« VorigeDoorgaan »
tor finds no impudence; it is his treatise of True Religion, heresy, schism, toleration, and the best means to prevent the growth of popery.
“ This little tract,” says he, “is mo“ destly written, with respectful mention “ of the Church of England and the 6 thirty-nine articles.”
True, so far as the Church of England declares against Popery. But, unhappily for this respect, Milton brings these declarations in reproof of the church's practice; and most ably con·futes the pretence of the Church of England, “that she only enjoins things in“ different.” And even this he calls perfecution. : H 4
: « IF “ If it be asked,” says Milton, “how « far it should be tolerated? I answer, “ doubtless equally, as being all Protes“ tants; that is, on all occafions to give “ account of their faith, either by ar“guing, preaching in their several as“ semblies, public writing, and the free“ dom of printing.” · If such toleration should have its free course, unrestrained by canons, subscriptions, and uniformity-acts, unallured by temporal emoluments, and unterrified by temporal censures, there must of course be an end of the civil Eftablishment of the Church of England; which is here as effectually condemned, as it is in those former tracts of the author's in which he is so severe on prelatical usur
pations. The only difference is, that there, in the Doctor's account, he is impudent, and here he is modest.
« Fortune," says the Doctor, “ ap“ pears not to have had much of Milton's 6 care *.” How is this character supported by the instances that follow, confiftently with the account above given, that Milton, “ having tasted the honey of “ public employment, would not return “ to hunger and philosophy ?”
" There is yet no reason to believe " that he was ever reduced to indi“ gence t;" and we will add, “nor to “ the prospect of it;" for what the Doctor says, that he was “ given up to
* Milton's Life, p. 137.
“ poverty and hopeless indignation,” upon his foliciting the repayment of his loan to the parliament in vain, only serves to fhew how dextrously the Doctor can fill up the chasms of authentic history by the fertility of his imagination. And that “ his wants being few, were com“ petently supplied,” is an argument that he could as easily return to his philofophy as part with his affluence.
From this character of Milton the Doctor would shrink if he could, and put down the merit of it among the topics of falsehood; but his draw-backs upon it only end in furnises palpably inconsistent with that unabated constancy of mind in Milton, which even the new narrative could not disguise; an
observation which belongs to more articles of this remarkable composition than this before us.
The Doctor's next debate with himself is concerning Milton's religion. The appearances in this part of Milton's hiftory puzzled Mr. Peck before him, who, after decently drawing the faw to and again, fixes Milton in Quakerism. .
Dr. Johnson seems to think he was of no church, merely, as it should seem, because he was neither of the Church of Rome, nor of the Church of England.
If not, to what purpose is the following reflection ? · “ To be of no church is dangerous. “ Religion, of which the rewards are