Friday, 7 December 2012


For some reason chapter 12 of the Biographia has proved unusually productive of untraced allusions and quotations. Perhaps it's because it's so very lengthy and dense. At any rate, here's yet another one.
There are others, whose prejudices are still more formidable, inasmuch as they are grounded in their moral feelings and religious principles, which had been alarmed and shocked by the impious and pernicious tenets defended by Hume, Priestley, and the French fatalists or necessitarians; some of whom had perverted metaphysical reasonings to the denial of the mysteries and indeed of all the peculiar doctrines of Christianity; and others even to the subversion of all distinction between right and wrong. I would request such men to consider what an eminent and successful defender of the Christian faith has observed, that true metaphysics are nothing else but true divinity, and that in fact the writers, who have given them such just offence, were sophists, who had taken advantage of the general neglect into which the science of logic has unhappily fallen, rather than metaphysicians, a name indeed which those writers were the first to explode as unmeaning.
Who is the eminent and successful defender of the Christian faith, who observed that true metaphysics are nothing else but true divinity? Engell and Jackson Bate say 'the "defender" has not been identified'. What do I say?
The 'defender' is English theologian Daniel Waterland (1683-1740), Master of Magdalene College Cambridge and Archdeacon of Middlesex. ‘I shall not be ashamed of making Use of true Metaphysicks to correct your Errors, and to establish the Son's Divinity, upon the fame Foot whereon Scripture has fixed it…. We should not, on This Account, be so unreasonable as to censure either Dr. Clarke, or his Friends, for procuring all the real Assistance They can from Metaphysicks; true Metaphysicks being nothing else but true Divinity: Let but your Reasonings be clear, solid, and pertinent, and we shall never find fault with them for being metaphysical.’ [Daniel Waterland, A Second Vindication of Christ’s Divinity, Or, A Second Defense of some Querie relating to Dr. Clarke’s Scheme of Holy Trinity (1723), 3-5]

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