The Apology of Dr Henry More

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


In a rather ill-timed passage in his preface to the Mystery of Godliness, that had been written in the spirit of compromise and toleration evoked by the events leading up to the Restoration, but appeared in print shortly after the event, More had dismissed all jure divino claims for episcopacy, whatever their practical benefits, as at best ‘controvertible’. He had also pointed out that such claims had the added disadvantage of suggesting to the people a ‘design of unmerciful riding’ by the bishops, which might seem reminiscent of popish tyranny.1 It was particularly this injudicious early stand against the ‘prelatical’ promotion of episcopacy that exposed More to the displeasure of men like Beaumont, Gunning and Sparrow, who were committed to precisely such a view of the ‘divine’ basis of their authority as priests and theologians of the Anglican Church. More’s subsequent defence of episcopacy in the Mystery of Godliness as ‘rational’, and not ‘antiChristian’, was therefore regarded as scandalously inadequate by these men, and his attempts in the same book to reconcile the Presbyterians and Independents to an acceptance of episcopacy, seemed further proof that he and his Latitudinarian colleagues were willing to ‘prostitute’ their consciences, and their positions as priests in the Anglican Church to achieve a ‘comprehension’ these men had already rejected.2 Joseph Beaumont even accused More of being a covert Independent, citing his satire on Laudian ceremonialism in his poem ‘Psychozoia’ as evidence for this.3


Rational Interpretation Orthodox Interpretation Divine Life Subsequent Defence Terrestrial Body 
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    GMG(1660): xix (the first edition, the only one in which the Preface is included). See also MI, part 2 (1664): II xxiii 6.Google Scholar
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    Paralipomena Prophetica(1685): 3. This does not mean that More was consciously writing to uphold the social and political order of the Restoration, or that his was a consciously `conservative’ reading of the texts, as Philip Almond claims, “Henry More and The Apocalypse”, JHI (1993): 190–1.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

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

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