[Milton-L] had removd

Michael Gillum mgillum at unca.edu
Wed Apr 9 15:30:40 EDT 2014

Alan, I'm fine with your timeline, but I was thinking the intercession and
acceptance by the Father would be instantaneous upon repentance (end of
Book 10), though having to be represented in narrative as a sequence. As
you say, the reception of prevenient grace would have to precede
repentance, so the "descending" in 11.3 must be a flashback. Then I think
the "new flesh / Regenerate" might be proleptic, as regeneration should
wait upon the Father's acceptance, insofar as there is a sequence.
"Regenerate" sounds too thoroughgoing to be accomplished directly by
prevenient grace alone--although that is what the syntax literally claims.
There seems to be a telescoping of sequence in the passage that might
imitate the relationship between "God-time" and "vulgar time." Maybe I am
just over-reading! But PL is full of time-swarms and unsettling shifts in
verb tenses, especially when the Father speaks from his knowledge of the

On Wed, Apr 9, 2014 at 2:47 PM, alan horn <alanshorn at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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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