Suffering doesn't discriminate. All human beings suffer because of sin. While Christians pray for protection, they are subjected to pain, loss, grief, and wrong. We exist in an environment in which everyone is exposed to the effects of greed, power, violence, and selfishness. While God wants to protect His children and tuck them like chickens under His wings, Satan is on a mission to destroy safety, security, and faith. God doesn't prevent heartache, but uses it as a stepping-stone to stronger faith and community.
Common experiences and suffering can bring Christians together. The St. James Church Massacre that occurred in Cape Town, South Africa, on July 25, , is a painful reminder that tragedy can strike at the heart of Christianity. A congregation of 1, people worshiping God on a cold Sunday night became targets for a man with a gun and a hand grenade packed in a tin of nails.
More than 10 lives were lost and more than 50 recorded as wounded. Such devastation can crush a Christian family, or it can strengthen it. Frank Retief, minister of the congregation at the time, said, "True faith in Christ is not seen too clearly when everything goes well.
When there are no difficulties, it is easy for people to claim to be Christians. But when the pressures come, it is an entirely different story. What a man really believes is seen when the chips are down. What is in the head comes out when there is nothing external to lean on.
Christians are targets in the spiritual battle between good and evil, and sometimes it appears that we are in the wrong place at the wrong time when disaster hits. Although our journeys are personal and our challenges differ, we all experience adversity, trial, and pain.
We have much in common. A Tough Journey The Christian walk is not always easy. Christians around the globe find life difficult. Throughout history men and women have struggled with disappointment and distress. Authors have documented the Christian journey, with its trials and suffering. One of the most famous is Job. Job experienced death in the family, loss of property, affliction from boils, and betrayal by friends. John Bunyan introduced us to an adventurous character called Christian in his Pilgrim's Progress. He shared the high and low points of life's pilgrimage, highlighting the trouble and danger we are exposed to.
Jesus also spoke about hardship--He warned His disciples that "in this world you will have trouble" John Jesus as Our Example Jesus taught us many things, and reflecting on His life is one way to find strength to persevere in trial. During the most tragic event in history Jesus displayed courage, perseverance, and stamina.
What happened to Jesus wasn't fair. Hounded by Pharisees, ostracized by His own people, and ridiculed for good deeds, Jesus modeled patience and grace in the face of adversity. During His short life of 33 years, Jesus prayed for strength to endure. When confronted with difficulties or trying circumstances, He placed His trust in God. Compassion and determination were weapons Jesus used to expose injustice.
Harsh treatment couldn't destroy His faith. I give you blessings; Happiness is up to you. I asked Allah to spare me pain. Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me. I asked Allah to make my spirit grow. You must grow on your own! I asked Allah for all things that I might enjoy life. I will give you life, so that you may enjoy all things. Allah said Ahhhh, finally you have the idea. And Francis of Assissi, a Christian poet wrote Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love, Where there is injury, pardon Where there is doubt, faith, Where there is despair, hope, Where there is darkness, light, Where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, not so much to be understood as to understand, not so much to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, it is in dying that we awake to eternal life. Make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love… 30 And Mother Teresa, another Christian poet wrote People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centred.
Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway. If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway. What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway. Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway. In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway. June Jordan, an African-American freedom chanpion poet wrote When they torture your mother Plant a tree When they torture your brother and your sister Plant a tree When they assassinate your leaders and lovers Plant a tree When they torture you too bad to talk Plant a tree. When they begin to torture the trees and cut down the forest they have made, Start another.
How to respond? It is our choice. This question will haunt us all our lives. Do we turn our back on suffering and pursue our own quest for comfort and power or take action to change suffering into happiness — even in the smallest way. Life is a game, life is a drama, life is a battlefield, life is a journey, What is your own philosophy on life? What is your own response? We have to choose, we have no choice in that. The choice is in every action. Each choice results in a movement — forwards or backwards, towards goodness or evil, oneness or discord, aspiration or desire.
We have to take sides in this great battlefield of life. Goodness is harder to follow than evil. It is harder to climb than to slide down, harder to build than destroy. But we are not expected to be perfect, to succeed all the time, just to keep on trying to live by principles of righteousness - goodness and compassion not meanness and cruelty, discipline not indulgence, purity and truth, Life is fragile and fleeting.
It is up to us how we use it. Try to change yourself. That is your God-ordained task. Love the world. Lo the world is changed forever. Everyone suddenly burst out singing And the world was filled with such delight…. Is it transformation? A flashing blade of low Autumnnal sunshine suddenly piercing dark storm-clouds, It catches you in its spotlight — you catch your breath in wonder, As in an instant rain-drenched gloom transforms To diamond-studded magical vistas, gilded with honey-bright gold. Or is it the cloudscape-fairyland you gaze at as you soar through in flight, A cityscape of magical blue-white sculpture, that only the angels frequent?
Is it the finality of Death or the wondrousness of new life? Have you ever witnessed new life come into the world — It really is amazing!
The triumph of Bhadrakali Devi over the evil demon Daruka!
Seen kittens or puppies born? Have you ever watched a flower open? Seen, tiny hair-fine seedlings turn dark earth overnight to misty green? Kittens, puppies, chicks and ducklings, which are your favourite animals and birds? Regal, lion roaring over his dominion, Majestic Bengal tiger prowling the sun-striped sundebans, The stag of the ancient Cave Paintings or Dolphin of today? Elephant or eagle, swan or songbird, sacred cow or sacrificial lamb? It is said that eyes are the windows of the soul.
It is said that you can see God in the eyes of a child, it is said… Have you ever looked soul-deeply in a mirror? Have you ever given your soul a heart-deep smile? And the second most important commandment…. Love your neighbour as yourself ………… As you love yourself ….. One Person…… God is in all….. My Father and I are one……… All is God…. Have you ever looked soul-deeply in a mirror? Have you ever held a tiny newborn baby - A tiny, perfect person with tiny perfect fingers curled around your own? Is it love itself and your own dear friends and family….. Music, tears and laughter?
What about your own self, so familiar and yet so little known…. Have you ever gazed wide-eyed at the world, like a little child, Heart shaken with wonder and delight, ……. Heart shaken with tears… encompassing the height and depths of everything… Joy and hope, terror and bereavement, Awe and amazement, gratitude and love? Gratitude and love……. What about life! Life is will…. The descending cry of concern and compassion, The ascending cry of love and helplessness….
What about God! We indeed created man; and we know the promptings of his soul. My proclamation of faith is the same as the proclamation of all who are sincere. In the love of God I am triumphant. How could it be otherwise? Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work too may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guide me then, O holy Spirit, that I always may be holy.
I have crossed the secret ways of life, I have become the Goal. The Truth immutable is revealed; I am the way, the God Soul. My spirit aware of all the heights, I am mute in the core of the Sun. I barter nothing with time and deeds; My cosmic play is done. After these appeared A crew who under names of old renown, Osiris, Isis, Orus and their train With monstrous shapes and sorceries abused Fanatic Egypt and her priests, to seek Their wandering gods disguised in brutish forms Rather then human.
Nor did Israel escape The infection when their borrowed gold composed The calf in Oreb: and the rebel king Doubled that sin in Bethel and in Dan, Likening his Maker to the grazed ox, Jehovah, who in one night when he passed From Egypt marching, equaled with one stroke Both her first born and all her bleating gods. Belial came last, then whom a spirit more lewd Fell not from Heaven, or more gross to love Vice for itself: To him no temple stood Or altar smoked; yet who more oft then he In temples and at altars, when the priest Turns atheist, as did Ely's sons, who filled With lust and violence the house of God.
In courts and palaces he also reigns And in luxurious cities, where the noise Of riot ascends above their loftiest towers, And injury and outrage: And when night Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine. Witness the streets of Sodom, and that night In Gibeah, when the hospitable door Exposed a matron to avoid worse rape. All these and more came flocking; but with looks Down cast and damp, yet such wherein appeared Obscure some glimpse of joy, to have found their chief Not in despair, to have found themselves not lost In loss it self; which on his countenance cast Like doubtful hue: but he his wonted pride Soon recollecting, with high words, that bore Semblance of worth, not substance, gently raised Their fainting courage, and dispelled their fears.
All in a moment through the gloom were seen Ten thousand banners rise into the air With orient colors waving: with them rose A forest huge of spears: and thronging helms Appeared, and serried shields in thick array Of depth immeasurable: Anon they move In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood Of flutes and soft recorders; such as raised To height of noblest temper hero's old Arming to battle, and in stead of rage Deliberate valor breathed, firm and unmoved With dread of death to flight or foul retreat, Nor wanting power to mitigate and swage With solemn touches, troubled thoughts, and chase Anguish and doubt and fear and sorrow and pain From mortal or immortal minds.
Thus they Breathing united force with fixed thought Moved on in silence to soft pipes that charmed Their painful steps over the burnt soil; and now Advanced in view, they stand, a horrid front Of dreadful length and dazzling arms, in guise Of warriors old with ordered spear and shield, Awaiting what command their mighty chief Had to impose: He through the armed files Darts his experienced eye, and soon traverse The whole battalion views, their order due, Their visages and stature as of gods, Their number last he sums.
Thus far these beyond Compare of mortal prowess, yet observed Their dread commander: he above the rest In shape and gesture proudly eminent Stood like a tower; his form had yet not lost All her original brightness, nor appeared Less then archangel ruined, and the excess Of glory obscured: As when the sun new risen Looks through the horizontal misty air Shorn of his beams, or from behind the moon In dim eclipse disastrous twilight sheds On half the nations, and with fear of change Perplexes monarchs.
Darkened so, yet shone Above them all the archangel: but his face Deep scars of thunder had intrenched, and care Sat on his faded cheek, but under brows Of dauntless courage, and considerate pride Waiting revenge: cruel his eye, but cast Signs of remorse and passion to behold The fellows of his crime, the followers rather Far other once beheld in bliss condemned For ever now to have their lot in pain, Millions of spirits for his fault amerced Of Heaven, and from eternal splendors flung For his revolt, yet faithful how they stood, Their glory withered.
He now prepared To speak; whereat their doubled ranks they bend From wing to wing, and half enclose him round With all his peers: attention held them mute. Thrice he assayed, and thrice in spite of scorn, Tears such as angels weep, burst forth: at last Words interwove with sighs found out their way. Oh Myriads of immortal spirits, Oh powers Matchless, but with the Almighty, and that strife Was not inglorious, though the event was dire, As this place testifies, and this dire change Hateful to utter: but what power of mind Foreseeing or presaging, from the depth Of knowledge past or present, could have feared, How such united force of gods, how such As stood like these, could ever know repulse?
For who can yet believe, though after loss, That all these puissant Legions, whose exile Hath emptied Heaven, shall fail to re-ascend Self-raised, and repossess their native seat? For me be witness all the host of Heaven, If counsels different, or danger shunned By me, have lost our hopes. But he who reigns Monarch in Heaven, till then as one secure Sat on his throne, upheld by old repute, Consent or custom, and his regal state Put forth at full, but still his strength concealed, Which tempted our attempt, and wrought our fall.
Henceforth his might we know, and know our own So as not either to provoke, or dread New war, provoked; our better part remains To work in close design, by fraud or guile What force effected not: that he no less At length from us may find, who overcomes By force, hath overcome but half his foe.
Space may produce new worlds; whereof so rife There went a fame in Heaven that he ere long Intended to create, and therein plant A generation, whom his choice regard Should favor equal to the sons of Heaven: Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhaps Our first eruption, thither or elsewhere: For this infernal pit shall never hold Celestial spirits in bondage, nor the abyss Long under darkness cover. But these thoughts Full counsel must mature: Peace is despaired, For who can think submission?
War then, war Open or understood must be resolved. He spake: and to confirm his words, out-flew Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs Of mighty cherubim; the sudden blaze Far round illumined hell: highly they raged Against the Highest, and fierce with grasped arms Clashed on their sounding shields the din of war, Hurling defiance toward the vault of Heaven.
There stood a Hill not far whose grisly top Belched fire and rolling smoke; the rest entire Shone with a glossy scurf, undoubted sign That in his womb was hid metallic ore, The work of sulfur. Thither winged with speed A numerous brigade hastened. As when bands Of pioneers with spade and pickax armed Forerun the royal camp, to trench a field, Or cast a rampart.
Mammon led them on, Mammon, the least erected spirit that fell From Heaven, for even in Heaven his looks and thoughts Were always downward bent, admiring more The riches of Heavens pavement, trodden gold, Then aught divine or holy else enjoyed In vision beatific: by him first Men also, and by his suggestion taught, Ransacked the center, and with impious hands Rifled the bowels of their mother Earth For treasures better hid. Soon had his crew Opened into the hill a spacious wound And digged out ribs of gold.
Let none admire That riches grow in Hell; that soil may best Deserve the precious bane. And here let those Who boast in mortal things, and wondering tell Of Babel, and the works of Memphian kings Learn how their greatest monuments of fame, And strength and art are easily out-done By spirits reprobate, and in an hour What in an age they with incessant toil And hands innumerable scarce perform. Nigh on the plain in many cells prepared, That underneath had veins of liquid fire Sluiced from the lake, a second multitude With wondrous art found out the massy ore, Severing each kind, and scummed the bullion dross: A third as soon had formed within the ground A various mould, and from the boiling cells By strange conveyance filled each hollow nook, As in an organ from one blast of wind To many a row of pipes the sound-board breaths.
Anon out of the earth a fabric huge Rose like an exhalation, with the sound Of dulcet symphonies and voices sweet, Built like a temple, where pilasters round Were set, and doric pillars overlaid With golden architrave; nor did there want Cornice or freeze, with bossy sculptures graven, The roof was fretted gold. Not Babylon, Nor great Alcairo such magnificence Equaled in all their glories, to inshrine Belus or Serapis their gods, or seat Their kings, when Egypt with Assyria strove In wealth and luxury. The hasty multitude Admiring entered, and the work some praise And some the architect: his hand was known In Heaven by many a towered structure high, Where sceptered angels held their residence, And sat as princes, whom the supreme King Exalted to such power, and gave to rule, Each in his hierarchy, the orders bright.
As bees In spring time, when the sun with Taurus rides, Pour forth their populous youth about the hive In clusters; they among fresh dews and flowers Fly to and fro, or on the smoothed plank, The suburb of their straw-built citadel, New rubbed with baum, expatiate and confer Their state affairs.
So thick the aerie crowd Swarmed and were straitened; till the signal given. Behold a wonder! Thus incorporeal spirits to smallest forms Reduced their shapes immense, and were at large, Though without number still amidst the hall Of that infernal court. But far within And in their own dimensions like themselves The great seraphic lords and cherubim In close recess and secret conclave sat, A thousand demigods on golden seats, Frequent and full.
After short silence then And summons read, the great consult began. Me though just right, and the fixed laws of Heaven, Did first create your leader, next, free choice With what besides in council or in fight Hath been achieved of merit, yet this loss, Thus far at least recovered, hath much more Established in a safe, unenvied throne, Yielded with full consent.
The happier state In Heaven, which follows dignity, might draw Envy from each inferior; but who here Will envy whom the highest place exposes Foremost to stand against the Thunderer's aim Your bulwark, and condemns to greatest share Of endless pain? Where there is, then, no good For which to strive, no strife can grow up there From faction: for none sure will claim in Hell Precedence; none whose portion is so small Of present pain that with ambitious mind Will covet more!
With this advantage, then, To union, and firm faith, and firm accord, More than can be in Heaven, we now return To claim our just inheritance of old, Surer to prosper than prosperity Could have assured us; and by what best way, Whether of open war or covert guile, We now debate. Who can advise may speak. He ceased; and next him Moloch, sceptered king, Stood up, the strongest and the fiercest spirit That fought in Heaven, now fiercer by despair.
His trust was with the Eternal to be deemed Equal in strength, and rather than be less Cared not to be at all; with that care lost Went all his fear: of God, or Hell, or worse, He recked not, and these words thereafter spake: My sentence is for open war. Of wiles, More unexpert, I boast not: them let those Contrive who need, or when they need; not now. For, while they sit contriving, shall the rest, Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait The signal to ascend, sit lingering here, Heaven's fugitives, and for their dwelling-place Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame, The prison of his tyranny who reigns By our delay?
But perhaps The way seems difficult, and steep to scale With upright wing against a higher foe! Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench Of that forgetful lake benumb not still, That in our proper motion we ascend Up to our native seat; descent and fall To us is adverse.
Who but felt of late, When the fierce foe hung on our broken rear Insulting, and pursued us through the deep, With what compulsion and laborious flight We sunk thus low? The ascent is easy, then; The event is feared! Should we again provoke Our stronger, some worse way his wrath may find To our destruction, if there be in Hell Fear to be worse destroyed! What can be worse Than to dwell here, driven out from bliss, condemned In this abhorred deep to utter woe! Where pain of unextinguishable fire Must exercise us without hope of end The vassals of his anger, when the scourge Inexorably, and the torturing hour, Calls us to penance?
More destroyed than thus, We should be quite abolished, and expire. What fear we then? Or, if our substance be indeed divine, And cannot cease to be, we are at worst On this side nothing; and by proof we feel Our power sufficient to disturb his Heaven, And with perpetual inroads to alarm, Though inaccessible, his fatal throne: Which, if not victory, is yet revenge. He ended frowning, and his look denounced Desperate revenge, and battle dangerous To less than gods.
On the other side up rose Belial, in act more graceful and humane. A fairer person lost not Heaven; he seemed For dignity composed, and high exploit. But all was false and hollow; though his tongue Dropped manna, and could make the worse appear The better reason, to perplex and dash Maturest counsels: for his thoughts were low, To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds Timorous and slothful. Yet he pleased the ear, And with persuasive accent thus began: I should be much for open war, Oh peers, As not behind in hate, if what was urged Main reason to persuade immediate war Did not dissuade me most, and seem to cast Ominous conjecture on the whole success; When he who most excels in fact of arms, In what he counsels and in what excels Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair And utter dissolution, as the scope Of all his aim, after some dire revenge.
First, what revenge?
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The towers of Heaven are filled With armed watch, that render all access Impregnable: oft on the bordering Deep Encamp their legions, or with obscure wing Scout far and wide into the realm of night, Scorning surprise. Or, could we break our way By force, and at our heels all Hell should rise With blackest insurrection to confound Heaven's purest light, yet our great Enemy, All incorruptible, would on his throne Sit unpolluted, and the ethereal mould, Incapable of stain, would soon expel Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire, Victorious.
Thus repulsed, our final hope Is flat despair: we must exasperate The Almighty Victor to spend all his rage; And that must end us; that must be our cure, To be no more.
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Sad cure! And who knows, Let this be good, whether our angry Foe Can give it, or will ever? How he can Is doubtful; that he never will is sure. Will he, so wise, let loose at once his ire, Belike through impotence or unaware, To give his enemies their wish, and end Them in his anger whom his anger saves To punish endless?
Wherefore cease we, then? Say they who counsel war; we are decreed, Reserved, and destined to eternal woe; Whatever doing, what can we suffer more, What can we suffer worse? Is this, then, worst, Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms? What when we fled amain, pursued and struck With Heaven's afflicting thunder, and besought The Deep to shelter us? This Hell then seemed A refuge from those wounds. Or when we lay Chained on the burning lake? That sure was worse. What if the breath that kindled those grim fires, Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold rage, And plunge us in the flames; or from above Should intermitted vengeance arm again His red right hand to plague us?
What if all Her stores were opened, and this firmament Of Hell should spout her cataracts of fire, Impendent horrors, threatening hideous fall One day upon our heads; while we perhaps, Designing or exhorting glorious war, Caught in a fiery tempest, shall be hurled, Each on his rock transfixed, the sport and prey Or racking whirlwinds, or for ever sunk Under yon boiling ocean, wrapped in chains, There to converse with everlasting groans, Unrespited, unpitied, unreprieved, Ages of hopeless end? This would be worse.
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War, therefore, open or concealed, alike My voice dissuades; for what can force or guile With him, or who deceive his mind, whose eye Views all things at one view? He from Heaven's height All these our motions vain sees and derides, Not more almighty to resist our might Than wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles.
Shall we, then, live thus vile, the race of Heaven Thus trampled, thus expelled, to suffer here Chains and these torments? Better these than worse, By my advice; since fate inevitable Subdues us, and omnipotent decree, The Victor's will. To suffer, as to do, Our strength is equal; nor the law unjust That so ordains. This was at first resolved, If we were wise, against so great a foe Contending, and so doubtful what might fall. I laugh when those who at the spear are bold And venturous, if that fail them, shrink, and fear What yet they know must follow, to endure Exile, or ignominy, or bonds, or pain, The sentence of their conqueror.
This is now Our doom; which if we can sustain and bear, Our Supreme Foe in time may much remit His anger, and perhaps, thus far removed, Not mind us not offending, satisfied With what is punished; whence these raging fires Will slacken, if his breath stir not their flames. Our purer essence then will overcome Their noxious vapor; or, inured, not feel; Or, changed at length, and to the place conformed In temper and in nature, will receive Familiar the fierce heat; and, void of pain, This horror will grow mild, this darkness light; Besides what hope the never-ending flight Of future days may bring, what chance, what change Worth waiting, since our present lot appears For happy though but ill, for ill not worst, If we procure not to ourselves more woe.
Thus Belial, with words clothed in reason's garb, Counseled ignoble ease and peaceful sloth, Not peace; and after him thus Mammon spake: Either to disenthrone the King of Heaven We war, if war be best, or to regain Our own right lost. Him to unthrone we then May hope, when everlasting fate shall yield To fickle chance, and chaos judge the strife. The former, vain to hope, argues as vain The latter; for what place can be for us Within Heaven's bound, unless Heaven's Lord supreme We overpower? Suppose he should relent And publish grace to all, on promise made Of new subjection; with what eyes could we Stand in his presence humble, and receive Strict laws imposed, to celebrate his throne With warbled hymns, and to his Godhead sing Forced hallelujahs, while he lordly sits Our envied sovereign, and his altar breathes Ambrosial odors and ambrosial flowers, Our servile offerings?
This must be our task In Heaven, this our delight. How wearisome Eternity so spent in worship paid To whom we hate! Let us not then pursue, By force impossible, by leave obtained Unacceptable, though in Heaven, our state Of splendid vassalage; but rather seek Our own good from ourselves, and from our own Live to ourselves, though in this vast recess, Free and to none accountable, preferring Hard liberty before the easy yoke Of servile pomp.
Our greatness will appear Then most conspicuous when great things of small, Useful of hurtful, prosperous of adverse, We can create, and in what place soe'er Thrive under evil, and work ease out of pain Through labor and endurance. This deep world Of darkness do we dread? How oft amidst Thick clouds and dark doth Heaven's all-ruling Sire Choose to reside, his glory unobscured, And with the majesty of darkness round Covers his throne, from whence deep thunders roar. Mustering their rage, and Heaven resembles Hell!
As he our darkness, cannot we his light Imitate when we please? This desert soil Wants not her hidden luster, gems and gold; Nor want we skill or art from whence to raise Magnificence; and what can Heaven show more? Our torments also may, in length of time, Become our elements, these piercing fires As soft as now severe, our temper changed Into their temper; which must needs remove The sensible of pain.
EVIL IN PARADISE
All things invite To peaceful counsels, and the settled state Of order, how in safety best we may Compose our present evils, with regard Of what we are and where, dismissing quite All thoughts of war. Ye have what I advise. He scarce had finished, when such murmur filled The assembly as when hollow rocks retain The sound of blustering winds, which all night long Had roused the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull Seafaring men o'erwatched, whose bark by chance Or pinnace, anchors in a craggy bay After the tempest.
Such applause was heard As Mammon ended, and his sentence pleased, Advising peace: for such another field They dreaded worse than Hell; so much the fear Of thunder and the sword of Michael Wrought still within them; and no less desire To found this nether empire, which might rise, By policy and long process of time, In emulation opposite to Heaven. Which when Beelzebub perceived, than whom, Satan except, none higher sat, with grave Aspect he rose, and in his rising seemed A pillar of state. Deep on his front engraven Deliberation sat, and public care; And princely counsel in his face yet shone, Majestic, though in ruin.
Sage he stood With Atlantean shoulders, fit to bear The weight of mightiest monarchies; his look Drew audience and attention still as night Or summer's noontide air, while thus he spake: Thrones and Imperial Powers, offspring of Heaven, Ethereal Virtues! For he, to be sure, In height or depth, still first and last will reign Sole king, and of his kingdom lose no part By our revolt, but over Hell extend His empire, and with iron scepter rule Us here, as with his golden those in Heaven. What sit we then projecting peace and war? War hath determined us and foiled with loss Irreparable; terms of peace yet none Vouchsafed or sought; for what peace will be given To us enslaved, but custody severe, And stripes and arbitrary punishment Inflicted?
Nor will occasion want, nor shall we need With dangerous expedition to invade Heaven, whose high walls fear no assault or siege, Or ambush from the Deep. What if we find Some easier enterprise? There is a place If ancient and prophetic fame in Heaven Err not , another world, the happy seat Of some new race, called Man, about this time To be created like to us, though less In power and excellence, but favored more Of him who rules above; so was his will Pronounced among the gods, and by an oath That shook Heaven's whole circumference confirmed.
Thither let us bend all our thoughts, to learn What creatures there inhabit, of what mould Or substance, how endued, and what their power And where their weakness: how attempted best, By force of subtlety. Though Heaven be shut, And Heaven's high Arbitrator sit secure In his own strength, this place may lie exposed, The utmost border of his kingdom, left To their defense who hold it: here, perhaps, Some advantageous act may be achieved By sudden onset, either with Hell-fire To waste his whole creation, or possess All as our own, and drive, as we were driven, The puny habitants; or, if not drive, Seduce them to our party, that their God May prove their foe, and with repenting hand Abolish his own works.
This would surpass Common revenge, and interrupt his joy In our confusion, and our joy upraise In his disturbance; when his darling sons, Hurled headlong to partake with us, shall curse Their frail original, and faded bliss, Faded so soon! Advise if this be worth Attempting, or to sit in darkness here Hatching vain empires. Thus Beelzebub Pleaded his devilish counsel, first devised By Satan, and in part proposed: for whence, But from the author of all ill, could spring So deep a malice, to confound the race Of mankind in one root, and Earth with Hell To mingle and involve, done all to spite The great Creator?
But their spite still serves His glory to augment. The bold design Pleased highly those infernal states, and joy Sparkled in all their eyes: with full assent They vote: whereat his speech he thus renews: Well have ye judged, well ended long debate, Synod of gods, and, like to what ye are, Great things resolved, which from the lowest deep Will once more lift us up, in spite of fate, Nearer our ancient seat, perhaps in view Of those bright confines, whence, with neighboring arms, And opportune excursion, we may chance Re-enter Heaven; or else in some mild zone Dwell, not unvisited of Heaven's fair light, Secure, and at the brightening orient beam Purge off this gloom: the soft delicious air, To heal the scar of these corrosive fires, Shall breathe her balm.
But, first, whom shall we send In search of this new World?
What strength, what art, can then Suffice, or what evasion bear him safe, Through the strict sentries and stations thick Of angels watching round? Here he had need All circumspection: and we now no less Choice in our suffrage; for on whom we send The weight of all, and our last hope, relies.
This said, he sat; and expectation held His look suspense, awaiting who appeared To second, or oppose, or undertake The perilous attempt. But all sat mute, Pondering the danger with deep thoughts; and each In other's countenance read his own dismay, Astonished. None among the choice and prime Of those Heaven-warring champions could be found So hardy as to proffer or accept, Alone, the dreadful voyage; till, at last, Satan, whom now transcendent glory raised Above his fellows, with monarchal pride Conscious of highest worth, unmoved thus spake: Oh Progeny of Heaven!
Empyreal Thrones! With reason hath deep silence and demur Seized us, though undismayed. Long is the way And hard, that out of Hell leads up to light. Our prison strong, this huge convex of fire, Outrageous to devour, immures us round Ninefold; and gates of burning adamant, Barred over us, prohibit all egress.
These passed, if any pass, the void profound Of unessential night receives him next, Wide-gaping, and with utter loss of being Threatens him, plunged in that abortive gulf. If thence he scape, into whatever world, Or unknown region, what remains him less Than unknown dangers, and as hard escape?
But I should ill become this throne, Oh Peers, And this imperial sovereignty, adorned With splendor, armed with power, if aught proposed And judged of public moment in the shape Of difficulty or danger, could deter Me from attempting. Wherefore do I assume These royalties, and not refuse to reign, Refusing to accept as great a share Of hazard as of honor, due alike To him who reigns, and so much to him due Of hazard more as he above the rest High honored sits?
Go, therefore, mighty powers, Terror of Heaven, though fallen; intend at home, While here shall be our home, what best may ease The present misery, and render Hell More tolerable; if there be cure or charm To respite, or deceive, or slack the pain Of this ill mansion: intermit no watch Against a wakeful foe, while I abroad Through all the coasts of dark destruction seek Deliverance for us all.