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Browsing: Early Diary of John Adams, Volume 1


This note contained in document ADMS-02-01-02-0004-0001-0013
1. The Religious Philosopher: Or, the Right Use of Contemplating the Works of the Creator, with a detailed outline of its contents on its titlepage (see facsimile in the present volume), was a religio-scientific compilation written by Bernard Nieuwentijdt (1654–1718), translated “from the Low-Dutch” by John Chamberlayne, and published in 3 vols., London, 1718 (Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek, 6:1062–1063). Although by 1750 it was an old-fashioned work, it had gone through numerous French and English translations (BM, Catalogue). Its popularity may be succinctly explained by a sentence in the “Letter from the Revd. Mr. Desaguliers” to the translator prefixed to English editions: “He that reads Niewentyt, will easily see that a Philosopher cannot be an Atheist; and if it were true, that a Smattering in Physics will give a proud Man a Tincture of Atheism, a deep Search into Nature will certainly bring him back to a Religious Sense of god’s Wisdom and Providence.”
No Adams copy of The Religious Philosopher has been found. The iron-and-sulphur experiment JA read this day is in “Contemplation XXI. Of Fire,” §24.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/