Isaac Newton on the Worship of GodIsaac Newton Autograph Manuscript. 27 lines; over 300 words of text, with some textual emendations. 7.5" x 6". Circa 1700-1710.
"The publick worship of Christians in their Churches is described in this prophesy by the worship of God & Christ in the Temple of heaven. The four Animals representing the people in the outward court rest not morning & evening saying Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty wch was & is to come. And when those Animals give glory & honor & thanks to him that sitteth upon the throne & worship him that liveth for ever & ever & cast their crowns before the throne saying: Thou art worthy o Lord to receive glory & honor & power for thou hast created all things & for thy pleasure they are created. This is the proper worship of God Almighty: Next follows the proper worship of Jesus Christ.... [T]hou art worthy to take the book & to open the seals thereof for thou wast slain & hast redeemed us to God by thy blood ..."
Newton is here writing about the proper way to worship the Deity. He is working with the Biblical book of Revelations, a text he thought especially insightful. In distinguishing the worship due "God Almighty," "Jesus Christ" and "God & the lamb together" -- as per the Biblical text of Revelations Newton cites -- this manuscript may be said to reflect Newton's own particular theological convictions.
The present autograph is clearly part of a larger manuscript. Very possibly it was part of a larger intended work on the subject of prophecy or on the book of Revelations itself. Some small portion of Newton's theological research in these areas was posthumously published, in 1733, as Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St John.
It has long been recognized that Newton articulated a Theo-physical theory of the world in his Principia. And the fuller study of Newton's manuscripts clearly evidence that "for Newton there was no cognitive wall between the study of God and His Creation." To "worship" literally means to assign an entity its due value and worth. And for a scientific mind like Newton's - seeking a unified theo-physical theory of the world -- nothing was of more paramount importance than to "worship" God properly: i.e. to ascertain, and respect, God's true value and worth as cause and explanatory principle of the cosmos.
Isaac Newton's contributions to science are widely acknowledged, and many consider him to be "The Greatest Scientist". But the new scholarly paradigm of Newton - based largely in the study of manuscripts such as the present -- now also increasingly recognizes his greatness as a theologian.
Almost all of Newton's text manuscripts are now institutionalized.
Condition: Evenly toned throughout, with bold ink. Small bits of residue cover a few letters of two words, not affecting context. Though it is a partial manuscript, it presents as complete.
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