Page images

that, chose not to be at all; but having lost that Hope he lost all Fear : He made no Account of God, or Hell, or worle, and spoke as follows:

My Sentence is altogether for open War; I boast not of Stratagems, for in them I am not skilful ; let those contrive them who have no better Means to use, and when there may be Occasion for them, not now : For while they fit inventing, fhall the rest, so many Millions that stand in Arms and impatiently wait the Signal to ascend, fit lingering here ; Heaven's Fugitives, and accept for their Dwelling-Place this dark and shameful Pit, which is the Prison of his Tyranny, who reigns only by our Delay ? No, let us chuse rather, arın'd with Fury and Hell Flames, all at once to force resistless Way over the high Towers of Heaven, turning our Tortures into horrible Arms against him who tortures us ; when he shall hear, to meet the Noise of his almighty Thunder, infernal Thunder, and for Lightning, see black Fire and Horrot shot with as great Rage among His Angels; and see His Throne itself, mix'd with burning Sulphur and strange Fire, Torments which He himself invented.

But, perhaps, the Way seems hard and steep, to scale upward upon the Wing, against a Foe above us. If the steepy Drench of that Lake does not still ft upify, let such bethink them, that we ascend in our proper Motion, up to our Native Seats ; Descent and Sinking is contrary to our celestial Natures. Who were there of late, when our fierce Foe pursued us closely through the Deep, but felt with what Compulfion and Labour we funk thus low? The Ascent then is easy, but the Event is feared : It is objected, that if we should again provoke Him, who is stronger than us, His Wrath may find some worse Way

to our Destruction, as if those who are already in Hell could fear to be worse deftroyed. What can be worse



[ocr errors][ocr errors]

than to dwell here, driven out from Bliss, and condemred in this abhorred Prison to utter Woe: where Pain of unquenshable Fire muft torment us, without any Hope or End? We are the Objects of His eternal Wrath, whenever Hisyunmerciful Scourge and the Hour of Torture calls us to Punishment. If we were to be more destroyed than this, we should be quite annihilated and expire. What do we fear then ? What Doubts do we raise, to infiame His utmost Rage? which raised to the Height, will either consume us quite, and reduce these Effences of ours to nothing ; (which is happier far, than to be miserable and have eternal Being) or if our Natures be indeed immortal, and we cannot cease to be, then, at worst, we are on this Side nothing; and we feel by Proof, that our Power is fufficient to disturb His Heaven, and with continual Assaults to allarm His fatal Throne, although it may be inaccessible; which, if it is not Victory, it is nevertheless Revenge.

He concluded frowning, and his Look threatened desperate Revenge and dangerous Battle, to any who were less than Gods. On the other Side Belial rofe up, more graceful and humane in his Carriage ; a fairer Person did not lose Heaven; he seemed composed for Dignity, and for high Exploits ; but all was false and hollow; though his Tongue was eloquent and could make the worse Reason appear the better, to perplex and confound the wisest Councils : For his Thoughts were low, industrious to Vice, but timorous and nothful to nobler Deeds ; yet he pleased the Ear, and with moving and persuasive Oratory began thus :

I SHOULD, O Peers! be very much for open War, (as not the least behind for Hate) if what was the main Reason infifted upon to perswade me to it, did not diffwade me from it, and seem to cast an ill-boding Conjecture upon the Success of the whole ; when he,


who excells most in valiant Deeds, suspicious of the Event, builds his Courage upon Despair, and confiders utter Diffolution as the Scope of all his Aim, after some fatal Revenge. Firit, what Revenge? The Towers of Heaven are always filled with armed Watch, which takes off the Possibility of all Access: Nay, the Legions of the holy Angels do often encamp upon the bordering Deep, or with darkened Wings scout far and wide into the Regionis of Night; and scorn all Surprize. Or could we by Force break our Way, and all Hell should rise at our Heels with blackest Rebellion, to confound Heaven's pureLight; yet our great Enemy would remain unpolluted and incorruptible on his Throne, and the heavenly Substance not subject to any Blot or Stain, would foon expel all Mischief, and victoriously purge off all our ineffectual Fires. Thus repulsed, our final Hope would indeed be flat Despair ; we should thus exafperate the Almighty Conqueror to spend all his Rage upon us, and that must end us; that at last must be our Cure, to be no more.—A sad Cure! for who, though full of Pain,would lose this wise and understanding Nature of ours; these Thoughts, that can wander through Eternity; and rather chule to perish, to be swallow'd up, and loft in everlasting Darkness, with out Sense and Motion ? And supposing this to be a Good, and to be chose before our present Pain, who knows whether our angry Foe can give it, or ever will ? How he can is quite doubtful, , but that he never will is very sure. Will he, who is so very wife, at once let loose his Anger; belike through Want of Power to curb his Passions, or at unawares, to give his Enemies their Wish, and to put an End to them in his Anger, whom his Anger faves only to punish for ever? - Wherefore then say they who counsel War, why do we ceafe? We are predestinated, reserved, and destined to eternal Misery, let us do what we will, what can we luffer more, what can we suffer worse?

[ocr errors]

Is this then worst, thus in Arms, fitting and consulting? What! when we fled swiftly, and the afflicting Thunder of Heaven pursued and struck us, and we besought the Deep to shelter us? This Hell, scorching as it is, then seemed a Refuge from those Wounds. Or when we lay chained upon the burning Lake? That surely was worse. What if the fame Breath that kindled those Fires, again provoked, should blow them seven Times hotter, and plunge us in the Flames; or if from above the God of Vengeance, who has abated for a little Space, should arm again his incensed Right-Hand to plague us; what if all Heaven were opened, and this Firmament of Hell should spour out its Cataracts (c) of Fire ? Impending Horrors! threatning hideous Fall upon our Heads : While we, perhaps, designing or consulting glorious War, shall be caught in a fiery Tempeft, and each of us be transfixed on fome Rock, the Sport and Prey of continual and racking Whirlwinds; to converse there with everlasting Groans, without any Intermisfion, unpitied and unreprieved, and this for Ages without End! This would be worse, therefore I declare against War, either open or concealed : For what can Force or Fraud do against him? Or who can pretend to deceive his Mind, who views all Things at one View ? He from high Heaven secs and derides

[ocr errors]

(6) Cataracts ; ltal. Span. Fr. Cataract of Nigaria near New, Lat. from the Gr. i. e. Falling York in Nortb America, is the down with Force, rushing vio- greatest in the World, being lently downwards. Water Falls heard above thirty Miles off; in Rivers from high Rocks, as for the Fall of it is several hunthose of the Danube and Nile, dred Feet deep. Mr. Cackburn which makes the Inhabitants saw one in South America fix-hundeaf for three Leagues, through dred Feet high, and heard the the hideous Noise of their Fall. Noise of it two Days before they Many fuch are in the great Ri came to it, Journey, P. 224. ver Tornea in Lapland, and in Here che Sluices of Hell Fire les most Rivers that descend from out upon the Fallen Angels. high rocky Mountains. But the


[ocr errors]

all these our vain Motions : Nor is he more almighty to resist us, than he is wise to frustrate all our Plots and Stratagems. But it will be said, shall we then live here thus vile, who are the Race of Heaven, thus trampled on, thus expelled, to suffer Chains and thele Torments ? By my Advice, better thefe than worse, since inevitable Fate subdues us, and an omnipotent Decree; which is the Will of our Conqueror. Our Strength is equal to fuffer, or to act, nor is the Law unjust that ordains it fo; thus, if we were-wise, we resolved at firk, contending against so great an Enemy, and being so uncertain what might happen. 1 laugh, when those who are bold and adventurous at the Spear, if that fail them, shrink, and are afraid of what they know must follow; that is, to undergo Banishment, Ignominy, or Bonds, or Pain ; if the Victor pass such Sentence upon them. This is now what we are doom'd to! which if we can support and fuftain, our supreme Foe may in Time abate of his Anger; and perhaps now we are thus far removed, not mind us, if we offend no more, but be satisfied with what is punished; and then these raging Fires will Nacken, if his Breath does not blow up their Flames: Our pure Effence will at length overcome their noxious Vapour, or else being long inured to it, at last we Ahall not feel it, or changed and conformed to the Place, in Temper and in Nature, we fhall receive the fierce-Heat familiar, and without Pain :- What seems horrid now will grow mild, and this Darkness grow more like Light; besides what Hope the never-ending - Course of future. Time may bring, what Chance, what Change worth waiting for ; since our present Lot, thinking all Happiness

is but ill, yet though ill, not worst of all, except we become our own Enemies, and bring more Misery upon

ourselves. Thus BELIAL, in Words which appeared to flow from Reason, counselled dishonourable Ease and


« PreviousContinue »