Imatges de pÓgina

own flesh (which they through Christ have slain), and that hath a virtue above all other to expel the venom of Satan's temptations from the heart.'-The Christian in Complete Armour, c. ix., § 2.


HIS, the least pleasing of Milton's earlier contro


versial works, was the fourth Treatise which he put forth in 1641. It is arranged in the form of a dialogue, and is coarse and commonplace. Smectymnuus was a pamphlet written by five Presbyterian divines, the initial letters of whose names form the appellation, Smectymnuus, namely, Stephen Marshal, Edmund Calamy, Thomas Young, who was Milton's tutor, Matthew Newcomen, and William Spurstow. Bishop Hall replied to it, and he is the Remonstrant against whom our author enters the lists. The work before us was answered by a son of Bishop Hall, assisted by his father, in the 'Modest Confutation against a slanderous and scurrilous Libel,' which in turn called forth the Apology for Smectymnuus in 1642, 'a noble and justifiable burst of egotism, richly teeming with beautiful thoughts, full of youthful and cheering reminiscences, and vehemently eloquent.' So writes one of his editors. To this we shall proceed, passing by the Animadversions as containing nothing meriting observation or preservation, in spite

of Lord Macaulay's extraordinary assertion that there are magnificent passages occurring in it. We are at a loss to conceive which he refers to. Probably that at the close of the fourth Section, an apostrophe to the Deity, but how unlike the one with which he concludes his Treatise of Reformation, which we have already given. We have read it more than once, and can discover in it no 66 sentence of a venturous edge, uttered in the height of zeal "-nothing that touches a respondent chord in the soul-nothing that exalts, invigorates, or inspires. Perhaps we ought to except one sentence, which we regard as a prophetic allusion to the Paradise Lost, and is therefore interesting, and worth quoting. It is this, referring to the time when God shall have settled peace in the church and righteous judgment in the kingdom. "And he, that now for haste snatches up a plain ungarnished present as a thank-offering to Thee, which could not be deferred in regard of Thy so many late deliverances wrought for us one upon another, may then perhaps take up a harp, and sing Thee an elaborate song to generations."



HIS Treatise is valuable for that noble egotism and justifiable self-assertion which are its characteristics. Thus, parenthetically, as it were, and incidentally, we are made acquainted, on the very best authority, with many anecdotes, circumstances, habits, thoughts, and feelings connected with the life of Milton, which are most interesting, instructive, and essential to everyone who would rightly understand the complex character of this truly wonderful man. Even when the connexion with the matter immediately in hand hardly seems to justify it, he passes on to speak of himself, his intentions, hopes, and aspirations, and reveals his most secret and private thoughts with an ingenuous and enchanting simplicity. Never was any man more transparent. He had nothing to conceal; he lived and acted in the spirit of his own noble sonnet, composed on arriving at his twenty-third year

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

As ever in my great Taskmaster's eye."

"If to that same great difficulty of well-doing what we certainly know were not added in most men as

great a carelessness of knowing what they and others ought to do, we had been long ere this much further on our way to some degree of peace and happiness in this kingdom. But since our sinful neglect of practising that which we know to be undoubtedly true and good hath brought forth among us so great a difficulty now to know that which otherwise might be soon learnt; I resolved (of what small moment soever I might be thought) to stand on that side where I saw both the plain authority of Scripture leading, and the reason of justice and equity persuading; with this opinion, which esteems it more unlike a Christian to be a cold neuter in the cause of the church, than the law of Solon made it punishable after a sedition in the State."

So Dryden

neuters in their middle way of steering,

Are neither fish, nor flesh, nor good red herring.'

"And because I observe that fear and dull disposition, lukewarmness and sloth, are not seldomer wont to cloak themselves under the affected name of moderation, than true and lively zeal is customably disparaged with the term of indiscretion, bitterness, and choler; I could not to my thinking honour a good cause more from the heart than by defending it earnestly, as oft as I could judge it to behove me, notwithstanding any false name that could be invented to wrong or undervalue an honest meaning.

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