Catalogue Entry: THEM00327

Book I: Chapter 27

Author: John Milton

Source: A Treatise on Christian Doctrine, Compiled from the Holy Scriptures Alone, vol. 2 (Boston: 1825).

[Normalized Text] [Diplomatic Text]


..... Thy great Deliverer, who shall bruise

The Serpent's head; whereof to thee anon

Plainlier shall be reveal'd. Paradise Lost, XII. 149.

The Woman's seed, obscurely then foretold,

Now amplier known thy Saviour and thy Lord. Ibid. 543.


He to his own a Comforter shall send,

The promise of the Father, who shall dwell

His Spirit within them, and the law of faith

Working through love, upon their hearts shall write. Ibid. 486.


Beza's Translation. Testamentum vetus. Tremellius. Veteris testmenti. Vulgate.


This opinion, that it was inconsistent with the liberty of the gospel to consider the decalogue as a law binding on Christians, is probably the reason why Milton forbears to mention it, where Michael describes to Adam the civil and ritual commandments delivered to the Jews. The omission is too remarkable not to have been designed, considering the noble opportunity which would have been afforded for enlarging on its moral precepts. See Paradise Lost. XII. 230-248.


.....Therefore was law giv'n them to evince

Their natural pravity, by stirring up

Sin against law to fight. Paradise Lost, XII. 287.


... peace

Of conscience, which the law by ceremonies

Cannot appease, nor man the moral part

Perform, and, not performing, cannot live.

So law appears imperfect, and but giv'n

With purpose to resign them, in full time,

Up to a better covnant, 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. Paradise Lost, XII. 296


'These authorities, without long search, I had to produce... But God (I solemnly attest him) withheld from my knowledge the consenting judgment of these men so late, until they could not be my instructor, but only my unexpected witnesses to partial men —.' Tetrachordon. Prose Works, II. 237.


Cameron appears to have been a favourite author with Milton. He elsewhere calls him 'a late writer much applauded,' and characterizes an observation which he makes on Matt. xix. 3. as 'acute and learned.' Tetrachordon. Prose Works, II. 74. Mr. Todd also, in noticing that Cameron was one of the few contemporary authors whom Milton has mentioned in terms of respect, quotes another passage in praise of him from the treatise cited above, where he is spoken of as 'an ingenious writer, and in high esteem.' Tetrachordon, II. 210. Life of Milton, p. 153.


'Non esse sub lege, non est, non teneri obedientia legis, sed liberum esse a maledictione, et coactione legis, et peccati irritatione.' Polani Syntagm. Theol. lib. vi. cap. 10. De Lege Dei.


... what the Spirit within

Shall on the heart engrave. Paradise Lost, XII. 523.

'The state of religion under the gospel is far differing from what it was under the law; then was the state of rigour, childhood, bondage, and works, to all which force was not unbefitting; now is the state of grace, manhood, freedom, and faith, to all which belongs willingness and reason, not force: the law was then written on tables of stone, and to be performed according to the letter, willingly or unwillingly; the gospel, our new covenant, upon the heart of every believer, to be interpreted only by the sense of charity and inward persuasion.' Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes. Prose Works, III. 335.


'Surely force cannot work persuasion, which is faith; cannot therefore justify or pacify the conscience: and that which justifies not in the gospel, condemns; is not only not good, but sinful to do: Rom. xiv. 23. 'whatsoever is not of faith, is sin.' Ibid. Prose Works, III. 342.


..... what will they then

But force the Spirit of grace itself, and bind

His consort Liberty? Paradise Lost, XII. 524.


'In respect of that verity and freedom which is evangelical, St. Paul comprehends both ends alike, &c.' A Treatise of Civil Power, &c. Prose Works, IV. 338


'In religion whatever we do under the gospel, we ought to be thereof persuaded without scruple; and are justified by the faith we have, not by the work we do: Rom. xiv. 5. 'let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.' A Treatise of Civil Power, &c. Prose Works, III. 341.


'I have shown that the civil power hath neither right, nor can do right, by forcing religious things: I will now show the wrong it doth, by violating the fundamental principle of the gospel, the new birthright of every true believer, Christian liberty.' A Treatise of Civil Power, &c. Prose Works, III. 337. 'Liberty, which is inseparable from Christian religion.' Ibid. 352.


None more cautious of giving scandal than St. Paul. Yet while he made himself servant to all, that he might gain the more, he made himself so of his own accord, was not made so by outward force, testifying at the same time that he was free from all men. Ibid. III. 342.


... On earth

Who against faith and conscience can be heard Infallible? Paradise Lost, XII. 528.

'Seeing then that in matters of religion, as hath been proved, none can judge or determine here on earth, no not church-governors themselves against the consciences of other believers, my inference is, or rather not mine, but our Saviour's own, that in those matters they neither can command or use constraint, lest they run rashly on a pernicious consequence, forewarned in that parable, Matt. xiii. from the 29th to the 31st verse, lest while ye gather up the tares ye root up also the wheat with them: let both grow together until the harvest; and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares,' &c. A Treatise of Civil Power, &c. III. 323.

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