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The system of education which he adopted was deep and comprehensive, it promised to teach science with language; or rather to make the study of languages subservient to the acquisition of scientific knowledge. Dr. Johnson has severely censured this method of instruction, but with arguments that might not unsuccessfully be met. The plan recommended by the authority of Milton seems to be chiefly liable to objection, from being too extensive; and while it makes authors of all ages contribute to the developement of science; it of course must reject that careful selection, which can alone secure the cultivation of the taste. We may also reply to Johnson, that although all men are not designed to be astronomers, or geometricians: a knowledge of the principles on which the sciences are built, and the reasonings by which they are conducted, not only forms the most exact discipline which the mind can undergo, giving to it comprehension and vigour; but is the only solid basis on which an investigation of the laws of nature can be conducted, or those arts improved that tend to the advantage of society, and the happiness of mankind. Johnson says, we are not placed here to watch the planets, or the motion of the stars, but to do good. But good is done in various ways, according to opportunities offered, and abilities conferred ; a man whose natural disposition, or the circumstances of whose education lead to pursue astronomical discoveries, or the sublime speculations of geometry, is emphatically doing good to others, as he is extending the boundaries of knowledge, and to himself, as he is directing the energies of his mind to subjects of the most exalted contemplation.
But if the word 'good' is restricted to the performance of charitable actions, or the fulfilment of moral duties, we may ask, what opposition is there between the practice of virtue, and the pursuit of science ? Every man is bound by the laws of God, and the design of his creation to do good, for this purpose was he placed here; but are men of science therefore unfitted for the performance of their ciyil and religious duties, are they on account of their enlargement of mind or their sublime speculations less virtuous, less selfdenying, or less benevolent than others ?
Is not their occupation itself almost a school of virtue : lessons of civil wisdom, and maxims of prudential conduct will be learnt by all, and is not a man eminently doing good, who is subduing the wild powers of nature under the dominion of skill, diminishing the extent of human suffering, or dissipating ignorance; like Franklin disarming the lightning of its fires, or like Watt binding an element of tremendous power into a safe and commodious form; whose future effects on the social system of the world, even the eye of “trembling Hope' dares not follow. The philosopher whose discoveries in science, can facilitate the communication between distant nations, and carry the arts of civilized life into the bosom of the desert, may well be called the benefactor of mankind ; and what fatal delusions may have been expelled by him, who could first calculate with precision the regularity of the comet's return? The most abstract and exalted departments of science are the foundation of those inventions, that are of practical benefit and vulgar use. 42
12 Johnson's Life of Milton is written with his usual vigour of thought and clearness of expression ; it abounds with many
To a knowledge of the Greek and Latin writers, Milton added a cultivation of the eastern languages, the Chaldee, Syriack, and Hebrew : he made his pupils “ go through the Pentateuch and gain an entrance into the Targum :" • Nor were the best Italian and French authors forgotten. One part of his method, says Johnson, deserves general imitation, he was careful to instruct his scholars in religion. Every Sunday was spent apon theology, of which he dictated a short scheme gathered from the writers, that were then fashionable in the Dutch universities.' Pearce has observed, that Fagius was Milton's favourite annotator on the Bible.
Once in three or four weeks he relaxed from his spare diet and hard study, and passed a day of indulgence with some young sparks of his acquaintance, the chief of whom, his nephew says, were Mr. Alphry and Mr. Miller, the beaux of those times, but nothing near so bad as those now-a-days; with these gentlemen he made so far bold with his body, as now and then to keep a gaudy day.
I am now to pass to that period of Milton's life, in which he first engaged in the controversies of the times; and published a Treatise on Reformation, in 1641, in two books, against the Bishops 43 and Established Church; being wil
just and striking observations ; but it is deeply coloured with prejudice, and the reasoning is sometimes sophistical and incorrect. I am supported in this opinion by Mr. Hawkins ; see Pref, to Newton's Milton, p. 25. ed. 1824. I do not approve of the spirit or manner of Archd. Blackburne's observations.
43 Dr. Symmons considers Milton as the leader of the attack against the prelates ; his tator Young had been one of the victims of the primate's intolerance; and Milton en
ling, he says, to help the Puritans who were inferior to the Prelates in learning ;' in this, his earliest publication in prose, he throws out a hint of something like his great pem, that might hereafter be expected from him. • Then amidst the hymns and hallelujahs of saints, some one may perhaps be heard offering at high strains, in new and lofty measures to sing, and celebrate thy divine mercies, and marvellous judgments in this land throughout all ages.'
In 1641, Hall, Bishop of Norwich, a learned, witty, and eloquent writer, at the request of Laud, published . an humble remonstrance in favour of Episcopacy.' Five ministers, under the title of Smectymnus 44 (a word formed from the first let. ters of their names), wrote an answer, of which the learned and venerable Archbishop Usher 45 published a confutation, called “The Apostolical Institution of Episcopacy;' to this confutation Milton replied in his Treatise of Prelatical Episcopacy. The point at issue was the divine or human origin of episcopacy, as a peculiar order tered in his career, with the blended feeling of private and public wrong, v. Life, p. 226. The fact was, the Puritans were totally unable to compete with such men as Usher, Hall, Bramhall, and others of the established religion in theological learning and knowledge of Ecclesiastical his. tory, as may be seen by reading the controversy ; and they were glad even of Milton's eloquence; for that was all he brought them : and all the young scholar could be expected to bring. “Nec adhuc maturus Achilles.'
4. Stephen Marshall, Edward Calamy, Thomas Young, Mathew Newcomen, and William Spurstow. The 'W'in whose name must be pronounced • 0,' to form the word.
45 Usher, Gataker, and Reynolds, were the three Protestant divines in England, who had the greatest reputation on the continent for their learning ; see Calomies’ Mél. Curieux. p. 834. Their three rivals abroad, among the Protestants, for erudition, were Blondel, Petitus, and Bochart.
in the church, invested with spiritual rights and powers, distinct in kind, and preeminent in degree. He added to this reply another performance, called • The Reason of Church Government * urged against Prelacy.' Bishop Hall published a defence of the Humble Remonstrance, well written and closely argued; and Milton wrote animadversions upon it. These treatises were published in the year 1641.7 It was in his Reason of Church Government that he discovered, as Johnson observes, his high opinion of his own powers, and promised to undertake something that may
be of service and honour to his country. This (he said) was not to be obtained but by devout prayer to the Eternal Spirit, that can enrich with all utterance and knowledge, and send out his Seraphim with the hallowed fire of his altar, to touch and purify the lips of whom he pleases. To this must be added select reading, steady observation, and insight into all seemly and generous arts and affairs, till which in some measure he compassed, 1 represent to sustain this expectation.
From a promise like this, says his biographer, at once fervid, pious, and rational, might be expected the Paradise Lost.'
In 1642 he closed the controversy which I have mentioned, by an apology for Smectymnus, in answer to the confutation of his animadversions, written, as he supposed, by Bishop Hall or his
His friendship for Young I probably led • See Symmons's Life, p. 234. + See Hall's Works, ed. Pratt, vol. ix. p. 641.
# Toland says of his • Reason for Church Government,' the eloquence is masculine, the method is natural, the sentiments are free, and the whole (God knows) appears to have very different force from what the nonconformist divines wrote in those days, or since that time, on the same subject.' v. Life, p. 31,