Anglo-American Millennialism, from Milton to the Millerites by Richard Connors

By Richard Connors

Neither the meliorist political tradition of the nascent American republic nor its later go with the flow towards apocalyptically tinged 'fundamentalist' Protestantism and dispensationalism might be defined outdoor the context of the shared Anglo-American traditions and practices of millennial expectation and apocalyptic angst--whether expressed via early colonists, Milton, Blake, Miller or the Continental Congress. during this chronologically direct and thematically different quantity, 5 students operating in 3 designated disciplines (Religion, English literature, and historical past) method millennialism and apocalypticism within the British and Anglo-American contexts, making impressive contributions either to the learn of spiritual, literary and political tradition within the English-speaking ecumene, and, at the very least implicitly, to the critique of disciplinary exclusivity. in basic terms in such combined corporation does the learn of the millennial nexus in English and American faith, tradition, literature and politics, from the time of Milton to the time of the Millerites, come into concentration.

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1570, m4r) Foxe differentiates his sentiment from the common and orthodox conviction of God’s providential control of history by insisting that humans can know the divine plan. The Book of Revelation is not an inscrutable mystery, but rather a map by which we can understand the course of human history and the future. Foxe thus conceives of the Apocalypse as an unbroken, pre-scripted story, a continuity allowing him “set forth the acts and proceedings of the whole church of Christ, namely, of the church of England .

Milton expresses this sense of the earthly nature of paradise in some of his earliest writings. Toward the end of Prolusion VII Milton confronts the discouraging argument of “Ignorance” that since “we live under the shadow of the world’s old age and decrepitude, and of the impending dissolution of all things,” there is no point in pursuing learning. Rather than denying this apocalyptic imminence, Milton embraces it, reinflecting the nature and significance of this End: But we may hope for an eternal life, which will never allow the memory of good deeds we performed on earth to perish; in which, if we have done well here, we shall ourselves be present to hear our praise; 64 65 John Milton: The Prose Works (London: Twayne Publishers, 1998), 33.

Though he criticizes the sluggishness of the English Reformation, he identifies his nation’s break with Rome as “a most evident proof given us of this eternal Kingdom,” a future earthly kingdom that Brightman suggests would provide “great felicity pertaining to this life . 1 (2000): 29–48. On the apocalyptic potential of this apotheosis see Robin Headlam Wells, Spenser’s Faerie Queene and the Cult of Elizabeth (Totowa, NJ: Barnes & Noble Books, 1982). 42 On New England premillennialism see Stephen J.

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