And With His Carcass Glut the Grave

Reformed theologians talk of an eternal Covenant of Redemption between the Father and the Son. Milton plunges our imagination into a Trinitarian conspiracy regarding our plight:

AParadise_Lost_1nd now without redemption all mankind
Must have been lost, adjudged to death and hell
By doom severe, had not the Son of God,
In whom the fullness dwells of love divine,
His dearest mediation thus renewed:

“Father, thy word is past: men shall find grace,
And shall grace not find means, that finds her way,
The speediest of thy winged messengers,
To visit all thy creatures, and to all
Comes unprevented, unimplored, unsought,
Happy for man, so coming? He her aid
Can never seek, once dead in sins and lost;
Atonement for himself or offering meet,
Indebted and undone, hath none to bring.
Behold me, then: me for him, life for life
I offer; on me let thine anger fall;
Account me man; I for his sake will leave
Thy bosom, and this glory next to thee
Freely put off, and for him lastly die
Well pleased; on me let death wreak all his rage.
Under his gloomy power I shall not long
Lie vanquished; thou has given me to possess
Life in myself forever, by thee I live,
Though now to death I yield and am his due,
All that of me can die, yet, that debt paid,
Thou wilt not leave me in the loathsome grave,
His prey, nor suffer my unspotted soul
Forever with corruption there to dwell,
But I shall rise victorious and subdue
My vanquisher, spoiled of his vaunted spoil;
Death his death’s wound shall then receive and stoop
Inglorious, of his mortal sting disarmed.
I through the ample air in triumph high
Shall lead hell captive maugre* hell, and show
The powers of darkness bound. Thou, at the sight
Pleased, out of Heaven shalt look down and smile,
While by thee raised I ruin all my foes,
Death last, and with his carcass glut the grave;
Then with the multitude of my redeemed
Shall enter Heaven, long absent, and return,
Father, to see thy face, wherein no cloud
Of anger shall remain, but peace assured
And reconcilement; wrath shall be no more
Thenceforth, but in thy presence joy entire.”

– Milton, Paradise Lost, 3.222-65

* maugre = “in spite of”

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One thought on “And With His Carcass Glut the Grave

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