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the support of royalty, he is to enjoy in return the protection of the state. Is it the law of habeas
which secures to all who were not villiens equal rights ? O no, Dr. Johnson must have known, that whatever blind superstition might have taught him as to passive obedience and nonresistance, that the spirit of English law taught men the love of freedom, and that civil and religious liberty were their inalienable birthright, though they had been robbed of it by despotic rulers.
“But having, by his brother's (the poet's] interest, obtained permission to live in quiet, he supported himself so honourably by chamber practice, that soon after the accession of King James, he was knighted, and made a judge; but his constitution being too weak for business, he retired before any disreputable compliances became necessary.”'
It appears, from this sentence, that Dr. Johnson would have justified the non-resistance of the seven bishops whom James the Second sent to the Tower for their contumacy. “I should not,” said his popish majesty, “have expected this from you !” Nor should I have thought that the ultra tory, Dr. Johnson, would have considered any obedience to the command of a king a disreputable compliance. Is not tyranny the same, whether exercised in regard to religion or civil rights? And I more than suspect, had Dr. Johnson been a judge, as was Sir Christopher Milton, if he would not have united with James's judges, of disgraceful memory, who declared "the laws to be the king's laws;" and have justified his conduct by saying, that the laws taught him “subjection to the higher powers!" I am reminded of one lawyer of this period, who was, in his opinions, the complete opposite to Dr. Johnson. When old Sergeant Maynard waited with his congratulations on William the Third, the king remarked to him, “You must have outlived all your contemporaries in the law.” “May it please your majesty,” replied the con
* Ibid. p. 84.
stitutional lawyer, " and I should have outlived the laws themselves, but for the happy arrival and glorious success of your majesty."
Dr. Johnson then proceeds:
“ He [Milton] went to the university, with a design of entering into the church, but in time altered his mind; for he declared, that whoever became a clergyman must 6 subscribe slave, and take an oath withal, that unless he took with a conscience that could retch, he must straight perjure himself.' He thought it better to prefer a blameless silence before the office of speaking, bought and begun with the practice of forswearing. These expressions are, I find, applied to the subscription to the Articles ; but it seems more probable that they relate to canonical obedience. I know not any of the Articles which seem to thwart his opinions; but the thoughts of obedience, whether canonical or civil, raised his indignation."'*
It should seem that it was Milton's refusal to subscribe ex animo to articles which he did not believe, and to canons which he dared not swear he would implicitly obey, which raised the indignation of Dr. Johnson!" But must not the Dr. have known some of the Articles which seemed to thwart his opinions? I am sure the Twentieth Article, entitled, “Of the authority of the Church,” more than seemed to do so! “The Church hath power to decree rights or ceremonies, and authority in controversies of faith.”+ I am quite certain the Eighth Article thwarted his opinions, entitled, “Of the Three Creeds." "The three creeds, Nice Creed, Athanasius Creed, and that which is commonly called the Apostles' Creed, ought thoroughly to
Johnson's Works, vol. vi. p. 90. + This sentence, which is the key-stone of the arch by which the Established Church is supported, was added no one knows when, or by whom; but it is most likely, had it been dove-tailed on by the authority of the queen as head of the church, some historian or other would have mentioned it. It is not in King Edward's Articles, and I have no doubt is of surreptitious origin!!
be received and believed; for they may be proved by most certain warrant of the Holy Scripture.” The Twentythird, entitled, “Of ministering to the Congregation,” more than seemed to thwart his opinion :-“It is not lawful for any man to take upon him the office of public preaching, or ministering the sacraments in the congregation, before he be lawfully called and sent to execute the same. And those we ought to judge lawfully called and sent, which be chosen and called to this work by men who have public authority given unto them in the congregation, to call and send ministers into the Lord's vineyard.” The Twentyseventh Article, “Of Baptism,” entirely thwarted his opinions :-"Baptism is not only a sign of profession, and mark of difference, whereby Christian men are discerned from others that be not christened; but it is a sign of regeneration, or new birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive baptism rightly are grafted into the church; the promises of the forgiveness of sins, of our adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed; faith is confirmed, and grace increased, by virtue of prayer unto God. The baptism of young children is in any wise to be retained in the church, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ.” In king Edward's Articles, published in 1552, number Twenty-eight, the last clause thus reads: “The custom of the church, to christen young children, is to be commended, and in any wise to be retained in the church.” In this Article, too, the term “ regeneration" is not used in reference to the baptism of infants!!
I am certain the Thirty-fourth Article, entitled, “Of the Traditions of the Church,” thwarted his opinions entirely: " It is not necessary that traditions and ceremonies be in all places one, or utterly alike, for at all times they have been divers, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, and men's manners, so that nothing be ordained against God's word. Whosoever, through his private judg
ment, willingly and purposely doth openly break the traditions and ceremonies of the church, which be not repugnant to the word of God, and be ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly, (that others may fear to do the like,) as one that offendeth against the common order of the church, and hurteth the authority of the magistrate, and woundeth the consciences of weak brethren. Every particular or national church, hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish ceremonies or rites of the church, ordained only by men's authority, so that all things be done to edifying.” The last sentence in quotation marks, is not in king Edward's Article, number Thirty-three!!
I might instance other Articles, as number Thirty-six, entitled, “Of Consecration of Bishops and Ministers;” number Thirty-seven, entitled, “Of Civil Magistrates." In king Edward's Article it is asserted, “The king of England is supreme head in earth, next under Christ, of the Church of England and Ireland." In queen Elizabeth's, it is thus stated, Supreme headship of the first civil magistrate next under Christ,” &c. &c. and is much changed; for which alteration the reason is assigned, because the compilers say they had understood the “ titles” which they had attributed to the queen's majesty had “ offended the minds of some dangerous folks,” [John Fox, the martyrologist, Thomas Cartwright, and hundreds of godly ministers besides them, to say nothing of “the congregation of faithful men.”] “The queen's majesty hath the chief power in this realm of England, and other her dominions, unto whom the chief government of all estates of this realm, whether they be ecclesiastical or civil, in all causes doth appertain, and is not, nor ought to be, subject to any foreign jurisdiction.” • Where we attribute to the queen's majesty the chief government, by which titles we understand the minds of some dangerous folks to be offended: we give not to our princes the ministering either of God's word, or of the sacraments,
the which thing the Injunctions also lately set forth by Elizabeth our queen, do most plainly testify; but that only prerogative which we see to have been given always to all godly princes in Holy Scripture by God himself, that is, that they should rule all estates and degrees committed to their charge by God, whether they be ecclesiastical or temporal, and restrain with the civil sword the stubborn and evil doers."*
I appeal to the candid reader, who is acquainted with the religious opinions of Milton, whether all the above Articles are not in direct opposition toto cælo to those which he has so powerfully maintained. An ingenuous mind would, instead of censuring MILTON for refusing to subscribe what he did not believe, as, by so doing, he would have committed perjury, and that too in regard to matters of “truth, conscience, and God,” have expressed regret that the Articles of the Church were so framed, and the demand of subscription so rigid, that such a good and great man as MILTON should not have been able to undertake the office of minister in it, when he had gone to the university with that design! With his sentiments of religious liberty, and the inalienable right of private judgment, and the sufficiency of the Scriptures alone for all purposes of doctrine and discipline, and especially of the sole headship of Jesus Christ in his church; would it it not have been, I appeal to all unprejudiced minds, and even those of the Church of England, whether it would not have been for Milton to have “subscribed slave,” had he become a clergyman? And was it not more honourable to his own character, however injurious to the interests of the commı?nity at large, “to prefer a blameless silence before the office
* It was not long before the prelates had an opportunity of discovering how discreetly the queen would use this jure divino prerogative. Grindal having expostulated with her majesty, requesting her to mind civil matters, and leave the ecclesiastical to the bishops, was deprived, or, as the queen elegantly expressed it, she “unfrocked him!"