The pervasive influence of organicism in the Renaissance is especially discernible in religious controversies that distinguished between the visible and invisible church. In Milton's antiprelatical tracts, the body is seen from the points of view of liturgy, as reflected in the communion, and investiture, as reflected in the controversies regarding ministerial dress. Those controversies express symbolically the Puritan desire to “divest” and “tear” the body, on the one hand, and the Anglican desire to “invest” and keep it whole, on the other. Integral to the Puritan and Anglican responses to the church are their responses to the state. Whereas the Anglican impulse is to unite the political body and the ecclesiastical body under one head, the Puritan impulse is to sever the two bodies. Thus Milton associates the body politic with outward concerns, the body ecclesiastical with inward ones. When the two bodies are unnaturally joined, a monster results, and the body can only be re-formed and returned to health through proper amputation of the corrupt limbs. Milton's organicist views, therefore, reflect not a desire to destroy, as might be charged, but a desire to make whole.

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