[Milton-L] both because they're his and because they're just

JCarl Bellinger dionhalic at gmail.com
Thu Apr 10 14:37:37 EDT 2014

Harold, Gregory, et al:

In respect to this discussion, how do read Milton here? (preface,CG):
IN the publishing of humane lawes, which for the most part aime not beyond
the good of civill society, to set them barely forth to the people without
reason or Preface, like a physicall prescript, or only with threatnings, as
it were a lordly command, in the judgement of Plato was thought to be done
neither generously nor wisely. His advice was, seeing that persuasion
certainly is a more winning, and more manlike way to keepe men in obedience
then feare, that to such lawes as were of principall moment, there should
be us'd as an induction, some well temper'd discourse, shewing how good,
how gainfull, how happy it must needs be to live according to honesty and
justice, which being utter'd with those native colours and graces of
speech, as true eloquence the daughter of vertue can best bestow upon her
mothers praises, would so incite, and in a manner, charme the multitude
into the love of that which is really good, as to imbrace it ever after,
not of custome and awe, which most men do, but of choice and purpose, with
true and constant delight. But this practice we may learn, from a better &
more ancient authority, then any heathen writer hath to give us, and indeed
being a point of so high wisdome & worth, how could it be but we should
find it in that book, within whose sacred context all wisdome is infolded?
Moses therefore the only Lawgiver that we can believe to have beene visibly
taught of God, knowing how vaine it was to write lawes to men whose hearts
were not first season'd with the knowledge of God and of his workes, began
from the book of Genesis, as a prologue to his lawes; which Josephus right
well hath noted. That the nation of the Jewes, reading therein the
universall goodnesse of God to all creatures in the Creation, and his
peculiar favour to them in his election of Abraham their ancestor, from
whom they could derive so many blessings upon themselves, might be mov'd to
obey sincerely by knowing so good a reason of their obedience.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.richmond.edu/pipermail/milton-l/attachments/20140410/4b38aed5/attachment.html>

More information about the Milton-L mailing list