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Their Fathers in the land of Egypt serv'd,
This offer sets before thee to deliver.
These if from servitude thou shalt restore
To their inheritance, then, nor till then,
Thou on the Throne of David in full glory,
From Egypt to Euphrates and beyond
Shalt reign, and Rome or Cæfar not need fear.
To whom our Saviour answer'd thus unmoy'd.
Much oftentation vain of fleshly arm,
And fragile arms, much instrument of war
Long in preparing, foon to nothing brought,
Before mine Eyes thou haft set; and in my ear
Vented much policy, and projects deep
Of enemies, of aids, battels and leagues,
Plausible to the World, to me worth naught.
Means I must use thou fay'st, prediction else
Will unpredict and fail me of the Throne:
My time I told thee (and that time for thee
Were better farthest off) is not yet come;
When that comes think not thou to find me llack
On my part aught endeav'ring, or to need
Thy politick maxims, or that cumbersome
Luggage of War there shewn me, argument
Of human weakness rather than of strength..
My Brethren, as thou call'At them; those ten Tribes
I must deliver, if I mean to reign
David's true heirs and his full Scepter sway
To just extent over all Ifrael's Sons;
But whence to thee this zeal, where was it then
For Ifrael, or for David, or his Thrones
When thou stood'st up his Tempter to the pride
Of numb’ring Ifrael, which cost the lives
Of threescore and ten thousand Israelites
By three days Pestilence? such was thy zeal
To Ifrael then, the fame that now to me.
As for those captive Tribes, themselves were they
Who wrought their own Captivity, fell off
From God to worship Calves, the Deities
Of Egypt, Baal next and Ashtaroth;
And all th’Idolatries of Heathen round,
Besides their other worse than heath'nish crimes;
Nor in the land of their captivity
Humbled themselves or penitent befought
The God of their Fore-fathers; but fo dy'd
Impenitent, and left a race behind
Like to themselves, distinguishable scarce
From Gentils, but by Circumcision vain,
And God with Idols in their worship join’d.
Should I of these the liberty regard,
Who freed, as to their ancient Patrimony,
Unhumbld, unrepentant, unreform’d,
Headlong would follow; and to their Gods perhaps
Of Bethel and of Dan? no, let them serve
Their enemies, who serve Idols with God.
Yet he at length, time to himself best known,
Remembring Abraham, by fome wond'rous call
May bring them back repentant and sincere,
And at their passing cleave th’Asyrian flood,
While to their native land with joy they haste,
As the Red Sea and Jordan once he cleft,
When to the promisd land their Fathers pass’d;
To his due time and providence I leave them.
So spake Ifrael's true King, and to the Fiend Made answer meet, that made yoid all his wiles. So fares it when with truth fallhood contends.
The End of the Third Book.
Erplex'd and troubled at his bad success
The Tempter stood, nor had what to reply,
Discover'd in his fraud, thrown from his
So oft, and the persuasive Rhetoric
That sleek'd his tongue, and won so much on Eve,
So little here, nay lost; but Eve was Eve,
This far his over-match, who self deceiy'd
And ralh, before-hand had no better weigh'd
The strength he was to cope with, or his own:
But as a man who had been matchless heid
In cunning, over-reach'd where least he thought,
To save his credit, and for very spight
Still will be tempting him who foyls him still,
And never cease, though to his shame the more;
Or as a fwarm of flies in vintage time,
About the wine-press-where sweet moust is powr’d,
Beat off, returns as oft with humming sound;
Or surging waves against a solid rock;
Though all to shivers dalh’d, th’assault renew;
Vain batt’ry, and in froth or bubbles end;
So Satan, whom repulse upon repulse;
Met ever; and to shameful silence brought,
Yet gives not o'er though desp'rate of success,
And his yain importunity pursues
He brought our Saviour to the Western side
Of that high mountain, whence he might behold
Another plain, long but in breadth not wide,
Walh'd by the Southern Sea, and on the North
To equal length back’d with a ridge of hills
That screen'd the fruits of th'earth and seats of men
From cold Septentrion blasts, thence in the midst
Divided by a river, of whose banks
On each fide an Imperial City stood;
With Tow’rs and Temples proudly elevate.