The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, by John Milton

I have something also to the Divines, though brief to what were needfull; not to be disturbers of the civil affairs, being in hands better able, and more belonging, to manage them; but to study harder and to attend the office of good Pastors, knowing that he whose flock is least among them hath a dreadfull charge, not performd by mounting twise into the chair with a formal preachment huddl’d up at the odd hours of a whole lazy week, but by incessant pains and watching in season and out of season, from house to house over the soules of whom they have to feed. Which if they ever well considerd, how little leasure would they find to be the most pragmatical Sidesmen of every popular tumult and Sedition? And all this while are to learne what the true end and reason is of the Gospel which they teach; and what a world it differs from the censorious and supercilious lording over conscience. It would be good also they liv’d so as might perswade the people they hated covetousness, which worse then heresie, is idolatry; hated pluralities and all kind of Simony; left rambling from Benefice to Benefice, like rav’nous Wolves, seeking where they may devour the biggest. Of which if som, well and warmely seated from the beginning, be not guilty, twere good they held not conversation with such as are: let them be sorry that being call’d to assemble about reforming the Church, they fell to progging and solliciting the Parlament, though they had renouncd the name of Priests, for a new setling of thir Tithes and Oblations; and double lin’d themselves with spiritual places of commoditie beyond the possible discharge of thir duty. Let them assemble in Consistory with thir Elders and Deacons, according to ancient Ecclesiastical rule, to the preserving of Church discipline, each in his several charge, and not a pack of Clergie men by themselves to belly cheare in thir presumptuous Sion, or to promote designes, abuse and gull the simple Laity, and stirr up tumult, as the Prelats did, for the maintenance of thir pride and avarice. These things if they observe and waite with patience, no doubt but all things will goe well without their importunities or exclamations: and the Printed letters which they send subscrib’d with the ostentation of great Characters and little moment, would be more considerable then now they are. But if they be the Ministers of Mammon instead of Christ, and scandalize his Church with the filthy love of gaine, aspiring also to sit the closest and the heaviest of all Tyrants, upon the conscience, and fall notoriously into the same sins, whereof so lately and so loud they accus’d the Prelates,[ ] as God rooted out those1 immediately before, so will he root out them thir imitators: and to vindicate his own glory and Religion will uncover thir hypocrisie to the open world; and visit upon thir own heads that curse ye Meroz, the very Motto of thir Pulpits, wherwith so frequently, not as Meroz, but more like Atheists they have mock’d2 the vengeance of God, and the zeale of his people.3 And that they be not what they goe for, true Ministers of the Protestant doctrine, taught by those abroad, famous and religious men, who first reformd the Church, or by those no less zealous, who withstood corruption and the Bishops heer at home, branded with the name of Puritans and Nonconformists, wee shall abound with testimonies to make appeare; that men may yet more fully know the difference between Protestant Divines and these Pulpit-firebrands.

Luther.[ ]

Lib. contra Rusticos apudSleidan. l. 5.[ ]

Is est hodie rerum status, etc. Such is the state of things at this day, that men neither can, nor will, nor indeed ought to endure longer the domination of you Princes.

Neque vero Cæsarem, etc. Neither is Cæsar to make warr as head of Christ’ndom, Protector of the Church, Defender of the Faith; these Titles being fals and Windie, and most Kings being the greatest Enemies to religion. Lib. De bello contra Turcas. apud Sleid. l. 14. What hinders then, but that we may depose or punish them?

These also are recited by Cochlaeus in his Miscellanies to be the words of Luther, or some other eminent Divine, then in Germany, when the Protestants there entred into solemn Covenant at Smalcaldia. Ut ora iis obturem, etc. That I may stop thir mouthes, the Pope and Emperor are not born but elected, and may also be depos’d, as hath bin oft’n don. If Luther, or whoever els thought so, he could not stay there; for the right of birth or succession can be no privilege in nature to let a Tyrant sit irremoveable over a Nation free born, without transforming that Nation from the nature and condition of men born free, into natural, hereditary and successive slaves. Therefore he saith furder; To displace and throw down this Exactor, thisPhalaris, thisNero, is a work well pleasing to God; Namely, for being such a one: which is a moral reason. Shall then so slight a consideration as his happ to be not elective simply, but by birth, which was a meer accident, overthrow that which is moral, and make unpleasing to God that which otherwise had so well pleasd him? Certainly not: for if the matter be rightly argu’d, Election much rather then chance, bindes a man to content himself with what he suffers by his own bad Election. Though indeed neither the one nor other bindes any man, much less any people to a necessary sufferance of those wrongs and evils, which they have abilitie and strength anough giv’n them to remove.

Zwinglius. tom. I. articul. 42.[ ]

Quando vero perfidè, etc. When Kings raigne perfidiously, and against the rule of Christ, they may according to the word of God be depos’d.

Mihi ergo compertum non est, etc. I know not how it comes to pass that Kings raigne by succession, unless it be with consent of the whole people. ibid.

Quum vero consensu, etc. But when by suffrage and consent of the whole people, or the better part of them,a Tyrant is depos’d or put to death,God is the chief leader in that action . ibid.

Nunc cum tam tepidii sumus, etc. Now that we are so luke warm in upholding public justice, we indure the vices of Tyrants to raigne now a dayes with impunity;justly therfore by them we are trod underfoot, and shall at length with them be punisht. Yet ways are not wanting by which Tyrants may be remoov’d, but there wants public justice. ibid.

Cavete vobis ô tyranni, etc. Beware yee Tyrantsfor now the Gospell of Jesus Christ spreading farr and wide, will renew the lives of many to love innocence and justice; which if yee also shall doe, yee shall be honourd. But if yee shall goe on to rage and doe violence, ye shall be trampl’d on by all men. ibid.

Romanum imperium imò quodq; etc. When the Roman Empire or any other shall begin to oppress Religion, and wee negligently suffer it, wee are as much guilty of Religion so violated, as the Oppressors themselves. Idem epist. ad Conrad. Somium.

Calvinon Daniel. c. 4. v. 25.[ ]

Hodie Monarchae semper in suis titulis, etc. Now adays Monarchs pretend alwayes in thir Titles, to be Kings by the grace of God: but how many of them to this end onely pretend it, that they may raigne withoutcontroule; for to what purpose is the grace of God mentioned in the Title of Kings, but that they may acknowledge no Superiour? In the meane while God, whose name they use, to support themselves, they willingly would tread under thir feet. It is therfore a meer cheat whenthey boast to raigne by the grace of God.

Abdicant se terreni principes, etc. Earthly Princes depose themselves while they rise against God, yea they are unworthy to be numberd among men: rather it behooves us to spitt upon thir heads then to obey them.On Dan: c. 6. v. 22.

Buceron Matth. c. 5.[ ]

Si princeps superior, etc. If a Sovran Prince endeavour by armes to defend transgressors, to subvert those things which are taught in the word of God, they whoare in autority under him, ought first to disswade him; if they prevaile not, and that he now beares himself not as a Prince, but as an enemie, and seekes to violate privilegesand rights granted to inferior Magistrates or commonalities, it is the part ofpious Magistrates, imploring first the assistance of God, rather to try all ways and means, then to betray the flock of Christ, to such anenemie of God: for they also are to this end ordain’d, that they may defend the people of God, and maintain those things which are good and just. For to have supreme power less’ns not the evil committed by that power, but makes it the less tolerable, by how much the moregenerally hurtful. Then certainly the less tolerable, the more unpardonably to be punish’d.

Of Peter Martyr we have spoke before. Paraeusin Rom. 13.[ ][ ]

Quorum est constituere magistratus, etc. They whosepart it is to set up Magistrates, may restrain them also from outragious deeds, or pull them down; but all Magistrates are set up either by Parlament, or by Electors, or by other Magistrates; they therfore who exalted them, may lawfully degrade and punish them.

Of the Scotch Divines I need not mention others then the famousest among them, Knox, and his fellow Labourers in the reformation of Scotland; whose large Treatises on this subject, defend the same Opinion. To cite them sufficiently, were to insert thir whole Books, writt’n purposely on this argument. Knox Appeal; and to the Reader; where he promises in a postscript that the Book which he intended to set forth, call’d, The second blast of the Trumpet, should maintain more at large, that the same men most justly may depose, and punish him whom unadvisedly they have elected, notwithstanding birth, succession, or any Oath of Allegeance. Among our own Divines, Cartwright and Fenner, two of the Lernedest, may in reason satisfy us what was held by the rest. Fenner in his Book of Theologie maintaining, That they who have power, that is to say, a Parlament, may either by faire meanes or by force depose a Tyrant, whom he defines to be him, that wilfully breakes all, or the principal conditions made between him and the Common-wealth. Fen. Sac. Theolog. c. 13. and Cartwright in a prefix’d Epistle testifies his approbation of the whole Book.

Gilby de Obedientia. p. 25. and 105.

Kings have thir autoritie of the people, who may uponoccasion re-assume it to themselves.

Englands Complaint against the Canons .

The people may kill wicked Princes as monsters and cruel beasts.

Christopher Goodman of Obedience.[ ][ ]

When Kings or Rulers become blasphemers of God, oppressers and murderers of thir subjects, they ought no more to be accounted Kings or lawfull Magistrates, but as privat men to be examind, accus’d, condemn’d and punisht by the Law of God, and being convicted and punisht by that Law, it is not mans but Gods doing, c. 10. p. 139.

By the civil laws a foole or Idiot born, and so prov’d, shall loose the lands and inheritance whereto he is born, because he is not able to use them aright. And especially ought in no case be sufferd to have the government of a whole Nation; But there is no such evil can come to the Common-wealth by fooles and idiots as doth by the rage and fury of ungodly Rulers; Such therfore being without God ought to have no autority over Gods people, who by his Word requireth the contrary. c. 11. p. 143, 144.

No person is exempt by any Law of God from this punishment, be he King, Queene, or Emperor, he must dy the death, for God hath not plac’d them above others, to transgress his laws as they list, but to be subject to them as well as others, and if they be subject to his laws, then to the punishment also, so much the more as thir example is more dangerous. c. 13. p. 184.

When Magistrates cease to doe thir Duty, the people are as it were without Magistrates, yea worse, and then God giveth the sword into the peoples hand, and he himself is become immediatly thir head. p. 185.

If Princes doe right and keep promise with you, then doe you owe to them all humble obedience: if not, yee are discharg’d, and your study ought to be in this case how ye may depose and punish according to the Law, such Rebels against God and oppressors of thir Country. p. 190.

This Goodman was a Minister of the English Church at Geneva, as Dudley Fenner was at Middleburrough, or some other place in that country. These were the Pastors of those Saints and Confessors who flying from the bloudy persecution of Queen Mary, gather’d up at length thir scatterd members into many Congregations; wherof som in upper, some in lower Germany, part of them settl’d at Geneva, where this Author having preachd on this subject, to the great liking of certain lerned and godly men who heard him, was by them sundry times and with much instance requir’d to write more fully on that point. Who therupon took it in hand, and conferring with the best lerned in those parts (among whom Calvin was then living in the same City) with their special approbation he publisht this treatise, aiming principally, as is testify’d by Whittingham in the Preface, that his brethren of England the Protestants, might be perswaded in the truth of that Doctrine concerning obedience to Magistrates. Whittinghamin Prefat .

These were the true Protestant Divines of England, our fathers in the faith we hold; this was their sense, who for so many yeares labouring under Prelacy, through all stormes and persecutions kept Religion from extinguishing and deliverd it pure to us, till there arose a covetous and ambitious generation of Divines (for Divines they call themselves) who feining on a sudden to be new converts and Proselytes from Episcopacy, under which they had long temporiz’d, op’nd thir mouthes at length, in shew against Pluralities and Prelacy, but with intent to swallow them down both; gorging themselves like Harpy’s on those simonious places and preferments of thir outed predecessors, as the quarry for which they hunted, not to pluralitie onely but to multiplicitie: for possessing which they had accusd them thir Brethren, and aspiring under another title to the same authoritie and usurpation over the consciences of all men.

Of this faction divers reverend and lerned Divines, as they are stil’d in the Phylactery of thir own Title page, pleading the lawfulness of defensive Armes against this king, in a Treatise call’d Scripture and Reason, seem in words to disclaime utterly the deposing of a king; but both the Scripture and the reasons which they use, draw consequences after them, which without their bidding conclude it lawfull. For if by Scripture, and by that especially to the Romans, which they most insist upon, Kings, doing that which is contrary to Saint Pauls definition of a Magistrat, may be resisted, they may altogether with as much force of circumstance be depos’d or punishd. And if by reason the unjust autority of Kings may be forfeted in part, and his power be reassum’d in part, either by the Parlament or People, for the case in hazard and the present necessitie, as they affirm, p. 34. there can no Scripture be alleg’d, no imaginable reason giv’n, that necessity continuing, as it may alwayes, and they in all prudence and thir duty may take upon them to foresee it, why in such a case they may not finally amerce him with the loss of his Kingdom, of whose amendment they have no hope. And if one wicked action persisted in against Religion, Laws and liberties may warrant us to thus much in part, why may not forty times as many tyrannies, by him committed, warrant us to proceed on restraining him, till the restraint become total. For the ways of justice are exactest proportion; if for one trespass of a king it require so much remedie or satisfaction, then for twenty more as hainous crimes, it requires of him twentyfold; and so proportionably, till it com to what is utmost among men. If in these proceedings against thir king they may not finish by the usual cours of justice what they have begun, they could not lawfully begin at all. For this golden rule of justice and moralitie, as well as of Arithmetic, out of three termes which they admitt, will as certainly and unavoydably bring out the fourth, as any Probleme that ever Euclid, or Apollonius made good by demonstration.

And if the Parlament, being undeposable but by themselves, as is affirm’d, p. 37, 38, might for his whole life, if they saw cause, take all power, authority, and the sword out of his hand, which in effect is to unmagistrate him, why might they not, being then themselves the sole Magistrates in force, proceed to punish him who being lawfully depriv’d of all things that define a Magistrate, can be now no Magistrate to be degraded lower, but an offender to be punisht. Lastly, whom they may defie, and meet in battell, why may they not as well prosecute by justice? For lawfull warr is but the execution of justice against them who refuse Law. Among whom if it be lawfull (as they deny not, p. 19, 20) to slay the king himself comming in front at his own peril, wherfore may not justice doe that intendedly, which the chance of a defensive warr might without blame have don casually, nay purposely, if there it finde him among the rest. They aske p. 19. By what ruleof Conscience or God, a State is bound to sacrifice Religion, Laws and liberties, rather then a Prince defending such as subvert them, should com in hazard of his life. And I ask by what conscience, or divinity, or Law, or reason, a State is bound to leave all these sacred concernments under a perpetual hazard and extremity of danger, rather then cutt off a wicked prince, who sitts plotting day and night to subvert them: They tell us that the Law of nature justifies any man to defend himself, eev’n against the King in Person: let them shew us then why the same Law may not justifie much more a State or whole people, to doe justice upon him, against whom each privat man may lawfully defend himself; seeing all kind of justice don, is a defence to good men, as well as a punishment to bad; and justice don upon a Tyrant is no more but the necessary self-defence of a whole Common wealth. To Warr upon a king, that his instruments may be brought to condigne punishment, and therafter to punish them the instruments, and not to spare onely, but to defend and honour him the Author, is the strangest peece of justice to be call’d Christian and the strangest peece of reason to be call’d human, that by men of reverence and learning, as thir stile imports them, ever yet was vented. They maintain in the third and fourth Section, that a Judge or inferior Magistrate, is anointed of God, is his Minister, hath the Sword in his hand, is to be obey’d by St. Peters rule, as well as the Supreme, and without difference any where exprest: and yet will have us fight against the Supreme till he remove and punish the inferior Magistrate (for such were greatest Delinquents) when as by Scripture and by reason, there can no more autority be shown to resist the one then the other; and altogether as much, to punish or depose the Supreme himself, as to make Warr upon him, till he punish or deliver up his inferior Magistrates, whom in the same terms we are commanded to obey, and not to resist. Thus while they, in a cautious line or two here and there stuft in, are onely verbal against the pulling down or punishing of Tyrants, all the Scripture and the reason which they bring, is in every leafe direct and rational to inferr it altogether as lawful, as to resist them. And yet in all thir Sermons, as hath by others bin well noted, they went much further. For Divines, if ye observe them, have thir postures and thir motions no less expertly, and with no less variety then they that practice feats in the Artillery-ground . Sometimes they seem furiously to march on, and presently march counter; by and by they stand, and then retreat; or if need be can face about, or wheele in a whole body, with that cunning and dexterity as is almost unperceavable; to winde themselves by shifting ground into places of more advantage. And Providence onely must be the drumm, Providence the word of command, that calls them from above, but always to som larger Benefice, or acts them into such or such figures, and promotions. At thir turnes and doublings no men readier; to the right, or to the left; for it is thir turnes which they serve cheifly; heerin onely singular, that with them there is no certain hand right or left; but as thir own commodity thinks best to call it. But if there come a truth to be defended, which to them, and thir interest of this world seemes not so profitable, strait these nimble motionists can finde no eev’n leggs to stand upon: and are no more of use to reformation throughly performd, and not superficially, or to the advancement of Truth (which among mortal men is alwaies in her progress) then if on a sudden they were strook maime and crippl’d. Which the better to conceale, or the more to countnance by a general conformity to thir own limping, they would have Scripture, they would have reason also made to halt with them for company; and would putt us off with impotent conclusions, lame and shorter then the premises. In this posture they seem to stand with great zeale and confidence on the wall of Sion; but like Jebusites, not like Israelites, or Levites: blinde also as well as lame, they discern not David from Adonibezec; but cry him up for the Lords anointed, whose thumbs and great toes not long before they had cut off upon thir Pulpit cushions. Therfore he who is our onely King, the root of David, and whose Kingdom is eternal righteousness, with all those that Warr under him, whose happiness and final hopes are laid up in that onely just and rightful kingdom (which we pray incessantly may com soon, and in so praying with hasty ruin and destruction to all Tyrants) eev’n he our immortal King, and all that love him, must of necessity have in abomination these blind and lame Defenders of Jerusalem;as the soule of David hated them, and forbid them entrance into Gods House, and his own. But as to those before them, which I cited first (and with an easie search, for many more might be added) as they there stand, without more in number, being the best and chief of Protestant Divines, we may follow them for faithful Guides, and without doubting may receive them, as Witnesses abundant of what wee heer affirm concerning Tyrants. And indeed I find it generally the cleere and positive determination of them all, (not prelatical, or of this late faction subprelatical ) who have writt’n on this argument; that to doe justice on a lawless King, is to a privat man unlawful, to an inferior Magistrate lawfull: or if they were divided in opinion, yet greater then these here alleg’d, or of more autority in the Church, there can be none produc’d. If any one shall goe about by bringing other testimonies to disable these, or by bringing these against themselves in other cited passages of thir Books, he will not onely faile to make good that fals and impudent assertion of those mutinous Ministers, that the deposing and punishing of a King or Tyrant, is against the constant Judgement of all Protestant Divines, it being quite the contrary, but will prove rather, what perhaps he intended not, that the judgement of Divines, if it be so various and inconstant to it self, is not considerable, or to be esteem’d at all. Ere which be yielded, as I hope it never will, these ignorant assertors in thir own art will have prov’d themselves more and more, not to be Protestant Divines, whose constant judgement in this point they have so audaciously bely’d, but rather to be a pack of hungrie Church-wolves, who in the steps of Simon Magus thir Father, following the hot sent of double Livings and Pluralities, advousons, donatives, inductions and augmentations, though uncall’d to the Flock of Christ, but by the meer suggestion of thir Bellies, like those priests of Bel, whose pranks Daniel found out; have got possession, or rather seis’d upon the Pulpit, as the strong hold and fortress of thir sedition and rebellion against the civil Magistrate. Whose friendly and victorious hand having rescu’d them from the Bishops, thir insulting Lords, fed them plenteously, both in public and in privat, rais’d them to be high and rich of poore and base; onely suffer’d not thir covetousness and fierce ambition, which as the pitt that sent out thir fellow locusts, hath bin ever bottomless and boundless, to interpose in all things, and over all persons, thir impetuous ignorance and importunity .

The End

1 Sec. ed. adds wicked ones.

2 The sec. ed. reads: ‘Blasphem’d the vengeance of God, and traduc’d the zeale of his people.’

3 The first edition ends here.

43. 12. Office of good Pastors. Milton was lavish with advice to ministers to mind their own affairs. Cf. Animad. Rem. Def. (Bohn 3. 78); To Rem. Hire. (Bohn 3. 40); Of Ref. in Eng. (Bohn 2. 393).

43. 15. Huddl’d up. Hurriedly and carelessly thrown together, crowded together without order. Cf. Eikon (Bohn 1. 458): ‘I shall huddle him [the chaplain], as he does prayers.’

43. 16. A whole lazy week. For an attack on Presbyterian divines for laziness, see Observ. Art. Peace (Bohn 2. 196). He calls them ‘prodigal misspenders of time.’ Another vivid description of a lazy minister’s life is given in Areop. (Bohn 2. 80). See also Introd.

43. 16. But by incessant pains, etc.Milton’s conception of the ideal minister. Feeding the flock was a favorite phrase. Cf. ‘The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed,’ etc. (Lycidas 119-127). See also Of Ref. in Eng. (Bohn 2. 393).

43. 20. Pragmatical Sidesmen. Officious or meddlesome partisans. Both words are now rarely used. Cf. Animad. Rem. Def. (Bohn 3. 83): ‘To have a pragmatical voice at sessions and jail deliveries.’ See also Observ. Art. Peace (Bohn 2. 189): ‘The Presbytery of Belfast have not the least warrant to be pragmatical in the state.’

43. 27. Idolatry. In denouncing heresy, divines called it idolatry, and quoted Old Testament texts as applicable to both.

[Pluralities.]See Introd.

43. 33. Call’d to assemble. The Assembly of Divines at Westminster was commissioned by parliament in 1643 to revise the articles, to draw up a confession of faith, a directory of public worship, and a scheme of church government.

43. 35. They fell to progging and solliciting the Parlament. Progging: the modern form is prodding. These divines, he says, began to prod and beseech parliament for a new settlement of the salary question.

‘The Presbyterians were very troublesome, the Parliament being teased every week with church grievances of one kind or another; December 19, 1645, the Lord-Mayor and his brethren went up to Westminster with a representation of some of them, and a petition for redress’ (Neale, Hist. of Pur. 2. 36).

‘See but how these men [Presbyterian clergy] press the committee for plundered ministers, for augmentations and removals from day to day, and how they engage Parliament men to act for them, calling themselves in their certificates and petitions godly, learned, and orthodox divines’ (The Clergy in their Colors or The Pride and Avarice of the Presbyterian Clergy hindering Reformation, p. 41). Cf. Of Ref. in Eng. 2. 413): ‘To prog and pander for fees.’

44. 2. Tithes and oblations. Cf. To Rem. Hire. (Bohn 3. 34).

By the ordinance of Nov. 16, 1646, ‘all tithes appropriate, oblations, obventions, and portions of tithes, etc., belonging to the said archbishops, bishops, and others of the said hierarchy; all which, together with £ 30,000 yearly rent belonging to the crown, they reserve for the maintenance of preaching ministers’ (Neale, Hist. Pur. 2. 36).

Rev. John Goodwin, in The Novice Presbyter Instructed, paints the comfortable condition of the Presbyterian clergy much as Milton does, although he does not accuse them of double livings: ‘Is not the whole English element of church-livings offered up by the state to their service? Are not all the benefices of the kingdom appropriated to their order? And all others thrust out of doors to make room for them’? (quoted by Neale, Ib. 2. 45).

[Double-lin’d themselves.]Accepted two or more benefices.

44. 3. Places of commoditie. Positions of selfish benefit, profit, interest. Cf. Reas. of Ch. Govt. (Bohn 2. 474): ‘To their great pleasure and commodity.’

Commodity. Cf. Eikon (Bohn 1. 315).

44. 5. Consistory. Original meaning in Latin was standing place, waiting-room, whence meeting place of the emperor’s council, the emperor’s cabinet. Later it was used to signify meetings of ecclesiastical bodies, such as the pope’s senate, or a bishop’s court; in the Reformed, Genevan, or Presbyterian polity, a court of presbyters. According to Milton, the consistory was equivalent to the Scotch kirk-session. The minister, ‘each in his several charge,’ presides, and he and his elders and deacons adjudicate upon questions of discipline which concern the members of the congregation. Cf. Reas. of Ch. Govt. (Bohn 3. 465): ‘Every parochial consistory is a right homogeneous and constituting part, being in itself, as it were, a little synod.’

44. 9. To belly cheare. To feast luxuriously. When the Presbyterian ministers met at Sion College, they not only talked politics, promoted designs, i. e., discussed ways and means of furthering the ends of their denomination, but refreshed the inner man as well. Cf. Animad. Rem. Def. (Bohn 3. 81): ‘A race of Capernaïtans, senseless of divine doctrine, and capable only of loaves and belly-cheer.’

See his amusing sketch of the well-fed chaplain in Areop. (Bohn 2. 85, 86).

44. 9. Thir presumptuous Sion. The several classes, or presbyteries, of London held their provincial assembly twice a week in Sion College in London from 1647-1659. From Sion College the Presbyterian ministers issued several tracts —Serious and Faithful Representation, etc. The epithet here probably refers to these writings. According to Leak’s Map of London, 1666, ‘Sion Collidge’ stood at the corner of Cripplegate Street and Philip Lane.

44. 15. The printed letters. A contemptuous reference to the sententious style and poverty of thought in the Serious and Faithful Representation, the Vindication of the Ministers of the Gospel, and possibly to the tract issued by the ministers of Lancashire.

44. 21. The heaviest of all tyrants. For an account of the intolerance of the Presbyterians, see Neale, Hist. Par. 2. 44. especially the extract from A Testimony to the Truth of Jesus Christ.

44. 23. Meroz. See 45. 17.

45. 2. Those abroad. Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Bucer, etc.

45. 8. To make appeare. Relates to first clause in the sentence. The citations from the Protestant reformers, he says, will prove that the Presbyterians are not what they profess to be — true Protestant ministers.

45. 10. Luther. (1483-1546). In Apol. Smect. (Bohn 3. 130), Milton praises ‘the tart rhetoric’ of Luther’s style.

45. 11. Sleidan. See 28. 6.

45. 12. Is est hodie, etc.From Luther’s answer to the grievances of the Boors, who, in 1525, under the leadership of Thomas Munzer, advanced the doctrine that all goods should be had in common. Sleidan, in Book 5 of his Hist. of the Reformation, gives the substance of Luther’s advice to the Munzerians. The impression one gets from reading Luther’s words is quite the contrary of the doctrine supported by Milton. In the strongest possible manner Luther teaches obedience to the magistrate. He says, ‘God reserves all vengeance to himself, and the Scripture commands us to obey the magistrate, though he be wicked’; also, ‘It is indeed the duty of Christians to suffer and bear the cross, not to resist, revenge, nor smite with the sword’ (Bk. 5, p. 92). When Luther had answered the Socialists, he addressed likewise a monitory to the princes and nobility, pointing out to them the folly of their course in grinding the faces of the poor. It is in the course of his warnings that he uses the words quoted by Milton: ‘For this is now the present state of affairs, that men neither can, nor will, nor indeed ought to suffer our arbitrary rule any longer.’ Further on he says: ‘For my part, I have from the very first always taught modestly, abhorred all seditions, and earnestly exhorted the people to obedience to their Magistrates; nay, and advised them too, to bear with your wicked and tyrannical Dominations’ (p. 94). In spite of Luther’s advice to the people the Boors arose in armed rebellion. ‘Then published Luther another Book; wherein he exhorted and incited all men to hasten to the destruction of those villanous Traytors, Robbers and Parricides, as they would run to the quenching of a publick Fire. — He tells the Magistrates that they should not scruple nor fear to set upon and suppress that Seditious Rabble: That it was properly their Duty to do so: Nor was it lawful only for them, but also for every private Man, by any way whatsoever to kill a Rebel, because Rebellion was the greatest of Evils that could happen in a State’ (p. 96). It can be seen, therefore, that in this place Milton is committing the sin for which he reproaches his opponents, wresting authorities to his own purpose in a most unscrupulous manner. If Milton had quoted from Luther’s later writing, he might have found some justification for his parade of the father of the Reformation as an authority. In later years Luther modified his views on passive obedience. He was obliged to admit that self-defence sometimes became the right of the Christian, and especially was this so in the case of tyranny (see Luther, Table Talk, trans. Hazlitt, sec. 828, p. 333). While teaching the duty of passive obedience, Luther frequently declares his contempt for princes. ‘They are,’ he says, ‘usually the biggest fools or the worst knaves on earth’ (Werke, Weimar, 11. 257-268).

45. 16. Neque vero Caesarem, etc.After ‘titles’ add, ‘And injurious to Christ, who alone defends his own Church.’ Milton omitted this phrase, as it would scarcely suit his purpose (Sleidan 14. 294). This is a quotation from a little book issued by Luther in in 1542, A Military or Camp-Sermon on the War against the Turks. In this very book he counsels obedience to magistrates, asserting that a Christian ought not to resist evil, but suffer all patiently (p. 293). Milton is disingenuous also in the use of this quotation. Luther could criticize kings, but in this book, and at all times, he strenuously upheld the power of the king as superior to the papacy and to the people.

45. 22. Cochlæus. Johannes Dobeneck (1480?-1552). A voluminous German scholar in philosophy and theology. He was a stout opponent of Martin Luther and other reformers. He proposed a debate to Luther, the condition being that the vanquished should be burnt alive.

Dobeneck’s book, referred to by Milton, is not extant, so far as I have been able to discover.

45. 29. He could not stay there. His argument would apply to hereditary kings also.

46. 2. Phalaris. A tyrant of Agrigentum, who reigned 565-549 Legend credits him with ferocious cruelty. He imprisoned captives within a brazen bull, and then heated the metal until they were roasted. He was supposed to have written a series of letters justifying tyranny. In the 18th century, Bentley proved that these letters were a forgery.

[Nero.]See 5. 29.

46. 16. Zwinglius. Ulrich von Zwingli (1484-1531), the Swiss reformer. His principal writing was Commentarius de Vera et Falsa Religione. ‘We have looked so long upon the blaze that Zwinglius and Calvin have beaconed up to us, that we are stark blind’ (Areop.: Bohn 2. 90).

46. 17. Quando vero perfide, etc.For the first five quotations from Zwingli, see his Opera, ed. Schuler and Schulthess, 1. 42. 380.

46. 25. God is the chief leader in that action. The Latin phrase is Deo fit auspice. Otherwise the translation is literal.

47. 6. Romanum imperium, etc.See Opera 8. 493. The title of the letter is, Zwinglius Conrado Somio et Simperto Memmingensi. Zwingli’s teaching on this question is expressed concisely in The Acts of the First Zürich Disputation: ‘To magistrates all Christians owe obedience without exception, in so far as they do not command that which is contrary to God. If they give good advice and help to those for whom they must account to God, then these owe to them bodily assistance. But if they are unfaithful and transgress the laws of Christ, they may be deposed in the name of God’ (S. M. Jackson, Selected Works of Zwingli, p. 115).

47. 11. Calvin (1509-1564).

47. 12. Hodie monarchae, etc.See Calvin, Prælectiones in Librum Prophetiarum Danielis, p. 60. Comment on Dan. 4. 25.

47. 22. Abdicant se terreni principes, etc.Ib. p. 91. This quotation is incomplete. The original sentence is as follows: ‘Potius ergo conspuere oportet in ipsorum capita, quam illis parere, ubi ita proterviunt ut velint etiam spoliare Deum jure suo, & quasi occupare solium ejus, acsi possent eum e cælo detrahere. Nunc ergo tenemus sensum hujus loci.’ Comment on Dan. 6. 26.

For Calvin’s advocacy of passive obedience to established authority, even to the worst tyrants, see Institutes, chap. 20, parts 25 and 31. See Introd.

47. 27. Bucer. Martin Bucer, the Alsatian reformer (1491-1551). A Dominican converted to the reformed faith by the writings of Erasmus and Luther. In 1522, as a preacher to the people of Wissemburg, a free city of Alsatia, he attained great success. Later he became a pastor in Strasburg. He endeavored to effect a union between the Lutherans and Zwinglians. In concert with the landgrave, Philip of Hesse, he also tried to establish peace between the Protestants and Catholics of Germany, but without success. Invited to England by Cranmer in 1549, he became professor of theology at Cambridge, where he spent the rest of his life. Bucer was consulted by Henry VIII about his divorce. His views on this question were used by Milton. On 15 July, 1644, Milton issued a tract entitled, The Judgement of Martin Bucer concerning Divorce. Of the 40 small quarto pages, 24 consisted of abridged translations by Milton of certain passages from Martin Bucer. He also includes in the pamphlet six pages of ‘Testimonies of the high approbation which learned men have given of Martin Bucer.’

47. 28. Si princeps superior, etc.See Sacra Quatuor Evangelia, ed. 1553, p. 55. Bucer’s comments on the magistrate, as quoted by Milton, occur in his commentary on the phrase, ‘Resist not evil’ (Matt. 39. 5).

48. 4. Pious magistrates. Bucer says it is the part of pious princes and magistrates (pii principes et magistratus) where Milton mentions only magistrates.

48. 12. Peter Martyr. See 30. 12.

48. 13. Paraeus. David Pareus (1548-1622) became professor of theology in Heidelberg in 1598. He endeavored to unite the Lutheran and Reformed churches. Some of his theological works are not extant. The only complete edition of his works is a folio published in Frankfurt in 1647 by his son Philip.

Milton has not reproduced the entire passage, which is as follows: ‘Quorum est constituere magistratus, eorum etiam est, enormiter grassantes cohercere, aut tollere, (si non desistant grassari contra Deum, et contra rempublicam). Constituuntur autem vel per senatum, vel per electores, vel per alios magistratus. Ergo hi recte faciunt, cum cohercent aut tollunt grassatores.’ (‘Davidis Parei in Divinam ad Romanos S. Pauli Apostoli Epistolam Commentarius,’ Opera Theologicorum, art 2, p. 306).

But Pareus proceeds to forced resistance to tyrants by private persons, instancing David, who, a private person, would not lift his hand against the Lord’s anointed. The only remedy was to take action through the constituted authorities (see ib., p. 307).

See Reas. of Ch. Govt. (Bohn 2. 497) where Milton speaks of ‘the grave authority of Pareus, commenting that book’ (the Book of Revelation). Pareus is also quoted on divorce law (Bohn 3. 187).

48. 21. Knox. In Observ. Art. Peace, Milton says that John Knox ‘taught professedly the doctrine of deposing and killing kings’ (Bohn 2. 196).

[Whose large treatises.]See Knox, The First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women, 1552. This book appeared in the same year as Christopher Goodman’s How Superior Powers ought to be Obeyed; and both declare the regiment [government] by women contrary to the teaching of the Bible. See also Certain Questions Concerning Obedience to Lawful Magistrates, with Answers by Bullinger, 1554 (Works of Knox, ed. Laing, 3. 217 ff.).

48. 25. Knox appeal; and to the reader. The Appellation of John Knoxe from the cruell and most unjust sentence pronounced against him by the false bishoppes and clergy of Scotland, with his supplication and exhortation to the nobilitie, and comunaltie of the same realme. Printed at Geneva, 1558, In the same volume is published Anthony Gilby’s An Admonition to England and Scotland, to call them to Repentance. The summary of the proposed Second Blast of the Trumpet is printed at the end of the Admonition, and is headed, John Knoxe to the Reader. Milton has given the substance of the four brief points, the last of which is as follows: ‘But if either rashely they have promoted any manifest wicked personne, or yet ignorantly have chosen such a one, as after declareth himself unworthie of regiment above the people of God, and such be all idolaters and cruel persecuters, moste justely may the same men depose and punish him, that unadvysedly before they did nominate, appoint, and electe’ (Works of Knox, ed. Laing, 4. 539, 540).

48. 33. Cartwright. Thomas Cartwright (1535-1603) was the greatest preacher and writer among the early Puritans. As professor of divinity in Cambridge, he built up a party opposed to the constitution and hierarchy of the Anglican Church. Driven from his college by the prelates, he visited Geneva, but soon returned to England and became involved in religious controversy. Forced into exile in 1573, he became minister of churches in Antwerp and Middelburg. Returning once more to England in 1585, he was for a time imprisoned, but spent his last years in affluence and peace. As an upholder of the Presbyterian form of church government, he was the most influential writer and thinker of his party.

[Fenner.]Dudley Fenner (1558?-1587), a celebrated tutor in Cambridge. Owing to his support of Cartwright’s doctrines, he was obliged to leave the university before taking a degree. He followed Cartwright to Antwerp, where he was a minister of the Reformed Church. Returning to England about 1583, he became a curate of the established church, but, refusing, to subscribe to articles drawn up by Whitgift, he was imprisoned for some months. On his release he retired to Middelburg, where he became minister of the Reformed Church. Here he died in 1587. The work cited by Milton was Fenner’s masterpiece, in the composition of which he spent seven years. Fenner wrote many treatises, and is regarded as one of the ablest of the early Puritan apologists.

49. 1. Book of Theologie. Sacra Theologia, sive Veritas quae est Secundum Pietatem, 1586. With introductory epistle by ‘his loving brother,’ Thomas Cartwright.

The quotation is from 5. 13. 81: ‘Monarchiæ leges propriæ sunt.’

49. 6. Cartwright in a prefix’d Epistle, etc.He addresses Fenner as ‘Ornatissimo et clarissimo fratri, et in ministerio collegæ, Domino Dudleio Fennero.’ Cartwright occupies most of the preface of eight small quarto pages in describing the qualities of mind and heart requisite to a great theologian. The art of the theologian he asserts to be the most difficult of all intellectual pursuits, and compares the queen of the sciences with other branches of learning.

49. 9. Anthony Gilby (1510-1585?).Gilby early became a pamphleteer, in opposition to Bishops Gardiner and Hooper. During Mary’s reign he was forced into exile. He joined the English congregation at Frankfort, and assisted in the translation of the Bible, known as the Genevan version, first printed in 1560. Returning to England not later than 1564, he became vicar of Ashby in Leicestershire. Thomas Fuller, in his Worthies of England (Lincolnshire, p. 167), mentions Gilby as being, after his return from exile, ‘a fierce, fiery, and furious opposer of the Church Discipline established in England.’ In his Church History Fuller refers to Gilby, Whittingham, and Goodman as the fierce (not to say furious) sticklers against church discipline. These three he says, ‘were certainly the Antesignani of the fierce Non-Conformists.’ Owing to dissension in the congregation at Frankfurt, Gilby, Goodman, Whittingham, and others, with their families, moved to Geneva in 1555. Here they erected a church and formed a congregation. Christopher Goodman and Anthony Gilby were appointed ‘to preach the Word of God and minystyre the Sacraments’ in the absence of John Knox (Works of Knox. ed. Laing, 4. 147. In the full list of Gilby’s works, catalogued by Laing in his Works of John Knox (4. 548-550), no mention is made of such a title. The quotation must be drawn from one of the numerous books where he touches upon this topic. In his pamphlet, An Admonition to England and Scotland to call them to Repentance (re-printed in full by Laing 4. 553 ff.), Gilby takes the same ground as Knox and Goodman.

49. 12. England’s Complaint against the Canons. This book is not extant. Neither the British Museum Catalogue nor the catalogue of the Thomas Collection mentions it.

49. 15. Christopher Goodman (1520?-1603).Professor of divinity at Oxford, he was driven into exile by the Marian persecution, and lived at Strasburg. Afterwards joining the schism of reformers at Frankfort, he and other English exiles withdrew to Geneva. Here he and Knox became pastors and close friends. Goodman’s tract, quoted by Milton, was published in the same year as Knox’s First Blast of the Trumpet (1558), and both pamphlets were circulated secretly in England. In 1559 Goodman went to Scotland on the invitation of Knox, and became minister of Ayr, but preached in various parts of Scotland. Later he returned to England, and became archdeacon of Richmond. Tried on a charge of unconformity in 1571, he was obliged to make a full recantation of his published opinions. His later years were spent in peace, and he died at a great age in 1603.

[Of Obedience.]The complete title is, How Superior Powers ought to be Obeyd of their Subjects: and Wherin they may lawfully by Gods Worde be disobeyed and resisted.

49. 16. When Kings or Rulers. Ib. chap. 10, pp. 139-140.

49. 22. By the civil laws a foole or Idiot born, etc.Ib. chap. 11, pp. 143-144. The quotation is correctly given.

49. 33. No person is exempt, etc.Ib. chap. 13, p. 184. Milton has suppressed the condition under which the ruler is to be punished — that is, either openly or privately known to be an idolater.

50. 8. When Magistrates cease to doe thir duty, etc.The whole sentence, as it stands in the original, is not quoted, but the suppressed clauses are unimportant (ib., chap. 13, p. 185).

50. 13. If princes doe right, etc.‘For this cause have you promised obedience to your Superiors, that they might herein helpe you: and for the same intent have they taken it upon them. If they will so do, and keepe promisse with you accordinge to their office, then do you owe unto them all humble obedience: If not, you are discharged, and no obedience belongeth to them: because they are not obedient to God, nor be his ministers to punishe the euell, and to defend the good. And therefore your study in this case, oght to be, to seeke how you may dispose and punishe according to the Lawes, such rebells agaynst God, and oppressors of your felues and your countrie (ib., chap. 13, p. 190). Notice how Milton has added and suppressed phrases.

The principal teachings of this book are set forth in chap. 5, and may be summed up as follows:

(1) To obey man in anything against God is unlawful, and plain disobedience.

(2) God requires his people to choose such a king as the Lord doth appoint, and not as they fancy. We can judge whether a king is God’s choice by God’s word. He should be

(3) The government of women is against nature and God’s ordinances, for God appointed woman to be in subjection to her husband. The title of the crown belongeth only by God’s word to the heirs male. Queen Mary is ‘a bastard.’

See Goodman’s partial recantation of some of the doctrine of this book in Strype, Annals 1. 184 (vol. 7, ed. 1824).

50. 32. Among whom Calvin, etc.Although he does not make a direct statement, Milton tries to convey the impression that Calvin, among others, sanctioned Goodman’s book. But Milton knew perfectly well that Calvin would never have stamped with his approval such revolutionary doctrines.

50. 35. Whittingham. William Whittingham (1524?-1579), a noted Oxford scholar, was obliged to flee to the continent in the reign of Queen Mary. He became a leader among the Frankfort exiles. He and Knox led an opposition party against the use of the prayer-book. Owing to the schism created, he withdrew to Geneva with Knox, Goodman, and other dissentients. In 1559, he succeeded Knox as minister in Geneva, where he took a prominent part in the translation of the Geneva Bible. He returned to England in 1560, and three years later was made Dean of Durham. He was brought to trial by a royal commission in 1578 on charges of adultery and drunkenness. Before any verdict was rendered, he died in 1579.

51. 3. In Prefat. ‘When M. Christopher Goodman, one of our ministers, according to the course of the text, expounded both faithfully and comfortably this place of the Actes of the Apostles, Judge whether it be juste before God to obey you rather than God, certeyne learned and godly men moste instantly, and at sondry tymes required him to dilate more at large that his sermon, and to suffre it to be printed, that not onely we here present, but our bretherne in England and other places might be persuaded in the trueth of that doctrine concerninge obedience to the magistrat, and so glorifie God with us.’

51. 19. Preferments of their outed predecessors. Ecclesiastical appointments once held by the ministers of the established church, who were driven out because they remained loyal to the king’s cause.

51. 26. A Treatise called Scripture and Reason. The complete title is, ‘Scripture and Reason pleaded for Defensive Armes: or the whole Controversie about Subjects taking up Armes. Wherein besides other Pamphlets, an Answer is punctually directed to Dr. Fernes Booke, entitled, Resolving of Conscience, etc. Published by divers Reverend and Learned Divines.’ This book was ordered to be printed by the Committee of the House of Commons concerning Printing on April 14, 1643.

51. 27. Seem in words to disclaime, etc.In the preface, the authors appeal to their congregations and sermons ‘whether wee have taught any thing, but humble and holy obedience to all just and lawfull authority.’ They declare that they are not preachers of sedition, not troublers of Israel; on the contrary they pray for the peace of our king. See also pp. 37, 64.

51. 30. For if by scripture, etc.An elaborate exegesis of Rom. 13. 1-7 is given in this pamphlet. See pp. 3-6. Passive obedience to the powers that be is enjoined in civil matters, but subjects are not to be bound to suffer tyrannous violence.

52. 8. Amerce him. To be amerced was originally to be at the mercy of any one as to amount of fine; hence the active to amerce, to fine arbitrarily or according to one’s own estimate. Here the fine imposed upon the king is the loss of his kingdom. Cf. Observ. Art. Peace (Bohn 2. 194): ‘To punish and amerce by any corporal infliction.’

52. 23. This golden rule. The rule of proportion. Cf. Barnard Smith, Arithmetic, p. 196: ‘Almost all questions which arise in the common concerns of life, so far as they require calculation by numbers, might be brought within the scope of the Rule of Three, which enables us to find the fourth term in a proportion, and which on account of its great use and extensive application is often called the Golden Rule.’ The same phrase is used in Areop. (Bohn 2. 90).

52. 26. Euclid. Euclid of Alexandria, author of the celebrated work, Elements of Geometry. According to Proclus he lived from 328 to 283, and was one of the Platonic school.

52. 27. Apollonius. Apollonius Pergæus, ‘the great geometer,’ was a native of Perga in Pamphylia, and flourished in the second century He was author of a treatise on conic sections which is still extant.

52. 28. Being undeposable but by themselves. ‘And this Parliament (what ever other might bee) is not deposeable [dissoluble] but by themselves. The Sword cannot be Legally taken from them till they give it up’ (Scripture and Reason, p. 38). ‘The parliament is bound in conscience to prevent Tyranny, and preserve themselves, and Religion, Lawes and Liberties’ (ib., p. 38). ‘They are empowered to take away the wicked from before the king. The sword may also be taken out of the hand of God’s anointed till it hath beene sufficiently imployed, to punish those Malefactors and delinquents which he should, but will not strike with it, or rather will defend and imploy.’ In the sentence, however, we read that ‘they may Legally and Lawefully take the sword into theyr hands; and doe not take it out of the Kings, but his wicked Followers’ (ib., pp. 37, 38). It is this sort of quibbling which Miltons condemns.

52. 32. Unmagistrate. Cf. ‘unking the king,’ 35. 5.

53. 11. By what rule, etc.‘By what rule of conscience or God is a State bound to sacrifice Religion, Laws and Liberties rather than endure that the Princes life should come into any possibilities of hazard, by defending them against those, that in his name are bent to subvert them? If he will needs thrust upon the hazard, when he needs not, whose fault is that?’ (ib., p. 19). See also p. 20.

53. 16. These sacred concernments. Religion, laws, and liberties. Concernments, interests. To Rem. Hire (Bohn 3. 2, 22).

53. 19. The Law of Nature. That which is eternal and immutable, an embodiment of some universal human feeling. Positive laws were composed of human and of divine statutes. See Grotius, De Jure Belli 1. 8. 8. and 1. 4. 3. Cf. Sec. Def. (Bohn 1. 264), and Observ. Art. Peace (Bohn 2. 190). Milton alludes to Scripture and Reason, p. 51: ‘But how humane Laws made without or against God’s Authority, can hinder me from the liberty granted me by the Law of Nature, to defend myself from outrageous Violence, being altogether an Innocent, I cannot see, specially in a case concerning God’s immediate Honour as well as my safety.’

54. 2. A Judge or inferior Magistrate, etc.‘Saint Peter names Governours to be submitted to for the Lord’s sake, as well as the Supreme’ (Scripture and Reason p. 33).

54. 5. St. Peter’s rule. 1 Pet. 2. 13, 14.

54. 15. In a cautious line or two. The justification of resistance to tyranny is plainly urged.

54. 18. See Scripture and Reason, p. 4. For further references to tyrannical rulers and the right of the Christian to resist them, see ib., pp. 2, 6, 9, 10, 20, 21, 27, 56.

54. 16. Stuft in. Cf. Reason of Ch. Govt. (Bohn 2. 481): ‘Men whose learning and belief lies in marginal stuffings’; Apol. Smect. (Bohn 3. 109): ‘His own stuffed magazine and hoard of slanderous inventions.’

54. 22. For divines, etc.This passage represents the nearest approach to humor in this treatise. It is altogether one of the happiest pieces of satire in Milton’s prose. See Introd.

54. 23.Posture was formerly a military term, meaning a particular position of a weapon in duel or warfare. Cf. Wood, Ath. Oxon. 2. 262: ‘He learned . . . how to handle the pike and musquet, and all postures belonging to them.’ It was also applied to the appearance of a body of troops: ‘They are still out of the garrison in a mutinous posture, with their arms’ (Henry Cary, Mem. of Great Civil War 1. 296. Cf. Doct. and Discip. of Div. (Bohn 3. 184): ‘In such a posture Christ found the Jews.’ Cf. Scripture and Reason, p. 71: ‘To draw them into such a posture of defence.’

[Motions.]A motion was each of the successive actions of which a prescribed exercise of arms consisted. For instance, according to the manual of 1760, the officers faced to the left about in three motions. There were also motions of the firelock. Cf. Of Ref. in Eng. (Bohn 2. 365): ‘Then was the priest set to con his motions and postures.’

54. 24. Feats. Another military term. Feats of war were military duties or exercises.

[Artillery-ground.]In a tract, entitled Ancient Military Government of London, we read: ‘Besides the forementioned Trained Bands and Auxiliary Men, there is the Artillery Company, which is a nursery for Soldiers, and hath been so about 80 years. Their Place, or Field of Exercise, formerly was in the old Artillery Ground, now in Finsbury Fields.’ The Artillery Company dates back to 1585, and the first officers were called Captains of the Artillery Garden, from the place were they exercised. From the year 1610 a weekly exercise of arms was held in the Artillery Garden (The Antiquarian Repertory, p. 269, London, 1807).

55. 6. Nimble motionists. Motionists, a word now obsolete, was probably coined by Milton. In the New Eng. Dict., the only example of its use is in the present connection.

55. 12. Strook. An old preterite of strike. Cf. P. L. 2. 165, H. 95.

55. 14. Scripture. An attack on his opponents, narrow interpretation of Scripture texts. On Milton’s own use of Scripture, see Introd.

55. 17. Impotent conclusions. In logic, every syllogism has three propositions — the major premise, the minor premise, and the conclusion. If the conclusion contains any term that has not been used distributively in one of the premises, such a conclusion would be impotent or invalid.

55. 18. In this posture. He still retains the military metaphor. The Presbyterian divines are at drill on the walls of Sion College.

55. 20. Like Jebusides. Like the heathen enemies of the Lord’s people, not real Israelites, or members of the priestly tribe of Levites. Although both the Jebusites and Adonibezek were Canaanites, the Bible is silent as to whether Adonibezek was their chief, as Milton implies. Jebusites was the name of the local tribe which, in the first centuries of Israel’s occupation of Canaan, held Jerusalem, until its citadel, the stronghold of Zion, was captured under David. Allusions to the inability of the Israelites to expel the Jebusites from their stronghold are found in Jos. 16. 63; Judg. 1. 21, and in Judg. 19. 10-12 it is described as a city of foreigners (H.D.B. 2. 554).

55. 21. Adonibezec. See Judg. 1. 5-7. The real meaning of the name is, Bezek is my Lord. Adonibezek was chief of a Canaanitish tribe. He was defeated by the tribe of Judah, and was mutilated by having his thumbs and great toes cut off. According to his boast, he himself had similarly treated seventy kings.

In this interesting and humorous illustration from Scripture, Milton compares the two leaders, David and Adonibezek, which being translated mean Christ and Charles I. The Presbyterian Jebusites who cry, ‘Bezek is my Lord’, declare that Charles is the Lord’s anointed, instead of being true to their real king, Christ, the Root of David. But these very divines who now cry up the King, not long ago cut off his thumbs and toes upon their pulpit cushions, that is, insulted his sovereignty, cursed him, denounced him, etc. (see 4. 6), as an enemy of Israel.

55. 33. As the soul of David hated them, etc.See 2 Sam. 5. 6-10, especially v. 8; ‘And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind, that are hated of David’s soul, he shall be chief and captain.

55. 35. But as to those before them. Earlier Protestant divines — Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Goodman, Fenner, etc.

56. 8. Sub-prelatical. Prelatical, in Milton and other writers of his time, is a hostile term for Episcopalian. The force of the prefix here is ambiguous. It may mean after, in point of time, but the more probable meaning is somewhat. He cannot call the Presbyterian faction out-and-out supporters of prelacy, but he means to indicate that their advocacy of divine right and of a tyrannical church government is inclining them in that direction.

56. 11. To an inferior Magistrate lawfull. What is unlawful to a private man, may be lawful for an inferior magistrate. This was one of the ways in which Calvin, Knox, and others qualified their support of the rights of the people.

56. 18. That fals and impudent assertion. See 32. 2.

56. 30. Simon Magus. See 43. 28 and 51 16.

56. 31. Sent. This old spelling of ‘scent’ is more correct than the modern use.

56. 32. Advousons. An advowson was the patronage of an ecclesiastical office or religious house, the right of presentation to a benefice or living. Originally it meant the obligation to defend its rights, or to be its advocate. Cf. Sterne, Tristram Shandy, chap. 15: ‘And also, the adowson, donation, presentation, and free disposition of the rectory or parsonage of Shandy aforesaid, and all and every the tenths, tithes, glebelands.’

[Donatives.]Benefices or livings which the founder or patron can bestow, and which are exempt from the visitation of the bishops or their officers.

56. 33. Inductions. The induction is the ceremony by which the Presbytery, or its representatives, install a new minister.

[Augmentations.]An augmentation was an increase of stipend obtained by a Scottish parish minister by an action (process of augmentation) in the Court of Teinds, against the titular or beneficiary, and heritors.

56. 35. Priests of Bel. See the story of Bel and the Dragon in the Apocrypha. The priests of Bel, their wives and children, had a secret entrance to the great idol, and consumed the daily offerings of flour, sheep, and wine made by the Babylonians. Daniel exposed their tricks to King Cyrus.

57. 4. Fed them plenteously. All the services performed by the Presbyterian divines, such as their attendance on the Westminster Assembly and sermons before parliament, were liberally paid for by the House of Commons. Ample provision was also made for the clergy throughout the nation. See 44. 2.

57. 6. Rais’d them to be high and rich of poore and base. Many of the Presbyterian and nonconformist divines were of low birth. From poor and base circumstances they were lifted by the successes of the army into high and rich positions. See a tract entitled The Brownist Synagogues (1641): ‘The chief preachers of the Independents are said to be Green, the feltmaker, Marlin, the buttonmaker, Spencer, the coachman, Rodgers, the glover.’ These names are given on the title-page.

See also Prynne, The Schismatics Sifted, or The Picture of the Independents (1646), p. 34. ‘It is a miracle or wonder to the saucie boyes, bold botching taylors, and others most audacious, illiterate mechanicks run out of their shops into a pulpit?’

Cf. To Rem. Hire. (Bohn 3. 40): ‘Crept for the most part out of extreme want and bad nurture.’

57. 9. Thir fellow-locusts. Probably he means the clergymen of the Established Church formerly in power. In ancient times, the locust was a synonym for the most awful greed and waste. For a celebrated description of the ravages of a plague of locusts see J. H. Newman, Callista, chap. 15. See also Exod. 10. 5.

Here ‘bottomless pit’ refers to Rev. 9. 1-3. Cf. Of Ref. in Eng. (Bohn 2. 417).

57. 11. Thir impetuous ignorance and importunity. This last criticism of the divines for their domineering attitude to parliament, and ceaseless clamors for the establishment of their intolerant church-system, is a repetition of what he has said over and over again in this pamphlet.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:58