Front Matter to A Collection of Papers … between the late Learned Mr. Leibniz and Dr. Clarke
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- Revision History
- 1 January 2001
- Catalogue information compiled by Rob Iliffe, Peter Spargo & John Young
- 1 October 2005
- Base Text of 1738 edition transcribed by Emily Tector
- 1 May 2006
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- 1 June 2006
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- Notes on the Electronic Edition
Collection of PAPERS,
Which passed between the late Learned
In the Years 1715 and 1716.
To which are added,
By SAMUEL CLARKE, D.D.
Rector of St. James's Westminster.
AS the following Papers were at first written by your Command, and had afterwards the Honour of being severally transmitted through Your Royal Highnesses Hands: so the Principal Encouragement upon which they Now presume to appear in Publick, is the Permission they have of coming forth under the Protection of so Illustrious a Name.
The late Learned Mr. Leibnitz well understood, how great an Honour and Reputation it would be to him, to have his Arguments approved by a Person of Your Royal Highnesses Character. But the same steady Impartiality and unalterable Love of Truth, the same constant Readiness to hear and to submit to Reason, always so conspicuous, always shining forth so brightly in Your Royal Highnesses Conduct; which justly made Him desirous to exert in these Papers his utmost Skill in defending his Opinions; was at the same time an Equal Encouragement to such as thought him in an Error, to endeavour to prove that his Opinions could not be defended.
The Occasion of his giving your Royal Highness the Trouble of his First Letter, he declares to be his having entertained some Suspicions, that the Foundations of Natural Religion were in danger of being hurt by Sir ISAAC NEWTON's Philosophy. It appeared to Me, on the contrary, a most certain and evident Truth, that from the earliest Antiquity to This Day, the Foundations of Natural Religion had never been so deeply and so firmly laid, as in the Mathematical and Experimental Philosophy of That Great Man. And Your Royal Highnesses singular Exactness in searching after Truth, and earnest Concern for every thing that is of real Consequence to Religion, could not permit those Suspicions, which had been suggested by a Gentleman of such eminent Note in the Learned World as Mr. Leibnitz was, to remain unanswered.
Christianity presupposes the Truth of Natural Religion. Whatsoever subverts Natural Religion, does consequently much more subvert Christianity: and whatsoever tends to confirm Natural Religion, is proportionably of Service to the True Interest of the Christian. Natural Philosophy therefore, so far as it affects Religion, by determining Questions concerning Liberty and Fate, concerning the Extent of the Powers of Matter and Motion, and the Proofs from Phenomena of God's Continual Government of the World; is of very Great Importance. 'Tis of Singular Use, rightly to understand, and carefully to distinguish from Hypotheses or mere Suppositions, the True and Certain Consequences of Experimental and Mathematical Philosophy; Which do, with wonderful Strength and Advantage, to All Such as are capable of apprehending them, confirm, establish, and vindicate against all Objections, those Great and Fundamental Truths of Natural Religion, which the Wisdom of Providence has at the same time universally implanted, in some degree, in the Minds of Persons even of the Meanest Capacities, not qualified to examine Demonstrative Proofs.
'Tis with the highest Pleasure and Satisfaction, that the following Papers upon so important a Subject, are laid before a Princess, who, to an inimitable Sweetness of Temper, Candour and Affability towards All, has joined not only an Impartial Love of Truth, and a Desire of promoting Learning in general, but has Herself also attained to a Degree of Knowledge very Particular and Uncommon, even in matters of the nicest and most abstract Speculation: And whose Sacred and always Unshaken Regard to the Interest of sincere and uncorrupt Religion, made Her the Delight of all Good Protestants Abroad, and by a just Fame filled the Hearts of all true Britons at Home, with an Expectation beforehand, which, Great as it was, is fully answered by what they now see and are blessed with.
By the Protestant Succession in the Illustrious House of HANOVER having taken place, This Nation has Now, with the Blessing of God, a Certain Prospect, (if our Own Vices and Follies prevent not,) of seeing Government actually administred, according to the Design and End for which it was instituted by Providence, with no other View than that of the Publick Good, the general Welfare and Happiness of Mankind. We have a Prospect of seeing the True Liberty of a Brave and Loyal People, firmly secured, established, and regulated, by Laws equally advantageous both to the Crown and Subject: Of seeing Learning and Knowledge encouraged and promoted, in opposition to all kinds of Ignorance and Blindness: And, (which is the Glory of All,) of seeing the True Christian Temper and Spirit of Religion effectually prevail, both against Atheism and Infidelity on the one hand, which take off from Men All Obligations of doing what is Right; and against Superstition and Bigotry on the other hand, which lay upon men the strongest Obligations to do the greatest Wrongs.
What Views and Expectations less than these, can a Nation reasonably entertain; when it beholds a KING firmly settled upon the Throne of a wisely limited Monarchy, whose Will, when without Limitation, showed always a greater Love of Justice, than of Power; and never took Pleasure in acting any otherwise, than according to the most perfect Laws of Reason and Equity? When it sees a Succession of the same Blessings continued, in a PRINCE, whose Noble Openness of Mind, and Generous Warmth of Zeal for the Preservation of the Protestant Religion, and the Laws and Liberties of these Kingdoms, make him every day more and more beloved, as he is more known? And when these glorious Hopes open still further into an unbounded Prospect in a numerous Royal Offspring? Through whom, that the Just and Equitable Temper of the Grandfather; the Noble Zeal and Spirit of the Father; the Affability, Goodness, and Judicious Exactness of the Mother; may, with Glory to Themselves, and with the happiest Influences both upon These and Foreign Countries, descend to all succeeding Generations; to the Establishment of Universal Peace, of Truth and Right amongst Men; and to the entire rooting out That Greatest Enemy of Christian Religion, the Spirit of Popery both among Romanists and Protestants: And that Your Royal Highness may your Self long live, to continue a Blessing to these Nations, to see Truth and Virtue flourish in your own Days, and to be a Great Instrument, under the direction of Providence, in laying a Foundation for the Highest Happiness of the Publick in Times to come; is the Prayer of,
Your ROYAL HIGHNESSES
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