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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,

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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 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 framed
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 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
Mine 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

275
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

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

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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 placed, 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

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

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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

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