English Prose Writings of Milton
INTRODUCTION - THIS volume contains all those Prose Writings of Milton in which he set forth, as he himself thought best, his views on all that is most vital to the body politic. The people make the state, and their well-being is dependent chiefly upon their religious life, their life, the right training of their children and a civil government adapted to their higllcst needs. I have grouped Miltons papers under headings which show that they cover all this ground, and deal only with these essentials of citizenship. There are omitted from this volume all the writings in which Milton replied to the opponents of his views. The controversies of 250 years ago travelled by many paths in which we care no longer to assert a right of way. At all times, the Reforiner who is answering opponents has his course of argument determined by the reason or the unreason of other men. Forms of reply dependent upon accidents of the attack are only to be read with ineasured judgment by those who have read the attack also and often when we have reach both, we have heard a sound of battle in the air that has appealed to our imaginations and disturbed our judgment. The battle of opinion rolls forward to new ground from century to century. The great truths are immutable, the applications of theill vary with the change of time. But when a writer vho looks to the highest aims of life and is coxcerned only with its highest interests has resolved to set forth opiniotis to the world, and having, as Milton says, summoned up all his reason and deliberation to assist him, searched, meditated, been industrious, and likely consulted and conferred with his judicious friends, he arranges the expression of his thought as hebest can, he meets as he goes the objections that are likely to arise from men of differing opinion, ranging all to the utmost of his own capacity into one clear enforcement of what he thinks is for the public good.
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