Imatges de pÓgina
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for want of studying in right order, all the world is in confusion."

"The author of Ecclesiasticus, whose wisdom hath set him next the Bible." We quote the next passage for the sake of the word 'assassinated,' used in the sense of extremely maltreated,' here and in Samson Agonistes,

"Such usage as your honourable lords

Afford me, assassinated and betrayed."

"As for the custom that some parents and guardians have of forcing marriages, it will be better to say nothing of such a savage inhumanity, but only thus ; that the law which gives not all freedom of divorce to any creature endued with reason so assassinated, is next in cruelty."

"To banish for ever into a local hell, whether in the air or in the centre, or in that uttermost and bottomless gulf of chaos, deeper from holy bliss than the world's diameter multiplied." This is the germ of the description of the site of hell in the commencement of Paradise Lost,

"Such place eternal justice had prepared

For those rebellions; here their prison ordain'd
In utter darkness, and their portion set
As far removed from God and light of heaven,

As from the centre thrice to the utmost pole."

Here also is found the germ of the title of that his greatest work, the immortal syllables though transposed.

"It will best behove our soberness to follow rather what moral Sinai prescribes equal to our strength, than fondly to think within our strength all that LOST PARADISE relates."

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"Last of all, to those whose mind is still to maintain textual restrictions, I would ever answer by putting them in remembrance of a command above all commands, which they seem to have forgot, and Who spake it; in comparison whereof this which they so exalt is but a petty and subordinate precept. "Let them go, therefore," and consider well what this lesson means, "I will have mercy and not sacrifice:" for on that "saying all the law and prophets depend;" much more the gospel, whose end and excellence is mercy and peace. Or if they cannot learn that, how will they hear this? which yet I shall not doubt to leave with them as a conclusion, that God the Son hath put all other things under His own feet, but His commandments He hath left all under the feet of charity."

IT

THE JUDGMENT OF MARTIN BUCER,
CONCERNING DIVORCE.

may

be convenient, before we proceed with our Selections from the Treatise on Education, and the Areopagitica, which follow next in chronological order, to pass on to the three parasitical Treatises, which grow out of, and are intimately connected with the elaborate work which has just been before us, namely the Judgment of Martin Bucer, Tetrachordon, and Colasterion, for under such uncouth and repelling titles did Milton put forth his several performances. They were published in the year 1645, the following year to that in which the Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce appeared; and together they exhaust all that can be said on the subject, and we may ask, What are all these reasonings worth, whereas the words of Christ are plainly against all divorce, "except in case of fornication"? We believe that no one would care to read more of these Treatises than we have here set down: We light upon few sentences of a venturous edge, uttered in the height of zeal indeed, but not of a zeal according to knowledge, and therefore shall dismiss this part of our subject very quickly.

The first Treatise is said in the title to be "written to Edward the Sixth, and now Englished; wherein a late book, restoring the "Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce," is here confirmed and justified by the authority of Martin Bucer." It is not our purpose to transcribe any of Bucer's arguments, and we care not any more for his opinion on Divorce than we do for Milton's; the preface and postscript of the latter are all that we have to do with.

"Certainly if it be in man's discerning to sever providence from chance, I could allege many instances wherein there would appear cause to esteem of me no other than a passive instrument under some power and counsel higher and better than can be human, working to a general good in the whole course of this matter. For that I owe no light or leading received from any man in the discovery of this truth, what time I first undertook it in the "Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce," and had only the infallible grounds of scripture to be my guide, He who tries the inmost heart, and saw with what severe industry and examination of myself I set down every period, will be my witness. When I had almost finished the first edition, I chanced to read in the notes of Hugo Grotius upon the fifth of Matthew. Glad, therefore, of such an able assistant, however at much distance, I resolved at length to put off into this wild and calumnious world. For God, it seems, intended to prove me, whether I

durst alone take up a rightful cause against a world of disesteem, and found I durst."

"Thus far Martin Bucer:-others may read him in his own phrase on the First to the Corinthians, and ease me who never could delight in long citations, much less in whole traductions; whether it be natural disposition or education in me, or that my mother bore me a speaker of what God made mine own, and not a translator." He had epitomized his author, not "giving an inventory of so many words, but weighing their force."

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