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Yet sometimes nations will decline so low
From virtue, which is reason, that no wrong,
But justice and some fatal curse annex’d,
Deprives them of their outward liberty ;

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Their inward lost : witness the irreverent son
Of him who built the ark; who, for the shame
Done to his father, heard this heavy curse,
Serrant of servants, on his vicious race.
Thus will this latter, as the former world, 105
Still tend from bad to worse ; til! God at last,
Wearied with their iniquities, withdraw
His presence from among them, and avert
His holy eyes; resolving from thenceforth
To leave them to their own polluted ways;

110 And one peculiar nation to select From all the rest, of whom to be invoked, A nation from one faithful man to spring : Him on this side Euphrates yet residing, Bred up in idol-worship : 0, that men

115 (Canst thou believe ?) should be so stupid grown, While yet the patriarch lived who scaped the flood, As to forsake the living God, and fall To worship their own work in wood and stone For Gods! Yet him God the Most High vouchsafes To call by vision, from his father's house,

121 His kindred, and false Gods, into a land Which he will show him ; and from him will raise A mighty nation; and upon him shower His benediction so that in his seed

125 All nations shall be bless'd: he straight obeys ; Not knowing to what land, yet firm believes • I see him, but thou canst not, with what faith He leaves his Gods, his friends, and native soil, Ur of Chaldea, passing now the ford

130 To Haran; after him a cumbrous train Of herds and flocks, and numerous servitude ; Not wandering poor, but trusting all his wealth With God, who call'd him, in a land unknown.

Canaan he now attains; I see his tents

135 Pitch'd about Sechem, and the neighbouring plain Of Moreh; there by promise he receives Gift to his progeny of all that land, From Hamath northward to the Desert south (Things by their names I call, thou yet unnamed ;) From Hermon east to the great western Sea; 141 Mount Hermon, yonder sea; each place behold In prospect, as I point them ; 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 Deliverer, who shall bruise The Serpent's head; whereof io thee anon 150 Plainlier shall be reveal'd. This patriarch blesa'd. Whom faithful Abraham due time shall call, A son, and of his son a grandchild, leaves ; Like him in faith, in wisdom, and renown: T'he grandchild, with twelve sons increased, departs Froin Canaan, to a land hereafter callid

156 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 numerous ; whence of guests he makes them slaves Inhospitably, and kills their infant males : Till by two brethren (these two brethren call’d Moses and Aaron) sent from God to claira 170 His people from enthralment, 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 compell’d by signs and judgments dire; 175
To blood ushed the rivers must be turn'd;
Frogs, lice, and flies must all his palace fill
With loathed intrusion, and fill all the land;
His cattle must of rot and murrain die ;
Botches and blains must all his flesh emboss,

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And all his people ; thunder mix'd with hail,
Hail mix'd with fire, must rend the Egyptian sky,
And wheel on the 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 Moses so to stand Divided, till his rescued gain their shore : Such wondrous power God to his saint will lend, 200 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 205 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,

209 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 215
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

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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 225
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 230
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 235
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 Mediator, whose high office now 240
Moses in figure bears ; to introduce
One greater, of whose day he shall foretel,
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 246
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

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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

255 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 260 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, 265 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 send from Heaven, 270 Enlightener of my darkness, gracious things Thou hast reveal'd; those chiefly which concern Just Abraham and his seed ; now first I find Mina 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

276 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

280 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 285 Will reign among them, as of thee begot ,

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