[Milton-L] crucifixion

Horace Jeffery Hodges horacejeffery at gmail.com
Sun Apr 6 16:31:36 EDT 2014


What were Milton's views on prevenient grace? I had assumed that the
prevenient grace given to Adam and Eve in the opening lines to PL 11 was a
gift to all humanity. Is this incorrect?

Jeffery Hodges

Ewha Womans University
Seoul, South Korea


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Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
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On Mon, Apr 7, 2014 at 5:21 AM, JD Fleming <jfleming at sfu.ca> wrote:

> Hm. Well, I'm no theologian, and don't claim to be. But it seems to me
> that the idea that you can't even get credit for the effort you make to
> receive grace--which is what the doctrine of prevenient grace, presumably,
> accomplishes--is much less manifestly ecumenical than you suggest. It is,
> presumably, a radicalization of the soteriology of grace, at the expense of
> works (including works of prayer), which one associates with the reformers,
> notably with Calvin. Who, for that matter, always lavishes praise on
> Augustine ("this holy man"). Prevenient grace formalizes, because it
> reiterates, the arbitrariness of salvation *sola gratia, *which is the
> basis for predestination, which reaches its apogee (does it not?) in
> Calvin. You are not saved because you are good, or even because God foresaw
> that you would be. Rather, you are good because God saw fit to save you.
> And even your prima facie capacity to be saved is to his credit rather than
> yours, because he gave you prevenient grace: the grace that makes it
> possible for you to receivegrace. I would agree that the doctrine does
> not entail non-universality (since God could perfectly well afford
> prevenient grace for everybody). But I don't see how it doesn't align with
> irresistibility. When God reaches in to "remove the stony" from Adam's and
> Eve's hearts--thus rendering possible the heartfelt scene of prayer and
> repentance we have just witnessed--that looks pretty darned irresistible.
>
> But if all this is insufficiently sophisticated for you, we can just
> denote the doctrine as a soteriological (if not specifically Calvinist)
> regress. Makes no difference to the actual point, which is that A and E are
> not forgiven because they repent; rather, they repent because they have
> been--at least provisionally--forgiven. JDF
>
> ------------------------------
> *From: *"alan horn" <alanshorn at gmail.com>
> *To: *"John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> *Sent: *Sunday, 6 April, 2014 12:18:55
> *Subject: *Re: [Milton-L] crucifixion
>
>  in 11 we are carefully told that A and E are only able to pray because
>> God has already given them "prevenient grace"--the grace that comes before
>> grace, making it possible for grace to be received. Calvinist regress.
>>
>
> As I'm sure you know, the need for prevenient grace is not a specifically
> Calvinist doctrine. I believe it is common to all Christians after
> Augustine who rejected Pelagianism. Holding it does not imply Calvinist
> views on whether that grace is resistible or universally available.
>
>
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>
> --
> James Dougal Fleming
> Associate Professor
> Department of English
> Simon Fraser University
> 778-782-4713
>
> Burnaby -- British Columbia -- Canada.
>
> *Upstairs was a room for travelers. 'You know, I shall take it for the
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> -- Vladimir Naboko*v*,* "Cloud, Castle, Lake'*
>
>
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