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Baxter, Richard (1615-1691)
The unreasonableness of infidelity : manifested in four discourses, the subject of which is expressed in the next pages. Written for the strengthening of the weak, the establishing of the tempted, the staying of the present course of apostastie, and the recovery of those that have not sinned unto death.
London : Printed by R.W. for Thomas Underhill ... and for F. Tyton, 1655.

Image from Baxter's Unreasonableness of infidelity

Richard Baxter was a puritan congregationalist who was a prolific writer and theological controversialist. He was also a dedicated pastor and some of his pastoral writings are still in print today. This work is of interest because in it Baxter claims that the mind is a tabula rasa or blank slate. This denial of innate principles and ideas predates Locke's attack on the doctrine in the Essay by 35 years. Baxter's discussion of the issue reveals that he was conscious of the controversial nature of his views. Interestingly, Baxter was well read in philosophy and the new natural philosophy in spite of his busy life as a churchman.

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