Catalogue Entry: THEM00300

Dedicatory Epistle

Author: John Milton

Source: A Treatise on Christian Doctrine, Compiled from the Holy Scriptures Alone, vol. 1 (Boston: 1825).

[Normalized Text] [Diplomatic Text]


Vota vestra et preces ardentissimas Deus, cum servitutis baud uno genere oppressi ad eum confugistis, benigne exaudirt. Quae duo in vita hominum mala sane maxima sunt, et virtuti damnosissima, tyranris et superstitio, iis vos gentium primos gloriose liberavit. Pro Pop. Anglican. Defens. ad finem. Milton's Prose Works, Symmons's Edition, Vol. V. p. 195.


....................... What but unbuild

His living temples, built by faith to stand,

Their own faith, not another's? —Paradise Lost, XII. 526.


'I seek not to seduce the simple and illiterate; my errand is to find out the choicest and the learnedest, who have this high gift of wisdom to answer solidly, or to be convinced.' Address to the Parliament of England, prefixed to The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce. Prose Works, I. 341.


'Sad it is to think how that doctrine of the Gospel, planted by teachers divinely inspired, and by them winnowed and sifted from the chaff of overdated ceremonies,' &c. Of Reformation in England, Prose Works, I. I


'For me, I have determined to lay up as the best treasure and solace of a good old age, if God vouchsafe it me, the honest liberty of free speech from my youth, where I shall think it available in so dear a concernment as the Church's good.' The Reason of Church-Government urged against Prelaty, Prose Works, I. 116. 'To Protestants, therefore, whose common rule and touchstone is the Scripture, nothing can with more conscience, more equity, nothing more Protestantly can be permitted, than a free and lawful debate at all times by writing, conference, or disputation of what opinion soever, disputable by Scripture; concluding that no man in religion is properly a heretic at this day, but he who maintains traditions or opinions not probable by Scripture, who for aught I know is the Papist only; he the only heretic who counts all heretics but himself.' Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes. Prose Works, III. 326.


'But we shall not carry it thus; another Greek apparition stands in our way, Heresy and Heretic; in like manner also railed at to the people as in a tongue unknown ... In apostolic time, therefore, ere the Scripture was written, heresy was a doctrine maintained against the doctrine by them delivered; which in these times can be no otherwise defined than a doctrine maintained against the light, which we now only have, of the Scripture.' Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes. Prose Works, III. 325. And again, in The Reason of Church —Government urged against Prelaty. 'As for those terrible names of sectaries and schismatics, which ye have got together, we know your manner of fight, when the quiver of your arguments, which is ever thin, and weakly stored, after the first brunt is quite empty, your course is to betake ye to your other quiver of slander, wherein lies your best archery. And whom you could not move by sophistical arguing, them you think to confute by scandalous misnaming; thereby inciting the blinder sort of people to mislike and deride sound doctrine and good Christianity, under two or three vile and hateful terms.' I. 104.


'Yea those that are reckoned for orthodox, began to make sad and shameful rents in the Church about the trivial celebration of feasts,' &c. Of Reformation in England. Prose Works, I. 15.


'With good and religious reason, therefore, all Protestant Churches with one consent, and particularly the Church of England in her thirty-nine Articles, Artic. 6th. 19th. 20th. 21st. and elsewhere, maintain these two points, as the main principles of true religion; that the rule of true religion is the word of God only: and that this faith ought not to be an implicit faith, that is, to believe, though as the Church believes, against or without express authority of Scripture.' Of true Religion, &c. Prose Works, IV. 260. And again, in the same treatise —'This is the direct way to bring in that papistical implicit faith, which we all disclaim.' IV. 268.

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