Imatges de pÓgina
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which she hath set up to be adored, makes merchandise of the bodies and souls of men.


I cannot better liken the state and person of a king than to that mighty Nazarite, Samson; who being disciplined from his birth in the precepts and the practice of temperance and sobriety, without the strong drink of injurious and excessive desires, grows up to a noble strength and perfection with those his illustrious and sunny locks, the laws, waving and curling about his godlike shoulders. And while he keeps them about him undiminished and unshorn, he may, with the jawbone of an ass, that is, with the word of his meanest officer, suppress and put to confusion thousands of those that rise against his just power. But laying down his head among the strumpet flatteries of prelates, while he sleeps and thinks no harm, they wickedly shaving off all those bright and weighty tresses of his laws, and just prerogatives, which were his ornament and strength, deliver him over to indirect and violent counsels, which, as those Philistines, put out the fair and far-sighted eyes of his natural discerning, and make him grind in the prison-house of their sinister ends and practices upon him: till he, knowing this prelatical rasor to have bereft him of his wonted might, nourish again his puissant hair, the golden beams of law and right: and they, sternly shook, thunder with ruin upon the heads of those his evil counsellors, but not without great affliction to himself.


And yet in the midst of rigour I would beseech ye to think of mercy; and such a mercy (I fear I shall overshoot with a desire to save this falling prelaty), such a mercy (if I may venture to say it) as may exceed that which for only ten righteous persons would have saved Sodom. Not that I dare advise ye to contend with God, whether He or you

shall be more merciful, but in your wise esteems to balance the offences of these peccant cities with these enormous riots of ungodly misrule, that prelaty hath wrought both in the church of Christ and in the state of this kingdom. And if ye think ye may with a pious presumption strive to go beyond God in mercy, I shall not be one now that would dissuade ye. Though God for less than ten just persons would not spare Sodom, yet if you can find, after due search, but only one good thing in prelaty, either to religion or civil government, to king or parliament, to prince or people, to law, liberty, wealth, or learning, spare her, let her live, let her spread among ye, till with her shadow all your dignities and honours, and all the glory of the land, be darkened and obscured. But on the contrary, if she be found to be malignant, hostile, destructive to all these, as nothing can be surer, then let your severe and impartial doom imitate the divine vengeance; rain down your punishing force upon this godless and oppressing government, and bring such a dead sea of subversion upon her that she may never in this land rise more to afflict the holy reformed church, and the elect people of God.






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[IT has been quaintly said that the men of the Revolution period lived in a perpetual snow-storm of pamphlets." Most of the brochures fell to the earth unnoticed, and were forthwith forgotten. Many which attracted attention at the time, and are remembered still, owe their fame to some accidental circumstance, rather than to their intrinsic merit. The Smectymnuus controversy would have passed into oblivion long ago, but that Milton, finding his friends overmatched, came to their rescue, and so conferred a share of his literary immortality upon their controversies. The circumstances were these:-Five Presbyterian ministers had combined in the production of a polemical pamphlet. Their names were Stephen Marshall, Edmund Calamy, Thomas Young,+ Matthew Newcommen, and William Spurston.‡ Their initials formed the word SMECTYMNUUS, and, following a prevalent fashion of the day, this uncouth word appeared on the title-page. Their book was a reply to Bishop Hall's Humble Remonstrance to the High Court of Parliament, already

* First published in 1641.

Thomas Young had been tutor to Milton in his youth.


This list of ministers suggests the remark that we must class amongst "vulgar errors" the idea that the Puritans were addicted to the use of unusual Scriptural names. The jury lists given by Hume are now admitted to be pure fabrications. The same applies to such names as PraiseGod Barebones," "Redeemed Compton," and others, which were derisive epithets applied to them by the Cavaliers. Let the reader run over in his mind the names of all the Puritans he can recollect from Oliver Cromwell, Sir Harry Vane, and Algernon Sydney, downwards, and he will perceive the utter falsity of the prevalent impression.


referred to, and was in its turn answered by the Bishop, in a brochure, entitled A Defence of the Remonstrance. Milton, finding that the Smectymnuus party were no match in controversy for the Bishop and his friends, now took part in the fray, and published Animadversions on the Remonstrant's Defence. This elicited from the prelatists, A Modest Confutation against a Scandalous and Seditious Libel; to which followed a further rejoinder from Milton, entitled An Apology for Smectymnuus. Here the controversy ceased, or if it still raged, all traces of it are lost, for Milton took no further part in it.

The Animadversions follow the Remonstrant step by step, almost sentence by sentence. For subtlety and acuteness of argument it has seldom been surpassed, and, like all Milton's controversial writings, it constantly rises from matters of detail and of merely microscopic importance, to the great principles of philosophy and theology which were involved in them. The extracts given will afford ample illustration of this; but the argument is too intricate to be followed in detail. The Modest Confutation assailed Milton with bitter asperity, loaded him with atrocious and slanderous accusations, and went so far as to call upon all Christians "to stone a miscreant whose impunity would be their crime." This should be remembered in judging fairly the reply. Johnson, Brydges, Mitford, and others, have often spoken of Milton's prose writings as though he alone were guilty of excessive violence of invective, forgetting that this was the fault not of the individual but of the age. Admitting that Milton's controversial works are defaced by unseemly outbursts of passion, we must remember that he was not without both provocation and precedent in the writings of his assailants, and, in the language of Mr. St. John :--"We may well wonder that out of a gladiatorial controversy of this sanguinary kind, anything should have arisen so richly teeming with beautiful thoughts, so full of youthful and cheering reminiscences, so varied, so polished, so vehemently eloquent, as the Apology for Smectymnuus, which, as a noble and justifiable burst of eloquence, has never, perhaps, in any language been excelled."

The Apology, like the Animadversions, follows the arguments of Bishop Hall and his son or nephew so closely that it is impossible to give an analysis of it without reproducing the wearisome details of a controversy which is not worth remembering, and upon which the space at our disposal is too valuable to be wasted.]

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ALTHOUGH it be a certain truth, that they who undertake a religious cause need not care to be men-pleasers; yet



because the satisfaction of tender and mild consciences is far different from that which is called men-pleasing, to satisfy such, I shall address myself in few words to give notice beforehand of something in this book, which to some men perhaps may seem offensive, that when I have rendered a lawful reason of what is done, I may trust to have saved the labour of defending or excusing hereafter. We all know that in private or personal injuries, yea, in public sufferings for the cause of Christ, His rule and example teaches us to be so far from a readiness to speak evil, as not to answer the reviler in his own language, though never so much provoked: yet in the detecting and convincing of any notorious enemy to truth and his country's peace, especially that is conceited to have a voluble and smart fluency of tongue, and in the vain confidence of that, and out of a more tenacious clinging to worldly respects, stands up for all the rest to justify a long usurpation and convicted pseudoepiscopy of prelates, with all their ceremonies, liturgies, and tyrannies, which God and man are now ready to explode and hiss out of the land; I suppose, and more than suppose, it will be nothing disagreeing from Christian meekness to handle such a one in a rougher accent, and to send home his haughtiness well bespurted with his own holy-water. Nor to do thus are we unauthorised either from the moral precept of Solomon, to answer him thereafter that prides him in his folly; nor from the example of Christ, and all His followers in all ages, who, in the refuting of those that resisted sound doctrine, and by subtile dissimulations corrupted the minds of men, have wrought up their zealous souls into such vehemencies, as nothing could be more killingly spoken: for who can be a greater enemy to mankind, who a more dangerous deceiver, than he who, defending a traditional corruption, uses no common arts, but with a wily stratagem of yielding to the time a greater part of his cause, seeming to forego all that man's invention hath done therein, and driven from much of his hold in Scripture, yet leaving it hanging by a twined

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