Catalogue Entry: THEM00331

Book I: Chapter 31

Author: John Milton

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

[Normalized Text] [Diplomatic Text]


'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.

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