Isaac Newton discovered the laws of gravity, revolutionized optics and co-invented calculus, but as a teenager he saw himself as a sinner.
Brain Pickings found a list of confessions that the pious genius wrote at age 19, and it's equal parts endearing and disturbing. On the one hand, the lifelong virgin seemed to be worried about every little thing, including "Making pies on Thy day." But there's a darker side to these private confessions as well, including the fact that he admits to "Striking many" and "Punching my sister."
The confessions were digitized as part of The Newton Project, an ambitious attempt to make accessible all of Newton's writings, from the groundbreaking math that made him famous to the alchemy and mysticism of his later years. It's a vast trove, so don't be surprised if we share more interesting stuff from the writings of the man many consider the world's greatest scientist.
Here's the list:
1. Using the word (God) openly
2. Eating an apple at Thy house
3. Making a feather while on Thy day
4. Denying that I made it.
5. Making a mousetrap on Thy day
6. Contriving of the chimes on Thy day
7. Squirting water on Thy day
8. Making pies on Sunday night
9. Swimming in a kimnel on Thy day
10. Putting a pin in John Keys hat on Thy day to pick him.
11. Carelessly hearing and committing many sermons.
12. Refusing to go to the close at my mothers command.
13. Threatning my father and mother Smith to burne them and the house over them
14. Wishing death and hoping it to some
15. Striking many
16. Having uncleane thoughts words and actions and dreamese.
17. Stealing cherry cobs from Eduard Storer
18. Denying that I did so
19. Denying a crossbow to my mother and grandmother though I knew of it
20. Setting my heart on money learning pleasure more than Thee
21. A relapse
22. A relapse
23. A breaking again of my covenant renued in the Lords Supper.
24. Punching my sister
25. Robbing my mothers box of plums and sugar
26. Calling Dorothy Rose a jade
27. Glutiny in my sickness.
28. Peevishness with my mother.
29. With my sister.
30. Falling out with the servants
31. Divers commissions of alle my duties
32. Idle discourse on Thy day and at other times
33. Not turning nearer to Thee for my affections
34. Not living according to my belief
35. Not loving Thee for Thy self.
36. Not loving Thee for Thy goodness to us
37. Not desiring Thy ordinances
38. Not long [longing] for Thee in [illegible]
39. Fearing man above Thee
40. Using unlawful means to bring us out of distresses
41. Caring for worldly things more than God
42. Not craving a blessing from God on our honest endeavors.
43. Missing chapel.
44. Beating Arthur Storer.
45. Peevishness at Master Clarks for a piece of bread and butter.
46. Striving to cheat with a brass halfe crowne.
47. Twisting a cord on Sunday morning
48. Reading the history of the Christian champions on Sunday