The part More played in forming the latitudinarian spirit in religion can hardly be distinguished from his reconstruction of an existential idealism; but, to the extent that it can be identified as a separate strand in More’s work, it speaks even more eloquently than does his philosophy for the emerging modern consciousness. More cannot however be held responsible for two end-products of latitudinarianism which seemed to later generations to constitute its essence. These were the political party which “won” the 1688 revolution on the one hand, and the rise of deism on the other. It must for example be remembered that in More’s day there was no distinction between a latitudinarian and a Platonist.1 Thus the sequel to More’s theology lies in the growth of pietism, which, as Law and Wesley discovered in their own different ways, was the only radical alternative, in an age of Enlightenment, to the politically established and spiritually dead latitudinarianism of deist and orthodox alike.


Religious Life Philosophical Writing Divine Nature Separate Strand Religious Consciousness 
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    Meric Casaubon, Letter to Peter du Moulin (1669), as quoted in Meyrick Carre, Phases of Thought in England ( Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1949 ), p. 259.Google Scholar
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© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Hoyles

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