Henry More

English philosopher (1614–1687)

Henry More (12 October 16141 September 1687) was an English philosopher of the Cambridge Platonist school.

Henry More


  • True religion, sprung from God above,
    Is, like her fountain, full of charity,
    Embracing all things with a tender love,
    Full of good will and meek expectancy,
    Full of true justice and sure verity,
    In heart and voice; free, large, even infinite,
    Not wedged in straight peculiarity,
    But grasping all in her vast active spright:
    Bright lamp of God! that men would joy in thy pure light!
    • The Immortality of the Soul (1662), Book 2, Canto 3
  • Tell mankind Jehovah reigns;
    He shall bind the world in chains,
    So as it shall never slide,
    And with sacred justice guide.
    Let the smiling heavens rejoice,
    Joyful earth exalt her voice;
    Let the dancing billows roar,
    Echoes answer from the shore,
    Fields their flowery mantles shake;
    All shall in their joy partake;
    While the wood-musicians sing
    To the ever-youthful spring.
    Fill His courts with sacred mirth;
    Lo! He comes to judge the earth:
    Justly He the world shall sway,
    And His truth to men display.
    • "A Hymn of Praise" (1668)
  • ...indeed, if there were any modesty left in mankind, the histories of the Bible might abundantly assure men of the existence of angels and spirits... I look upon it as a special piece of Providence that . . . fresh examples of apparitions may awaken our benumbed and lethargic minds into an assurance that there are other intelligent beings besides those that are clothed in heavy earth or clay . . . for this evidence, showing that there are bad spirits, will necessarily open a door to the belief that there are good ones, and lastly, that there is a God.
    • Quoted by H.P. Blavatsky, in Isis Unveiled: A Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology, (1877)

Quotes about

  • Although neither an alchemist, magician, nor astrologer, but simply a great philosopher, Henry More, of Cambridge University — a man universally esteemed, may be named as a shrewd logician, scientist, and metaphysician. His belief in witchcraft was firm throughout his life. His faith in immortality and able arguments in demonstration of the survival of man's spirit after death are all based on the Pythagorean system, adopted by Cardan, Van Helmont, and other mystics. The infinite and uncreated spirit that we usually call God, a substance of the highest virtue and excellency, produced everything else by emanative causality. God thus is the primary substance, the rest, the secondary; if the former created matter with a power of moving itself, he, the primary substance, is still the cause of that motion as well as of the matter, and yet we rightly say that it is matter which moves itself. "We may define this kind of spirit we speak of to be a substance indiscernible, that can move itself, that can penetrate, contract, and dilate itself, and can also penetrate, move, and alter matter,"("Antidote," lib. i., cap. 4.) which is the third emanation.
  • He firmly believed in apparitions, and stoutly defended the theory of the individuality of every soul in which "personality, memory, and conscience will surely continue in the future state." He divided the astral spirit of man after its exit from the body into two distinct entities: the "aerial" and the "aethereal vehicle." During the time that a disembodied man moves in its aerial clothing, he is subject to Fate -- i.e., evil and temptation, attached to its earthly interests, and therefore is not utterly pure; it is only when he casts off this garb of the first spheres and becomes ethereal that he becomes sure of his immortality. "For what shadow can that body cast that is a pure and transparent light, such as the ethereal vehicle is? And therefore that oracle is then fulfilled, when the soul has ascended into that condition we have already described, in which alone it is out of the reach of fate and mortality." He concludes his work by stating that this transcendent and divinely-pure condition was the only aim of the Pythagoreans.
    • H.P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled: A Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology, Vol. I, Before the Veil, (1877)
  • As to the skeptics of his age, his language is contemptuous and severe. Speaking of Scot, Adie, and Webster, he terms them "our new inspired saints . . . sworn advocates of the witches, who thus madly and boldly, against all sense and reason, against all antiquity, all interpreters, and against the Scripture itself, will have even no Samuel in the scene, but a confederate knave! Whether the Scripture, or these inblown buffoons, puffed up with nothing but ignorance, vanity, and stupid infidelity, are to be believed, let any one judge," he adds. ("Letter to Glanvil, the author of 'Sadducismus Triumphatus,' May, 25, 1678.") What kind of language would this eminent divine have used against our skeptics of the nineteenth century? p. 206
    • H.P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled: A Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology, Vol. I, Before the Veil, (1877)