Page:Studies of a Biographer 4.djvu/120

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106
STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER

to be in the form of an epic poem. He therefore gives both a creed, as Professor Raleigh says, 'and a cosmical scheme of imagination.' The creed may not bear examination; but the scheme appears all the more wonderful as a work of art. 'By the most delicate skill of architecture this gigantic filamented structure has been raised into the air. … That it should stand at all is the marvel, seeing that it is spanned on frail arches over the abyss of the impossible, the unnatural, and the grotesque.' Milton's creed, of course, is the creed of contemporary theologians. He accepts unhesitatingly the speculative position represented by the Westminster divines. He holds, indeed, that most of them were wrong in their conclusions, but he has not the least doubt that truth is attainable by their methods. A complete theodicy may be reached" by hitting off the right mean between Calvin and Arminius. He is indeed so little of a philosopher that he is hardly aware of the difficulties. When Pope complains that 'God the Father turns a school-divine' and asserts the compatibility of prescience and freewill, he does injustice, says Professor Raleigh, 'to the scholastic philosophers. There was never one of them who could have walked into a metaphysical bramble-bush with the