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Adorn'd with thousand lamps of burning light,
And with ten thousand gemmes of shyning gold,)
He gave as their inheritance to hold,
That they might serve Him in eternall blis,
And be partakers of these ioyes of His.
There they in their trinall triplicities
About Him wait, and on His will depend,
Either with nimble wings to cut the skies,
When He them on His messages doth send,
Or on His owne dread presence to attend,
Where they behold the glorie of His light,
And caroll hymnes of love both day and night.
Both day and night is unto them all one;
For He His beames doth unto them extend,
That darknesse there appeareth never none;
Ne hath their day, ne hath their blisse, an end,
But there their termelesse time in pleasure spend :
Ne ever should their happinesse decay,
Had not they dar'd their Lord to disobay.
But pride, impatient of long resting peace,
Did puffe them up with greedy bold ambition,
That they gan cast their state how to increase
Above the fortune of their first condition,
And sit in God's own seat without commission :
The brightest angel, even the child of Light,
Drew millions more against their God to fight.
Th' Almighty, seeing their so bold assay,
Kindled the flame of His consuming yre,
And with His onely breath them blew away
From heaven's hight, to which they did aspyre,
To deepest hell and lake of damned fyre;
Where they in darknesse and dread horror dwell,
Hating the happie light from which they fell.
So that next off-spring of the Maker's love,
Next to Himselfe in glorious degree,
Degendering to hate, fell from above
Through pride, (for pride and love may ill agree,)
And now of sinne to all ensample bee :
How then can sinnful flesh it selfe assure,
Sith purest angels fell to be impure ?
But that Eternall Fount of love and grace,
Still flowing forth His goodnesse unto all,
Now seeing left a waste and emptie place
In His wyde pallace, through those angels' fall,
Cast to supply the same, and to enstali
A new unknowen colony therein,
Whose root from earth's base groundworke should
Therefore of clay, base, vile, and next to nought,
Yet form'd by wondrous skill, and by His might
According to an heavenly patterne wrought,
Which He had fashioned in his wise foresight,
He man did make, and breath'd a living spright
Into his face, most beautifull and fayre,
Endewd with wisedome's riches, heavenly, rare.
Such He him made, that he resemble might
Himselfe, as mortall thing immortall could;
Him to be lord of every living wight
He made by love out of his owne like mould,
In whom He might His mightie selfe behould :
For Love doth love the thing belov'd to see,
That like it selfe in lovely shape may bee.
But man, forgetfull of his Maker's grace
No lesse than Angels, whom he did ensew,
Fell from the hope of promist heavenly place
Into the mouth of Death, to sinners dew,
And all his offspring into thraldome threw,
Where they for ever should in bonds remaine
Of never-dead yet ever-dying paine :
Till that great Lord of Love, which him at first
Made of meere love, and after liked well,
Seeing him lie like creature long accurst
In that deep horror of despeyred hell,
Him, wretch, in doole would let no longer dwell,
But cast out of that bondage to redeeme,
And pay the price, all were his debt extreeme.
Out of the bosome of eternall blisse,
In which He reigned with His glorious Syre,
He downe descended, like a most demisse
And abiect thrall, in fleshes fraile attyre,
That He for him might pay sinne's deadly hyre,
And him restore unto that happie state
In which he stood before his haplesse fate.
In flesh at first the guilt committed was,
Therefore in flesh it must be satisfyde ;
Nor spirit, nor angel, though they man surpas,
Could make amends to God for man's misguyde,
But onely man himselfe, who selfe did slyde:
So, taking flesh of sacred virgin's wombe,
For man's dearė sake He did a man become.
And that most blessed bodie, which was borne
Without all blemish or reprochfull blame,
He freely gave to be both rent and torne
Of cruell hands, who with despightfull shame
Revyling Him, that them most vile became,
At length Him nayled on a gallow-tree,
And slew the Iust by most uniust decree.
O huge and most unspeakeable impression
Of Love's deep wound, that pierst the piteous hart
Of that deare Lord with so entyre affection,
And, sharply launcing every inner part,
Dolours of death into His soule did dart,
Doing him die that never it deserved,
To free His foes, that from His heast had swerved!
What hart can feel least touch of so sore launch,
Or thought can think the depth of so deare wound?
Whose bleeding sourse their streames yet never
But stil do flow, and freshly still redownd,
To heale the sores of sinfull soules unsound,
And clense the guilt of that infected cryme
Which was enrooted in all fleshly slyme.
O blessed Well of Love! O Floure of Grace!
O glorious Morning-Starre ! O Lampe of Light!
Most lively image of thy Father's face,
Eternal King of Glorie, Lord of Might,
Meeke Lambe of God, before all worlds behight,
How can we Thee requite for all this good ?
Or what can prize that Thy most precious blood ?
Yet nought Thou ask'st in lieu of all this love,
But love of us, for guerdon of thy paine :
Ay me! what can us lesse than that behove?
Had He required life for us againe,
Had it beene wrong to ask His owne with gaine?
He gave us life, He it restored lost;
Then life were least, that us so little cost.
But He our life hath left unto us free ;
Free that was thrall, and blessed that was band;
Ne ought demaunds but that we loving bee,
As He Himselfe hath lov'd us afore-hand,
And bound therto with an eternall band,
Him first to love that was so dearely bought,
And next our brethren, to his image wrought.
Him first to love great right and reason is,
Who first to us our life and being gave,
And after, when we fared had amisse,
Us wretches from the second death did save;
And last, the food of life, which now we have,
Even He Himselfe, in his dear sacrament,
To feede our hungry soules, unto us lent.
Then next, to love our brethren, that were made
Of that selfe mould, and that self Maker's hand,
That we, and to the same againe shall fade,
Where they shall have like heritage of land,
However here on higher steps we stand,
Which also were with selfe-same price redeemed
That we, however of us light esteemed.
And were they not, yet since that loving Lord
Commanded us to love them for His sake,
Even for His sake, and for His sacred word,
Which in His last bequest He to us spake,
We should them love, and with their needs partake;
Knowing that, whatsoe'er to them we give,
We give to Him by whom we all doe live.
Such mercy He by His most holy reede
Unto us taught, and to approve it trew,
Ensampled it by His most righteous deede,
Shewing us mercie, (miserable crew!)
That we the like should to the wretches shew,
And love our brethren; thereby to approve
How much Himselfe that loved us we love.
Then rouze thyselfe, O Earth! out of thy soyle,
In which thou wallowest like to filthy swyne,
And doest thy mynd in durty pleasures moyle,
Unmindfull of that dearest Lord of thyne ;
Lift up to Him thy heavie clouded eyne,
That thou this soveraine bountie mayst behold,
And read, through love, His mercies manifold.
Beginne from first, where he encradled was
In simple cratch, wrapt in a wad of hay