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Deism in Enlightenment EnglandTheology, Politics, and Newtonian Public Science$
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Jeffrey R. Wigelsworth

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780719078729

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719078729.001.0001

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Matter, motion, and Newtonian public science, 1695–1714

Matter, motion, and Newtonian public science, 1695–1714

(p.71) Chapter 3 Matter, motion, and Newtonian public science, 1695–1714
Deism in Enlightenment England

Jeffrey R. Wigelsworth

Manchester University Press

Newton envisaged an immaterial, all-powerful, and active God at the head of the universe. The difference between deist and non-deist presentation of contemporary natural philosophy is indistinguishable in the middle of the eighteenth century. It is also worth noting at this stage, that many of the views advanced by the deists are not reducible to one representative. Tindal saw unfounded appropriation of the soul's care as a defining aspect of priestcraft. Collins and his fellow deists proposed that total human freedom was the basis for the liberty enjoyed by all Britons. Many saw Collins writings as emblematic of deism. Any accurate picture of deism or deists is found in the writings of the individual deists themselves. They were more than owners of a meaningless pejorative designation hurled at them by the godly. One of the most vocal opponents of deism was Henry Sacheverell DD, who in 1709 created much controversy with his inflammatory oratory.

Keywords:   Newton, priestcraft, deists, material soul, Henry Sacheverell DD, contemporary natural philosophy

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