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Raphael continues to relate how Michael and Ga.
briel were sent forth to battle against Satan and his angels. The first fight described : Satan and his powers retire under night: he calls a council; invents devilish engines, which, in the second day's fight, put Michael and his angels to some disorder; but they at length pulling up mountains, overwhelm both the force and machines of Satan: yet, the tumult not so ending, God, on the third day, sends Messiah his Son, for whom he had reserved the glory of that victory: he, in the power of his Father, coming to the place, and causing all his legions to stand still on either side, with his chariot and thunder driving into the midst of his enemies, pursues them, unable to resist, 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.
• ALL night the dreadless angel, unpursued, Through heaven's wide champain held his way;
till Morn, Waked by the circling Hours, with rosy hand Unbarr'd the gates of light. There is a cave Within the mount of God, fast by his throne, Where light and darkness in perpetual round Lodge and dislodge by turns, which makes through
heaven Grateful vicissitude, like day and night ; Light issues forth, and at the other door Obsequious darkness enters, till her hour To veil the heaven, though darkness there might
well Seem twilight here: and now went forth the morn, Such as in highest heaven, array'd in gold Empyreal; from before her vanish'd night, Shot through with orient beams; when all the plain Cover'd with thick embattled squadrons bright, Chariots, and flaming arms, and fiery steeds, Reflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view: War he perceived, war in procinct; and found Already known what he for news had thought To have reported : gladly then he mix'd Among those friendly powers, who him received With joy and acclamations loud, that one, That of so many myriads fall’n yet one Return'd not lost. On to the sacred hill They led him high applauded, and present Before the seat supreme; from whence a voice,
From midst a golden cloud, thus mild was heard : " Servant of God, well done; well hast thou
fought The better fight, who single hast maintain'd Against revolted multitudes the cause Of truth, in word mightier than they in arms; And for the testimony of truth hast borne Universal reproach, far worse to bear Than violence; for this was all thy care, To stand approved in sight of God, though worlds Judged thee perverse: the easier conquest now Remains thee; aided by this host of friends, Back on thy foes more glorious to return, Than scorn'd thou didst depart; and to subdue By force, who reason for their law refuse; Right reason for their law, and for their king Messiah, who by right of merit reigns. Go, Michael, of celestial armies prince ; And thou, in military prowess next, Gabriel, lead forth to battle these my sons Invincible; lead forth my armed saints, By thousands and by millions, ranged for fight, Equal in number to that godless crew Rebellious: them with fire and hostile arms Fearless assault; and to the brow of heaven Pursuing, drive them out from God and bliss, Into their place of punishment, the gulf Of Tartarus, which ready opens wide His fiery chaos to receive their fall."
*So spake the Sovran Voice, and clouds began To darken all the hill, and smoke to roll Iu dusky wreaths, reluctant flames, the sign Of wrath awaked; nor with less dread the loud Ethereal trumpet from on high 'gan blow : At which command the powers militant That stood for heaven, in mighty quadrate join’d Of union irresistible, moved on In silence their bright legions, to the sound Of instrumental harmony, that breathed Heroic ardour to adventurous deeds
Under their god-like leaders, in the cause