Both thus agree that in any republic, "the crossest spirits here do take their part, / Fast'ning the contignation
which they [only seem to] thwart." Milton adds that negative liberty does not end disagreement but merely civilizes it, which is why its most potent enemy is not contention but stasis: a "rigid external formality" that "may as soon fall again into a grosse conforming stupidity, a stark and dead congealment of wood and hay and stubble forc't and frozen together" (Complete Prose, 2:564, emphasis in original).
The threefold interpretation of the text has a threefold application (foundations, el morte, the Father; buttresses, in morte, the Holy Spirit; contignations
, per mortem, Christ), and, as we shall see, this ninefold pattern of the sermon's opening is repeated, in a yet grander form, at the sermon's close.