페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

Fron 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 the irreverent son
Of him who built the ark; who, for the shama
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 up in idol.worship: 0, that men
(Canst thou believe ?) should be so stupid grown,
While yet the patriarch liv'd who’scap'd the food,
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 vouchsafen
To call by vision, from his father's house,
His kindred, and false gods, into a land
Which he will show him ; and from him will raise
A mighty nation; and upon him shower
His benediction so, that in his seed
All pations 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 Chaldæa, passing now the ford
To Haran; after him a cumbrous train
Of herds and flocks, and numerous servitude;
Not wandering 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 neighbouring plais
Of Moreh ; there hw pranise ho recentes

{

Gift to his progeny of all that lantia
From Haniath northward to the desert suuth:
Things by their names I call, though yet unnain':
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 reveald. 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 renowa;
The grand-child, with twelve sonsincreas’d, departa
From Canaan, to a land hereafter call'd
Egypt, divided by the river Nile;
See where it flows, disgorging at seven mouitis

nto 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 over-growth, as inmate guests
'Too numerous; whence of guests he makes thein
Inhospitably, and kills their infant males : (slaves
Till hy two brethren (these two brethren call
Moses and Aaron) sent from God to claim
His people from enthralment, 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 the rivers must be turn'di
Frogs, lice, and fies, must all his palace Gill

With loath'd intrusion, and fill all the land ;
His cattle must of rot and murren 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 the Egyptian sky
And wheel on the earth, devouring where it rolls ;
What it devours not, herb), or fruit, or grain,
A darksome cloud of locusts swarming down
Just eat, and on the ground leave nothing greens
Darkness must overshadow all his bounds,
Palpable darkness, and blot out three days ;
Last, with one midnight-stroke, all the first-horn
Of Egypt must lie dead. Thus with ten wounds
The river.dragon tam'd at length submits
To let his sjourners depart, and oft
Himbles 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 lani, between two crystal walls;
dwed by the rol of Moses so to stand
Divide: till his rescued gain their shore :
Such wondrous power God to his saint 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 them in their journey, and remove
Behind them, while the 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 exiends
Over the sea ; the sea bis rod obeys ;
On their emb 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 i
LR!, entering on the lanaanite 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
Through the twelve tribes, to rule by laws ordain'd
God from the mount of Sinai, whose grey top
Shall tremble, he descending, will himself
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 de: tin'd Seed to bruise
The serpent, by what means he shall achieve
Mankind's deliveranoe. 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 wbat they besonghte
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 företel,
And all the prophets in their age the times
Of great Alessiah shall sing. Thus laws and rile
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

mercy-seat of gold, between the wings
Of two bright cherubim ; lefore him burn
Seven lamps as in a zodiac representing
The heavenly fires; over the tent a cloud
Shall rest by day, a fiery slun by his

Save when they journey, and at length elvy 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 heaven stand still
A day entire, the night's due course adjourn,
Man's voice commanding, “Sun, in Gibeon stand,
And thou, moon, in the vale of Aialon,
Till Israel overcome !' 80 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 heaven, Enlightener 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 wouid

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 sucli reside ?"

To whom thus Michael : « Doubt not but that Will reign among them, as of thee begot; (sin And therefore was law given 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 furnil, 230 peace

« 이전계속 »