Reference > Cambridge History > The Age of Dryden > Platonists and Latitudinarians > His Aphorisms and Sermons
  His Position as Defined by Himself Whichcote not a Platonist  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VIII. The Age of Dryden.

XI. Platonists and Latitudinarians.

§ 4. His Aphorisms and Sermons.


If, to this explicit statement, we add the internal evidence supplied by Whichcote’s own manuscript notes of the Aphorisms and the Sermons (neither of which was published until after his death), the theory which numbers him among the Platonists, and would even recognise him as their leader, would seem to be altogether inadmissible. Neither Plato nor Plotinus finds a place among his cited authorities, while the latter is not even mentioned—although, in addition to the Greek text of the New Testament, he quotes both Aristotle and Origen; and, among Latin writers, Lucretius and Marcus Antoninus. But mysticism and recondite philosophy were foreign to his genius; and the divine with whom he was in fullest sympathy, after the restoration, was, probably, John Wilkins of Oxford, who, after acquiring eminence by his labours as a teacher at Wadham college, was, also, for rather less than a twelvemonth, master of Trinity college, Cambridge. Wilkins was further distinguished by the interest with which he regarded the scientific investigations of the Royal Society, and his toleration in dealing with dissenters. The evidence, accordingly, would lead us to conclude that the statement of Burnet, in his History—which, it is to be borne in mind, was not published until eight years after his death—was simply the inaccurate impression derived by a young man of twenty during a hurried visit to the university, and not placed on record until long after; while it is certain that what he says about “Plato, Tully, and Plotin,” is perfectly applicable to Henry More of Christ’s college, who was Whichcote’s junior by only four years and, about the time of Burnet’s visit, at the height of his reputation.   8

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  His Position as Defined by Himself Whichcote not a Platonist  
 
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