Verse > Lucy Hutchinson > Order and Disorder

Lucy Hutchinson (1620–1681).  Order and Disorder.  1679.
Canto IV
Gen. 1.31.GOOD were all natures as God made them all,
Rom. 9.21–23.Good was his Will permitting some to fall,
Rom. 11.That th’ rest renouncing their frail strength might stand
Rom. 3.6.Humble and firm in his supporting hand,
Gen. 18.25.His wisdome and omnipotence might own,        5
Rom. 11.33.When his Foes power and craft is overthrown,
Seeing his hate of sin, might thence confess
1 Cor. 10.12.His pure innate and perfect Holiness,
Rom. 16.20.And that the glory of his Justice might
Psal. 2.In the Rebels torturing flames seem bright.        10
Jos. 24.19.That th’ ever bless’d Redeemer might take place
Psal. 5.4–6.To illustrate his rich mercy and free grace
& 7.11. &c.Whereby he fallen sinners doth restore
& 11.5,6.To fuller bliss than they enjoy’d before;
1 Pet. 1.10.That Vertue might in its clear brightness shine        15
Which like rich ore concealed in the mine
Eph. 1.4,11.Had not been known, but that opposing vice
Joh. 3.16.Illustrates it by frequent exercise.
Eph. 2.5. Rom. 8.35–39. Rom. 5.5, &c. 1 Pet. 4.12–14.
If all were good, whence then arose the ill?
’Twas not in Gods, but in the creatures will,        20
Averting from that good, which is supream,
Eccl. 7.29.Corrupted so, as a declining stream
Jude 6.That breaks off its communion with its head,
Joh. 8.44.By whom its life and sweetness late were fed,
Turns to a noisome, dead, and poysonous Lake,        25
Infecting all who the foul waters take:
Or as a Branch cut from the living Tree,
Passes into contempt immediately,
And dies divided from its glorious stock;
So strength disjoyned from the living rock,        30
Turns to contemned imbecillity,
Jer. 2.13.And doth to all its grace and glory die.
Devils.    Some new-made Angels thus, not more sublime
In nature, than transcending in their crime,
Quitting th’ eternal fountain of their light,        35
Eph. 2.2.Became the first-born sons of woe and night,
Act. 26.18.Princes of Darkness, and the sad Abysse,
Mat. 25.41.Which now their cursed place and portion is,
Where they no more must see Gods glorious face
Rev. 20.10.Nor ever taste of his refreshing grace,        40
But in the fire of his fierce anger dwell,
Which though it burns, enlightens not their Hell.
But circumstances that we cannot know
Of their rebellion and their overthrow
We will not dare t’ invent, nor will we take        45
Guesses from the reports themselves did make
To their old Priests, to whom they did devise
To inspire some truths, wrapt up in many lies;
Such as their gross poetick fables are,
Saturn’s extrusion, the bold giants war,        50
Division of the universal realm,
To Gods that in high heaven steer the helm,
Others who all things in the Ocean guide,
And those who in th’ infernal Court preside,
Who there a vast and gloomy Empire sway,        55
Whom all the Furies and the Ghosts obey.
But not to name these foolish impious tales,
Which stifle truth in her pretended veils,
Let us in its own blazing conduct go,
And look no further than that light doth show;        60
Wherein we see the present powers of hell,
Before they under Gods displeasure fell,
Were once endued with grace and excellence,
Lu. 10.18.Beyond the comprehension of our sense,
Pure holy lights in the bright heaven were        65
Jude 6.Blazing about the throne, but not fixt there;
Where, by the Apostasie of their own will,
Precipitating them into all ill,
2 Pet. 2.4.And Gods just wrath, whose eyes are far too pure
Hab. 1.13.Stain’d and polluted objects to endure,        70
Lu. 10.18.They fell like lightning, hurl’d in his fierce ire,
Jam. 3.6.And falling, set the lower world on fire:
Joh. 8.44.Which their loose prison is where they remain,
Jud. 6.And walk as criminals under Gods chain;
Until the last and great assizes come,        75
1 Cor. 6.3.When Execution shall seal up their doom.
Mat. 8.29.Thus are they now to their created light,
Gen. 3.15.Unto all Truth, and Goodness opposite,
1 Pet. 5.8.Hating the Peace and Joy that reigns above,
Job 1.7, &c.Vainly contending to extinguish love,        80
Rev. 12.10.Ruine Gods sacred Empire, and destroy
That blessedness they never can enjoy.
Mark 3.22,24–26.A Chief they have, whose Soveraign power and place
But adds to’his sin, his torture, and disgrace.
Rev. 20.10.An order too there is in their dire state,        85
Though they all Orders else disturb and hate.
Luk. 8.30.Ten thousand thousand wicked spirits stand,
Attending their black Prince, as his command,
To all imaginable evils prest,
That may promote their common interest.        90
Nor are they linked thus by faith and love,
But hate of God and goodness, which doth move
The same endeavours and desires in all,
Mat. 12.25,26.Lest civil wars should make their Empire fall.
An Empire which the Almighty doth permit,        95
Rev. 20.2,7,8.Yet so as he controlls and limits it.
Suffering their rage sometimes to take effect,
Job 2.6.Only to be the more severely checkt;
Col. 2.14,15.When he produces a contrary end,
Heb. 2.9,14.From what they did malitiously intend,        100
Befools their wisdome, crosses their designs,
Luk. 22.3.And blows them up in their own crafty mines,
2 Tim. 2.25,26.Allows them play in the entangling net,
Eph. 6.11,12, &c.So to be faster in damnation set,
1 Pet. 5.8.Submits them to each others tyrannies,        105
Who did Gods softer sacred bonds despise,
Rev. 12.12.Lets them still fight, who never can prevail,
More curs’d if they succeed, than if they fail,
Since every soul the Rebels gain from God,
Adds but another Scorpion to that rod,        110
Lu. 16.24.Bound up, that they may mutual torturers be,
Rev. 14.10,11.Tormented and tormenting equally.
Mat. 25.41.As a wise General that doth design
To keep his Army still in discipline,
Suffers the embodying of some slighter foes,        115
Which he at his own pleasure can enclose,
And vanquish, that he justly may chastise
Their folly, and his own troops exercise,
Their vigilance, their faith and valour prove;
Endearing them thereby to his own love,        120
Luk. 22.31,32.As he alike endears himself to theirs,
Joh. 17.20.By his continual succours and kind cares:
So the Almighty gives the Devils scope,
Mat. 4.Who though they are excluded from all hope
Heb. 2.18. & 4.15.Of e’re escaping, no reluctance have,        125
& 7.25.But like the desperate villain they make brave,
Rom. 16.20.To death pursue their bold attempts, that all
O’re whom they cannot reign, with them may fall.
And tho’ Gods watchful guards besiege them round
Rev. 12.7,8.That none can pass their strict prescribed bound,        130
Yet make they daily sallies in their pride,
Mat. 4.11.Which still repulst the holy host deride.
Jude 9.Their malice in it self and its event,
Being equally a crime and punishment.
Thus though sin in it self be ill, ’tis good        135
That sin should be, for thereby rectitude
Thorough oppos’d iniquity, as light
By shades, is more conspicuous and more bright.
    The wonderful creation of mankind,
For lasting glory and rich grace design’d,        140
The blessed angels look’d on with delight,
Lu. 15.10.Gladded to see us climb so near their height;
& 16.22.Above all other works, next in degree,
Heb. 12.22.And capable of their societie.
But ’twas far otherwise with those that fell        145
Mans destin’d heaven, encreas’d their hell,
While they burnt with a proud malitious spite
Joh. 8.44.To see a new-made, earth-born favourite,
For their high seats and empty thrones design’d;
Therefore both against God and man combin’d,        150
To hinder Gods decree from taking place,
And to devest man of his Makers grace;
1 Pet. 3.13.Which while he in a pure obedience stood,
They knew, not all their force nor cunning cou’d,
But if they could with any false pretence        155
Inveigle him to quit his innocence,
They hop’d death would prevent the dreaded womb
From whence their happier successors must come.
Wherefore th’ accursed Soveraign of hell
Thinking no other Devil could so well        160
Gen. 3.1, &c.Act this ill part, whose consequence was high
Enough to engage his hateful majesty,
Himself exposes for the common cause,
And with his hellish kingdomes full applause,
Goes forth, putting himself into disguise,        165
And so within a bright scal’d serpect lies,
Folded about the fair forbidden tree,
Watching a wish’d for opportunitie,
Which Eve soon gave him, coming there alone
So to be first and easier overthrown;        170
On whose weak side, th’ assault had not been made
Had she not from her firm protection stray’d;
But so the Devil then, so leud men now
2 Tim. 3.6.Prevail, when women privacies allow,
And to those flatt’ring whispers lend an ear        175
Which even impudence it self would fear
To utter in the presence of a friend,
Whose vertuous awe our frailty might defend.
Though unexperience might excuse Eves fault,
Yet those who now give way to an assault,        180
By suffring it alone, none can exempt
From the just blame that they their tempters tempt,
And by vain confidence themselves betray,
Fondly secure in a known desperate way.
As Eve stood near the tree, the subtile beast,        185
By Satan mov’d, his speech to her addrest
Hath God, said he, forbid that you should tast
These pleasant fruits, which in your eyes are plac’t,
Why are the tempting boughs expos’d, if you
May not delight your palates with your view?        190
    God, said the woman, gives us libertie
To eat without restraint of every tree
Which in the garden grows, but only one;
Restrain’d by such a prohibition,
We dare not touch it, for when e’re we do        195
A certain death will our offence ensue.
    Then did the wicked subtile beast replie,
Ah simple wretch, you shall not surely die,
God enviously to you this fruit denies,
He knows that eating it, will make you wise,        200
Of good and ill give you discerning sense,
And raise you to a god-like excellence.
    Eve quickly caught in the soul hunters net,
Believ’d that death was only a vain threat,
Her unbelief quenching religious dread        205
Infectious counsel in her bosome bred,
Dissatisfaction with her present state
And fond ambition of a godlike height.
Who now applies herself to its pursuit,
With longing eyes looks on the lovely fruit,        210
First nicely plucks, then eats with full delight,
And gratifies her murderous appetite;
Poyson’d with the sweet relish of her sin,
Before her inward torturing pangs begin,
The pleasure to her husband she commends,        215
And he by her persuasion too offends,
As by the serpents she before had done.
Pro. 1.10, &c.Hence learn pernicious councellors to shun.
    Within the snake the crafty tempter smil’d
To see mankind so easily beguil’d,        220
But laugh not Satan, God shall thee deride,
The Son of God and Man shall scourge thy pride,
1 Joh. 3.8.And in the time of vengeance shall exact
Joh. 16.11.A punishment on thee, for this accursed fact.
    Now wrought the poyson on the guilty pair,        225
Who with confusion on each other stare,
While death possession takes, and enters in
Rom. 5.12.At the wide breach, laid open by their sin.
Sound health and joy before th’ intruder fled,
Sickness and sorrow coming in their stead.        230
Their late sweet calm did now for ever cease,
Esa. 48.22.Storms in all quarters drove away their peace;
Dread, guilt, remorse in the benighted soul,
Like raging billows on each other rowl;
Deaths harbingers waste in each province make,        235
While thundring terrours mans whole Island shake.
Within, without, disorder’d in the storm,
The colour fades, and tremblings change the form,
Heat melts their substance, cold their joynts benumbs,
Dull languishment their vigour overcomes.        240
Grief conquer’d beauty lays down all her arms,
Psa. 39.11.And mightier woe dissolves her late strong charms,
Shame doth their looks deject, no chearful grace,
No pleasant smiles, appear in their sad face,
They see themselves fool’d, cheated, and betray’d,        245
And naked in the view of heaven made;
No glory compasses the drooping head,
The sight of their own ugliness they dread,
And curtains of broad thin Fig-leaves devise
To hide themselves from their own weeping eyes;        250
But, Ah, these coverings were too slight and thin
To ward their shame oft, or to keep out sin,
Or the keen airs quick piercing shafts, which through
Both leaves and pores into the bowels flew.
While they remain’d in their pure innocence        255
It was their robe of glory and defence:
But when sin tore that mantle off, they found
Their members were all naked, all uncrown’d;
Their purity in every place defil’d,
Their vest of righteousness all torn and spoyl’d.        260
Wherefore, through guilt, the late lov’d light they shun,
And into the obscurest shadow run;
Ps. 139.11.But in no darkness can their quiet find,
Carrying within them a disturbed mind,
Which doth their cureless folly represent,        265
And makes them curse their late experiment;
Wishing they had been pure and ignorant still,
Nor coveted the knowledge of their ill.
Ah thus it is that yet we learn our good,
Till it be lost, but seldome understood,        270
Rich blessings, while we have them, little prize
Until their want their value magnifies,
And equally doth our remorse encrease
For having cast away such happiness.
    O wretched man! who at so dear a rate        275
Purchas’d the knowledge of his own frail state,
Eccl. 1.18.Knowledge of small advantage to the wise,
Which only their affliction multiplies,
While they in painful study vex their brain,
Pursuing what they never can attain;        280
And what would not avail them if acquir’d,
Till at the length with fruitless labour tir’d,
All that the learned and the wise can find
Is but a vain disturbance of the mind,
A sense of mans inevitable woes,        285
Which he but little feels, who little knows;
Prov. 1.7.While mortals, holding on their error, still
Psal. 111.10.Pursue the knowledge both of good and ill,
1 Cor. 1.20,21.They neither of them perfectly attain,
& 2.14.But in a dark tumultuous state remain;        290
Jam. 3.15–17.Till sense of ill, encreasing like nights shade,
Or hath a blot of good impressions made,
Or good, victorious as the morning light,
Triumph over the vanquisht opposite
For both at once abide not in one place,        295
Good knowledge flies from them who ill embrace.
So were our parents fill’d with guilt and fear,
When in the groves they Gods approaches hear,
And from the terrour of his presence fled;
Whether their own convictions caus’d their dread,        300
For inward guilt of conscience might suffice
To chace vile sinners from his purer eyes;
Or nature felt an angry Gods descent,
Which shook the earth, and tore the firmament,
We are not told, nor will too far enquire.        305
Lightnings and tempests might speak forth his ire.
For at the day of universal doom
The great Judge shall in flaming vengeance come;
Ps. 97.3,4.An all-consuming fire shall go before,
Es. 9.5.Whirlwinds and thunder shall about him roar,        310
& 66.15,16.Horror shall darken the whole troubled skies,
1 Thes. 1.8.And bloody veils shall hide the worlds bright eyes,
2 Pet. 3.12.While stars from the dissolving heaven drop down,
And funeral blazes every Turret crown.
Rev. 1.7.The clouds shall be confounded with the waves,        315
Joel 3.15,16.The yawning earth shall open all her graves,
Loud fragors shall firm rocks in sunder rend,
Mat. 24.29.Cleft mountains shall hells fiery jaws distend,
Vomiting cinders, sulphur, pitch, and flame,
Which shall consume the worlds unjoynted frame,        320
And turn the Paradises we admire
Rev. 19.20.Into an ever-boyling lake of fire.
But God then, in his rich grace, did delay
These dismal terrors, till the last great day.
Yet even his first approach created dread,        325
And the poor mortals from his anger fled;
Until a calmer voice their sense did greet.
Heb. 12.11.Love even when it chides is kind and sweet.
Psal. 89.31–33.The sense of wrath far from the fear’d Power drives,
The sense of Love brings home the fugitives.        330
Gen. 4.14.Souls flying God into despair next fall,
Thence into hate, till black hell close up all.
Act. 9.But if sweet mercy meet them on the way,
That milder voyce, first doth their mad flight stay,
Psal. 130.7,4.And their ill-quitted hope again restore,        335
Then love that was forsaking them before
Returns with a more flaming strong desire
Of those sweet joys from which it did retire,
Lam. 3.1, &c.And in their absence woe and terror found,
And all those plagues that can a poor soul wound.        340
While thus this love with holy ardour burns,
Mat. 27.46.The bleeding sinner to his God returns,
And prostrate at his throne of grace doth lie,
Job 13.15.If death he cannot shun, yet there to die.
Hos. 6.1,2,3.Where Mercy still doth fainting souls revive,        345
And in its kind embraces keep alive
A gentler fire, than what it lately felt
Under the sense of wrath. The soul doth melt,
Like precious Ore, which when men would refine
Doth in its liquefaction brightly shine;        350
In cleansing penitential meltings so
Foul sinners once again illustrious grow,
Mal. 3.2,3.When Christs all-heating softning spirit, hath
Rev. 1.5.Their Furnance been, and his pure blood their Bath.
Now though Gods wrath bring not the sinner home,        355
Rom. 12.1.Who only by sweet love attracted come,
Yet is it necessary that the sense
Joh. 16.9,10.Of it, should make us know the excellence,
Mat. 11.28.And taste the pleasantness of pardoning grace,
That we may it with fuller joy embrace;        360
Which when it brings a frighted wretch from hell
Luk. 7.47.Makes it love more, than those who never fell:
1 Joh. 4.10.But mankinds love to God grows by degrees,
As he more clearly Gods sweet mercy sees,
And God at first reveals not all his grace,        365
That men more ardently may seek his face,
Averted by their folly and their pride,
Which makes them their confounded faces hide.
As still the Sun’s the same behind the clouds,
Lam. 3.22,23.Such is Gods love, which his kind anger shrouds,        370
Which doth not all at once it self reveal,
But first in the thick shadows that conceal
Its glory, doth attenuation cause;
Then the black, dismal curtain softly draws,
Lam. 3.26,And lets some glimmering light of hope appear,        375
29, &c.Which rather is a lessening of our fear,
Hos. 2.15.Than an assurance of our joy and peace,
A truce with misery, rather than release.
    Thus had not God come in, mankind had died
Without repair, yet came he first to chide,        380
To urge their sin, with its sad consequence,
And make them feel the weight of their offence.
To’ examine and arraign them at his bar,
And shew them what vile criminals they were:
But ah! our utterance here is choak’d with woe,        385
With tardy steps from Paradise we go.
Then let us pause on our lost joys a while
Before we enter on our sad exile.
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