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may be in a true church as well as in a false, when men follow the doctrine too much for the teacher's sake, whom they think almost infallible; and this becomes, through infirmity, implicit faith ; and the name sectary pertains to such a disciple.

Schism is a rent or division in the church, when it comes to the separating of congregations; and may also happen to a true church, as well as to a false ; yet in the true needs not tend to the breaking of communion, if they can agree in the right administration of that wherein they communicate, keeping their other opinions to themselves, not being destructive to faith. The Pharisees and Sadducees were two sects, yet both met together in their common worship of God at Jerusalem. But here the Papist will angrily demand, What! are Lutherans, Calvinists, Anabaptists, Socinians, Arminians, no heretics ? I answer, All these may

have some errors, but are no heretics. Heresy is in the will and choice professedly against Scripture; error is against the will, in misunderstanding the Scripture after all sincere endeavours to understand it rightly : hence it was said well by one of the ancients, “Err I may, but a heretic I will not be.” It is a human frailty to err, and no man is infallible here on earth. But so long as all these profess to set the Word of God only before them as the rule of faith and obedience ; and use all diligence and sincerity of heart, by reading, by learning, by study, by prayer for illumination of the Holy Spirit to understand the rule and obey it, they have done what man can do: God will assuredly pardon them, as he did the friends of Job; good and pious men, though much mistaken, as there it appears, in some points of doctrine. But some will say, with Christians it is otherwise, whom God hath promised by His Spirit to teach all things. True, all things absolutely necessary to salvation : but the hottest disputes among Protestants, calmly and charitably inquired into, will be found less than such.

A

TREATISE ON CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE.

COMPILED FROM THE HOLY SCRIPTURE ALONE.

( In Two Books.)

[“In the year 1823, Mr. Lemon, the Deputy-Keeper of the State Papers, when making his researches in the Old State Paper office, chanced to find, in one of the presses, a Latin manuscript, with the title Johannis Milton Angli de Doctrinâ Christiana, ex Sacris Duntaxat Libris Petita. It was wrapped up in two or three sheets of printed paper, with a great many letters relating to the Popish plots of 1677-8, and the Rye House plot of 1683. The parcel also contained a complete and corrected copy of what are called Milton's State Letters, and the whole was enclosed in an envelope addressed To Mr. Skinner, Merchant.” This manuscript proved, on examination, to be the System of Theology which Milton was known to have composed, but which had long been irretrievably lost. We need not stop to consider the evidence by which its authenticity and genuineness were established. Let it suffice to say that there can be no reasonable doubt of the fact that we have here, exhumed from its long entombment in the Record Office, a complete and elaborate Theological Treatise, the production of our great poet.

The period of Milton's history at which this Treatise was composed, is a question of some importance. Have we here the crude and immature opinions of his youth, which he subsequently found reason to recant, or have we the final results of his life-long studies ? Those who are zealous for Milton's orthodoxy, adopt the former alternative. The Treatise contains so many doubtful speculations, and so many heretical doctrines, that we cannot wonder at the desire to antedate the period of its composition, and ascribe it to the immaturity of youth. For many reasons, however, this view seems untenable. The internal evidence is strongly against it. The style is that of his later years; and many of the opinions advocated are those of which we find no trace in his earlier writings, but which are strenuously maintained in his subsequent ones. Again, he speaks of

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the Treatise as being the result of long-meditation, and “a diligent perseverance for years." Its non-publication affords a further argument for its having been written subsequently to the Restoration. He tells us, in the preface, that he designed it for publication. If in existence during the Protectorate of Cromwell, when he enjoyed full liberty of thought and speech, why was it not given to the world as he intended it to be? The censorship of the press, and the stigma attaching to his name and opinions after the accession of Charles the Second, would fully account for its non-appearance then. The handwriting of the manuscript affords a further reason for assigning it to his later years. There is no reason to believe that he employed an amanuensis before the loss of his sight, but in this manuscript the errors are just such as would be occasioned by writing from dictation without the corrections of the author, and it is written in three separate hands, - none of them his own, - probably those of his nephew, Elward Philips, and his daughters Mary and Deborah. If further evidence be needed, we may find it in the stately and dignified Dedication of the Treatise :-JOHN MILTON TO ALL THE CHURCHES OF CHRIST, AND TO ALL WHO PROFESS THE CHRISTIAN FAITH THROUGHOUT THE WORLD: PEACE, AND THE RECOGNITION OF THE TRUTH, AND ETERNAL SALVATION IN GOD THE FATHER, AND IN OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. Milton, in his youth and early manhood, could hardly have spoken in this strain. In his old age, when Europe had been filled with his fame, he might have done so without impropriety.

Against this overwhelming mass of evidence, it is urged, on the other side, that he speaks, in the preface, of having “entered upon an assiduous course of study in his youth, beginning with the books of the Old and New Testament,” and to have proceeded in his investigations for years, till he had, in this Treatise, “laid up for himself a treasure which would be a provision for his future life.” The passage, as a whole, seems to us rather to imply, not that he completed, but that he began the preparation of the work in early life, carried it forward through advancing years, and completed it after his retirement from public affairs, on the death of Cromwell. This supposition meets all the requirements of the case, is in accordance with the known facts of his history, and tallies with the statements of Wood, Aubrey, and Toland. However desirous we may be to acquit Milton of the charge of heterodoxy in his old age, we conceive that the evidence, both internal and external, forbids our ascribing the completion of this Treatise to any period prior to 1660, when he was in his fifty-second year, though he probably commenced it earlier.

It is in two Books, which, together, form a large octavo volume.

The first Book is entitled, Of the Knowledge of God. It consists of thirty-three chapters. The first six discuss the nature of God and the Divine Decrees, then follow chapters on Creation, Providence, and God's Government of Men and Angels; chapters XI., XII., and XIII., treat of Sin and its Punishment; chapters XIV. to XXVIL inclusive, are devoted to Redemption and Justification, in their various aspects; the Church, with its Ordinances, Government, and Laws, occupy five chapters more; the concluding chapter treats of the Second Advent, the Resurrection, and the Final Judgment.

The second Book is entitled, Of the Worship of God. Under the head of Worship, Milton includes the whole range of duty, both human and divine, works of virtue as well as those of piety. This is characteristic of the man. In his view, life was to be one act of worship, and all service to be sacramental in its character. The distinction of affairs into secular and sacred, had no place in his theology. All things were to be alike sacred, and every duty discharged as a religious act. Having in the first chapter defined good works to be those which we perform by the Spirit of God working in us through true faith, to the glory of God, the assured hope of salvation, and the edification of our neighbour,” he proceeds to treat of our Duties towards God, especially worship with its seasons and forms. This occupies seven chapters. The following chapters discuss our Duties toward Man, which are divided into three classes. l. The duties of man toward himself, such as temperance, chastity, and diligence. 2. His private duties toward his neighbour, such as family affection, mutual charity and forbearance, truthfulness in words, and honesty in actions. 3. Public duties as citizens and members of society. Here the Book closes abruptly, as though unfinished.

The general character of Milton's theology, his orthodoxies and heterodoxies, have been so fully considered at the close of the Memoir, that we need not devote more space to this Treatise, beyond simply remarking on its intense Scripturalness. Not, indeed, that his conclusions are always Scriptural, but his arguments are so invariably. Where he fails, it is from misinterpretation of Scripture, not from indifference to it. Many of the chapters are little more than collections of texts arranged under their appropriate headings. In this respect it is a model system of theology.]

ON BAPTISM.

UNDER the Gospel, the first of the sacraments, commonly so called, is BAPTISM, WHEREIN THE BODIES OF BELIEVERS WHO ENGAGE THEMSELVES TO PURENESS OF LIFE ARE IM

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MERSED IN RUNNING WATER, TO SIGNIFY THEIR REGENERATION BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, AND THEIR UNION WITH CHRIST IN HIS DEATH, BURIAL, AND RESURRECTION.

Of Believers.—Matt. xxvii. 19; Mark xvi. 15, 16; Acts viii. 36, 37; Ephes. v. 26; 1 Pet. iii. 21.

Hence it follows that infants are not to be baptized, inasmuch as they are incompetent to receive instruction, or to believe, or to enter into a covenant, or to promise or answer for themselves, or even to hear the Word. For how can infants, who understand not the Word, be purified thereby, any more than adults can receive edification by hearing an unknown language ? For it is not that outward baptism, which purifies only the filth of the flesh, that saves us, but “the answer of a good conscience,” as Peter testifies, of which infants are incapable. Besides, baptism is not merely a covenant, containing a certain stipulation on one side, with a corresponding engagement on the other, which in the case of an infant is impossible ; but it is also a vow,

and as such can neither be pronounced by infants, nor required of them.

It is remarkable to what futile arguments those divines have recourse, who maintain the contrary opinion. They allege (Matt. xix. 14) : “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto Me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” It appears, however, that they were not brought to Him for the purpose of being baptized; (ver. 13): “Then were there brought unto Him little children, that He should put His hands on them and pray;” neither did Christ baptize them, but only put hands on them (ver. 15.) Matt. x. 16 : “He took them up in His arms, put His hands upon them, and blessed them." Seeing, then, that they were neither brought to Christ to be baptized, nor, when received, were actually baptized by Him, it is impossible to admit the sophistical inference, that they were properly qualified for baptism ; or, which is still more difficult to conceive, that not little children merely, but infants are so qualified.

For if competent to be baptized, they are competent on

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