Under such conditions, it is not surprising to find that the conclusion to Isaac Newton's Principia soared like a hymn to the divine. 'It follows from this', wrote Newton at the end of his general commentary, that the true God is living, intelligent, and powerful, . . . that he is supreme, or supremely perfect. He is eternal and infinite, omnipotent and omniscient, that is, he endures from eternity to eternity, and he is present from infinity to infinity; he rules all things, and he knows all things that happen or can happen. He is not eternity and infinity, but eternal and infinite; he is not duration and space, but he endures and is present. He endures always and is present everywhere, and by existing always and everywhere he constitutes duration and space.17
Nevertheless, there was a difference between the conception of science held by a Robert Boyle and that held by a Newton. For Newton, science was not simply a question of awe before the wonders of Creation but rather of the representation of God's work, as if, once the scientist's research was complete, he had risen to divine heights and was able to contemplate God's work. This no doubt explains the exasperation of those such as Huygens and Leibniz, who when interrogating Newton on the universal principle of attraction, invariably received the response (through the intermediary of Samuel Clarke), that God was 'present everywhere'.18 How could scientists know this and speak with such conviction? The future Bishop of Cloyne and author ofthe Analyst, George Berkeley, had his own explanation. For Berkeley, the scientists' certitude came from their use of the new calculus, known as infinitesimal or differential, with which Newton had been able to calculate the elliptical paths of the planets with the utmost precision.19 But, wrote Berkeley in 1707, does man have the right to 'go beyond his notions to talk of parts infinitely small or partes infinitesimae of finite quantitys, and much less of infinitesimae infinitesimarum, and so on'.20 Was this not to endeavour to penetrate the very mysteries of Creation and to elevate oneself, with a pride similar to Lucifer's, to the place of God? It was not just Newton and Anglicanism which were challenged. Leibniz, who disputed with Newton the honour of having first discovered infinitesimal calculus, was taken to task by the Jesuits - with whom he generally had good relations. In the second issue (May-June 1701) of their journal published in France, Les Mémoires de Trévoux, the Fathers of the Society of Jesus attacked Leibniz over an article on the new calculus that he had had transmitted to the journal by a friend. 'But when one reasons about the infinite', wrote the journal's editor, 'then the infinite of the infinite, then the infinite of the infinite of the infinite, and so on, without ever finding the final terms, and then applies
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