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those whom Milton had daily about him to read to him. On inspection of the Manuscript, Elzevir was alarmed at the freedom of the political and theological opinions advanced in it, and declined printing it. Skinner took away the manuscript, which had by this time attracted the attention of the government. Ifaac Barrow, then mafter of Trin. Coll. fent a peremptory order to Skinner to repair immediately to college, and warned him against publishing any writing mischievous to the church and ftate. It is not known with exactness when Skinner returned to England, but he had an interview with Sir Joseph Williamson, secretary of state; and it is supposed that he delivered up the manuscripts to him. The remainder of the treatise is written in a female hand, the fame which transcribed the fonnet,
Methought I saw my late efpoused faint,
now among the manuscripts at Cambridge, and this fcribe is fupposed to have been his daughter Mary or Deborah. 46 This part of the volume is interfperfed with interlineations and corrections in a different and unknown hand. The whole treatise reposed on the shelves of the old State Paper Office in Whitehall till the year 1823, when Mr. Lemon, the Deputy Keeper, discovered it, loosely wrapped up in two or three sheets of printed paper which proved to be the proof sheets of Elzevir's Horace. The State Letters were in the fame parcel, and the whole was inclosed in a cover directed to Mr. Skinner, Merchant.47
46 Milton's granddaughter afferted that he would not allow his daughters to be taught to write: but Aubrey mentions that his youngest daughter was his amanuenfis, and it appears that Mrs. Fofter was mistaken also in other particulars.
47 See Skinner's Letter to Pepys on this Manufcript, Pepys' Corref pondence, vol. i. p. 169-181, and vol. ii. p. 297.
The title of the work is "De Doctrina Chriftiana, ex facris dumtaxat libris petita, difquifitionum libri duo pofthumi;" but it is fuppofed to have been chofen after Milton's death, by thofe into whofe poffeffion the manufcript had paffed. When it was difcovered, it was placed in the hands of Dr. Sumner, then chaplain to his late Majesty, in conjunction with Mr. Sidney Walker, by whom it was carefully edited; and who also gave to the public a very elegant and exact translation.
Milton, it seems, was diffatisfied with the bodies of divinity that were published, obfcured by school terms and metaphyfical notions, and "he deemed it fafeft, and most advisable to compile for himself, by his own labour and ftudy, fome original treatise, which fhould be always at hand, derived folely from the work of God himself.” This work confifts of two books, entitled "Of the Knowledge of God, and of the Service of God." The first book is divided into thirty-three chapters, embracing mention of all the important doctrines of religious faith. The fecond book, confifting of feventeen chapters, includes a fummary of the Duties of Man; and the work opens with a dignified and impressive falutation. "John Milton, to all the churches of Chrift, and to all who profefs the Chriftian faith, throughout the world, peace, and the recognition of the truth, and eternal falvation in God the Father, and in our Lord Jefus Chrift."
This treatife has fully proved what had been partially and reluctantly fufpected before, that Milton had, in his later years, adopted the opinions of Arianifm ;" and a mi
48 This treatise was written in Latin; he has expressed regret that his treatifes on Divorce were not written in the fame language; for Milton never courted public or vulgar applaufe; his infcription on the tracts he gave to Trin. Coll. Dublin speaks his fentiments. "Paucis hujus modi lectoribus contentus."
" Is it not extraordinary that Dr. Symmons should affert that Mil
nute inspection of his other works has shown their agreement, in sentiment and expreffion with this lamented herefy.50 It is generally allowed that this treatise is barren of recondite learning," or ingenious difquifition; and that it abounds more in fcholaftic subtleties than might be expected from one who was conftantly cenfuring them in others; but that it is written in a tone of calmness and moderation, without any polemical fiercenefs, or personal hoftility. Milton had funk his animofities in the fanctity and importance of his fubject; he was now difcuffing matters of much higher moment than the downfall of a "luxurious hierarchy" or the ftructure of particular churches. He was "teaching over the whole book of fanctity and virtue.”
Milton, fays one of his latest biographers, commenced his wanderings in religious belief, from Puritanism to Calvinifm, from Calvinifm to an esteem for Arminius, and finally from an accordance with the independents and anabaptists, to a dereliction of every denomination of Proteftants, changes which were first detailed by Toland, and which, with the fufpicion of his Arianifm, have not escaped the notice of a French writer. "Il ne faut pas être furpris des principes erronés de ce fougoux républi
ton's theological opinions were orthodox, and confiftent with the creed of the church of England?" The peculiarity of Milton's religious opinions had reference to church government, and the externals of devotion." v. Life, p. 589. Johnson afferts the fame, but undoubtedly he had not read Milton's works with that fcrutiny and care, which have enabled later editors to discover the truth. Mr. Todd's words are a repetition of Johnfon's. See Bishop of St. David's ed. of" Milton on True Religion," p. 1. Trapp had afferted that P. L. was 66 ex omni parte orthodoxum," or he would not have tranflated it.
50 Milton's opinions," fays Dr. Sumner, "are nearly Arian. He differed from Arius in maintaining that the Son is consubstantial with the Father."
61 See Todd's Life, (fecond ed.), p. 307.
cain en matière de religion, puifqu'il fut de toutes les fectes, et qu'il finit par n'être d'aucune. Dans fes poèmes épiques il parle de Jéfus Chrift en véritable Arien." 52 With regard to the eternal divinity of the Son, and the effential unity of the three divine perfons of the Godhead, the learned editor of this volume has pointed out great and important contradictions even in Paradise Loft; and in Italy, it was on this ground, that under Benedict the Fourteenth, the poem was a book profcribed.
The authenticity of this work has never, I believe, been questioned, but by the learned and venerable Bishop of Salisbury," who has been anxious to establish the evidence of Milton's orthodoxy; and confequently has found it neceffary to deny the genuineness of a work that has spread into the wideft Latitudinarian principles; but it has been maintained by Mr. Todd, according to my opinion, with found and forcible arguments; and to his work, conjointly with Dr. Sumner's preface, the reader is referred for information too copious to be transferred into the present narrative. It is well known, that in the latter part of his life, Milton frequented no place of public worship; and Bishop Newton has given various conjectures on the fubject. It must, however, be remem
52 The Arian and Socinian are charged to difpute against the Trinity, yet they affirm to believe the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, according to Scripture and the Apoftolic Creed; as for the terms of Trinity, Triunity, Coeffentiality, Triperfonality, and the like, they reject them as fcholaftic notions, not to be found in Scripture." v. Treatise of True Religion. v. Toland's Life, p. 145.
53 See Proteftant Union, a Treatise on True Religion, &c. by J. Milton, with a preface on Milton's religious principles, and unimpeachable fincerity, by Thomas Burgess, Bishop of Salisbury, 1826, 8vo. who confiders that Milton, and the Latin writer de Doctrinâ Christianâ are at variance on the fubject of Popery. v. p. xxxv.
54 See Lord Grenville's Letter in Harford's Life of Burgess, p. 347-9.
bered that he was old, blind, and infirm, that he was hoftile to the Liturgy of the established church,55 and at the fame time not attached to any particular fect; that he had decidedly and for ever separated from the Presbyterians, that he never frequented the churches of the Independents;56 and that his allowed liberty of belief hardly confifted with the tenets of any particular fect; but we are told that he never passed a day without private meditation and study of the Scriptures, and that fome" parts of his family frequented the offices of public prayer. Knowing his religious opinions, and confidering the great infirmities of his health, who could have expected more?
Toland 58 tells us, "that in his early days he was a
55" From Milton," fays Mr. Gifford, whose malignity to the Hierarchy is well known, "neither truth nor juftice is to be expected." v. B.Jonfon's Works, vol. vi. p. 260.
56 Toland fays, "In his middle years he was beft pleased with the Independents and Anabaptists, as allowing of more liberty than others, and coming nearest, in his opinion, to the primitive practice." v. Life, p. 151. It is well known, that one of his biographers, Mr. Peck, confidered him to be a "Quaker." Newton says, he was a fort of Quietist, and was full of the interior of religion, though he fo little regarded the exterior. He was, as all acknowledge, a religious man, and yet he did not frequent a place of worship. Why? The ground is open, and each critic may advance his own opinion. Was it that he agreed with no religious party? or was it that he was old, gouty, blind, and infirm ? a fufficient difpenfation surely!
57 See Richardson's Life, and Arch. Blackburne's Remarks on JohnJon's Life of Milton, p. 111, and P. 160; and Mr. Boerhadem's Letter in Gent. Mag. October, 1779. "Afk each witneffe whether the parties miniftrant (his daughters) were not, and are not great frequenters of the church and good livers." v. Milton's Will, ed. Todd, p. 169. 58 See Life, p. 151. The measures of Archb. Laud, and the privations of his exiled friend and preceptor, T. Young, appear first to have alienated him from the difcipline of the church; averse to the government of the church as then conducted, he became, fucceffively, Puritan, Prefbyterian, and Independent; without relinquishing his religious principle, for those fects were all Trinitarian in doctrine. He thought them all intolerant of one another, and finally he left them all; and, after his