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then? Why, then, "any who have the power," may lawfully do so. "Any" means here those who have no formal legal authority, and the word is put in opposition to the "ordinary magistrate.” And what is meant by "power?" Certainly not power under the laws of England, for under these laws, independent of the doctrine of divine right, the king can do no wrong and his person is sacred. The "power," then, must mean physical power and physical power alone.

It is not my purpose to approve or disapprove of any view which Milton entertained. My only object is to give you to the best of my knowledge what Milton thought, without obtruding any opinion of my own.

The king was executed on the 30th of January, 1649. On the 13th of February following, just two weeks later, appeared the memorable work of which I have just been speaking. Its value was so highly appreciated by the revolutionists, then in power, that Milton received in March following the high position of Latin Secretary of the Commonwealth under Cromwell. But I shall pass over this entire period without notice as being merely an official and ministerial activity and without any special significance to the present


In 1660 came the Restoration and Charles II. Milton was blind and a fugitive. How he escaped when the mob dug up the remains of Cromwell, Ireton, and Bradshaw and hanged them at old Tyburn, when his residence in London was well known, is not easily explained. It is still more difficult to explain how he escaped conviction and death for bigh treason. But he did escape with his treasonable books being burned by royal order of the public hangman.

Milton had now fallen on evil days. In addition to his blindness he was in dire poverty and afflicted with bodily pains. But it is to this period of his

misery that we owe the two immortal books, "Samson Agonistes" and the "Paradise Lost."

Unlike Shakespeare, who was the universal man and leaves no trace of his

personality on his drames, Milton was intensely self-conscious and his personality colors deeply all that he ever wrote. The "Samson Agonistes" is a picture of himself. It is a Greek tragedy written in English; the most perfect of all Greek dramas, says Goethe, since the old Greek tragic writers themselves. Samson had been the hero of the Israelites against the Philistines; Milton had been the intellectual giant of the revolution against divine right. Samson was physically blind, so was Milton. Samson had taken a wife from the Philistines, who betrayed him; Milton had married into a family of rioting cavaliers, and his wife had betrayed him in like manner. Milton's wife had come back to him and pleaded for a reconciliation; he makes Delilah do the same. Samson is fettered in the midst of his enemies; and so is Milton after the Restoration. Both call for retributive justice upon their enemies. Samson destroys them all and perishes with them; Milton would do the same if it were in his power. Samson's ideal was to vindicate the national God of Israel over the gods of the Philistines; Milton's idea had been to establish the free republic over the ruins of kingcraft and priesthood. And what possible picture could the imagination invent to illustrate the utter helplessness and wretchedness of the English people under the despotism of the Stuarts than blind Samson shorn of his strength and grinding in the treadmill?

The "Paradise Lost" is a poem. It is not a treatise of doctrine or theology or an expression of any personal belief on the part of the writer. Milton no more believed in a real garden of Eden, a flesh-and-blood Adam and Eve, and the talking snake than he believed in automobiles and war chariots speeding

through empty space in the distant heavens. But he selected a subject for his grand epic with which everybody was familiar, just as Homer selected the Trojan War and Dante the abodes of departed souls.

Here again Milton's personality is in evidence. The "Paradise Lost" is the lost republic. The hero of the poem is not the conquering Son, who is made a tame and spiritless figure and put to do the machine work of the epic. The true hero is the defeated Satan. The sympathies of the reader are always with Satan, and when Satan exclaims:

What, though the field be lost, all is not lost,

Unconquerable will, eternal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield,

we feel like patting him on the back and calling for three cheers for Satan. And Satan is primarily the defeated revolutionary party and in him Milton speaks.

That Milton did not believe that earthquakes and volcanoes were visitations of God's wrath on men for their sins appears from a contemporary anecdote. It is related that the Duke of York, brother of the king and afterwards James II., once asked Milton if he did not think Almighty God had struck him with blindness as a punishment for his sin of defending the rigicides, and that Milton replied that if God punished men in proportion to their sins then the king was greater sinner than he was, for whereas he had lost only his sight, the king had lost his head.


Milton was not a believer in the Christian religion as it was understood then, nor as it is understood now. I have never seen anything in his own works nor have I ever seen anything quoted from him to justify the commonly received opinion that he ever was a believer. Politically, he associated with the Independents, and he never attacked their religious views. This was natural and reasonable, and there

was no hypocrisy in his silence. "His soul was like a star and dwelt apart." He had refused to enter the church when it was the path of the highest honors. In his correspondence, where he writes to dear friends of his affliction

and his blindness, we find a calm resignation to his fate, but no allusion to a submission to the Dvine will, nor any hint of such a will. One of the most intimate of these friends, Skinner, wrote Milton asking him what support and comfort he found in his blindness. Here, if ever, would have been the time for the expression of the Christian's hope. But we find nothing of the kind. He replies that his consolation is that he lost his eyes by overworking them. in the sacred cause of liberty. Bishop Newton said that in the latter part of his life Milton belonged to no church, attended no church, nor used any religious rite or service in his own family. There was no edifying scene at his deathbed. The priest was conspicuous by his absence. The great Milton died as he had lived, quietly and unostentatiously, resigned to universal law, and without expressing any hope of a blessed immortality of continued life and memory. Genius is lonely and selfcentered.

This, however, is merely negative evidence that Milton did not accept the Christian faith. But there is evidence, positive and direct and beyond all possible doubt, which proves that he did not accept it.

There was discovered in 1823 a manuscript written in Latin bearing the title "The Christian Doctrine Compiled from the Holy Scripture Alone." It was translated and published in 1825 by Charles R. Sumner, D. D., Lord Bishop of Winchester, of the Church of England. It was the work of John Milton; this is certain. Nobody has ever denied or even questioned its genuineness or authenticity. Milton had intrusted the manuscript to his friend Skinner to be published after his death. Skinner

offered the manuscript to the Elzevers, of Amsterdam, who refused to publish it on account of its irreligious doctrine. Skinner probably made other attempts to find a publisher, but failed. At all events, he deposited it in the archives of some public office, where it lay until discovered in 1823.

From the title of the work one might suppose at first sight that Milton accepted the Scriptures as inspired and authoritative. But he did not. He tells us that the plain meaning of these writings is to be rejected whenever it comes in conflict with reason. Reason is the superior and must always prevail. Reason is given us for our guidance, and he says nothing contrary to reason can come from God. He takes precisely the opposite ground to the orthodox, who belittle human reason as feeble, frail, erring, and corrupted by sin, and which must always submit to the authority of the inspired Word. In short, he accepts the written revelation just as he accepts any other book, believing what is in accordance with reason and rejecting what is not.

There was good cause for Milton's not wishing the book to be published in his lifetime. The Lord Bishop of Winchester, the editor of the work, says in his preface:

Some of the opinions will be seen to depart so far from received opinions that they could not have been promulgated at the period when they were written, consistently with the safety of the author. Some of his dogmas, too, are such as even in more settled times would have exposed the writer to possible danger.

Strong as is this statement from the learned bishop, it is not sufficiently strong to express the thoroughgoing, radical opposition to the accepted Christian religion, which the reader will find in this book if he reads it intelligently. I wish I had time to go into it in detail, but must confine myself to a few principal points.

1. He holds that not only the çeremonial law, but also the moral law, was

abrogated, and that love to God and your neighbor takes the place of the old commandments, and that every act and desire which springs from this source is pleasing to God. This means the modern religion of humanity. It means that Christ introduced the law of liberty, and that no external command from any source whatever which conflicts with this love to our neighbor has any moral authority; and of this conflict the individual, governed by the supreme law of reason, is to be the sole judge. The rankness of this heresy needs no elaboration.

2. Milton defines faith as a belief or a conviction of the reality and truth of what is seen in the light of reason. As reason is the supreme law and guide, so faith in reason which will be followed by corresponding conduct, is the supreme and all-embracing duty of man. He illustrates this principle as follows, and I quote his own words. He says:

If I observe the Sabbath in compliance with the Decalogue but contrary to the dictates of my own faith, conformity with the Decalogue, however exact, becomes in my case sin and a violation of the law.

It would not be possible to use a more striking illustration of the superiority of reason to the objective command. The highest law is the voice of God within us. Some of us can remember when this law "had a run," to use a vulgar phrase, in our country when slavery was declared a crime in spite of law, whether human or so-called divine. Mr. Seward called it the "higher law."

3. Milton agrees that the Scriptures teach the resurrection of the body, a day of judgment, and a state of future rewards and punishments. But, interpreting according to the law of reason, he says that death is not the separation of the soul from the body, but that the soul perishes at death along with the body. The acquisition of eternal life by the soul is here and now; but this immortality is not to be conceived as a

conscious personal immortality in endless succession, but a spiritual immortality, independent of and outside of time, the same immortality that is taught in the Upanshads, in Plato, and by the Gnostic Greek fathers of the church; the kind of immortality in which Spinoza, Schleiermacher, and Schopenhauer believed. It is not necessary to enlarge upon what havoc this doctrine makes with the accepted Christian faith.

4. Finally, Milton says that God is unknowable; not partly known, but absolutely unknown, and out of all relation to the human faculty of cognition. We are constrained to think God, he says, as omnipresent in space, omniscient as a personal, conscious being, possessed of intelligence, moral attributes, will and purpose. But, he says, no such being really exists; these are only the subjective forms of our thought. But, though God, as He is in Himself, is unknowable, yet we know His manifestations. And he manifests as material cause, as formal, as efficient cause, and as final cause. These are the famous four Aristolean causes, and I need not tell you that Milton was as well versed in the philosophy of Aristotle as in that of Plato. Milton then believed and taught that ed and taught that all the matter whatever that may be in the universe is God and all the force in the universe which produces motion and change of form in this matter is God; that all consciousness and mind is God; that the universe was not created, but consists of the very substance of God-in a word, that the universe is God and God is the universe. This is a pantheism pure and simple, and nowhere in the whole history of philosophy is there to be found a statement of pantheism more pronounced.

Milton had two great contemporaries, Bacon and Descartes, the one the father of modern science, the other the father of modern philosophy. But greater than both of these was Milton, for it was he who first proclaimed to the

modern world the evangel of human freedom and vindicated for man the inalienable right of the full development and exercise ment and exercise of every latent faculty and active power of the body, mind, soul, and will, which would contribute to his perfection and happiness. And the right of man to develop under the law of nature he did not limit to a ruling class, but declared to be the possession of every individual of the human race. And to accomplish this end he demanded the abolition and extirpation of what he called kingcraft and priestcraft in all their Protean forms, and the substitution in their places of the reign of reason and of natural law.

The world does not know Milton. That small class who shape and control our educational conditions and environment are lynx-eyed to see and swift as hawks to seize and appropriate to their own use and interest the great man whenever he appears. The people are not permitted to learn of the true character and teachings of the heroes of the past. The politics of Kant and Fichte have been relegated to obscurity. An American educator of great name and fame, has edited Rousseau's "Emille,” cutting out all of its heart and life, and then telling us in the preface that his edition contains all of interest and value in Rousseau. When Bobbie Burns was alive the revolutionary poet of democracy--respectable society shunned him, and if fashionable ladies chanced to meet him on the street they switched their skirts to avoid contact with such an undesirable citizen. But now diamonds and silk gowns flash and rustle at his anniversaries.

And some of the same set are claiming Ibsen and saying he was only after the rascals and was a sound conservative. Nor will Bernard naw escape the same lamentable the same lamentable fate when he passes to the other side. The Romish church, after burning the books of Aristotle as their deadliest foe, wherein they were right, afterwards took him.

to their embrace and made his system the basis of their theology. In the same way Plato has been pronounced safe and sane; and the philosophy of Hamlet has been avoided by making him a lunatic. At Jefferson dinners, everything is talked except the true Jefferson, and if he could appear before them in the flesh it would freeze their blood as if they had seen the red. specter. When Constatine saw that Christianity could not be conquered by force, he made friends with it, corrupted it, and made it the police scavenger of the empire.

Oh, little girl, come press my hand,
Here at the close of day,
And sit beside me as the beams
Of sundown fade away;

We'll breathe the nectar from the fields,
And watch the shadows creep,
And I will croon a slumber song
To soothe your golden sleep.

The Soul of the Country

James Tandy Ellis

Far, far away from din and strife— Amid the blissful dream

Of olden ties, of sweet content,

The woodland and the streamThe country's soul, the blest repose

For which the bosom yearns, Where, ever thro' the fleeting years The memory fondly turns.

Such are a few examples from history of how the enemies of the people have stolen and converted to their own use the friends of the people; and of these examples John Milton is not the least.

But this class no longer possess the monopoly of education and culture. Modern democracy is intellectual and inquiring. It is digging into the records of the past and recovering its stolen. heroes. And among these John Milton will shine as the morning star in the firmament of free thought in English literature.

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Oh, love of home; oh, soothing thought
Of blissful quietude,

Where Nature in a warm embrace
Folds you to every mood,

And one blest consolation comes,
One which the heart can save-
The sweetest bloom that gilds the tomb

Is o'er a country grave.

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