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Palpable darkness, and blot out three days;
Last, with one midnight-stroke, all the first-born
Of Egypt must lie dead. Thus with ten wounds
The river-dragon tam'd at length submits

To let his sojourners depart, and oft

Humbles his stubborn heart; but still, as ice
More harden'd after thaw; till, in his rage
Pursuing whom he late dismiss'd, the sea
Swallows him with his host; but them lets pass,
As on dry land, between two crystal walls;
Aw'd by the rod of Moses so to stand
Divided, till his rescued gain their shore:

Such wondrous power God to his saint will lend,
Though present in his angel; who shall go
Before them in a cloud, and pillar of fire;
By day a cloud, by night a pillar of fire;
To guide them in their journey, and remove
Behind them, while the obdurate king pursues:
All night he will pursue; but his approach
Darkness defends between till morning watch;
Then through the fiery pillar, and the cloud,
God looking forth will trouble all his host,
And craze their chariot-wheels: when by command
Moses once more his potent rod extends
Over the sea; the sea his rod obeys;
On their embattled ranks the waves return,
And overwhelm their war: the race elect
Safe towards Canaan from the shore advance
Through the wild desert, not the readiest way;
Lest, entering on the Canaanite alarm'd,
War terrify them inexpert, and fear

Return them back to Egypt, choosing rather

Inglorious life with servitude; for life
To noble and ignoble is more sweet

Untrain'd in arms, where rashness leads not on.
This also shall they gain by their delay

In the wide wilderness; there they shall found
Their government, and their great senate choose
Through the twelve tribes, to rule by laws ordain'd:
God from the mount of Sinai, whose gray top
Shall tremble, he descending, will himself
In thunder, lightning, and loud trumpets' sound,
Ordain them laws; part, such as appertain

To civil justice; part, religious rites
Of sacrifice; informing them, by types

And shadows, of that destin'd Seed to bruise
The serpent, by what means he shall achieve
Mankind's deliverance. But the voice of God
To mortal ear is dreadful: they beseech
That Moses might report to them his will,
And terrour cease; he grants what they besought,
Instructed that to God is no access,

Without mediator, whose high office now
Moses in figure bears; to introduce
One greater, of whose day he shall foretell,
And all the prophets in their age the times
Of great Messiah shall sing. Thus, laws and rights
Establish'd, such delight hath God in men

Obedient to his will, that he vouchsafes

Among them to set up his tabernacle ;
The Holy One with mortal men to dwell:
By his prescript a sanctuary is fram'd
Of cedar, overlaid with gold; therein
An ark, and in the ark his testimony,

The records of his covenant; over these
A mercy-seat of gold, between the wings
Of two bright cherubim ; before him burn
Seven lamps as in a zodiac representing
The heavenly fires; over the tent a cloud
Shall rest by day, a fiery gleam by night;
Save when they journey, and at length they come,
Conducted by his angel, to the land

Promis'd to Abraham and his seed:


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Were long to tell; how many battles fought;
How many kings destroy'd; and kingdoms won;
Or how the Sun shall in mid Heaven stand still
A day entire, and night's due course adjourn,
Man's voice commanding, Sun, in Gibeon stand,
And thou, Moon, in the vale of Aialon,
Till Israel overcome!' so call the third
From Abraham, son of Isaac; and from him
His whole descent, who thus shall Canaan win."
Here Adam interpos'd. "O sent from Heaven,
Enlightener of my darkness, gracious things
Thou hast reveal'd; those chiefly, which concern
Just Abraham and his seed: now first I find
Mine eyes true-opening, and my heart much eas'd;
Erewhile perplex'd with thoughts, what would be-


Of me and all mankind: but now I see
His day, in whom all nations shall be blest;
Favour unmerited by me, who sought
Forbidden knowledge by forbidden means.
This yet I apprehend not, why to those
Among whom God will deign to dwell on Earth
So many and so various laws are given ;

So inany laws argue so many sins

Among them; how can God with such reside? *

To whom thus Michael. "Doubt not but that i Will reign among them, as of thee begot;

And therefore was law given them, to evince
Their natural pravity, by stirring up

Sin against law to fight: that when they see
Law can discover sin, but not remove,
Save by those shadowy expiations weak,

The blood of bulls and goats, they may conclude
Some blood more precious must be paid for man;
Just for unjust; that in such righteousness
To them by faith imputed, they may find
Justification towards God, and peace
Of conscience; which the law by ceremonies
Cannot appease: nor man the moral part
Perform; and, not performing, cannot live.
So law appears imperfect; and but given
With purpose to resign them, in full time,
Up to a better covenant; disciplin'd

From shadowy types to truth; from flesh to spirit;
From imposition of strict laws to free
Acceptance of large grace; from servile fear
To filial: works of law to works of faith.
And therefore shall not Moses, though of God
Highly belov'd, being but the minister

Of law, his people into Canaan lead;

But Joshua, whom the Gentiles Jesus call,

His name and office bearing, who shall quell
The adversary-serpent, and bring back

Through the world's wilderness long-wander'd man
Safe to eternal Paradise of rest.

Meanwhile they, in their earthly Canaan plac'd,
Long time shall dwell and prosper, but when sins
National interrupt their public peace,

Provoking God to raise them enemies;
From whom as oft he saves them penitent
Fly judges first, then under kings; of whom
The second, both for piety renown'd

And puissant deeds, a promise shall receive
Irrevocable, that his regal throne
For ever shall endure; the like shall sing
All prophecy, that of the royal stock
Of David (so I name this king) shall rise
A son, the woman's seed to thee foretold,
Foretold to Abraham, as in whom shall trust
All nations; and to kings foretold, of kings
The last; for of his reign shall be no end.
But first, a long succession must ensue ;
And his next son, for wealth and wisdom fam'd,
The clouded ark of God, till then in tents
Wandering, shall in a glorious temple enshrine.
Such follow him, as shall be register'd

Part good, part bad; of bad the longer scroll;
Whose foul idolatries, and other faults
Heap'd to the popular sum, will so incense
God, as to leave them, and expose their land,
Their city, his temple, and his holy ark,
With all his sacred things, a scorn and prey
To that proud city, whose high walls thou saw'st
Left in confusion; Babylon thence call'd.

There in captivity he lets them dwell

The space of seventy years; then brings them back, Remembering mercy, and his covenant sworn

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