The Love of God and the Radical Enlightenment: Mary Astell's Brush with Spinoza Author(s): Sarah Ellenzweig
Source: Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 64, No. 3 (Jul., 2003), pp. 379-397 Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3654232 Accessed: 30/03/2010 19:38
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Enlightenment: Brush with Spinoza
And since the FrenchTongueis understoodby most Ladies, methinks they may much betterimproveit by the study of Philosophy (as I hear the French Ladies do) Des Cartes, Malebranchand others, than by readingidle Novels and Romances. 'Tis strangewe shou'd be so forward to imitate their Fashions and Fopperies, and have no regardto what is really imitable in them! And why shall it not be thought as FrenchPhilosophy,as to be accoutredin a French genteelto understand Mode? -Mary Astell, A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, 1694
MaryAstell's place in Enlightenment thoughthas long posed a conundrum to modem readers.High-Church, and Platonist,Astell supporteda theolTory, ogy, politics, and philosophy that Enlightenmentin Englandfor the most part is soughtto abandon.Yet her singulartraditionalism notAstell's most enduring legacy. Celebratedas a critic of women's exclusion from educationand subjection in marriage, Astell has frequentlybeen heraldedas England's"firstfeminist."' While the coinage "Toryfeminist," when applied to Astell and other early modem women writerslike her, has attemptedto elucidatethis complex
Thanksto the Ahmanson-GettyPostdoctoralFellowship at the UCLA Centerfor 17th and 18th-CenturyStudies, the Clark Memorial Library,and to Jason Frank,Kinch Hoekstra,Jeff Lomonaco, ElizabethWingrove,and JackZammito. ' See, for example, Bridget Hill (ed.), TheFirst English Feminist: Reflections Upon Marriage and Other Writings MaryAstell (New York, 1986). by
2003 of of Copyright by Journal theHistory Ideas,Inc.
" Women 105-25."MaryAstell andthe FeministCritiqueof Possessive Individualism.Indeed. 1996). tics.she is also understoodas a philosophicalconservative. and CatherineGallagher. expandingAstell's significance as a thinkerbeyond the confines of early feminism andmarkinga new directionin Astell scholarship.Springborg."Journal of British Studies. HildaL. 1982)."RadicalDoubt andthe Liberationof Women. 505. SarahHutton.Astell is unquestionablya religious conservative. 29-54."Genders." the Studies. 53-75.her high-flying moderationof the consummate Anglicanism in conflict with the latitudinarian of the period. ReflectionsuponMarriage. her Rethroughthe principles of patriarchalist flections upon Marriage (1700) broughton charges that she intendedto "stir the up Sedition. 8. This parallelismdoes not hold for Astell's philosophical and theological views.2 E.and SarahHuttonhave all writsophical thinker. the term's explanatorypower remainslargely limited to questionsof sexual politics."Astell.and Locke: Religion and Poliand Writers theEarlyModernBritishPolitical Tradition. ThoughAstell's reliance on Cartesianreason Whig has been widely acknowledged. attendandthe intellectual ing more closely to the receptionof and responseto bothAstell's writings and those of her influences."DamarisCudworth." ten illuminatingessays on Astell's theological and philosophicalwritings. PatriciaSpringborg (Cambridge. MaryAstell. For Taylor."MaryAstell's IronicAssault on JohnLocke's Theoryof ThinkingMatter. Derek Taylorarguesin a recent essay in this journalthatAstell "is only now beginning to receive her rightful inheritanceas a theological and philoTaylor. 1 (1993). Reason s Disciples (Urbana.3 ThoughTaylorrightly observes that past criticism's concern to situate Astell as a feminist reveals thanit does aboutAstell."and "blow the Trumpetof In Rebellion to the Moiety of Mankind. Joan K.
.Lady Masham:Between Platonism bridge. By the end of the seventeenthcenturykey aspects of both philosophicaland religious traditionhad been rediscoveredas dangerouslyreminiscentof the twin bugSee Hilda L.5 However.and Hutton. however filtered apparent theory. 3 E. Kinnaird." BritishJournalfor the History of Philosophy. it is also readily moreaboutpresentdaypreoccupations that contemporaries viewed Astell's sexual politics.as well as for Astell's biographer.380
mix of traditionaland progressive tendencies. Smith(Camed. as subversive. Smith."4 this sense.Ill."Eighteenth-Century ies. 1998).""undermine Masculine Empire.PatriciaSpringborg. Derek Taylor. JohnLocke. 444-57. a ratherunexpected picture comes into view. 1 (1988). Ruth Perry. Indeed. positing an idealist Platonism as against Locke's skeptical empiricism."JHI. 472-93."Mary Astell and the ConservativeContribution English Feminism. 4 ed. 5See Ruth StudPerry. the contemporary reception of Astell is not too distantfrom our own.23 (1990).Political Writings. 62 (2001). and Enlightenment. RuthPerry.if we readAstell saw milieu of which she was a partin historicalcontext. 24-39. 19 to (1979). PatriciaSpringborg.."Embracing AbsoEighteenth-Century lute: The Politics of the Female Subject in Seventeenth-Century England. Masham. 18 (1985).contemporaries Astell otherwise.
II. At the core of Malebranche'ssystem was a comprehensivetheory of causation known as "occasionalism. Israel. 552. 69. Barbarismand Religion (2 vols. By deferringto God's absolutesovereigntyand emphasizingman's necessary dependenceon his laws.
. Astell became a countryman High-Church Nicolas Malebranche (1638disciple of the FrenchPlatonistandneo-Cartesian writhimself a Catholicpriestanda monarchist. New York.will nothing. McCracken.. L. or
See J.JohnNorris (1657-1711). the mind "sees all things in efficacy.he is also the only sourceof our good and therefore exclusively deserving of our love. I."Through mind's clear vision. gland."L 'Etadei Lumi:studi storici sul settecento europeo in onore di Franco Venturi. Any love for the creaturethus signified a misunderstanding the soul's properobject.7 In Englandhis Recherchede la verite (1674-75) likewise became infamousfor threerelateddoctrineswith whatwere perceived to be implicitly pantheisticimplications. 41. Crocker(Naples. "Superstition Enthusiasm Gibbon'sHistoryof Religion. in Malebranche's view. God.6 Precisely Astell found herself ensnaredin a more radical because of her traditionalism. Radical Enlightenment(Oxford. Malebranche taught. or our love for anotherhumanbeing-are the sources of experience. Not only do the body and the materialworld lack productivepower. the truecausalpower in the universe. Both occasionalismandthe vision of all thingsin God entaileda rather ascetic social ethics: because God is the efficient cause of all events and the one sourceof ourknowledge. G. thanhas previously been acknowledged. 115. 2001). "Clergy and Commerce:The ConservativeEnlightenmentin Ened.MaryAstell and the Radical Enlightenment
enthusiasm (the sectarianclaim to bears of the Civil War and Interregnum: and unmediateddivine inspiration) its moreblasphemouslogical extreme. the "we discover thatwe areunitedto God in a closer and more essential way than we areto ourbodies. 85." he assertedin Search. our ideas. Malebrancheintendedhis principlesto shore up Christianorthodoxy. Charles J. 1985). 1999). thatwithoutGod we arenothing. A.thatwithoutHim we can know nothing."Eighteenth-Century 8 (1982).We may of believe that secondaryoccasions-such as the laws of nature.large and small. and in and Life. Enlightenmentlegacy The broadbasis for such a claim is thatthroughthe writings of her fellow and Tory.the promptings of our senses. Though ings were nonetheless bannedin Franceand includedon the "Index"in Rome for theological iconoclasm."or the doctrinethatnaturalphenomenaand materialbodies. merely providethe occasions for God. lacks independent perceptive Unable to form its own ideas of objects.pantheism (the theory that God and the universe compose one entity). causally inefficacious in themselves.and sense nothing.Malebranche's 1715).do nothing.G. but the humanmind." who contains the propertiesor archetypesof all createdbeings within himself. too. Only God can act.but this is to mistake the preeminenceand sufficiency of God's will in every occurrence. 7 JonathanI. Pocock. and our pleasure. Malebranche confidentlyproclaimed. Malebrancheand British Philosophy (Oxford.thatHe is ourall. 1983).to execute his will.
" StudiaSpinozana. the heresy datedback to the Greeks.at worst. an assumptionthat finally seemed tantamount atheism. My aim will be to describethe surprisingway in which Astell foundherself in unexpectedproximityto Spinoza. in StuartBrown. had a promotedthe idea thatGod is "in every place and every creature.ThomasM. I. and tr. Book V. what it meant for Astell to embracehis tenets has remainedless than clear. 22. 1837). 224. a figure condemnedby contemporaries the most abominableheretic of the as seventeenth century. if anything.the equationof God and naturehad been more recentlyand infamously revived by Benedictus de Spinoza. 48-53. and see MargaretJacob. Partof this difficulty stems from the relativeneglect of Malebranchein the history of philosophy.The Law of Freedom . "'Theological Politics' and the Receptionof Spinoza in the EarlyEnglish Enlightenment. TheRadical Enlightenment (London.1997).Though recognizing the importanceof Malebrancheto Astell's thoughtis not new. Divine Legation of Moses Demonstrated(1738) (2 vols. and religious hierarchythatwent with it.eds.382
thatwith Him we make a whole-if it may be so expressed-of which we are an infinitely small part.the leader of the Levellers.10 conthe assertion that God and his universe are one substance suptemporaries. Spinoza had abolishedthe dualismof conventionalChristianthought. a pantheist.Malebranche."in one fell swoop."1 Indeed.particularlyin the English context..
.and thereforeto be matteras well as mind. 1981). 10 The Warburton." belief that he linked to democraticpolitics. But unhappilyfor modem Platonists. Olscamp(Cambridge. qtd. Malebranche to veer perilously towardsthis latterand more incendiarytheological error. 1 But see McCracken. critics in France and later in England complained that was at best an enthusiast. posed God to be no differentfrom his creation. The English were familiarwith the seditious threatof pantheismfrom the Civil War sects.the inventorsof the impious and "malignant" notion that God is all things. 517. 80.9 (1994). from her first discussions of his principleswith JohnNorris in 1693-94 to her final defense of occasionalismand the vision of all things in God in her "magnum opus" The ChristianReligion (1705)."8 While such sentiment spoke stirringlyto Astell's deep religiosity. to This essay will trace the influence of Malebrancheon Astell's thought. 506.seemed
8Nicolas Malebranche. thatAstell would eschew her native empiricismin favor of the near-mysticalmetaphysicsof a FrenchCatholicpriesthas. political. Lennonand Paul J. "[C]atch[ing]this epidemical contagion of human reason from antiquity. In 1648 GerardWinstanley.as well as the justifiTo cations for social. 9 Winstanley.TheSearch After Truth. and in denywas seen ing all power and activity to natureand createdbeings. I.9As William Warburton later taught in his Divine Legation (1738). 182. 366. London.In positing a necMalebranche essaryunion between God andman in ouractions andknowledge.
Letter I.as is evident from her complaint that she "wish[ed] [she] could read that ingenious Author in his own language.who appears most assimilable-admittedly with not a little distortion-to a widely "liberal" set of political commitments. However illogical it might appearto us. op. numerous almostsingle-handedly his publications Malebranche's ideas in England.urging the cause of religion againstAstell's initial diffidence.In the lettersthatfollow Norrisstrived to educateAstell in the rigors of the Malebranchean system. Norris. to this view.the history of Astell criticismis not withoutits ironies. Astell's initial exposureto Malebranche was throughNorris'swritings. Astell's unequivocalsupportof customaryauthoritiesin churchand state did not preventher contemporaries from identifyingand conwhat they saw to be the dangerousramificationsof her theocentric demning philosophy. By the 1690s Norris had long been an avidfollowerof Malebranche. Astell thanksNorris "for
McCracken. 15Taylor.Mary Astell and the Radical Enlightenment
Presentistbiases have also conpartandparcelof her persistenttraditionalism.Norris. The Astell we know best andnot coincidentallyavailable tributed in currenteditions is the least theological and thereby the most accessible Astell-the proto-feministauthorof A Serious Proposal to the Ladies (1694) and Reflections upon Marriage. for it will be my argumentthat in her own lifetime.
13 To Mr.Malebranche.. in her writings on religion and philosophy. cit. 507-8. Letters. or that he spake [hers]. andby the startof letter V. his efforts appearto have been successful. 3. that God is the efficient cause of all sensationand the only legitimate object of our love. and by July of 1694 Norris persuadedAstell to print their communications. Letters Concerningthe Love of God (London. Astell. and Malebranche In 1693 JohnNorrisreceived a letterfromMaryAstell aboutoccasionalism and its relationshipto the love of God. in John Norris.Astell wrote to Norris that she Their read"everythingyou Writewith greatPleasureandno less Advantage. moreover."'4 At the start of their correspondenceAstell appearedto accept the Malebranchean principles as expoundedby Norris in his Practical Discourses upon Several Divine Subjects (1691). 1695). It is this latterAstell. The correspondencewas published in 1695 underthe title Letters Concerningthe Love of God. at least. 12
. LetterVII.""3 exchange continued throughthe following year. 14 To Mr. Astell was seen as most subversivewhere she has been least discussed. 149.If I am correctin this assessment.12Seemingly unaware of disseminating Malebranche'siconoclastic status in France. 156-79. Norris.15Yet she was unpersuaded Norris's reasoning on by the relationship betweenthe two theories.
and consequentlywhatsoeveris good in them must in a more eminent Mannersubsist in him? If all things exist in God and God is the authorof all good.. thatcommunicative Goodness which gave Being to all things. This apostasy has been of interest to Astell critics concernedto situateher accuratelyin the context of seventeenth-century philosophical and theological debate. is he not the very Fountainand sole Authorof it? Is he not Goodness it self. LetterV.384
those necessary and useful Rules you have alreadyprescribed.. rendersa greatPartof God's Workmanshipvain anduseless.18
Why did Astell suddenlyrenounceoccasionalismbefore the publicationof LettersConcerningthe Love of God in 1695? TaylorsubmitsthatAstell found occasionalism"impractical. LetterIX."While Astell remained perfectly willing to demote the power of bodies and objects to secondarystatus. ratherthana directmanifestation. 77.its significance is complicatedby Astell's returnto occasionalism in her ChristianReligion of
1705. Taylor.and those Objectswhich occasion it. Norris.Norris. "Appendix..comprisingAstell's last letter and Norris's reply.op. 18 To Mr. It appearsthatthe extrem16
17To Mr.Astell puts forwardthe possibility." An appendix. 76. Letters."and requests thathe supplyher with a "Systemof Principlesas I may relie on .. 101. 511-12. Astell asserts."'7 Yet despite this seemingly happy conclusion. 179-80.inspiredby Henry More's conception of a "plastick"or "preceptive[sic] Part of the Soul.Norris.. to initiatea In raw Disciple in the Study of Philosophy.Norris.As Taylorhas demonstrated. and with that Indifferency that is due to it. in August 1694. LetterIV."16 letter IX Astell takes the final of linking the divine love thesis with Malebranche's theory of occasional step causes and the vision of all things in God: And does not God comprehendall possible Good. Letters. Letters."she now upheldthe more orthodoxview thatGod's creationacts as an effect.Astell wrote a final letterto Norrisin which she disclaimed occasionalism.the creaturesat most can be used "as an Occasion . when the publicationof Lettersloomed near. To Mr.
. in whom all things are. arguingthat they are "Instruments" wholly dependenton God's "superior Nature.
To Mr.of his will." Letters. protesting that the principle that "God is the only efficient Causeof all our Sensation ." that there is "a sensible Congruitybetween those Powers of the Soul that are employed in Sensation." In this formulation materialbodies in theirown natureshave an "Efficiencytowardsthe producing of those Sensations which we feel at their Presence. was added to Letters at the final hour. 277-78.." and "doesnot well comportwith [God's] Majesty. cit.." points out thatin place of Malebranche's and dictumthatonly God can act.
Burthogge to suggested that a false notion of God's infinity led Spinoza and "others" the "that [God] is the Ingredient. 4/14 January1688. 1998)." an idea which "shocks"the "distinctionand singularity"of God's
19 Letters. sory world thathad attracted Whereas the predominantphilosophy and theology of her time struckher as basely sensualist and impiously secular.RichardBurthogge'sEssay est English linkings of Malebranche upon Reason appearedin April of 1694 and thus could plausibly have been readby Astell before her letterofAugust 14 of thatyear.280.." To Mr.W Leibniz: Philosophical Texts. he thinks that only God is a substance and that all otherthings are only modifications. 279." Similarlyto Leibniz..45.Astell ing a more conventional stance on God's relationshipto wrote to Norris that "it seems more agreeableto the Majesty of God. "Appendix.ImmanentCause of all misguided conception Things.op. an emptiness!"Our "Pretenders Wit"might"discredit to everythingthatis not the Objectof Sense.in his view. to Mr. to any great Degree. and that Orderhe has establishedin the World."22 Moreover. 512. 22 Leibniz to Arauld. Thatis what Spinoza does. Taylor. Burthoggeessentially saw no differencebetween Malebrancheand Spinoza. G.S. as well as Mind. 135-36." Letters. 284. "Appendix. LetterIII. andnothingdoes truly and properlyoccasion good or evil to us but as it respectsour Minds. 277-78. the notion that God is the efficient cause of all sensation]. It was precisely this magnificationof the deity at the expense of the senAstell to Malebranche'ssystem in the first place. Richard Francksand R."21In FranceLeibniz had complainedthat in makingGod the only cause in the universe."'9 Malebranchehad insisted in The Search After Truththat the only way to appreciatetruly God's divinity was to admitthat only he enjoyed the power to act.to say that he producesour Sensations mediatelyby his ServantNature. had previously censuredas profanelymaterialist? Astell hadassertedin herfinalletterto Norristhat"verymanyobjectagainst this Proposition [i.one of the earliwith Spinoza. ism of Malebranche's Adopthis creation.thanto affirmthathe does it immediatelyby his own Almighty Power. made God "all Substance"and therefore"theUniverse . cit.Norris... Woolhouse (New York.. If the creatureshad no ontological independence fromGod. 21 To Mr." Both thinkers. a shadow. they could not rightlybe said to be differentfromhim: To "refuseall force and all power to things"is "to change them from the substancesthey are into modes.andtherebydeprivingnatureof all efficacy. would Astell suddenlyally herself with a sensation-basedtheorythatshe then.e."20 Why.
.Malebrancheand Norris had seemed to understandthat "this Worldis a mere shew. Norris. occasionalismwas tantamountto Spinozism." but "in [the] rightestimateSpiritsarethe only Realities. Letters.Norris.tr.MaryAstell and the Radical Enlightenment
doctrinehadbegunto makeAstell uncomfortable. complainingthat "their Ambitious Researches in that higher way have [not] edified the World . 281.
. and his colleague. The second translation. John Dunton and the English Book Trade (New York. in whom ideas dwell in their archetypalform.Since in Norrishadparticipated editingandrevisingthe Saulttranslation.Arnauldand the CartesianPhilosophy of Ideas (Manchester. Malebranche'svision of all things in God."Reasonand Revelation in the Cambridge Platonistsand theirReceptionof Spinoza. The TermCatalogues. 1694). eds. 68-74. 181-200.appearedin Oxfordin midby August. 118.25 was Althoughthe correspondence eventuallyexcludeddue to the unwieldy natureof the documentsandthe pressureto release the primarytext. 364.5758. 1903-6). that occasionalism "does not well comportwith [God's] Majesty."SpinozaIn Der FriihzeitSeiner Religiosen Wirkung. As it turnedout. "Spinozain England. Malebranche.Antoine and Amauld. 25 On Amauld's critiqueof Malebrancheon ideas. The TermCataloguesof of publishedbooks for the yearmentionthatan abridgement a notorioustwentyyear correspondencebetween Malebrancheand his fellow Cartesian.Ouronly access to ideas is throughour soul's intimateunion to God.26 translation.23 The CambridgePlatonists.The first was translated RichardSault and printedby by John Dunton and Samuel Manship. see Steven M. accordingto Arnauld.24When Astell objected.more delicately to be sure."ProceedingsoftheAmericanPhilo-
24 See Rosalie Colie.Astell's earliestphilosophicalinfluences. SarahHutton. For Malebranche humanmind lacked the power to prothe duce perceptions. By claiming that God contains the ideas or archetypes of all created things within himself."it is very possible that she had such scruplesin mind. 79-100.hadbeen intendedforthe Taylortranslation.however tangential. Dunton. and Stephen Parks.1984). 116. the editors promiseda new volume featuringthe philosophers'conflict in October. was engaged in a disputewith the London printerof the Taylor Astell no doubtknew all the details of the plans for each edition. 1976). 183-93. McCracken.
RichardBurthogge. and Alan Kors. 1668-1709 (3 vols. London.to thatopprobrious figure. 534. Herausgegeben Karlfried Von Grunder WilhelmSchmidt-Biggemann and (Heidelberg.An Essay upon Reason (London. ThomasTaylor. 1650-1729 (Princeton. In July were publishedwithin andAugust two rival editions of TheSearch after Truth weeks of one another.just the time of Astell's final letterto Norris.386
Being.could not avoid the implicationthat God himself was corporealand therebyno differentfrom the things of the universe. 516. 26 See Edward Arber(ed. II. 60. 1694 was a big year for Malebranchein England. 359-60. WhereasAmauld followed Descartes's notion that ideas are innate propertiesof an essentially active mind lacked Malebrancheargued via Augustine and Plato that ideas exist in God alone.so Astell would have been acutely awareof the hazardof any association. 109.
. hadbeen the firstEnglish critics of Spinoza. 556-67. 107 (1963).1665-1730. Atheismin France.1989).Malebranche Amauld had partedcompany on the Cartesiantheory of perception. Nadler. 504. 5-6.both of whom were close confederatesof Norris.).1990).
and a shortreasoningaboutthings familiar to their Minds. and the Spade. in fact contributeto the skepticism and freethinking
A See Springborg(ed.ed.28 Though Tolandat one extreme had deemphasizedthe mysteries of Christianityby urging a wholly naturalreligion. 575.30 Locke's implicationhere is thatoverly sublimereligiousnotions. and 609-14. 1997). 28 Although Toland'sChristianity Not Mysteriouswas publisheda year after Locke's Reasonableness. Higgins-Biddle (Oxford.MaryAstell and the Radical Enlightenment
Letterswould Thephilosopherwhose tenetsshe hadextolledin herforthcoming in the eyes of her countrymenwith a host of heresies. W. 1700). 1667).214-15). and RichardBaxter. John C. The first was Locke's Reasonableness of Christianity (1695). 26. Spectersof Heresy The expected edition of the Amauld-Malebranche debate never materialbut the second volume of the Sault translation. TheReasonablenessof Christianity. The Reasons of the ChristianReligion (London. inized. the neoplatonists'mystical tendencies at the other seemed to contemporaries promise a similarlyirrelito As gious outcome. TheAncient Theology(Ithaca.69.). "TheHeritageof PatristicPlatonismin Seventeenth(London. ChristianReligion (1705) (London. and you amaze the greatestpartof Mankind. moreover. xxix.published in 1695. 1999)." Serious Proposal to the Ladies. Cambridge.RadicalEnlightenment. 16672). and Astell. Matthieu Souverain. also Samuel Parker. Where the hand is used to the Plough.Platonism Unveiled (London. or exercised in mysteriousreasonings."ed.A Free and Impartial Censure of the Platonick Philosophie (Oxford.
. "Introduction. CenturyEnglish PhilosophicalTheology. and nearly allied to their daily experience. 59-60.Walker. P. andsee Dockrill. was himself a disciple of Spinoza." D.27 John Toland. 169-70.29 Locke complained. farfromshoring up Christianpiety. the head is seldom elevated to sublime Notions. Parts I and II and D. 1717). By Ausoon be linked gust of 1694 Astell had several good reasons to recoil from the taint of what now appearedto be an unholy association. which charged the neoplatonistsalong with the deists with underminingreligion.she was not yet in the to clear. Dockrill. Rogers. cluded a brief sketch by Michel Le Vassor of the controversy."Heritage. 29 See Israel. 30 Locke. 'Tis well if Men of thatrank(to say nothingof the otherSex) can comprehendplain propositions. 338-39.two books appearedwhich would have suggested to Astell thatdespite the disclaimerin the "Appendix" Letters.Newtonians.whose manuscriptof Christianity Mysterious(1696) served Not as one of the occasions for Locke's attackon deism.In 1695 and 1696. Go beyond this. it has been shown that Locke had a copy of Toland's manuscriptwhen he was writing his own (see Jacob. 1972).
32 Astell. 33 Astell.388
more commonly associatedwith deism. Part II. Taylorpoints out that althoughAstell remainedcritical of Locke's theory that all knowledge derives from sensation. xxiii-xxvi. III. And I doubtnot.." Serious.. must have been spooked by these accusations. published anonymouslyin 1696 as A Discourse Concerning the Love of God."Introduction.that the senses enjoy an autonomouspower to perceive. 32DamarisMasham. Robert South. in the long run diminishes the likelihood of
belief.be thought Byassed by the Affectation of Novelty. Part II.in other words. 26-27.34 There is indeed evidence of the influence of both Locke andAmauld in SeriousProposal.whose Judgment may..312. IdentifyingAstell as "a young Writer. Taylorsubmitsthat Astell attemptsto achieve a "middlingcourse"between the vision of things in God and Lockean empiricism between 1695 and 1705. publishedin 1697." Masham asserts that "the Suppositionof our seeing all things in God . and Springborgthat Astell favors the more orthodox Cartesianismof Amauld."MaryAstell's. Souverain. 1696). 78.
.. 531.. I.31
This point was made explicit by DamarisMashamin a responseto Astell's letterswith Norris. 77. that this Opinion of Seeing all things in God was the Basis upon which Christianitywas built. SermonsPreachedupon Christianity of Several Occasions (11 vols. 71.A Discourse Concerningthe Love of God (London. Springborg. appears to favora less controversial philosophicalmethod. xvii-xviii. What the senses perceive may be "dimand fallacious. 1986). perhaps.Astell retreats fromMalebranche's theoryof perceptionin this laterwork. Scepticism would be so far from finding therebya Cure. Mysteriousand the Wisdom God in Makingit So (1694).. that it would spreadit self much farther amongstus than it has yet done. in contrast to Malebranche. 214-15."as "we'remore properlysaid
See Warburton. who lay the great stress of theirproof upon the Hypothesis of seeing all things in God . who suspectedLocke's authorshipof Masham'sDiscourse. Platonism. tends to the shakingand unsettlingthe known Groundsof TruePiety": And those seem more than a little to indangerChristianity. objecting later in ChristianReligion to "they who are so severe upon their Neighbours for being wanting (even in Private Letterswrit without a design of being Publish'd) in that exactness of Expressionwhich ought to be found in PhilosophicalDisquisitions. she now allowed. Both Taylorand Springborg of arguethattrueto her final position in the "Appendix" Letters. 1704-44). London. 34 Taylor. Divine Legation."33 Astell's SeriousProposal to theLadies. and see Ruth Perry. butif it were generallyreceiv'd andPreach'd by our Divines. The Christian Religion. 17172). as Profess'd by a Daughter of the Churchof England (London. To make religion excessively abstract and complicated.The CelebratedMaryAstell (Chicago." 513.. 88.
Acknowledgingher indebtednessto Amauld's "Rules"and "Methodof Thinking. Part II." To attainrightideas. 116. 103. "Dependenceon God." Astell celebratedthe "NaturalLogic" that sends individualsno "further thanyour Own Minds to learnit. 107.its centralthrustwas to insist upon our dependenceon God for everythingwe know. we have no more to do but to look attentivelyinto our own Minds.
37See Taylor. [and]therewe shall find a Clearand Lively Representation of what we seek for. Part II of Astell's continued supportof the vision of all things in God and its corollarythat our minds are In intimatelyunitedto the Creator."Clearlywith Malebranchein mind.
. Serious. Part II.LockeanandCartesian principlesseem randomlyinterones."36 Serious Proposal. Part II. Ratherthan"MyDiscovery."but of they nonethelessproduceideas independently God. unsociableThinkers." 513. for what we Know as well as for what we Are..when Astell does turnexplicitly to the vision of all things in God. Astell complainedthat"the followers of Trutharedespis'd andlook'd askew on. was a sure remedy against the deist conceit about which Locke had warned in Reasonableness. The vision of all things in God. 108-9. 118. 117.however. Astell seems to endorse the Cartesiantheory of clear and distinct ideas as adduced in Amauld's TheArt of Thinking(1662). as Springborgobserves.MaryAstell and the Radical Enlightenment
to be Conscious of thanto Know such things as we perceive by Sensation. as if the presenceof the formermight soften spersedwith Malebranchean the impact of the latter.."MaryAstell's. Indeed. additionto the above gesturestowardsLocke andgeneralCartesian Astell proclaimed suspiciouslyMale-branchean a method. My Hypothesis. we turnnot to God. in otherwords.to rectifie what Customhas establish'd.
36Astell."seeing things in God exposes only God and our necessary subjectionto him:38
Astell. . in this instanceat least. the tone of condescensionthatTaylorsees as directedagainstMalebranchism." asserting that "properlyspeaking all Truthis Antient.37 in herview Malebranche's criticswoefully misunderstood centralfoundationof the vision of all things the in God: far from a heterodox instance of hubris. 92. moreappropriately For targetsLocke andhis allies. Serious.but ratherto "ourown Breasts": "And that our Idea may be Right. Part II is thus not so much a compromise between Malebrancheand Locke or a rejection of Malebranchein favor of Arauld's stricterCartesianismas it is a somewhat incoherentamalgam of all of the above. nor to experience. as being from Eternityin the Divine Ideas. Serious. Astell.the Strengthand Clearness of My Reasonings.and are so Unmannerlyas to Thinkand Talkout of the Common way. At othermoments. self-aggrandizement. who pretendto see farther thantheirNeighbours."35 Yet there are also signs in Serious Proposal. as FantastickSpeculatists. or irreligion.
RailleryDefeated by CalmReason (London.39
Astell's emphasis on piety here is central. Certainlyher tone implies a newfound confidence in her convictions: "Whether[Locke]be the same Personwho writ A Discourse concerningthe Love of God.ReflectionsuponLearning (London. is not my Business to enquire .40Her turnaway from Malebranchism duringthese years was very an intellectual move.
Astell. aimed at screening herself likely a tactical ratherthan from the charges of heresy directed against her philosophical influences. Non Ultra: Or. For in him are all the Treasuresof Wisdom and Knowledge which he Liberally dispences [sic] to all who Humbly. italics mine. To close this Head: Whatever the Notion that we see all things in God.was her conviction thatit was Locke's epistemology thatgeneratedan impiouspridein the self for its own sake.John Keill.Yet in his Light we may hope to see Light. 1699). and yet does not slacken our Endeavoursafter Knowledge but ratherExcites them. Solid Philosophy Asserted (London. Serious. The Method to Science (1696)."41 what can we attributethis shift? Taylor argues rightly that "by 1700. Yet in seeking to absolve herself from the imputation of one formof impiety-the hubristic"beingProudof ourKnowledge"-Astell unwittingly lays herself open to another.. 1699). An Examinationof Dr. John Sergeant. 'tis certainlyvery commendablefor its Piety. Burnet'sTheory
1698).. See also ThomasBaker. See James Lowde. Especially galling. in thatit most effectually sort humblesthemost dangerous of Pride. however.. I found nothing in it to make me change my To judgment about the point in question. Christian. A Discourse Concerningthe Nature of Man (London.the beingProudof ourKnowledge. By her ChristianReligion of 1705. 1697). Moral Essays (London. of theEarth(London."she remarks.. Defining Orthodoxy From 1694 to 1697 Astell felt compelled to distanceherself from a set of principleswhich had become associated with irreligionin Englandas well as in France. it was always the crux of the problem with Malebranchism accordingto contemporaries.Though the retreatinto God marked the apotheosisof Christianvirtuefor Astell.308-9. Souverain. 1699).Platonism. 1698). Honestly and Heartily ask 'em of him.A Letter to a Learned Cartesian (London.. 1694).as it was the accusationof impiety thatmost dogged Malebranche's system. Part II. moreover.
. may be as to the Truthof it. Locke's sense-based epistemology had of emergedas the launchingpad for materialistarguments all stripesandcolors that threatenedto subsumethe very notion of 'spirit' (and ultimately of God)
39Astell."orwho is the Author. 116-17.Astell appearedto feel freerto support these same controversialideas.390
Sarah Ellenzweig Tho' we are Naturally Dark and Ignorant.
in Locke had takennotes on Amauld's criticismsof Malebranche his Journal in 1684-85. Posthumous Works Mr John Locke (London. ed. Johnston. Locke to William Molyneux.but even only more importantly. Malebranche'sassociations with these same tendencies."Molyneux respondedfavorablyto Locke's proposal.MaryAstell and the Radical Enlightenment
In altogether. 44 See PeterKing.John Locke. JHI.rangingfrom deism and So-cinianism." 514.
43See Charlotte "Locke'sExamination Malebranche Norris. the same year that Astell and Norris on begantheircorrespondence the meritsofMalebranche'ssystem. To the extent that the Malebranchethesis representedan implicit challenge to Locke's empiricist accountof the originof ideas in the Essay. 1996). Des Maiseaux. or misapprehendingthe Book of God. of A Collection of Several Pieces of Mr. so thereare in Philosophy. which South then praisedin a letter of 1699 as a "Clear& Excellent Confutationof a very
Taylor. IV. Though both commentarieswere published posthumously..44Overthe courseof his careerLocke was chargedwith a wide array of religious and political heterodoxies." 45 See JohnW. and as one proceeds from not Consulting.45 Very likely in defense of his commitmentto orthodivine RobertSoutha copy of his Examinadoxy. 28 March 1693. 1976-89). William Molyneux to Locke.particularly those who had questionedthe theological implications of his own philosophy." of and Johnston. and even Spinozism. Locke and the Wayof Ideas (Bristol. De Beer (8 vols. 665."Locke'sExamination.not least because Locke served primarilyas a spokesmanfor theological orthodoxyin the period. and in March of 1693. Yolton. and 553."43 Though Locke never did add the projectedchapterto the Essay. 1720). 18 April 1693.Locke circulated the manuscriptof his response to Malebrancheamong several friends in the 1690s. 1706). IV. to materialism. never beforepublished (London."MaryAstell's."42 his view Astell's returnto a more forthrightsupportof Norris in Malebranche her ChristianReligion stems at least in partfrom a conserand vative and idealist disdain for such radical and Epicureanleanings. 115-66. Locke sent the High-Church tion of Pere Malebranches Opinionof Seeing All Thingsin God. in 1692 and 1693 he wrote commentarieson both Malebranche Norristhatchargethem and in more and less explicit termswith far worse heterodoxiesthan enthusiasm. 19 (1958). noting that"As there are Enthusiasmesin Divinity. P. of associationswhich Locke had himself helped to expose. Oxford.
556n. E. republicanism.Lockewrote to his friend William Molyneux about adding a new chapterto the revised edition of his Essay in which he would "shew the weakness of [Malebranche's hypothesis]very clearly. 668. But the politics of this dispute are more complicated.S. so the other from not reading and Consideringthe Book of Nature. Locke was interestedto disprovethe to former. The Correspondenceof John Locke.Astell's remustbe seen within the contextnot jection of Locke andreturnto Malebranche of Locke's associationswith political andtheologicalradicalism.
753. The Works John Locke (10 vols. yet thus I fear he must be forced to talk. 26 April 1695. Remarks upon Some of Mr. WhereasMalebranche Norris is less might arriveat pantheismunintentionally. God can.ThattheirConsequences will Workout them selves. not only that there is variety in God . Correspondence. 28 March 1693. also Locke to V. which supposes that the perfectionsof God are the representatives us of whateverwe perceive of the creature."47 the vision of all things Of in God. in the essence of God?"50 Locke comes close here to suggestingthatNorris is a covert Spinozist.shouldrepresenta finite thing.though it be covered underunintelligible expressionsof simplicityandvariety.shortsighted minds may not be awareof them.. 254..
.most likely because he had "a personalKindness for the Author"andwished to avoid "controversy. London.returning again and again to the difficultyof positing that "aninfinite simple being. 6 December 1699. this means. thoughVulgar. allbeit the Assertion be too Black to be ouned in Terminis:But where Principlesare once laid.. ibid. the Abettorsof themKnow well enough. "is to make the materialworld a part of him. William Molyneux. who make says? God to be nothing but the universe. ibid. 252-53.. is
to make the Universe god and god the Universe. Examination. An Examinationof P Malebranches Opinion of Seeing All Things in God. VI."Locke continuallyconcludes.392
Dr. 50Locke. and Tendency of the Philosophy here Confuted by You ."48 Locke worriesthe problemof pantheismthroughout the Examination.Norris s Books. 48 Locke.. Locke writes tentatively. Correspondence.Discussing again in his RemarksuponSome ofMr. who thinks he knows God's understanding so muchbetterthanhis own. thoughI do not thinkto be what ourauthordesigns... what is this betterthanwhat those say. IX." South goes on to make explicit a charge that Locke only hints at in his critique:
The Drift. or a partof him. 352-53. IV. Norris s Books the notion that the simple essence of God containsthe whole variety of creatures. 665.""Tomake things thus visible in [God].."49 WithNorris.the diffito culty proves "insurmountable" Locke and "must always cumberthis docto trine. RobertSouth to Locke. he somewhat impatientlyobserves."[t]hisseems to me to come very nearsaying. Works.disguising his pantheismunder "double speak" that masqueradesas propertheism. in whom thereis no variety. X. "If it be said.. and knows he can produce [the creatures].which.46 Locke's Examination of Malebranche circled around the allegation of Spinozism with trepidation. Locke to William Molyneux. 1963). what doth this say more than every one If it doth say more . but that materialthings are God. of 49 Locke.242.at the sametime. Locke proved less delicate. for whom Locke harboredlittle good will."As it did to Arnauld. 222.
." Much to Locke's dismay." eds.however.284-89. 1961). Bunge and Klever. ConcerningHumanUnderstanding (London. 1706). McEwen.Despite particularly Locke's censure of deism and affirmationof revealed religion in his Reasonableness of Christianity.The notion thatman's "mind is only the mirrorthat receives the ideas that God exhibits to it. 52MauriceCranston. 1957).213-34. Understanding. only upon occasion.Lockes Essay. also McCracken. Locke. MargaretJacob.. 17.
.264. An Essay ConcerningHuman ed. Locke's discussion of reason'srole in judging revelation.MaryAstell and the Radical Enlightenment
trustworthy. 29.255.Toland'sChristianity Not Mysterioushad based its deism on a radicalreadingof Locke's Essay. 55 John Norris."andbringsus at last to the religion of Hobbesand Spinosa."51
Threedays before his deathin 1704 Locke advised PeterKing not to publish his Examinationof Malebranche.by resolving all.54 Carroll.Carrollpraises Norris and Malebranche for avoiding what in his rendering was Locke's Spinozistic materialism. and Yolton. 215-16. explaining that "it is an opinion that As spreadsnot and is like to die of itself or at least to do no great harm. Toland'sprincipleswere nonethelessseen by many as the logical conclusion of Lockeanepistemology..What is more."Locke powers of self-determination. 70.Malebranche. both the vision of things in God and the theory of occasional causes were egregious examples of determinism.John Locke:A Biography (New York. and in Locke's view. however. 93 (Los Angeles. no.' " 192-97. 15-18.One of the more unsettlingimplicationsof Spinoza'ssystem was the denial of man's free will.. andLocke was his prime mark. even the thoughtsandwill of men.55 The link between the Essay
Locke.53There was. did not appearout of nowhere. Remarks. 478. TheNewtoniansand the English Revolution(Sussex. into an irresistablefatalnecessity. 144-46. in a series of sermonsand tractspublishedbetween 1705 and 1711 Carrollaccuses Locke and his followers of "establishingand spreading Spinoza's Hypothesis in a Disguise.AugustanReprintSociety. "Lockeas Secret 'Spinozist': The Perspectiveof William Carroll.was just beginningto appearon the scene. Malebranche." thathe "cannot move his arm or his tongue . resemble[s]God."52 CharlesMcCrackenargues. an important exception. See StuartBrown. EventuallyLocke abandonedall euphemism." In a stunningreversalof the English trendto associate Platonismand Cartesianism with Spinozism.As early as 1690 Norris had himself insinuatedthat Locke's sensationalistpsychology impiously required"thatthe Idea of God comes in by the Senses" and thus that "theMaterialWorld. and early no new defenses of his doctrinesappearedafter 1704. One William Carroll. 1976). GilbertD. 53McCracken. 275.Disguised and Overt. Dissertationupon the TenthChapterof the FourthBook ofMr." deprivedhim of all "Thisis the hypothesisthatclears doubt.Malebranchism on the wane in Englandby the was 1700s. finally declares. No new translationsof the philosopherappearedafter 1700. " 'Theological Politics. CursoryReflections upon a Book Call'd.an admirerof both Malebranche andNorris. 54 A WilliamCarroll.
as if the Loving God in this manner were destructiveof all Religion. and that without any reflection on the Purityof his Nature.that a Power of thinkingis within the EssentialPropertiesof Matter .318-20."Disguised and Overt. 58 Astell. you are convinc'd that God is the True Efficient Cause of all our Good. it must be asserted. in the years between the publicationofAstell's Serious Proposal..Lockes Lets ter (London."56 Since the publicationof Toland'sbook in 1696 chargesof theological heterodoxy against Locke had been mounting.as Spinozahathmade it: and I am certainyou do not think. Bunge and Klever. seems to have changedtargets. Such a climate left Astell at liberty to supporta doctrine which to her continued to representthe culminationof Christianpiety. or all our pleasing Sensations. 1983)."EdwardStillingfleet and Spinoza. thatourModem Divines andPhilosophersshou'd make such an out-cry against it.. his famousdebatewith Locke on thinkingmatter(1696to Stillingfleet. in Bishop of Worcester.394
was andthe doctrineof one substance latermadeexplicitby EdwardStillingfleet.57 By the time Astell's ChristianReligion appearedin 1705 the chargeof heresy. 262-66. 53-54.. Locke's suggestion that we could not know 98). for the moment at least. and even of Morality. as we recall. According whether or not mattermight think was implicitly supportiveof the Spinozist principlethat matterand mind composed one single substance:"if. however... and from the increased sympathy for the conservativeAnglican position encouraged by Queen Anne's reign (1702-14). 1697).These charges appearedto reach yet new heights. 78-79. PartII (1697) and her ChristianReligion (1705). italics mine.eds. Her awareness of the charge of in Spinozism againstMalebranche 1705 is evident from the following defense of occasionalism in ChristianReligion: If meditationand a just disquisitionof Truthhas carry'dyou beyond the prejudicesof sense.and wou'd do all those strangethings the Learnedare pleas'd to chargeit with!58 That occasionalism threatened"the purity of [God's] Nature"was. a key featureof the charge that Malebranche'ssystem equatedGod and
56 See Sarah Hutton.he hathpromotedthe greatEnds of Religion and Morality. so thinkingwill be such a Mode of Matter. TheBishop of Worcester Answer to Mr.. ThePolitics of Lockes Philosophy (Berkeley.
.Takinghis cue from Stillingfleet. Christian. Carroll appears almost singlehandedlyto have divertedattentionaway from Malebrancheand his English disciples by turning the accusation of Spinozism (somewhat illogically and without great success) against several prominentWhig intellectuals. EdwardStillingfleet. And where
is the hurtof all this.. 57 Neal Wood.You look thro' the
Creature to the Creator as the Author of all your Delight .
Over the long haul. Now they combine here the discoveries of a famous
Anotherpiece to the puzzle of Astell's returnto Malebranchism that despite Carroll's is accusationsagainst Locke in the early 1700s.."183."551. are no longer drawn to Cartesianism.60 is interestingto note for ourpurposesthatJ. in his 1706 edition of Locke's Torieswere in a battle over Works.59
Perhapsin response to Carroll'sattack on Locke in his Remarkson Mr.Both seemedto achievejust the rightbalancebetween God's presence in and distancefromhis creation. Muirhead. "Spinozain England. "Conservative Enlightenmentand DemocraticRevolutions:The American and French Cases in British Perspective. In 1714 Le Vassorexpressed the spirit of the age in a letter to Quesnel.. the seed [of Platonism] replantedand copiously wateredby the Cambridgewriters failed to show above ground. Brown. H.. Clarke's Sermons (1705).they. 91. in the centurythat followed.. and "Clergy."61 As Margaret Jacob has established. like Malebranche himself. 61 J. and Derham. " 'Theological Politics.. at work in nature. 1931). performedthe job of preservingChristianorthodoxy more successfully.andAstell took advantageof a window in the early eighteenthcenturyin which Spinozism seems to have linked itself to the perceived materialismof Whig thinkerslike Locke. in McCracken. 553. Muirheadcredits Malebranchefor the decline of Platonismin Englandin the eighteenthcentury: "if.The disappreciate tinction between what they attackedand what they promotedwas simply too difficultto maintain. the threatof Spinozism in Englandwas seen to have diminishedby the turnof the eighteenthcentury(Colie. Peter King published Locke's Examination of Malebranche...MaryAstell and the Radical Enlightenment
nature. H. to be sure. Spiritualforces were. it was not Carroll'sperspectivethatprevailed."Governmentand Opposition. 20610. this was owing partly to the mixture with it of elements from a form of Malebranchean mysticismto which Englishsoil was essentiallyuncongenial.Malebranche. 86-87..as disseminatedby the Boyle lectures of Bentley.JohnPocock has persuasivelyarguedthatin Englandthis dilemmawas rectifiedthrougha fairlythorough-goingrejectionof all Platonist It philosophy.but they were not inherentin it. 16.In a sense the Whigs and the High-Church the definitionof orthodoxy.24 (1989). however.Since Locke had been accused of teachingthis errorfrom a very differmaterialism Astell was now safe to advocate ent perspective-his purported a position she had previously felt pressuredto denounce for theological reasons. When Platonistslike More and Cudworthstressedthe essentially spiritualnatureof the universe againstwhat was seen to be Spinoza'smaterialism. qtd.nor to the speculations of FatherMalebranche. observing that "the learnedmen of England .Newtonian naturalphilosophy. against Locke's dying wishes. Clark. 60 See Pocock. armedwith Lockean epistemology.The Platonic Tradition in Anglo-SaxonPhilosophy (New York.' " 196).
. failed to that the problem of one substancewas the worse danger.
the equivocal positioning of Reflections upon Marriage.32. with regardto Him. who forgetting the
of Giver of all Good things. which at once incisively exposes the subjectionwomen experience in domestic life.396
mathematicianof this country.. looks on himself as Proprietor thatwhich he has only receiv'd. 87-92.. Locke. that despite her conservativecommitmentto the preservasexual in traditional she tion of"order.
. He then is the Proud Person. is in prejudice of His Right .for it is perhapsmore accurateto say that when read throughthe lens of her theology and philosophy.
15-16. as if it were absolutelyhis own.. Christian.63 Ideally. Radical Enlightenment. we see a fundamentalambiguityas to what this obedience actually entails: [A]11we Have and all we Are is so intirely from God and does so absolutely depend on Him.319-20. in conclusion. Christian. 115. 81. in McCracken. Le Vassor."64
See Jacob. He who thinks he has Gifts which he has not.Astell's feminism shares the same links to a radical Enlightenmenttradition. to be foundnot in her feminism but ratherin her theology and her philosophy. and exhortswomen to obey their husbandseven when tyrannical.therebyrendering themselves vessels throughwhich God's dominion can express itself. 112. Such a claim."62 Theology andAstell's Feminism It has been my argumentin the precedingpages thatAstell's closest proxis imity to radicalthinking. and for which he must strictly account. Take for example..Astell's feminism works something like this: if those in power (husbands and monarchs)remembertheir own subjectedstatus. paying obedience to the familial and the civil magistrateis no different from one's to own privatedevotionto God.named Sir Isaac Newton. taken advantageof the radical implicationsof a set of theories she otherwise endorsedfor expressly pious purposes.howeverunintentional.We do know.or who Uses and Boasts of it. 64 Astell. In Astell's words "you look thro'the Creature the Creatoras the Authorof all your Delight. If we look more closely.. fancies himself to be Somethingwhen indeed he is Nothing. 84-85. however. requires some qualification. Malebranche.It seems safe to assume thatAstell had no conscious allegiance to theological heterodoxy. that every sort and every degree of Arrogatingto our selves any mannerof way. and the views of a certainMr." was passionatelyinterested undercutting Astell's feminism thus marks the one place where she might have hierarchy.
. 284-85.. Rice University. and provides for them by the meer efficacy of his own Will. Astell.
To Mr." Letters.correctedAstell's notion thatGod actedby way of instruments.nor of Instruments execute them. at once
sees All-things. 28.thoughthey are less principalones." Norris'sreply. She posits not only what soundsvery much like a determineduniverse-one in which human beings have little free will-but also a world in which a strangesort of human equality(in the abstract. In the "Appendix" LettersAstell had arguedthat even if the creatures to "didin some Sense produceourPleasureor Pain."they actedwithoutindependent will and "not . "Appendix. In which respect to all HumanGovernment must needs fall infinitely shortof the Divine. accordingto the closest readingofMalebranche'sprinciples."65 ThoughAstell's and Norris's debatein Lettersconcernsthe senses' ability to produce sensations.Astell appearsto have applied Norris's final lesson to the question of earthlyauthoritymore generally in her later writings. 1704). Indeed. voluntarilybut mechanically": "all the Power they have of affecting us proceeds intirelyfrom the Will and good Pleasureof a superior Nature. and withoutwhose Blessing and Concurrence they could not act. being infinite in Knowledge and Power.Norris. and 'tis most certainthatGod has no need of any. and that God is the only deserving object of our love. since his Will is efficacious of it self." Letters."[E]ven instruments.MaryAstell and the Radical Enlightenment
This lesson.whose Instruments they are.66 Once earthly rulers become not even instruments.. and neitherstandsin need of Informationto make his Laws and directhis Orders. thereforethey are not properObjects of our Love or Fear.at least) resultsfromthe total necessity of all things in God. Moderation TrulyStated (London.
306-7. "Appendix.but occasional causes for God's efficient decree.however. follows logically from Malebranche'sradically doctrines:that we see and know all things in God.Norris'sAnswer. furthermore.arenot governors just anotherone of Malebranche'soccasional causes? Such would seem to be the conclusion of Astell's ModerationTrulyStated (1704):
the King of Kings .. "belong to the Orderof effihe cient Causes.
. Mr." writes. Astell circles back to Spinoza's heresy. that God is the theocentric efficient cause of all events.