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EIKONOCLASTES: in answer to a Book, entitled, Eikon Basilike, the
pecially with little Teaching, and their own Indu
of several Eye-witnesses.
versus Parricidas Anglicanos," Authorem recte
Joannis Philippi Angli Respousio ad Apologiam
PROSE WORKS OF JOHN MILTON.
REFORMATION IN ENGLAND,
THE CAUSES THAT HITHERTO HAVE HINDERED IT.
IN TWO BOOKS.
WRITTEN TO A FRIEND.
[FIRST PUBLISHED 1641.]
trine should, through the grossness and blindness of her professors, and the fraud of deceivable traditions, ding so downwards, as to backslide into the Jewish beggary of old cast rudiments, and stumble forward
AMIDST those deep and retired thoughts, which, with another way into the new-vomited paganism of senesery man christianly instructed, ought to be most fre- sual idolatry, attributing purity or impurity to things quent of God, and of his miraculous ways and works indifferent, that they might bring the inward acts of amongst men, and of our religion and works, to be the spirit to the outward and customary eye-service performed to him; after the story of our Saviour Christ, of the body, as if they could make God earthly and fering to the lowest bent of weakness in the flesh, fleshly, because they could not make themselves heaand presently triumphing to the highest pitch of glory venly and spiritual; they began to draw down all the in the spirit, which drew up his body also; till we in divine intercourse betwixt God and the soul, yea, the both be united to him in the revelation of his kingdom, very shape of God himself, into an exterior and bodily I do not know of any thing more worthy to take up form, urgently pretending a necessity and obligement the whole passion of pity on the one side, and joy on of joining the body in a formal reverence, and worship the other, than to consider first the foul and sudden circumscribed; they hallowed it, they fumed it, they arreption, and then, after many a tedious age, the sprinkled it, they bedecked it, not in robes of pure inleag deferred, but much more wonderful and happy nocency, but of pure linen, with other deformed and reformation of the church in these latter days. Sad it fantastic dresses, in palls and mitres, gold, and gewis to think how that doctrine of the gospel, planted by gaws fetched from Aaron's old wardrobe, or the flamins teachers divinely inspired, and by them winnowed and vestry: then was the priest set to con his motions and ked from the chaff of overdated ceremonies, and re- his postures, his liturgies and his lurries, till the soul ined to such a spiritual height and temper of purity, by this means of overbodying herself, given up justly and knowledge of the Creator, that the body, with all to fleshly delights, bated her wing apace downward: the circumstances of time and place, were purified by and finding the ease she had from her visible and senthe affections of the regenerate soul, and nothing left suous colleague the body, in performance of religious pure but sin; faith needing not the weak and fal- duties, her pinions now broken, and flagging, shifted ible office of the senses, to be either the ushers or in- off from herself the labour of high soaring any more, terpreters of heavenly mysteries, save where our Lord forgot her heavenly flight, and left the dull and droilhimself in his sacraments ordained; that such a doc-ing carcase to plod on in the old road, and drudging
trade of outward conformity. And here out of question from her perverse conceiting of God and holy things, she had fallen to believe no God at all, had not custom and the worm of conscience nipped her incredulity :
hence to all the duties of evangelical grace, instead of the adoptive and cheerful boldness which our new alliance with God requires, came servile and thrallike fear: for in very deed, the superstitious man by his good will is an atheist; but being scared from thence by the pangs and gripes of a boiling conscience, all in a pudder shuffles up to himself such a God and such a worship as is most agreeable to remedy his fear; which fear of his, as also is his hope, fixed only upon the flesh, renders likewise the whole faculty of his apprehension carnal; and all the inward acts of worship, The pleasing pursuit of these thoughts hath ofttimes issuing from the native strength of the soul, run out led me into a serious question and debatement with lavishly to the upper skin, and there harden into a myself, how it should come to pass that England (havcrust of formality. Hence men came to scan the Scrip-ing had this grace and honour from God, to be the first tures by the letter, and in the covenant of our redemption, magnified the external signs more than the quickening power of the Spirit; and yet looking on them through their own guiltiness with a servile fear, and finding as little comfort, or rather terrour from them again, they knew not how to hide their slavish approach to God's behests, by them not understood, nor worthily received, but by cloaking their servile crouching to all religious presentments, sometimes lawful, sometimes idolatrous, under the name of humility, and terming the piebald frippery and ostentation of ceremonies, decency.
Then was baptism, changed into a kind of exorcism and water, sanctified by Christ's institute, thought little enough to wash off the original spot, without the scratch or cross impression of a priest's forefinger: and that feast of free grace and adoption to which Christ invited his disciples to sit as brethren, and cobeirs of the happy covenant, which at that table was to be sealed to them, even that feast of love and heavenlyadmitted fellowship, the seal of filial grace, became the subject of horror, and glouting adoration, pageanted about like a dreadful idol; which sometimes deceives well-meaning men, and beguiles them of their reward, by their voluntary humility; which indeed is fleshly pride, preferring a foolish sacrifice, and the rudiments of the world, as Saint Paul to the Colossians explaineth, before a savoury obedience to Christ's example. | Such was Peter's unseasonable humility, as then his knowledge was small, when Christ came to wash his feet; who at an impertinent time would needs strain courtesy with his master, and falling troublesomely upon the lowly, all-wise, and unexaminable intention of Christ, in what he went with resolution to do, so provoked by his interruption the meek Lord, that he threatened to exclude him from his heavenly portion, unless he could be content to be less arrogant and stiffnecked in his humility.
that should set up a standard for the recovery of lost truth, and blow the first evangelic trumpet to the nations, holding up, as from a hill, the new lamp of saving light to all christendom) should now be last, and most unsettled in the enjoyment of that peace, whereof she taught the way to others; although indeed our Wickliffe's preaching, at which all the succeeding reformers more effectually lighted their tapers, was to his countrymen but a short blaze, soon damped and stifled by the pope and prelates for six or seven kings' reigns; yet methinks the precedency which God gave this island, to be first restorer of buried truth, should have been followed with more happy success, and sooner attained perfection; in which as yet we are amongst the last: for, albeit in purity of doctrine we agree with our brethren; yet in discipline, which is the execution and applying of doctrine home, and laying the salve to the very orifice of the wound, yea, tenting and searching to the core, without which pulpit preaching is but shooting at rovers; in this we are no better than a schism from all the reformation, and a sore scandal to them: for while we hold ordination to belong only to bishops, as our prelates do, we must of necessity hold also their ministers to be no ministers, and shortly after their church to be no church. Not to speak of those senseless ceremonies which we only retain, as a dangerous earnest of sliding back to Rome, and serving merely, either as a mist to cover nakedness where true grace is extinguished, or as an interlude to set out the pomp of prelatism. Certainly it would be worth the while therefore, and the pains, to inquire more particularly, what, and how many the chief causes have been, that have still hindered our uniform consent to the rest of the churches abroad, at this time especially when the kingdom is in a good propensity thereto, and all men in prayers, in hopes, or in disputes, either for or against it.
But to dwell no longer in characterizing the depravities of the church, and how they sprung, and how they took increase; when I recall to mind at last, after so many dark ages, wherein the huge overshadowing train of error had almost swept all the stars out of the firmament of the church; how the bright and blissful reformation (by divine power) struck through the black and settled night of ignorance and antichristian tyranny, methinks a sovereign and reviving joy must needs rush into the bosom of him that reads or hears;
Yet I will not insist on that which may seem to be the cause on God's part; as his judgment on our sins, the trial of his own, the unmasking of h pocrites: nor shall I stay to speak of the continual eagerness and extreme diligence of the pope and papists to stop the furtherance of reformation, which know they have no hold or hope of England their lost darling, longer than the government of bishops bolsters them out; and therefore plot all they can to uphold them, as may seen by the book of Santa Clara, the popish priest, in
and the sweet odour of the returning gospel imbathe his soul with the fragrancy of heaven. Then was the sacred Bible sought out of the dusty corners where profane falsehood and neglect had thrown it, the schools opened, divine and human learning raked out of the embers of forgotten tongues, the princes and cities trooping apace to the new-erected banner of salvation; the martyrs, with the unresistible might of weakness, shaking the powers of darkness, and scorning the fiery rage of the old red dragon.
defence of bishops, which came out piping hot much | be followers of this world; for when the protector's
about the time that one of our own prelates, out of an ominous fear, had writ on the same argument; as if they had joined their forces, like good confederates, to support one falling Babel.
brother, Lord Sudley, the admiral, through private malice and malengine was to lose his life, no man could be found fitter than bishop Latimer (like another Dr. Shaw) to divulge in his sermon the forged accusations laid to his charge, thereby to defame him with the people, who else it was thought would take ill the innocent man's death, unless the reverend bishop could warrant them there was no foul play. What could be
But I shall chiefly endeavour to declare those causes that hinder the forwarding of true discipline, which are among ourselves. Orderly proceeding will divide our inquiry into our forefathers' days, and into our times. Henry VIII was the first that rent this king-more impious than to debar the children of the king from their right to the crown? To comply with the ambitious usurpation of a traitor, and to make void the last will of Henry VIII, to which the breakers had sworn observance? Yet bishop Cranmer, one of the executors, and the other bishops, none refusing, (lest they should resist the duke of Northumberland,) could find in their consciences to set their hands to the disenabling and defeating not only of Princess Mary the papist, but of Elizabeth the protestant, and (by the bishops' judgment) the lawful issue of King Henry,
Who then can think (though these prelates had sought a further reformation) that the least wry face of a politician would not have hushed them? But it will be said, these men were martyrs: what then? though every true Christian will be a martyr when he is called to it, not presently does it follow, that every one suffering for religion is, without exception. Saint Paul writes, that " a man may give his body to be burnt, (meaning for religion,) and yet not have charity:" he is not therefore above all possibility of erring, because he burns for some points of truth.
dom from the pope's subjection totally; but his quarrel being more about supremacy, than other faultiness in religion that he regarded, it is no marvel if he stuck where he did. The next default was in the bishops, who though they had renounced the pope, they still hugged the popedom, and shared the authority among themselves, by their six bloody articles, persecuting the protestants no slacker than the pope would have done. And doubtless, whenever the pope shall fall, if his ruin be not like the sudden downcome of a tower, the bishops, when they see him tottering, will leave him, and fall to scrambling, catch who may, he a patriarchdom, and another what comes next hand; as the French cardinal of late and the see of Canterbury hath plainly affected. In Edward the Sixth's days, why a complete reformation was not effected, to any considerate man may appear. First, be no sooner entered into his kingdom, but into a war with Scotland; from whence the protector returning with victory, had but newly put his hand to repeal the six articles, and throw the images out of churches, but rebellions on all sides, stirred up by obdurate papists, and other tumults, with a plain war in Norfolk, holding tack against two of the king's generals, made them of force content themselves with what they had already done. Hereupon followed ambitions contentions among the peers, which ceased not but with the protector's death, who was the most zealous in this point: and then Northumberland was be that could do most in England, who little minding religion, (as his apostasy well showed at his death,) bent all his wit how to bring the right of the crown into his online. And for the bishops, they were so far from any such worthy attempts, as that they suffered themselves to be the common stales, to countenance with their prostituted gravities every politic fetch that was then on foot, as oft as the potent statists pleased to employ them. Never do we read that they made use of their authority and high place of access, to bring the jarring nobility to christian peace, or to withstand their disloyal projects: but if a toleration for mass were to be begged of the king for his sister Mary, lest Charles the Fifth should be angry; who but the grave prelates, Cranmer and Ridley, must be sent to extort it from the young king? But out of the mouth of that godly and royal child, Christ himself returned such an anful repulse to those halting and timeserving prelates, that after much bold importunity, they went their way
Witness the* Arians and Pelagians, which were slain by the heathen for Christ's sake, yet we take both these for no true friends of Christ. If the martyrs (saith Cyprian in his 30th epistle) decree one thing, and the gospel another, either the martyrs must lose their crown by not observing the gospel for which they are martyrs, or the majesty of the gospel must be broken and lie flat, if it can be overtopped by the novelty of any other decree.
And here withal I invoke the Immortal Deity, revealer and judge of secrets, that wherever I have in this book plainly and roundly (though worthily and truly) laid open the faults and blemishes of fathers, martyrs, or christian emperors, or have otherwise inveighed against errour and superstition with vehement expressions; I have done it neither out of malice, nor list to speak evil, nor any vain glory, but of mere necessity to vindicate the spotless truth from an ignominious bondage, whose native worth is now become of such a low esteem, that she is like to find small credit with us for what she can say, unless she can bring a ticket from Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley; or prove herself a retainer to Constantine, and wear his badge. More tolerable it were for the church of God, that all these names were utterly abolished like the brazen serpent, than that men's fond opinion should thus idolize them, and the heavenly truth be thus captivated.
Det without shame and tears.
Nor was this the first time that they discovered to
It appears from this and other passages, that the author in his younger Fry was orthodox, as it is called: but he afterwards altered his senti
ments; as is plain from his tract on "True Religion, Heresy, Schism, and Toleration," which was the last work he published,
Now to proceed, whatsoever the bishops were, it seems they themselves were unsatisfied in matters of religion as they then stood, by that commission granted to eight bishops, eight other divines, eight civilians, eight common lawyers, to frame ecclesiastical constitutions; which no wonder if it came to nothing, for (as Hayward relates) both their professions and their ends were different. Lastly, we all know by example, that From hence then I pass to Queen Eliza exact reformation is not perfected at the first push, and protestant prince, in whose days why rel those unwieldy times of Edward VI may hold some not a perfect reducement in the beginnin plea by this excuse. Now let any reasonable man I suppose the hindering causes will b judge whether that king's reign be a fit time from common with some formerly alleged for whence to pattern out the constitution of a church dis- VI; the greenness of the times, the wea cipline, much less that it should yield occasion from Queen Mary left the realm in, the gre whence to foster and establish the continuance of im- offices executed by papists, the judges perfection, with the commendatory subscriptions of the justices of peace for the most pa confessors and martyrs, to entitle and engage a glorious bishops firm to Rome; from whence was name to a gross corruption. It was not episcopacy the furious flashing of excommunication that wrought in them the heavenly fortitude of martyr-ing, the people from their obedience. N dom, as little is it that martyrdom can make good episcopacy; but it was episcopacy that led the good and holy men, through the temptation of the enemy, and the snare of this present world, to many blameworthy and opprobrious actions. And it is still episcopacy that before all our eyes worsens and slugs the most learned and seeming religious of our ministers, who no sooner advanced to it, but like a seething pot set to cool, sensibly exhale and reak out the greatest part of that zeal, and those gifts which were formerly in them, settling in a skinny congealment of ease and sloth at the top and if they keep their learning by some potent sway of nature, it is a rare chance; but their devotion most commonly comes to that queazy temper of lukewarmness, that gives a vomit to God himself.
counsellors, whoever they were, pers Camden writes) that the altering of eccle would move sedition. Then was the li a number of moderate divines, and Sir a statesman, to be purged and physick they were moderate divines indeed, cold; and Grindal the best of them, a bishop of Canterbury, lost favour in th think was discharged the government favouring the ministers, though Camde to find another cause: therefore about in a parliament, of men and minds so grounded, others belching the sour cru day's popery, those constitutions of Ed as you heard before no way satisfied th them, are now established for best, and ed. From that time followed nothing ments, troubles, disgraces on all those with the decrees of the convocation, a they branded with the name of purita queen herself, she was made believe down bishops her prerogative would which shall be spoken anon as the c brings it in: and why the prelates la be so thought, ask not them, but They had found a good tabernacle, th spreading vine, their lot was fallen i ance. And these perhaps were the chi of a more sound rectifying the churc time.
same Sulpitius write that he was nothi altered in his habit, diet, or personal der that simple plainness to which he first b It was not therefore that thing alone w displeasure at in the bishops of those tin an universal rottenness and gangrene function.
But what do we suffer misshapen and enormous prelatism, as we do, thus to blanch and varnish her deformities with the fair colours, as before of martyrdom, so now of episcopacy? They are not bishops, God and all good men know they are not, that have filled this land with late confusion and violence; but a tyrannical crew and corporation of impostors, that have blinded and abused the world so long under that name. He that, enabled with gifts from God, and the lawful and primitive choice of the church assembled in convenient number, faithfully from that time forward feeds his parochial flock, has his coequal and compresbyterial power to ordain ministers and deacons by public prayer, and vote of Christ's congregation in like sort as he himself was ordained, and is a true apostolic bishop. From this period I count to begin But when he steps up into the chair of pontifical pride, because they concern us more near and changes a moderate and exemplary house for a eyes and ears can give us the ample misgoverned and haughty palace, spiritual dignity for will require a more exact search; and carnal precedence, and secular high office and employ-speedier, I shall distinguish such as I ment for the high negotiations of his heavenly embas- hinderers of reformation into three so sage: then he degrades, then he unbishops himself; (for so I had rather call them than a he that makes him bishop, makes him no bishop. No labours are useful and laudable). 2. Į marvel therefore if St. Martin complained to Sulpitius liticians. Severus, that since he was bishop he felt inwardly a sensible decay of those virtues and graces that God had given him in great measure before; although the
To the votarists of antiquity I sh fully answered, if I shall be able to quity, First, that if they will confor