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Though present in his Angel; who shall go
That Moses might report to them his will,
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 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 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 interposed: O sent 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
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; 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,
290 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
295 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
300 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 305 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;
325 Of David (so I name this king) shall ris 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 famed, The clouded ark of God, till then in tents Wandering, shall in a glorious temple enshrine. Such follow him, as shall be registerd
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, as 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
space of seventy years; then brings them back, Remembering 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 disposed, the house of God They first reedify; and for awhile
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 Endeavor 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 might be born Barr’d of his right; yet at his birth a star,
360 Unseen before in Heaven, proclaims him come; And guides th 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 choir Of squadron’d Angels hear his carol sung. A virgin is his mother, but his sire The power 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 ceased, discerning Adam with such joy Surcharged, as had like grief been dew'd in tears, Without the vent of words; which these he breathed. 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 Heaven; yet from my loins 380