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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 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 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 Messi'ah shall sing. Thus laws and rites Establish'd, such delight hath God in men 245 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

250 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 Sev'n lamps as in a zodiac representing

255 The heav'nly 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'd 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 Heav'n stand still
A day entire, and night's due course adjourn,
Man's voice commanding, Sun in Gibeon stard,

And thou moon in the vale of Aijalon,
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 Heav'n, 270 Enlightner 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

276 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 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 arnong them, as of thee begot;
And therefore was law giv’n 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

300 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,

310 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 315 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
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.

330 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

335 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, ås to leave them, and expose their land, Their city', his temple, and his holy ark

340 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 sev’nty years, then brings them back, Rememb’ring mercy, and his covenant sworn 346 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

350 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
Endeavour peace : their strife pollution brings 355
Upon the temple' itself: at last they seize
The sceptre, and regard not David's sons,
Then lose it to a stranger, that the true
Anointed king Messiah ght be born
Barr'd of his right; yet at his birth a star
Unseen before in Heav'n proclaims him come,
And guides the eastern sages, who inquire
His place, to offer incense, myrrh and gold,
His place of birth a solemn Angel tells
To simple shepherds, keeping watch by night; 365
They gladly thither haste, and by a quire
Of squadron'd Angels hear his carol sung,
A virgin is his mother, but his sire
The pow'r of the most High; he shall ascend
The throne hereditary, and bound his reign 370
With earth's wide bounds, his glory with the Heavens.

He ceas’d, discerning Adam with such joy Surcharg'd, as had like grief been dew'd in tears, Without the vent of words, which these he breath'd : O PROPHET of glad tidings, finisher

375 Of utmost hope! now clear I understand What oft my steadiest thoughts have search'd in vain; Why our great expectation should be call'd The seed of Woman : Virgin Mother, hail, High in the love of Heav'n, yet from my loins Thou shalt proceed, and from thy womb the Son Of God most High; so God with Man unites. Needs must the Serpent now his capital bruise


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