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To whom thus Michael. Justly thou abhorr'st
That son, who on the quiet state of men
Such trouble brought, affecting to subdue
Rational liberty; yet know withal,

Since thy original lapse, true liberty

Is lost, which always with right reason dwells
Twinn'd, and from her hath no dividual being:


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Over free reason, God in judgment just

Subjects him from without to violent lords:
Who oft as undeservedly inthrall

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,
Their inward lost: 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;
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 in idol worship; O that men

(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

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For Gods! yet him God the most High vouchsafes 129

To call by vision from his father's house,

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 straight 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 Chaldea, passing now the ford
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 Morch; 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;
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
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 departs 155 From Canaan, to a land hereafter call'd

Egypt, divided by the river Nile;

See where it flows, disgorging at seven mouths
Into the sea to sojourn in that land

He comes invited by a younger son


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

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
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 flesh emboss,
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

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 rescued gain their shore:
Such wondrous pow'r God to his saint will lend,
Though present in his Angel, who shall go
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
Over the sea; the sea his rod obeys;

On their imbattel'd 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 ent'ring on the Canaanite alarm'd

War terrify them inexpert, and fear





Return them back to Egypt, choosing rather

Inglorious life with servitude; for life


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

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