In obedience to Your Majesty's gracious command, I have executed a Translation of the recently discovered theological treatise of MILTON, which I have now the honour of laying most humbly at Your Majesty's feet.

With every sentiment of gratitude and attachment, I have the honour to be,


Your Majesty's

most humble servant, and dutiful subject,


Windsor, June 25, 1825.


TO enter into a preliminary discussion of the doctrines or opinions contained in the present volume, seems, properly speaking, to be no necessary part of the Translator's duty. After stating, therefore, in the first place, the circumstances under which the original manuscript was discovered, and the reasons for considering it as the long lost theological work of Milton, it will be sufficient to subjoin, as briefly as possible, a few remarks chiefly relating to certain peculiarities in the following treatise, by which it is distinguished from the author's other compositions.

From information communicated by Robert Lemon, sen. Esq. Deputy Keeper of His Majesty's State Papers, who has lately completed from the documents under his care an entire series of the Order-Books of the Council of State during the Interregnum, it appears that Milton retired from active official employment as Secretary for Foreign Languages, about the middle of the year 1655. The following entry occurs under the date of April 17 in that year:

"The Councell resumed the debate upon the report made from the Committee of the Councell to whom it was referred <vi> to consider of the establishment of the Councell's contingencies.

"Ordered.... That the former yearly Salary of Mr. JOHN MILTON, of Two Hundred Eighty-Eight Pounds, &c., formerly charged on the Councell's contingencies, be reduced to One Hundred and Fiftie Pounds per annum, and paid to him, during his life, out of His Highness' Exchequer."

This sum must have been intended as a retiring pension in consideration of past services, as it is evident from another entry, under the same date, that a successor was already appointed, at a reduced salary, to discharge the duties of the situation which Milton had previously occupied.

"For the Fee of Mr Phillip Medows, Secretary for the Latine Tongue, after the rate of .....}per annum £200 0 0"

From this time it is presumed that Milton ceased to be employed in public business, as his name does not again occur in the Books of the Council of State, which continue in uninterrupted succession till the 2d of September 1658, the day preceding the death of Cromwell.[1]


It is mentioned by the biographers of Milton (Toland's Life of John Milton, p. 148, 12mo. London, 1699; Newton's Life of Milton, Vol. I. p. xl. and lxiii. 8vo. London, 1757; Symmons's Life of Milton, appended to his edition of the Prose Works, Vol. VII. p. 500, London, 1806) that about the time when he was thus released from public business, he entered upon the composition of three great works, more congenial to his taste than the employments in which he had been recently engaged, and fitted to occupy his mind under the blindness with which he had been afflicted for nearly three years. The works commenced under these circumstances were Paradise Lost, a Latin Thesaurus, intended as an improvement on that by Robert Stephens, and a body of Divinity compiled from the Holy Scriptures, 'all which', according to Wood (Fasti Oxonienses, Part I. 1635, col. 486, edit. 1817) 'notwithstanding the several troubles that befel him in his fortunes, he finished after His Majesty's Restoration.' After enumerating the works of Milton then published, Wood says; 'These I think are all the things he hath yet extant; those that are not, are a Body of Divinity, which my friend (Aubrey) calls Idea Theologiæ, now, or at least lately, in the hands of the author's acquaintance, called CYRIACK SKINNER, living in Mark Lane, London; and the Latin Thesaurus, in those of EDWARD PHILIPPS, his nephew.'


In allusion to the work which is thus called by Wood, on the authority of Aubrey, Idea Theologiæ, Toland has the following passage: 'He wrote likewise a System of Divinity, but whether intended for public view, or collected merely for his own use, I cannot determine. It was in the hands of his friend CYRIACK SKINNER, and where at present is uncertain.'[2] Dr. Symmons also says, in a note, Vol. VII. p. 500: 'An answer to a libel on himself, and a system of Theology, called, according to Wood, Idea Theologiæ, are compositions of Milton which have been lost. The last was at one time in the hands of Cyriack Skinner, but what became of it afterwards has not been traced.'

It appears then from the above testimonies, that a treatise on Divinity was known to have been compiled by Milton, and deposited, either for safe custody, or from motives of friendship, in the hands of Cyriack Skinner; since which time all traces of it have been lost. It is necessary to show, in the next place, what are the grounds for supposing that the original work, from which the following translation has been executed, is the identical treatise so long concealed from the researches of all the editors and biographers of the author of Paradise Lost.

It is observable that neither Wood, nor any of the subsequent biographers of Milton, have mentioned the language in which his theological treatise was <ix> written. To prefix a learned title to an English composition would be so consistent with Milton's own practice, as well as with the prevailing taste of his age, that the circumstance of Aubrey's ascribing to it a Latin name affords no certain proof that the work itself was originally written in that language. In the latter part of the year 1823, however, a Latin manuscript, bearing the following title, JOANNIS MILTONI ANGLI DE DOCTRINA CHRISTIANA, EX SACRIS DUNTAXAT LIBRIS PETITA, DISQUISITIONUM LIBRI DUO POSTHUMI, was discovered by Mr. Lemon, in the course of his researches in the Old State Paper Office situated in what is called the Middle Treasury Gallery, Whitehall. It was found in one of the presses, loosely wrapped in two or three sheets of printed paper, with a large number of original letters, informations, examinations, and other curious records relative to the Popish plots in 1677 and 1678, and to the Rye House plot in 1683. The same parcel likewise contained a complete and corrected copy of all the Latin letters to foreign princes and states written by Milton while he officiated as Latin Secretary; and the whole was enclosed in an envelope superscribed, 'To Mr. Skinner, Mercht.' The address seems distinctly to identify this important manuscript with the work mentioned by Wood, though an error has been committed, either by himself or his informant, with respect to its real title.

Mr. Cyriack Skinner, whose name is already well known in association with that of Milton, appears, <x> from a pedigree communicated by James Pulman, Esq., Portcullis Poursuivant at Arms, to have been the grandson of Sir Vincent Skinner or Skynner, knight, whose eldest son and heir, William Skinner, of Thornton College in the County of Lincoln, Esq., married Bridget, second daughter of Sir Edward Coke, knight, Chief Justice of England.[3] The affinity between Cyriack Skinner and this distinguished ornament of the English Bar, is thus alluded to by Milton in his 21st Sonnet:


Cyriack, whose grandsire, on the royal bench

Of British Themis,with no mean applause

Pronounc'd,and in his volumes taught, our laws,

Which others at their bar so often wrench;


To-day deep thoughts resolve with me to drench

In mirth that, after, no repenting draws;

Let Euclid rest, and Archimedes pause,

And what the Swede intends, and what the French.

To measure life learn thou betimes, and know

Toward solid good what leads the nearest way;

For other things mild Heav'n a time ordains,

And disapproves that care, though wise in show,

That with superfluous burden loads the day,

And, when God sends a cheerful hour, refrains.

All the biographers of Milton have mentioned that Cyriack Skinner was his favourite pupil, and subsequently his particular friend. Wood incidentally notices him in speaking of the well-known club of Commonwealth's men, which used to meet in 1659 at the Turk's Head in New Palace Yard, Westminster. 'Besides our author (James Harrington) and H. Nevill, who were the prime men of this club, were Cyriack Skinner, a merchant's son of London, an ingenious young gentleman, and scholar to Jo. Milton, which Skinner sometimes held the chair, Major John Wildman,' &c. &c.[4] Wood further says that 'the discourses of the members about government, and ordering a commonwealth, were the most ingenious and smart that were ever heard; for the arguments in the Parliament House were but flat to them.' They were fond, it appears, of proposing models of democratical government, and at the dissolution of the club in February, 1659, at which time the secluded members were restored by General


Monk, 'all their models,' Wood says,'vanished.' These models are not now of common occurrence, but two of them are in the possession of the Rev. Henry J. Todd, from whom the following information respecting them is derived. One is entitled 'A Modell of a Democraticall Government, humbly tendered to consideration by a friend and well-wisher to this Commonwealth,' 4to. London, 1659. The title of the other is 'Idea Democratica, or a Commonweal Platform,' 4to. London, 1659. Both consist of a very few leaves only, and neither are enumerated by Wood among Harrington's pieces. Mr. Todd supposes with much probability, that as the chair was often taken by the ingenious young gentleman, as Wood terms Skinner, he was concerned in the publication of these antimonarchical curiosities. Care however must be taken not to confound him with another individual of the same name, who likewise took a part against the crown in the politics of the day; viz. Augustine Skinner, one of the small Rump Parliament of ninety members in 1659. It was probably the latter who belonged to the Committee appointed by the House to consider all orders, &c. touching absent, that is, the secluded members; in which Committee is the leader of the Rota Club,'Sir James Harrington', as he was then usually called, though not knighted. Harrington is the fifth in the list of the Committee, and 'Mr. Skinner' the twelfth.[5]


In the year 1654, we learn from a letter addressed to Milton by his friend Andrew Marvell, and first published by Dr. Birch, that Skinner 'had got near' his former preceptor, who then occupied lodgings in Petty France, Westminster, probably for the sake of their contiguity to the Council. This was the house 'next door to the Lord Scudamore's, and opened into St. James's park,' where he is said to have remained eight years; namely, from 1652 till within a few weeks of the restoration of Charles the Second. By a comparison of dates, it may be conjectured that he removed into it when obliged to leave the lodgings in Whitehall, which, as is proved by the following curious extracts from the Council books, had been provided for him at the public expense, and fitted up with some of the spoils of the late King's property.

"1649. Nov. 12. Ordered —That Sir John Hippesley be spoken to, that Mr. Milton may be accommodated with the Lodgings that he hath at Whitehall."

"1649. Nov. 19. — That Mr. Milton shall have the Lodgings that were in the hands of Sir John Hippesley, in Whitehall, for his accommodation, as being Secretary to the Councell for Forreigne Languages."

"1650, June, 14. — That Mr. Milton shall have a warrant to the Trustees and Contractors for the sale of the King's goods, for the furnishing of his Lodgings at Whitehall with some Hangings."


Copy of the Warrant of the Council of State, above-mentioned.

'These are to will and require you, forthwith, upon sight hereof, to deliver unto Mr. John Milton, or to whom hee shall appoint, such Hangings as shall bee sufficient for the furnishing of his Lodgings in Whitehall. Given at Whitehall 18 Junii 1650.

To the Trustees and Contractors for the Sale of the late King's Goods.'

"1651. April 10. Ordered —That Mr. Vaux bee sent unto, to lett him know that hee is to forbeare the removeing of Mr. Milton out of his Lodgings at Whitehall, until Sir Henry Mildmay and Sir Gilbert Pickering shall have spoken with the Committee concerning that businesse."

"1651. June 11. That Lieutenant Generall Fleetwood, Sir John Trevor, Mr. Alderman Allen, and Mr. Chaloner, or anie two of them, bee appointed a Committee to go from this Councell to the Committee of Parliament for Whitehall, to acquaint them with the case of Mr. Milton, in regard to their positive order for his speedie remove out of his Lodgings in Whitehall, and to endeavour with them that the said Mr. Milton may bee continued where he is, in regard of the employment hee is in to the Councell, which necessitates him to reside neere the Councell."

About a year after Skinner had thus become the neighbour of Milton, the latter addressed to him that <xv> beautiful sonnet on the loss of his sight, which, in consequence of the allusion contained in it to the Defence of the People, was not published till twenty years after the author's death.

Cyriack, this three years day these eyes, though clear,

To outward view, of blemish or of spot,

Bereft of light, their seeing have forgot;

Nor to their idle orbs doth sight appear

Of sun, or moon, or star, throughout the year,

Or man, or woman.Yet I argue not

Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot

Of heart or hope; but still bear up and steer

Right onward. What supports me, dost thou ask?

The conscience, friend, to have lost them overplied

In liberty's defence, my noble task,

Of which all Europe rings from side to side.

This thought might lead me through the world's vain


Content, though blind, had I no better guide.

It appears from the title, that the work entrusted to Skinner's care was originally intended to be a posthumous publication. The reproaches to which its author had been exposed in consequence of opinions contained in his early controversial writings, may have induced him to avoid attracting the notice of the public during the ascendancy of his political opponents, by a frank avowal of his religious sentiments. But by what means, by whom, or at what time this interesting document was deposited in the State Paper Office, is at present not known with certainty; every trace of its existence having been lost for nearly a century and a half, till it was discovered by Mr. Lemon in the manner above described.


In the absence of all positive evidence on this subject, it is due to the sagacity of Mr. Lemon to state the satisfactory conjecture originally formed by that gentleman, which subsequent discoveries have almost converted into a moral certainty. From the decided republican principles which Cyriack Skinner was well known to have adopted, it is not improbable that he was suspected of participating in some of the numerous political conspiracies which prevailed during the last ten years of the reign of Charles the Second, and that his papers were seized in consequence. Supposing this step to have been taken, the Milton manuscript would have come officially, with the other suspected documents, into the possession either of SIR JOSEPH WILLIAMSON, or SIR LEOLINE JENKINS; who held successively the office of Principal Secretary of State for the Southern or Home Department, during the whole of the period alluded to, that is, from 1674 to 1684. It was at this time the custom for the Secretaries, on retiring from office, to remove with them the public documents connected with their respective administrations; but both these distinguished statesmen, from a conviction of the inconvenience of a practice which has since been disused, bequeathed their large and valuable collections of manuscripts to His Majesty's State Paper Office. It was in the course of examining these papers for the purpose of arranging them in chronological order, and of forming a catalogue raisonné of their contents, that the identical manuscript came to light, of which <xvii> the public, by His Majesty's gracious command, is now in possession.[6]

It will be admitted that the above mode of accounting for the unexpected discovery of Milton's theological work among the neglected treasures of the State Paper Office, is at least plausible. It occurred, however, to Mr. Lemon, that an accurate inspection of the papers relative to the plots of 1677, 1678, and 1683, deposited in the same press with the manuscript, might perhaps afford some information respecting it. He has therefore recently examined the whole of this part of the collection, and in a bundle of papers containing informations and examinations taken in the year 1677, the following letter was discovered from a Mr. Perwich, written at Paris, March 15, 1677, and addressed to Mr. Bridgeman, Secretary to Sir Joseph Williamson, which appears to throw considerable light on the preceding conjecture.

Paris March 15-77.


I have delivered Dr. Barrow's letter to Mr. Skinner, before witnesse, as you desired. I found him much surprised, and yet at the same time slighting any constraining orders from the Superiour of his Colledge, or any bene- <xviii> fit he expected thence, but as to Milton's Workes he intended to have printed, (though he saith that part which he had in M.S.S. are noe way to be objected agt, either with regard to Royalty and Government) he hath desisted from the causing them to be printed, having left them in Holland, and that he intends, notwithstanding the College sumons, to goe for Italy this summer. This is all I can say in that affaire.

You have herein all our newes.

I am Sr,

Your most faithfull obt. Servt.


For Wm. Bridgman, Esq.

Secry to the Right Honble.

M . Secry Williamson,

att Court.'

On this letter Mr. Lemon submits the following reasoning, which it is right to state in his own language:

'From the words in the preceding letter, " Superiour of his Colledge," it evidently appears that Mr. Skinner, who at that period is thus proved to have had unpublished manuscripts of Milton in his possession, was a member of some Catholic religious order; and it is a very curious and interesting fact, which strongly corroborates the preceding conjecture, that in the original deposition of Titus Oates (which actually lay on the parcel containing the posthumous work of Milton when it was discovered) signed by himself, and attested by Sir Edmund Bury Godfrey, on the 27th of September, 1678, a few days only before his mysterious murder, and also signed by Dr. <xix> Ezrael Tonge, and Christopher Kirkby, the name of MR. SKINNER is inserted as A BENEDICTINE, in the list given in by Titus Oates of the persons implicated in the Popish plot of 1678.'

There are, however, some reasons for doubting whether Skinner the Benedictine can have been Cyriack Skinner, the original depositary of Milton's work. It appears from the pedigree inserted in a preceding page, that letters of administration were granted in August 1700 to Annabella, daughter of Cyriack Skinner, in which he is described as of the parish of St. Martin's in the Fields, Widower. This is evidently inconsistent with the supposition that he was a member of a religious order. It is indeed barely possible that he may have assumed the Benedictine character in 1677 (the year in which Perwich's letter is dated) though it is most unlikely that such a change should have taken place in the principles of one who had been the intimate friend of Milton, and whose opinions had been so decidedly opposed to Popery during the Commonwealth. By the will of Edward, the eldest brother, dated 20th May 1657, and proved the 10th of February following, Cyriack was nominated guardian of his son, in case his wife (the daughter of Sir William Wentworth, who was killed at Marston Moor) should re-marry or die; and in the same document a legacy of one hundred pounds is bequeathed to each of the brothers William and Cyriack.


On the whole, therefore, it seems most probable, that the Benedictine Skinner, if an immediate connexion of this family, was William, the second son of William and Bridget, and elder brother of Cyriack; a conjecture rendered more likely from the fact that no will of this individual is registered, nor is any record of him mentioned after 1657, when his elder brother died. Cyriack, aware of the suspicion to which he was liable as the friend of Milton, as well as on account of his own political character, might naturally conceive that his papers would be safer in the hands of his brother, out of the kingdom, than in his own custody; and the government having been informed by Mr. Perwich of their concealment in Holland, perhaps obtained possession of them through their emissaries, while Skinner was travelling in Italy, according to his design mentioned in the letter to Mr. Bridgeman.

There seems no reason, however, why the words 'Superiour of his Colledge' should not apply with as much propriety to the head of a Protestant as of a Roman Catholic Society. Dr. Isaac Barrow, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, did not die till May 1677, two months after the date of Perwich's letter, and in the register of that College the following entries occur: 'Oct. 2, 1674. Daniel Skinner juratus et admissus in socium minorem.' May 23d, 1679. Daniel Skinner juratus et admissus in socium majorem.' From the unusual interval be tween the first and second admission, which ordinarily <xxi> does not exceed a year and a half, as well as from the day, May 23, the regular day for the admission of major Fellows being in July, it is evident that his advance to the latter rank took place under some extraordinary circumstances. If he was the Skinner mentioned in Perwich's letter, it may be supposed that his contumacious absence retarded his rise in the College, and that his continuance in his fellowship, and subsequent election as major Fellow, is to be ascribed to the leniency of the Society. That the Skinner alluded to was not a Catholic may be inferred from his having gone to Holland, which does not seem the most obvious place of refuge for a Catholic emigrant; as also from the manner in which he speaks of Milton's manuscript works, especially if, as is probable, in describing them as "no way to be objected against either with regard to royalty and government",he intended to have added, "or with regard to religion", "church polity", or something similar, which by an oversight was omitted; for he can hardly have meant to write "royalty or government", there being little or no difference between the terms, in the sense in which the writer would have used them. Nor is it likely that a member of a Catholic religious order would have entertained the design of publishing such works.

The manuscript itself consists of 735 pages, closely written on small quarto letter paper. The first part, as far as the 15th chapter of the first book, is in a small and beautiful Italian hand; being evidently a <xxii> corrected copy, prepared for the press, without interlineations of any kind. This portion of the volume, however, affords a proof that even the most careful transcription seldom fails to diminish the accuracy of a text; for although it is evident that extraordinary pains have been employed to secure its legibility and correctness, the mistakes which are found in this part of the manuscript, especially in the references to the quotations, are in the proportion of 14 to 1 as compared with those in the remaining three-fifths of the work. The character is evidently that of a female hand, and it is the opinion of Mr. Lemon, whose knowledge of the hand-writings of that time is so extensive that the greatest deference is due to his judgement, that Mary, the second daughter of Milton, was employed as amanuensis in this part of the volume. In corroboration of this conjecture, it may be remarked that some of the mistakes above alluded to are of a nature to induce a suspicion that the transcriber was merely a copyist, or, at most, only imperfectly acquainted with the learned languages. For instance, in p. 19, 1. 17, of the Latin volume, the following quotation occurs: Heb. iv. 13. omnia sunt nuda, et ab intimo patentia oculis ejus; where in the manuscript the word patientia is substituted for patentia. This might have been supposed an accidental oversight, occasioned by the haste of the writer; but on turning to the Latin Bible of Junius and Tremellius, which Milton generally uses in his quotations, it will be found that the same error occurs in the edition printed at Geneva, 1630, but not in <xxiii> that printed at London, 1593. This not only seems to fix the precise edition of the Bible from which the texts were copied, but, considering that the mistake is such as could hardly fail to be corrected by the most careless transcriber, provided he understood the sentence, affords a strong presumption that the writer possessed a very moderate degree of scholarship. On the other hand, a great proportion of the errors are precisely such as lead to a supposition that the amanuensis, though no scholar, was to a certain degree acquainted with the language verbally; inasmuch as they generally consist, not of false combinations of letters, but of the substitution of one word for another of nearly similar sound or structure. Of this kind are gloriæfor gratiæ, corruentem for cor autem, nos for non, in jus for ejus, re for rex, imminuitur for innuitur, in quam for inquam, iniquam for inquam, assimulatus for assimilatus, alienæ tuæ for alienatæ , cælorum for cæcorum, decere for docere, explorentur for explerentur, examinatis for exanimatis, juraverunt for jejunarunt, errare for orare, &c. &c. Faults of this description, especially considering that very few occur of a different class, and taken in connexion with the opinion of Mr. Lemon stated above, will perhaps remind the reader of a charge which, as Mr. Todd notices, has been brought against the paternal conduct of Milton; 'I mean his teaching his children to read and pronounce Greek and several other languages,without understanding any but English.'[7] This at least is certain, that the transcriber of this <xxiv> part of the manuscript was much employed in Milton's service; for the hand —writing is the same as appears in the fair copy of the Latin letters, discovered, as has been mentioned, in the press which contained the present treatise.[8]


The remainder of the manuscript is in an entirely different hand, being a strong upright character, supposed by Mr. Lemon to be the hand-writing of Edward Philipps, the nephew of Milton. This part of the volume is interspersed with numerous interlineations and corrections, and in several places with small slips of writing pasted in the margin. These corrections are in two distinct hand-writings, different from the body of the manuscript, but the greater part of them undoubtedly written by the same person who transcribed the first part of the volume. Hence it is probable that the latter part of the MS. is a copy transcribed by Philipps, and finally revised and corrected by Mary and Deborah Milton from the dictation of their father, as many of the alterations bear a strong resemblance to the reputed hand-writing of Deborah, the youngest daughter of Milton, in the manuscripts preserved in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge; who is stated by Wood (Fasti Oxonienses, Part I, 1635. col. 483.) to have been 'trained up by her father in Latin and Greek, and made by him his amanuensis.' A lithrographic facsimile has been taken of two of the Sonnets in the Trinity manuscript, and is prefixed to this volume, by the permission of the Master and Seniors of that Society. The other plate is an accurate representation of the three hand-writings alluded to in the preceding statement.

Independently, however, of other considerations, the readers of the volume now published will find the <xxvi> best proofs of its authenticity in the resemblance of its language and opinions to the printed works of Milton. Some striking specimens of this agreement are frequently given in the notes, and these illustrations might have been multiplied to a much greater extent, had it not seemed desirable, on account of the bulk of the volume, only to select such as were most remarkable for similarity of style or sentiments.

It must be acknowledged that the disqualifications of Milton for such a work as the present, were neither few nor unimportant. They were owing partly to the unhappy circumstances of the period at which he lived, and partly to that peculiar disposition of mind which led him to view every surrender of individual opinion, whether in morals or politics as an infringement on the rights of natural liberty. In his time power was abused, under pretence of religion, in a degree to which, happily for genuine Christianity, the ecclesiastical annals can scarcely afford a parallel; and the universal prevalence of an intolerant spirit, from which his own connexions as well as himself had suffered severely, disposed him to look with an unfavourable eye, not only upon the corruptions, but on the doctrine itself and discipline of the church. His father had been disinherited for embracing the Protestant faith. He himself had been brought up under a Puritan who was subsequently obliged to leave England on account of his religious opinions, Thomas Young of Essex, one of the six answerers of Hall's Humble Remonstrance. Hence there is some <xxvii> foundation for the remark of Hayley, that Milton 'wrote with the indignant enthusiasm of a man resenting the injuries of those who are most entitled to his love and veneration. The ardour of his affections conspired with the warmth of his fancy to inspire him with that puritanical zeal which blazes so intensely in his controversial productions.'[9] Thus it was that, like Clarke, though on different grounds, he was biassed against the authority of the church, and predisposed by the political constitution of his mind to such unbounded freedom as can hardly consist, as has been truly said, with any established system of faith whatever.[10] His love of Christian liberty began indeed to manifest itself at a very early period of his life, for though destined to the church from his childhood, he refused to enter it from a religious scruple, thinking that 'he who took orders must subscribe slave.'

There were, however, other circumstances of a different nature, which in some degree counterbalanced these defects. His epic poems afford sufficient evidence not only of extensive biblical knowledge, but of singular judgement in availing himself of the language of Scripture itself, without addition or alteration, in particular parts of his subject. There is no topic to which he recurs more frequently or with more apparent satisfaction than to the serious turn of <xxviii> his early studies. In his Apology for Smectymnuus he speaks of the 'wearisome labours and studious watchings wherein he had spent and tired out almost a whole youth.'[11] Again 'care was ever had of me with my earliest capacity, not to be negligently trained up in the precepts of Christian religion.' In his treatise on education he mentions his 'many studious and contemplative years altogether spent in the search of religious and civil knowledge,' to which allusion is again made with much feeling in the Defensio Secunda pro Populo Anglicano.[12] He was a proficient in the Hebrew tongue, which he strongly recommends should be gained 'at a set hour,' that the Scriptures may be 'read in their own original.'[13] His own knowledge of this language was probably acquired in his early youth, for in a letter to Young, written in 1625, he thanks him for his acceptable present of a Hebrew Bible; 'Biblia Hebræa, pergratum sane munus tuum, jampridem accepi.'[14] Aubrey and others, who obtained their information from his widow, have related that as long as he lived it was his custom to begin the day with hearing a portion of the Hebrew Scriptures, which a person was employed to read to him; and during every period of his life his Sundays were wholly devoted to theology. The importance which he attached to these pursuits is further confirmed by what Birch relates of the system pursued by him with his pupils. 'The Sunday's work for his pupils was for the most part to read a <xxix> Chapter of the Greek Testament, and hear his exposition of it. The next work after this was to write from his dictation some part of a system of divinity which he collected from the most eminent writers upon that subject, as Amesius, Wollebius, &c.'[15] Some account of the treatises to which he is said to have been indebted for this compilation, will be found in vol. II. p.328.

Nourished with these studies, and imbued with a salutary abhorrence of indolence and licentious excess, the ordinary failings of youth, Milton's mind acquired from his earliest years that reverential and devotional cast which is perceptible in all his writings. In the sonnet written on attaining his three and twentieth year he unfolds the principle on which he acted.

.... Be it less or more, or soon or slow,

It shall be still in strictest measure even

To that same lot, however mean or high,

Towards which time leads me, and the will of Heaven;

All is, if I have grace to use it so,

As ever in my great Taskmaster's eye.

The pious language in which, at a later period of his life, he speaks of his blindness, is not more affecting as a display of the mental consolations where by he was supported under his personal infirmities, than it is characteristic of his religious feelings. <xxx> 'Sic denique habento; me sortis meæ neque pigere neque pœnitere; immotum atque fixum in sententia perstare; Deum iratum neque sentire neque habere; immo maximis in rebus elementiam ejus et benignitatem erga me paternam experiri atque agnoscere; in hoc præsertim, quod solante ipso atque animum confirmante in ejus divina voluntate acquiescam; quid is largitus mihi sit quam quid negaverit sæpius cogitans: postremo nolle me cum suo quovis rectissime facto facti mei conscientiam permutare, aut recordationem ejus gratam mihi semper atque tranquillam deponere. Ad cæcitatem denique quod attinet, malle me, si necesse est, meam, quam vel suam, More, vel tuam. Vestra imis sensibus immersa, ne quid sani videatis aut solidi, mentem obcæcat: mea, quam objicitis, colorem tantummodo rebus et superficiem demit; quod verum ac stabile in iis est contemplationi mentis non adimit. Quam multa deinde sunt quæ videre nollem; quam multa quæ possem, libens non videre; quam pauca reliqua sunt quæ videre cupiam! Sed neque ego cæcis, afflictis, mœrentibus, imbecillis, tametsi vos id miserum ducitis, aggregari me discrucior; quandoquidem spes est eo me propius ad mise —ricordiam summi Patris atque tutelam pertinere. Est quoddam per imbecillitatem, præeunte apostolo, ad maximas vires iter: sim ego debilissimus, dummodo in mea debilitate immortalis ille et melior vigor eo se efficacius exerat; dummodo in meis tenebris divini vultus lumen eo clarius eluceat: tum enim infirmissimus ero simul et validissimus, cæcus eodem tempore et perspicacissimus; hac possim ego infirmitate con- <xxxi> summari, hac perfici, possim in liac obscuritate sic ego irradiari. Et sane hand ultima Dei cura cæci sumus; qui nos, quo minus quicquam aliud præter ipsum cernere valemus, eo clementius atque benignius respicere dignatur.Væ qui illudit nos, vae qui lædit, execratione publica devovendo: nos ab injuriis hominum non modo incolumes, sed pene sacros divina lex reddidit, divinus favor; nee tam oculorum hebetudine, quam cœlestium alarum umbra has nobis fecisse tenebras videtur, factas illustrare rursus interiore ac longe præstabiliore lumine haud raro solet.'[16]

Again, in the second book of The Reason of Church Government, a passage occurs of singular beauty, which shows how devotedly the author was attached to the illustration of sacred subjects, whether in works of imagination, or of pure reasoning. 'These abilities, wheresoever they be found, are the inspired gift of God rarely bestowed, but yet to some (though most abuse) in every nation; and are of power, beside the office of a pulpit, to inbreed and cherish in a great people the seeds of virtue and public civility, to allay the perturbations of the mind, and set the affections in right tune; to celebrate in glorious and lofty hymns the throne and equipage of God's almightiness, and what he works, and what he suffers to be wrought with high providence in his church; to sing victorious agonies of martyrs and saints, the deeds and triumphs of just and pious nations doing valiantly through faith against the enemies of Christ; to deplore the general relapses of <xxxii> kingdoms and states from justice and God's true worship. Lastly, whatsoever in religion is holy and sublime, in virtue amiable or grave, whatsoever hath passion or admiration in all the changes of that which is called fortune from without, or the wily subtleties and refluxes of man's thoughts from within; all these things with a solid and treatable smoothness to paint out and describe; teaching over the whole book of sanctity and virtue, through all the instances of example, with such delight, to those especially of soft and delicious temper, who will not so much as look upon truth herself unless they see her elegantly dressed, that whereas the paths of honesty and good life appear now rugged and difficult, though they be indeed easy and pleasant, they will then appear to all men both easy and pleasant, though they were rugged and difficult indeed.'[17]

To these quotations another of a different kind may be not improperly added, as well on account of the eloquence of the passage, as in proof that the author's opinions respecting the Trinity were at one time different from those which are disclosed in the present treatise.' Which way to get out, or which way to end I know not, unless I turn mine eyes, and with your help lift up my hands, to that eternal and propitious throne, where nothing is readier than grace and refuge to the distresses of mortal suppliants: and it were a shame to leave these serious thoughts less piously than the heathen were wont to conclude their <xxxiii> graver discourses. Thou, therefore, that sittest in light and glory unapproachable. Parent of angels and men ! next thee I implore, omnipotent King, Redeemer of that lost remnant whose nature thou didst assume, ineffable and everlasting Love! And thou, the third subsistence of divine infinitude, illumining Spirit, the joy and solace of created things! one tripersonal Godhead! look upon this thy poor and almost spent and expiring church; leave her not thus a prey to these importunate wolves, that wait and think long till they devour thy tender flock; these wild boars that have broke into thy vineyard, and left the print of their polluting hoofs on the souls of thy servants. O let them not bring about their damned designs, that stand now at the entrance of the bottom less pit, expecting the watchword to open and let out those dreadful locusts and scorpions, to reinvolve us in that pitchy cloud of infernal darkness, where we shall never more see the sun of thy truth again, never hope for the chearful dawn, never more hear the bird of morning sing.'[18]

There is much reason for regretting that the prose works of Milton, where, in the midst of much that is coarse and intemperate, passages of such redeeming beauty occur, should be in the hands of so few readers, considering the advantage which might be derived <xxxiv> to our literature from the study of their original and nervous eloquence. On their first appearance, indeed, they must inevitably have been received by some with indifference, by others with dislike, by many with resentment. The zeal of the author in the cause of the Parliament, and the bitter personality with which he too frequently advocates his civil and religious opinions, were not calculated to secure him a dispassionate hearing even from his most candid opponents. But in happier times, when it is less difficult to make allowance for the effervescence caused by the heat of conflicting politics, and when the judgement is no longer influenced by the animosities of party, the taste of the age may be profitably and safely recalled to those treatises of Milton which were not written to serve a mere temporary purpose. In one respect indeed they will be found to differ very materially from the work now published. The latter is distinguished in a remarkable degree by calmness of thought, as well as by moderation of language. His other writings are generally loaded with ornament and illustration bordering on the poetical, rather than the argumentative style, and such is the vehemence with which he pours out his opprobrious epithets against his antagonists, that he seems to exhaust the powers of language in the bitterness of his invective. These are the characteristics in particular of his earliest works, and especially of his declamations against More and Salmasius. The contrast which this volume presents is singular, and if, as is probable, it was composed during his declining years, it affords <xxxv> a pleasing picture of a mind softened by the influence of religious principle, and becoming gradually more tolerant of the supposed errors of others, as the period drew near when he must answer for his own before an unerring tribunal. Milton pursues his plan, not indeed without an occasional sally against academical institutions and ecclesiastical privileges, but without a single glance at contemporaneous politics, or a single harsh expression against religious opinions at variance with his own. His language, even where the arguments themselves are least convincing, is almost uniformly plain and temperate, and his metaphors are sparingly and judiciously introduced. It would seem as if he recognized the propriety, on so grave a subject as religion, of suffering his mind to pursue its contemplations undisturbed by the flights of that vivid fancy, to which, on the ordinary topics which employed his pen, he prescribed no limits.

Milton has shown a partiality in all his works, even on subjects not immediately connected with religion, for supporting his argument by the authority of Scripture. This practice, though agreeable to the spirit of his age, is not unfrequently carried to an extravagant length; as when he defends indiscriminate reading by the examples of Moses, Daniel, and Paul, who were skilful in heathen learning.[19] To a theological treatise, however, illustrations of this kind properly belong; and it is gratifying to see the unbounded imagination of Milton deferring, with the simplicity <xxxvi> of a Pascal, to 'the infallible grounds of Scripture.'[20] 'Let us,' says he in the present work, 'discard reason in sacred matters, and follow the doctrine of Holy Scripture exclusively.'[21] Indeed its peculiar feature, in the opinion of the author, appears to have been its compilation from the Bible alone. Not that he undervalued the Fathers, for in the course of his argument he alludes to the opinions of several, and frequently with commendation; nor does he refuse to notice the criticisms of modern commentators, among whom Beza, whose interpretations he often follows, seems to have been an especial favourite. See especially his explanation of Rev. i. 4, 5. vol.I. p. 223. and of Philipp. iii. 15. vol.II. p.161. Even in the title of his work, how ever, he refers to the Bible as his sole authority, with an emphasis indicative of the importance he attached to this circumstance. The same particular is again prominently alluded to in the preface, where an interesting account is given of the manner in which he qualified himself for the execution of his task. 'Whereas the greater part of those who have written most largely on these subjects, have been wont to fill whole pages with explanations of their own opinions, thrusting into the margin[22] the texts in support of their doctrine, with a summary reference to chapter and <xxxvii> verse; I have chosen, on the contrary, to fill my pages even to redundance with quotations from Scripture, that so as little space as possible might be left for my own words, even where they arise from the context of revelation itself.'

In the course of so long a work, embracing such a variety of topics, many opportunities would often occur for allusion to the politics of the times, in which religion bore so important a part. To have abstained from any reference to these subjects, is no ordinary proof of discretion in one who had dedicated his time and talents with such unwearied zeal to promote the objects of his party. Scarcely a sentence, however, will be found, in which local or temporary interests can be suspected of having influenced the mind of the author. Sometimes indeed he lays a stress on certain particulars, to which the subjects then in dispute between the conflicting religious parties gave more importance than they now possess. The power of the keys, for instance, claimed by the Pope, was then a familiar topic of discussion. Hence he takes occasion to bring proof from Scripture, that the administration of ecclesiastical discipline is not committed exclusively to Peter and his successors, or to any individual pastor specifically, but to the whole particular church, whether consisting of few or of many members.[23] The subjects of Episcopacy and Covenants might have furnished him with opportunities not only of lashing the Royalists in general, but <xxxviii> of renewing those attacks which he had formerly directed so pertinaciously against King Charles himself. It may be worth while to contrast his manner of treating the subject of Covenants in his political tracts, with some corresponding remarks in the following treatise. He says in his Eiconoclastes, 'Neither was the "covenant superfluous, though former engagements, both religious and legal, bound us before;" but was the practice of all churches heretofore intending reformation. All Israel, though bound enough before by the law of Moses "to all necessary duties," yet with Asa their king entered into a new covenant at the beginning of a reformation: and the Jews after captivity, without consent demanded of that king who was their master, took solemn oath to walk in the commandments of God. All Protestant churches have done the like, notwithstanding former engagements to their several duties.'[24] Compare with this passage the observations to the same effect, in the beginning of the chapter on Church-discipline in this work, where, although the events of his own times could not but have been present to his mind during the composition of a passage so similar, he nevertheless entirely abstains even from the remotest reference to them. 'It is a prudent as well as a pious custom, to solemnize the formation or re-establishment of a particular church by a public renewal of the covenant, as was frequently done in the reformations of the Jewish church, Deut. xxix.1. The same took place Under Asa, Ezra, Nehemiah, and others. So also, <xxxix> when an individual unites himself to a particular church, it is requisite that he should enter into a solemn covenant with God and the church to conduct himself in all respects, both towards the one and the other, so as to promote his own edification, and that of his brethren.'[25] Again, speaking of the penitential meditations and vows of Charles at Holmby, Milton says, in the same treatise which has been already quoted, 'It is not hard for any man who hath a Bible in his hands, to borrow good words and holy sayings in abundance; but to make them his own, is a work of grace only from above.'[26] A sentiment precisely similar occurs in this work, but not the most covert allusion is added which can recal to the mind of the reader the charge of insincerity formerly advanced against the unfortunate monarch in nearly the same language. He is equally cautious where he argues that marriage is only a civil contract, an opinion acted upon by his party during the Interregnum. In vol. II. p.323. a favourable opportunity presented itself for inveighing against Archbishop Laud's consecration of churches, at that time one of the favourite topics of abuse among the Puritanical party, and probably alluded to in Paradise Lost:

...........God attributes to place

No sanctity, if none be thither brought

By men who there frequent, or therein dwell.

XI. 836.

But neither in this place, nor in his remarks on the sauctification of the Sabbath, another of the contro- <xl> verted subjects of his day, and not avoided by the author in his political writings (see Eiconoclastes, II. 405.) is a single expression employed which can expose him to the charge of substituting the language of the polemic for that of the divine, or of forgetting the calmness befitting the character of an inquirer after religious truth, to indulge in a second triumph over a political adversary.

Many doubts hitherto entertained respecting the real opinions of Milton on certain subjects are removed by the present treatise, to which, as originally intended for a posthumous work, no suspicion of insincerity can attach. Of all the charges indeed which private or political prejudice has created against the author, that of being a 'time-server,' according to the reproach of Warburton, seems to have been the least deserved. The honesty of his sentiments is sufficiently vindicated by the boldness with which he uniformly expressed them in times when freedom of speech was more than ordinarily dangerous, as well as by his consistent exposure of what he conceived to be erroneous, whether advocated by his own friends or by his opponents. Thus on discovering that 'new presbyter was but old priest writ large,' he resisted the encroachments of the presbyterians, as resolutely as he had before contributed to overthrow prelacy; and, if it were necessary, his political independence might be no less successfully vindicated by adducing the spirited language which he addressed to Cromwell in the zenith of his power. He has however been <xli> charged with concealing his opinions on a subject of no less importance than Popery, and even of entertaining a secret inclination in its favour. This imputation, considering the multifariousness of Milton's writings, may perhaps have received same colour from the silence which he generally observes with regard to the doctrines of the Church of Rome, although incidental phrases, sufficiently indicative of the soundness of his Protestant principles, sometimes occur. See particularly his 'Treatise on true Religion,' in which he recommends the study of the Bible to all classes of men, as the best preservative against Popery. His reason for not entering upon the subject more at large is assigned in the preface to the present work, and it is simply this, that the cause of Protestantism appeared to be so firmly established as to stand in no need of his services. He professed to employ his pen, as we learn from his own testimony,[27] only where, in his judgement, the good of his country or the interests of religion required it. Acting on this principle, he undertook successively to oppose episcopacy, to advocate the cause of liberty, of education, and of a free press. But perceiving, as he tells us, that the strong holds of the reformed religion were sufficiently fortified, as far as they were exposed to danger from the Papists, he directed his attention to more neglected subjects, and exerted his talents in the defence of civil or of religious liberty.[28] Encouraged perhaps by this comparative silence, and pre- <xlii> suming on the supposed absence of additional written evidence to falsify his statement, Titus Oates did not scruple to accuse Milton of being a member of a Popish Club. 'The Popish lord is not forgotten, or unknown, who brought a petition to the late regicides and usurpers, signed by about five hundred principal Papists in England; wherein was promised, upon condition of a toleration of the Popish religion here by law, their joint resolution to abjure and exclude the family of the Stuarts for ever from their undoubted right to the Crown. Who more disheartened the loyalty and patience of your best subjects than their confident scribblers, White and others? And MILTON was a known frequenter of a Popish club.' See the Address or Dedication to the King prefixed to 'A true Narrative of the Horrid Plot, &c. of the Popish party against the life of his Sacred Majesty, &c. By Titus Oates, D. D. folio, Lond. 1679.' This charge was subsequently copied into 'A History of all the Popish Plots, &c. from the first year of Elizabeth to this present year 1684, by Thos. Long, Prebendary of Exeter,' who says, p. 93. 'Milton was by very many suspected to be a Papist; and if Dr. Oates may be believed, was a known frequenter of the Popish Club, though he were Cromwell's Secretary.' The evidence furnished by the present publication will show how improbable it is that Milton, who, even within the precincts of the Papal dominions, had been at so little pains to moderate his zeal for the reformed religion, as to be exposed to insult and personal danger in consequence of his known princi- <xliii> ples, should have consented to sit at the same secret council-board with his alleged confederates. See particularly vol. I. p. 321, on the marriage of priests; p. 429, on purgatory; vol. II. p. 128, &c. on transubstantiation; p. 136, on the sacrifice of the mass; p. 138, &c. on the five Papistical sacraments: p. 146, on the authority of the Roman pontiffs; p. 177, on traditions; p. 195, on councils.

On the subject of Divorce, the line of argument pursued in this treatise coincides with the well-known opinions which Milton has elsewhere so zealously advocated. To his heterodoxy on this point must now be added, what hitherto has been unsuspected, his belief in the lawfulness of polygamy, to which he appears to have been led by the difficulty he found in reconciling the commonly received opinion with the practice of the patriarchs. It seems however no less easy to conceive that the Supreme Lawgiver might dispense with his own laws in the early ages of the world, for the sake of multiplying the population in a quicker ratio, than that marriages between brothers and sisters might be then permitted on account of the paucity of inhabitants on the face of the earth. Yet the existence of the latter practice in the primeval ages has never been alleged as a sufficient authority for the intermarriage of so near relations, now that the reason for the original permission has ceased to operate.

Doubts have always been entertained as to the real sentiments of Milton respecting the second person of <xliv> the Trinity. Newton indeed is assiduous in praising his theological views, although he once so far qualifies his assertion, as to content himself with pronouncing that Milton is 'generally truly orthodox.' Warton however has acknowledged the justice of Mr. Calton's remark on a memorable passage in Paradise Regained, (I. 161-167.) that not a word is there said of the Son of God, but what a Socinian, or at least an Arian, would allow. The truth is, that whoever takes the trouble of comparing with each other the passages referred to in the note below, will find real and important contradictions in the language of Milton on this subject.[29] That these contradictions should exist, will cease to appear extraordinary after a perusal of the chapter 'On the Son of God' in the ensuing pages. It is there asserted that the Son existed in the beginning, and was the first of the whole creation; by whose delegated power all things were made in heaven and earth; begotten, not by natural necessity, but by the decree of the Father, within the limits of time; endued with the divine nature and substance, but distinct from and inferior to the Father; one with the Father in love and unanimity of will, and receiving every thing, in his filial as well as in his mediatorial character, from the Father's gift. This summary will be sufficient to show that the opinions of Milton were in reality nearly Arian, ascribing to the Son as high a share of divinity as was compatible with the denial of his self- <xlv> existence and eternal generation, but not admitting his co-equality and co-essentiality with the Father. That he entertained different views at other periods of his life, is evident from several expressions scattered through his works. The following stanza occurs in the ode on the morning of Christ's Nativity, written, according to Warton, as a college exercise at the age of twenty-one.

That glorious form, that light unsufferable,

And that far-beaming blaze of majesty,

Wherewith he wont at Heaven's high council-table

To sit the midst of Trinal Unity,

He laid aside, and here with us to be,

Forsook the courts of everlasting day,

And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.

A few years afterwards he wrote thus in his first controversial work: 'Witness the Arians and Pelagians, which were slain by the heathen for Christ's sake, yet we take both these for no true friends of Christ.'[30] In the same tract he speaks of the 'hard measure' dealt out to the 'faithful and invincible Athanasius;' and in the treatise 'On Prelatical Episcopacy,' published shortly afterwards, he holds the following important language: 'Suppose Tertullian had made an imparity where none was originally; should he move us that goes about to prove an imparity between God the Father and God the Son ?..... Believe him now for a faithful relater of tradition, whom you see such <xlvi> an unfaithful expounder of the Scripture.'[31] Whether Milton would have ceased to hold the doctrines espoused by him in his earlier years, had he lived subsequently to the times of Bishop Bull and of Waterland, it is now useless to conjecture. The pride of reason, though disclaimed by him with remarkable, and probably with sincere earnestness, formed a principal ingredient in his character, and would have presented, under any circumstances, a formidable obstacle to the reception of the true faith. But we may be permitted to regret that the mighty mind of Milton, in its conscientious, though mistaken search after truth, had not an opportunity of examining those masterly refutations of the Arian scheme, for which Christianity is indebted to the labours of those distinguished ornaments of the English Church.

With respect to the cardinal doctrine of the atonement, the opinions of Milton are expressed throughout in the strongest and most unqualified manner. No attentive reader of Paradise Lost can have failed to remark, that the poem is constructed on the fundamental principle that the sacrifice of Christ was strictly vicarious; that not only was man redeemed, but a real price, 'life for life,' was paid for his redemption. The same system will be found fully and unequivocally maintained in this treatise; and much as it is to be regretted that it cannot be said, in the author's <xlvii> own words elsewhere, of the Son of God as delineated in the following pages, that

..... in him all his Father shone

Substantially express'd,

yet the translator rejoices in being able to state that the doctrine of the satisfaction of Christ is so scripturally and unambiguously enforced, as to leave, on that point, nothing to be desired.

Milton's sentiments respecting the divine decrees are as clear, and perhaps as satisfactory, as can be expected on a subject in which it is wisest and safest to confess with the cautious Locke our inability to reconcile the universal prescience of God with the free agency of man, though we be as fully persuaded of both doctrines, as of any truths we most firmly assent to. His views may be thus summarily stated; that every thing is foreknown by God, though not decreed absolutely. He argues that the Deity, having in his power to confer or withhold the liberty of the will, showed his sovereignty in conceding it to man, as effectually as he could have done in depriving him of it; that he therefore created him a free agent, foreseeing the use which he would make of his liberty, and shaping his decrees accordingly, inasmuch as the issue of events, though uncertain as regards man, by reason of the freedom of the human will, is perfectly known to God, by reason of the divine prescience. This is, on the one hand, in direct opposition to the doctrine of the Socinians, that there can be no certain <xlviii> foreknowledge of future contingencies; and on the other, to that of the Supralapsarians, that the Deity is the causal source of human actions, and consequently that the decrees of God are antecedent to his prescience. In treating of the latter topic, Milton justly protests against the use of a phraseology when speaking of the Deity, which properly applies to finite beings alone.

There are other subjects, and particularly that of the Holy Spirit, to which the translator had wished to have adverted, had he not been warned, by the length to which the preceding observations have already extended, to abstain from further comment. He cannot however conclude these preliminary remarks, without acknowledging his obligations to W. S. Walker, Esq. Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, who has not only discharged the greater part of the laborious office of correcting the press, but whose valuable suggestions during the progress of the work have contributed to remove some of its imperfections.




Of the Christian Doctrine, and the Number of its Divisionsibid.
Of God16
Of the Divine Decrees38
Of Predestination56
Of the Son of God103
Of the Holy Spirit201
Of the Creation227
Of the Providence of God, or of his General Government of the Universe201
Of the Special Government of Angels285
Of the Special Government of Man before the Fall; including the Institutions of the Sabbath and of Marriage296
Of the Fall of our first Parents, and of Sin339
Of the Punishment of Sin353
Of the Death of the Body361
Of Man's Restoration, and of Christ as Redeemer382
Of the Functions of the Mediator, and of his threefold Office400
Of the Ministry of Redemption410
Of Man's Renovation, including his Calling431
Of Regeneration443


<li> <lii>
Of Repentance9
Of Saving Faith17
Of being planted in Christ, and its effects25
Of Justification36
Of Adoption49
Of Union and Fellowship with Christ and His Members; wherein is considered the Mystical or Invisible Church53
Of Imperfect Glorification; wherein are considered the Doctrines of Assurance and Final Perseverance58
Of the Manifestation of the Covenant of Grace, including the Law of God75
Of the Gospel, and of Christian Liberty83
Of the External Sealing of the Covenant of Grace112
Of the Visible Church141
Of the Holy Scriptures159
Of Particular Churches180
Of Church Discipline201
Of Perfect Glorification; including the Second Advent of Christ, the Resurrection of the Dead, and the General Conflagration211
Of Good Worksibid
Of the Proximate Causes of Good Works249
Of the Virtues belonging to the Service of God261
Of External Service273
Of Oaths and the Lot300
Of Zeal318
Of the Time for Divine Worship; wherein are considered the Sabbath, Lord's Day, and Festivals326
Of our Duties towards Man, and the general Virtues belonging thereto342
Of the first Class of Special Virtues connected with the Duty of Man towards himself352
Of the second Class of Virtues connected with the Duty of Man towards himself371
Of the Duties of Man towards his Neighbour, and the Virtues comprehended under those Duties375
Of the Special Virtues or Duties which regard our Neighbour389
Of the second Class of Special Duties towards our Neighbour395
The second Class of Special Duties towards our Neighbour continued416
Of the Reciprocal Duties of Man towards his Neighbour; and specially of Private Duties425
Of the remaining Class of Private Duties438
Of Public Duties towards our Neighbour445


The Orders of the Council of State during the Interregnum, brought to light and arranged by the industry of Mr. Lemon, form one of the most interesting series of documents relative to English History at present in existence. They contain the daily transactions of the executive government in England from 1648-9 to September 1658, and are particularly valuable from the period of the dissolution of the Long Parliament in 1653, to the death of Cromwell in September 1658; as during the greater part of that time the Council of State, under the Protector, combined both the executive and legislative functions of government, and as these books are the authentic, but hitherto unknown records of their daily proceedings. It is greatly to be desired that the attention of the Record Commissioners should be drawn to these valuable documents, and perhaps it might be advisable that a fair transcript of them should be made, under their sanction, to guard against loss or damage by any accident which may happen to the originals.


Life, p. 148.


William Skynner, of; Thornton College in the County of Lincoln, Esq. Son and Heir of Sir Vincent Skynner, Knt. Will dated August 3, 1627, proved February 1, 1627-8.

Bridget second daughter of Sir Edward Coke, Knt. Chief Justice of England, and relict of William Berney, Esq. Will (in which she is described of Thornton College, widow,) dated Sept. 26, 1648, proved June 18, 1653, by her son Cyriack Skynner, Executor.

Edward Skynner of Thornton College aforesaid, Esq. son and heir, 1648. Will dated May 20, 1657, proved Sept. 11 following.

=Ann, daughter of Sir Wm. Wentworth, Knt. of Ashby Puerorum in Com. Linc. Grandfather of Thos. Earl of Strafford. Exr. 1657

Edward Skynner 1657

Daughters 1657

William Skynner second son 1634, named in 1648 and in 1657

Cyriack Skynner, 3d son 1634 —named in 1657, of the Parish of St. Martin in the Fields, where he was buried Aug. 8, 1700. Administration of his effects granted to his, Daughter, August 20, 1700.

=Bridget living 1634.

Elizabeth wife of Philip Weslid of Grimsby in Com. Linc. 1643

Theophila, married 1648

Annabella Skynner 1700.


Fasti Oxonienses, Life of Mr. James Harrington, 389.


See 'A brief Narrative of the late forcible Seclusion of divers Members of the House of Commons,' 1660, p. 6.


In the same office have been lately discovered some curious documents, hitherto unknown, respecting both the family history and the official life of Milton, which, by the permission of Mr. Secretary Peel, are now incorporated, with other materials, into an account of him and his writings, about to be published by the Rev. Mr. Todd, the well —known and able editor of Milton's Poetical Works.


Some Account of the Life and Writings of Milton. Vol. I. p. 161.


It is desirable that a new edition of these letters should be published from this corrected manuscript. The text appears to differ in many instances from that of our present editions, and from the following printed advertisement, which was found in the same parcel, there can be no doubt that the collection had been carefully revised by the author or his friends, and was prepared for publication. It was intended to have been committed to the press in Holland, and was therefore probably among the papers which Skinner had left in that country. The advertisement itself is curious, as containing an indignant remonstrance against the conduct of some dishonest bookseller who had obtained a surreptitious copy of the letters, and published them in an incorrect shape.

'Innotescat omnibus cum in Academiis, turn in Londino, literatis, Bibliopolis etiam, si qui sint qui praeter solitum Latine sciunt, nee non exteris quibuscunque, quod Literae Joannis Miltoni Angli, interregni tempore scriptæ, quas bibliopola quidam Londinensis, secum habita consultatione quantam in rem famamque quantam imperfectissimum quid et indigestum ex operibos tanti viri sibi pro certo cederet, nuper in lucem irrepi fecit (praeterquam quod a contemptissimo quodam et perobscuro preli quondam curatore, qui parvam schedarum manum vel emendicaverit olim abs authore, vel, quod verisimilius est, clam suppilaverit, perexiguo pretio fuerunt emptae) sunt misere mutilae, dimidiatae, deformes ex omni parte ruptoque ordine confusae, praefatiuncula spurca non minus quam infantissima dehonestatae, caeterisque dein a numerosi oribus chartis nequiter arreptae. Quodque vera Literarum exemplaria, locupletiora multum et auctiora, composita concinnius et digesta, typis elegantioribus excudenda sunt in Hollandia prelo commissa. Quae una cum Articulis Hispanicis, Portugallicis, Gallicis, Belgicis in ista rerum inclinatione nobiscum initis et percussis, pluribusque chartis Germanicis, Danicis, Suevicis scitissime scriptis, ne ex tam spuriis libri natalitiis, et ex tam vili praefatore laederetur author, brevi possis, humamssime lector, expectare.'


Hayley's Life of Milton, p. 66.


Bp. Van Mildert's Review of Waterland's Life and Writings. Works, I. 48.


Prose Works, I. 208.


Ibid. I. 225, 274. V. 199, 230, 233.


Ibid. I. 281.


Ibid. VI. 110.


Account of the Life and Writings of Mr. J. Milton, p. xxiii. 4to. London, 1753.


Defensio Secundapro Populo Anglicano. Prose Works, V. 216.


Prose Works, I. 120.


Of Reformation in England. Prose Works, I. 56. See indeed the entire context of this and the preceding quotation. Compare also the eloquent conclusion of the fourth section of Animadversions upon the Remonstrant's Defence, I. 181-184.


Areopagitica. Prose Works, I. 296.


Prose Works, II. 71.


I. 115.


Milton speaks in the most contemptuous terms of these 'marginal stuffings,' in The Reason of Church Government, &c. Prose Works, I. 123. See also An Apology for Smectymnuus, Ibid. 247. And elsewhere he says of Prynne, that he may be known, by his 'wits lying ever beside him in the margin, to be ever beside his wits in the text.' Likeliest Means to remove Hirelings, &c. III. 336. See also II. 241.


II. 205.


Prose Works, III. 28.


II, 202.


Prose Works, III. 69.


Defensio Secunda pro Populo Anglicano. Prose Works, V. 233.


Preface, p. 4.


Paradise Lost, III. 62-64. 138-140. 305-307. 350. 384-415. V. 603-605. 719, 720. VI. 676-881. X. 63-67. 85, 86. 225, 226.


Of Reformation in England. Prose Works, I, 7.


Prose Works, I. 72.

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