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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume IX. From Steele and Addison to Pope and Swift.

XI. Berkeley and Contemporary Philosophy

§ 14. Other Deistical Writers: Woolston; Chubb; Morgan; Henry Dodwell the younger

The remaining deistical writers require only the briefest notice. Thomas Woolston was an enthusiast in patristic study, and his enthusiasm seems to have verged on insanity in his later years. He had two passions—“love of the fathers and hatred of the protestant clergy.” The latter was intensified by his being deprived of his fellowship at Cambridge; the former led to his allegorical interpretation of scripture. This method he applied to the New Testament miracles, in his series of Discourses (1727–30), ridiculing the ordinary view of them as actual events. The historical occurrence of the miracles was afterwards (1729) defended by Sherlock in The Trial of the Witnesses; and, to this work, Peter Annet replied in The Resurrection of Jesus examined by a Moral Philosopher (1744), in which the expressions are of an open, not to say scandalous, kind rare in the earlier literature of deism. Thomas Chubb, an obscure tradesman of Salisbury, with no pretentions to scholarship or education, published a number of tracts in which points of the Scriptures were criticised and views similar to those of Tindal asserted. The same doctrine was stated once more by Thomas Morgan, a physician, in The Moral Philosopher (1737–41). In the main, he follows Clarke and Tindal; but he also recalls the investigations of Toland by the prominence which he gives to the opposition between the Judaising and the universal factors in early Christianity. Christianity not founded on argument, a pamphlet published in 1742 by Henry Dodwell (son of the theologian and scholar of the same name), is one of the latest publications of this school of thought.