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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


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
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
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
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
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 stand,

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


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 among 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
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,


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

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
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.


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


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

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
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

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
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
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;
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





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

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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