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SIR ISAAC

Mathematic

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illustrious philosophers, all men of extraordinary acumen and caution, and all accustomed, from the nature of their pursuits, to take nothing for granted, but to weigh and balance evidence with the most severe exactness, agreed in the intensity of their religious convictions. Those habits of physical investigation, which are so often ignorantly accused as unfavourable to the habit of belief, and are certainly dangerous to its more dogmatic forms, seem to have led the most powerful and enquiring minds only the more irresistibly to a firm conviction of the truths of revealed religion.

§ 12. SIR ISAAC NEWTON was born of a respectable, but not wealthy family, at the hamlet of Woolsthorpe, by Grantham,

and was educated at the Grantham grammar school.

From his early boyhood he showed the greatest NEWTON (1642-1727).

taste and aptitude for mechanical invention ; and,

entering at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1661, he made such rapid progress in mathematical studies that, in 1669, Barrow resigned the Lucasian professorship in his favour. The greater part of Newton's life was passed within

the quiet walls of Trinity, where he formed the

centre of an illustrious group of mathematicians; cal socicty at Trinity.

and to-day his name is accounted the chief glory

of the college. It was in Trinity that he worked out those discoveries and demonstrations in mechanics, optics, and astronomy which have placed him in the very foremost rank of the benefactors of mankind. We ought not to forget that among his Cambridge friends was the precocious genius Roger Cotes (1682–1716), whose fame rests upon Newton's own words, “Had Cotes lived we might have known some

thing !” Newton sat in more than one Parliament as

member for his University ; but he appears to have in public affairs.

been of too reserved and retiring a character to take

an active part in political discussion. In 1695 he was appointed master of the Mint, and presided over its fortunes at the critical period of Montagu's bold recall and re-issue of the specie. With remarkable simplicity and readiness he abandoned his sublime and unique researches and devoted all his energy and attention to the public duties committed to his charge. He even writes with an almost pettish querulousness to upbraid friends who had consulted him about “mathematical things," as he calls them, when he was entirely occupied with public business. In 1703 he was made President of the Royal Society, and, two years later, was knighted by Queen Anne. He lived in London during his later years and took no active part in the terrible quarrels which disturbed Trinity from the opening of Bentley's mastership onwards. He died in 1727. His character, which, as we have already seen in mentioning

his relations with Locke, was marred by a coldNewton's

ness and suspiciousness of temper, was, in every other respect, the type of patriotic, scholarly, and

Newton

character.

intellectual virtue. His modesty was as great as his genius, and he invariably ascribed his discoveries to patient attention rather than to any unusual capacity of intellect. His English writings, discourses on prophecy and the chronology

His style. of Holy Scripture, are written clearly and without pedantry, and manifest his intense piety. His theological tendencies were undoubtedly towards a form of Unitarianism : the logical mind is too often incapable of distinguishing between the mysteries of the faith and the fallacies of human experience. As a commentator on the prophecies, he must not be confounded with Bishop Newton, whose work on the prophecies appeared later in the eighteenth century. Newton's literary glory, however, will always rest mainly upon his purely scientific works, of which the Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (1687) and the invaluable treatise on Optics (1704), the practical foundation of that science, are so well known that to mention them is hardly necessary;

$ 13. JOHN RAY, together with WILLIAM DERHAM (1657– 1735) and FRANCIS WILLUGHBY (1635–1672), combined the descriptive side of natural history with moral and religious eloquence of a very high order; they seem John Ray, never to be weary of proclaiming the wisdom, good- 16277705) ness, and providence of God in the works of creation. natural Ray was the first to elevate natural history to the historiars. rank of a science. ROBERT BOYLE, a son of the first Earl of Cork, born at Lismore Castle, was remarkable as a scientific man and as a pious layman. (1627-1691). His life was a consistent course of self-abnegation and of devotion to his studies. Not only did he decline the presidency of the Royal Society in 1686, but he also refused the offer of the provostship of Eton and of a peerage. “No Englishman of the seventeenth century,” said Hallam, “after Lord Bacon, raised to himself so high a reputation in experimental philosophy as Robert Boyle; it has even been remarked that he was born in the year of Bacon's death, as the person destined by nature to succeed him-an eulogy which would be extravagant if it implied any parallel between the genius of the two, but hardly so if we look upon Boyle as the most faithful, the most patient, the most successful disciple who carried forward the experimental philosophy of Bacon. . His works occupy six large volumes in quarto (1772); They may be divided into theological or metaphysical, and physical or experimental. The metaphysical treatises, to use the word in a large sense, of Boyle, or rather those concerning natural theology, are very perspicuous, very free from system, and such as bespeak an independent lover of truth. His Disquisition on Final Causes—i.e. The Origin of Forms and Qualities (1666) was a well-timed vindication of that palmary argument against the paradox of the Cartesians, who had denied the validity of an inference from the manifest adaptation of means to ends

ROBERT
BOYLE

THOMAS
BURNET

" Sacred

in the universe to an intelligent Providence. Boyle takes a more philosophic view of the principle of final causes than had been found in many theologians, who weakened the argument itself by the presumptuous hypothesis that man was the sole object of Providence in the creation. His greater knowledge of physiology led him to perceive that there are both animal and what he calls cosmical ends in which man has no concern. He was the founder of the Boyle lectures, whose object was the defence of natural and revealed religion. He must not be confounded with his elder brother, Roger Boyle, the author of Parthenissa and the bridegroom of Suckling's Ballad upon a Wedding, nor with his grandnephew, Charles Boyle, the opponent of Bentley.

$ 14. One of the most remarkable writers of this period—at least, from a literary point of view—was THOMAS BURNET,

author of The Sacred Theory of the Earth. He was

a Yorkshireman, born at Croft on the Durham (16352–1915). border, educated at Northallerton school, and

at Clare Hall, Cambridge, where Cudworth the Platonist was master, and Tillotson tutor. In 1657 he was elected fellow of Christ's, having followed Cudworth thither, and, after a life spent in tuition of various kinds, became Master of the Charterhouse, where he died and was buried. His

Telluris Theoria Sacra appeared in Latin in 1681 ; Theory of but, following the wishes of Charles II, to whose

notice Tillotson had introduced the book, Burnet (1680).

published a translation of it in 1684. Later on, in 1689, he brought out the second part, which, as the first had dealt with the Deluge and the general destruction then inflicted on the earth, deals with the final conflagration of the material globe, and, in a further sequel, with the new heavens and new earth. No man was ever so fascinated and blinded by his own theories and by the very vastness of his speculation; and the result, if unscientific, is at all events the most eloquent production of its age. The style, with all its extravagance, has an almost indescribable picturesqueness, and there is a weight, a fervour about it that reminds us of Jeremy Taylor. Burnet is, in fact, from the point of view of his style, the relic of an earlier age—the age of glowing and imaginative prose, and of ardent rhetoric.

We must not confound Thomas Burnet with GilbeRT BURNET, politician and theologian. He was a native of Edinburgh, and

was educated at Marischal College, Aberdeen. In GILBERT 1661 he entered the Church of England, before the (1643-1715). restoration of episcopacy, and, throughout his life,

occupied the middle space between the extreme parties on both sides. He rose to favour at Court, and became a royal chaplain ; he apparently won great renown as an extempore preacher. The chief interest of his connection with the Court lies, however, in the account which he gave to the

the Earth "

BURNET

world of the witty and infamous Rochester's deathbed repentance, the result of his own pious exhortations. But Burnet's favour at Court was of limited duration. He boldly remonstrated with Charles on his profligacy, and steadfastly defended William, Lord Russell, whose execution was the greatest and most senseless political crime of Charles Il's reign. Consequently, falling into disgrace, he travelled on the Continent, and attached himself closely to William and Mary at the Hague. He became Mary's spiritual adviser, and his service and counsels were valued so highly by her and her husband that he accompanied William to England, and, after taking a very conspicuous part in controversy and political negotiation, was raised to the bishopric of Salisbury. In 1698 he was appointed preceptor to the Duke of Gloucester, son of the Princess Anne. He was an exemplary bishop, whose politics injured his theology, but not his piety. Dying in 1715, he left behind him the Ms. of his most important work, the History of his own Time, which he directed to be published after the lapse of six years. It actually appeared in 1723. "History This work, consisting of memoirs of most of the of his own important transactions in which he had been nearly

Time" (1721). concerned, is not at all unlike Clarendon's book, and is not of inferior value, although written from a point of view almost entirely opposite. Burnet is minute, familiar, and gossiping, but lively and trustworthy in the main as tó facts; and no one who desires to make the acquaintance of a very critical and agitated period in English history can afford 'lo leave him unread. The very ardour of his predilections--especially, of course, for William and Mary-gives a vivacity and value to his pictures of men and things; and, by comparing and weighing his statements with the spiteful criticisms of the opposite party, we learn to appreciate William's character properly. Burnet's other works include his History of the Reformation (1679-1714) and his famous Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles (1699), which remains a classical commentary upon its difficult subject.

Burnet's

NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS.

A--OTHER THEOLOGICAL Harmonia Apostolica (1669-70) reWRITERS.

conciles the apparent discrepancies

between St. Paul and St. James, GEORGE BULL (1634-1710), Bishop maintaining that the first ought to of St. Davids, a great opponent of be interpreted through the second, Calvinism and its Augustinian tenets, as through a later authority. His was one of the greatest of those con- celebrated Defensio fidei Nicene troversialists who defended Anglican (1685) was praised by Bossuet, and principles, and is still regarded as a the Judicium Ecclesiæ Catholicæ pillar of the English Church. His |(1694) was publicly approved by an

sermons

are

assembly of French clergy, who, arguments laid him open, incredible returned thanks to him through as it may seem, to the ridiculous Bossuet's influence.

charge of favouring the atheists. EDMUND CALAMY (1600-1666) | We can hardly imagine that, had was originally a clergyman of the his work been completed, it would Church of England and lecturer at have altogether fulfilled its purpose, Bury St. Edmunds, but afterwards a or that its diffuseness would have dissenting minister in London. He helped it. Cudworth left a daughter, took part in Smectymnuus (1641), Damaris, who married Sir Francis that attack upon episcopacy which Masham, and is known as the friend Milton defended in his famous of Locke. (See page 365.) apology. Calamv's

RICHARD CUMBERLAND (1631practical, although now and then 1718) was made Bishop of Peterwe find political feelings overmaster- borough (1691) by William III, and ing the calmer style of the divine. was one of those divines who repre. His son, grandson, and great-grand- sented the sluggish churchmanship son, all made their names in the of the Revolution. He, too, was an history of Nonconformity.

anti-Hobbist, and contributed to the Ralph CudwORTH (1617-1688), literature of the controversy a Latin Master of Clare and afterwards of treatise, De Legibus Natura DisChrist's College, and Regius Pro- quisitio philosophica (1672). His fessor of Hebrew at Cambridge, principal English work was an Essay was the chief of the Cambridge towards the Recovery of the Jewish Platonists, that band of philosophers Measures and Weights (1686); but, and scholars which included the unfortunately, he did not add to this pious Henry Mede and the philo- technical subject, with which he was sophical poet Henry More. (See admirably qualified by learning and p. 263.) In 1678 Cudworth pub- industry to deal, any of the neceslished the first part of his great sary charms of style. He must not work, The True Intellectual System be confused with his grandson, of the Universe, an enormous folio Richard Cumberland, the comedy whose sequel never appeared. As writer. (See p. 538.) Harrington's Oceana was the poli- THOMAS ELLWOOD (1639-1713) tical, so Cudworth's Intellectual learned Latin from Milton, and used System, although nominally it was to read aloud to the great poet directed against ancient philoso- during his blindness. He turned phers, atheists and materialists, was Quaker in 1659, and laboured dilithe theological attempt to con- gently to extend the principles of his fute Hobbes. “ Nor," says Hallam, society. His Autobiography (1714), "did any antagonist, perhaps, of written clearly and attractively, is, that philosopher bring a without doubt, his best book ; but, vigorous understanding to the com- in addition, he wrote several polemibat. This understanding was not cal tracts-.g. The Foundation of so much obstructed in its own exer- Tithes Shaken (1678), a History of the cise by a vast erudition, as it is Old and New Testaments (1705-9), sometimes concealed by it from the and a sacred poem, Davideis (1712), reader." Any adequate estimate of which, in spite of its title, owed Cudworth is prevented by the fact nothing to Cowley's poem of the that his voluminous work is merely a preface to a very large scheme JOHN FLAVEL (1630 ?-1691), a which was never completed ; and, Nonconformist divine at Dartmouth, on that account, it is scarcely fair to wrote numerous devotional works underrate him among the philo- which are still read by English sophers of his time. He deals en- Calvinists. Like many of the less tirely with the proofs of God's exis- political Nonconformists of the tence, treating the question in a day, he was a of fervent manner which reminds us of the piety. scholastic theologians and their THEOPHILUS GALE (1628-1678), method of statement and refutation. fellow of Magdalen College, OxHis fair statement of atheistical ford, is known as the author of a

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