« AnteriorContinuar »
of Art, and deny'd sole jurisdiction over the simplest Parishioner, shall now at home in his privat chair assume both these over worthiest and excellentest Books, and ablest Authors that write them. This is not, Yee Covnants and Protestations that we have made, this is not to put down Prelaty; this is but to chop an Episcopacy'; this is but to
“pressed some new design to have been set on foot for corrupt, “ing the Army." Hist. of the Rebellion; I. 424. 8vo. And in Εικονοκλάστης και ;
« He chooses therefore a more mysti“cal way, a newer method of Antichristian fraud.” p. 155.
This is not, yee Covnants and Protestations that we have made, this is not to put down Prelaty ; this is but to chop an Episcopacy;] If this be an exclamatory adjuration, is it not introduced aukwardly? It may be (I do not throw it out with much confidence) that yee is an errour of the Press. Possibly, ye was written in Milton's manuscript for the; and from this abbreviation, now obsolete, the Compositor's mistake in the original Edition, if there be one, might have arisen.
Coo'nants were the engagements which the Commons' House had drawn up for signature the year before, and ordered to be subscribed by the Members of both Houses of Parliament, and by the People. Beside this national test or pledge of fidelity enjoined by the Parliament, there were voluntary Covenants; by which the individuals of particular bodies mutually bound themselves to sustain '“ the good old Cause,” and to be faithful to each other. (Mem. of Col. Hutchinson ; p. 143. 4to.) A parochial instrument of this nature may be seen in Lysons's
Environs of London,” extracted from the Parish Register of Wanstead in Esses.
To protest was formerly synonymous with to declare: " I will " just beg leave to protest my Faith: I am not able to dispute," said Latimer to the Prolocutor at the disputation at Oxford previously to his suffering. A Protestation or Declaration was in
translate the Palace Metropolitan from one kind of dominion into another, this is but an old canonicall
1641 agreed to by the Lords and Commons on behalf of them. selves and the Public; “whereby they obliged themselves to de“ fend and maintain the Power and Privileges of Parliament, the “ Rights and Liberties of the People, to use their utmost endea. "vour to bring to condign Punishment all those who should by “ force or otherwise do any thing to the contrary, and to stand “ by and justify all such as should do any thing in prosecution « of the said Protestation." Ludlow's Memoirs; p. 6. fol.
To this engageinent Milton refers, with his usual spirit and zeal for the public interest, while vindicating the temperance and regularity of his own habits: My“morning haunts (he rejoins upon “ a slanderous Adversary) are where they should be, at home, “not sleeping, or concocting the surfeits of an irregular feast, " but up and stirring, in winter often ere the sound of any bell o awake men to labour, or to devotion; in summer as oft with " the bird that first rouses, or not much tardier, to read good « Authors, or cause them to be read, till the attention be weary,
or memory bave its full fraught : then with useful and gene« rous labours preserving the Body's health and bardiness; to “ render lightsome, clear, and not lumpish obedieuce to the “ Mind, to the cause of Religion and our Country's Liberty, “ when it shall require firm hearts in sound Bodies to stand and « cover their stations, rather than to see the ruin of our Pro“ testation, and the inforcement of a slavish life.” Pr. W. I. 109. ed. 1738.
To chop was to change; so again in Tetrachordon; “ you are " to limit it to that age, when it was in fashion to chop matrimo“nies.” p. 67. first edit. Sailors still talk of the wind chopping when it veers to a new point.
I have never seen it observed, that Milton throughout his writings against the established Hierarchy drew a perspicuous line of demarcation between Prelates and Bishops. Episcopacy, in part spiritual, and in part political, such as obtains with us, he held to be indefensible; and he was disinclined to much of the Ritual, as well as to much of our Church-Governa
slight of commuting our penance. To startle thus betimes at a meer unlicenc't Pamphlet will after a while be afraid of every conventicle, and a while after will make a conventicle of every Christian meeting. But I am certain that a State govern
'd by the rules of Justice and Fortitude, or a Church built and founded upon the rock of Faith and true Knowledge, cannot be so pusillanimous. While things are yet not constituted in Religion, that Freedom of Writing should be restrain'd by a discipline imitated from the Prelats, and learnt by them from the Inquisition, to shut us up all again into the brest of a Licencer, must needs give cause of doubt and discouragement to all learned and religious men. Who cannot but discern the finenes ment. At the same time he does not, I think, appear to have been an enemy to Bishops, as a higher order of the Christian Priesthood. If however he approved of an institution of this character with a superiority of jurisdiction for the maintenance of cleri. cal discipline, he fulminates the heaviest censures against “ Pre“lat Lords," Bishops with "Baronies and stately Preferments ;" in other words, who were invested with secular authority. This distinction may be presumed to bave accorded with the disposition then prevalent: for even the Army, the bulk of whom aspired to the establishment of a Commonwealth, expressed their desire to retain an episcopal Government in the Church. They petitioned the Parliament not to abolish the office of Bishop altogether but to take away the “co-ercive power and civil penalties." Rushworth; Hist. Col. VII. 4. And after the proscriptions of Laud, and the grievous tyranny of the “ Prelatical Commis“sion,” he who does not join in their detestation of these mitred Judges must indeed be enamoured of Cruelty in its most disgustful shape-cloathed in the mantle of Religion, and indulg
. ing its propensities under the much-abused name of Justice.
of this politic drift?, and who are the contrivers?
• Who cannot but discern the finenes of this politic drift-] Thomson's reprint of the AREOPAGITICA gives finesse. In Ben Jonson's The Devil is an Ass, Ever-ill says, « You'll mar all by “ your fineness.” On which Whalley makes the following observation : “Mr. Sympson imagines it should be finesse; but " that word, I believe, came into use since our Authour's days. “ Fineness is the same with shyness or coyness ; and that sense is “ not incongruous to the rest of the passage.” Works; IV. 61. 800. 1756.
But this word formerly signified crafty ingenuity, politic indention; as now in this Oration; and is so applied by Sir W. Ralegh: “ This politician studied how to remove the other two from their “ places, and put some creatures of his own in their rooms. “ Against Alexander he went to work the ordinary way, by ca" lomniation and privy detraction. But for the supplanting of « Taurion he used more fineness ; loading him with daily com“ mendations, as a notable man of war, &c. By such art he " thought to have removed him, as we say out of God's bless
ing into a warm sun.” Hist. of the World ; p. 776. fol. 1677. A meaning this which better agrees than coyness or shyness with the name and character of Meercraft, the Projector, to whom the quotation from Jonson's Play is addressed.
Neither is the present the only place where Milton's text has been vitiated to make this identical change : “ This is the “ artificialest peece of fineness to perswade Men to be Slaves, " that the wit of Court could have invented.” Eixovoxháorys; p. 35. 4to. first edit. 1649. It is likewise printed correctly in the 8vo. edit. p. 31. Amsterdam. 1690. and in Toland's Edit. of the Pr. W. II. 458. But in Birch's edit. I. 376. fol. 1738. it was altered to finesse, and subsequent Editions conform to this corruption. It is but seldom that an Editor is found too tenacious of his Authour's text. Finesse, it is highly probable, had not yet stolen into our Language; or if it had been then naturalized, still Multon would have rejected it. He did not himself decline to borrow words occasionally from the Greek, the Latin, and the Italian : very rarely (if ever) did he condescend to drar on the French.
that while Bishops were to be baited down, then all Presses might be open ; it was the Peoples birth. right and priviledge in time of Parlament, it was the breaking forth of light. But now the Bishops abrogated and voided out of the Church, as if our Reformation sought no more, but to make room for others into their seats under another name; the Episcopall arts begin to bud again ; the cruse of Truth must run no more oyle; Liberty of Printing must be enthrall’d again under a Prelaticall Commission of twentys; the privilege of the People nul
* Liberty of Printing must be enthralld again under a Prelutical Commission of twenty.) The following extract from the address to the Reader which Rich. Baxter prefixed to a Treatise on the Nature of Covenants and Faith, it is not unlikely might have been intended for a direct reply to Milton. If not so, it is still curious to see the sort of reasoning by which the Presbyterian Party defended an Imprimatur. At the same time, it stands a lamentable example how far a man eminent for Talents and Probily, he bimself a Nonconformist, and an unsubdued confessor for conscience-sake, when misled by a factious spirit could desert a principle it was his bounden duty to uphold.
Among the impediments to the progress of Knowlege, Barter states, and without a blush, as the first, that “ Every ignorant, “ empty braine (which usually has the highest esteem of itselfe) “ hath the Liberty of the Presse whereby (through the common itch " that pride exciteth in men, to seeme somebody in the world) the “ number of Bookes is grown so great, that they begin with
many to grow contemptible; and a man may bestow a great
many yeares to find out the Authour's weaknesse, and that “his Books have nothing in them but common; and so many “ must be tossed over before we find out those few that are “ cleare and solid, that much of our lives are spent in the dis
yet he is thought to scape well that only loseth