Bradwardine, Thomas

Bradwardine, Thomas denominated doctor profundus, an eminent English scholastic divine, was born at Hartfield, in Cheshire, in 1290, and educated at Merton College, Oxford. He was the confessor of Edward III, and attended him to France. In 1349 he was made archbishop of Canterbury, but died six weeks subsequently. Bradwardine was scarcely less eminent as a mathematician than as a theologian. His treatise De Causa Dei adversus Pelagium (Lond. 1618, fol.) is a connected series of reasonings, in strictly mathematical form, in favor of Augustinism. " He places the whole and each part of the universe under an unconditional necessity. Every thing which happens is a necessary fulfilment of the divine plan of the universe. The divine will is the efficient cause, to which every thing else is alike subservient; even the actions of rational beings are not exempt from this universal law. Hence he impugns the distinction of a divine will and a divine permission in reference to evil, and endeavors to show that even this forms a necessary part of the divine plan, but that moral imputation is not thereby nullified, since evil subjectively contradicts the will of God. He strives to set aside all the subterfuges of his opponents for vindicating any meritum whatever, even a meritum de congruo; he even opposes those who admitted a gratia prceveniens, and only maintained that it depended on the receptivity of man to accept it or not. From this system it strictly followed that the independence and contingency of the free will are only a semblance; and, since this applies to the fall, supralapsarianism would be involved in it." Bradwardine has been regarded by some writers as a precursor of the Reformation. His doctrine of the will is nearly identical with that of Jonathan Edwards.--Mosheim, Eccl. Hist. ii, 365; Cave, Hist. Lit. A.D. 1348; Collier, Eccl. Hist. 3:109; Neander, Hist. of Dogmas, p. 609.

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