CUD'WORTH, RALPH, D.D., an illustrious English divine, was b. in 1617 at Aller, in Somersetshire, and admitted pensioner of Emmanuel college, Cambridge, in 1630, where he took his degree of 3I.A., and became an eminent tutor. About 1641, he was presented to the rectory of North Cadbury, in Somersetshire; and in 1644, upon taking his of RD., maintained two theses, in which can be discerned the germs of his intellectual System. In the same year he was appointed master of Clare ball, Cam bridge, and in 1645, regius professor of Hebrew; after which he began to apply himself assiduously to the study of Jewish antiquities. In 1651, he took his degree of n.n.; in 1654, he was chosen master of Christ's college; in 1662, appointed to the vicarage of Ashwell; and in 1678, installed prebendary of Gloucester. He died at Christ's college, July 26, 1688.
b.'s magnum opus, entitled The True Intellectual System of the Universe, was published in 1678. It is a work of great learning, acuteness, and loftiness of thought; but some, at the time, fancied that C. exhibited too much impartiality in stating the atheistic argu ments. Dryden said " that he raised such strong objections against the being of a God
and Providence, that many thought he had not answered them." Lord Shaftesbury and Bayle were of this opinion also. The accusation of impartiality—a rare offense in I hose contentious days—is not likely to lessen our admiration of Cudworth. The philosophy to which he was attached was that of Plato, and, in consequence, he estimated highly the writings of the Alexandrian school, to which his own hear some resemblance. The obloquy to which his adventurous studies exposed him, does not seem to have greatly affected him. Besides The Intellectual System. C. left in MS. A Treatise concerning Eternal and Immutable Morality, which was published by Dr. Chandler, bishop of Durham, in 1731, and forms, or was intended to form, the second part of 77w Intellectual System; also a discourse On Liberty and Necessity; On Moral Good and Evil; a discourse On the Creation of the World and the Immortality of the Soul; etc. These MSS. are now in the British museum.