Watts’s theology, in so far as it impinges on his thought in general, deserves special notice. Since it lies at the centre of his thought and activity, it cannot be overlooked. He himself regarded other fields of thought as peripheral, claiming that “as every man has some amusements for an hour of leisure, I have chosen Mathematical Science, Philosophy and Poesy for mine.” 1 His views on latitude, natural religion, pietism and mysticism indicate ways in which religious thought contributed to the Enlightenment. His general approach can be summed up in the tides of some of his sermons. Three are entitled “The Inward Witness to Christianity,” three are entitled “A Rational Defence of the Gospel,” and another is entitled “The Doctrine of the Trinity and the Use of it.” 2 “Inward witness,” “rational defence” and “use” constitute three aspects of Watts’s religious thinking which do not always blend as well as they do in the lay-out of his collected sermons.


Rational Defence Lower Common Denominator Century Consciousness Philosophical Essay Natural Religion 
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  1. 17.
    Isaac Watts. A Faithful Enquiry after the Ancient and Original Doctrine of the Trinity (reprint of 1745 suppressed edition; Bath: R. Cruttwell, 1802), “A Solemn Address to the Great and Blessed God,” pp. ii–vii. This address was incorporated in Remnants of Time Employed in Prose and Verse, No. 21, Watts, IV, 640–643.Google Scholar

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© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1971

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  • John Hoyles

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