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tia, differrent:" that is, Things which differ in number, differ also in essence; and they would by no means differ in number, unless in essence. And then he adds, as if in remembrance of the theology he was studying, “ Evigilent hìc theologi:” Let theologians here be on their guard. I will repay the caution which he gives with one admirable example of atten*tion in this respect, out of many that might be cited, by a very vigilant and learned divine of the English Church; especially as it silences the position which has been cited from the treatise.“! One objection to the Arian scheme is, that it can never be reconciled with the unity of the divine nature, but infallibly infers a plurality of Gods. This may very briefly be evinced by asking this plain question : Hath this person, the Son, and whom you entitle God, the same individual essential properties with God the Father, as eternity, omnipresence, and the like; or has he different and distinct essential properties from those of the Father? The former no Arian can say, consistently with his own scheme; for if the Son be allowed to have the very same essential properties with his Father, he must then be consubstantial with him, and thus the Arian will become a Catholick: And to assert the latter, that their essential properties are different, is evidently to assign them two distinct essences, and therefore
Sermon upon the several heterodox hypotheses concerning both the persons and the attributes of the Godhead, &c. by W. Stephens, M.A. Vicar of St. Andrew, Plymouth. Oxford, 1725, p. ll.
they must be two different Gods. Different personal properties indeed do only infer a difference of persons; and upon this the Catholick scheme is founded, which supposes a difference of persons, and yet an unity of essence. We assert three distinct persons, in order to avoid a nominal Trinity only; and we maintain one numerical essence undivided in these persons, that we may not carry the least appearance of tritheism. We hold the divine essence to be one indivisible essence; we contend that this essence was in an ineffable manner communicated to the Son and Holy Ghost from all eternity; in which communication, as there was no division or separation of the nature, so that unity is still preserved, and the distinction of persons withal unquestionable. Wè deny that these persons are co-ordinate, lest we fall into polytheism; yet the subordination which we maintain is not of nature, but merely of persons, lest we run into Arianism. Our scheme will stand clear from the charge of Sabellianism, till it can be shewn that three subsistences, each of which has distinct personal properties, are but a Trinity of names and mere modes. We shall also stand as clear from the imputation of tritheism, till our adversaries can demonstrate, what surely they never will pretend to do, that distinct personal properties must as necessarily divide and multiply the divine essence, as they do the human. The little insight, which we have into the manner of the sub
sistence of the divine nature, will for ever be a bar to such a demonstration."-- For the introduction of these pertinent sentences, no apology, I trust, is requisite. The reader of the treatise will find them applicable also to other parts of it: for the eternity of the Holy Spirit, and the essential unity of the three Divine Persons, are denied in it.
6. The next parallels are of no controversial bearing, but illustrative merely of Milton's phraseology. “ They are constantly shifting the form of their reasoning, Vertumnus-like.” B. i. ch. 5. Of the Son of God. So, in his Tetrachordon : “ Let him try which way he can wind in his Vertumnian distinctions and evasions.” And in his Pro Pop. Angl. Def. “ Vertit rationes, et annon rex cum optimatibus plus potestatis habeat quærit; iterum nego, Vertumne,” &c.
: 7. The ministry of angels is a favourite subject with Milton; and he devotes a chapter to it in this treatise. Numerous are the parallels in it with his poetry which might be given. The knowledge which he assigns to the evil angels is too remarkable to be omitted : “ Their knowledge is great, but such as tends rather to aggravate than diminish their misery; so that they utterly despair of their salvation.” B.i. ch. 9. Of the Special Government of Angels. Herein are compressed the varied descriptions of their punishment in Paradise Lost :
“ The thought “ Both of lost happiness, and lasting pain, “ Torments him.” B. i. 54.
-“ Hope never comes “ That comes to all.”. B. i. 66.
- “We are decreed, “ Reserv'd, and destin'd to eternal woe; “ Whatever doing, what can we suffer more, “ What can we suffer worse ?” B. ii. 160. “ Me miserable! which way shall I fly “ Infinite wrath, and infinite despair ?” B. iv. 73.
8. The chapter, which follows that upon the government of angels, treats of Divorce ; in which the opinions are so entirely in accordance with his Doctrine and Discipline of the subject, with his Tetrachordon, and his Colasterion, as to need no extract from either. But it is curious to observe, that in this chapter the only direct reference to himself throughout the treatise occurs. He cites Selden to his point, and adds, “ as I have myself shewn in another treatise from several texts of Scripture;” which Dr. Sumner, to whom we owe this observation, has discovered to be his Tetrachordon. But from his defence of this doctrine, which was denounced from the pulpit and ridiculed by the wits, he here proceeds to advocate the lawfulness of polygamy. Whether from the fanaticks of his own country, and of his earlier days, who maintained
+ See what is said upon this subject in the preceding pages, p. 61, seq.
6 u that it is lawful to have many wives," and with whom indeed he is coupled in the * accusatory sermon which brought him before the lords for his Treatise of Divorce ; whether from these, or from the insidious disputants of other lands, he imbibed a tenet, which we should rather have expected to find him overwhelming with indignant refutation; lamentable it certainly is, that he contends for what had been permitted in the patriarchal times, under particular circumstances, as an universal law; contends indeed for what, if admitted, would uncivilize Christian society, by dissolving the legitimate ties of wedded love, and weakening all the charities of domestick life. But the low estimation, in which he held the weaker sex in general, perhaps occasioned him to disregard that thus he was also pleading for what he calls “y the despotick power of man over his female in due awe;" in other words, for what would serve to harden men into tyrants. It is remarkable that in the year 1674, at the close of which Milton died, this revolting subject had been obtruded upon the world, with the most mischievous profusion, by a foreign writer. Lyser, the champion as he has been called of polygamy, had visited England and other parts of Europe in order to collect whatever might assist his purpose in forming the detestable volume, entitled Polygamia Triumphatrix; and of
" Pagitt's Description of Hereticks and Sectaries, sprung up in these latter times, 1654, p. 24.
* By Mr. Herb. Palmer. See before, p. 64. 3 Samson Agonist. ver. 1054.