Introduction. The Controversy over Prelacy. Between the spring of 1641 and February 1642, Milton published four tracts against bishops, that is, against the episcopal form of church-government. In so doing, he joined the side of the Presbyterian party in Parliament in its opposition to the two wars against Scotland—the Bishops' Wars—in 1639 and 1640, and to William Laud's policies as Archbishop of Canterbury. Charles I made war upon Scotland in an unsuccessful attempt to force episcopal church government upon the Presbyterian Kirk of Scotland. Through Archbishop Laud, Charles attempted to halt, and even reverse, the reformation of the English Church, in opposition to the growing influence of Presbyterians in England. These oppositions eventually gave rise to the English Civil Wars of 1642-46 and 1648-49, at the close of which Charles I was tried by a "High Court of Justice," convicted of treason and executed on a platform outside the Banqueting House at Whitehall Palace.

Milton interrupted plans to extend his European tour into Sicily and Greece when he heard "the melancholy tidings from England of civil war." "For I thought it base," he wrote in A Second Defence of the English People (1654), "that I should be traveling at my ease...while my fellow citizens were fighting for their liberty at home" (translated by George Burnett, revised by Moses Hadas, in The Works of John Milton 8.125). Milton would have been familiar with Charles I's attempts to force the English-style episcopal hierarchy and liturgical forms on the Scottish Kirk even before he left England in the spring of 1638, but in November of that year, while Milton was in Italy, the Kirk's General Assembly, meeting in Glasgow, firmly rejected Charles's efforts by deposing all bishops and abolishing the use of the Book of Common Prayer. Scottish soldiers serving abroad returned to Scotland in anticipation of hostilities and an English force of 20,000 soldiers assembled on the border early in the summer of 1639. Milton regarded all this as more than simply an effort to subdue Scotland and its Kirk; he saw in this action a threat to the liberty of fellow citizens, and to the cause of English reformation.

Milton's anti-prelatical tracts belong to a larger set of polemical publications, both anti- and pro-bishops, prompted in part by the Root and Branch Petition addressed to the House of Commons on December 11, 1640. This petition, signed by 15,000 Londoners, called for the abolition of "the government of archbishops and lord bishops, deans, and archdeacons, &c., with their courts and ministrations...with all its dependencies, roots and branches." Seven days later, the House of Commons impeached Archbishop Laud for treason. These Presbyterian successes in Parliament bred a conservative reaction: a group of distinguished authors, most of them bishops and archbishops, undertook to defend English Church polity in general, and the administration of bishops in particular. Joseph Hall, Bishop of Exeter, led the reactionary party with his anonymous An Humble Remonstrance to the High Court of Parliament in January 1641. In March, a group of five Presbyterian clergy calling themselves Smectymnuus (Stephen Marshall, Edmund Calamy, Thomas Young, Matthew Newcomen, and William Spurstowe) responded with An Answer to a booke entituled, An Humble Remonstrance. Thomas Young was one of Milton's earliest tutors and a Scot. Milton's admiration for Young is evident in his Fourth Elegy; perhaps he took the attack on the Scottish Kirk more personally due to this friendship. The "Postscript" to this tract may be Milton's first entry into this controversy. Hall responded in April with A Defence of the Humble Remonstrance, and Smectymnuus shot back with A Vindication of the Answer to the Humble Remonstrance in June.

Milton enters the fray on his own in May 1641 with Of Reformation, followed by Of Prelatical Episcopacy, Animadversions Upon the Remonstrants Defence Against Smectymnuus, The Reason of Church Government (early 1642) and An Apology Against a Pamphlet (1642). Only one of these, The Reason of Church Government, bears Milton's name on the title page.

In The Reason of Church Government, Milton undertakes, once again, to assert that a Presbyterian form of church government is prescribed by God in scripture, and that the episcopal government and liturgy of the Church of England is derived principally from Roman popery, customs and traditions at variance with the testimony of the scriptures. He also specifically responds to the publication in Oxford in 1641 of Certain Briefe Treatises, Written by Diverse Learned Men, concerning the ancient and Moderne government of the Church. This pamphlet gathered together older material by Richard Hooker and Lancelot Andrewes with more recent arguments by James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh and Edward Brerewood, an antiquarian and astronomy professor. In Book I, Milton engages with the arguments made by Andrewes, Ussher and Brerewood and concludes by arguing that what some fear as sects, schisms and rebellion are either fictions and false alarms retailed by reactionary bishops or healthy conversation and dissent about matters of church administration and the proper worship of God. In Book II, Milton interrupts the polemics with a remarkable announcement of his ambitions to be a prophet to his native land, and to write an epic or tragedy in English that will rival the achievements of ancient Romans and Greeks. When he resumes the polemic, he no longer engages with specific authors or pamphlets, but argues that episcopal hierarchy and ceremonious doctrines harm not only the Church of God, but the state and trample on the God-given liberties of Englishmen.

Thomas H. Luxon

prescript. A medical prescription. See OED.

Josephus. Titus Flavius Josephus (37-c.100), a Jewish historian and scholar who wrote in his book The Antiquity of the Jews, "Now when Moses was desirous to teach this lesson to his countrymen, he did not begin the establishment of his laws after the same manner that other legislators did; I mean, upon contracts and other rights between one man and another, but by raising their minds upwards to regard God, and his creation of the world; and by persuading them, that we men are the most excellent of the creatures of God upon earth." See the preface of The Antiquity of the Jews.

Presbyteriall. The presbyterian form of church government which Milton favors, under which each congregationis governed by elected elders and ministers. Each congregation is subordinate to a larger congregation called a presbytery, then to a greater synod and general assembly. At this time in England, Presbyterian Puritans had pressured King Charles I to remove bishops from temporal office and strip them of their powers to arrest and imprison. See Encyclopedia Britannica.

Prelaticall. The ecclesiastical form of church government incumbent in England since before the reformation. Twenty-six dioceses were ruled by twenty-six bishops and governed in turn by the archbishop of Canterbury. Douglas Bush writes, "The church authority was, at least in theory, from the top down: the service was ritualistic; and to the casual (or hostile) observer, there seemed little difference between the "high" Anglican church service and the Roman" (Complete Prose Works of John Milton, 748 n. 9).

Asia. Milton refers, with obvious sarcasm, to an essay by James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh, in Certain Briefe Treatises called "A Geographicall and Historicall Disquisition Touching on the Lydian or Proconsular Asia, and the Seven Metropoliticall Churches Contained Therein." Milton singles out Ussher's energetic defenses of prelatical episcopacy in his 1641 tract, Of Prelatical Episcopacy. See page 76 of Certain Briefe Treatises.

Ephesus. Ussher's essay in Certain Briefe Treatises says, "Of the seven churches in Asia, spoken of in the book of the Revelation, Ephesus alone in the dayes of Constantine had the metropoliticall dignity left unto it." See Certain Briefe Treatises, 92.

Chalcedon. Milton refers, again sarcastically, to Richard Smith (1568-1655), an English Catholic who was made Roman Catholic Bishop of Chalcedon and Vicar Apostolic of England. He had been a student of Cardinal Bellarmine's at the English College in Rome. "In 1628 the Government issued a proclamation for his arrest, and in 1631 he withdrew to Paris, where he lived with Richelieu till the cardinal's death in 1642; then he retired to the convent of the English Augustinian nuns, where he died" (Catholic Encyclopedia Online).

Breerwood. A reference to Edward Brerewood (1565-1613), who wrote "A Declaration of the Patriarchall Government of the Ancient Church" for Certain Briefe Treatises. See Certain Briefe Treatises.

Church. Milton refers to Ephesians 5:23, "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body."

my yeares. Milton was thirty-four when this tract was published, early in 1642.

scanning. Close investigation or consideration, critical examination or judgement. See OED.

Xenophon. In his text Anabasis, Xenophon asserts that enemy armies attack where they note a lack of discipline. See Anabasis 3. 2. 29-33.

Scipio. Scipio Africanus (also Scipio the Great) was a Roman consul and successful general. He ended the second Punic war against Carthage in 202 B.C.E.

quaterniond. To arrange in groups of four. See OED.

Satrapies. A province ruled over by a satrap, or a governor in the ancient Persian monarchy. See OED.

orbe. To form or gather in an orb, disc or globe; to make circular or globular; to take on the form or character of an orb. See OED.

vagancies. A vagancy, says the OED is "a wandering or strolling" (OED).

Minos. In ancient Greek mythology, Minos was the king of Crete in ancient Greek mythology.

Lycurgus. Lycurgus was a Roman lawgiver who is credited with establishing many institutions in Sparta.

Numa. Numa was said to be the second king of Rome before the Republic, ruling from 715 to 673 BC.

Bethshemesh. For part of the story of the ark of the covenant role in ancient Israel, see 1 Samuel 6:13.

shogging. Rocking from side to side. See OED.

Uzza. For the story of Uzzah's presumptuous attempts to steady the rocking ark of the covenant, see 2 Samuel 6. Only Levites were permitted to touch the ark.

Oeconomy. From the Latin word oeconomia, which means household management.

Esther. The Persian King Ahasuerus prescribed ritual purifications for Esther before taking her and other maidens into his household. See Esther 2.

Levites. The Jewish priesthood.

Temple. A reference to 1 Chronicles 28:11-13.

Prophets. According to Ezra 6:14, the prophets were Haggai and Zechariah.

Ez-kiel. See the prophecy of Ezekiel at Ezekiel 40-48.

lavers. The large brazen vessel for the ablutions of the priests, mentioned in the descriptions of the Mosaic Tabernacle and of the Temple of Solomon. See OED. See the story of Solomon's direction for the details of the temple in 2 Chronicles 3-4.

those Epistles of S. Paul to Timothy and Titus. These epistles are known as the pastoral epistles, which discuss the responsibilities of a pastor and pastoral management of the church.

the first of Timothy. Milton refers to 1 Timothy 1:17 and then quotes from 1 Timothy 1:18.

Corinthians. Milton actually refers to 2 Corinthians 10:4.

Hymenoeus. Hymenoeus and Philetus, Paul alleges, indulged in "godless chatter" that "departed from the truth," claiming that the resurrection had already passed (2 Timothy 2:16-18).

14 V. of the 3 C. That is, 1 Timothy 3:14.

jangle. See 1 Timothy 1:6.

Verse 21. See 1 Timothy 5:21.

Hooker. Richard Hooker, an Anglician theologian who has since been attributed with establishing reason and emphasis on Scripture as founding tenets of Anglicanism.

singular. In Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, 3. 11. 11, Hooker writes, "Touching that commandment which Timothy was charged with, we swerve undoubtedly from the Apostle's precise meaning if we extend it so largely, that the arms thereof shall reach unto all things which were commanded him by the Apostle. The very words themselves do restrain themselves unto some one especial commandment among many." See Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity.

Vers. 5. That is 1 Timothy 1:5.

adjuration. The act of invoking or commanding an evil spirit. See OED.

impalement. An enclosing fence or palisade. See OED.

Epistle. Peter says, "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock." See 1 Peter 5:2-3.

Reed. Milton here refers to the book of Revelation, in which we're told an Angel gives St. John a reed "like unto a rod" and tells him to "measure the temple of God" and its worshippers. See Revelation 11:1-2.

neighbor. Milton here references the Presbyterian church in Scotland after it eradicated the "Gentilish rites and ceremonies" he scorned.

Apostles themselves. The apostles doubt the Law at several points in the Bible including Galatians 5:18 in which it is written, "But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law." See also Romans 8:1-5 and 1 Corinthians 9:21.

as on a childe. Milton refers to Galatians 4:1-5.

as high as Adam. See the first of "Two Speeches of the Right Honourable William, Lord Viscount Say and Seal, ... upon the bill against the bishops" in The Diurnall Occurrences or Dayly Proceedings of Both Houses, in This Great and Happy Parliament (1641) 415. William Fiennes, the Lord Viscount, advocated retaining bishops as "a humane device for the Remedy of Schisme," but stripping them of all judicial and courtly powers and prerogatives (9 September 1641). He refers, apparently, to a remark made earlier in the session by John Williams, the Bishop of Lincoln, as the marginal notation suggests.

B. Andrews. Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626), Bishop of Chichester and later Winchester, was one of the principal divines appointed by James I to compile the authorized (King James) version of the Bible. In 1617, he preached to Presbyterian Scots, to no avail, the virtues of returning to an episcopal form of church government.

Primat of Armagh. James Ussher (1581-1656) was Archbishop of Armagh and primate of all Ireland. Milton specifically addresses his arguments in favor of episcopacy in an earlier tract, Of Prelatical Episcopacy (1641).

his discourse. Milton refers to the third tract, "The Orginall of Bishops and Metropolitans, set down by James, Archishop of Armagh" in the collection of defenses of episcopacy known as Certain Briefe Treatises ...concerning the ancient and Modern government of the Church (1641).

word and doctrine. The 1641 edition has what looks like the following in the margin at this point: "I Tim. 58". Milton refers to 1 Timothy 5:17.

hands of the Presbytery. See 1 Timothy 4:14.

a little treatise. Milton refers quite directly here to a collection of defenses of episcopacy known as Certain Briefe Treatises ...concerning the ancient and Modern government of the Church (1641).

rude draughts of Bishop Andrews. After the first title page and a table of contents, Certain Briefe Treatises ...concerning the ancient and Modern government of the Church (1641) displays a fresh title page that introduces a "Summarie View" of the matter gathered "Out Of the rude Draughts of Lancelot Andrewes, late Bishop of Winchester."

the 12 and 23 pages. See Certain Briefe Treatises ...concerning the ancient and Modern government of the Church (1641), page 12 and page 23.

sow'd to the typet. Milton puns sarcastically on "type" and "tippet." A tippet is a ceremonial scarf or stole worn by Anglican clergy.

Meleager in the Metamorphosis. For the story of Meleager and Atalanta, see Ovid's Metamorphoses 8.422-56.

When I dye. This is identified as an old, and oft-repeated, sentiment by Dio in his Roman History 58.23, and Suetonius in his Twelve Caesars: Nero 6.38.

Protestant Bishop of Winchester. Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626), Bishop of Chichester and later Winchester, was one of the principal divines appointed by James I to compile the authorized (King James) version of the Bible. In 1617, he preached to Presbyterian Scots the virtues of returning to an episcopal form of church government.

missificate. That is, make, or say mass. See the OED. Milton alleges that if the type of the sacrificing priest is not fulfilled by Christ's advent, then Bishop Andrewes may as well celebrate the Roman Catholic "sacrifice" of the mass. The Anglican Book of Common Prayer (1559) calls the eucharist "our Sacrifice of praise and thankesgeving," and refers to Christ's sacrifice as "a ful, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the synnes of the whole worlde."

17 of Deut. See Deuteronomy 17:8-12.

Oracle of Urim. "In ancient Israelite religion and culture, Urim and Thummim is a phrase from the Hebrew Scriptures or Torah associated with the hoshen (High Priest's breastplate), divination in general, and cleromancy in particular." See the entire Wikipedia article.

Ananias. See Acts 23:1-5.

Dunce. "Duns or Dunce, already synonymous with 'cavilling sophist' or 'hair-splitter', soon passed into the sense of 'dull obstinate person impervious to the new learning', and of 'blockhead incapable of learning or scholarship'" (OED).

oraculous Ephod. "An ephod was an article of clothing, and an object of worship in ancient Israelite culture, and was closely connected with oracular practices and priestly ritual." See entire Wikipedia article with scripture references.

Levitically bequeath'd. That is, derived from the priestly authority granted to the tribe of Levi. See Wikipedia's article on Levite.

let Aaron go. See page 23 of Certain Briefe Treatises.

Eleazar. Eleazar was Aaron's son. See page 23 of Certain Briefe Treatises.

endlesse genealogies. See a sample of such "endlesse genealogies" on page 25 of Certain Briefe Treatises.

in Timothy. See 1 Timothy 1:4.

Roman Souldier. One of the Roman soldiers who refrained from breaking Jesus's legs as he already was dead. See John 19:31-34.

beginning of his tractat. James Ussher's tract in Certain Briefe Treatises begins on page 51.

66 of Esaiah. Isaiah 66:21. See Certain Briefe Treatises, page 52.

the 23 v. See Isaiah 66:23.

Gentiles. See Isaiah 66:19.

the 24 page. See Certain Briefe Treatises, page 24.

Jereboams Episcopacy. Jereboam ruled over the northern kingdom of Israel after Solomon died and Israel was divided. He presumed to take on the role of high priest, ousted the proper priests and Levites, and introduced idols into the temple. See 1 Kings 12-13.

the remonstrant. Bishop Joseph Hall, in his A defence of the humble remonstrance, against the frivolous and false exceptions of Smectymnvvs wherein the right of leiturgie and episcopacie is clearly vindicated (1641), admits this point on page 47.

Jerome. In Letter 146, "To Evangelus," Jerome "refutes the opinion of those who make deacons equal to presbyters, but in doing so himself makes presbyters equal to bishops" (New Advent Encyclopedia).

Gratian. See Distinctiones 93 and 95 in "Decreti Pars Prima" of Decretum Gratiani. Edward Dering, in his A Collection of Speeches (1642) also wrote: "Gratian, the Canonist, doth allow the Laity to be present, especially in such Councels as do treat of faith, and for proofe doth vouch Pope Nicholas" (page 35).

Anselme. Anselm (1033-1109) was Archbishop of Canterbury. No record of any commentaries by him on Titus or Philippians survives.

good corne. "Corne" means wheat; see the parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13:24-30.

seven Angels. James Ussher, in his portion of Certain Briefe Treatises, page 65, wrote: "The Angels of the seven Churches were no other, but such as in the next age after the Apostles were by the Fathers tearmed Bishops."

rochets. "A rochet is a white vestment generally worn by a Roman Catholic or Anglican Bishop in choir dress" (Wikipedia, "Rochet").

rather then by faith. See 2 Corinthians 5:7: "For we walk by faith, not by sight."

prevention of growing schisme. Lancelot Andrewes in Certain Brief Treatises, page 32, offered just this reason: "The occasion which caused the Apostles to appoint Bishops, [besides the patterne in the time of the Law] seemeth to have been schismes." See also Francis Mason on page 147: citing a gloss on the Gratian canon law, he writes, "Before this advancing, these names of Bishops and Presbyters, were altogether of the same signification, and the administration was common: because Churches were governed by the common advise of Presbyters....This advancing was made for a remedy against schisme: as it is here said by Saint Ierom."

looke for schisme. See, for example, Luke 12:51-53, Romans 16:17-19 and 2 John 1:5-15.

Clements Epistle. Clemens Romanus, also known as Pope Clement I (died 99 CE), wrote two pastoral letters, one to the church in Corinth, and another that is no longer thought to be by him. These two letters were rediscovered in 1628, "having been included with an ancient Greek Bible given by the Patriarch Cyril of Jerusalem to King Charles I of England" (Wikipedia). Milton refers to the first of them, still thought to be genuine, where Clement says, "only let the flock of Christ be at peace with its duly appointed presbyters" (1 Clement 54:2).

Hermas. The Shepherd of Hermas, also known as The Pastor of Hermas, is a late first- or early second-century scripture considered canonical by some early church leaders.

Salmatius. Claudius Salmasius (1588-1653), also known as Claude Saumaise, was a French protestant scholar. In his De Episcopus et Presbyteris (Leiden 1641), Salmasius cites Hermas and Clement as authorities proving that presbyters and bishops were originally one and the same office (Ralph Haug in the Yale Complete Prose 1.781n15). While a professor at Leiden in 1649, he composed Defensio regia pro Carolo I provoked by the execution of Charles I of England in January of that year. "It remains unknown whose influence induced him to undertake the Defensio regia, but Charles II defrayed the expense of printing, and presented the author with £100. The first edition appeared anonymously, but the author was universally known. A French translation (which speedily appeared under the name of "Claude Le Gros") was the work of Salmasius himself. This celebrated work provoked from John Milton the Pro Populo Anglicano Defensio (1650), including attacks on his wife along with much other vituperation. Salmasius's reply to Milton remained unfinished at his death: his son published it in 1660" (Wikipedia).

gave the Israelites a King. See 2 Samuel 8:10-22.

Eusebius in his eighth book. Eusebius (c. 260/265-339/340 CE) was a Roman historian, Christian polemicist and Bishop of Caesarea. Milton refers to his Church History book 8, chapters 1 and 2.

Brownists, Familists, Anabaptists. Three notoriously detested radical separatist sects. "The Brownists were English Dissenters or early Separatists from the Church of England. They were named after Robert Browne, who was born at Tolethorpe Hall in Rutland, England in about 1550. A majority of the Mayflower passengers in 1620 were Brownists, and indeed the Pilgrims were known for 200 years as the Brownist Emigration" (Wikipedia). "The Family of Love or Familists (English term) was a mystic religious sect known as the Familia Caritatis (Hus der Lieften; Huis der Liefde; Haus der Liebe; Family of Love), founded in the sixteenth century by Henry Nicholis, also known as Niclaes" (Wikipedia). Anabaptists are Christians of the Radical Reformation of 16th-century Europe, considered Protestant by some, although some consider Anabaptism to be a distinct movement from Protestantism. The Amish, Hutterites, and Mennonites are direct descendants of the movement. The name Anabaptist is derived from the Greek term anabaptista, or 'one who baptizes over again.' This name was given them by their enemies in reference to the practice of "re-baptizing" converts who "already had been baptized" (or sprinkled) as infants. Anabaptists required that baptismal candidates be able to make their own confessions of faith and so rejected baptism of infants" (Wikipedia).

Adrians wall. "Hadrian's Wall (Latin: Vallum Aelium) was a defensive fortification in Roman Britain, begun in AD 122 during the rule of emperor Hadrian" (Wikipedia).

an extract of the Masse book. Compare the liturgy for Holy Communion in the 1559 Book of Common Prayer to the Tridentine Latin mass.

slanders against the Scots. See George Gillespie's A Dispute against the English-Popish Ceremonies Obtruded upon the Church of Scotland (1637), most by the so-called high-church reforms of Archbishop William Laud and his appointees.

fortold by Christ. See Matthew 10:23-25.

Lollards and Hussites. "The term 'Lollard' refers to the followers of John Wycliffe, a prominent theologian who was dismissed from the University of Oxford in 1381 for criticism of the Church, especially in his doctrine on the Eucharist" (Wikipedia). "The Hussites were a Christian movement following the teachings of Czech reformer Jan Hus (c. 1369-1415), who became one of the forerunners of the Protestant Reformation" (Wikipedia).

Adamites. An "obscure sect, dating probably from the 2nd century, professed to have regained Adam's primeval innocence" (Wikipedia).

Church of Sardis. The Apocalypse of John, or Revelation, was addressed to the Church of Sardis, among others; see Revelation 3.

fifteenth of the Acts. See Acts 15:1-11.

forked Miters. "The mitre, also spelled miter, is a type of headgear now known as the traditional, ceremonial head-dress of bishops and certain abbots in the Roman Catholic Church, as well as in the Anglican Communion, some Lutheran churches, and also bishops and certain other clergy in the Eastern Orthodox churches, Eastern Catholic Churches and the Oriental Orthodox Churches" (Wikipedia). It might be said to have a forked shape when viewed from one side. It is also rather conical and pointed.

Epistles of Peter and Iohn. On the authorship of the Petrine epistles, see Wikipedia. Most scholars date them 70-90 CE; a few argue for later dates. The three canonical epistles of John, traditionally attributed to John the Evangelist, are usually dated between 85 and 100 CE (Wikipedia). "The earliest of the books of the New Testament was First Thessalonians, an epistle of Paul, written probably in 51, or possibly Galatians in 49 according to one of two theories of its writing" (Wikipedia).

dictatorship. In the ancient Roman Republic (roughly 509 BCE to 44 [or 27] BCE), Rome was ruled by a pair of consuls and a senate; the consuls were elected annually by the citizens. Dictators, or extraordinary magistrates were appointed, originally, to rule in extraordinary circumstances, such as war or periods of sedition; their traditional term was six months. In 44 [or 27] BCE, Gauis Julius Caesar was proclaimed perpetual dictator.

Curtius. Marcus Curtius was a mythological young Roman nobleman who sacrificed himself to save Rome in 362 BCE.

Clement. Clemens Romanus, also known as Pope Clement I (died 99 CE), wrote two pastoral letters, one to the church in Corinth, and another that is no longer thought to be by him. These two letters were rediscovered in 1628, "having been included with an ancient Greek Bible given by the Patriarch Cyril of Jerusalem to King Charles I of England" (Wikipedia). Milton refers to the first of them, still thought to be genuine, where Clement says, "Who therefore is noble among you? Who is compassionate? Who is fulfilled with love? Let him say; If by reason of me there be faction and strife and divisions, I retire, I depart, whither ye will, and I do that which is ordered by the people: only let the flock of Christ be at peace with its duly appointed presbyters. He that shall have done this, shall win for himself great renown in Christ, and every place will receive him." (1 Clement 54:1-3).

Cling fast. Milton offers here a parody of Paul's pastoral advice in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14.

Egyptian tyranny. Milton likens the state of the English church under episcopal rule to the slavery of Israel in Egypt; see Exodus 1:8-14.

Prelat Gardner. Stephen Gardiner (c.1483-1555) was an English bishop and politician during the Reformation period. Though he supported Henry VIII's petition for a divorce from Queen Catherine and his claim of supremacy over the English church, he opposed most other aspects of the reformation. Gardner served as Lord Chancellor during the reign of Queen Mary I, who attempted to restore Roman Catholicism in England.

must be sects. See 1 Corinthians 11:17-20.

Solomon tels us. See Proverbs 4:18-19.

another proverb. See Proverbs 4:18-19.

scales from his eyes. See Acts 9:18.

Barclay. John Barclay (1582-1621), a Scottish satirist and poet, wrote The Mirrour of Mindes, or Barclay's Icon Animorum, translated by Tho. May (1631). On pages 122-23, he writes of Englishmen, "They hold abominable opinions unworthy of men, and are authors of their owne superstition, misled by noe predeceesour, they feare noe tortures."

fleam. Stream, river or flow. Perhaps also suggesting a sluggish or phlegmatic flow. See both "fleam" and "phlegm" in the OED.

Irish subject. Irish rebellion broke out in October 1641, sparked by Irish Catholic fears of an anti-Catholic invasion by combined forces of Parliament and Scots Presbyterian Covenanters. See Wikipedia. Milton's reference to the Irish rebellion can help us date this pamphlet.

Camden. William Camden (1551-1623) wrote the first detailed historical account of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Annales the true and royall history of the famous empresse Elizabeth Queene of England France and Ireland &c. (1625) wherein he refers to "this Irish Nation, being so much the more superstitious, by how much lesse it was husbanded and tilled" (page 43).

Azariah to King Asa. See 2 Chronicles 15:3-7.

no peace. Milton quotes from Zechariah 8:10 and the margin here carries the notation "Zechar.8."

he tels them. The margin here carries the reference "Haggai 2." See Haggai 2.

petty Kernish Prince. The prince Milton refers to here is Diarmait Mac Murchada, King of Leinster. Deprived of his throne in 1167, he appealed to King Henry II of England for help. One Raymond Fitzgerald was assigned to lead a force that took Wexford, Waterford and Dublin in 1169-70 and recovered for Mac Murchada his lands in return for a pledge of allegiance to King Henry II of England.

sutlers. Sutler: "One who follows an army or lives in a garrison town and sells provisions to the soldiers" (OED).