New user? Register here:
Email Address:
Password:
Retype Password:
First Name:
Last Name:
Existing user? Login here:
 
 
Comment >

100 years ago: Milton’s sinister influence

Click to enlarge


December 11th, 1908

ON WEDNESDAY, the 300th anniversary of Milton’s birth was celebrated, and in London es­pecially, as the birth-place of a poet whose place among the Immortals is secure — “Milton, a name to re­sound for ages” — the event was marked with great rejoicings. With most that was said in praise of Milton as a maker of great verse, a master of his art, gifted with the highest creative and imaginative powers, with the certain touch that gave life to words — with all this we are in accord. But we must take the risk of being blamed for striking a discordant note when we enter a protest against the commemora­tion service that was held in Bow Church.

We distinguish between Milton the poet and Milton the man. His influence on English religion and English thought was sinister. He was extolled on Wed­nesday as a Puritan but not Puri­tanical; but, to our thinking, that was rather to his discredit. He was Puritan in his detestation of most of those things for which Bow Church was built, and for which it may be supposed still to stand, but he was not Puritanical because he was not religious. To his poetic nature the Bible with its lovely imagery and dramatic possibilities appealed, but the humane ethics of Catholic Chris­tianity were not alive to his mind. If we would observe sanity in our judgment, we must not place Milton on a pedestal to be worshipped as a flawless saint, with a pandenominational cultus of which the Bishop of Ripon [Dr W. Boyd Carpenter] and Dr Horton [a Congregational divine] are for the moment the hierarchs.

Job of the week

Archdeacon

West Midlands

The Church of England, Birmingham "As the youngest urban population in one of the most lively and diverse regions, Birmingham is a great place to be. The rich variety of social contexts in the Archd...  Read More

Signup for job alerts
Top feature

Putting Passion into performance

Putting Passion into performance

Pat Ashworth talks to the originators of two home-grown Passion stagings, one musical and the other theatrical  Subscribe to read more

Question of the week
Should parishes be able to sell treasures that no longer reside in their churches?

To prevent multiple voting, we now ask readers to be logged in. This is free, quick and easy, honestly. Click here to login or register

Top comment

My faith in the Church of England

David Cameron expresses his pride in its openness, beauty, social action, and pastoral care  Read More

Thu 17 Apr 14 @ 17:35
RT @barbararoutley“@RicStott: And finished... http://t.co/DTfRJmYKz9”. @churchtimes

Thu 17 Apr 14 @ 16:11
Our interview with @nickbaines about the new diocese that will come into being in Yorkshire on Sunday http://t.co/AzZkU3Rzws