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tions, he urges that prelacy is the natural agent and minister of tyranny.
He advocates the sweetest and mildest manner of paternal discipline, the independent ministry of each congregation ; and he wishes the Angel of the Gospel to ride on his way, doing his proper business, conquering the high thoughts and proud reasonings of the flesh. As long as the church (he says), in true imitation of Christ, can be content to ride upon an ass, carrying herself and her government along in a mean and simple guise, she may be, as she is, a lion of the tribe of Judah, and in her humility all men will, with loud hosannas, confess her greatness. When his opponents urged the learning of the University and the clergy, he said, 'that God will not suffer true learning to be wanting, when true grace and obedience to him abounds; for if he give us to know him aright, and to practise this our knowledge in right established discipline, how much more will he replenish us with all abilities in tongues and arts, that may conduce to his glory and our good. He can stir up rich fathers to bestow exquisite education on their children, and to dedicate them to the service of the Gospel. He can make the sons of nobles his ministers, and princes to be his Nazarites.'
That Milton engaged in the heat and dust of these great controversial questions, from motives of conscience, and with intentions upright and pure, no one can reasonably doubt, but they were alien from his elegant and learned pursuits ; they were scarcely congenial to his age ; and himself, as well as his brethren whom he defended, were infinitely inferior to Bishop Hall in theological learning, and in controversial skill; that learned Prelate's victory over Smectymnus was complete.
Milton's father 47
came now to reside in his son's house. Philips says of him ; "the old gentleman lived wholly retired to his rest and devotion, without the least trouble imaginable. At Whitsuntide, in 1643, in his thirty-fifth year, Milton married Mary, the daughter of Mr. Powell, a justice of the peace in Oxfordshire. After an absence of little more than a month, he brought his bride to town with him, and hoped, as Johnson observes, to enjoy the advantages of a conjugal life ; 48 but spare diet, and hard study, and å house full of pupils, did not suit the young and gay daughter of a Cavalier. She had been brought up in very different society; so having lived for a month a philosophic life, after having been used at home to a great house,49 and much company and joviality, her friends, possibly by her own desire, made earnest suit to have her company the remaining part of the summer, which was granted upon a promise of her return at Michaelmas. When Michaelmas came, the lady had no inclination to quit the hospitality and delights of her father's mansion for the austerer habits and seclusion of the Poet's study. Aubrey says, “no company came to her, and she often heard her nephew cry and be beaten ;' Milton sent repeated letters to her, which were all unanswered ; and a messenger, who was dispatched to urge her return, was dismissed with contempt. A resistance so pertinacious and illegal as this, must have rested on some grounds that were at least imagined favourable to the conduct of the wife. We must, therefore, refer to the unsettled situation of the kingdom, by which the authority of the laws was weakened, and obedience imperfectly enforced ; and we must recollect, that at the time when she refused to return to her husband's roof, the King, with all his forces, was quartered in the neighbouring city of Oxford ; that her family was of course surrounded with the gay and licentious adherents of the monarch, the carousing Cavaliers; that 'living in the camp of the enemy, she must have been in the daily habit of hearing hatred, scorn, and contempt, uttered against the party whose sentiments were so strongly adopted by her husband ; that a prospect of success now dawned upon the fortunes of the King; and, looking at the apparent interests of the family, considering her wavering or alienated affections, and interpreting fairly the language of Philips, we may presume that had the side of the royalists been victorious, the marriage with the Puritan husband would have been cancelled or concealed.
47 Till the taking of Reading, in April 1643, by the Earl of Essex, he had lived there, in the house of his son Christopher.
48 Toland gives four conjectures on this subject. 1. Whether it was that this young woman, accustomed to a large and jovial family, could not live in a philosophical retirement; 2. or that she was not satisfied with the person of her husband; 3. or, lastly, that because all her relations were addicted to the Royal interest, his democratical principles were disagreeable to her humour; 4. nor is it impossible that the father repented of this match, upon the prospect of some success on The King's side, who then had his head-quarters at Oxford, See Life, p. 52.
49 T. Warton had a MS. inventory of Mr. Powell's goods; and he says, “by the number, order, and furniture of the roonis, he appears to have lived as a country gentleman, in a very extensive and liberal style of house keeping.' v. Todd's Life, p. 176.
Milton, whose mind was never given to halfmeasures, resolved immediately to repudiate her on the ground of disobedience; and to support the propriety and lawfulness of his conduct, he published in 1644, “The doctrine and discipline of divorce, the judgment of Master Bucer concerning Divorce, the next year he printed his Tetrachordon, or expositions on the four chief places of scripture, which treat on marriage. His last tract · Colasterion' was an answer to a pamphlet recommended by Mr. Joseph Caryll,50 the author of a Commentary on Job, and a presbyterian divine, the author was anonymous, but Milton calls him a serving-man both by nature and function, an idiot by breeding, and a solicitor by presumption.'
In this treatise, Dr. Symmons thinks that Milton has made out a strong case, and fights with arguments not easily to be repelled; and Mr. Godwin says, 'that the books on divorce are written with the most entire knowledge of the subject, and with a clearness and strength of argument, that it would be difficult to excel; and it must be remembered that Selden wrote his “Uxor Hebraica,' on the same side of the question. Without entering into the intricacies of so great an argument, I shall content myself with saying, that all the ingenuity of Milton, and the learning of Selden are of no avail against the acknowledged experience of society, which seems to have silently consented to the wisdom of the established law. Tempers once deemed incompatible, may gradually assimilate. The interests of children, the advancement of fortune, the respect of society, moral principle, religious feeling, the force of habit, are all assisting the reconciliation of wedded discontent. Incompatibility of temper,
50 Of Mr. Caryll, Toland says, (p. 60), 'in his voluminous and senseless commentaries, he did more injury to the memory of Job, than the Devil, and the Sabeans could inflict torments on him in his lifetime.
cannot be submitted to legal proof, or determined by any unerring standard ; will it not therefore be often advanced to cover the wishes of inconstancy, or the desires of impurity? Does not legal separation allow all that is necessary in extreme cases of insufferable evil? Is an incompatible temper to be advanced as the cause of one divorce, or may it release from a succession of imprudent engagements ? Milton's courtship was apparently sudden and short; and no one can be much surprised at the disagreements that followed: but it appears that he subsequently lived in happiness with his wife, and with renewed affection. Hence the divorce, at one time so much desired, would probably have destroyed, if granted, the future happiness of both parties.
There is one passage in this treatise, in which Milton clearly points to himself, and to the presumed causes of his unhappiness. “The soberest, and best governed men, he says, are least practised in these affairs; and who knows not that the bashful muteness of a virgin may oftentimes hide all the unliveliness and natural sloth which is really unfit for conversation, nor is there that freedom of access granted or presumed, as many suffice to a perfect discerning till too late; and when any indisposition is suspected, what more usual than the persuasion of friends, that acquaintance as it increases, will amend all; and lastly, is it not strange that many who have spent their youth chastely, are in some things not so quick sighted, while they haste too eagerly to light the nuptial torch. Nor is it therefore for a modest error, that a man should forfeit so great a happiness, and no charitable means to relieve him. Since they who have lived most loosely,