Catalogue Entry: THEM00058

Drafts on the history of the Church

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Yahuda Ms. 15, National Library of Israel, Jerusalem, Israel

Custodial History

SL249 was bought in its entirety (c. 200,000 words, c. 850 pp.) at the Sotheby sale by Gabriel Wells for £120, and subsequently split up and sold separately. On one loose sheet is written 'Lot 249 $2500', but the context of this is unclear. What is now Yahuda Var. 1 Ms. 15 consists of a series of drafts of the Bodmer Ms., which was originally part of the same lot (possibly along with what is now Babson Ms. 438).

Sotheby Lot

part of SL249


Very rough, heavily corrected drafts: a few sections form complete and self-contained units but most are just fragments. The titles scattered through the Ms. do not in all cases seem to relate to the text that follows them, but do give a general idea of the overall content and the scheme Newton was working towards.

A number of sheets had previously been used for material concerning Newton's activities at the Mint and in the Royal Society. The text on f. 124r is written around some jottings about payments (probably Mint-related) made in 1708-9. ff. 132r-133r have a draft letter of c. 1710 relating to the renewal of Queen Anne's contract with Cornish tin producers (cf. the section 'Tin Trade' in the Mint catalogue). f. 165r has a draft letter of c. 2 Feb. 1711 concerning Robert Ball's tender to handle the Queen's tin (cf. Mint Catalogue MINT00714 (Mint 19/3/556)), f. 181v has a list of Fellows of the Royal Society, and f. 182 has the draft of a formula for calculating coinage duty (cf. Mint Catalogue MINT00291 (Mint 19/3/444)).

Folio numbers are consecutive through subsections.

Ms. 15.1

Begins in the middle of a chapter on alterations made to the accepted faith and Creed by various Church Councils.

f. 23r 'Of the Prince of the host or Messiah the Prince & of his host composed of Iews and Gentiles & united by charity': heavily amended title which previously read 'Of the Messiah, and the calling of the Gentiles', and before that 'Of the Christian religion and the difference between the Christians of the circumcision & uncircumcision'

Ms. 15.2

f. 35r 'Chap. IX Of the Corruption of the Christian religion in discipline and morality.'

f. 36r 'Chap. 5 [altered from '4'] '

'Chap. XIV Of the Host of Heaven & the corruptions which crept into it.'

At the end of this section, between ff. 44 and 45, are the printed title page and first three pages of 'Proposals for Printing by Subscription the Critical History of Manes, and of Manicheism', translated from the French of 'Mr. de Beausobre' by Rev. George Stephenson Tacheron.

Ms. 15.3

f. 45r Another draft (beginning missing) of material on the corruptions introduced by Church Councils (cf. the beginning of Ms. 15.1).

f. 55r 'Chap. / The Original of Popery.'

f. 57r 'Chap. 1 Of the Church of God & of her Laws and Sanctuary Government & Worship.'

f. 59r 'Chap. XI Of the sanctuary of strength

Of the holy covenant'

'Chap. / Of the rise of the Roman Catholick Religion.'

f. 62r 'Chap. / Of the Roman catholick religion'

f. 63v 'Chap / Of the rule of faith & Schism of the Christian Roman Empire.'

f. 65v 'Chap. / Of the revelation of the Man of Sin.'

Ms. 15.4

f. 67r Part of an untitled chapter on the rise of Rome and corruption of the original faith.

Ms. 15.5

f. 77r Untitled historical accout of various doctrines of the natures of the Father and Son.

f. 91r 'Chap 2/ Of the Christian religion & the difference between the Churches of the circumcision & uncircumcision.'

f. 92r 'Chap. 3./ Of the faith wch was once delivered to the Saints'

Ms. 15.6

f. 100r Another untitled draft on corruptions introduced by Councils.

Ms. 15.7

f. 104r 'A further account of the Host of heaven & of the corruptions wch crept into it.' Note in Thomas Pellet's hand: 'No: 9'.

f. 124r 'Chap XVI Of the contest between the host of heaven and the transgressors of the holy covenant' [this heading not in Newton's hand].

f. 126v 'Of the host of heaven'

f. 130r 'Chap/ Of the faith unity & universality of the Primitive Church' [no text follows this heading].

'Chap/ Of the breaking of the primitive Church into parties & the rise of Popery' [following text written around drafts on ff. 132r-3v, partly in another hand, relating to Queen Anne's contract with Cornish tin mine owners: see the section 'Tin Trade' in the Mint catalogue].

f. 139v 'Chap./ Of the working of the mystery of Iniquity'

ff. 142r-193v Miscellaneous, mostly very rough and fragmentary drafts of various parts of the foregoing, in no discernible order, interspersed with draft letters and other material relating to Mint business.

© 2024 The Newton Project

Professor Rob Iliffe
Director, AHRC Newton Papers Project

Scott Mandelbrote,
Fellow & Perne librarian, Peterhouse, Cambridge

Faculty of History, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2RL -

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