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

100 years ago: Milton’s sinister influence

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

Chaplain - Development

West Midlands

VACANCY ADVERTISEMENT CHAPLAIN - DEVELOPMENT 18.75 HOURS PER WEEK The Pastoral Care Team at The Myton Hospices is committed to the provision of spiritual care across the organisation and deliveri...  Read More

Signup for job alerts
Top feature

The lighter side of fund-raising

The lighter side of fund-raising

Maggie Durran reviews entries to a competition to find the best fund-raising ideas  Read More

Question of the week
Would you like to see religious ads at the cinema?

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

Questions to weigh before bombing

Just-war theory can guide MPs in these decisions, says Paul Vallely  Subscribe to read more

Sat 28 Nov 15 @ 17:17
90 per cent of disasters caused by climate, and rate is increasing, UN says

Sat 28 Nov 15 @ 15:58
The lighter side of fund-raising | Maggie Durran reviews some novel ideas to raise cash