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Enthusiasm and the Light Within

  • Robert Crocker
Chapter
Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas / Archives Internationales d’Histoire des Idées book series (ARCH, volume 185)

Abstract

As we saw in More’s poetic allegory of the spiritual journey in his Poems, he had first defined ‘Enthusiasm’ in terms reminiscent of the spiritual acceptance of a ‘false light’ described in the Theologia Germanica as an almost inevitable temptation upon the path of spiritual development, or as he later put it, a “full but false persuasion that in a man that he is inspired”.1 For More this was the result of the ‘natural’ consciousness of body and self possessing the mind — a temptation which was furthered by the determinism and ‘unfelt hypocrisy’ of orthodox Calvinism.2 From this perspective, Enthusiasm was one important aspect of the negative delusive forces assailing the soul in quest of union with God. For this reason in his later theological works More uses the concept of Enthusiasm alongside that of Atheism and Roman Catholicism as three interrelated expressions of the ‘mystery of iniquity’ assailing both the individual and the Church.3

Keywords

Primal Matter Paradoxical Doctrine Divine Knowledge Divine Mind Prose Commentary 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    ET (1656): 2.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Psychozoia“, iii,10–22; and TG (1854), xl, and see below.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    See More, GMG, V,viii-xii; VI,xii-xviii; VIl,xvii; Mystery of Iniquity, I,xi ff.; and TW (1708), An Alphabetical Table: 834: “Antichristianism”, and below.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Vaughan (1622–1666) was the brother of the poet, Henry Vaughan. See A. Rudrum (ed.), Works of Thomas Vaughan (1984): 7–12. On More’s debate with Vaughan, see Fouke, Enthusiastical Concerns: 53 ff. and A. Miller Guinsburg, “Henry More, Thomas Vaughan and the late Renaissance Magical Tradition”, Ambix, 27 (1980): 36–58; F.L. Burnham, “The More-Vaughan Controversy: the Revolt against Philosophical Enthusiasm”, J.H.I., 35 (1975): 33–49; N.I. Brann, “The Conflict between Reason and Magic in Seventeenth Century England. A Case Study on the Vaughan-More Debate”, H.L.Q., 43 (1980): 103–126; and L. Mulligan, “’Reason’, `Right Reason’, and `Revelation’ in midseventeenth-century England”, in Vickers (ed.), Occult and Scientific Mentalities in the Renaissance (1984): 375–401; and below. Vaughan appears to have been on the fringes of those alchemists associated with Robert Boyle, but no one has yet found any direct connection between them. It is highly unlikely Boyle would have approved of Vaughan’s intemperate language, or for that matter, his alleged drunkenness.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    On the widespread abusive use of the term, see M. Heyd, “The Reaction against Enthusiasm in the Seventeenth Century: Towards an Integrative Approach” Journal of Modern History 53 (1981): 25880. See also, for example, Meric Casaubon, Treatise concerning Enthusiasme (1656): 52–4, 110–119 and 125–130, whose more conservative account, putting Platonists and Cartesians into this category, provides a useful contrast to More’s.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    See Lawrence Pincipe, The Aspiring Adept: Robert Boyle and his Alchemical Quest. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998 ). The apparent personal connection between Vaughan and Boyle needs further elucidation.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    E. Philalethes, The Man-Mouse taken in a Trap and Tortur’d to Death for Gnawing the Margins of Eugenius Philalethes (1650). Vaughan was later used as a `type’ of enthusiasm by Samuel Butler and Jonathan Swift. See Rudrum, Works (1984): 27–30.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    More, Second Lash, in ET: 174–5.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    More is referring to his PP.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    As Walker points out, Spiritual and Demonic Magic (1975): 52 and 75 ff., there were significant tensions within Renaissance Platonism between a fascination for theurgy and magical practices, whether for specific cures or for illumination, and a denial of the necessity or legality of such practices. In Agrippa, Vaughan’s avowed master, this tension can be clearly see (Ibid, 54–5, and 90–1). While More is unequivocally anti-magical, Vaughan follows his master in apologising for his earlier magical concerns, in Euphrates (1655), `To the Reader’.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    As does Burnham, “More-Vaughan”: 33–49. However, N. Brann, “Conflict”: 104, who remarks that the debate can best be viewed as “more of a fraternal rivalry within the same family than as a combat between spokesmen of radically divergent world views” seems to take the opposing view too far.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    See the discussion below, and the comments in A. Miller Guinsburg, “Henry More, Thomas Vaughan”: 45.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Compare for example, More’s use of Agrippa, PP: 364, and Vaughan’s defence of the latter, Anthroposophia Theomagica (1650): 33–4, and comment on 50: “He indeed is my Author, and next to God I owe all that I have unto him.”Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    See Miller Guinsburg, “Henry More, Thomas Vaughan”:41.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    More, Psychozoia ii-iii, Psychathanasia, I,iii; Vaughan, Lumen de Lumine (1651): 225.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    More, Psychozoia iii,69–71; Vaughan, Lumen de Lumine (1651): 13–15.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Vaughan, Anthroposophia Theomagica (1651): 5.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    More, Second Lash, in ET: 175, cited above.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Vaughan, Second Wash (1651): 10.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    See Fouke, Enthusiastical Concerns, chapter 4; C.H. Josten, “A Translation of John Dee’s Monas Heiroglyphica (Antwerp, 1564), with an Introduction and Annotations.” Ambix, 12 (1964): 100–4; and also M. Eliade, The Forge and the Crucible (1978): 225–7.Google Scholar
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    More, “Psychozoia” ii,9–12, and the “Interpretation Generall” in PP, under le’; and see Plotinus, IV,ii,9, which More explains, PP: 353–4.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Vaughan, Second Wash (1651): 79; and see also Euphrates (1655): 23.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    See Vaughan, Lumen de Lumine (1651): 21 and 68 ff.; and Pincipe, Aspiring Adept. See also Eliade, Forge: 154.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    More, Second Lash, in ET: 218. More explicitly rejects a real primal matter, but it is clear that he accepted the idea of an abstract principle representing the potentiality of material existence, which preexisted the real `atomic’ matter from which bodies were formed (by the ‘Spirit of Nature). See “Psychozoia”, ii,9; “Psychathanasia”, I.ii,54; DP,12–16; and CC, The Philosophical Cabbala i,1–3; and the discussion below.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    See Vaughan, Anima Magica Abscondita (1650): 51–3, and More’s reaction in Observations (1650): 55 and 59–61. More’s interpretation of Plotinus is necessarily selective: see for instance Plotinus, IV,iv,36 and IV,iv,40, which would lend credence to Vaughan’s view rather than More’s. On More and Plotinus, see above.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Euphrates (1655): 17.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Plato, Timaeus, 31b ff, and 69c ff., and Philebus, 29e. The image is also Stoic.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    More, Second Lash, in ET: 204–5.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Vaughan, Second Wash (1651): 65; and see also his Euphrates (1655): 36–9.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Vaughan, Second Wash (1651): 35. On Vaughan’s alchemical prowess, and claims to have discovered the cosmic `menstruum’, see Rudrum, Works (1984): 13. More’s more poetic use of such `miraculous incredible symbols’ can be seen in his treatment of Copernicanism in his “Psychathanasia”, III,iii; and in his poem “Circulatio Sanguinis” (OP OM (vol.3, 1679): 751–753) discussed above.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    The doctrine is Stoic in origin, though it is clear More’s source is Plotinus, V,ix,9; II,ii,2; and II,iii,17. Plotinus is referring back to Plato, Timaeus, 29a ff. See the more explicit discussion in Cudworth, TIS (1687): 158–9, and More’s interpretation, PP: 345–6.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    PP: 345–6; and Plotinus, III,11,2.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    See “Psychozoia”, ii,7–9, and CC, The Philosophical Cabbala., i,1–2.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    More, Second Lash, in ET: 269–70; and see the discussion below, next chapter.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Psychozoia, i,41–47; and IS, III,xii,l-6; and see the discussion below, next chapter.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Vaughan, Second Wash (1651): 182; and see also Euphrates (1655): 16–8.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Vaughan, Second Wash (1651): 180.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Vaughan, Man-Mouse Taken (1650): 104–6; and see also Euphrates (1655): 67–8.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Second Wash (1651): 181; and see also Euphrates (1655): 18 and p.93.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    See for instance, ET.: 51.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    See Euphrates (1655): 17, cited above.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    More, Observations (1650): 6; and Second Lash, in ET: 261–6.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    This quarrel over the soul touches upon the `learned ministry’ debate. For Vaughan by implication was attacking the scholastic curriculum, even while protesting his faithfulness to Oxford. See Anthroposophia Theomagica (1650), “To the Reader”, and see Rudrum, Works (1984): 2–6.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    More, Second Lash, in ET: 259.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Anthroposophia Theomagica (1650): 7.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Man-Mouse Caught (1651): 76–7.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    See Lumen de Lumine (1651): 251–3, and the engraved plate facing p.22.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    More is never very consistent with his use of the term `reason’. For he considers it to be the expression of a `middle life’ in the soul, which must choose between becoming `immersed’ in the `animal’ or `divine Life’. It appears from this that he means two things by the word, depending on its context - a divine intellectual principle in man, and a discursive faculty, which he places with the imagination in the ‘middle part’ of the soul. Compare the definition in GMG, II,xi,1 with the treatment of ‘Right Reason’ (as a successive copy of the Logos) in EE, II,iii,3; II,iv,6; II,v,4–7; and II,ix,14–6.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    More, PP: 302, and see above.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Op.cit, in ET: 177.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    See below, Chapter, on More’s similar judgement of the natural philosophy of John Webster.Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Second Lash, in ET: 178.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    See Vaughan, Second Wash (1651), dedicatory poem “by H.M., Oxon”, and “To the Reader”, replying to More, Second Lash, in ET: 178–84.Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    See G.H. Williams, Radical Reformation (1962): 363 ff.Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    See Vaughan, Second Wash (1651): 10 ff.Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    See below, especially Chapters 11 and 12.Google Scholar
  57. 57.
  58. 58.
    TG:: 134–5. Compare More, ET: sig.A5 ff.Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    See the title: Enthusiasmus Triumphatus, or, a discourse of the nature, causes, kinds and cure of Enthusiasm (1656), and Mastix his Letter, in Ibid: 309 ff..Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    See for example Nicolson: 100, and 378 ff.Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    I emphasise More’s ambivalence here, as the evidence that he became `more sympathetic’ to Boehme is somewhat entangled with Anne Conway’s renewed interest in the latter after Elizabeth Foxcroft came to live with her (pace Hutton, “More and Boehme” in Hutton). On Boehme’s influence in contemporary England, see M. Bailey, Milton and Jacob Boehme (1914); Jones, Spiritual Reformers (1928): 208 ff.; and Thune, The Behmenists and the Philadelphians (1948).Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Mastix his Letter, in ET: 275.Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Nicolson: 306.Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    This was written in English in 1670, according to the PG, but is known only in the Latin version published in the OP OM (tom.2, 1679): 529 ff.Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    Teutonica Censura, Preface, sect.22, in OP OM. (tom.2, 1679): 535. See also DD: 465–470.Google Scholar
  66. 66.
    ET: 42–3; compare Teutonicae Censura, Quaestio 1, OP OM (tom.2, 1679): 538–40. See also More on Boehme’s claim to understand the language of Nature, DD: 461–3.Google Scholar
  67. 67.
    See also Teutonica Censura (1679), Quaestio 1, sect.13–15, OP OM. (tom. 2, 1679 ): 538–9.Google Scholar
  68. 68.
    Op.cit (1656): 48.Google Scholar
  69. 69.
    DD: 469–70.Google Scholar
  70. 70.
    Op.cit, Quaestio 2, sect.7 and 9, in OP OM (tom.2, 1679): 541–2. See also DD: 467.Google Scholar
  71. 71.
    Teutonica Censura, sect. 4–5, in OP OM (tom.2, 1679): 541.Google Scholar
  72. 72.
    Teutonica Censura, Quaestio 3, sect.2 ff., in OP OM (tom. 2, 1679 ): 542–3.Google Scholar
  73. 73.
    See DD: 468–70, where More effectively excuses the Behmenists from being the great danger to the world they appeared to be: 470: “God does notable execution upon the dead Formality and Carnality of Christendom by these zealous Evangelists of an internal Saviour.”Google Scholar
  74. 74.
    GMG: VIII xii 1–2. This passage could serve as a prose commentary on More’s description of Glaucis in “Psychozoia” (1647): ii 87 ff.Google Scholar
  75. 75.
    See below, and for example, GMG: VI xii-xiii.Google Scholar
  76. 76.
    See TG: xl.Google Scholar
  77. 77.
    See Hamilton, Family of Love (1981). The works of Niclaes were all translated into English, though by the time More was writing the sect had practically disappeared in England, the name `Familist’ being then mainly applied to the Quakers. See for example, H. Hallywell, An Account of Familism as it is Revived and Propagated by the Quakers (1673). After 1668 More was particularly concerned with denouncing Niclaes because of his apparent popularity with Anne Conway and her companion, Elizabeth Foxcroft. See Nicolson: 304.Google Scholar
  78. 78.
    See Hamilton, op.cit (1981): 26 ff., and 55–61; and More, GMG: VI xii 3–5.Google Scholar
  79. 79.
    Hamilton, op.cit (1981): 50–1; More, GMG: VI xii 3–5; and ET: 34–5.Google Scholar
  80. 80.
    GMG: V viii 6 and VI xii 1–3, and passim.Google Scholar
  81. 81.
    Nicolson: 297. Elizabeth Foxcroft was Benjamin Whichcote’s sister, and appears to have first introduced Anne Conway to the Quakers. She was in touch with the Quaker, Henry Bromley, in 1666. In a letter from him (Ibid: 278–80) he speaks respectfully of Anne Conway as a person already in sympathy with the Friends (in Nov.1666). This suggests that Anne first encountered them before 1670. On September 15, 1670, More mentions George Keith in a letter to her as though he was already a familiar figure to both of them. So the beginning of Quaker influence on Anne Conway predates the arrival of van Helmont at Ragley (late 1670), by some years. Versus Coudert, “A Quaker-Kabbalist Controversy: George Fox’s Reaction to Francis Mercurius Van Helmont”, J.W.C.I. 39 (1976): 179. See Nicolson: 307.Google Scholar
  82. 82.
    See GMG: VI xiv-xvii; and DD: 565 ff.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Crocker
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AustraliaAustralia

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