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of her heavenly paces, as she walks, but also makes the harmony of her voice audible to mortal ears. Yea, the angels themselves, in whom no disorder is feared, as the apostle that saw them in his rapture describes, are distinguished and quaternioned into these celestial princedoms and satrapies, according as God himself has writ his imperial decrees, through the great provinces of heaven.”
God has given a law for the discipline and governance of his church, and that law is to be found in the New Testament. God has left other governments to the expediencies of time; but, through all periods and changes of the church “God hath reserved the right of church government to himself.” Prelacy is not to be tolerated from its seeming harmlessness ; what more harmless than the washing of a cup, a custom commanded by long tradition. Yet, the Saviour severely condemned the custom, and declared that the command and service of God were made of none effect, by the tradition. We cannot proceed with his arguments against the interference of the civil power in ecclesiastical causes; or with those on the removal of hirelings from the church. The latter treatise is remarkable for its acuteness, and its learning; it is a noble plea for volun
taryism in the church. Milton does not plead for an unpaid ministry; he knew in fact that a ministry could not be maintained without being paid; but he protests against improper methods of raising the money for the support of the ministry; and against the excess of payment. It is to be observed in the writings of Milton, he writes against no especial creed, against no views of faith, but against intolerant polity : against the payment for religion by taxation. His argument all along is, that religion is powerful enough to support herself; and genuine religion too holy for state inteference.
After enumerating the deliverances which the Omnipotent Redeemer had wrought as the God of Providence in England's behoof, he breaks out in almost superhuman strains :
“And now we know, 0 Thou, our most certain hope and defence ! that thine enemies have been consulting all the sorceries of the great whore, and have joined their plots with that sad intelligencing tyrant that mischiefs the world with his mines of Ophir, and lies thirsting to revenge his naval ruins that have larded our seas ; let them all take counsel together, and let it come to nought: let them decree, and do thou cancel it; let Them gather
themselves and be scattered; let them embattle themselves and be broken, for Thou art with us.
“Then amidst the hymns and hallelujahs of saints, some one may, perhaps, be heard offering up high strains in new and lofty measure, to sing and celebrate Thy Divine mercies and marvellous judgments in this land throughout all ages; whereby this great and warlike nation, instructed and inured to the fervent and continual practice of truth and righteousness, and casting far from her the rags of her old vices, may press on hard to that high and happy emulation to be found the soberest, wisest, and most Christian people, at that day, when Thou, the eternal and shortly-expected King, shalt open the clouds to judge the several kingdoms of the world, and distributing national honours and rewards to religious and just commonwealths, shall put an end to all earthly tyrannies, proclaiming Thy universal and mild monarchy through heaven and earth ; where they undoubtedly that, by their labours, counsel, and prayers, have been earnest for the common good of religion and their country shall receive, above the inferior orders of the blessed, the regal addition of principalities, legions, and thrones, into their glorious titles, and in super-eminence of beatific vision, progressing the dateless and irrevoluble circle of eternity, shall clasp inseparable hands with joy and bliss, in over-measure for ever.”
MILTON A REPUBLICAN.
Our readers will by this time have gathered clearly the nature of Milton's politics. He was a Republican; he regarded the people (and not kings and aristocracies;) as the fountain of power, and no doubt this theory is really held by most of the people of England at this day. His “ Tenure of Kings and Magistrates” unfolds the relative duties of kings and people. Sir Egerton Brydges has a remarkable paragraph upon this, the first of Milton's guinea political books; he says :
“ The very title of this treatise is surely in the highest degree objectionable, and does not in these days require any refutation[?] To say
the truth, this is a part of Milton's character which puzzles me--and no other. This bloodthirstiness does not agree with his sanctity, and other mental and moral qualities. I will not say that kings may not be deposed : but Charles I. ought not to have been deposed, much less put to death. In the poet, however, posterity has forgotten the regicide.”
The title of book objectionable! So then it seems that despotic baronets will still maintain that kings should rule, and governments exist and exercise power, without inquisition ; a very pretty theory truly! But this carries us back to the days of Filmer and Salmasius ; they could say but little more; and as to the deposition of kings, if it be objectionable even to enquire into the tenure of their authority, it is not likely that they shall be removed, however unjust may be their reign. All we have learned to know is, that thrones are ever the safest from shock and violence, when standing in the most perfect blaze of inquiry and light.
But Milton saw that a true Republic can only be established by a true people. “For, indeed none can love freedom heartily, but good men ; the rest love not freedom, but license, which never hath more scope or more indulgence than under tyrants." And it is because