"Among The Faithless, Faithful Only He"

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Last Updated on May 9, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 183

Context: The archangel Raphael, sent by God, goes to Adam to warn him that Satan is an enemy to both God and man. When Adam asks the nature of the enemy and his crimes, Raphael relates to him the story of the rebellious angels, led by Satan, then the angel Lucifer, who sought to overthrow God's authority in Heaven. Raphael, as part of this narrative, tells about Abdiel, a seraph, who alone of the legions of angels led by Satan opposed his plans for rebellion and disobedience. In a debate near the end of Book V of the poem, the reader finds in detail the arguments offered by both Satan and Abdiel in a debate. Abdiel is, of course, unsuccessful in verbally opposing Satan. When he discovers that his efforts to dissuade Satan and the other rebels will fail, he forsakes the rebel bands. As Raphael tells it:

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". . . the seraph Abdiel faithful found,
Among the faithless, faithful only he;
Among innumerable false, unmoved,
Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified
His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal;
Nor number, nor example with him wrought
To swerve from truth. . . ."

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