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perhaps unloved; if it be told that I am he who engaged, in single combat, that fierce advocate of despotism, till then reputed invincible in the opinion of many, and in his own conceit, who insolently challenged us and our armies to the battle: but whom, while I repelled his insolence, I silenced with his own weapons; and over whom, if I may trust to the opinions of impartial judges, I gained a complete and glorious victory."
But, reader, you must procure for yourself, and study, the writings of this distinguished political teacher. These expositions of liberty; of civil and religious freedom. They should be read and re-read; the nervous strength of this language will impart strength and majesty to your own; the grand exaltation of these thoughts will add dignity to your conceptions; —and the thickly woven mail of these arguments, will be to the young lover of freedom, as a breastplate from the shafts of the traders in servility, and the lovers of despotism. Let him who would grow in the love and knowledge of true liberty come from the heat and poison of public meetings, and the clap-trap of popular demagogues, to the study of Milton; let him give his days and nights to the pondering of these books: he will not approve all—for even
Milton was human. But it may safely be questioned, whether any other uninspired writer, will impart to him so vast a fund of knowledge, set off in so brilliant a casket I
MILTON AND POPERY.
"It is unknown to no man who knows aught of concernment among us, that the increase of popery is, at this day, no small trouble and offence to the greatest part of the nation;" so said Milton in his tract "against the growth of popery." He was placed in the very same dilemma in which some men are placed now. He loved Liberty! He hated Papacy! We suppose his views will not be tolerated in the present day, even by many who hold his general doctrines both in politics and ecclesiastical polity in high estimation; in brief, Milton will not admit a Papist to the same rank of citizenship as a Protestant; he had declared this in his "Defence of the People of England,11 in reply to Salmasius; and now that Charles II. and the Duke of York were pursuing their dark and equivocal policy, he had the boldness to sound an alarm to England. His plea against popery was the last work he published: before we notice this, let the reader remark how explicitly he states his views in his "Defence;" and whatever may be the aspect of popery in England , now, there can be no doubt, that in that day in England, the Papists laboured hard to subvert all constitutional authority. Milton loved civil and religious liberty: evidence was not wanting, that the papists in England of that day loved neither; they wound their tortuous way to the corruption of all that could be dear to the English mind.
He thus speaks of the Papists in the preface to his "Defence of the People of England," published in 1651: "You find fault with our magistrates for admitting such 'a common sewer of all sorts of sects.' Why should they not? It belongs to the Church to cast them out of the communion of the faithful, not to the magistrate to banish them the country; provided they do not offend against the civil laws of the state. Men at first united into civil societies, that they might live safely, and enjoy their libety, without being wronged or oppressed; and according to the doctrines of Christianity, and that they might do so religiously, and they united themselves into churches. Civil societies have laws, and churches have a discipline peculiar to themselves, and far diifering from each other. And this has been the occasion of so many wars in Christendom; to wit, because the civil magistrate and the church confounded their jurisdictions. Therefore we do not admit of the Popish Sect, so as to tolerate Papists at all; for we do not look upon that as a religion, but rather as a hierarchical tyranny, under a cloak of religion, clothed with the spoils of the civil power, which it has usurped to itself, contrary to our Saviour's own doctrine."
In the last work to which reference has been made, he groups together all sects of Protestants: and he enquires, how are they to be tolerated ?" Doubtless equally," as being "all Protestants; that is, on all occasions giving account of their faith, either by their arguing, preaching in their several assemblies, public writing, and freedom of printing."
"Let us now inquire," he says, "whether popery be tolerated or no. Popery is a double thing to deal with, and claims a two-fold power, ecclesiastical and political, both usurped, and the one supporting the other. But ecclesiastical has ever pretended to political. The pope, by this mixed faculty, pretends rights to kingdoms and states, and especially to this of England; thrones and unthrones kings, and absolves the people from their obedience to them; sometimes interdicts to whole nations the public worship of God, shutting up their churches: and now, since, through the infinite mercy and favour of God, we have shaken off this Babylonish yoke, hath not ceased by his spies and agents, bulls and emissaries, once to destroy both king and parliament; perpetually to seduce, corrupt, and pervert as many as they can of the people. Whether therefore it be fit or reasonable, to tolerate men thus principled in religion towards the state, I submit it to the consideration of all magistrates, who are best able to provide for their own and the public safety."
Milton does not interfere with the religious tenets of the Romanist, but with his civil opinions. The Romanist holds his reserved dogmas. The Romanist does not submit to the conditions of simple civil society. The Romanist holds the right of a foreign pontiff to interfere in the affairs of state; to make and unmake kings; to throw a foreign state into anarchy;