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as war, was rougher and more barbarous in thofe days than it is in these. It is to be confidered too, that his adverfaries first began the attack; they loaded him with much more perfonal abufe, only they had not the advantage of fo much wit to season it. If he had engaged with more candid and ingenuous difputants, he would have preferred civility and fair argument to wit and fatyr. To do fo was my choice, and to have: "done thus was my chance," as he fays himself. All who have written any accounts of his life agree, that he was affable and inftructive in converfation, of an equal and chearful temper; and yet I can eafily believe, that he had a fufficient fenfe of his own merits, and contempt enough for his adverfaries:

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His merits indeed were fingular: for he was a man not only of wonderful genius, but of immenfe learning and erudition; not only an incomparable poet, but a great mathematician, logician, hiftorian, and divine, He was a mafter not only of the Greek and Latin, butlikewife of the Hebrew, Chaldee, and Syriac, as well as of the modern languages, Italian, French, and Spanish. He was particularly fkilled in the Italian, which he always preferred to the French language, as all the men of letters did at that time in England; and he not only wrote elegantly in it, but is highly commended for his writings by the most learned of the Italians themfelves. He had read almost all authors, and improved by all, even by romances, of which he had been fond in his younger years: and as the bee can extract honey out of weeds, fo (to use his own words) "those books, which to many others have been the "fuel of wantonnefs and loofe living, proved to him "fo many incitements to the love and obfervation of "virtue." His favourite author, after the holy scrip tures was Homer: Homer he could repeat almost without book; and he was advised to undertake a tranflation of his works, which no doubt he would have executed to admiration. But (as he fays of himself): "he never could delight in long citations, much less " in whole traductions." Accordingly there are few things, and those of no great length, which he has

ever translated. He was poffeffed too much of an original genius to be a mere copier. Whether it be "natural difpofition," fays he, "or education in me,

or that my mother bore me a fpeaker of what God "made my own, and not a tranflator." It is fomewhat remarkable, that there is fearce any author who has written fo much, and upon fuch various subjects, and yet quotes fo little from his contemporary authors, or fo feldom mentions any of them. He praifes Selden indeed in more places than one; but for the rest, he appears disposed to cenfure rather than commend. He was a master of mufic, as was his father, and he could perform both vocally and inftrumentally; and it is faid that he compofed very well, though nothing of this kind is handed down to us. It is alfo faid, that he had some skill in painting, and that fomewhere or other there is a head of Milton drawn by himself. But he was bleffed with fo many real excellencies, that there is no want of fictitious ones to raise and a dorn his character. He had a quick apprehenfion, a fublime imagination, a ftrong memory, a piercing judgment, a wit always ready, and facetious or grave as the occafion required. I know not whether the lofs of his fight did not add vigour to the faculties of his mind. He at least thought fo, and often com. forted himself with that reflection.

But his great parts and learning have scarcely gained him more admirers, than his political principles have raised him enemies. And yet the darling paffion of his foul was the love of liberty; this was his conftant aim and end, however he might be mistaken in the means. He was indeed very zealous in what was called the good old caufe; and with his fpirit and his refolution, it is fomewhat wonderful that he never ventured his perfon in the civil war: But though he was not in arms he was not inactive, and thought, I fuppofe, that he could be of more fervice to the cause by his pen than by his fword. He was a thorough republican; and in this he thought like a Greek or Roman, as he was very converfant with their writings. One day Sir Robert Howard, who was a friend to Milton,

Milton, as well as to the liberties of his country, and was one of his conftant visitors to the last, inquired of him, how he came to fide with the republicans ? Milton answered among other reasons, because theirs was the most frugal government, for the trappings of a monarchy might fet up an ordinary commonwealth. But then his attachment to Cromwell must be condemned, as being neither confiftent with his republican principles, nor with his love of liberty. I know no other way of accounting for his conduct, but by prefuming (as I think we may reasonably prefume) that he was far from entirely approving of Cromwell's proceedings, but confidered him as the only perfon who could refcue the nation from the tyranny of the Prefbyterians, who he faw were erecting a worfe dominion of their own upon the ruins of prelatical epifcopacy; and of all things he dreaded spiritual flavery, and therefore clofed with Cromwell and the Independents, as he expected under them greater liberty of confcience. And though he ferved Cromwell, yet it must be said for him, that he ferved a great master, and served him ably, and was not wanting from time to time in giving him excellent good advice, especially in his Second Defence. And fo little being faid of him in all Secretary Thurloe's ftate-papers, it appears that he had no great share in the fecrets and intrigues of government; what he dispatched, was little more than matters of neceffary form, letters and answers to foreign ftates. And he may be juftified for acting in fuch a station, upon the fame principle as Sir Matthew Hale for holding a judge's commiffion under the Ufurper. In the latter part of his life he frequently expreffed to his friends his entire fatisfaction of mind, that he had conftantly employed his ftrength and faculties in the defence of liberty, and in oppofition to flavery...

In matters of religion too he has given as great of fence, or even greater, than by his political princ.ptes. But fill let not the infidel glory: no fuch man was ever of that party. He had the advantage of a pious education, and ever expreffed the profoundeft reverence. of the Deity in his words and actions, was both a Chriftiana

Christian and a Proteftant, and ftudied and admired the holy Scriptures above all other books whatsoever. In all his writings he plainly fhoweth a religious turn of mind, as well in verfe as in profe, as well in his works of an earlier date as in thofe of latter compofition. When he wrote the doctrine and difcipline of divorce, he appears to have been a Calvinist; but afterwards he entertained a more favourable opinion of Arminius. Some have inclined to believe that he was an Arian; but there are more exprefs paffages in his works to overthrow this opinion, than any there are to confirm it. For in the conclufion of his treatife of reformation, he thus folemnly invokes the Trinity: "Thou therefore that fittest in light and glory un"approachable, Parent of angels and men! next "thee I implore, Omnipotent King, Redeemer of that "loft remnant whose nature thou didst assume, inef"fable and everlafting Love! and thou the third fub"ftance of divine infinitude, illumining Spirit, the


joy and folace of created things! one tri-perfonal "Godhead! look upon this thy poor and almost spent "and expiring church," &c. And, in his tract of Preatical epifcopacy, he endeavours to prove the fpuriufnefs of fome epiftles attributed to Ignatius, because they contained in them herefies, one of which herefies is, that "he condemns them for ministers of Satan, "who fay that Chrift is God above all." And a little after, in the fame tract, he objects to the authority of Tertullian, because he went about to "prove an

imparity between God the Father and God the "Son." And in Paradise Loft we fhall find nothing upon this head that is not perfectly agreeable to Scripture. Dr. Trapp, who was as likely to cry out upon herefy as any man, afferts that the poem is orthodox intery part of it; or otherwife he would not have bit the pains of tranflating it Milton was indeed a dienter from the church of England, in which he had been educated, and was by his parents defigned for holy orders: But he was led away by early prejudices against the doctrine and difcipline of the church. In his younger years he was a favourer of the Prefby


terians; in his middle age he was best pleased with the Independents and Anabaptifts, as allowing greater liberty of confcience than others, and coming nearest in his opinion to the primitive practice; and in the latter part of his life he was not a professed member of any particular fect of Chriftians, frequented no public worship, nor ufed any religious rite in his family. Whether fo many different forms of worship as he had feen had made him indifferent to all forms; or whether he thought that all Chriftians had in fome things corrupted the purity and fimplicity of the gofpel; or whether he difliked their endless and uncharitable difputes, and that love of dominion and inclination to perfecution, which he faid was a piece of Popery infeparable from all churches; or whether he believed, that a man might be a good Chriftian without joining in any communion; or whether he did not look upon himself as infpired, as wrapt up in God, and above all forms and ceremonies, it is not easy to determipe. To bis own mafter he ftandeth or falleth. But, if he was of any denomination, he was a fort of a Quietift, and was full of the interior of religion, though he fo little regarded the exterior; and it is certain was to the laft an enthufiaft rather than an infidel. As enthufiafm made Norris a poet, fe poetry might make Milton an enthufiaft.

His circumstances were never very mean, nor very great; for he lived above want, and was not intent upon accumulating wealth. His ambition was more

to enrich and adorn his mind.. His father fupported him in his travels, and for fome time after. Then his pupils must have been of fome advantage to him, and brought him either a certain ftipend, or confiderable prefents at leaft; and he had fcarcely any other method of improving his fortune, as he was of no profeffion. When his father died, he inherited an ender fon's fhare of his eftate, the principal part of which I believe was his houfe in Breadftreet. Not long after he was appointed Latin Secretary, with a falary of acol. a year; fo that he was now in opulent circumLances for a man, who had always led a frugal and:


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