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This ponder, that all nations of the earth
Shall in thy seed be blessed; by that seed
Is meant thy great Deliverer, who shall bruise
The serpent's head; whereof to thee anon
Plainlier shall be reveal'd. This patriarch bless'd,
Whom faithful Abraham due time sball call,
A son, and of his son a grandchild leaves,
Like him in faith, in wisdom, and renown;
The grandchild with twelve sons-increas'd departs
From Canaan, to a land hereafter call'd
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

In time of dearth; a son whose worthy deeds
Raise him to be the second in that realm

Of Pharoah. There he dies, and leaves his race
Growing into a nation; and, now grown,
Suspected to a sequent king, who seeks
To stop their overgrowth, as inmate guests
Too numerous; whence of guests he makes them
Inhospitably', and kills their i:ifant males; [slaves
Till by two brethren (those two brethren call
Moses and Aaron), sent from God to claim
His people from inthralment, they return
With glory' and spoil back to their promis'd land.
But first, the lawless tyrant, who denies
To know their God, or message to regard,
Must be compell'd by signs and judgments dire ;
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,
And all his people; thunder mix'd with hail,
Hail mix'd with fire, must rend the 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
Must eat, and on the ground leave nothing green;
Darkness must overshadow all his boundsy

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,
Awed 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 th' 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, ent'ring 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 trumpet's 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 terror cease: he grants what they besought,
Instructed that to God is no access
Without a 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 rites
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'do Abraham and his seed. The rest
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 Ajalon,

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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, Enlight'ner 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 become Of me and all mankind; but now I see His day, in whom all nations shall be bless'd ; 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 earthy So many and so various laws are given ; So many laws argue so many sins

Among them; how can God with such reside ?"

To whom thus Michael: "Doubt not but that sin
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,
By 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
Wand'ring, shall in a glorious temple' inshrine.
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
Rememb'ring mercy, and his covenant sworn
To David, 'stablish'd as the days of heaven.
Return'd from Babylon, by leave of kings,
Their lords, whom God dispos'd, the house of God
They first re-edify, and for a while

In mean estate live moderate, till grown

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