[Milton-L] tree of life

jsavoie at siue.edu jsavoie at siue.edu
Sat Apr 5 18:57:38 EDT 2014

Quoting alan horn <alanshorn at gmail.com>:

> >
> > why is the Tree of Life there at all? Milton seems to strip it of any
> > function in the literal narrative and reduce it to a symbol prefiguring
> > Christian salvation. Does this get us any closer to establishing a
> > symmetrical relation between the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life?
> >
> The Tree of Life is the type of the cross. Jesus dying on the cross in
> obedience to the law of God makes good Adam's disobedience in eating of
> that other tree. So Christ (the anti-type of Satan, who offered the fruit
> of the Tree of Knowledge, or death) redeems from death all those who
> "offered life / Neglect not" (XII, 425-6). The Tree of Life is identified
> with the true church in Book IV and Satan who perches on it as he scopes
> out Eden to corrupt clergy (193).


See stanza five by Donne.


SINCE I am coming to that Holy room,
    Where, with Thy choir of saints for evermore,
I shall be made Thy music ; as I come
    I tune the instrument here at the door,
    And what I must do then, think here before ;

Whilst my physicians by their love are grown
    Cosmographers, and I their map, who lie
Flat on this bed, that by them may be shown
    That this is my south-west discovery,
    Per fretum febris, by these straits to die ;

I joy, that in these straits I see my west ;
    For, though those currents yield return to none,
What shall my west hurt me ?  As west and east
    In all flat maps—and I am one—are one,
    So death doth touch the resurrection.

Is the Pacific sea my home ?  Or are
    The eastern riches ?  Is Jerusalem ?
Anyan, and Magellan, and Gibraltar ?
    All straits, and none but straits, are ways to them
    Whether where Japhet dwelt, or Cham, or Shem.

We think that Paradise and Calvary,
    Christ's cross and Adam's tree, stood in one place ;
Look, Lord, and find both Adams met in me ;
    As the first Adam's sweat surrounds my face,
    May the last Adam's blood my soul embrace.

So, in His purple wrapp'd, receive me, Lord ;
    By these His thorns, give me His other crown ;
And as to others' souls I preach'd Thy word,
    Be this my text, my sermon to mine own,
    “Therefore that He may raise, the Lord throws down.”

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