[Milton-L] had removd

alan horn alanshorn at gmail.com
Wed Apr 9 14:47:16 EDT 2014


Michael,

Thanks for your response, but I am confused about your timeline. Maybe I am
missing something?


> I would argue that the condition of A&E at the end of Book 10 is precisely
> "Christian regeneration by the Holy Spirit," because God has accepted their
> repentance through the intercession of the Son.
>

In my reading, Book 10 ends with Adam and Eve confessing their errors
before God and seeking his grace. Book 11 then opens with "they in lowliest
plight repentant" on account of the fact that--as the narrator now
reveals--"prevenient grace descending had removed the stony from their
hearts, and made new flesh regenerate grow instead." This is then an
explanatory analepsis, introduced by "for" and phrased in the pluperfect.
So prevenient grace has descended and, as promised in Book 3, it
"soften[ed] stony hearts to prayer, repentance, and obedience due." As I
said, I think removing the stone or stoniness from Adam and Eve's hearts
and causing new flesh to "regenerate," or grow back, in its place is
precisely that softening of stony hearts referred to in Book 3, and both of
course allude to Ezek. 11:19: "I will take the stony heart out of their
flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh." We should not miss the hints
in "made new flesh regenerate" of New Testament assurances of man's being
made new in Christ, but I think those echoes are here, strictly speaking,
proleptic. And in fact the direct consequence of the regeneration described
here is precisely that "prayer, repentance, and obedience due" foreseen in
Book 3 with which Book 10 ended and 11 began. Prevenient grace having done
its heart-altering work on them, Adam and Eve "sighs now breathed"--the
narration returning to the present moment--and those prayers go up to
heaven, where, upon being presented to him by the Son, the Father grants
them. So in my reading it is not until line 46 of Book 11 that "God has
accepted [A&E's] repentance through the intercession of the Son."
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