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Yet sometimes nations will decline so low
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
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
By his prescript a sanctuary is framed
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 ,