27 “And thou my Word, begotten Son, by thee This I perform, speak thou, and be it done: My overshadowing Spirit and might with thee I send along, ride forth, and bid the Deep Within appointed bounds be Heav’n and Earth, Boundless the Deep, because I am who fill Infinitude, nor vacuous the space. Though I uncircumscrib’d myself retire, And put not forth my goodness, which is free To act or not, Necessity and Chance Approach not mee, and what I will is Fate.” So spake th’Almighty, and to what he spake His Word, the Filial Godhead, gave effect. Immediate are the Acts of God, more swift Than time or motion, but to human ears Cannot without process of speech be told, So told as earthly notion can receive. Great triumph and rejoicing was in Heav’n When such was heard declar’d the Almighty’s will. Glory they sung to the most High, good will To future men, and in their dwellings peace. Glory to him whose just avenging ire Had drive out th’ungodly from his sight And th’habitations of the just; to him Glory and praise, whose wisdom had ordain’d Good out of evil to create, instead Of Spirits malign a better Race to bring Into their vacant room, and thence diffuse His good to Worlds and Ages infinite. “Speak thou, and be it done” JOHN MILTON The 17th-century English poet John Milton, a stern Puritan by conviction, chose Paradise Lost as the theme of his epic poem. The title refers to the fall of the wicked angels and also to original sin. Amid the fanciful descriptions of divine consultations and celestial battlefields, there are lyrical passages deeply informed by the Christian faith. The passage quoted is from Book VII, in which the Archangel “Raphael at the request of Adam relates how and wherefore this world was first created.” John Milton, Paradise Lost (1667), Book VII, verses 163-191