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Will he convey up thither to sustain
Himself and his rash army, where thin air
Above the clouds will pine his entrails gross,
And famish him of breath, if not of bread ?

To whom thus Michael : Justly thou abhorr'st
That son, who on the quiet state of man 80
Such trouble brought, affecting to subdue
Rational liberty ; yet know withal,
Since thy origi'nal lapse, true liberty
Is lost, which always with right reason dwells
Twinn'd, and from her hath no dividual being:
Reason in man obscur'd, or not obey'd,
Immediately inordinate desires
And upstart passions catch the government
From reason, and to servitude reduce
Man till then free. Therefore since he permits 90
Within himself unworthy powers to reign
Over free reason, God in judgment just
Subjects him from without to violent lords ;
Who oft as undeservedly inthral
His outward freedom ; tyranny must be,
Though to the tyrant thereby no excuse.
Yet sometimes nations will decline so low
From virtue, which is reason, that no wrong,
But justice, and some fatal curse annex'd
Deprives them of their outward liberty, 100
Their inward tost: witness th' irreverent son
Of him who built the ark, who for the shame
Done to his father, heard this heavy curse,
Servant of servants, on his vicious race.

Thus will this latter, as the former world,
Still tend from bad to worse, till God at last
Wearied with their iniquities, withdraw
His presence from among them, and avert
His holy eyes; resolving from thenceforth
To leave them to their own polluted ways; 110
And one peculiar nation to select
From all the rest, of whom to be invok'd,
A nation from one faithful man to spring :
Him on this side Euphrates yet residing,
Bred up in idol-worship; O that man
(Canst thou believe ?) should be so stupid grown,
While yet the Patriarch liv'd, who scap'd 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 shew him, and from him will raise
A mighty nation, and upon him shower
His benediction so, that in his seed
All nations shall be blest; he strait 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 Chaldæa, passing now the ford

130
To Haran, after him a cumbrous train
Of herds and flocks, and numerous servitude;
Not wand'ring poor, but trusting all his wealth
With God, who call'd him, in a land unknown.

Canaan he now attains; I see his tents
Pitch'd about Sechem, and the neighb'ring 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, though yet unnam'd)
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
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 to thee anon 150 • Plainlier shall be reveal'd. This patriarch blest,

Whom faithful Abraham due time shall call,
A son, and of his son a grand-child leaves,
Like him in faith, in wisdom and renown;
The grand-child with twelve sons increas'd de parts
From Canaan, co a land hereafter callid
Egypt, divided by the river Nile;
See where it flows, disgorging at sev'n 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

VOL. II.

Suspected to a sequent king, who seeks
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 (those two brethren call
Moses and Aaron) sent from God to claim 170
His people from inthralment, they return
With glory' and spoil back to their promis'd land.
But first the lawless tyrant, who denies
To know their God, or message to regard,
Must be compellid by signs and judgments dire;
To blood unshed rhe rivers must be turn'd;
Frogs, lice, and flies, must all his palace fill
With loath'd intrusion, and fill the land ;
His cattle must of rot and murren die ;
Botches and blains must all his flesh imboss, 180
And all his people; thunder mix'd with hail,
Hail mix'd with fire, must rend th' Egyptian sky, .
And wheel on th' earth, devouring where it rolls;
What it devours not, herb, or fruit, or grain,
A darksome cloud of locusts swarming down
Must eat, and on the ground leave nothing green;
Darkness must overshadow all his bounds,
Palpable darkness, and blot out three days;
Last with one midnight stroke all the first-born
Of Egypt must lie dead. Thus with ten wounds
The river-dragon tam'd at length submits 191
To let his sojourners de part, and oft
Humbles his stubborn heart, but still as ice

More hardend after thaw, till in his rage
Pursuing whom he late dismiss'd, the sea
Swallows him with his host, but them lets pass
As on dry land between two crystal walls
Aw'd by the rod of Moses so to stand
Divided, till his rescu'd gain their shore:
Such wondrous power God to his Saint will lend,
Though present in his Angel, who shall go 201
Before them in a cloud, and pill’ar of fire,
By day a cloud, by night a pill'ar of fire,
To guide them in their journey, and remove
Behind them, while th' obdurate king pursues;
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,
And craze their chariot wheels: when by command
Moses once more his potent rod extends 211
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
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 220
To noble and ignoble is more sweet
Untraind in arms, where rashness leads not on,
This also shall they gain by their delay

R 2 . .

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