An Elegant and Learned Discourse
Publication Year: 2012
Nathaniel Culverwell (1619–1651) was a fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.Robert A. Greene is Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts at Boston.Hugh MacCallum was Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Toronto.Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History and Director of the Centre for Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England.
Published by: Liberty Fund
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Title Page, Copyright
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This edition of Culverwell’s Discourse, edited by Robert A. Greene andHugh MacCallum, was originally published in 1971 by the University ofToronto Press. The introduction set the work in its historical and philo-sophical context. This republication substitutes a brief updated forewordby Robert A. Greene for that original introduction. Bracketed page num-...
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Nathaniel Culverwell died at the age of thirty-one in 1651. He had spenteighteen years of his brief life as a student and fellow of Emmanuel Col-lege, Cambridge, “that zealous house,” as John Evelyn called it. Emman-uel had been established as a Puritan foundation in 1584, and by midcen-tury its Calvinist ethos had led to its flourishing as the second-largest...
The Epistle DedicatoryTo the Reverend and Learned
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... The many testimonies of your real affection towards this pious andlearned Authour, (especially while he lay under the discipline of so sad aProvidence) deserve all thankful acknowledgement, and grateful com-memoration: which I doubt not but himself would have made in mostample manner, had it pleased God to have granted him longer life, and...
to the reader
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... Not many moneths have passed since I sent abroad into the world a littleTreatise, which knew it self by the name of Spiritual Opticks, with intentiononly to make some discovery of the mindes and affections of men towards piecesof that Nature; which having met somewhere (it seemes) with kinde enter-tainment, and acceptance beyond its expectation; hath now perswaded all its...
The Discourse of the Light of Nature
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Fw÷ c kuri´ou, pnoh’ a◊njrh´pwn. Septuag. lu´xnoc kuri´ou. Tis a work that requires our choycest thoughts, the exactest discussionthat can be; a thing very material and desirable, to give unto Reason thethings that are Reasons, and unto Faith the things that are Faiths; 2 to giveFaith her full scope and latitude, and to give Reason also her just bounds...
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... Now as for the words themselves, we cannot better judge of the fitnesseof this expression, then by considering who it was that spoke it.Now these words were spoke by him that had a large portion of intel-lectuals, one that was e⁄qoxoc a◊njrw´ pwn kefalv÷1 [an intellectual superioramong men], they were spoken by Solomon in whom the Candle of the Lord...
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... The words being to be understood of Lumen Naturale [natural light],according to the mindes of the best and most interpreters; it will be veryneedful to enquire what Nature is, and here we will be sure not to speakone word for Nature, which shall in the least measure tend to the eclipsingof Grace; nay, nothing but what shall make for the greater brightening and...
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... Before we can represent unto you the Law of Nature, you must firstframe and fashion in your mindes the just notion of a Law in general. AndAquinas gives us this shadowy representation of it; Lex est quaedam regula& mensura, secundum quam inducitur aliquis ad agendum, vel ab agendoretrahitur 1 [law is a certain rule and measure, according to which any...
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... Having thus lookt upon the being of a Law in general, we now cometo the spring and original of all Lawes, to the eternal Law, that fountain ofLaw, out of which you may see the Law of Nature bubbling and flowingforth to the sons of men. For, as Aquinas does very well tell us, the Law ofNature is nothing but participatio Legis aeternae in Rationali creatura,1 the...
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... The Law of Nature is that Law which is intrinsecal and essential to arational creature; and such a Law is as necessary as such a creature, for sucha creature as a creature has a superiour to whose Providence and disposingit must be subject, and then as an intellectual creature ’tis capable of amoral government, so that ’tis very suitable and connatural to it to be reg-...
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... There are stampt and printed upon the being of man, some cleare andundelible Principles, some first and Alphabetical Notions; by putting to-There’s scatter’d in the Soul of Man some seeds of light, which fill itwith a vigorous pregnancy, with a multiplying fruitfulnesse, so that itbrings forth a numerous and sparkling posterity of secondary Notions,...
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... GOD having contrived such an admirable and harmonious Law forthe guiding and governing of his Creature, you cannot doubt but that hewill also provide sufficient means for the discovery and publishing of it;Promulgation being pre-requir’d as a necessary condition before a Law canbe valid and vigorous. To this end therefore he has set up an Intellectual...
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... This law of Nature having a firme and unshaken foundation in the ne-cessity and conveniency of its materials, becomes formally valid and vig-orous by the minde and command of the Supreme Law-giver; So as thatall the strength and nerves, and binding virtue of this Law are rooted andfasten’d partly in the excellency and equity of the commands themselves,...
chapter 1 0
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... Though Natures law be principally proclaim’d by the voyce of Reason;though it be sufficiently discover’d by the Candle of the Lord; yet there isalso a secondary and additional way, which contributes no small light tothe manifestation of it: I mean the harmony & joynt consent of Nations,who though there be no koinwni´a nor sunjh´kh,1 no communion, nor...
chapter 1 1
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First, as Lumen derivatum, fw÷ce◊kfwto´c1 [a derivative light, a lightfrom a light]. Surely there’s none can think that light is primitively andoriginally in the Candle; but they must look upon that only as a weak par-ticipation of something that is more bright and glorious. All created ex-cellency shines with borrowed beames, so that reason is but Scintilla divi-...
chapter 1 2
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... This Candle of the Lord, ’tis Lumen tenue & diminutum [a feeble anddiminished light]. A Lamp is no such dazling object. A Candle has no suchgoodly light, as that it should pride and glory in it. ’Tis but a brief andcompendious flame, shut up, and imprison’d in a narrow compasse. Howfarre distant is it from the beauty of a Starre? How farre from the bright-...
chapter 1 3
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... ’Tis lumen explicans praesentia, non aperiens futura, for did you everhear of such a Lamp as would discover an object, not yet born nor yet inbeing? Would you not smile at him that should light up a Candle to searchfor a futurity? ’Tis the glorious prerogative of the Divine understanding,to have such a fair, and open, and unlimited prospect, as that in one glo-...
chapter 1 4
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... ’Tis Lumen certum. Lamp-light as ’tis not glorious, so ’tis not deceitful,though it be but a faint and languishing light. Though it be but a limitedand restrained light, yet it will discover such objects as are within its ownsphere with a sufficient certainty. The letters of Natures law, are so fairlyprinted, they are so visible and capital, as that you may read them by this...
chapter 1 5
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... ’Tis Lumen dirigens, this no´moc grapto’c1 [written law], ’tis a light forthe feet, and a Lanthorn for the paths. For the understanding, ’tis the to’hÿgemoniko’n,2 the leading and guiding power of the soul. The will looksupon that as Laeander in Musaeus lookt up to the Tower for Hero’s Candle,and calls it as he doth there lh´xnon e◊mou÷ bio´toio faesfo´ron hÿgemonh÷a3 [a...
chapter 1 6
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... ’Tis Lumen tranquillum & amicum, ’tis a Candle, not a Comet, it is aquiet and peaceable light. And though this Candle of the Lord may be toohot for some, yet the Lamp ’tis only maintain’d with soft and peaceableOile. There is no jarring in pure intellectuals; if men were tun’d and reg-ulated by Reason more, there would be more Concord and Harmony in...
chapter 1 7
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... ’Tis Lumen jucundum; All light is pleasant, ’tis the very smile of Na-ture, the glosse of the world, the varnish of the Creation, a bright para-phrase upon bodies. Whether it discover it self in the modesty of a morn-ing blush, and open its fair and Virgin eye-lids in the dawning of the day,or whether it dart out more vigorous and sprightful beams, shining out in...
chapter 1 8
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... ’Tis Lumen ascendens—o¤n w⁄ felen ai◊je´rioc Zeu’c ◊Ennu´xion met◊ ae⁄j-lon a⁄gein e◊c oÿmh´gurion a⁄strwn1 [it would have been fitting had heavenlyZeus, after the dark struggle, raised it into the assembly of the stars], asMusaeus sings in the praise of Hero’s Candle. Yet I mean no more by this,then what that known saying of Saint Austin imports, Fecisti nos (Domine)...
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In the following notes the expression “quoted in” indicates the editors’ opinionthat Culverwell drew the quotation from the secondary source named.1. Susceptours: godfathers. OED discovers in Dillingham’s use of the termthe first example of the metaphoric meaning of supporter or maintainer.1. Nathaniel’s younger brother, Richard, one of the first two Campden...
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The textual notes list all departures in this edition from the first edition of 1652.Emendations by the editors are marked (ed.); all other preferred readings are...
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References to the Notes are included when the author or source of a quotation isnot given in Culverwell’s text, or when the note provides information in additionRobert Slimbach of the typeface originally cut around 1540 by theface, with its small lowercase height and restrained contrast betweenthick and thin strokes, is a classic “old-style” face and has long been...
Page Count: 271
Publication Year: 2012
Series Title: Natural Law Paper