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tion Touching Church Discipline in England, for that treatise contains the sublime prayer addressed to the Sacred Trinity: 'Thou therefore, that sittest in light and glory unapproachable, the parent of angels and men; next thee, I implore, Omnipotent King Redeemer of that lost remnant whose nature thou didst a'ssume, ineffable and everlasting love, and thou the Third subsistence of divine infinitude, illumining Spirit, the joy and solace of created things, the one Tripersonal Godhead.'

Johnson must have been thinking of Milton's earlier writings in poetry and prose when he said of him in the Lives of the Poets that he appears not only to have had full conviction of the truth of Christianity and to have regarded the Holy Scriptures with the profoundest veneration,' but 'to have been untainted by an heretical peculiarity of opinion.'

Paradise Lost was published in 1667; Paradise Regained in 1671. In these two famous poems the development of Milton's theological creed is easily traced.

In Paradise Lost he regards the Son not as co-equal or coeternal with the Father, but as a created Being, although created in an infinite past, upon whom the Father had conferred an unspeakable measure of His own divine glory. It is impossible to quote the many passages exhibiting this creed, but the following are enough to indicate what his view of our Lord's Personality then was :

Now had the Almighty Father from above,
From the pure Empyrean where he sits
High Thron'd above all highth, bent down his eye,
His own works and their works at once to view:
About him all the Sanctities of Heaven
Stood thick as Starrs, and from his sight receiv'd
Beatitude past utterance; on his right
The radiant image of his Glory sat,

His onely Son; and again :

Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance fillid
All Heav'n and in the blessed Spirits elect
Sense of new joy ineffable diffus'd :
Beyond compare the Son of God was seen
Most glorious, in him all his Father shown
Substantially express'd, and in his face
Divine compassion visibly appeered,

Love without end, and without measure Grace."
So the Father addresses the Son in such language as this :



O Son, in whom my Soul hath chief delight,
Son of my bosom, Son who art alone
My word, my wisdom, and effectual might,

15 Paradise Lost, jii. 56.

" Paradise Lost, iii. 135-142.

All hast thou spoken as my thoughts are, all

As my Eternal purpose hath decreed : "
Elsewhere He says:

Into Thee such Vertue and Grace
Immense I have transfus'd, that all may know
In Heav'n and Hell thy Power above compare,
And this perverse Commotion governd thus,
To manifest thee worthiest to be Heir
Of all things, to be Heir and to be King
By Sacred Unction, thy deserved right."

With this address corresponds the descriptive passage :

To meet him all his Saints, who silent stood
Eye witnesses of his Almightie Acts,
With Jubilie advanc'd; and as they went
Shaded with branching Palme, each order bright,
Sung Triumph, and him sung Victorious King,
Son, Heire, and Lord, and him Dominion giv'n,
Worthiest to Reign : he celebrated rode
Triumphant through mid-heaven, into the Courts
And Temple of his mightie Father Thron'd
On high; who into Glorie him receav’d,

Where now he sits at the right hand of bliss." Even more clearly is the relation of the Son to the Father described in the words:


But whom send I to judge them ? whom but thee
Vicegerent Son, to thee I have transferr'd

All Judgement, whether in Heav'n, or Earth, or Hell.20 or immediately afterwards :

So spake the Father, and unfoulding bright
Toward the right hand his Glorie, and the Son
Blaz'd forth unclouded Deitie; he full
Resplendent all his Father manifest

Express'd. 21
The energy of the Son in creation is clearly defined in the

following passage :

Thy self though great and glorious dost thou count,
Or all Angelic Nature joind in one,
Equal to him begotten Son, by whom
As by his Word the mighty Father made
All things, ev'n thee, and all the Spirits of Heav'n
By him created in their bright degrees,
Crownd them with Glory, and to their Glory nam'd
Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Vertues, Powers,
Essential Powers, nor by his Reign obscured.“



Paradise Lost, iii. 168. " Paradise Lost, vi. 882-892. * Paradise Lost, x. 63-67.

18 Paradise Lost, vi. 703-709. 20 Paradise Lost, x. 55-57. 22 Paradise Lost, v. 833-841.


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Yet there are passages in which the subordination of the Son to the Father is clearly stated. For instance :

Effulgence of my Glorie, Son belov'd,
Son in whose face invisible is beheld
Visibly, what by Deitie I am,
And in whose hand what by Decreo I doe,

Second Omnipotence." The creation or birth of the Son Himself in time appears from the following passage, where the Father speaks :

Hear all ye Angels, Progenie of Light,
Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Vertues, Powers,
Hear my Decree, which unrevok't shall stand.
This day I have begot whom I declare
My onely Son, and on this Holy Hill
Him have anointed, whom ye now behold
At my right hand; your Head I him appoint;
And by myself have sworn to him shall bow

All knees in Heav'n, and shall confess him Lord.” For here' this day '-i.e. the day on which the Son was begotten -clearly follows the creation of the angelic hierarchy.

There is an approach to the Christology of Paradise Regained in the lines :

Because thou hast, though Thron'd in highest bliss
Equal to God, and equally enjoying
Godlike fruition, quitted all to save
A World from utter loss, and hast been found
By Merit more than Birthright Son of God,
Found worthiest to be so by being Good,
Far more than great or High; because in thee
Love hath abounded more then Glory Abounds,
Therefore thy Humiliation shall exalt
With thee thy Manhood also to this Throne;
Here shalt thou sit incarnate, here shalt Reigne
Both God and Man, Son both of God and Man,
Anointed universal King; all Power
I give thee, reign for ever, and assume
Thy Merits; under thee as Head Supream
Thrones, Princedoms, Powers, Dominions I reduce:
All knees to thee shall bow, of them that bide

In Heaven, or Earth, or under Earth in Hell. 25 For it seems that when Milton wrote Paradise Regained he conceived of the Son, not so much as a superhuman or divine Being, but as a man exalted by his human merit to a pre-eminent participation in the divine glory. The following passages prove the latest stage of Milton's Arianism :

On him baptiz'd Heaven open'd, and in likeness of a Dove 23 Paradise Lost, vi. 680-684.

24 Paradise Lost, v. 600-608. 25 Paradise Lost, iii. 305-322.

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The Spirit descended, while the Fathers voice
From Heav'n pronounced him his beloved Son.
That heard the Adversary, who roving still
About the world, at that assembly fam'd
Would not be last, and with the voice divine
Nigh Thunder-struck, th' exalted man, to whom
Such high attest was giv’n, a while survey'd.
Who this is we must learn, for man he seems
In all his lineaments, though in his face
The glimpses of his Fathers glory shone."
So to the coast of Jordan he directs
His easie steps: girded with snaky wiles
Where he might likliest find this new-declar'd,
This man of men, attested Son of God. 28
He now shall know I can produce a man
Of female Seed, far abler to resist
All his solicitations, and at length
All his vast force, and drive him back to Hell,
Winning by Conquest what the first man lost
By fallacy surpriz'd."
That all the Angels and Ætherial Powers
They now, and men hereafter may discern,
From what consummate vertue I have chose
This perfect Man, by merit call'd my Son,
To earn Salvation for the Sons of men.

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If he be Man by Mothers side at least,
With more than humane gifts from Heav'n adorn'd,
Perfections absolute, Graces divine,

And amplitude of mind to greatest Deeds."
Elsewhere the tempter says :

Opportunity I here have had
To try thee, sift thee, and confess have found theo
Proof against all temptation as a rock
Of Adamant, and as a Center, firm
To the utmost of meer man both wise and good
Not more; for Honours, Riches, Kingdoms, Glory
Have been before contemn'd, and may agen:
Therefore to know what more thou art then man,
Worth naming Son of God by voice from Heav'n,

Another method I must now begin. It is evident that in Paradise Regained Milton does not shrink from speaking of our Lord as man. He can even go so far as to


write :

To whom the Fiend now swoln with rage reply'd :
Then hear, O Son of David, Virgin-born;

For Son of God to me is yet in doubt. 33
2* Paradise Regained, i. 29-37. 27 Paradise Regained, i. 91-93.
* Paradise Regained, i. 119-122. 29 Paradise Regained, i. 150-155.

" Paradise Regained, i. 163-167. si Paradise Regained, ii. 136-139. " Paradise Regained, iv. 531-540. » Paradise Regained, iv. 499-501.

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He does not indeed deny our Lord the title 'Son of God'; but it is part of his theology that that title does not imply essential divinity. He expresses himself as follows :

To whom the Fiend with fear abasht reply'd.
Be not so sore offended, Son of God;
Though Sons of God both Angels are and Men,
If I to try whether in higher sort
Then these thou bear'st that title, have propos’d
What both from Men and Angels I receive."
Till at the Ford of Jordan whither all
Flock'd to the Baptist, I among the rest,
Though not to be Baptiz'd, by voice from Heaven
Heard thee pronounc'd the Son of God belov'd.
Henceforth I thought thee worth my nearer view
And narrower Scrutiny, that I might learn
In what degree or meaning thou art call'd
The Son of God, which bears no single sense;
The Son of God I also am, or was,
And if I was, I am ; relation stands;
All men are Sons of God; yet thee I thought
In some respect far higher so declar'd."


Theological opinion is naturally more or less veiled in poetry; and many readers of Paradise Lost and even of Paradise Regained have, like Johnson, failed to realise the Arianism of Milton's theological position. Whether Coleridge was or was not justified in his dictum that 'John Milton himself is in every line of Paradise Lost,' Milton's theology admittedly lies hidden there. But it is from his treatise Of Christian Doctrine that his actual creed is most plainly ascertainable. The history of that treatise is remarkable. Milton himself entrusted the MS. to his friend Daniel Skinner. After Milton's death, Skinner under compulsion surrendered the MS. to the Government. It lay hid in the State Paper Office until 1823, when it was discovered by Lemon. The treatise, of which the full Latin title is 'J Miltoni Angli de Doctrina Christiana libri duo posthumi,' was translated and edited in 1825 by Sumner, afterwards Bishop of Winchester. It was the discovery of this treatise which gave occasion to Macaulay's celebrated essay on Milton.

The following passage represents perhaps the highest point of orthodoxy in Milton's conception of our Lord's Personality :

With regard to Christ's divine nature, the reader is referred to what was proved in a former chapter concerning the Son of God; and from whence it follows that he by whom all things were made both in heaven and earth, even the angels themselves, he who in the beginning was the Word, and God with God, and although not supreme, yet the first born of every

84 Paradise Regained, iv. 195-200.

35 Paradise Regained, iv. 510-521.

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