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Posts Tagged ‘John Milton’

ON THIS DATE 

John Milton published his classic Paradise Lost 3/27/1667.  Milton, born in 1608 (12/9), was at a good mental age to produce this excellent contribution except for the fact that by now he was blind (a daughter wrote what he dictated to her from his memory).  Paradise Lost is not only a most worthy piece of English writing, it has become an enduring poem in the field of literature at large.

It is impossible to imagine a greater backdrop than he chose: Heaven, Earth, & Hell. His imagination is vast, his vocabulary stretches the modern mind.  Bible believers can “see” his word pictures yet must guard against making them too authoritarian – after all, Milton’s inspiration is only the earthly kind allowed to poets & great prose writers – he was not inspirited in the same sense as writers of Holy Writ.

Milton himself was an interesting person.  After preparing to enter the clergy (at Cambridge) he changed careers to become a poet.  He gave himself to extensive classical & modern readings (religion, science, philosophy, history, politics, & literature). He became proficient in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, Spanish,  Italian, & was familiar Old English & Dutch.  His education was “rounded out” by a 13-month tour of France & Italy in which he met several intellectuals among whom was Galileo,

Opening lines of Paradise Lost

Of man’s first disobedience, and the fruit

Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste

Brought death into the world, and all our woe,

With loss of Eden, till one greater man

Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,

Sing heavenly muse, that on the secret top

Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire

That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed,

In the beginning how the heavens and earth

Rose out of chaos: Or if Sion hill

Delight thee more, and Siloa’s brook that flowed

Fast by the oracle of God; I thence

Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song…

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ON THIS DATE

John Milton was born 12/9/1608 in London.  He was an excellent poet, a theologian (some of our “Biblical ideas” are “Miltonic”) and had a strong interest in the actions of Rome regarding the state.  He grew up an Anglican, later turned to Presbyterianism, and finally became an Independent.  He went blind about 1652 but still wrote (through his secretary).  Sadly, secular intellectuals speak highly of his poetry but say little about his greatest works: Paradise Lost (1667), Paradise Regained (1671), and Samson Agonistes (1671) thus robbing some youth of their valuable insights.  His works include an exposition of Christian doctrine, a plea for qualitative Christian education, and various political writings.  Milton died 8/11/1674.

Milton Quotes:

“Better to reign in Hell, than to serve in Heaven.”  (These words, which Milton has coming from satan’s mouth, express the attitude of the Carnal Heart. – eab) ―  Paradise Lost

“Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.” ―  Areopagitica

 “Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind.” ―  Comus

“Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell. ” ―  Paradise Lost

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            OF  REFORMATION

          I do not know of anything more worthy than to consider first, the foul     and sudden corruption, and then after many a tedious age, the long deferred,       but much more wonderful and happy reformation of the Church. Sad it is to             think that such a Doctrine should through the grossness and blindness of her       Professors, and the fraud of deceivable traditions, drag so downwards as to             backslide one way into the Jewish beggary and stumble forward another way      into the new-vomited Paganism of sensual Idolatry.

            The superstitious man by his good will is an Atheist; but being scarred    from thence by the pangs and gripes of a boyling conscience, all in a pudder

shuffles up to himself such a God and such a worship as is most agreeable to      remedy his fear. Fear fixed only upon the Flesh renders likewise the whole         faculty of his apprehension carnal, and all the inward acts of worship issuing             from the native strength of the Soul run out lavishly to the upper skin, and there harden into a crust of Formality. Hence men came to scan the Scriptures by the Letter, and in the Covenant of our Redemption magnified the external signs             more than the quickening power of the Spirit.

           How should it come to pass that England, having had this grace and       honor from God to be the first that should set up a Standard for the recovery of      lost Truth, and blow the first Evangelic Trumpet to the Nations, holding up, as 20    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? For, albeit in purity of Doctrine we agree with our Brethren, yet     in Discipline we are no better than a Schism from all the Reformation. 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.

John Milton’s works were burned this date 8/27/1660, by royal decree, as English monarchy was restored (Milton had supported Parliament).

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Of Man’s first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
Brought death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
Sing, Heavenly Muse, that, on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That shepherd who first taught the chosen seed
In the beginning how the heavens and earth
Rose out of Chaos: or, if Sion hill
Delight thee more, and Siloa’s brook that flowed
Fast by the oracle of God, I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above th’ Aonian mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.
And chiefly thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer
Before all temples th’ upright heart and pure,
Instruct me, for thou know’st; thou from the first
Wast present, and, with mighty wings outspread,
Dove-like sat’st brooding on the vast Abyss,
And mad’st it pregnant: what in me is dark
Illumine, what is low raise and support;
That, to the height of this great argument,
I may assert Eternal Providence,
And justify the ways of God to men.

 

John Milton published this date Paradise Lost 3/27/1667.  Milton was one of the greates Christian writers of all years in the English language. 

See Milton also Blind

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“The Lord Will Come and Not Be Slow”    (stanzas 3-6)

Rise, God, judge Thou the earth in might,
This wicked earth redress;
For Thou art He who shalt by right
The nations all possess.

The nations all whom Thou hast made
Shall come, and all shall frame
To bow them low before Thee, Lord!
And glorify Thy Name!

Truth from the earth, like to a flower,
Shall bud and blossom then,
And justice, from her heavenly bower,
Look down on mortal men.

Thee will I praise, O Lord, my God!
Thee honor and adore
With my whole heart; and blaze abroad
Thy Name forevermore!

John Milton was born this date, 12/9/1608, in London.  He is known for his Paradise Lost (1667), Paradise Regained(1671).  Religiously John moved from Anglican to Presbyterian to Independent.

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“On the Late Late Massacre in Piedmont”

 

Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered saints, whose bones

Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold;

Ev’n them who kept the truth so pure of old,

When all our fathers worshipped stocks and stones,

Forget not: in thy book record their groans

Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold

Slain by the bloody Piedmontese, that rolled

Mother with infant down the rocks.  Their moans

The vales redoubled to the hills, and they

To heav’n.  Their martyred blood and ashes sow

O’er all th’ Italian fields, where still doth sway

The triple Tyrant that from these may grow

A hundredfold, who, having learnt thy way,

Early may fly the Babylonian woe.

 

John Milton, one of the greatest (if not the greatest) poet of England died 11/6/1674 in London.  He is best known for Paradise Lost (1667), Paradise Regained (1671) but this is a good sonnet of his.  Milton was a philosopher, hynmist, poet, and theologian. 

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To see a sunset,

And be atheist yet,

‘Tis hard.

That bard,* God knew,

Though stone blind.

May you seek like mind.  -eab, 11/1966

Written while a college student, Cincinnati,Ohio* Milton

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