Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Richard Baxter on Science and Religion

Richard Baxter might seem like an unusual person to quote on science and religion. As far as I know, the Vicar of Kidderminster didn't have any real connection with science. But he was clearly part of the Puritan movement, and the scientific revolution of the 1600s largely grew out of Puritanism. Baxter wrote his classic book The Reformed Pastor just 4 years before the Royal Society was founded, so it's an interesting reflection of what sort of thing Puritans were saying about science at the time...

I hope you perceive what I aim at in all this, namely that to see God in his creatures, and to love him, and converse with him, was the employment of man in his upright state; that this is so far from ceasing to be our duty, that it is the work of Christ to bring us, by faith, back to it; and therefore the most holy men are the most excellent students of God's works, and none but the holy can rightly study them or know them 'Great are the works of the Lord, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein;' but not for themselves, but for him that made them. Your study of physics and other sciences is not worth a rush, if it be not God that you seek after in them. To see and admire, to reverence and adore, to love and delight in God, as exhibited in his works - this is the true and only philosophy.

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