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He leaves his Gods, his friends, and native soil,
135 Pitch'd about Sechem, and the neighb'ring plain Of Moreh: there, by promise, receives Gift to his progeny of all that land, From Hamath northward to the Desert south (Things by their names I call, tho' yet unnamed), 140 From Hermon east to the great western sea ; Mount Hermon, yonder sea; each place behold In
prospect, as I point then : on the shore Mount Carmel : here the double-founted stream Jordan, true limit eastward; but his sons 145 Shall dwell to Senir, that long ridge of hills. This ponder, that all nations of the earth Shall in his seed be blessed. By that seed Is meant thy great Deliv'rer, who shall bruise The Serpent's head: whereof to thee anon 150 Plainlier shall be reveal'd. This patriarch blest, Whom faithful Abraham due time shall call, A son, and of his son a grandchild leaves, Like him in faith, in wisdom, and renown.. The grandchild with twelve sons increased, departs From Canaan to a land, hereafter call'd
158 Egypt, divided by the river Nile. See where it flows, disgorging at seven mouths Into the sea. To sojourn in that land He comes, invited by a younger son,
160 In time of dearth : a son whose worthy deeds Raise him to be the second in that realm Of Pharaoh. There he dies, and leaves his race Growing into a nation, and now grown Suspected to a sequent King, who seeks
165 To stop their overgrowth, as inmate guests Too num'rous; whence of guests he makes them slaves Inhospitably', and kills their infant males : Till by two brethren (those two brethren call Muses and Aaron) sent from God to claim 170 His people from iuthralment, they return With glory' and spoil back to their promised land. But first the lawless tyrant, who denies To know their God, or message to regard, Must be compellid by signs and judgments dire. 175 To blood unshed the rivers must be turn'd; Frogs, lice, and flies must all his palace fill With loath'd intrusion, and fill all the land; His cattle must of rot and murrain die; Botches and blains must all his flesh emboss, 180 And all his people; thunder mix'd with hail, Hail mix'd with fire, must rend th’Egyptian sky, And wheel on th' earth, devouring where it rolls; What it devours not, herb, or fruit, or grain, A darksome cloud of locusts swarming down 185 Must eat, and on the ground leave nothing green: Darkness must overshadow all his bounds, 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 190 The river-dragon tamed, 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 195 Swallows him with his host; but them lets pass As on dry land, between two crystal walls, Awed by the rod of Mouses so to stand Divided, till his rescued gain'd their shore. Such wondrous power God to his saint will lend, Though present in his Angel, who shall go 201 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 th' obdurate king pursues. 205 All night he will pursue ; but his approach Darkness defends between till morning watch:
speaking natural to the angel, to whom all the future was revealed The reader will find the whole of the narrative here given in different parts of the Pentateuch.
155. With twelve sons increased a Latipiam.
.88. The Vulgate translation of Exodus X. 21. has lam dense palpari queant. Our English has, darkness that may be felt
207. Defends, forbids.
Then through the fiery pillar and the cloud
210. Craze, braise or shatter, from the French ecraser. In Exodus xiv. 25. our translation has taken off, but Milton is nearer the original.
230. Milton has not made any particular mention of the moral law in this passage. The reason I imagine is, that the sole object he had in view was to shew the progress of events towards the appearance of Christ and the establishment of his kingdom. Ite had, therefore, only so far to introduce the Jewish dispensation as it typified the Missiali's kingdom or illustrated his charactes and actions. The moral law was unchanged and unchangeable, and belonged to no one time or system. The objections, there fore, of Warburton and others are wishont foundation
And all the prophets in their age the times
Here Adam interposed : 0 sent from Heav'n, 270 Enlight'ner of my darkness, gracious things Thou hast reveal'd, those chiefly which concern Just Abrabam and his seed: now first I find Mine eyes true opening, and my heart much eased, Erewhile perplex'd with thoughts what would become Of me and all mankind; but now I see
270 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
20 Among whom God will deign to dwell on earth, So many and so various laws are given ? So many laws argue so many sins
256. The heav'nly fires, the seven lamps, signifying the
277. John viii. 38. 283. Gal. iii. 19. Rom. vii.", 8. iij. 20. Heb. ix. 13. X. 4, 5 &c.
Among them. How can God with such reside?
To whom thus Michael : Doubt uot but that sin Will reign among them, as of thee begot; 296 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,
299 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 298 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 300 With purpose to resign them in full time Up to a better covenant, disciplined From shadowy types to truth, from flesh to spirit, From imposition of strict laws to free Acceptance of large grace, from servile fear 305 To filial, works of law to works of faith. And therefore shall not Moses, though of God Highly beloved, being but the minister Of law, his people into Canaan lead; But Joshua, whom the Gentiles Jesus call, 310 His name and office bearing, who shall quell The adversary Serpent, and bring back, Thro' the world's wilderness long wander'd, man Safe, to eternal Paradise of rest.
314 Mean while they in their earthly Canaan placed, 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 By judges first, then under kings ; of whom 320 The second, both for piety renown'd And puissant deeds, a promise shall receive
310. Jesus and Joshua are the same name, the former being the Greek and the latter the Hebrew form. Jesus is used for Joshua, Acts vii. 45. Heb. iv. 8. As the whole of this part of the poem is taken from Scripture, the reader will do well to consult the marginal references of his Bible, if he be curious to see how the author has converted his scriptural knowledge to his use in this narrative, mixing with great skill history and prophecy