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Document Details :
Title: Spiritualism and Rationalism in Dutch Collegiant Thought
Subtitle: New Evidence from William Ames's Mysteries of the Kingdom of God (1661), with a Translation
Author(s): VAN CAUTER, Jo , REDIEHS, Laura
Volume: 40 Issue: 2 Date: 2013
In 1661, the Quaker William Ames wrote his De Verborgentheden van het Rijcke Godts (Mysteries of the Kingdom of God). This work is mentioned on the title page of a more famous work, Het Licht op den Kandelaar (The Light upon the Candlestick), written in 1662 by the Dutch Collegiant Pieter Balling, a friend of the philosopher Spinoza, and translated into English a year later. Balling’s work is regarded as an important statement of a stage of Collegiant thought, of special interest because of the apparent influences from Spinoza. But this same work was also considered by the Quakers to be a good account of their own theory of knowledge, according to Rufus Jones and Richard Popkin. Some early Quaker sources even listed the author as Ames himself. The confusion resulted from the title page, which references the separate work Mysteries of the Kingdom of God as authored by Ames. The English translation offered here not only makes the work available to English-speaking scholars, but also occasions a new and close comparison of the Mysteries and the Candlestick, examining the concept of the ‘inward light’ in relation to rationalism in circles of Quakers and Collegiants.