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There is yet behind of what I purpos'd to lay open, the incredible losse and detriment that this plot of Licencing puts us to, more then if som enemy at sea should stop up all our hav'ns and ports, and creeks ; it hinders and retards the importation of our richest marchandize, Truth : nay, it was first establisht and put in practice by Antichristian malice and mystery on set purpose to extinguish, if it were possible, the light of Reformation, and to settle falshood ; little differing from that policie wherewith the Turk upholds his Alcoran, by the prohibition of Printing. 'Tis not deny'd, but gladly confest, we are to send our thanks and vows to Heav'n, louder then most of Nations, for that great measure of Truth which we enjoy, especially in those main points between us and the Pope, with his appertinences the Prelats: but he


Put in practice by Antichristian malice and mystery-] Mystery first denoted the associated fraternity of any trade, or handicraft occupation. Afterward, this term shared the fate of the cognate terms, Craft, and Art, degenerating into an ill

It seems now to have expressed wily contrivance, 'tricking management. This may be exemplified from Clarendon :

They found it much easier to transact any thing contrived and " framed by such a Committee, than originally offered and de“ bated in either House, before the mystery was understood.” Hist. of the Rebellion ; I. 604. 8vo. 1807. Again, in Par. Reg.

-" so apt, in regal arts, “ And regal mysteries."

III. 248. By which he glanced, we may infer, at the artes & instrumenta regni, which James I. facetiously phrased King-craft.

who thinks we are to pitch our tent here, and have attain'd the utmost prospect of Reformation, that the mortall glasse wherein we contemplate, can shew us?, till we come to beatific vision, that man


? The utmost prospect of Reformation, that the mortall glasse wherein we contemplate, can shew us.] Our Authour had not in mind merely St. Paul to the Corinthians (1 Ep. 13. 12.) “ For “ now we see through a glass darkly." He thought also of the magical Mirrours which are of not unfrequent recurrence in the fictions of the Romance-writers. Lord Bacon has the same al. lusion : “ I do find therefore in this inchanted glass four idols, false

appearances of several and distinct sorts.” Works ; I. 388. 4to. 1765. In Il Penseroso (o. 113.) he particularizes “ the virtuous Ring and Glasspresented to Canace, among the wonders related by Chaucer in the story of Cambuscan :

“ This Mirrour eke, that I have in min bond,
“ Hath swiche a might, that Men may in it see,
“ Whan ther shal falle ony adversitee
“ Unto your regne, or to yourself also,
“And openly, who is your frend or fo.
“ And over all this, if any lady bright
“ Hath set hire herte on any maner wight,
“ If he be false, she shal his treson see,
“ His newe love, and all his subtiltee
“ So openly, that ther shal nothing hide."

Canterbury Tales ; Tyrwhitt's edit. I. 424. Oxford. 1798. That famous adept in the occult arts, Cornelius Agrippa, was a practiser of these fantastic illusions. In a Glass of the same deceptive kind, he set before the Earl of Surrey, while travelling on the Continent, the fair Geraldine, then in England, ill, reclining on a couch, and reading one of the Sonnets this Nobleman bad addressed to her. See Drayton's England's Heroicall Epistles: Poems. p. 226. fol. 1613.

More concerning these representations, which vie with the exhibitions of the German Illuminati, might be gleaned with little pains from our old Poetry, and old Plays. The instances

by this very opinion declares, that he is yet farre short of Truth.

Truth indeed came once into the world with her divine Master, and was a perfect shape most glorious to look on : but when He ascended, and his Apostles after him were laid asleep, then strait arose a wicked race of deceivers, who as that story goes of the Ægyptian Typhon with his conspirators, how they dealt with the good Osiris, took the virgin Truth, hewd her lovely form into a thousand peeces, and scatter'd them to the four winds.

I bave brought will amply suffice to elucidate the obscurity of Milton's phrase.

3 Truth-was a perfect shape most glorious to look on-] He is alluding to the Beauty of Virtue. Shape was then synonimous to Form. “ The Shapes make as though they would re“ sist, but are all driven in," was one of the original Stagedirections in Comus. In the text he seems to have had Cicero in his thoughts : " Habes undique expletam et perfectam, Tor“ quate, formam Honestatis :" De Fin. Bon. et Mal. II. 15. And be adverts again a little further on to Plato's Eyswhov, of which the Roman Philosopher writes to bis Son, that it was a Form so lovely, that if it were visible it would be sure to excite affection: “Formam quidem ipsamn, Marce fili, et tanquam fa“ ciem honesti vides : quæ si oculis cerneretur, mirabiles amores "(ut ait Plato) excitaret sapientiæ,”-De Off. I. 5.

* As that story goes of the Ægyptian Typhon with his conspirators, how they dealt with the good Osiris, took the Virgin Truth, hew'd her lovely form into a thousund peeces, and scatter'd them to the four winds.] See Plutarch's very curious Treatise on Isis & Osiris.

Milton appears to have caught his application of this apologue from the mystical meaning that Writer elicited out of this fable : Ελληνικον γαρ η Ισις εστι, και ο Τυφων πολεμιος τη θεω, From that time ever since, the sad friends of Truth, such as durst appear, imitating the carefull search that Isis made for the mangl’d body of Osiris, went up and down gathering up limb by limb still as they could find them. We have not yet found them all, Lords and Commons ! nor ever shall doe, till her Masters second comming; he shall bring together every joynt and member, and shall mould them into an immortall feature of lovelines and perfection. Suffer not these licencing prohibitions to stand at every place of opportunity forbidding and disturbing them that continue seeking“, that

και διαγνοιαν και απατην τετυφωμενος, και διασπων και αφανιζων τον ιερον λογον, ον η Θεος συναγει και συντιθησι, και παραδιδωσι TOIS TEROWMEvols JEIWTEWS.— Plutarchi de Iside et Osiride Liber: p. 4. Cantab. 1744. This Bishop Squire rendered as follows: For Isis, according to the Greek interpretation of the word,

signifies Knowlege; as does the name of her professed ad

versary Typho, Insolence and Pride, a name therefore ex.“ tremely well adapted to one, who, full of ignorance and error, “ tears in pieces and conceals that holy doctrine, which the “ Goddess collects, compiles and delivers to those, who aspire " after the most perfect participation of the divine nature."

It is, I see, unnoticed that Stanza XXIV of the Hymn or Christ's Nativity is also formed from this Egyptian Tale.

5 An immortall feature of lovelines and perfection.] See ILLUSTRATION, O.

6 Disturbing them that continue seeking,–] The true force and propriety of seeking is not perceived by those who are unaware that there then existed a class of Religionists, not inconsiderable in numbers, whose imaginations, bewildered in the maze of theological controversy, were unable to settle in any existing mode of belief, and assumed, oddly enough, for a Chris

continue to do our obsequies to the torn body of our martyr'd Saint. We boast our light; but if we look not wisely on the Sun it self, it smites us into darknes. Who can discern those planets that are oft Combust', and those stars of brightest mag.

tian congregation, a distinctive appellation of the sceptical School of Grecian Philosophers, ZYTYTIXO, Seekers.

Bishop Burnet remarks on the founder of this Sect, the younger Sir Henry Vane, that, “ be, set up a form of Religion in a

way of his own, yet it consisted rather in a withdrawing " from all other forms, than in any new or particular opinions

or forms; from wbich he and his Party were called Seekers, « and seemed to wait for some new and clearer manifesta“ tions."- Hist. of his Own Time ; I. 164. fol. 1724.

The Sonnet which Milton addressed to Vune, indicates that they were on terras of Friendship. Can he by" continue to “ do our obsequies"—be thought to profess himself of this persuasion ?

? The Sun it self, it smites us into darknes. Who can discern those Planets that are oft Combust,–] This peculiar phenomenon, the darkness_ occasioned by the too vivid impression of light on the organs of sight, again afforded our epic Poet an image highly poetical; while with a grandeur troly Miltonic he hymns the glory in which the Deity was iosphered.

« Thee Author of all Being,
“ Fountain of Light, thyself invisible
" Amid the glorious brightness where thou sit'st
“ Thron'd inaccessible, but when thou shad'st
“ The full blaze of thy beams, and, through a Cloud
“ Drawn round about thee like a radiant Shrine,
« Dark with excessive bright thy skirts appear,
“ Yet dazzle Hear'n, that brightest Seraphim
Approach not, but with both wings veil their eyes."

P. L. III. 374. Gray transplanted the thought into his Progress of Poesy, but



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