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Poor Socrates—who next more memorable ?-
west side of the same mountain he shows imperial Rome, and tempts with a fuller mastery. Tiberius is lost in lust at Capreæ.
56. With what ease,
To Satan's plea that God Himself seeks glory, Christ fervently replies, leaving the tempter struck with guilt of his own sin, for he himself, insatiable of glory, had lost all. But next he urges upon Christ His right to the throne of David, and that for love of His enslaved people He should reign soon. “The happier reign, the sooner it begins : Reign then, what canst thou better do the while ?” The reply is that all things are best fulfilled in their due time. God's time is to be waited for, His trials borne.
Christ replies unmoved; but Satan then impudently exalts his gift, offers the whole world, but claims worship for it. To the rebuke thus brought upon himself, Satan replies abashed, but he next seeks to tempt with fame for wisdom.
“* As Thy empire must extend, So let extend Thy mind o'er all the world In knowledge, all things in it comprehend.'”
He shows Athens, and dilates upon its intellectual pre-eminence. The wisdom of Christ answers that
" What if He hath decreed that I shall first
Be tried in humble state, and things adverse,
“He who receives Light from above, from the fountain of light, No other doctrine needs, though granted true.'”
But these, what can they teach, and not mislead ?
Satan replies that he is eager for the worst, but why should Christ be slow to seek the best. He does not know what the World means. Let Him see it. Then Satan takes Christ up a high mountain, and shows the martial power of the Parthians. Rome and Parthia are the two great powers outside Judea. He must ally himself with one. Christ answers that when His time has come He shall not need Satan's
“Much of the soul they talk, but all awry,
And in themselves seek virtue, and to themselves
" --politic maxims, or that cumbersome Luggage of war there shewn me, argument Of human weakness rather than of strength.'”
The closing thought is still of waiting God's own time for the deliverance of His people.
“ • To His due time and providence I leave them.'
So spake Israel's true King, and to the Fiend Made answer meet, and made void all his wiles. So fares it when with truth falsehood contends."
Sir Isaac Newton applied that last line to his own sense of the relation between all he knew and all the knowable. Though it was knowable, few knew that he was quoting Milton. In its subdued tone and ethical purpose “Paradise Regained " has to “Paradise Lost” in some sense a relation like that of the story of the wanderings of Ulysses to the story of the Fall of Troy, but the song is of a wisdom beyond that of Ulysses, and its calm note of trust in God attunes all the chief relations of man's life to earth and heaven. Looking to its theme and purpose, as
The third book of “ Paradise Regained” thus ending, the fourth and last opens with Satan passing from perplexed pause to renewal of his efforts. From the
So saying he took-for still he knew his power Not yet expired—and to the wilderness Brought back the Son of God, and left Him there, Feigning to disappear."
the light struck in dark days for England that had caused some to despair, Milton might at the end of his life dwell especially upon “Paradise Regained,” with the especial regard he is said to have had for it. We who can interpret the events of Milton's latter days by help of those which followed, and which Milton could not have foretold, know that his quiet trust in God was justified. In that which seemed the very hopelessness of the situation lay the elements of a safe rescue. Had Charles II. been a better and a wiser man, and had his brother
“And either tropic now 'Gan thunder, and both ends of heaven; the clouds, From many a horrid rift, abortive poured Fierce rain with lightning mixed, water with fire In ruin reconciled; nor slept the winds Within their stony caves, but rushed abroad From the four hinges of the world, and fell On the vexed wilderness, whose tallest pines, Though rooted deep as high, and sturdiest caks Bowed their stiff necks, loaden with stormy blasts, Or torn up sheer. Ill wast Thou shrouded then, O patient Son of God, yet only stoodest Unshaken! Nor yet stayed the terror there; Infernal ghosts, and hellish furies round Environed Thee; some howled, some yelled, some
shrieked, Some bent at Thee their fiery darts, while Thou Satest unappalled in calm and sinless peace.
Thus passed the night so foul; till Morning fair Came forth with pilgrim-steps, in amice' gray, Who with her radiant finger stilled the roar Of thunder, chased the clouds, and laid the winds, And grisly spectres, which the Fiend had raised, To tempt the Son of God with terrors dire. And now the sun, with more effectual beams, Had cheered the face of earth, and dried the wet From drooping plant, or dropping tree; the birds, Who all things now behold more fresh and green, After a night of storm so ruinous, Cleared up their choicest notes in bush and spray, To gratulate the sweet return of morn."
Satan also returns and tempts vainly to impatience, then angrily admits Jesus to be proof against temptation, but will try whether indeed He be worth naming Son of God by voice from heaven."
James not helped to dissipate faith in an absolute monarchy, England could not have passed, fourteen or fifteen years after the death of Milton, through a bloodless Revolution to a settlement of the relations between Crown and People that allowed development, with growth of culture, into the full powers of civil liberty.
But we have yet to speak of the close of “Paradise Regained.” Of Christ firm against every temptation, Satan asks,
“«Since neither wealth nor honour, arms nor arts,
“So saying he caught Him up, and, without wing
There stand, if Thou wilt stand ; to stand up
To whom thus Jesus :--Also it is written, “ Tempt not the Lord thy God." He said, ani s But Satan, smitten with amazement, fell."
Life of affliction was then contrasted with the ease refused, and the patient Son of God was left alone in a dark night compassed with terrors.
" Sorrows and labours, opposition, hate
Attends Thee, scorns, reproaches, injuries,
1 Amice, a priest's robe of fine linen. See Note I. page 2 also for any light flowing robe. Latin "amictus," an oate pas
Satan returned in dismay to his joyless band, while of all religion), a thing too low and mean for their rank and angels bore the Saviour to a table of celestial food, condition in the world; while others pretend a quarrel against and hymned His victory. Man now can prevail
the principles of it as unsatisfactory to human reason. Thus through Christ, and by vanquishing temptation can
religion suffers with the Author of it between two thieves, regain lost Paradise. But the last lines of the poem
and it is hard to define which is more injurious to it, that pass from the angels' song of triumph to the meekness
which questions the principles, or that which despiseth the of the Saviour.
practice of it. And nothing certainly will more incline men
to believe that we live in an age of prodigies, than that there “ Thus they the Son of God, our Saviour meek,
should be any such in the Christian world who should account
it a piece of gentility to despise religion, and a piece of reason Sung victor, and from heavenly feast refreshed
to be Atheists. For if there be any such things in the world Brought on His way with joy : He, unobserved, Home to His mother's house private returned.”
as a true height and magnanimity of spirit, if there be any solid reason and depth of judgment, they are not only con. sistent with, but only attainable by, a true generous spirit of
religion. But if we look at that which the loose and proNot only among maintainers of what they held to fane world is apt to account the greatest gallantry, we shall be the “good old cause” were questionings here and find it made up of such pitiful ingredients, which any skilful there that touched their faith in God. Among those and rational mind will be ashamed to plead for, much less to who during the Commonwealth had lived in France, mention them in competition with true goodness and ur. influenced by a polite society that affected criticism
feigned piety. For how easy is it to observe such who would and wit, while wanting the essentials of both, the be accounted the most high and gallant spirits, to quarry on spirit of reverence was often weakened. The newly-|
such mean prey which only tend to satisfy their brutish developed middle class was showing the energies of
appetites, or flesh revenge with the blood of such who have
appetites, or flesh reven France in writers of its own, whom the polite world | stood in the way of that airy title, honour! claimed as theirs, but whose lead the polite world was i too weak to follow; and the corruption of society in
In the following “Preface to the Reader," the Church and State was already prompting the new
| plan of the book is thus stated :
plan of the generation of bold thinkers to doubts aiming at a search for truth by testing all beliefs, doubts lightly
As the tempers and geniuses of ages and times alter, so accepted by the triflers as indications in them of a
do the arms and weapons which Atheists employ against fashionable sort of wit. It was to meet this spirit
religion ; the most popular pretences of the Atheists of our of doubt that Edward Stillingfleet, then Rector of
age have been the irreconcilableness of the account of times
in Scripture with that of the learned and ancient heathen Sutton in Bedfordshire, produced early in the reign
| nations; the inconsistency of the belief of the Scriptures with of Charles II. his “Origines Sacræ; or, a Rational
the principles of reason; and the account which may be given Account of the Grounds of Christian Faith, as to the
of the origin of things from principles of philosophy without Truth and Divine Authority of the Scriptures, and
the Scriptures: these three therefore I have particularly set the matters therein contained.” This book was
ok was myself against, and directed against each of them a several published in 1662, when Stillingfleet was twenty- | book. seven years old. He was born in 1635, at Cran In the first I have manifested that there is no ground bourne, in Dorsetshire, graduated at St. John's of credibility in the account of ancient times given by any College, Cambridge, and obtained his rectory of heathen nations different from the Scriptures, which I have Sutton in 1657. In 1659 Edward Stillingfleet pub with so much care and diligence inquired into, that from lished " Irenicum, a Weapon Salve for the Church's thence we may hope to hear no more of men before Adam to Wounds, or the Divine Right of Particular Forms of salve the authority of the Scriptures by, which yet was in. Church Government discussed.” In the dedication tended only as a design to undermine them. But I have not of his “ Origines Sacræ" to his most honoured friend thought the frivolous pretences of the author of that hypoand patron Sir Roger Burgoyne, Stillingtleet wrote: thesis worth particular mentioning, supposing it sufficient to
give a clear account of things without particular citation of We're all who make a show of religion in the world really authors, where it was not of great concernient for under such as they pretend to be, discourses of this nature would be standing the thing itself. no more seasonable than the commendations of a great beauty | In the second book I have undertaken to give a rational to one who is already a passionate admirer of it; but on the account of the grounds, why we are to believe these several Contrary, we see how common it is for men first to throw dirt persons who in several ages were employed to reveal the in the face of religion, and then persuade themselves it is its mind of God to the world; and with greater particularity natural complexion; they represent it to themselves in a than hath yet been used, I have insisted on the persons of shape least pleasing to them, and then bring that as a plea Moses and the prophets, our Saviour and his apostles, and in why they give it no better entertainment.
every of them manifested the rational evidences on which It may justly seem strange, that true religion, which con- | they were to be believed, not only by the men of their own tains nothing in it but what is truly noble and generous, age, but by those of succeeding generations. most rational and pleasing to the spirits of all good men, In the third book I have insisted on the matters themselves should yet suffer so much in its esteem in the world, through which are either supposed by, or revealed in, the Scriptures; thou strange and uncouth vizards' it is represented under: and have therein not only manifested the certainty of the some accounting the life and practice of it, as it speaks of foundations of all religion which lie in the being of God and xubduing our wills to the will of God (which is the substance immortality of the soul, but the undoubted truth of those
particular accounts concerning the origin of the universe, of Vizards, masks.
i evil, and of nations, which were most liable to the Atheist's exceptions, and have therein considered all the pretences of tions of things now? they are such certainly as the world philosophy, ancient or modern, which have seemed to con- | now is, and yet he believes it was once otherwise. Vcs tradict any of them; to which (mantissæ loco)' I have added therefore a bare possibility of the contrary make us dear on the evidence of Scripture history in the remainder of it in reason, silence conscience, contradict the universal sense of heathen mythology, and concluded all with a discourse of mankind by excluding a Deity out of the world? But whence the excellency of the Scriptures.
doth it appear possible? Did we ever find anything of the
same nature with the world produced in such a manner by This is a passage from the third book of Stilling
such a concourse of atoms? Or is it because we find i fleet's argument against the Atheism of his time. It
natural beings, how much these particles of matter serve to forms section eight of the first chapter :
solve the phenomena of nature? But doth it at all f w, because now under Divine providence which wisely orders ti
world, and things in it, that these particles with their son THE CONCURRENCE OF ATOMS.
affections and motion, may give us a tolerable account As the Atheist must admit those things himself which he
many appearances as to bodies, that therefore the univers rejects the being of God for, so he admits them upon far
had its original merely by a concretion of these without war weaker grounds than we do attribute them to. God. If any.
Divine hand to order and direct their motion ? But of time thing may be made evident to man's natural reason concern
more, when we come to the creation of the world; our di ing the existence of a being so infinite as God is, we doubt
now is only to compare the notion of a Deity and of not but to make it appear that we have great assurance of
Atheist's hypothesis, in point of perspicuity and eviddet the being of God; but how far must the Atheist go, how
reason: of which let any one who hath reason judge. Thrs heartily must he beg, before his hypothesis either of the for
we see how the Atheist in denying a Deity must assert tuitous concourse of atoms or eternity of the world will be
thing else instead of it, which is pressed with the same, it granted to him. For if we stay till he proves either of these
greater difficulties, and proved by far less reason, by evident and demonstrative reasons, the world may have an end before he proves his atoms could give it a beginning; and
In 1665 Stillingfleet became Rector of St. Andre's we may find it eternal, à parte post," before he can prove it Holborn, and he had risen to be Dean of St. Pas was so à parte ante. For the proof of a Deity, we appeal to
and Chaplain in Ordinary to his Majesty, when, in his own faculties, reason and conscience; we make use of opposition to Dr. Owen, Richard Baxter, and other arguments before his eyes : we bring the universal sense of he published, in 1681, a volume on “ The l’nreasca mankind along with us: but for his principles, we must ableness of Separation; or an Impartial Account of wholly alter the present stage of the world, and crumble the the History, Nature, and Pleas of the Present Senift whole universe into little particles; we must grind the sun tion from the Communion of the Church of Englari" to powder, and by a new way of interment turn the earth In the long controversial preface to this boob, into dust and ashes, before we can so much as imagine how declared his judgment, “That a causeless breakis the world could be framed. And when we have thus far the peace of the Church we live in, is really a gred begged leave to imagine things to be what they never were,
and as dangerous a sin as murder, and in so we must then stand by in some infinite space to behold the respects aggravated beyond it.” One of Stillinger friskings and dancings about of these little particles of matter,
adversaries had been tempted by this spirit in a till by their frequent rencounters and jostlings one upon
sermon of his to recall his more tolerant writing i another, they at last link themselves together, and run so
earlier days, and compare the Rector of Sutton wi long in a round till they make whirlpools enough for sun,
the Dean of St. Paul's. One of the fears he 06 moon, and stars, and all the bodies of the universe to emerge
pressed as a check upon altering the laws aust out of it. But what was it which at first set these little
Dissent, was “the danger of breaking all in pieczne particles of matter in motion? Whence came so great variety
toleration." In 1689 Edward Stillingfieet was ist in them to produce such wonderful diversities in bodies as
Bishop of Worcester. He died in 1699. and te there are in the world? How came these casual motions to
last incident in his literary life was a controvers hit so luckily into such admirable contrivances as are in the
with John Locke, whom he accused of underminis universe ? When once I see a thousand blind men run the point of a sword in at a key-hole without one missing; when
Christian faith. I find them all frisking together in a spacious field, and exactly meeting all at last in the very middle of it; when I | John Wilkins was a divine with a strong interes once find, as Tully speaks, the Annals of Ennius fairly written | in scientific studies. He was born in 1614, the in a heap of sand, and as Kepler's wife told him, a room full of a goldsmith at Oxford, graduated in the Univers of herbs moving up and down, fall down into the exact order of Oxford, sided with the Parliament in the Civil W." of sallets, I may then think the atomical hypothesis probable, and signed the Covenant. He was made wani-non and not before. But what evidence of reason or demonstra Wadham College at the end of the reign of Chariel tion have we that the great bodies of the world did result | and in 1656 married a sister of Oliver (rori from such a motion of these small particles ? It is possible
He became master of Trinity College, Cambris. to be so, saith Epicurus; what if we grant it possible ? can
in 1659. From this office he was ejected at > no things in the world be, which it is possible might have
Restoration, and he was the appointed pracie : been otherwise ? What else thinks Epicurus of the genera
the Honourable Society of Gray's Inn and me
of St. Lawrence Jewry. He was one of the i Mantissar loco, by way of over-weight. Mantisa or mantissa was a fellows of the Royal Society and member of the Tuscan word meaning an addition to the weight in the scale. Thence Council. He had written, at the age of twent:-:.: it took the second sense of gain or profit.
an argument to show that the moon was praia. ? A parte post, from the close of the argument; à parte ante, from the beginning.
inhabited, and he did not hold it impossible that
inhabitants of this earth might discover a way of who must not strive, but be gentle, shewing all meekness to getting to the moon. John Wilkins also wrote to all men,” 2 Tim. ii. 24. maintain the Copernican system, and prove the earth “Finally, brethren, having compassion one of another, be a planet. In 1641 he had published an ingenious pitiful, be courteous, not rendering evil for evil, or railing system of cipher-writing, and his house was crowded
for railing, but contrariwise blessing," 1 Pet. iii. 8, 9. as a museum with scientific curiosities. The Duke of
It were easy to back these precepts by several examples Buckingham having become his friend at court, Dr.
out of Scripture. That of Abraham's carriage in the contest Wilkins was made Dean of Ripon, and in 1668
betwixt him and his nephew Lot, who for peace' sake was Bishop of Chester. In the same year he published
willing to recede from his own right, and give him his choice, the most ingenious of his books—an attempt to
that “there might be no strife betwixt them, because they apply philosophy to the establishment of a language
were brethren,” Gen. xiii. 8.
That of our Saviour in his yielding to pay tribute for the common to all nations—“An Essay towards a Real
avoiding of offence, to which in strictness he was not obliged, Character and a Philosophical Language. Bishop
Mat. xvii. 27. He was the Great Exemplar, as of all others Wilkins died in 1672, the year after the publication
so particularly of this Christian grace. “I beseech you, of “Paradise Regained.” A volume of sermons by
brethren, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ,” 2 Cor. him was collected and published in 1682. He sought
x. 1. to reconcile the contending parties in the Church,
St. Paul himself was as eminent for the practice of this and devised a plan for the reception of Presbyterian
duty as for the pressing of it upon others : in his “ becoming ministers into the Church of England by a form of all things to all men," 1 Cor. ix. 22, and in “pleasing all men ordination to which they might be willing to assent.
in all things, not seeking his own profit, but the profit of In the same spirit he preached peace. This passage many, that they might be saved," 1 Cor. x. 33. is from a sermon by Bishop Wilkins, on the text, Suitable to this was that carriage of the council of the “Let your moderation be known unto all men, the Apostles, Act. xv., in their not insisting upon the strict right Lord is at hand,” Philippians iv. 5.
of things, but accommodating those controversies of the Primitive times about the Jewish rites, by such a moderate
expedient as might most effectually heal and compose those THE DUTY OF MODERATION.
differences. 'Tis the duty of Christians to give signal testimony of their equity and moderation upon all occasions of difference and contest with one another: not to insist upon the utmost
Among the friends of John Wilkins, and also of rigour of things, but to be ready to comply with all such gentle and prudent expedients as may help to heal and
John Milton, was Robert Boyle, born in 1626, the accommodate the differences amongst them.
year of Bacon's death, and a leader among those Though this word moderation do but seldom occur in
who in the next generations applied to the advance Scripture, being scarce anywhere else used but here: yet
of science Bacon's method of experimental search that which is the substance and meaning of it is frequently
into nature. Robert Boyle was the seventh son commanded, and the contrary thereunto prohibited, under
of Richard Boyle, who died Earl of Cork, having different expressions in other places of Scripture. This some founded the fortune of the family by acquiring conceive to be the sense of that place, Eccles. vii. 16, “ Be not enormous wealth in Ireland. Richard Boyle had righteous over much, neither make thyself over wise, why seven sons and eight daughters, and was able to shouldst thou destroy thyself” (i.e.,) insist not upon the ut leave a handsome estate to each of them. Robert most extremity of things, as if it were wisdom to take all the remained unmarried ; lived with his eldest sister, advantages you could from the strict letter of the law. This Lady Ranelagh, for companion and housekeeper; were the readiest way to destroy yourself by teaching other withdrew from the strife of parties; and pursued the men to do the like against you; there being no safety for any study of chemistry so energetically, that he made for one, if every one must use another according to the utmost himself a distinguished place in the history of its rigour. Prov. xix. 11, “It is the glory of a man to pass over progress. He published many scientific treatises, a transgression.” Men may think to get the repute of and was the honoured friend of the chief men of science strictness and zeal by being rigid and severe towards the
of his day, who would have made him president of failings of others : but 'tis a much more glorious thing to
the Royal Society if he had not refused to bind himshow gentleness and forbearance towards them; it argues
self by the test and oaths required on taking office. a man to have a noble and generous mind, and a real sense of
He refused also to take orders, though profoundly humanity. There are several other expressions to this purpose in the
religious, and assured of rapid promotion in the New Testament. As Ephes. iv. 1, 2, “I beseech you that
Church. He never named God without reverent ye walk worthy of that vocation wherewith ye are called, in
pause, he was active in societies formed for diffusion all lowliness and meekness, with long suffering, forbearing
of the Gospel, enabled Burnet to write his “ History one another in love." Verse 32, “And be ye kind to one
of the Reformation," blended a living religion with another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God
his scientific writing, and in his “ Sceptical Chemist". for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
reasoned with those men of science who “are wont Phil. ii. 3, “Let nothing be done through strife or vain to endeavour to evince their salt, sulphur, and merglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better cury as the true principles of things.” Of some of than themselves." Ver. 14.
his books religion only was the theme. Robert Gentleness is reckoned as "the fruit of the Spirit,” Gal. v. Boyle lived until 1691. This passage is from a 22. A mark of that “wisdom which is from above,” Jam. volume on “the Style of the Holy Scriptures," pubüi. 17, an inseparable property of the servant of the Lord, | lished in 1663 :