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Arthur Barker, indeed, has pointed out that "The extant revisions and additions made in the manuscript of De Doctrina all focus attention on his preoccupation with redemption and the process of regeneration and the Christian liberty resulting from the process; the most obvious clusters of revisions occur in the chapters on Christ's mediatorial office, on man's 'natural renovation' and 'calling', on his 'supernatural renovation' and 'regeneration' and 'being planted in Christ', on the Covenant of Grace, including Law and Gospel, on Christian liberty." Barker's contention is that Milton's last poems "use . These observations are, I believe, both profound and exciting.
Milton asserts categorically in his chapter on divine decrees in  De Doctrina Christiana that "by virtue of his wisdom God decreed the creation of angels and men as beings gifted with reason and thus with free will" (YP, VI, p. The doctrine of free will is the keystone of his soteriology in the prose treatise (cf.
Significantly, England is never mentioned in the epic; indeed, even in Michael's brief resume of church history from the time of the Apostles to the Last Judgment (XII, 502-43) there is no reference to English affairs.
On the contrary, with no mention of the Reformation at all--whether in England or on the Continent--Michael's narrative traces the progressive decline of the church from its apostolic purity, a descent arrested only by the Day of Judgment: At first sight the collapse of the Puritan theocracy and final abnegation of the national covenant at the Restoration might seem to have left Milton as a poet-prophet without either a cause or a poetic theme--but such, of course, was not the case.
On the one hand, his sense of divine guidance and inspiration, deepened by his experience as a prophet of reformation in the prose works, came to rich fruition in the invocations in Paradise Lost (see Chapter 3, pp. On the other hand, however, his plan to compose a great national poem underwent substantial revision.
He simply turned his attention in Paradise Lost from national to individual vocation and regeneration; as Tillyard succinctly expresses it, "The 'paradise within' is the substitute for the paradise on earth, now proved to be impossible of achievement".
The transition, however, is not as abrupt as it may appear when stated so baldly.
Throughout the period of the public prose Milton served as God's voice to the chosen people of England.
The nation as a whole was bound by the national covenant and Milton's role, as prophet, was to exhort his countrymen to fulfil the obligations  which the covenant imposed upon them.