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with the heresy of bigottism, and belongs, is to make use of Solomon's have great cause to fear, that if the test, viz. To give up the cause to merciful God should damn us all for them that first lay down the sword such things for which straitlaced of division: when one party saith, christians condemn one another, Lo here is Christ in this church, and none could be saved. They think another saith, Lo he is there; they there is no particular human form of believe what Christ himself bath told ecclesiastical polity so acceptable to them, that where two or three are met the great God, as the exercise of together in his name, there he is in mutual charity under our different the midst of them. forms.
Tbey do not think their zeal lukeThey neither make their opinions, warm except it burn up their disarticles of faith, nor their modes cretion, but can join the prudence terms of communion ; but believe of the serpent with the innocency of those principles, and practice those the dove; and are grieved to obprecepts, which wise and good men serve men contend so eagerly about are all agreed in, well knowing if the pinacles of the temple, as that they should happen to be mistaken they threaten to overturn the foun. in those things wherein they differ, dations of the church. they could not lose the way to hea- They take more pains to make ven, whilst they sincerely love God, good their baptismal covenant, than believe in Christ, and obey the mo- to dispute about the manner of its tions of the holy Spirit.
administration, as if they were bapThey are of peaceable and recon tized with the waters of strife; and ciling dispositions and neither call they are more frequent in a devout for fire from heaven, nor kindle fires participation of the Lord's supper, upon earth, to destroy all those that than in metaphysical contests about follow not them; as well knowing the real presence. They know there that truth cannot be engraven in the is nothing required of man as necesminds of men with the points of sary to salvation, but what is clearly swords, nor can their understand. revealed and beyond all dispute. ings be illuminated with flaming They choose rather to take up the faggots.
cross of Christ, ihan wrangle about They neither make the way to it; and more solicitously observe the heaven broader nor narrower than complexion of their own souls, than the head of the pillars of the univers the colour of ministers garments : sal church have made it: and they nor do they so contend about the walk on soberly, righteously, and number of the elect, as to reprobate godly in that path, which upon great themselves for want of charity; but consideration they take to be the endeavour to perform the whole duty right, without rudely jogling those of man, in so doing they know they whom they fear to be in the wrong. are in the way to the saints' everlast.
They think the best way to find ing rest. out to what mother the child of truth
AREOPAGITICA: · A SPEECH FOR THE LIBERTY OF UNLICENSED PRINTING:
TO THE PARLIAMENT OF ENGLAND.
By JOIN MILTON.
. As therefore the state of man now this is the benefit which may be bad $; what wisdom can there be to of books promiscuously read. But of choose, what continence to forbear the harin that may result henee, without the knowledge of evil? He three kinds are usually reckoned. that can apprehend and consider First, is feared the infection that vice with all her habits and seeming may spread; but then, all human pleasures, and yet abstain, and yet learning and controversy iu religious distinguish, and yet perfer that points must remove out of the world, which is truly better, he is the true yea, the bible itself; for that oftwarfaring christian. I cannot praise times relates blasphemy not nicely : a fugitive and cloistered virtue un- it describes the carval sense of wick. exercised, and unbreathed, that never ed men not unelegantly; it brings in sallies out and sees her adversary, holiest men passionately murmuring but slinks out of the race, where that against providence through all the immortal garland is to be run for, arguments of Epicurus; in other not without dust and heat. Assured great disputes it answers dubiously ly we bring not innocence into the and darkly to the common reader; world, we bring impurity much ra- and ask a Talmudist what ails the ther; that which purifies us in trial, modesty of his marginal Keri, that and trial is by what is contrary. Moses and all the prophets cannot That virtue therefore which is but a persuade him to pronounce the texyoungling in the contemplation of tual Chetis. For these causes we evil, and knows not the utmost that all know the bible itself put by the vice promises to her followers, and papist into the first rank of prohi. rejects it, is but a blank virtue, not a bited books. The ancientest fathers pure ; her whiteness is but an excre- must be next removed, as Clement mental whiteness; which was the rea- of Alexandria, and that Eusebian son why our sage and serious poet book of evangelic preparation, transSpenser, (whom I dare be known to mitting our ears through a hoard of think a better teacher than Scotus or heathenish obscenities to receive the Aquinas,)describing true temperance gospel. Who finds not that Irenæus, under the person of Guion, brings him Epiphanius, Jerom, and others, disin with his palmer through the cave cover more heresies than they well of Mammon, and the bower of earth. confute, and that oft for heresy which ly bliss, that he might see and know, is the truer opinion i Nor boots it and yet abstain. Since therefore the say for these, and all the heathen knowledge and survey of vice is in writers of greatest infection if it this world so necessary to the con- must be thought so, with whom is stituting of human virtue and the bound up the life of human learnscanning of error to the confirmation ing, that they writ in an unknown of truth, how can we more safely, tongue, so long as we are sure those and with less danger scout into the languages are known as well to the regions of sin and falsity, than by worst of men, who are both most reading all manner of tractates, and able, and most diligent to instil the hearing all manner of reason? And poison they suck, first into the courts
of princes, acquainting them with sort are most and soonest catching the choicest delights, and criticisms to the learned, (from whom to the of sin. As perbaps did that Petro- common people whatever is heretical nius, whom Nero called his arbiter, or dissolute may quickly be con. the master of his revels; and that veyed,) and that evil inanners are notorious ribald of Arezzo, dreaded, as perfectly learnt without books a and yet dear to the Italian courtiers. thousand other ways which cannot I name not him fur posterity's sake, be stopped, and evil doctrine not whom Henry the eighth named in with books can propagate, except a merriment his vicar of Hell. By teacher guide, which he might also which compendious way all the do without writing, and so beyond contagion that foreign books can in- prohibiting ;-I am not unable to unfuse will find a passage to the peo- fuld, how this cautelous enterprise ple far easier and shorter than an of licensing can be exempted from Indian voyage, though it could be the number of vain and impossible sailed either by the north of Cataio attempts. And he who were pleaeastward, or of Canada westward, santly disposed, could not well avoid while our Spanish licensing gags the to liken it to the exploit of that gal, English press never so severely. But lant man, who thought to pound on the other side, that infection up the crows by shutting up his which is from books of controversy park gate. Besides another inconin religion, is more doubtful and venience: if learned men te the first dangerous to the learned, than to receivers out of books, and dispreadthe ignorant; and yet those books ers both of vice and error, how must be perinitted untouched by the shall the licensers themselves be licenser. It will be hard to in- confided in, unless we can confer stance where any ignorant man upon them, or they assume to thembath beer ever seduced by any pa- selves above all others in the land, pistical book, in English, unless it the grace of infallibility and uncorwere commended and expounded to ruptedness! And again, if it be true, him by some of that clergy; and in that a wise man, like a good refiner, deed all such tractates, whether false can gather gold out of the drossiest or true, are as the prophecy of volume, and that a fool will be a Isaiah was to the eunuch, not to be fool with the best book, yea, or “understood without a guide." But without book; there is no reason of our priests and doctors how that we should deprive a wise man many have been corrupted by study- of any advantage to his wisdom, ing the comments of Jesuits and Sor while we seek to restrain from a fool bonists, and how fast they could that which being restrained will be transfuse that corruption into the no hinderance to his folly. For if people, our experience is both late there should be so much exactness and sad. It is not forgot, since the always used to keep that from him acute and distinct Arminius was which is unfit for his reading, we perverted merely by the perusing of should in the judgment of Aristotle a nameless discourse written at not only, but of Solomon, and of Delft, which at first he took in hand our Saviour, not vouchsafe him good to confute. Seeing therefore that precepts, and by consequence not those books, and those in great a- willingly admit him to good books; bundance which are likeliest to taint as being certain that a wise man both life and doctrine, cannot be will make better use of an idle pam, suppressed without the fall of learn- phlet, than a fool will do of sacred ing, and of all ability in disputa scripture. tion, and that these books of either It is next alledged, we must not expose ourselves to temptations with- of an academic night sitting. By out necessity, and next to that, not which taws he seems to tolerate no employ our time in vain things. To kind of learning, but by unalterable both these objections one answer decree, consisting most of practical will serve, out of the grounds alrea- traditions, to the attainment whereof dy laid : that to all men such books a library of smaller bulk than his are not temptations, nor vanities : own dialogues would be abundant. but useful drugs and materials where. And there also enacts, that no poet with to temper and compose effec- should so much as read to any pritive and strong medicines, which vate man what he had written, until man's life cannot want. The rest, the judges and law keepers had seen as children and childish men, who it, and allowed it; but that Plato have not the art to qualify and pre- meant this law peculiarly to that pare these working minerals, well commonwealth which he had imamay be exhorted to forbear, but hin- gined, and to no other, is evident. dered forcibly they cannot be, by Why was he not else a lawgiver to all the licensing that sainted inqui- himself, but a transgressor, and to sition could ever yet contrive; wbich be expelled by his own magistrates, is what I promised to deliver next. both for the wanton epigrams and That this order of licensing conduces dialogues which he made, and his nothing to the end for which it was perpetual reading of Sophron, Miframed ; and hath almost prevented mus, and Aristophanes, books of me by being clear already while grossest infamy; and also for comthus much hath been explaining. menaling the latter of them, though See the ingenuity of truth, who, he were the malicious libeller of his when she gets a free and willing chief friends, to be read by the tyhand, opens herself faster than the rant Dionysius, who had little need pace of method and discourse can of such trash to spend his time on? overtake her. It was the task which But that he knew this licensing of I began with, to show that no na- poems had reference and dependance tion, or well instituted state, if they to many other provisoes there set valued books at all, did ever use down in his fancied republic, which this way of licensing; and it might in this world could have no place ; be answered, that this is a piece of and so neither he himself, nor any prudence lately discovered. To which magistrate or city ever imitated that I return, that as it was a thing slight course, which taken apart from those and obvious to think on, so if it had other collateral injunctions must been difficult to find out, there wan. needs be vain and fruitless. For if ted not among them long since, who they fell upon one kind of strictness, suggested such a course : which they unless their care were equal to renot following, leave us a pattern of gulate all other things of like apt. their judgment that it was not the mess to corrupt the mind, that single not knowing, but the not approving endeavour they knew would be but which was the cause of their noi a fond labour; to shut and fortify using it. Plato, a man of high au. one gate against corruption, and be thority indeed, but least of all for necessitated to leave others round his commonwealth, in the book of about wide open. If we think to his laws, which no city ever :yet re- regulate printing, thereby to rectify ceived, fed his , fancy with making manners, we must regulate all re many edicts to his airy burgomase creations and pastimes, all that is ters, which they who otherwise ad- delightful to man. No music.must mire him wish had been rather bu- be heard, no song be set or sung but ried and excused in the genial cups what is grave and doric. There must be licensing dancers, that no evil, in the midst whereof God hath gesture, motion, or deportment be placed us unavoidably. Nor is it taught our youth, but what by Plato's licensing of books will do their allowance shall be thought this, which necessarily pulls along honest ; for such Plato was provided with it so many other kinds of li. of. It will ask more than the work censing, as will make us all both of twenty licensers to examine all ridiculous and weary, and yet frus. the lutes, the violins, and the gui. trate: but those unwritten, or at tars in every house: they must not least unconstraining laws of virtuous be suffered to prattle as they do, but education, religious and civil nurmust be licensed what they may ture, which Plato there mentions, say. And who shall silence all the as the bonds and ligaments of the airs and madrigals that whisper soft- commonwealth, the pillars and the ness in chambers? The windows al. sustainers of every written statute; so, and the balconies must be thought these they be, which will bear chief on; there are shrewd books, with sway in such matters as these, when dangerous frontispieces, set to sale; all licensing will be easilv eluded. who shall prohibit them: shall twen- Impunity and remissness for certain ty licensers? The villages also must are the bane of a commonwealth; have their visitors to inquire what but here ihe great art lies, to dislectures the bagpipe, and the rebec cern in what the law is to bid rereads, even to the ballatry and the straint and punishment, and in what gamut of every municipal fidler; things persuasion only is to work. for these are the countryman's Arca- If every action which is good or dias, and his Monte mayors, ---Next, evil in man at ripe years were to be what more national corruption, for under pittance, prescription, and which England hears ill abroad, compulsion, what were virtue but a than household gluttony; who shall name, what praise could be then due be the rectors of our daily rioting? to well doing, what gramercy to be And what shall be done to inhibit sober, just, or continent? Many there the multitudes, that frequent those be that complain of divine Provi. houses where drunkenness is sold dence for suffering Adam to transand harboured? Our garments also gress. Foolish tongues! when God should be referred to the licensing gave himn reason, he gave him freeof some more sober work masters, to dom to choose, for reason is but see them cutinto a less wanton garb. choosing; he had been else a mere Who shall regulate all the mixed artificial Adam, such an Adam as conversation of our youth, male and he is in the motions. We ourselves female together, as is the fashion of esteem not of that obedience, or this country? Who shall still ap- love, or gift, which is of- force; point what shall be discoursed, what God therefore left him free, set bepresumed, and no further? Lastly, fore him a provoking object, ever who shall forbid and separate all almost in his eyes; herein consisted idle resort, all evil company? These his merit, herein the right of his l'ethings will be, and must be; but ward, the praise of his abstinence. how they shall be least hurtful, bow Wherefore did he create passions least enticing-herein consists the within us, pleasures round about us, grave and governing wisdom of a but that these rightly tempered are. state. To sequester out of the world the very ingeredients of virtue? They into Atlantic and Eutopian politics, are not skilful considerers of human which never can be drawn into use, things, who imagine to remove sin, will not mend our condition; but by removing the matter of sin ; for, to ordain wisely as in this world of besides that it is a huge heap in