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Ray's teleology had allies in Derham (1657-1735), an observant naturalist and author of Astro-Theology, and in the Hon. Robert Boyle, the best of men in disposition, and an admirable natural philosopher, but feeble and diffuse as a natural theologian. Thomas Burnet, Master of the Charter House, is the re
verse of Boyle in most respects; a visionary Thomas Burnet
as natural theologian and natural philo(1635 ?-1715).
sopher, but the only writer of his day, the great preachers excepted, who attained to sublimity in prose. A Cambridge man and a pupil of Tillotson, Burnet was elected Master of the Charter House in 1685, and signalized himself by his courage in resisting James II.'s attempted intrusion of Roman Catholics into the foundation. He became Clerk of the Closet to William III., which post he was obliged to resign from the freedom of his criticism of the Mosaic narrative, but retained his mastership unmolested to his death. He left behind him two theological works in Latin, privately printed, but soon afterwards published, De Fide et officiis Christianorum and De Statu mortuorum et resurgentium, in which he carried the liberty of speculation very far. The book on which his fame rests, The Sacred Theory of the Earth, was also originally composed in Latin, to which circumstance it is probably indebted for much of its exceptional dignity of style. It was intended by the author as sober natural philosophy, but to a scientific age appears a poetical vision of the former immersion and future conflagration of the earth, justly compared by Mr. Gosse to the gorgeous apocalyptic imaginings of Danby and Martin. According to Burnet the earth was originally an egg both in shape and smoothness, enclosing the waters in an 'antediluvian abyss. At the universal deluge the earth sank into this internal cavity. Upon the subsidence of the waters the land partly emerged The argu It was
in the confused shapes into which it had been tumbled
The following is a fair average specimen of his picturesque imagination and impassioned diction:
• Thus the Flood came to its height; and 'tis not easy to represent to ourselves this strange scene of things, when the Deluge was in its fury and extremity; when the earth was broken and swallowed up in the abyss, whose raging waters rose higher than the mountains, and filled the air with broken waves, with an universal mist, and with thick darkness, so as nature seemed to be in a second chaos; and upon this chaos rid the distrest Ark, that bore the small remains of mankind. No sea was ever so tumultuous, as this, nor is there anything in present nature to: be compared with the disorder of these waters; all the poetry, and all the hyperboles that are used in the description of storms. and raging seas, were literally true in this, if not beneath it. The Ark was really carried to the tops of the highest mountains, and into the places of the clouds, and thrown down again into
the deepest gulfs; and to this very state of the Deluge and of the Ark, which was a type of the Church in this world, David seems to have alluded in the name of the Church, Psalm xlii. 7, Abyss calls upon abyss at the noise of thy cataracts or waterspouts; all thy waves and billows have gone over me. no doubt an extraordinary and miraculous providence, that could make a vessel, so ill manned, live upon such a sea ; that kept it from being dashed against the hills, or overwhelmed in the deeps. That abyss which had devoured and swallowed up whole forests of woods, cities, and provinces, nay the whole earth, when it had conquered all, and triumphed over all, could not destroy this single ship. I remember in the story of the Argonautics, Dion. Argonaut. 1. i., v. 47, when Jason set out to fetch the Golden Fleece, the poet saith, all the gods that day looked down from Heaven to view the ship, and the nymphs stood
upon the mountain-tops to see the noble youth of Thessaly pulling at the oars; we may with more reason suppose the good angels to have looked down upon this ship of Noah's; and that not out of curiosity, as idle spectators, but with a passionate concern for its safety and deliverance. A ship, whose cargo was no less than a whole world; that carried the fortune and hopes of all posterity, and if this had perished, the earth for any thing we know had been nothing but a desert, a great ruin, a dead heap of rubbish, from the Deluge to the conflagration. But death and hell, the grave, and destruction have their bounds. We may entertain ourselves with the consideration of the face of the Deluge, and of the broken and drowned earth, in this scheme, with the floating Ark, and the guardian angels.'
The most eminent natural theologian of the time after Ray, and one who would have surpassed Ray in importance if his labours in this department had been more than a brief episode in a busy career, was Richard Bentley, whose power of destructive criticism in other fields proved how formidable a champion he could be on the negative side of any question. Bentley's massive intelligence, however, aptitude for broad commonsense views, and impatience of niceties and subtleties, entirely qualified him to embrace
and expound the form in which natural theology commended itself to the vast majority of the thinkers of his day. He dealt solely with the materialism of Hobbes, there may be some Spinosists beyond seas,' he says, but
, to him de non existentibus, et de non apparentibus, eadem est ratio. The questions and the answers of a Goethe would have been equally unintelligible to him; if Newman would certainly have thought him shallow, he would as certainly have thought Newman whimsical. He must be judged from the standpoint of his own day, and from this his argument, delivered as the Boyle lecture for 1691 and 1692, must be pronounced a splendid and cogent piece of reasoning. It is particularly remarkable for its absolute reliance on the doctrines of Newton's Principia, when Newton had hardly a disciple out of England.
BUNYAN AND OTHER WRITERS OF FICTION.
So great an endowment is genius, that neither the effect produced nor the fame achieved by all the eloquent and learned divines of Charles II.'s age can be for an instant compared to the achievement of a poor and almost illiterate mechanic, whom Macaulay classes with (ilton as one of the only two men of that period—he might have excepted Thomas Burnet-to whom had been vouchsafed any considerable measure of imagination. John Bunyan, the one
man who has attained to write a successful John Bunyan (1628-1688).
prose allegory on a large scale, and to infuse
true emotion into an exercise of ingenuity, and who probably owed less to study and training than any other of the great authors of the modern world, was born at Elstow, a village in the neighbourhood of Bedford, in November, 1628. He is usually described as a 'tinker,' but, as he was not an itinerant, 'brazier' would be a more correct appellation. The trade was his father's, who was also a very small freeholder. Bunyan probably received some instruction at Bedford grammar school, and his narrative of his boyhood shows that he must have had considerable knowledge of the Bible, which impressed his imaginative temper more than he knew at the time. According to his own account he was wild and profane in his youth, but nothing very definite can be extracted from these self-accusations, and it