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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 deprived of all things that define a magistrate, can be now no magistrate to be degraded lower, but an offender to be punished. Lastly, whom they may defy, and meet in battle, why may they not as well prosecute by justice ? For lawful war is but the execution of justice against them who refuse law. Among whom if it be lawful (as they deny not, p. 19, 20,) to slay the king himself coming in front at his own peril, wherefore may not justice do that intendedly, which the chance of a defensive war might without blame have done casually, nay, purposely, if there it find him among the rest ? They ask, p. 19, “By what rule of conscience or God a state is bound to sacrifice religion, laws, and liberties, rather than a prince defending such as subvert them, should come 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 than cut off a wicked prince, who sits plotting day and night to subvert them.
They tell us, that the law of nature justifies any man to defend himself, even against the king in person : let them shew us then, why the same law may not justify much more a state or whole people, to do justice upon him, against whom each private man may lawfully defend himself; see ing all kind of justice done is a defence to good men, as well as a punishment to bad; and justice done upon a tyrant is no more but the necessary self-defence of a whole com monwealth. To war upon a king, that his instruments may be brought to condign punishment, and thereafter to punish them the instruments, and not to spare only, but to defend and honour him the author, is the strangest piece of justice to be called Christian, and the strangest piece of reason to be called human, that by men of reverence and learning, as their style 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 obeyed by St. Peter's rule, as well as the supreme, and without difference anywhere ex
pressed : and yet will have us fight against the supreme till he remove and punish the inferior magistrate; (for such were greatest delinquents ;) whereas by scripture, and hy reason, there can no more authority be shewn to resist the one than the other; and altogether as much, to punish or depose the supreme himself, as to make war 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 stuffed in, are only verbal against the pulling down or punishing of tyrants, all the scripture and the reason which they bring, is in every leaf direct and rational, to infer it altogether as lawful, as to resist them. And yet in all their sermons, as hath by others been well noted, they went much further. For divines if we observe them have their postures, and their motions no less expertly, and with no less variety, than they that practise 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 wheel in a whole body, with that cunning and dexterity as is almost unperceivable, to wind themselves by shifting ground into places of more advantage. And providence only must be the drum, providence the word of command, that calls them from above, but always to some larger benefice, or acts them into such or such figures and promotions. At their turns and doublings no men readier, to the right, or to the left; for it is their turns which they serve chiefly; herein only singular, that with them there is no certain hand right or left, but as their own commodity thinks best to call it. But if there come a truth to be defended, which to them and their interest of this world seems not so profitable, straight these niinble motionists can find not even legs to stand upon; and are no more of use to reformation thoroughly performed, and not superficially, or to the advancement of truth, (which among mortal men is always in her progress,) than if on a sudden they were struck maim and crippled. Which the better to conceal, or the more to countenance by a general conformity to their own limping, they would have scripture, they would have reason also made to halt with them for company; and would
put us off with impotent conclusions, lame and shorter than the premises.
In this posture they seem to stand with great zeal and confidence on the wall of Sion; but like Jebusites, not like Israelites, or Levites: blind also as well as lame, they discern not David from Adonibezec: but cry him up for the Lord's anointed, whose thumbs and great toes not long before they had cut off upon their pulpit cushions. Therefore he who is our only King, the Root of David, and whose kingdom is eternal righteousness, with all those that war under him, whose happiness and final hopes are laid up in that only just and rightful kingdom, (which we pray incessantly may come soon, and in so praying wish hasty ruin and destruction to all tyrants,) even he our immortal King, and all that love him, must of necessity have in abomination these blind and lame defenders of Jerusalem; as the soul of David hated them, and forbid them entrance into God's house, and his own. But as to those before them, which I cited first (and with an easy search, for many more might be added) as they there stard, 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 we here affirm concerning tyrants. And indeed I find it generally the clear and positive determination of them all, (not prelatical, or of this late faction subprelatical,) who have written on this argument; that to do justice on a lawless king is to a private man unlawful; to an inferior magistrate lawful: or if they were divided in opinion, yet greater than these here alleged, or of more authority in the church, there can be none produced
If any one shall go about, by bringing other testimonies to disable these, or by bringing these against themselves in other cited passages of their books, he will not only fail to make good that false and impudent assertion of those mutinous ministers, that the deposing and punishing of a king or tyrant “is against the constant judgment of all protestant divines,” it being quite the contrary; but will prove rather what perhaps he intended not, that the judgment of divines, if it be so various and inconstant to itself, is not considerable, or to be esteemed at all. Ere which be yielded, as I hope it never will, these ignorant assertors in their own art will have proved
themselves more and more, not to be protestant divines, whose constant judgment in this point they have so' audaciously belied, but rather to be a pack of hungry churchwolves, who in the steps of Simon Magus their father, following the hot scent of double livings and pluralities, advowsons, donatives, inductions, and augmentations, though uncalled to the flock of Christ, but by the mere suggestion of their bellies, like thosé priests of Bel, whose pranks Daniel found out; have got possession, or rather seized upon the pulpit, as the stronghold and fortress of their sedition and rebellion against the civil magistrate. Whose friendly and victorious hand having rescued them from the bishops, their insulting lords, fed them plenteously, both in public and in private, raised them to be high and rich of poor and base; only suffered not their covetousness and fierce ambition (which as the pit that sent out their fellow-locusts hath been ever bottomless and boundless) to interpose in all things, and over all persons, their impetuous ignorance and importunity ?
NOTE.-After what has been said both in the Preliminary Discourse and in the notes to this treatise, it may be scarcely necessary to repeat that the reasonings of Milton are directed only against a wicked tyrant in a despotie state. The Stuarts, rejecting the principles of the British Constitution, sought to reduce the people of these realms to an equality with the serfs of Russia; and accordingly, in 1688, the measure of their iniquity being full, they were driven from the throne, and our present free constitution established. Since that glorious period, which has placed Great Britain at the head of the civilized world, this work of Milton must be regarded as a mere historical curiosity, which, among ourselves---where constitutionally “ the king can do no wrong,”—could by no possibility, any more than my own remarks on this or upon the other Treatises, have any application to the existing state of things. For this reason men of all parties have from time to time brought it before the public, as an example of the manner in which its author's powerful intellect grappled with the question discussed therein; and however the reader may dissent from his conclusions, he will not deny that, as a literary composition,--for in this light only ought it now to be considered, it is deserving of high commendation. Not having had the happiness to live to taste of the constitutional freedom we enjoy, Milton had always in view the opposing of absolute monarchy, or mere despotism; he had had no experience of any other. To lawful constitutional princes he constantly teaches that all obedience and honour are due; and, therefore, making the necessary allowance for the state of excitement in which he wrote, and the angry adversaries he contended with, he may, though sometimes intemperate, be read not only without injury, but with much advantage, at the distance we are now placed from his storniy times.-ED.
A SPEECH FOR
TO THE PARLIAMENT OF ENGLAND.
Τουλέυθερον δ' εκείνο, έι τις θελει πόλει
Elyậ, ri T&TWV šsiv ioaitepov módel ;-Euripid. Hicetid.
Having to advise the public, may speak free,
EDITOR'S PRELIMINARY REMARKS. Milton's mind, having now reached maturity, yielded in profusion those rich and incomparable fruits which are the natural produce of genius and learning. The “ Areopagitica,” as well as the “ Tractate on Education,” was published in 1644, with the design of convincing the presbyterianswho, being now in power, were mimicking the intolerant example set them by the prelates ---of the iniquity and impolicy of endeavouring the suppression of opinions by force. He saw, with that quick intuition which belongs to elevated minds, how vain the attempt must always prove to confine thought, or the active expression of it, by material shackles; and, with the honesty and magnanimity of a devout Christian, he sought to vindicate for others the liberty he had, while his party was the weaker, contended for himself. In performing this duty he exerted the utmost energy of his mind. Passing in rapid review the practices of the most refined nations of ancient and modern times, he shows freedom in connexion with whatever is of highest excellence in government, or of greatest virtue and enlightenment in society; while licensing and the tyranny of opinion, originating in barbarous superstition, have always gone hand in hand with bad government, and either found the people ignorant and slothful, or, if tamely submitted to, have rendered them so. Injustice, if productive of no other advantage, serves at least to rouse good and noble natures, to express their detestation of it; and thus it has proved serviceable to posterity that the presbyterians misused their power; for had they acted uprightly, the “ Areopagitica ” had never been written. By almost all writers this discourse has been regarded as Milton's masterpiece. Perhaps it is so. Nothing, in fact, can surpass those vivid, inspiring flashes of eloquence which lighten over its periods, and find their way to the very heart and root of all our noblest sympathies. Nothing can be more replete with grandeur than that creative, life-infusing spirit, which breathes through the whole, kindling up an intense love of the good and the beautiful; awakening in every breast a devout admiration for those possessors of virtue and genius commissioned by heaven to reveal to us how much of the great and godlike there is in man; animating even the feeble and vacillating with at least a temporary enthusiasm for freedom,