His sagacity discerned that the rationalism by which Bolingbroke and the deistic school believed themselves to have overthrown revealed religion, was equally calculated to undermine the structure of political government.
Yet traces of a pre-deistic and animistic period survived here and there; for instance, in Arcadia we find the thunder itself called Zeus (ZEUs Kepavvos) in a Mantinean inscription, 2 and the stone near Gythium in Laconia on which Orestes sat and was cured of his madness, evidently a thunder-stone, was named itself Zeus Kainreoras, which must be interpreted as " Zeus that fell from heaven "; 3 we here observe that the personal God does not yet seem to have emerged from the divine thing or divine phenomenon.
"Viret," note D), though the deistic standpoint had already been foreshadowed to some extent by Averroists, by Italian authors like Boccaccio and Petrarch, in More's Utopia (1515), and by French writers like Montaigne, Charron and Bodin.
Long before England was ripe to welcome deistic thought Lord Herbert of Cherbury earned the name "Father of Deism" by laying down the main line of that religious philosophy which in various forms continued ever after to be the backbone of deistic systems. He based his theology on a comprehensive, if insufficient, survey of the nature, foundation, limits and tests of human knowledge.
Blount, a man of a very different spirit, did both, and in so doing may be regarded as having inaugurated the second main line of deistic procedure, that of historico-critical examination of the Old and New Testaments.