Although in his main views MORE is thoroughly characteristic of the school to which he belonged, many of his less important opinions are more or less peculiar to himself.
The relation between MORE's and DESCARTES' (1596-1650) theories as to the nature of spirit is interesting. When MORE first read DESCARTES' works he was favourably impressed with his views, though without entirely agreeing with him on all points; but later the difference became accentuated. DESCARTES regarded extension as the chief characteristic of matter, and asserted that spirit was extra-spatial. To MORE this seemed like denying the existence of spirit, which he regarded as extended, and he postulated divisibility and impenetrability as the chief characteristics of matter. In order, however, to get over some of the inherent difficulties of this view, he put forward the suggestion that spirit is extended in four dimensions: thus, its apparent (_i.e_. three-dimensional) extension can change, whilst its true (_i.e_. four-dimensional) extension remains constant; just as the surface of a piece of metal can be increased by hammering it out, without increasing the volume of the metal. Here, I think, we have a not wholly inadequate symbol of the truth; but it remained for BERKELEY (1685-1753) to show the essential validity of DESCARTES' position, by demonstrating that, since space and extension are perceptions of the mind, and thus exist only in the mind as ideas, space exists in spirit: not spirit in space.
MORE was a keen believer in witchcraft, and eagerly investigated all cases of these and like marvels that came under his notice. In this he was largely influenced by JOSEPH GLANVIL (1636-1680), whose book on witchcraft, the well-known _Saducismus Triumphatus_, MORE largely contributed to, and probably edited. MORE was wholly unsuited for psychical research; free from guile himself, he was too inclined to judge others to be of this nature also. But his common sense and critical attitude towards enthusiasm saved him, no doubt, from many falls into the mire of fantasy.
As Principal TULLOCH has pointed out, whilst MORE is the most interesting personality amongst the Cambridge Platonists, his works are the least interesting of those of his school. They are dull and scholastic, and MORE'S retired existence prevented him from grasping in their fulness some of the more acute problems of life. His attempt to harmonise catastrophes with Providence, on the ground that the evil of certain parts may be necessary for the good of the whole, just as dark colours, as well as bright, are essential to the beauty of a picture--a theory which is practically the same as that of modern Absolutism,--is a case in point. No doubt this harmony may be accomplished, but in another key.
 Cf. BERNARD BOSANQUET, LL.D., D.C.L.: _The Principle of Individuality and Value_ (1912).
RALPH CUDWORTH was born at Aller, in Somersetshire, in 1617. He entered Emmanuel College in 1632, three years afterwards gained his B.A., and became M.A. in 1639. In the latter year he was elected a fellow of his college. Later he obtained the B.D. degree. In 1645 he was appointed Master of Clare Hall, in place of the ejected Dr PASHE, and was elected Regius Professor of Hebrew. On 31st March 1647 he preached a sermon of remarkable eloquence and power before the House of Commons, which admirably expresses the attitude of his school as concerns the nature of true religion. I shall refer to it again later. In 1650 CUDWORTH was presented with the college living of North Cadbury, which WHICHCOTE had resigned, and was made D.D. in the following year. In 1654 he was elected Master of Christ's College, with an improvement in his financial position, there having been some difficulty in obtaining his stipend at Clare Hall. In this year he married. In 1662 Bishop SHELDON presented him with the rectory of Ashwell, in Hertfordshire. He died in 1688. He was a pious man of fine intellect; but his character was marred by a certain suspiciousness which caused him wrongfully to accuse MORE, in 1665, of attempting to forestall him in writing a work on ethics, which should demonstrate that the principles of Christian morality are not based on any arbitrary decrees of God, but are inherent in the nature and reason of things. CUDWORTH'S great work--or, at least, the first part, which alone was completed,--_The Intellectual System of the World_, appeared in 1678. In it CUDWORTH deals with atheism on the ground of reason, demonstrating its irrationality. The book is remarkable for the fairness and fulness with which CUDWORTH states the arguments in favour of atheism.
So much for the lives and individual characteristics of the Cambridge Platonists: what were the great principles that animated both their lives and their philosophy? These, I think, were two: first, the essential unity of religion and morality; second, the essential unity of revelation and reason.
With clearer perception of ethical truth than either Puritan or High Churchman, the Cambridge Platonists saw that true Christianity is neither a matter of mere belief, nor consists in the mere performance of good works; but is rather a matter of character. To them Christianity connoted regeneration. "Religion," says WHICHCOTE, "is the Frame and TEMPER of our Minds, and the RULE of our Lives"; and again, "Heaven is FIRST a Temper, and THEN a Place." To the man of heavenly temper, they taught, the performance of good works would be no irksome matter imposed merely by a sense of duty, but would be done spontaneously as a delight. To drudge in religion may very well be necessary as an initial stage, but it is not its perfection.