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author's own words elsewhere, of the Son of God as delineated in the following pages, that
in him all his Father shone Substantially express'd,
yet the translator rejoices in being able to state that the doctrine of the satisfaction of Christ is so scripturally and unambiguously enforced, as to leave, on that point, nothing to be desired.
So too Milton's sentiments respecting the divine decrees are as clear, and perhaps as satisfactory, as can be expected on a subject in which it is wisest and safest to confess with the cautious Locke our inability to reconcile the universal prescience of God with the free agency of man, though we be as fully persuaded of bot doctrines, as of any truths we most firmly assent to. His view may be thus summarily stated; that everything is foreknown b God, though not decreed absolutely. He argues that the Deity having in his power to confer or withhold the liberty of the will, showed his sovereignty in conceding it to man, as effectually as he could have done in depriving him of it; that he therefore created him a free agent, foreseeing the use which he would make of his liberty, and shaping his decrees accordingly, inasmuch as the issue of events, though uncertain as regards man, by reason of the freedom of the human will, is perfectly known to God, by reason of the divine prescience. This is, on the one hand, in direct opposition to the doctrine of the Socinians, that there can be no certain foreknowledge of future contingencies; and on the • other, to that of the Supralapsarians, that the Deity is the causal source of human actions, and consequently that the decrees of God are antecedent to his prescience. In treating of the latter topic, Milton justly protests against the use of a phraseology when speaking of the Deity, which properly applies to finite beings alone. It must be confessed, however, that he can no more escape the difficulties connected with free will, than inferior men. Witness p. 202. God distinctly declares that it is he himself who impels the sinner to sin, who hardens his heart, who blinds his understanding, and leads him into error; yet on account of the infinite holiness of the Deity, it is not allowable to consider him as in the smallest instance the author of sin.' This involves the same contradiction as we find in all systems when they touch this part of the subject. A succeeding sentence is important. 'Not the human heart in a state of innocence and purity and repugnance to evil is induced by him to act wickedly and deceitfully, but after it has conceived sin....he inclines and biasses it in this or that direction,' &c. This seems to be a just distinctica well put.
There are other subjects, and particularly that of the Holy Spirit, to which the translator had wished to have adverted, had he not been warned, by the length to which the preceding observations have already extended, to abstain from further comment. He cannot however conclude these preliminary remarks, without acknowledging his obligations to W. S. Walker, Esq. Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, who has not only discharged the greater part of the laborious office of correcting the press, but whose valuable suggestions during the progress of the work have contributed to remove some of its imperfections.
WINDSOR, July, 1825.
TO THE PRESENT EDITION.
SOON after the original publication of the following Treatise, some additional papers of great importance were discovered in the State Paper Office by the indefatigable industry of the late Mr. Lemon, to which it is right to advert in sending out the present Edition.
The first has reference to the Mr. Skinner spoken of in the foregoing pages, respecting whom much doubt existed. See Preliminary Observations, p. vi.-xiv. The Translator ventured to identify this Skinner with the Daniel Skinner to whom Mr. Perwich, in a communication from Paris, dated March 15, 1677, addressed to Mr. Bridgeman, Secretary to Sir Joseph Williamson, reports that he had delivered a letter from Dr. Barrow, presumed to be Dr. Isaac Barrow, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. See ante, p. xii. The following documents place beyond a doubt the accuracy of this conjecture.
From a Collection of Domestic Papers, Petitions, &c., in the Reign of King Charles II., preserved in His Majesty's State Paper Office. Vol. xix. pp. 165, 167.
I doe heartyly thank you for your care of my concerns, and of the College interest. I am sorry for the miscarriages of that wild young man, to whom I have written the enclosed, which you may please to seall and send. I have since received another Letter from Harris, complaining that I do not return any answer to his Letters, yet without direction whither I should send; I should be glad if you should
chance to meet him and inform him.
PREFIX TO THE PRESENT EDITION.
Please to present my humble duty to my Lord Bishop of Ely. Feb. 13, 1676-7.
I suppose you sometimes see Mr. Dove; when you doe, I pray give him my hearty love and service; and tell him that I shall not, I think, be at London untill my waiting time in April.
friend and servant,
Trin. Coll. Feby. 13, 1676-7.
For Mr. DANIEL SKINNER.
State Paper Office, December 2, 1825.
We have no news;
(The enclosure referred to.)
SIR, By order of a Meeting you are injoined immediately without delay, upon receiving this, to repair hither to y College; no further allowance to discontinue being granted to you. This you are to do upon penalty of ye Statute, which is Expulsion from ye College, if you disobey. We doe also warn you that if you shall publish any Writing mischievous to ye Church and State, you will thence incurre a forfeiture of your interest here. I hope God will give you ye wisedome and grace to take warning.
So I rest,
at Ely House, in Holborn, London.
Your loving friend,
A few months later a yet more interesting document was discovered, which is thus described in a letter from Mr. Lemon to the Translator:
"I avail myself of the earliest opportunity of communi
cating to you a circumstance which I flatter myself will be gratifying to you, as it is to me. This afternoon, Mr. Lechmere, a gentleman in this Office, (who is engaged in examining and arranging an immense collection of old miscellaneous papers) brought up to me a document which he had just accidentally found amongst them. It is an original letter from Daniel Elzevir to Sir Joseph Williamson, dated at Amsterdam in November 1676, in which he acquaints Sir Joseph that, about a year before, Mr. Skinner put into his hands a Collection of Letters, and a Treatise on Theology written by the deceased Milton, with directions to print them; but on examining the works, he (Elzevir) found many things in them which, in his opinion, had better be suppressed than divulged; that he, in consequence, declined printing them, and that Mr. Skinner had lately been at Amsterdam, and expressed himself highly gratified that Elzevir had not commenced the printing of them-and then took away the manuscripts.
"It is not less singular than gratifying, that the discovery of this letter so completely confirms the conjectures we had previously formed respecting the Doctrina Christiana; and I think you will agree with me in opinion, that this is the only link wanting in the chain of evidence to prove the authenticity of this work, and that Milton was the undoubted author of it. The letter of Elzevir, above alluded to, is unquestionably an original, as I have carefully collated it with another letter of Elzevir's, which I fortunately have in my possession; and the writing of the two letters is perfect identity.
"State Paper Office, March 22, 1826."
This interesting discovery sets entirely at rest all doubt, if, notwithstanding the internal evidence, any could yet have existed, as to the authenticity of the manuscript translated in the following pages.
FARNHAM CASTLE, Dec. 1852.