Catalogue Entry: THEM00332

Book I: Chapter 32

Author: John Milton

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

[Normalized Text] [Diplomatic Text]


'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.

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