advance'd, The brandish'd sword of God before them blaz'd Fierce as a comet; which with torrid heat, And vapour as the Libyan air adust,
635 Began to parch that temp’rate clime; whereat. In either hand the hast’ning angel caught Our ling'ring parents, and to th' 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 Of Paradise, fo late their happy seat, War'd over by that flaming brand, the gate With dreadful faces throng’d and fiery arms : Some natural tears they dropt, but wip'd them foon; The world was all before them, where to chuse 646 Their place of rest, and Providence their guide: They hand in hand, with wand'ring steps and low, Through Eden took their solitary way,