Monday 20 March 2006

Prevenient grace descending

In case any of you are interested in obscure Puritan controversies regarding prevenient grace, regeneration and conversion, I have just published an article about all this in the new issue of Milton Quarterly: “Prevenient Grace and Conversion in Paradise Lost,” Milton Quarterly 40:1 (2006), 20-36.

Here’s a few lines from Milton’s Paradise Lost, on the conversion of Adam and Eve after their fall:

Thus they in lowliest plight repentant stood
Praying, for from the Mercy-seat above
Prevenient Grace descending had remov’d
The stony from their hearts, and made new flesh
Regenerate grow instead, that sighs now breath’d
Unutterable, which the Spirit of prayer
Inspir’d, and wing’d for Heaven with speedier flight
Than loudest Oratory. (11.1-8)

Ah, the experience of reading Milton’s poetry is like being born again!


Anonymous said...

Hey, Ben, have you noticed that whenever any poetry is posted, there are virtually no comments? Is that because there are a lot of Philistines out there, or should we be more optimistic? My English Professor (Ihab Hassan) used to say that the proper response to poetry is - poetry! (i.e., not "comment"). Perhaps you should set aside a day when all posts should be poetry!

And thinking of theological aesthetics - I think it was Wittgenstein who said that it should be possible to write a book of philosophy as a series of jokes. Should it not be possible to write a book of theology as a series of verse (and jokes too, for that matter!)?

But I anticipate your answer: it's already been done: it's called Paradise Lost!

Ben Myers said...

Well, I'm sure it's not because of Philistinism. More optimistically, I like to think it's because the experience of poetry leaves us awed and silenced.

As for a theology of verse: yes, you guessed my answer exactly!

Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I'll have to read your article -- as you know, I've written on this as well.

I think that my office computer has access to it. I'll check next week, when I'm again in my office.

Anytime that you publish on Milton, let me know...

Jeffery Hodges

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