An Elegant and Learned Discourse of the Light of Nature by Nathaniel Culverwell

Light

By Nathaniel Culverwell

A chic and realized Discourse of the sunshine of Nature is a concerted attempt at highbrow mediation within the deep non secular dispute ofthe English civil warfare within the 17th century. On one facet was once the antinomian statement of maximum Calvinists that the decide on have been redeemed by way of God’s unfastened grace and thereby unfastened from traditional ethical duties. contrary to that used to be the Arminian rejection of predestination and statement that Christ died for all, not only for the go with. confronted with the violence of those disputes, Nathaniel Culverwell tried a average safety of cause and traditional legislation, arguing, within the phrases of Robert Greene, that “reason and religion are certain lighting, but they don't seem to be adverse; they're complementary and harmonious. cause is just like God in guy, and to disclaim correct cause is to disclaim our relation to God.” Culverwell provided this figuring out of the position of cause by way of expounding upon Proverbs 20:27, “The knowing of a guy is the Candle of the Lord.”This used to be a favourite textual content one of the Cambridge Platonists (Whichcote, Cudworth, Smith, and More), to whom Culverwell used to be shut. He had evidently absorbed a lot additionally from Bacon, Grotius, and Selden. notwithstanding, the main profound impression on him was once that of the Spanish Jesuit Francisco Su?rez’s De Legibus, ac Deo Legislatore (1612), that's additionally a part of this series.An based and discovered Discourse was once added as a chain of sermon-like lectures at Emmanuel collage, Cambridge, in 1645/46 andpublished posthumously in 1652.Nathaniel Culverwell (1619–1651) was once a fellow of Emmanuel university, Cambridge.Robert A. Greene is Professor of English on the college of Massachusetts at Boston.Hugh MacCallum used to be Professor Emeritus of English on the collage of Toronto.Knud Haakonssen is Professor of highbrow background and Director of the Centre for highbrow historical past on the collage of Sussex, England.

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There are indeed but a few seminal sparks left in the ashes, and must there be whole floods of water cast on them to quench them? ’Tis but an old imperfect Manuscript, with some broken periods, some letters worn out, must they therefore with an unmerciful indignation rend it and tear it asunder? ’Tis granted that the picture has lost its glosse and beauty, the oriency of its colours, the elegancy of its lineaments, the [15] comelinesse of its proportion; must it therefore be totally defac’d? must it be made one great blot?

And he resolves it into this, that in all true kinds of government there is some supreme power derived from God himself, and fit to contrive Laws and Constitutions agreeable to the welfare and happinesse of those that are to be subject to them; and oiÿ krei´ttonec21 [the better men] (as he speaks) are the fittest makers of Lawes. Yet you must take notice here of these two things. (1) That he did not lay stresse enough upon that binding vertue, which is the very sinew, nay the life and soul of a Law.

Is it not better to enjoy the faint and languishing light of this Candle of the Lord, rather then to be in palpable and disconsolate darknesse? There are indeed but a few seminal sparks left in the ashes, and must there be whole floods of water cast on them to quench them? ’Tis but an old imperfect Manuscript, with some broken periods, some letters worn out, must they therefore with an unmerciful indignation rend it and tear it asunder? ’Tis granted that the picture has lost its glosse and beauty, the oriency of its colours, the elegancy of its lineaments, the [15] comelinesse of its proportion; must it therefore be totally defac’d?

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