Catalogue Entry: THEM00328

Book I: Chapter 28

Author: John Milton

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

[Normalized Text] [Diplomatic Text]


In profluentem aquam. By the admission of this word into the definition, it is evident that Milton attributed some importance to this circumstance, probably considering that the superior purity of running water was peculiarly typical of the thing signified. Hence it appears that the same epithet employed in Paradise Lost, in a passage very similar to the present is not merely a poetical ornament.

..... 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. XII. 441.

Tertullian concludes differently, arguing that any water which can be conveniently procured, is sufficient for the spirit of the ordinance. 'Nulla distinctio est inari quis an stagno, flumine an fonte, lacu an alveo diluatur; nec quidquam refert inter eos quos Joannes in Jordana, et quos Petrus in Tiberi tinxit; nisi et ille spado quem Philippus inter vias fortuita aqua tinxit, plus salutis aut minus retulit.' De Baptismo, IV.


For an answer to this see Wall's Defence of his History of Infant Baptism, p. 243. and Whitby on Matt.iii. 16.


See Beveridge on the Twenty-seventh Article.


See Wall on Infant Baptism. Part II. Chap. x. Sect. 1. Bps. Burnet, Beveridge, and Tomline on the Twenty-seventh Article.


'They will be always learning and never knowing; always infants.' The likeliest Means to remove Hirelings, &c. Prose Works, III. 391.


See Bps. Beveridge and Burnet on the Twenty-seventh Article.


See Bp. Tomline on the Twenty-seventh Article.


See Wall on Infant Baptism, Part II. Chap. viii. Vol. II. p. 300. and Defence, &c. Vol. III. p. 106-133.


..... with keen dispatch

Of real hunger, and concoctive heat

To transubstantiate; what redounds, transpires

Through spirits with ease. Paradise Lost, V. 436.


'The Lutheran holds consubstantiation; an error indeed, but not mortal.' Of true Religion, &c. Prose Works, IV. 262.


'We now under Christ, a royal priesthood, 1 Pet. ii. 9. as we are coheirs, Kings and priests with him.' The likeliest Means to remove Hirelings, &c. Prose Works, III. 359.


'They insinuated that marriage was not holy without their benediction, and for the better colour, made it a sacrament; being of itself a civil ordinance, a household contract, a thing indifferent and free to the whole race of mankind, not as religious, but as men; best indeed undertaken to religious ends, and as the apostle saith, 1 Cor. vii. 'in the Lord;' yet not therefore invalid or unholy without a minister and his pretended necessary hallowing, more than any other act, enterprize, or contract of civil life, which ought all to be done also in the Lord and to his glory: all which, no less than marriage, were, by the cunning of priests heretofore, as material to their profit, transacted at the altar. Our divines deny it to be a sacrament, yet retained the celebration, till prudently a late parliament recovered the civil liberty of marriage from their encroachment, and transferred the ratifying and registering thereof from the canonical shop to the proper cognizance of civil magistrates.' Considerations on the likeliest Means to remove Hirelings out of the Church. Prose Works, III. 371.


'It is God only who gives as well to believe aright, as to believe at all.' Considerations touching the likeliest Means to remove Hirelings out of the Church. Prose Works, III. 351.


..... Man over men

He made not lord; such title to himself

Reserving, human left from human free. Paradise Lost, XII. 69.

'Christ hath a government of his own, sufficient of itself to all his ends and purposes in governing his church.' Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes. Prose Works, III. 331.


'All Protestants hold that Christ in his church hath left no vicegerent of his power; but himself, without deputy, is the only head thereof, governing it from heaven: how then can any Christian man derive his Kingship from Christ, but with worse usurpation than the pope his headship over the church? since Christ not only hath not left the least shadow of a command for any such vicegerence from him in the state, as the pope pretends for his in the church' —. Ready Way to establish a Free Commonwealth. Prose Works, 111. 411.


Milton elsewhere, to ridicule the notion that Peter and his successors are specially entrusted with the keys of heaven, places him at the 'wicket,' while 'embryos and idiots, eremites and friars, white, black and gray, with all their trumpery,' are 'blown transverse' into the paradise of fools.

And now Saint Peter at heaven's wicket seems

To wait them with his keys —. Paradise Lost, III. 484.

In Lycidas, however, the allusion to the keys is introduced more seriously.

Last came, and last did go

The pilot of the Galilean lake;

Two massy keys he bore of metals twain,

The golden opes, the iron shuts amain. 108.


This is an important passage, because it discloses Milton's real views upon a point on which his opinions have been represented in a more unfavourable light than they seem to have deserved. Bishop Newton remarks that 'in the latter part of his life he was not a professed member of any particular sect of Christians, he frequented no public worship, nor used any religious rite in his family. Whether so many different forms of worship as he had seen had made him indifferent to all forms; or whether he thought that all Christians had in some things corrupted the purity and simplicity of the gospel; or whether he disliked their endless and uncharitable disputes, and that love of dominion and inclination to persecution which he said was a piece of popery inseparable from all churches; or whether he believed that a man might be a good Christian without joining in any communion; or whether he did not look upon himself as inspired, as wrapt up in God, and above all forms and ceremonies, it is not easy to determine: to his own master he standeth or falleth: but if he was of any denomination, he was a sort of Quietist, and was full of the interior of religion, though he so little regarded the exterior.' The note of Mr. Hawkins on this passage, (Hawkins's Edition of Milton's Poetical Works, Vol. I. p. 101.) deserves to be mentioned as containing the most candid and judicious estimate of Milton's character which has ever been taken. Many parts of the present treatise bear & remarkable testimony to the acuteness with which Mr. Hawkins has detected some of the errors of Milton's religious system, by the unprejudiced spirit in which he has examined the imperfect materials afforded him in the printed works. He observes as follows on Milton's alleged disuse of public worship, which is asserted on the authority of Toland. 'The reproach that has been thrown upon him of frequenting no place of public worship in his latter days, should be received, as Dr. Symmons observes, with some caution. His blindness and other infirmities might be in part his excuse; and it is certain that his daily employments were always ushered in by devout meditation and study of the Scriptures.'


'Let no man cavil, but take the church of God as meaning the whole consistence of orders and members, as St. Paul's epistles express.' Of Reformation in England. Prose Works, I. 11.


Titles of honour are spoken of in the same slighting manner in the prophetic view which Michael unfolds to Adam of the corruptions which should prevail in the latter times of the church.

Then shall they seek to avail themselves of names,

Places, and titles, and with these to join

Secular power. —Paradise Lost, XII. 515.


It is evident from many passages in the printed works of Milton, that even the presbyterian institutions did not accord with his notions of Christian liberty. He often attacks the presbyters, during the time when episcopacy was abolished, with as much severity as the bishops during their ascendency. Warton observes, that he contended for that sort of individual or personal religion, by which every man is to be his own priest. See his edition of Milton's smaller Poems, p.326. Edit. 1785. 'The third priesthood only remaining, is common to all the faithful.' Considerations, &c. Prose Works, III. 383. 'If all the faithful be now a holy and a royal priesthood, 1 Pet. ii. 5, 9. not excluded from the dispensation of things holiest, after free election of the church, and imposition of hands..... for the gospel makes no difference from the magistrate himself to the meanest artificer, if God evidently favour him with spiritual gifts, as he can easily, and oft hath done.' Ibid. 390. 'So is he by the same appointment (of God) ordained, and by the church's call admitted, to such offices of discipline in the church, to which his own spiritual gifts... have authorized him.' Reason of Church Government, &c. I. 138. See also p. 139. 'The functions of church government commend him.'


'Heretofore in the first evangelic times (and it were happy for Christendom if it were so again) ministers of the gospel were by nothing else distinguished from other Christians but by their spiritual knowledge and sanctity of life.' Considerations, &c. III. 390.


'In the beginning this authority seems to have been placed, as all both civil and religious rites once were, only in each father of a family.' Reason of Church Government, &c. Prose Works, I. 134. 'In those days was no priest, but the father, or the first-born of each family.' Considerations, &c. III. 359.


This all Christians ought to know, that the title of clergy St. Peter gave to all God's people, till Pope Hyginus and the succeeding prelates took it from them, appropriating that name to themselves and their priests only, and condemning the rest of God's inheritance to an injurious and alienate condition of laity.' Reasons of Church Government urged against Prelaty. Prose Works, I. 135. 'Ecclesiasticorum duntaxat bona fuere, qui hoc maxime senso clerici, vel etiam holoclerici, ut qui sortem totam invasissent, rectius nominari poterant.' Defensio Secunda pro Populo Anglicano, V. 247.


'It is a foul error, though too much believed among us, to think that the university makes a minister of the gospel: what it may conduce to other arts and sciences, I dispute not now; but that which makes fit a minister, the Scripture can best inform us to be only from above, whence also we are bid to seek them. Matt. ix. 33. Acts xx, 28. Rom. x. 15. how shall they preach, unless they be sent? By whom sent? By the university, or the magistrate, or their belly? No surely, but sent from God only, and that God who is not their belly.' Considerations, &c. Prose Works, III. 386. 'Doubtless, if God only be he who gives ministers to his church till the world's end, and through the whole gospel never sent us for minister to the schools of philosophy —.' Ibid. 390.


'Burials and marriages are so little to be any part of their gain, that they who consider well, may find them to be no part of their function... As for marriages, that ministers should meddle with them, as not sanctified or legitimate without their celebration, I find no ground in Scripture either of precept or example.' Considerations, &c. Prose Works, III. 370.


Help us to save free conscience from the paw

Of hireling wolves, whose gospel is their maw. Sonnet XVI. 13.

'Of which hireling crew... Christendom might soon rid herself and be happy, if Christians would but know their own dignity, their liberty, their adoption... and let it not be wondered if I say their spiritual priesthood, whereby they have all equal access to any ministerial function, whenever called by their own abilities and the church, though they never came near the university.' Considerations, &c. Prose Works, III. 391.


'The papal antichristian church permits not her laity to read the Bible in their own tongue; our church on the contrary hath proposed it to all men... Neither let the countryman, the tradesman, the lawyer, the physician, the statesman excuse himself by his much business, from the studious reading thereof.' Of true Religion, &c. Prose Works. IV. 266.


'I offer it to the reason of any man, whether he think the knowledge of Christian religion harder than any other art or science to attain. I suppose he will grant that it is far easier, both of itself, and in regard of God's assisting Spirit... Therefore are the Scriptures translated into every vulgar tongue, as being held in main matters of belief and salvation plain and easy to the poorest, and such no less than their teachers have the the Spirit to guide them in all truth, John xiv. 26. xvi. 13.' Considerations on the likeliest Means to remove Hirelings out of the Church. Prose Works, III. 372.


.....the truth,

Left only in those written records pure,

Though not but by the Spirit understood. Paradise Lost, XII. 511

..... he, who receives

Light from above, from the fountain of light,

No other doctrine needs, though granted true.

Paradise Regained, IV. 288.

'The study of Scripture, which is the only true theology —.' Considerations on the likeliest Means to remove Hirelings, &c. Prose Works, III. 377.


Considering the language employed in parts of this treatise, Milton more frequently censures the metaphysical divinity than might have been expected. His practice at least, in this as well as in some other points, is not very consistent with his theory. He speaks however in other works in the same slighting manner of the sophistry of the schools. In the following passage it is not impossible that he may allude to the very Treatise which is now for the first time published. 'Somewhere or other, I trust, may be found some wholesome body of divinity, as they call it, without school-terms and metaphysical notions, which have obscured rather than explained our religion, and made it difficult without cause.' Considerations, &c. Prose Works, III. 375.


'Every true Christian, able to give a reason of his faith, hath the word of God before him, the promised Holy Spirit, and the mind of Christ within: 1 Cor. ii. 16.' Treatise of Civil Power, &c. Prose Works, III, 321.


'What Protestant then, who himself maintains the same principles, and disavows all implicit faith, would prosecute, and not rather charitably tolerate such men as these?' Of true Religion, &c. IV. 263.


See the Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes: 'First it cannot be denied —counts all heretics but himself.' Prose Works, III, 320-326.


See Horne's Introduction to the Critical Study of the Scriptures, Vol. II. p. 385. Note 2.


For the authenticity of the passage alluded to John vii. 53. and viii. 1-11. see Whitby and Mill in loco. Selden, Uxor. Heb. III. 11. Simon, Crit. Hist, of the New Testament, I. 13. Michaelis, Part I. Chap. vi. Sect. 11. Against its authenticity, see Beza, Grotius, Wetstein, Hammond and Le Clerc in loco.


'As the Samaritans believed Christ, first for the woman's word, but next and much rather for his own, so we the Scripture: first on the church's word, but afterwards and much more for its own, as the word of God; yea the church itself we believe then for the Scripture.' Treatise Of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes. Prose Works, III. 326.


..... From that pretence

Spiritual laws by carnal power shall force

On every conscience; laws which none shall find

Left them inroll'd, or what the Spirit within

Shall on the heart engrave. What will they then

But force the Spirit of grace itself?...

..... for, on earth,

Who against faith and conscience can be heard Infallible? Paradise Lost, XII. 520.

'With good cause, therefore, it is the general consent of all sound Protestant writers, that neither traditions, councils, nor canons of any visible church, much less edicts of any magistrate or civil session, but the Scripture only, can be the final judge or rule in matters of religion, and that only in the conscience of every Christian to himself.' Treatise of Civil Power, &c. Prose Works, III. 321


'He hath revealed and taught it us in the Holy Scriptures by inspired ministers, and in the gospel by his own Son and his apostles, with strictest command to reject all other traditions or additions whatsoever; according to that of St. Paul, Gal. i. 8. and Deut. iv. 2. Rev. xxii. 18, 19.' Of true Religion, &c. Prose Works, IV. 260.


'If we turn this our discreet and wary usage of them into a blind devotion towards them, and whatsoever we find written by them, we both forsake our own grounds and reasons which led us at first to part from Rome, that is, to hold to the Scriptures against all antiquity.' Of Prelatical Episcopacy. I. 75.


'Remonst. He that said I am the way, said that the old way was the good way. Answ. He bids ask of the old paths, or for the old ways, where or which is the good way; which implies that all old ways are not good, but that the good way is to be searched with diligence among the old ways, which is the thing that we do in the oldest records we have, the gospel.' Animadversions upon the Remonstrant's Defence. Prose Works, I. 177.


'Bishops and presbyters are the same to us both name and thing.' Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing. Prose Works, I. 314. 'It will not be denied that in the Gospel there be but two ministerial degrees, presbyters and deacons.' Likeliest Means to remove Hirelings, &c. III. 356. 'Through all which book can be no where, either by plain text, or solid reasoning, found any difference between a bishop and a presbyter, save that they be two names to signify the same order.' Of Prelatical Episcopacy, I. 60. 'A bishop and presbyter is all one both in name and office.' Ibid. 75, See also p.76.


'More beneath in the 14th verse of the third chapter, when he hath delivered the duties of bishops, or presbyters, and deacons, not once naming any other order in the church.' Reason of Church Government against Prelaty. Prose Works, I. 86


'He that ennobled with gifts from God, and the lawful and primitive choice of the church assembled in convenient number, faithfully from that time forward feeds his parochial flock, has his co-equal and co-presbyterial power to ordain ministers and deacons by public prayer and vote of Christ's congregation, in like sort as he himself was ordained, and is a true apostolic bishop.' Of Reformation in England. Prose Works, I. 9. 'He that will mould a modern bishop into a primitive, must yield him to be elected by the popular voice.' Ibid. 14.


'See the forwardness of this man; he would persuade us that the succession and divine right of bishopdom hath been unquestionable through all ages.' Animadversions on the Remonstrant's Defence, Prose Works, I. 160.


'We consider, first, what recompense God hath ordained should be given to ministers of the church; (for that a recompense ought to be given them, and may by them justly be received, our Saviour himself from the very light of reason and of equity hath declared, Luke x. 7. the labourer is worthy of his hire.)' Likeliest Means to remove Hirelings, &c. III. 354.


'Which argues also the difficulty, or rather the impossibility to remove them quite, unless every minister were, as St. Paul, contented to preach gratis; but few such are to be found.' Likeliest Means to Remove Hirelings &c. Prose Works, III. 345.


'But of all are they to be reviled and shamed, who cry out with the distinct voice of notorious hirelings, that if ye settle not our maintenance by law, farewell the Gospel.' Likeliest Means to remove Hirelings, &c. Prose Works, III. 389.


Si vi et pecunia stat Christiana religio atque fulcitur, quid est quamobrem non æque ac Turcarum religio suspecta esse videatur? 'For if it must be thus, how can any Christian object it to a Turk, that his religion stands by force only; and not justly fear from him this reply, yours both by force and money, in the judgment of your own teachers?' Ibid. 389.


Wolves shall succeed for teachers, grievous wolves.

Paradise Lost, XII. 508.

'Not long after, as the apostle foretold, hirelings like wolves came in by herds.' Considerations on the likeliest Means, &c. Prose Works, III. 358. To the same effect is quoted, in the History of Britain. Gildas's character of the Saxon clergy: 'subtle prowlers, pastors in name, but indeed wolves; intent upon all occasions, not to feed the flock, but to pamper and well-line themselves.' IV. 112. 'Immo lupi verius plerique eorum, quam aliud quidvis erant dicendi..... pinguia illis plerumque omnia, ne ingenio quidem excepto; decimis enim saginantur, improbato ab aliis omnibus ecclesiis more; Deoque sic diffidunt ut eas malint per magistratum atque per vim suis gregibus extorquere, quam vel divinæ providentiæ, vel ecclesiarum benevolentiæ et gratitudini debere.' Defensio Secunda pro Populo Anglicano. V. 246.


'Under the law he gave them tithes; under the gospel, having left all things in his church to charity and Christian freedom, he hath given them only what is justly given them. That, as well under the gospel, as under the law, say our English divines, and they only of all Protestants, is tithes; and they say true, if any man be so minded to give them of his own the tenth or twentieth; but that the law therefore of tithes is in force under the gospel, all other Protestant divines, though equally concerned, yet constantly deny.' The Likeliest Means to remove Hirelings, &c. Prose Works, III. 354.


'Any one may perceive what iniquity and violence hath prevailed since in the church, whereby it hath been so ordered, that they also shall be compelled to recompense the parochial minister, who neither chose him for their teacher, nor have received instruction from him.' Ibid. 372 'If he give it as to his teacher, what justice or equity compels him to pay for learning that religion which leaves freely to his choice whether he will learn it, or no, whether of this teacher or of another, and especially to pay for what he never learned, or approves not?' Ibid. 380.


'They have fed themselves, and not their flocks.' Animadversions on the Remonstrants Defence. Prose Works, I. 200. 'Rambling from benefice to benefice, like ravenous wolves, seeking where they may devour the biggest.' Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, II. 303. 'Aliis fortasse in locis haud æque ministris provisum; nostris jam satis superque bene erat; oves potius appellandi quam pastores, pascuntur magis quam pascunt.' Defensio Secunda pro Populo Anglicano, V. 247


'Our great clerks think that these men, because they have a trade, (as Christ himself and St. Paul had) cannot therefore attain to some good measure of knowledge.' Animadversions on the Remonstrant's Defence, I. 162. 'This was the breeding of St. Paul, though born of no mean parent, a free citizen of the Roman empire; so little did his trade debase him, that it rather enabled him to use that magnanimity of preaching the gospel through Asia and Europe at his own charges.' Likeliest Means to remove Hirelings, &c. III. 377. 'The church elected them to be her teachers and overseers, though not thereby to separate them from whatever calling she then found them following beside; as the example of St. Paul declares, and the first times of Christianity.' Ibid. 390.

'They pretend that their education, either at school or university, hath been very chargeable, and therefore ought to be repaired in future by a plentiful maintenance.' Likeliest Means, &c. Prose Works, III. 385. See also Animadversions on the Remonstrant's Defence, I. 193.


'I shall not decline the more for that, to speak my opinion in the controversy next moved, whether the people may be allowed for competent judges of a minister's ability. For how else can be fulfilled that which God hath promised, to pour out such abundance of knowledge upon all sorts of men in the times of the gospel? How should the people examine the doctrine which is taught them, as Christ and his apostles continually bid them do? How should they discern and beware of false prophets, and try every spirit, if they must be thought unfit to judge of the minister's abilities?' Apology for Smectymnus. Prose Works, I. 255. 'Every member of the church, at least of any breeding or capacity, so well ought to be grounded in spiritual knowledge, as, if need be, to examine their teachers themselves, Acts xvii. 11. Rev. ii. 2. How should any private Christian try his teachers, unless he be well grounded himself in the rule of Scripture by which he is taught?' Of true Religion, &c. IV. 267


'But to proceed further in the truth yet more freely, seeing the Christian church is not national, but consisting of many particular congregations —.' Likeliest Means to Remove Hirelings, &c. Prose Works, III. 379.


Suis in se numeris omnes absolutæ: a Ciceronian expression which he has imitated elsewhere; speaking of the Deity:

... Through all numbers absolute, though one. Paradise Lost, VIII. 421.


It is probably owing to Milton's dislike of councils, that he describes in his epic poems the consultations of the fallen angels in terms borrowed from ecclesiastical assemblies. The devils are said to sit in secret conclave, Paradise Lost, I. 795; and their council is styled a gloomy consistory, Paradise Regained, I. 442. He also says in a letter to a friend, written in the year 1659, 'I pray that the Protestant synod, which you say is soon to meet at Leyden, may have a happy termination, which has never yet happened to any synod that has ever met before.' Prose Works. I. 40.


'That way which the apostles used, was to call a council; from which, by any thing that can be learned from the fifteenth of the Acts, no faithful Christian was debarred, to whom knowledge and piety might give entrance.' Reason of Church Government urged against Prelaty. Prose Works, I. 105.


'Let whoso will interpret or determine, so it be according to true church discipline, which is exercised on them only who have willingly joined themselves in that covenant of union.' Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes. Prose Works, III. 323.


..... At our great feast

I went into the temple, there to hear

The teachers of our law, and to propose

What might improve my knowledge or their own.

Paradise Regained I. 210.


The texts quoted in this paragraph appear to have been in Milton's mind in that passage of Paradise Lost, where Eve is represented as retiring from table as soon as she perceived from Adam's countenance that the conversation was beginning to assume an abstruse cast:

Such pleasure she reserved,

Adam relating, she sole auditress;

Her husband the relater, she preferred

Before the angel, and of him to ask

Chose rather. VIII. 50.

This same decorum is observed subsequently, when Eve is not permitted to see the vision which Michael displays to Adam from the highest hill of Paradise. On descending from the 'specular mount' to the bower where Eve had been left sleeping, the angel says to his companion,

Thou, at season fit,

Let her with thee partake what thou hast heard;

Chiefly what may concern her faith to know. XII. 597.


'Surely much rather might the heavenly ministry of the evangel bind himself about with far more piercing beams of majesty and awe, by wanting the beggarly help of halings and amercements in the use of her powerful keys.' Reason of Church Government urged against Prelaty. Prose Works, I. 131. 'The church in all ages, primitive, Romish, or Protestant, held it ever no less their duty, than the power of their keys," &c. Tenure of Kings and Magistrates. Ibid. 290.


'Quos ecclesiæ est e cœtu fidelium ejicere, non magistratuum e civitate pellere, siquidem in leges civiles non peccant.' Pro Populo Anglicano Defensio. Prose Works, V. 47. The various degrees of church censure, its design, and its effects, are described in a most eloquent passage of the treatise on Church Government &c. 1. 140-142. Compare also p. 53, 54. Of Reformation in England.


'Especially for that the church hath in her immediate cure those inner parts and affections of the mind, where the seat of reason is.' Reason of Church Government, &c. Prose Works, I. 79. 'The magistrate hath only to deal with the outward part..... God hath committed this other office, of preserving in healthful constitution the inner man, to his spiritual deputy, the minister of each congregation,' &c. Ibid. 134. 'Christ hath a government of his own... It deals only with the inward man and his actions, which are all spiritual and to outward force not liable.' Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes, III. 331.

..... this attracts the soul,

Governs the inner man, the nobler part;

That other o'er the body only reigns. Paradise Regained, III. 476.


..... truth shall retire

Bestuck with sland'rous darts, and works of faith

Rarely be found: so shall the world go on,

To good malignant, to bad men benign,

Under her own weight groaning; till the day

Appear of respiration to the just,

And vengeance to the wicked. Paradise Lost, XII, 536.


Compare Paradise Regained, III. 433. especially with reference to the passage quoted from Isaiah xxvii,

Yet he at length (time to himself best known)

Rememb'ring Abraham, by some wond'rous call

May bring them back, repentant and sincere,

And at their passing cleave the Assyrian flood,

While to their native land with joy they haste,

As the Red Sea and Jordan once he cleft,

When to the promised land their fathers pass'd.


When thou, attended gloriously from heav'n

Shalt in the sky appear, and from thee send

The summoning archangels to proclaim

Thy dread tribunal; forthwith from all winds

The living, and forthwith the cited dead

Of all past ages, to the general doom

Shall hasten; such a peal shall rouse their sleep.

Then, all thy saints assembled, thou shalt judge

Bad men and angels; they, arraign'd, shall sink

Beneath thy sentence. Paradise Lost, II. 323.

..... Thence shall come

When this world's dissolution shall be ripe,

With glory and power to judge both quick and dead. XII. 458.

Last in the clouds from heav'n to be reveal'd

In glory of the Father, to dissolve

Satan with his perverted world. Ibid. 545.


Vicegerent Son, to thee I have transferr'd

All judgment, whether in heaven, or earth, or hell.

Easy it may be seen that I intend

Mercy colleague with justice, sending thee.

Man's friend, his mediator, his design'd

Both ransom and redeemer voluntary,

And destin'd man himself to judge man fall'n. Paradise Lost, X. 56,


..... only add

Deeds to thy knowledge answerable. Paradise Lost, XII. 581.

'He who from such a kind of psalmistry, or any other verbal devotion, without the pledge and earnest of suitable deeds, can be persuaded of a real and true righteousness in the person, hath yet much to learn.' Answer to Eikon Basilike. Prose Works, II. 406.


'Veniebat; perfecturus in terris mysterium redemptionis nostræ.' Junius on Dan. vii. 13.


Then thou thy regal sceptre shalt lay by,

For regal sceptre thou no more shalt need,

God shall be all in all. Paradise Lost, III, 339.


..... meanwhile

The world shall burn. III. 333.


'Quidam enim eorum censent peccatum originis puniri tantum pœna damni; alii vero insuper ei pœnam sensus adjungunt.' Dissertatio Secunda de Peccato Originis, Curcell. 61. 'To which two heads, all that is necessary to be known concerning this everlasting punishment may be reduced; and we shall accordingly consider it as it is both pœna damni and pœna sensus, the punishment of loss and the punishment of sense.' Beveridge. Works, Vol. II. 449. See also Taylor, Works IX. 369.


.....Tophet thence

And black Gehenna call'd, the type of hell. Paradise Lost, I. 404


In the argument to the first book of Paradise Lost, hell is described as situated 'not in the center (for heaven and earth may be supposed as yet no made, certainly not yet accursed) but in a place of utter' (i.e. outer) 'darkness, fitliest called Chaos.'


Καὶ ποῦ, φησὶ, καὶ ἐν ποίῳ χωρίῳ αὕτη ἔσται ἡ γέεννα; τί σοι τούτου μέλε; τὸ γὰρ ζηούμενον, δεῖξαι ὄτι ἐστὶν, οὐ ποῦ τεταμίευται, καὶ ἐν ποίῳ..... ἀλλ᾽ ἐν ποίῳ τόπῳ, φησὶν, ἔσται; ἔξω που, ὡς ἔγωγε οἶμαι, τοῦ κόσμου πούτου παντός. καθάπερ γὰρ τῶν βασιλείων τὰ δεσμωτήρια καὶ τὰ μέταλλα πό᾽ρ῾ρω δίεστηκεν, οὕτω δὴ καὶ τῆς εἰκουμένης ταύτης ἔξω που ἔσται ἡ γέεννα. Chrysost. in Ep. ad Rom. Homil. 31.

Milton elsewhere refers to the locality of hell:

Such place eternal justice had prepared

For those rebellious; here their prison ordain'd

In utter darkness, and their portion set

As far removed from God and light of heaven,

As from the center thrice to th' utmost pole. Paradise Lost, I. 70,

Again: 'to banish forever into a local hell, whether in the air or in the center, or in that uttermost and bottomless gulf of Chaos, deeper from holy bliss than the world's diameter multiplied, they thought not a punishment so proper and proportionate for God to inflict, as to punish sin with sin.' Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce. Prose Works, II. 11.


The distinction which Milton makes between the beginnings of bliss which are attainable in this life, and that perfect glorification which will ensue hereafter, coincides with the expressions in the Hymn on the Nativity:

And then at last our bliss

Full and perfect is,

But now begins, xviii. 165.


The following quotations will show that Milton took pleasure in frequently recurring to this idea.

The world shall burn, and from her ashes spring

New heav'n and earth, wherein the just shall dwell,

And after all their tribulations long

See golden days. Paradise Lost, III. 334.

Then heav'n and earth renew'd shall be made pure

To sanctity that shall receive no stain. X. 638.

..... To second life

Wak'd in the renovation of the just

Resigns him up with heav'n and earth renew'd. XI. 64.

..... till fire purge all things new,

Both heav'n and earth, wherein the just shall dwell. Ibid. 900.

..... to reward

His faithful, and receive them into bliss,

Whether in heav'n or earth; for then the earth

Shall all be Paradise, far happier place

Than this of Eden, and far happier days. XII. 461.

..... then raise

From the conflagrant mass, purg'd and refin'd,

New heav'ns, new earth, ages of endless date

Founded in righteousness and peace and love,

To bring forth fruits, joy and eternal bliss.Ibid 547.

And again, in a splendid passage near the end of the treatise. On the Reformation in England: 'Thou, the eternal and shortly expected King, shalt open the clouds to judge the several kingdoms of the world, and distributing national honours and rewards to religious and just commonwealths, shall put an end to all earthly tyrannies, proclaiming thy universal and mild monarchy through heaven and earth; where they undoubtedly, that by their labours, counsels, and prayers, have been earnest for the common good of religion and their country, shall receive above the inferior orders of the blessed, the real addition of principalities, legions, and thrones into their glorious titles, and in supereminence of beatific vision, progressing the dateless and irrevoluble circle of eternity, shall clasp inseparable hands with joy and bliss, in over-measure for ever.' Prose Works, I. 58.


'What evangelic religion is, is told in two words, Faith and Charity, or Belief and Practice.' Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes. Prose Works, III. 332.


..... His obedience

Imputed becomes theirs by faith, his merits

To save them, not their own, though legal works.

Paradise Lost, XII. 408.


See page 51, note.


..... God doth not need

Either man's work or his own gifts. Sonnet XIX. 9.


..... Have my fill

Of knowledge, what this vessel can contain;

Beyond which was my folly to aspire. Paradise Lost, XII. 558.

See also VII. 120. VIII. 172.


'I will begin somewhat higher, and speak of punishment; which as it is an evil, I esteem to be of two sorts, or rather two degrees only; a reprobate conscience in this life, and hell in the other world.' Reason of Church Government urged against Prelaty. Prose Works, 1. 132.


See Grotius and Wetstein on Matt. iv. 10. and Leigh's Critica Sacra on the words δουλεύω and δουλεία;.


'He (Constantine) gave and administered occasion to bring in a deluge of ceremonies, thereby either to draw in the heathen by a resemblance of their rites, or to set a gloss upon the simplicity and plainness of Christianity, which, to the gorgeous solemnities of paganism, and the sense of the world's children, seemed but a homely and yeomanly religion.' Of Reformation in England. Prose Works, I. 18. 'This was that which made the old Christians paganize, while by their scandalous and base conforming to heathenism they did no more, when they had done their utmost, but bring some pagans to Christianize; for true Christians they neither were themselves, nor could make others in this fashion.' Animadversions upon the Remonstrant's Defence, Ibid. 171. For numerous instances of these corruptions, see the ecclesiastical historians and other authorities. The policy which led to what one of the most eloquent of living writers happily calls 'paganizing Christianity in order to christen paganism,' has found its supporters in Mosheim and Gibbon. The former says; 'in these early times it was both wise and necessary to show, in the establishment of outward forms of worship, some indulgence to the ancient opinions, manners and laws of the respective nations to whom the gospel was preached... In a word, the external forms of worship used in the times of old must necessarily have been regulated and modified according to the character, genius, and manners of the different nations, on which the light of the gospel arose.' Ecclesiastical History, I. p. 100. 'The bishops augmented the number of religious rites in the Christian worship by way of accommodation to the infirmities and prejudices both of Jews and heathens, in order to facilitate thus their conversion to Christianity,' &c. Ibid. p. 162. 'After the conversion of the Imperial city, the Christians still continued, in the month of February, the annual celebration of the Lupercalia; to which they ascribed a secret and mysterious influence on the genial powers of the animal and vegetable world.' Gibbon's Decline and Fail of the Roman Empire, chap, xxxvi. Barbeyrac (Traité la Morale des Pères, ch. v. sect. 59, &c.) accuses Clemens Alexandrinus of having permitted the heathen converts to worship the sun, moon, and other heavenly bodies; but the passage alluded to, when candidly considered, seems to admit of a different construction. See Strom. Lib. VI. Cap. xiv. p. 795, 796. Edit. Oxon. The author of the Life of Gregory Thaumaturgus mentions the following instance of a concession granted to the Christians of the second century. 'Cum animadvertisset (Gregorius) quod ob corporeas delectationes et voluptates simplex et imperitum vulgus in simulacrorum cultus errore permaneret..... permisit eis, ut in memoriam et recordationem sanctorum martyrum sese oblectarent, et in lætitiam effunderentur, quod successu temporis aliquando futurum esset ut sua sponte ad honestiorem et accuratiorem vitæ rationem transirent.' In the sixth century, Gregory the First, bishop of Rome, even went so far as to rebuke Serenus, Bishop of Marseilles, for breaking the images placed in churches, stating that he was desirous of conciliating the affections of the people by permitting the use of them, as pieces of history to instruct their minds in the leading facts of Christianity. See Milner's Church History, III. 55. Acting on the same principle, he also wrote to Mellitus, a missionary proceeding to Britain, recommending certain concessions to the early converts among our own countrymen, who had been accustomed to propitiate demons, and to indulge in sacrificial feasts. Ibid. p. 79. Tertullian seems to have formed a better judgment respecting the spirit of Christianity. See the treatise De Creatione, where he complains of the unnecessary introduction of additional rites into the church, borrowed from the enemies of the true religion.


This said unanimous, and other rites

Observing none, but adoration pure,

Which God likes best. Paradise Lost, IV. 736.


'If the Lord's Prayer had been "the warrant or pattern of set liturgies," as is here affirmed, why was neither that prayer, nor any other set form ever after used, or so much as mentioned by the apostles, much less commended to our use?' Answer to Eikon Basilike. Prose Works, III. 37.


'Conformably with his opinions on this subject, Milton ascribes extemporaneous effusions to our first parents:

Lowly they bow'd adoring, and began

Their orisons, each morning duly paid

In various style; for neither various style

Nor holy rapture wanted they to praise

Their Maker, in fit strains pronounc'd, or sung

Unmeditated. Paradise Lost, V. 144.

'It is not the goodness of matter, therefore, which is not, nor can be, owed to the liturgy, that will bear it out, if the form, which is the essence of it, be fantastic and superstitious, the end sinister, and the imposition violent.' Animadversions on the Remonstrant's Defence. Prose Works, I. 173. 'Neither can any true Christian find a reason why liturgy should be at all admitted, a prescription not imposed or practised by those first founders of the church, who alone had that authority,' &c. Answer to Eikon Basilike, III. 36. Compare also the whole of the chapter entitled 'On the Ordinance against the Common Prayer Book,' from which the last quotation is taken.'


..... Sighs now breath'd

Unutterable, which the spirit of prayer

Inspired, and wing'd for heav'n with speedier flight

Than loudest oratory. Paradise Lost, XI. 5.

..... Now therefore bend thine ear

To supplication, hear his sighs though mute,

Unskilful with what words to pray. Ibid. 30.

..... This will prayer,

Or one short sigh of human breath, upborne

Ev'n to the seat of God. Ibid. 146.

'Though we know not what to pray as we ought, yet he with sighs unutterable by any words, much less by a stinted liturgy, dwelling in us makes intercession for us.' Answer to Eikon Basilike. Prose Works, III.39.


'It is his promise also that where two or three gathered together in his name shall agree to ask him any thing, it shall he granted, for he is there in the midst of them.' Answer to Eikon Basilike. Prose Works, III. 39.


'There is a large difference in the repetition of some pathetical ejaculation raised out of the sudden earnestness and vigour of the inflamed soul, (such as was that of Christ in the garden) from the continual rehearsal of our daily orisons; which if a man shall kneel down in a morning, and say over, and presently in another part of the room kneel down again, and in other words ask but still for the same things as it were out of one inventory, I cannot see how he will escape that heathenish tautology of multiplying words, which Christ himself, that has the putting up of our prayers, told us would not be acceptable in heaven.' Animadversions upon the Remonstrant's Defence. I. 166.


'Adam and Eve are represented in Paradise Lost as praying, sometimes in a standing posture, sometimes kneeling, sometimes prostrate:

Thus they, in lowliest plight repentant stood,

Praying. XI. I.

where all the commentators have mistaken the true import of the phrase.

..... Since I sought

By prayer the offended Deity to appease,

Kneel'd, and before him humbled all my heart —. Ibid. 146.

..... They forthwith to the place

Repairing where he judg'd them, prostrate fell

Before him reverent, and both confessed

Humbly their faults, and pardon begg'd. X. 1098.


She as a veil down to the slender waist

Her unadorned golden tresses wore


..... which implied

Subjection. IV. 304.

See 1 Cor. xi. 15. 'her hair is given her for a covering,' where the marginal reading is for a veil.


... Sanctitude severe and pure,

Severe, but in true filial freedom plac'd. Paradise Lost, IV. 293.


'Si forte in Livonia, Norvegia, Suedia, Moscovia, &c. hyberno tempore, capite adeoque et manibus tectis orant, ratio est manifesta; natura nempe cœli, ob aëris inclementiam, non patitur ut sint tum aperto capite: itaque etsi tum adversus τὸ ρ῾ητὸν hujus canonis forte faciunt non faciunt tamen adversus ejus mentem, et rationem qua nititur, consuetudinem nimirum civilem: nam tum apud eos ne supplices quidem caput forte aperire solent, aut inferiores coram superioribus, ob cœli, uti dixi, inclementiam stare.' Lud Capelli Spicilegium in 1 Cor. xi. 4. Compare however the whole passage, Sect. 1-15.


To teach thee that God attributes to place

No sanctity, if none be thither brought

By men who there frequent, or therein dwell. Paradise Lost, XI. 836.


Super populum tuum sit benedictio tua maxime. Tremell. The precatory form is not preserved in our authorized translation; thy blessing if upon thy people.


If God afterward gave or permitted this insurrection of episcopacy, it is to be feared he did it in his wrath, as he gave the Israelites a king.' Reason of Church Government urged against Prelaty. Prose Works, I. 101.


Yet, sacrilegious, to himself would take

That which to God alone of right belongs.

Paradise Regained III. 140.


In the hymn of our first parents, when

..... prompt eloquence

Flow'd from their lips in prose or numerous verse,

Milton says of the angels extolling their Maker,

..... ye behold him, and with songs

And choral symphonies, day without night,

Circle his throne rejoicing. Paradise Lost V. 161.


..... Thou know'st the magistrates

And princes of my country came in person,

Solicited, commanded, threaten'd, urg'd,

Adjur'd by all the bonds of civil duty

And of religion, press'd how just it was,

How honourable, how glorious to entrap

A common enemy, who had destroyed

Such numbers of our nation.....


..... At length that grounded maxim

So ripe and celebrated in the mouths

Of wisest men, that to the public good

Private respects must yield, with grave authority,

Took full possession of me, and prevail'd;

Virtue, as I thought, truth, duty so enjoin'd.

Sampson Agonistes, 850


..... How soon

Would height recal high thought, how soon unsay

What feign'd submission swore? ease would recant

Vows made in pain, as violent and void. Paradise Lost, IV. 94.


See the treatise Of true Religion, where after describing the twofold power, ecclesiastical and political, claimed by the Roman Catholics, Milton proceeds thus: 'Whether therefore it be fit or reasonable to tolerate men thus principled in religion towards the state, I submit it to the consideration of all magistrates, who are best able to provide for their own and the public safety. As for tolerating the exercise of their religion, supposing their state-activities not to be dangerous, I answer, that toleration is either public or private; and the exercise of their religion, as far as it is idolatrous, can be tolerated neither way: not publicly, without grievous and unsufferable scandal given to all conscientious beholders; not privately, without great offence to God, declared against all kind of idolatry, though secret. Ezek. viii. 7, 8..... Having shown thus, that popery, a being idolatrous, is not to be tolerated either in public or in private, it must now be thought how to remove it,' &c. &c. Prose Works, IV. 264.


'They will not go about to prove their idolatries by the word of God, but turn to shifts and evasions, and frivolous distinctions; idols they say are laymen's books, and a great means to stir up pious thoughts and devotion in the learnedest.' Ibid. IV. 266.


...That he may dispense with me, or thee,

Present in temples at idolatrous rites,

For some important cause, thou need'st not doubt.

Samson Agonistes. 1377.


Thus our Saviour in Paradise Regained, IV. 486.

..... what they can do as signs

Betok'ning, or ill boding, I contemn

As false portents, not sent from God, but thee:

compared with the words of Satan, v. 379, &c.

Now contrary, if I read aught in heav'n,

Or heav'n write aught of fate, by what the stars

Voluminous, or single characters,

In their conjunction met, give me to spell,

Sorrows and labours, opposition, hate,

Attends thee, scorns, reproaches, injuries,

Violence and stripes, and lastly cruel death.

A kingdom they portend thee, but what kingdom,

Real or allegoric, I discern not.

These last words probably allude to the star, mentioned below, by which the birth of Christ, as 'King of the Jews,' was announced to the wise men.


'Some are ready to cry out, what shall then be done to blasphemy? Them I would first exhort not thus to terrify and pose the people with a Greek word; but to teach them better what it is, being a most usual and common word in that language to signify any slander, any malicious or evil speaking, whether against God or man, or any thing to good belonging Blasphemy , or evil speaking against God maliciously, is far from conscience in religion.' Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes. Prose Works, III. 324. 'Id esse blasphemiam quo tu pacto evinces? nisi si forte theologorum dictatis quibusvis contradicere, nunc primum blasphemia est credenda.' Auctoris pro se Defensio. Prose Works, V. 285.


'Such as these, indeed, were capitally punished by the law of Moses, as the only true heretics, idolaters, plain and open deserters of God and his known law.' Treatise of Civil Power, &c. III. 326.


.....'the body, with all the circumstances of place and time, were purified by the affections of the regenerate soul.' Of Reformation in England, Prose Works, I. 1. 'Tertius modus est adjunctorum quæ recipiuntur ad subjectum; quæ vulgo circumstantiæ nuncupantur, quia extra subjectum sunt. Hue tempus refertur.' Artis Logicæ plenior Institutio. IV. 224


Dr. William Ames, a Puritan divine in the time of James and Charles the First, and Professor of Divinity in the University of Franeker, a town of the Netherlands, in Friesland. It was partly from the work quoted above, and partly from The Abridgment of Christian Divinitie by Wolebius, that Milton, according to Phillips, compiled for the use of his pupils a system of divinity, which they wrote on Sundays at his dictation. An English translation of Ames's treatise was published by order of the House of Commons in 1642, under the title of The Marrow of Sacred Divinity, drawne out of the Holy Scriptures and the Interpreters thereof, and brought into method. It is divided into two books, of which the first, entitled On Faith in God, contains forty-one chapters, and the second, On Observance toward God, twenty-two. It is quite evident that Milton has frequently availed himself of this volume, both in the distribution of his subject and arrangement of the chapters, which frequently coincides with that of Ames, and in particular passages and applications of Scripture; though their opinions differ materially on several important points. The translation is very badly executed, as the version of the passage quoted in the text will show. "That rule therefore of interpreting the Scriptures which is wont to be delivered by some, is not universally true; that all those duties [are] morall and immutable, which have morall and immutable reasons joyned to them; except it be thus understood, that those duties doe follow upon those reasons, no special command coming betweene." Milton quotes in his Tetrachordon the definition of marriage given by Ames, and passes a just censure on it. See Prose Works, II. 141. The Treatise of Wollebius is also divided into two parts, On the Knowledge and on the Worship of God, the first comprised in thirty-six, and the second in fourteen chapters. The plan of the latter division is very similar to the corresponding portion of Milton's work, and not only the arguments, but even whole sentences are sometimes almost identically the same.


See Book I. Chap, xxvii. and the note in p. 90. To what is there said may be added the following passage from A Brief History of Moscovia. Milton is speaking of the Russian church. 'They hold the ten commandments not to concern them, saying that God gave them under the law, which Christ by his death on the cross had abrogated.' Prose Works, IV, 280.


'What but a vain shadow else is the abolition of those ordinances, that hand-writing nailed to the cross? What great purchase is this Christian liberty which Paul so often boasts of? His doctrine is, that he who eats or eats not, regards a day, or regards it not, may do either to the Lord.' Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing. Prose Works, 1. 327.


'It would be helpful to us if we might borrow such authority as the rhetoricians by patent may give us, with a kind of Promethean skill to shape and fashion this outward man into the similitude of a body.' Reason of Church Government urged against Prelaty. Prose Works, I. 133. 'Malui abs te decerpta transcribere, quæ tu Aristoteli, ut ignem Jovi Prometheus, ad eversionem monarcharum, et perniciem ipsius tuam, surripuisti.' Pro Populo Anglicano Defensio, V. 115.


'They ought to know, or to remember, that not examples, but express commands oblige our obedience to God or man.' The likeliest Means to remove Hirelings, &c. III. 357.


'God delights not to make a drudge of virtue, whose actions must be all elective and unconstrained.' Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce. Prose Works, II. 51.


'What would ye say now, grave fathers, if you should wake and see unworthy bishops, or rather, no bishops, but Egyptian task-masters of ceremonies, thrust purposely upon the groaning church, to the affliction and vexation of God's people?' Of Reformation in England, I. 13.


'As therefore the seventh day is not moral, but a convenient recourse of worship in fit season, whether seventh or other number —.' The Likeliest Means to remove Hirelings out of the Church. Prose Works, III. 367.


Several of these divines are elsewhere mentioned by Milton in terms of commendation. 'Bucer (whom our famous Dr. Rainolds was wont to prefer before Calvin) in his comment on Matthew, and in his second book of the kingdom of Christ... This book he wrote here in England, where he lived the greatest admired man.' Tetrachordon. Prose Works, II. 232. See also the address to the Parliament, prefixed to the Judgment of Martin Bucer concerning Divorce, 68-78. Peter Martyr is twice quoted with reference to the same subjects. Ibid. 67, 233. Musculus is also called 'a divine of no mean fame.' Ibid. 233. In proof of Milton's assertion that these divines agree with him on the subject of the sabbath, the following passages may be cited from their respective works. 'Sic de sabbatho. Quod septimo die, illa quæ a Judæis observatur numeratione, ab omni opere servili vacandum erat, præceptum legis externum fuit, solis Judæis, quibus datum exstitit, observandum, &c..... Hæc ergo ad nos pertinent, illa Judæis recte relinquuntur.' BUCER in sacra quatuor Evangelia Enarrat. Perpet. ad Matt. x. 9. 'Cæterum non dubium quin Domini Christi advento, quod cæremoniale hic [in sabbatho] erat, abolitum fuerit. Ipse enim veritas est, cujus præsentia figuræ omnes evanescunt... Ideo sublatam umbram fuisse rei futuræ alibi scribit apostolus; corpus exstare in Christo, hoc est, solidam veritatis substantiam, quam illo loco bene explicavit. Ea non uno die contenta est, sed toto vitæ nostræ cursu, donec penitus nobis-metipsis mortui, Dei vita impleamur. A Christianis ergo abesse debet superstitiosa dierum observatio,' &c. &c. CALVIN. Instit. Christian, cap. viii. Sect. 31. See also Comment. in quinque libros Mosis, nearly at the end of the preface to the remarks on the Mosaic law. 'Deinde quod locum Pauli Heb. iii. et iv. concernit, notandum est illud hodie non esse alligandum septimo diei, sed exigere a nobis perpetuam obedientiam verbo Dei præstandam. Est enim nobis perpetuus sabbathismus, quo coram Deo in spiritu comparentes, majestatem illius celebramus, cum adoratione invocamus, ac vocem illius audimus; verum hic sensus et modus iste mystici sabbathismi non excludit ecclesiasticorum conventuum usum, sicut hodie fanatici quidam homines somniant, ac seipsos una cum aliis ab ecclesiæ conventibus abducunt.' MUSCULUS, Comment. in Psalm. xcv. 8. 'Cum igitur sabbathum septimani diei typus fuerit, admonens populem et de suo officio, sive de pietate erga Deum, et de beneficio Dei erga populum per Christum præstando, una cum aliis cæremoniis, adventu Christi, per quem est impletum quod illa significabant, abrogatum est. Quod etiam Paulus testatur Col. ii.' 1 &c. &c. URSINUS, Tractat. Theolog. in expositione Quarti Præcepti. 'Christiani respondent Judæis... sabbathum abrogatum ratione cæremoniæ et geminæ circumstantiae, &c... deinde observatione septimi illius diei definiti. Quo modo appendix erat legis moralis, ad populum Judaicum solum pertinens.' GOMARUS, Oper. Theolog. in Explicatione Ep. ad Colossenses , cap. ii. PETER MARTYR, however, seems to hold a different opinion. 'Qui autem robustiori fide erant præditi, illi omnes dies perinde habuerunt. Dominicam tamen diem excipimus; pertinet enim ad decalogum, ut ex hebdomada integra unus dies divino cultui consecretur,' &c. Comment, in Ep. ad Romanos, cap. xiv.


Be penitent, and for thy fault contrite;

But act not in thy own affliction, son;

Repent the sin; but if the punishment

Thou canst avoid, self-preservation bids:

Or th'execution leave to high disposal,

And let another hand, not thine, exact

Thy penal forfeit for thyself; perhaps

God will relent, and quit thee all his debt;

Whoever more approves, and more accepts,

(Best pleas'd with humble and filial submission)

Him who, imploring mercy, sues for life,

Than who, self-rigorous, chooses death as due;

Which argues over-just, and self-displeas'd

For self-offence, more than for God offended.

Sampson Agonistes, 502.


Abstinence in diet, says a biographer of Milton, was one of his favourite virtues, which he practised invariably through life, and availed himself of every opportunity to recommend in his writings. He is reported to have partaken rarely of wine or of any strong liquors. In his Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing, the following passage occurs: 'How great a virtue is temperance, how much of moment through the whole life of man.' Yet God commits the managing so great a trust, without particular law or prescription, wholly to the demeanour of every grown man.' Prose Works, I. 290. Again, in Paradise Lost:

..... well observe

The rule of not too much, by temperance taught,

In what thou eat'st and drink'st, seeking from thence

Due nourishment, not gluttonous delight,

Till many year? over thy head return. XI. 530.

See also Sampson Agonistes, 542, &c. and the second elegy to Deodati. In the Apology for Smetctymnuus, he vindicates himself with some indignation against the charge of being a sack-drinker, which one of his opponents had brought against him. He concludes his defence with the following sentence. 'For the readers [of the book in which the accusation appeared] if they can believe me, principally for those reasons which I have alleged, to be of life and purpose neither dishonest nor unchaste, they will be easily induced to think me sober both of wine and of word; but if I have been already successless in persuading them, all that 1 can further say will be but vain; arid it will be better thrift to save two tedious labors, mine of excusing, and theirs of needless hearing.' 1 Prose Works, I. 126.


Milton's habit of early rising is mentioned by all his biographers. In summer he rose at four, in winter at five; or if he remained in bed beyond these hours, he employed a person to read to him from the time of his awaking. He has left the following account of his mode of living during his early years in the Apology for Smectymnuus. 'Those morning haunts are where they should be, at home; not sleeping, or concocting the surfeits of an irregular feast, but up and stirring, in winter, often ere the sound of any bell awake men to labour or devotion; in summer as oft with the bird that first rouses, or not much tardier, to read good authors, or cause them to be read, till the attention be weary, or memory have its full fraught: then with useful and generous labours preserving the body's health and hardiness to render lightsome, clear, and not lumpish obedience to the mind, to the cause of religion, and our country's liberty, when it shall require firm hearts in sound bodies to stand and cover their stations, rather than to see the ruin of our protestation, and the inforcement of a slavish life.' Prose Works, I. 220.


The same enemy of Milton who was alluded to in a preceding page as charging him with intemperance in drinking, also accuses him of licentiousness, and of frequenting 'play-houses and the bordelloes'. The, imputation is thus repelled: 'Having had the doctrine of Holy Scripture, unfolding those chaste and high mysteries, with timeliest care infused, that the body is for the Lord, and the Lord for the body, thus also I argued to my self, that if unchastity in a woman, whom St. Paul terms the glory of man, be such a scandal and dishonour, then certainly in a man, who is both the image and glory of God, it must, though commonly not so thought, be much more deflowering and dishonourable; in that he sins both against his own body, which is the perfecter sex, and his own glory, which is in the woman; and that which is worst, against the image and glory of God, which is in himself. Nor did I slumber over that place expressing such harsh rewards of ever accompanying the Lamb, with those celestial songs to others inapprehensible, but not to those who were not defiled with women, which doubtless means fornication, for marriage must not be called a defilement. Thus large I have purposely been, that if I have been justly taxed with this crime, it may come upon me, after all this my confession, with a ten fold shame; but if I have hitherto deserved no such opprobrious word or suspicion, I may hereby engage myself now openly to the faithful observation of what I have professed.' Apology for Smectymnuus. Prose Works, I. 226. See also the noble passage in Comus; 418-475.


This distinction is well illustrated in the character of Samson, throughout the drama which bears that name.


But ye will say, these (the prophets) had immediate warrant from God to be thus bitter; and I say, so much the plainlier is it proved, that there may be a sanctified bitterness against the enemies of truth.' Apology for Smectymnuus. Prose Works, I. 232.


... Aside the devil turn'd

For envy, yet with jealous leer malign

Ey'd them askance. Paradise Lost, IV. 502.

I reck not, so it light well aim'd,

Since higher I fall short, on him who next

Provokes my envy, this new favourite

Of Heaven, this man of clay. IX. 173.


... Th' unjust the just hath slain,

For envy that his brother's offering found

From Heav'n acceptance. XI. 455.


A scrupulous attention is paid throughout Paradise Lost to this duty and inferiors are generally represented as showing their respect to person ages of superior dignity in the manner here mentioned. Thus it is said of the fallen angels worshipping Satan:

... Towards him they bend

With awful reverence prone. II. 477.

Of the holy angels in heaven:

... Lowly reverent

Towards either throne they bow, and to the ground

With solemn adoration down they cast

Their crowns. III. 349.

Of the angels stationed to guard Paradise, at the appearance of Raphael:

... To his state

And to his message high in honour rise,

For on some message high they guessed him bound. V. 288.

Of Adam in presence of Raphael:

... Though not aw'd,

Yet with submiss approach and rev'rence meek,

As to superior nature bowing low,

Thus said. Ibid. 353.

Of the Messiah when leaving the Father to go against the rebel angels

... He o'er his sceptre bowing, rose

From the right hand of glory where he sat. VI. 746.

Of Eve before the tree of knowledge:

From the tree her step she turn'd;

But first low reverence done, as to the Pow'r

That dwelt within. IX. 834.

Thus also in his early poem of Arcades:

-The great mistress of yon princely shrine,

Whom with low reverence I adore as mine. 36.


'Dissimulavit enim, sod sine mendacio, et pia fraude intercepit Jahel hostem Domini, quam rem Spiritus Sanctus probat, infra cap. v, 4.' Junius in loc.


This appears to be a favourite allusion with Milton.

... All these, upwhirl'd aloft,

Fly o'er the backside of the world far off

Into a Limbo large and broad, since call'd

The Paradise of Fools. Paradise Lost. III. 493.

'That mysterious iniquity, provoked and troubled at the first entrance of reformation, sought out new Limboes and new Hells wherein they might include out books also within the number of their damned.' Aereopagitica Prose Works, I. 295. To which may be added Apology for Smectymus, Ibid. 262. Te Deum has a snatch in it of limbus patrum; as if Christ had not 'opened the kingdom of heaven, before he had over come the sharpness of death.'


Richardson says that Milton 'had a gravity in his temper, not melancholy, or not till the latter part of his life, not sour, morose, or ill-natured; but a certain severity of mind, a mind not condescending to little things.' Remarks, p. xv. 'In his whole deportment,' says Symmons, 'there was visible a certain dignity of mind, and a something of conscious superiority, which could not at all times be suppressed or wholly with drawn from observation. His temper was grave, without any taint of melancholy.' Vol. VII. p. 512.


Compare on this head, and with the three next paragraphs, the following passages from Symmons. 'Of this great man the manners are universally allowed to have been affable and graceful, the conversation cheerful, instructive and engaging. His youngest daughter ... affirmed that 'he was delightful company; the life of the conversation, not only on account of his flow of subject, but of his unaffected cheerfulneis and civility.' Isaac Vossius describes him as 'comem afabilem, multisque aliis? praeditum virtutibus.' Burmann. Syll. III. 618. So also N. Heiusius; 'Virum esse miti comique ingenio aiunt, quique aliam non habuisse se cansam profitetur Scribonium acerbe insectandi, quam quod ille et viros e maximis celeberrimisque multos nihil benignius, exceperit, et quod in universam Anglorum gentem conviciis atrocissimis injurius valde fuerit.' Burmann. Syll. III. 276. Salmasius is here alluded to under the name of Scribonius.


εὐτραπελία 'Nomen medium, proprie significat concinnam mutationem, et intra virtutes morales ah Aristotele numeratur, urbanitas. Sed in Novo Testamento in malam partem usurpatur pro scurrilitate. Eam vocem pro scurrilitate apostolus posuit, quod plerumque qui urbanitatem affectant, a medio virtutis aberrantes, ad scurrilitatem declinent. Qua in significatione etiam Pindarus poeta Graecam vocem usurpasse legitur. Itaque recte noster interpres scurrililatem vertit'. Estius in locum. See Leigh's Critica Sacra, Seblenser, Wetstein, Eisner, and Macknight.


'The Spirit of God, who is purity itself, when he would reprove any fault severely, or but relate things done or said with indignation by others, abstains not from some words not civil at other times to be spoken, &c. &c...... whereas God, who is the author both of purity and eloquence, chose this phrase as fittest in that vehement character wherein he spake, otherwise that plain word might have easily been foreborne: which the masoreths and rabbinical scholiasts not well attending, have often used to blur the margent with Keri instead of Ketiv, and gave us this inpulse rule out of their Talmud, 'that all words which in the law are written obscenely, must be changed to more civil words;' fools, who would teach men to read more decently than God thought good to write.' Apology for Smectymuus. Prose Works, I. 233. 'Ask a Talmudist what ails the modesty of his marginal Keri, that Moses and all the prophets cannot persuade him to pronounce the textual Ketiv. Areopagitica, Ibid. 300. 'Tu fortasse, ut sunt fere hypocritae, verbis tetrici, rebus obscoeni, ne ipsum quidem Mosen ista noxa immunem abs te dimiseris; cum alibi saepius, tum etiam ubi Phineae hasta qua parte mulierm transfixerit, si qua fides Hebraeis aperte narrat... Non te Salomonis Euphemismi censorum, non prophetarum scripta tuam turpiculi immo nonnunquem plane obscoeni censuram effugerint, quoties Masorethis et Rabbnia, pro eo quod diserte scriptum est, suum libet Keri adscribere. Ad me quod attinet, fateor malle uno cum sacris scriptoribus εὐθυ᾽ρ῾ρήμονα quem cum futilibus Rabbinis εὐσχήμονα. Auctoris pro se Defensio. V.299


'Usury, so much as is permitted by the magistrate, and demanded with common equity, is neither against the word of God, nor the rule or charity; as hath been often discussed by men of eminent learning and judgement.' Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, Prose Works, II. 24.


My author and disposer, what thou bidd'st

Unargu'd I obey; so God ordains;

God is thy law, thou mine. Paradise Lost, IV. 635.

Was she thy God, that her thou didst obey

Before his voice, or was she made thy guide,

Superior, or but equal, that to her

Thou didst resign thy manhood, and the place

Wherein God set thee above her made of thee

And for thee, whose perfection far excelled

Hers in all real dignity. X. 145.

... To thy husband's will

Thine shall submit; lie over thee shall rule. Ibid. 195.

See also Tetrachordon: 'But St. Paul ends the controversy that indelible character of priority which God crowned him with.' Prose Works, II. 121, 122.


'Nevertheless, as I find that Grotius on this place hath observed, the Christian emperors, Theodosius the second, and Justinian, men of high wisdom and reputed piety, decreed it to be a divorcive fornication, if the wife attempted either against the knowledge, or obstinately against the will of her husband, such things as gave open suspicion of adulterizing, as the wilful haunting of feasts, and invitations with men not of her near kindred, the lying forth of her house without probable cause, the frequenting of theatres against her husband's mind,' &c. Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, II. 45.


It will he remembered that Milton was reproached by his enemies with having been a schoolmaster. In the Transposer Rehearsed, written by R. Leigh, Oxon. 1673, 12mo. he is called a Latin Secretary and an English Schoolmaster, p. 128. and Salmasius in his posthumous reply to the 'Defence of the People of England,' describes him as 'ludimagister in schola triviali Londinensi.' Newton and Symmons have vindicated him from this crime with more seriousness than the charge seems to deserve.


Milton, when speaking of his mother, particularly notices her charitable disposition. 'Londini sum natus..... matre probatissima, et eleemosynis per viciniam potissimum nota.' Defensio Secunda pro Populo Anglicano. Prose Works, V. 230.


Definiendo enim explicat, nequis errare et opiniones hinc stolidas aucupari possit, qui sint magistrate potestatis hujus ministri, et quam ob causam subjectos esse nos hortetur; 'Magistratus non sunt timori bonis operibus, sed malis; boni a potestale hac laudem adipiscentur; magistratus minister est Dei nostro bono dalus; non frustra gladium gerit, vindex ad iram ei qui malum facit.'' Pro Populo Anglicano Defensio. Prose Works, V. 87.


See on this and the following paragraph the treatise On Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes, throughout. Again, in the History of Britain: 'While they taught compulsion without convincement, which not long before they complained of as executed unchristianly against themselves, these intents are clear to have been no better than antichristian; setting up a spiritual tyranny by a secular power, to the advancing of their own authority above the magistrate, whom they would have made their executioner to punish church-delinquencies, whereof civil laws have no cognizance.' Prose Works, IV. 84. This was one of the paragraphs omitted for political reasons in all the early editions of the History of Britain. It appeared first in the collection of Milton's Works published in 2 vols. folio, 1733.


'Why did he lay restraints, and force enlargements upon our consciences in things for which we were to answer God only and the church.' God bids us be subject for conscience sake, that is, as to a magistrate, and in the laws, not usurping over spiritual things, as Lucifer beyond his sphere. Answer to Eikon Basilike. Prose Works, III. 34.


'Neither God nor nature put civil power into the hand's of any whomsoever, but to a lawful end, and commands our obedience to the authority of law only, not to the tyrannical force of any person.' Answer to Eikon Basilike. Prose Works, III. 52. 'Que autem potestas, qui magistratus, contraria his facit, neque ilia, neque hic, a Deo proprie ordinatus est. Unde neque tali vel potestati vel maeristratui subjectio debetur aut praecipitur, neque nos prudenter obsistere prohibemur.' Pro Populo Anglicano Defensio. V. 88.


This is a remarkable passage, considering the prominent part taken by the author not only against the monarchy, but against the monarch himself. It is evident that his experience of the miseries caused by the civil disturbances of those evil times had taught him that a regard to the general good might sometimes render a temporary sacrifice of abstract rights not inconsistent with the sincerest love of political or religious liberty.


For Milton's opinion of the value of the Scriptures as teachers of political wisdom, see Paradise Regained, IV. 353.

Their orators thou then extoll'st, as those,

The top of eloquence, statists indeed,

And lovers of their country, as may seem;

But herein to our prophets far beneath,

As men divinely taught, and better teaching

The solid rules of civil government

In their majestic unaffected style

Than all the oratory of Greece and Rome.

In them is plainest taught, and easiest learnt

What makes a nation happy, and keeps it so,

What ruins kingdoms, and lays cities flat;

These only with our law best form a king.

© 2020 The Newton Project

Professor Rob Iliffe
Director, AHRC Newton Papers Project

Scott Mandelbrote,
Fellow & Perne librarian, Peterhouse, Cambridge

Faculty of History, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2RL -

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