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of Paradise Lost. A similar tribute of respect had been paid in 1737 by Mr. Benson, who procured his bust to be admitted into Westminster Abbey, where once his name had been considered a profanation.
The attentive reader will have observed several passages in Milton's writings, which
him to have been, in regard to his sentiments, an orthodox Trinitarian; and this he had avowed himself to be in his last publication. Within the last ten years, a Latin manuscript has been discovered in the State Paper Office, bearing his name, and various internal marks of genuineness, which contains sentiments at variance with that opinion. By the command of his late majesty, George IV. this work was translated and published in 1825, entitled, “A Treatise of Christian Doctrine, compiled from the Holy Scriptures alone. By John Milton. Translated from the original by Charles R. Sumner, M. A.” quarto. All his religious sentiments, published by himself in his life-time, are repeated and confirmed in this treatise, excepting those chapters which treat “Of the Son of God,” and “Of the Holy Spirit.” I apprehend, had he followed, as he professes to do, “ the doctrine of Holy Scripture exclusively,” and have “discarded reason in sacred matters,” (p. 89,) he would have arrived at a very different conclusion, than to have asserted, that the Son of God,
though endued with the divine nature and substance, was yet distinct from, and inferior to, the Father, receiving from the Father every thing in his filial as well as his mediatorial character. It will be seen that these sentiments ascribe to the Son as high a share of divinity as was compatible with the rejection of his selfexistence and eternal generation, and the denial of his co-equality and co-essentiality with the Father. To show how loosely he reasons upon the plain statements of inspired truth, both of the Old and New Testament writers, I will quote his commentary on Heb. i. 8. “ Unto the Son, or of the Son,” he saith, “ Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.
But in the next verse it follows, Thou hast loved righteousness, &c. therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows, where almost every word indicates the sense in which Christ is here termed God; and the words of Jehovah, put into the mouth of the bridal virgins, Ps. xlv. might have been more properly quoted by this writer for
than to prove that the Son is co-equal with the Father, since they are originally applied to Solomon, to whom, as properly as to Christ, the title of God might have been given on account of his kingly power, conformably to the language of Scripture.” To say nothing of the way in which he
treats an inspired author, I merely remark, how different is this statement, both as to its spirit and sentiments, to the following stanza in the “ Ode on the Morning of Christ's Nativity,” written, according to Warton, as a college exercise, at the age of twenty-one:
“That glorious form, that light unsufferable,
His chapter “Of the Holy Spirit,” for the purpose of disproving that proper divinity and distinct personality are attributed to the Spirit of God, thus concludes: “Lest, however, any should ask who or what the Holy Spirit is, although Scripture no where teaches us in express terms, it may be collected from the passages quoted above, that the Holy Spirit, inasmuch as he is a minister of God, and therefore a creature, was created, or produced, of the substance of God, not by a natural necessity, but by the forewill of the agent, probably before the foundations of the world were laid, but later than the Son, and far inferior to him. It will be objected, that thus the Holy Spirit is not sufficiently distinguished from the
Son. I reply, that the scriptural expressions themselves, to come forth, to go out from the Father, to proceed from the Father, which mean the same in the Greek, do not distinguish the Son from the Holy Spirit, inasmuch as these terms are used indiscriminately with reference to both persons, and signify their mission, not their nature. There is, however, sufficient reason for placing the name, as well as the nature of the Son, above that of the Holy Spirit, in discussion of topics relative to the Deity; inasmuch as the brightness of the glory of God, and the express image of his person, are said to have been impressed on the one, and not on the other,” p. 171. . In this statement does he not lose himself, in attempting what is said to be impossible? can by searching find out God ?”
The serious reader will, it is hoped, not be led away by the influence of even Milton's name upon this all-important subject; but be induced to search the Scriptures as the only authoritative tribunal. The various epithets given to the Spirit of God, as Holy, Good, &c. &c. clearly point out his nature and operations; while the personal pronouns by which he is described, prove that the Spirit cannot be a mere quality of the Deity, but one of the three Persons in the Godhead.
With much greater pleasure than I have found in quoting the former extracts, I give a few from
66 In He says,
the chapter entitled, “Of Man's RESTORATION, and of Christ as a REDEEMER." He this restoration are comprized, the redemption and renovation of man.' He thus defines this subject: “ Redemption is that act whereby Christ, being sent in the fulness of time, redeemed all believers at the price of his own blood, by his own voluntary act, conformably to the eternal counsel and grace of God the Father.” After having insisted
upon the pre-existence of Christ, as the Son of God, he says,
« This incarnation of Christ, whereby he, being God, took upon
him the human nature, and was made flesh, without thereby ceasing to be numerically the same as before, is generally considered by theologians as, next to the Trinity in Unity, the greatest mystery of our religion. Of the mystery of the Trinity, however, no mention is made in Scripture; whereas the incarnation is frequently called by that name.”
Again, in the chapter entitled, “Of the functions of the Mediator, and his threefold office,” he remarks, “Christ's sacerdotal office is that whereby he once offered himself to God the Father as a sacrifice for sinners, and has always made, and still continues to make, intercession
Many other extracts of a similar kind might