Page images

and Thunder, driving into the midst of his Enemies, pursues them, unable to relijt, towards the Wall of Heaven ; which opening they leap down with Horror and Confusion into the Place of Punishment prepared for them in the Deep : Messiah returns with Triumph to his Father.

CH A P. I.

Raphael relates bot Michael and Gabriel went

forth to Battle against Satan; the first Fight defcribed.

B-DIEL the dreadless Angel held his

Way all Night unpursued through the A

wide Plains of Heaven ; till returning Morning broughton the Light. There is a Cave within the Mountain of God,

and not far distant from his Throne, where by turns in a continual Round, Light, and Darkness, lodge and dislodge, which makes through Heaven an agreeable Change, like Day and Night: Light issues forth at 'one Door, and the other obedient Darkness enters, till the Hour come for her to draw a Veil over the Heavens (though what is called Darkness there, might seem Twilight here) and now. went forth the Morning, such as it is in the highest Heavens, arrayed in a celestial and golden Hue, and the Night went off when it approached shot through with bright Beams; when what first met the Sight of ABDIEL was Chariots and Aaming Arnis, and fiery Steeds, and thick bright Squadrons in Battle array, that covered all the Plain, reflecting Blaze on Blaze. He perceived War in Readiness, and found that to be already known, which he thought to have report


ed for News : He then gladly mixed himself among those friendly Powers, who received him with loud Acclamations and Joy, that out of so great a Number fallen, yet there should one return not loft. They led him on, highly applauded to the sacred Hill, and prelented him before the supreme Seat, from whence a Voice was heard thus mild from the midst of a golden Cloud :

Well done, thou faithful Servant of God! Well haft thou fought the better Fight ; who single against revolted Multitudes, haft maintained the Cause of Truth, mightier in Word than they can be in Arms, and for the Testimony of the Truth haft bore a general Reproach, far worse to bear than Violence ; for all thy Care was to stand approved, in the Sight of God, though the vast Multitude of the apostate Angels, judged thee to be perverse. An easier Conquest now remains for thee, assisted by this Host of Friends, to return back upon thy Foes with greater Glory, than thou didst depart from them with Scorn ; and to subdue them by Force who refuse right Reason for their Law'; MESSIAH for their King, who reigns by Right of Merit.

Go Michael ! Prince of the heavenly Armies! and thou Gabriel! next in military Art and Power, go, and lead forth these my invincible Sons ; lead forth my armed Saints by Millions (equal in Number to that ungodly rebellious Crew) and range them in Order for the Battle, assaule them without Fear with hostile Arms and with Fire, and pursuing them to the Borders of Heaven, drive them out from God and from Blifs, into their Place of Punishment; the Gulph of Hell, which has already opened wide its fiery Region of Confusion to receive them in their Fall.


Thus spoke the Voice of God, and the Clouds · began to darken all the Hill, and Smoak began to rowl in dufky and heavy Flames ; a Sign that Wrath divine was awaked; nor with less Terror began to found from an high the loud etherial Trumpet; at which Command the militant Powers, that stood firm for the Cause of Heaven, (joined in vaft Bodies of irrefiftable Union) moved on their bright Legions in Silence, to the Sound of musical Instruments, that breathed into them an heroick Ardour to great and adventurous Deeds, under their godlike Leaders, in the Cause of the ALMIGHTY and his MESSIAH : On they move, so firm, that it was impoffible for their Ranks to be divided by Hills, Vallies, Woods or Streams, for their March was high above the Ground, and the yielding Air bore up their nimble Tread; as when every Species of Birds came fummoned over EDEN, flying in orderly Array to receive their Names of Thee : So they marched over many a Tract and wide Province of Heaven, tenfold the Length of this earthly Globe. At last, far in the Horizon of the North appeared a fiery Region, that reached the whole Length and the utmost Depth, drawn up in Array of Battle, and on nearer View might be seen the bright Tops of innumerable Spears, a Throng of Helmets, and Shields with various Ornaments and boasting Devices : These were the united Powers of SATAN, hastening on with furious Expedition ; for they imagined that very Day, either by Conquest or by Surprize, to win the Mountain of God, and to set upon his Throne the proud Usurper and Envier of his Power ; but their Thoughts proved empty and vain in the Mid-way : Though at first it seemed very strange to us, that Angels should make War against Angels, and meet in fierce Combat, who were used to meet fo. often unanimous in Festivals of Love and Joy, and as the Sons of one great Sire, praising the eternal Fa



But now the Shout began for the Battle, and the rushing Sound of the Onset, which put an End to all milder Thoughts.

Satan far high in the Midst in his Sun-bright Chariot, exalted like a God, an Idol of divine Majefty, enclosed with Aaming Cherubim and with golden Shields ; then lighted from his resplendent Throne, (for now betwixt the two Armies there was but small Distance left, and Front presented to Front stood in terrible Array, extending to a prodigious Length) and before the Ranks of the rebellious Spirits, just when the Armies were about to join, SATAN advancing with vaft and haughty Strides, came swelling with imaginary Power, and armed in Adamant and Gold : The Seraph ABDIEL could not endure that Sight, where he stood among the Mightieft, bent on the Per. formance of greatest Actions, and thus he searches and considers his own undaunted Heart :

OH Heaven ! that there should yet remain such a Resemblance of the Highest, where Faith and Truth remain no longer : Wherefore should not Strength and Might fail when destitute of Virtue, or prove weakeft where it is most presumptuous ? Though to Appearance he seems unconquerable, I mean (trusting in the Asistance of the ALMIGHTY) to try his Power ; whose Reason I have already tried, and found to be false and unsound: Nor is it any Thing but just, that he who hath got the better in the Debate of Truth, should do the same also in Arms, and become a Conqueror in both Disputes alike ; though when Reason hath to deal with Force, the Contest is brutish and foul, yet it is most fit that Reason should overcome. Considering thus within himself, and stepping out from his armed Companions opposite to Satan, his daring Foe, he met him half-way, who was more in


censed, to see himn advance fo boldly towards him, and to hear from him this Defiance :

PROUD Angel ! art thou met ? Thy Hope was to have reached the Height of thy Afpiring without Oppofition, and to have found the Throne of God unguarded, and his. Side abandoned, at the Terror of thy Power and potent Voice : Thou Fool! not to consider, how vain it is to rise up in Arms against the ALMIGHTY ; who out of the smallest Things could have raised Armies continually without End, to defeat thy Folly ; or with his own Hand, which reaches beyond all Limit, without any other Asistance could have finished thee, and whelmed all thy Legions under Darkness : But thou mayest see that all are not of thy Train ; there be fome holy Angels besides myself, who esteem Fidelity and Piety towards God, though not visible to thee, when I alone seemed in thy World erroneously to diffent from all : Thou leeft my Party, and now mayest learn too late, that when Thousands err, fome few may be in the right. · To whom SaTAN, with malicious and scornful Eyes, gave Answer:

In the wish'd-for Hour of my Revenge, but ill for thee, art thou returned from Flight, whom I have been first seeking, seditious Angel! now art thou come to receive that Reward which thou haft merited, the first Tryal of this Right-Hand provoked ; since that Tongue inspired with Contradiction, first dared to oppose a third Part of the Gods, met in Council to asfert their Godheads, who while they feel divine Vigour within themselves, neither can or will allow Omnipotence to be the Attribute of any.


But well it is thou art come before thy Fellows, ambitious to win from me something to brag of, that thy Success may be an Example of Deltruction to the rest; only I have

« PreviousContinue »