صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

Inhospitably, and kills their infant-males;
Till by two brethren (those two brethren call
Moses and Aaron) sent from God to claim
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 compell’d by signs and judgments dire;
To blood unshed the rivers must be turn'd;
Frogs, lice, and flies, must all his palace fill
With loath'd intrusion, and fill all the land;
His cattle must of rot and murrain die;
Botches and blains must all his fesh imboss,
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 greeng
Darkness must overshadow all his bounds,
Palpable darkness, and blot out three days;
Last, with vne midnight-stroke, all the first-born
Of Egypt must lie dead. Thus with ten wounds
The river dragon tam'd at length submits
To let his sojourners depart, and oft
Humbles. his stubborn heart; but still as ice
More harden'd 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 wond'rous pow'r God to his saints will lend,
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 thein 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
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 desart, not the readiest way,
Lest entring on the Canaanite alarm’d,
War terrify them inexpert, and fear
Return them back to Egypt, chusing rather
Inglorious life with servitude ; for life
To noble and ignoble is more sweet
Untraind 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 chuse
Through the twelve tribes, the rule of law ordain'd.
Gød from the mount of Sinai, whose grey top
Shall treinble, he descending, will himself
In thunder, lightning, and loud trumpet's 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 atchieve
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 Messiah 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 santuary is fram'd

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

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 bim 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 Aialon,
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,
Enlight'ner of my darkness, gracious things
Thou hast reveald, those chiefly which concern
Just Abraham and his seed: now first I find
Mine eyes true opening, and my heart much easd,
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 bless'd,
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 giv'n;
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 given them to evince
Their natural pravity, by stirring up
sin against law to fight; that when they sec
Law can discover sin, but not reinove,

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
Tu 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 iinperfect, and but given
With purpose to resign them in full tiine
Up to a better covenant, disciplin'd
From shadowy types to truth, from flesh to spirit,
From imposition of strict laws 10 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,
Ilis name and office bearing, who shall quell
The adversary serpent, and bring back
Through the world's wilderness long wander'd many
Safe to eternal Paradise of rest.
Meanwhile they in their earthly Canaan placd,
Long time shall dwell and prosper; but when sius
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 régal 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, and 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 je - si ne

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 i
Whose foul idolatries, and other faults,
Heap'd to the popular suin, 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 callid.
There in captivity he lets them dwell
The space of sev'nty years, then brings them back,
Rememb'ring mercy, and his cov'nant sworn
To David, 'stablish'd as the days of Heav'n.
Return'd froin 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 dissention springs,
Men who attend the altar, and should inost
Endeavour peace: their strise 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 enquire
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's Angels hear this 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 Ileav'ns

He ceas'd, discerning Adam with such joy

« السابقةمتابعة »