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and it may almost be said, complete system of physical astronomy. All the important phenomena of the heavens, he solved, with the simplicity and certainty of rigid demonstration. How far he was indebied to Lord Bacon for the principles which guided bim in his reasonings, has been a matter of some debate. On this subject, Dr. Brewster makes the following ingenious remarks.
When we are told, that Newton owed all his discoveries to the method of Ba-1 con, nothing more can be meant than that he proceeded in that path ot observation and experiment which had been so warmly recommended in the Noru Organon; but it ought w have been added, that the same method was practised by his predecessors,-that Newton possessed no secret that was not used by Gal. ilco and Copernicus,-and that he would have enriched science with the same splendid discoveries, if the name and the writings of Bacon had never been heard of.
Nothing, even in mathematical science, can be more certain than that a collection of scientific facts are of themselves incapable of leading to discovery, or to the determination of general laws, unless they contain the predominating fact or relation in which the discovery mainly resides. But, in the inductive method, it is impossible to ascertain the relative importance of any facts, or even to determine if the facts have any value at all, till the master-fact which constituies the discovery, has crowned the zealous efforts of the aspiring philosopher. The mind then returns to the dark and barren waste over which it has been lorering: and by the guidance of this single torch it embraces, under the comprehensive grasp of general principles, the multifarious and insulated phenomena which had formerly neither value nor connection. Ilence it must be obvious to the most superficial thinker, that discovery consists either in the detection of some concealed relation--some deep-seated attinity which bailles ordinary research, or in the discovery of some simple fact which is connected by slender ramifications with the subject to be investigated ; but which, when once detected, carries us back by its divergence to all the phenomena which it embraces and explains.pp. 297-9.
Soon after having brought his calculations to perfection, Newton drew up a few propositions upon the planetary motions, which were communicated to the Royal Society about the end of the year 1683. The next year he was visited at Cambridge by Dr. Halley, who obtained from him a promise that he would arrange his discoveries and prepare them for the press; and on the 281h of April 1686, the manuscript of the Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, was laid before the society by Dr. Vincent, and immediately put to press under the inspection of Dr. Halley, and thus the Newtonian philosophy in all its vast extent, was soon fully before the world. Opposed, however, by prejudice and pride, it made but a tardy progress for many years. But though it did not even at the time of Newton's death, prevail extensively abroad, yet it was soon aster universally received. By the labors of Euler, D'Alembert, La Place, and others, its grand results have been more perfectly developed, and its doctrines established on a firmer basis.
From the year 1669 to 1695, Newton had lived quietly at Cambridge ; except that in 1688 he was elected a member of the
Convention Parliament, in which he sat till its dissolution. During the year 1693, he suffered severely from an indisposition, which has been variously represented. It would appear from some accounts, that in consequence of too intense application, or as some assert, from the accidental burning of his manuscripts, he labored for a short time under mental aberration. Dr. Brewster has made an effort to disprove the fact of his insanity ; but his reasoning, as it appears to us, savors too much of special pleading. That he did not afterwards, however, fully recover bis intellectual vigor, there is not the slightest reason to believe; on the contrary, many of his subsequent labors afford the most convincing proof that he possessed unimpaired his extraordinary powers.
A friendship had long subsisted between Newton and Charles Montague, afterwards earl of Halifax; and that gentleman having been made Chancellor of the Exchequer, and wishing to effect a recoinage of the English money, caused his friend to be appointed Warden of the Mint in 1695. In 1699 he was nominated Master of the same establishment, an office which afforded him an income of twelve or fifteen hundred pounds a year, and which he held during the remainder of his life. He resigned his professorship at Cambridge in 1703; and in the same year was chosen President of the Royal Society of London, an office which he held for twenty five years, until the time of his death. In 1705 he received from Queen Anne the order of knighthood.
After entering on the duties of his office at the mint, Newton gradually withdrew his attention from philosophical pursuits. The preparation for the press, of his Optics, and his Method of Fluxions, which had lain by him for many years,—the solution of two or three mathematical problems, together with a few minor experiments and observations, comprise his subsequent scientific efforts. His mind, however, was not inactive, but his labors were turned into a different channel. During his residence at Cambridge, he had done something towards forming a new system of chronology, founded on astroliomical data. At the request of the Princess of Wales, to whoin he happened to mention what he had done, he completed the work, and furnished her royal highness with a copy for her own private use. A duplicate of this was obtained by the Abbé Conti on condition of secrecy, which he violated on his return to Paris, by allowing it to be published, accompanied with an attempt to overthrow it, by M. Freret. Thus Newton was again called into the field of controversy ; and in a paper published in the Philosophical Transactions, he defended his system with great ability. He also undertook to enlarge and perfect the work, and prepare it for the press; and the copy thus revised was nearly finished at the time of his death, and was published asterwards, The chronology of Newton differs generally by about three hundred years from the received chronology ; and whatever may be thought of its accuracy, must be allowed to exhibit great ingenuity combined with profound research.
Other important works composed by Newton, (some at an early period of his life,) were his Observations on Prophecy, an Historical Account of two notable Corruptions of Scriptore, a Lexicon Propheticum, and Four Letters to Dr. Bentley, in proof of a Deity. We have not room to remark particularly upon these several works. The two supposed corruptions of scripture were in 1 John v. 7. i Timothy iii. 16. The former text has been generally regarded as an interpolation by the best trinitarian critics. The latter has, in our opinion, been unanswerably vindicated in a recent work of Dr. Henderson, republished in this country in a late number of the Biblical Repository, to which we would refer our readers. Dr. H. has shown that, in point of manuscript authority, ó, which Newton maintained to be the genuine reading, instead of Osós, “is absolutely without one positive and indisputable testimony; that os, adopted by Griesbach, is clearly supported by the suffrage of only three manuscripts; whereas Osós, the reading of the received text, has been found in upwards of ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY, which are all the other manuscripts of the Pauline Epistles, the collation of which has yet been published.”* The truth is, the habits of reasoning acquired by one who has been trained to mathematical reasoning, are not such as qualify the mind to weigh historical evidence; arising as it does, in a greater or less degree, from a comparison of probabilities. And it is no disparagement to Newton's genius, to assert, that his critical labors furnish a verification of this remark.
In connection with these criticisms, Dr. Brewster is naturally led to speak of Newton's opinions on the doctrine of the Trinity.
As this learned dissertation had the effect of depriving the defenders of the doctrine of the Trinity, of the aid of two leading texts, Sir Isaac Newton bas been regarded as an Antitrinitarian ; but such a conclusion is not warranted by any thing which he has published, and he distinctly warns us, that his object was solely to “ purge the truth of things spurious." We are disposed, on the coutrary, to think that he declares his belief in the doctrine of the Trinity, when he says, “In the eastern nations, and for a long time in the western, the faith subsisted without this text; and it is rather a danger to religion then an advantage, to make it now lean upon a bruised reed. There cannot be better service done to the truth than to purge it of things spurious; and therefore, knowing your pru. dence and calmness of temper, I am confident I shall not offend you by telling you my mind plainly; especially since it is no article of faith, no point of discipline, nothing but a criticism concerning a text of Scripture which I am going to write about.” The word faith in the preceding passage, cannot mean faith in the Scriptures in general, but faith in the particular doctrine of the Trinity ; for it is this article of faith only to which the author refers, when he deprecates its lean
# Bib. Repos. II. 43.
ing on a bruised reed. But, whatever be the meaning of this passage, we know that Sur Isaac was greatly offended at Mr. Whiston for having represented him as an Arian; and so much did he resent the conduct of his friend in ascribing to him heretical opinions, that he would not permit him to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society while he was President. pp. 254–5.
We may add, that Newton (on Rev.p. 2 c. 2,) says, “the worship of true christians in their churches, is here reprezented under the form of worshiping God and the Lamb in the temple.” Would a Socinian thus make Christ an object of worship in common with the Father? But Dr. B. clearly was not acquainted with all the evidepce on wbich Unitarians have laid claim to Newton, as one of their number. We have no intention to enter at large into that question; but it may be proper to touch for a moment in passing, on the arguments relied upon to show, that Newton rejected the doctrine of the Trinity. They are given by Mr. Sparks in his Tracts, vol. II. 231; apd by Mr. Mardon in his Letter to Dr. Chalmers, an abstract of wbich may be found in the Christian Disciple for the year 1821.
Some reliance has been placed on five passages, which are quoted by Mr. Mardon from Newton's remarks on prophecy, and on the disputed texts mentioned above. None of them, however, are as strong as the one adduced by Dr. Brewster on the other side. Newton speaks, indeed, of the christian religion, as a system " which all nations have corrupted,” but there is no intimation in the context that be alluded to the doctrine of the Trinity; and we shall see in a moment, that he regarded other doctrines, which have very generally prevailed, as corruptions of christianity. He speaks likewise of the form of baptism, Matt. xxviii. 19, as “ the place from wbich they (the Fathers) tried to derive the Trinity." But this, at the utmost, only proves, that he did not consider the doctrine as taught in that passage, without deciding any thing as to his general belief on the subject. These two are much the strongest of the passages cited by Mr. Mardon ; the remaining three are so little to the purpose, that they need no comment. So weak indeed is the evidence to be derived from this quarter, that Mr. Sparks has not even alluded to its existence.
More reliance has been placed on the fact, that a number of theological treatises left by Newton, have been suppressed; and that Horsley, who was permitted to examine these papers, pronouneed them unworthy of publication. But this plainly may have been done on other grounds, than their containing any thing adverse to the doctrine of the Trinity. Newton, Mr. Sparks tells us, denied the necessity of episcopal ordination, and the propriety of infant baptism ; and if the treatises in question had any relation to these subjects, it would not be very surprising that a bishop and a paedobaptist should decide in favor of their being suppressed. Vol. IV.
The only remaining argument adduced by Mr. Mardon, is contained in ihe following extract. “The Rev. Richard Baron, a person of great probity and public spirit, known by many valuable publications, observes, “ Mr. Haynes* was the most zealous Unitarian I ever knew; and in a conversation with me on that subject, he told me, that Sir Isaac Newton did not believe in our Lord's pre-existence, being a Socinian, as we call it, in that article.” This evidence, Mr. Mardon insists, is “ similar in kind to that, which is urged by Dr. Paley, and Dr. Chalıners himself, for the credibility of the facts and discourses of the gospel history.” A moment's reflection might have shown him, however, that this evidence is very different in kind. The Evangelists give us our Savior's “ discourses" themselves, at least in substance. Had Mr. Haynes done the same on the subject before us, the cases would indeed be similar ; but he gives us his own inference merely, and not Newton's language, a course which the Evangelists have pursued in scarcely a single instance. Now Mr. Haynes may very honestly have inferred from something dropped by Newton, that he was a Socinian, just as Mr. Mardon has himself inferred the same fact from the passages examined above, and yet the inference in both cases, may have been equally unsounded. A "most zealous” partisan is extremely apt to make inferences in favor of bis own opinions. If every man in this country, who has been pronounced a Unitarian by way of inference, should be set down as really such, Unitarianism would be still more than it is at present, “ a house divided against itself.” In these remarks, we do not call in question the integrity of Mr. Haynes, but we wish simply to show, that evidence of this kind, which would be rejected at once in a court of justice, ought to have very little weight in deciding an historical fact. It is a striking confirmation of this remark, that Mr. Sparks, who would naturally wish to present the argument in all its strength, has not even mentioned the name of Hopton Haynes. Whiston, however, is appealed to by Mr. Sparks, as saying, that in Newton's view, “ the doctrine of the Trinity was introduced into the christian scheme after the times of the apostles.” But Dr. Brewster has already told us of the resentment which Newton felt against Whiston, for his statements on this subject. We are rather surprised, indeed, that Mr. Sparks should attach any importance to a general statement of this kind, on the part of Whiston, unsupported by any specific evidence, when we consider his severe censures on Whiston's habitual looseness of statement respecting the opinions of others, as manifested in his declaration, that Bishop Hare was a skeptic. “ Whiston,” says
* Hopton Haynes, Assay Master of the mint.