Milton and This Pendant World is an interpretation of the great English poet “in an age increasingly skeptical, in a culture dominated by the assumptions of the natural and historical sciences and by the illusions of progress and enlightenment.”
Those are the words of the author of this book, George Wesley Whiting, an eminent and devoted Miltonian. Believing that Milton has a vital message for the modern world, Whiting has abandoned the usual pattern for examining a poet—study of versification, meter, and other poetic devices. Instead, he presents an exposition of the spiritual and moral meaning of Milton’s poetry, which can still have truth and beauty for this doubting age.
The literary image of the pendant world was familiar in Milton’s seventeenth century, but is meaningless to most people of our day. The comforting picture of the world hanging from heaven on a golden chain signifies God’s close watchfulness over humanity and the inseparable bond which links us to the spiritual kingdom.
The author declares that the search for God and the struggle to overcome the spiritual and material forces that impede the search represent the most vital of all human efforts; for unless this search is our primary motivation, life is without meaning, without final purpose.
Whiting also observes that true Christianity stands not for the impoverishment of humanity and our enslavement to the Deity, but rather for human moral health, harmonious development, and spiritual welfare. In order to save civilization from destruction at the hands of its friends—secularists, specialists, militarists, and politicians—we must have a renaissance of the spirit, a cultural synthesis in which a revitalized religion, enriched by philosophy and science, renews the ideals of Christianity.