« PreviousContinue »
that trite maxim, “The best of men are but men at the best;” or of this, “ All is not good that good men do, nor wise that wise men say.” Such things, whether recorded by the pen of inspiration, or of common history, are written for our learning, not for our imitation, but for our admonition, to the intent we should “trust in the Lord with all our heart,” and not to “ lean to our own understanding,” as they evidently did. In regard to matters of faith, we are taught in various ways “not to call any man master, because one is our master, even Christ.”
Such was my veneration for the character of Milton, before I read this “ Treatise of Christian Doctrine,” that I had placed him, as a theologian, in the first rank of uninspired men: I acknowledge my high opinion of him has been greatly lowered, and I could weep over him on account of his having ventured to use his pen to lower the dignity of my Divine Lord, of whom it is written, “ That all men should honour the Son even as they honour the Father;” but how can that be done, without attributing to the Son the same divine attributes, honours, and worship, which we pay to the Father? No one, who has paid any serious attention to these subjects, but ought to confess there are as great, or greater, difficulties connected with every scheme which has been adopted to make them plain to human
reason, as with that which implicitly believes them. That the Son and Spirit, as well as the Father, have divine and personal perfections, and works, ascribed to them in Scripture, cannot be doubted—that the Unity of Jehovah is also plainly stated in the oracles of truth is incontrovertible-but the manner in which these three equal persons make one Jehovah, is not revealed. I consider, however, that revealed doctrines, though mysteries, are to be received, because they are revealed; and because, if they are rejected on the account of their being irreconcilable to reason, the Bible is invalidated as the sole umpire in matters of religion; and consequently, that we are left without a standard by which to judge between truth and error. tainly should be pleased, could any one furnish irrefragable evidence that the manuscript entitled, “Treatise of Christian Doctrine,” was not written by the eminent man whose “superscription," but not whose “ image,” is stamped upon it.
My opinion respecting the unimpeachable integrity of Milton's character, and the unequalled powers of his mind, remains unaltered: as a stern patriot, an ardent lover of his country—as an enlightened Christian, contending for the inalienable birthright of conscience in matters of reli
* It deserves remark, the name of Milton prefixed, nor is the manuscript in his own hand-writing.
gion—as a zealous Protestant, defending the doctrines of the Reformation, and as a genuine believer, “ careful to maintain good works;” I consider him as having realized and exemplified his devout wish mentioned in a former part of this work, “As FOR ME, MY WISH IS TO LIVE AND TO DIE AN HONEST Man."
THE FOLLOWING IS COPIED FROM TOLAND'S
AN EXACT CATALOGUE OF ALL Milton's Works, IN
THEIR TRUE ORDER.
1. Of Reformation in England, and the Causes that
hitherto have hinder'd it. In two Books: written to a Friend
2. Of Prelatical Episcopacy, and whether it can be deduc'd
from the Apostolical Times. 3. The Reason of Church Government urg'd against Pre
lacy. In two Books.
4. Animadversions upon the Remonstrants Defence against
5. An Apology for Smectymnuus. 6. The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce restor'd for the
Good of both Sexes.
7. Tetrachordon; or Expositions upon the four chief places
of Scripture which treat of Marriage, or Nullities in
Marriage. 8. The Judgment of Martin Bucer concerning Divorce.