Ben Zornes's Reviews > Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost by John Milton
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really liked it
bookshelves: classics

Glad to check this off of my "classics-I-probably-should-have–already-read" list. Milton's classic poem about the creation of the world, Satan's rebellion, Adam and Eve's fall, and the promise of the Messiah was just delightful.

The poem is wonderfully picturesque. While it is obviously based on biblical events, Milton's imagination doesn't run too wild, but rather fills the Genesis narrative in with details that seem profoundly likely. Those folks who say Protestants can't create great works of art must conveniently overlook Paradise Lost. One qualifier is that Milton was apparently heterodox on the Trinity, which is somewhat noticeable in this tome (i.e. very little of the Holy Ghost, and a subordinationist view of the Son, etc.). However, it was quite an enjoyable piece of literature, and it is clear why it is such an enduring work.

I especially enjoyed the description of Adam and Eve's marriage before the fall, and it would certainly put egalitarian panties in a bunch and probably perplex overbearing patriarchalists. Satan's deception of Eve is quite a marvelous and insightful portion as well. The final section is the archangel Michael revealing to Adam how history will play out, and shows him that the promised redeemer would be "slaine for bringing Life." That portion, while certainly imaginative and not authoritative, was just the bees knees. I've included a few selections from that section:
Of Abraham
Not wandring poor, but trusting all his wealth

With God, who call'd him, in a land unknown.

Of Egypt
Thus with ten wounds

This River-dragon tam'd at length submits

Of the Law
And therefore was Law given them to evince

Thir natural pravitie, by stirring up

Sin against Law to fight; that when they see

Law can discover sin, but not remove,

Save by those shadowie expiations weak,

The bloud of Bulls and Goats, they may conclude

Some bloud more precious must be paid for Man,

Just for unjust, that in such righteousness

To them by Faith imputed, they may finde

Justification towards God, and peace

Of Conscience, which the Law by Ceremonies

Cannot appease, nor Man the moral part

Perform, and not performing cannot live.

Of the Covenant of Grace
From shadowie Types to Truth, from Flesh to Spirit,

From imposition of strict Laws, to free

Acceptance of large Grace, from servil fear

To filial, works of Law to works of Faith.

The Cross
But to the Cross he nailes thy Enemies,

The Law that is against thee, and the sins

Of all mankinde, with him there crucifi’d.

Of Death
Or theirs whom he redeems, a death like sleep,

A gentle wafting to immortal Life.

Adam’s Praise for Jesus
O goodness infinite, goodness immense!

That all this good of evil shall produce,

And evil turn to good; more wonderful

Then that which by creation first brought forth

Light out of darkness! full of doubt I stand,

Whether I should repent me now of sin

By mee done and occasiond, or rejoyce

Much more, that much more good thereof shall spring,

To God more glory, more good will to Men

From God, and over wrauth grace shall abound.
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Reading Progress

December 21, 2017 – Started Reading
December 21, 2017 – Shelved
February 12, 2018 – Shelved as: classics
February 12, 2018 – Finished Reading

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