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A darksome cloud of locusts swarming down
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
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 bis 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 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.

VOL. II.

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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 grey 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 destined 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 acoess
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 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 framed 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
Promised to 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 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 interposed : “O sent from heaven,
Enlightener of my darkness! gracious things
Thou hast reveald; those chiefly, which concern
Just Abraham and his seed. Now first I find
Mine eyes true-opening, and my heart much eased;
Erewhile perplex'd with thoughts, what would be-
Of me and all mankind : but now I see [come
His day, in whom all nations shall be bless’d;
Favor 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 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;

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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 mortal 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; disciplined 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 beloved, 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. 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

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 famed,
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
To David, stablish'd as the days of heaven.
Return'd from Babylon by leave of kings
Their lords, whom God disposed, the house of God
They first re-edify; and for awhile
In mean estate live moderate ; till, grown
In wealth and multitude, factious they grow;
But first among the priests dissension springs,
Men who attend the altar, and should most

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