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And therefore was law given them, to evince
Their natural pravity, by stirring up

sness

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 righteousne
To them by faith imputed, they may find
Justification towards God, and peace
Of conscience; which the law by ceremonies
Cannot appease; nor Man the mortal part
Perform; and, not performing, cannot live.
So law appears imperfect; and but given
With purpose to resign them, in full time,
Up to a better covenant; disciplined
From shadowy types to truth; from flesh to spirit ;
From imposition of strict laws to 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 beloved, being but the minister
Of law, his people into Canaan lead;

But Joshua, whom the Gentiles Jesus call,
His name and office bearing, who shall quell
The Adversary Serpent, and bring back
Through the world's wilderness long-wander'd Man
Safe to eternal Paradise of rest.

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Meanwhile they, in their earthly Canaan placed, 315
Long time shall dwell and prosper; but when sins
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 regal throne
For ever shall endure; the like shall sing

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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, as 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 ;
And his next son, for wealth and wisdom famed,
The clouded ark of God, till then in tents
Wandering, shall in a glorious temple enshrine.
Such follow him, as shall be register'd

Part good, part bad; of bad the longer scroll;
Whose foul idolatries, and other faults
Heap'd to the popular sum, 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 call'd.
There in captivity he lets them dwell

The space of seventy years; then brings them back,
Remembering mercy, and his covenant sworn 346

To David, stablish'd as the days of Heaven.
Return'd from Babylon by leave of kings

Their lords, whom God disposed, the house of God
They first reedify; and for awhile

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In mean estate live moderate; till, grown
In wealth and multitude, factious they grow;
But first among the priests dissension springs,
Men who attend the altar, and should most
Endeavour peace: their strife 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 Heaven, proclaims him come;
And guides the eastern sages, who inquire

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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 choir
Of squadron'd Angels hear his carol sung.
A virgin is his mother, but his sire

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The power of the Most High: He shall ascend
The throne hereditary, and bound his reign
With Earth's wide bounds, his glory with the Heavens
He ceased, discerning Adam with such joy
Surcharged, as had like grief been dew'd in tears,
Without the vent of words; which these he breathed.

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Of head or heel: not therefore joins the Son
Manhood to Godhead, with more strength to foil
Thy enemy; nor go is overcome

Satan, whose fall from Heaven, a deadlier bruise,
Disabled, not to give thee thy death's wound:
Which he, who comes thy Saviour, shall recure
Not by destroying Satan, but his works

In thee and in thy seed: nor can this be,
But by fulfilling that which thou didst want,
Obedience to the law of God, imposed

O prophet of glad tidings, finisher

Of utmost hope! now clear I understand
What oft my steadiest thoughts have search'd in vain ;
Why our great Expectation should be call'd

The seed of Woman: Virgin Mother, hail,

High in the love of Heaven; yet from my loins 380
Thou shalt proceed, and from thy womb the Son
Of God Most High: so God with Man unites!
Needs must the Serpent now his capital bruise
Expect with mortal pain: say where and when 384
Their fight, what stroke shall bruise the victor's heel.
To whom thus Michaël: Dream not of their fight,
As of a duel, or the local wounds

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On penalty of death, and suffering death;
The penalty to thy transgression due,

And due to theirs which out of thine will grow; 400

So only can high Justice rest appaid.
The law of God exact he shall fulfil
Both by obedience and by love, though love
Alone fulfil the law; thy punishment
He shall endure, by coming in the flesh
To a reproachful life and cursed death;
Proclaiming life to all who shall believe
In his redemption; and that his obedience,
Imputed, becomes theirs by faith; his merits
To save them, not their own, though legal, works. 410
For this he shall live hated, be blasphemed,
Seized on by force, judged, and to death condemn'd
A shameful and accursed, nail'd to the cross
By his own nation; slain for bringing life
But to the cross he nails thy enemies,
The law that is against thee, and the sins
Of all mankind, with him there crucified,
Never to hurt them more who rightly trust
In this his satisfaction; so he dies,
But soon revives: Death over him no power
Shall long usurp; ere the third dawning light
Return, the stars of morn shall see him rise
Out of his grave, fresh as the dawning light,
Thy ransom paid, which Man from death redeems;
His death for Man, as many as offer'd life
Neglect not, and the benefit embrace

By faith not void of works: this godlike act
Annuls thy doom, the death thou shouldst have died,
In sin for ever lost from life; this act

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Than temporal death shall bruise the victor's heel,
Or theirs whom he redeems; a death, like sleep,
A gentle wafting to immortal life.

Nor after resurrection shall he stay
Longer on earth than certain times to appear
To his disciples, men who in his life

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Shall bruise the head of Satan, crush his strength, 430
Defeating Sin and Death, his two main arms;
And fix far deeper in his head their stings

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Still follow'd him; to them shall leave in charge
To teach all nations what or him they learn'd
And his salvation; them who shall believe
Baptizing in the profluent stream, the sign
Of washing them from guilt of sin to life
Pure, and in mind prepared, if so befal,
For death, like that which the Redeemer died
All nations they shall teach; for, from that day
Not only to the sons of Abraham's loins
Salvation shall be preach'd, but to the sons
Of Abraham's faith wherever through the world;
So in his seed all nations shall be bless'd.
Then to the Heaven of Heavens he shall ascend
With victory, triumphing through the air
Over his foes and thine; there shall surprise
The Serpent, prince of air, and drag in chains
Through all his realm, and there confounded leave;
Then enter into glory, and resume

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His seat at God's right hand, exalted high

Above all names in Heaven; and thence shall come,
When this world's dissolution shall be ripe,
With glory and power to judge both quick and dead;
To judge the unfaithful dead, but to reward
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His faithful, and receive them into bliss,
Whether in Heaven or Earth; for then the Earth
Shall all be Paradise, far happier place
Than this of Eden, and far happier days.

So spake the Archangel Michaël; then paused,
As at the world's great period; and our sire,
Replete with joy and wonder, thus replied:

O Goodness infinite, Goodness immense !
That all this good of evil shall produce,
And evil turn to good; more wonderfu!
Than that which by creation first brought forth
Light out of darkness! Full of doubt I stand,
Whether I should repent me now of sin

By me done and occasion'd; or rejoice

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Much more, that much more good thereof shall spring;

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