Friday, 31 May 2013

Faculty Job

Occidental College

Religious Studies Adjunct Assistant Professor

 The Department of Religious Studies at Occidental College, Los Angeles, invites applications for a one-time adjunct assistant professor position to teach two courses in spring semester 2014. We seek a scholar in religious studies with any area of expertise that complements the faculty and course offerings of our department. Ph.D. required by the time of appointment. Occidental College is committed to academic excellence in a diverse liberal arts environment, and especially welcomes applications from women and members of minority groups. Applicants should submit a letter of interest stating areas of teaching interest and experience and including titles of proposed courses. Please submit this letter electronically along with a CV and a writing sample of 25 pages or less to Ms. Marguerite Dessornes at Review of applications will begin July 15 and will continue until the position is filled.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Faculty Job

Wingate University


Wingate University, a private residential university with a liberal arts core located near Charlotte, North Carolina, invites applications for a one-year position in the Department of Religion and Philosophy for the 2013-2014 academic year. Position requires teaching four sections per semester, including at least three sections of Global Perspectives in Ethics, a 300-level core curriculum course with theological and philosophical elements. Ph.D. preferred, but ABD considered. Send letter of application, CV, three letters of recommendation, and other supporting material to: Mark Roncace, Box 3075, Wingate University, Wingate, NC 28174
Electronic applications are welcomed: . Review of applicants will begin immediately and continue until position is filled. Founded in 1896, Wingate University is a private, four-year co-educational institution offering students active learning opportunities through personalized instruction, world travel, career discovery, faith development and community service. More information about the university may be found at EOE

Monday, 27 May 2013

One Heart and One Soul

I am currently doing the hard labor of researching the late eighteenth-century English Particular Baptists of the Northamptonshire Association, and their relationship with the Scottish minister John Erskine. Some of this work I already did for my book on John Erskine, but I am trying to unpack this connection in greater detail.

Although I have owned Michael Haykin's One Heart and One Soul: John Sutcliff of Olney, His Friends and His Times for quite some time, I haven't read the whole of it until now. As I mentioned to Dr. Haykin in a recent email, I was blown away at the scholarship in this book as well as his lucid narratives of the English Baptists John Sutcliff and his friends Andrew Fuller, John Ryland Jr., and William Carey (among others). Haykin's book should be one of the first sources to consult for scholars interested in the context and theological development among late eighteenth-century Calvinistic Baptists. Of particular interest to me is the influence that Jonathan Edwards had on Sutcliff, Fuller, Ryland (Sr. and Jr.), and Carey, which Haykin explicitly states throughout his book. I hope that Haykin is able to find a publisher to reprint this very important monograph.

From my previous research, I discovered several letters by Erskine in which he included books by Edwards in his packets to John Collett Ryland and John Ryland Jr. I had the privilege of transcribing, for instance, the letter by Erskine on March 15, 1784 to the younger Ryland in which he sent Edwards's Humble Attempt, the book that became the catalyst for the prayer revival among the Northamptonshire Association, which ultimately led to the formation of the Baptist Missionary Society. The burden of my thesis is to show Erskine as crucial in the influential process that Edwards's writings had on key leaders among the English Particular Baptists of the Northamptonshire Association.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

On the Road in June

In early June I begin a five-day research adventure to New England. I was awarded a small grant that will pay for my trip, beginning June 3 and ending on June 8.

I am flying to Boston and then traveling to Worcester, Massachusetts to do research at the American Antiquarian Society, followed by the Connecticut State Library at Hartford, and then to New Haven to visit Yale's Beinecke Library. My last day will be spent in Boston, probably at Harvard's Houghton Library.

I look forward to my fourth research trip to New England. Each time that I go to this part of the country, I think that I have looked at all the manuscripts possible in my field. But as I do more reading, I realize that there are more leads to follow up at the various archives in the northeast.

Happy Birthday!

Today, I turned 37. I am now at the national average age for humanities professors to secure a tenure-track job. Here's hoping!

You know that you are getting older when you think more about death on your birthday. You also know that you are getting older when you start taking medication daily, have to include more exercises in your workout to burn calories, and consistently go to bed early each night.

Coincidentally, the oldest American recently turned 114. Take a look at this story about Jeralean Talley.

Cover for Early Evangelicalism

Check out the cover for Early Evangelicalism: A Reader, from a 19th-century engraving of George Whitefield preaching.


Acknowledgments xi
Introduction 1
1. A Selection of Hymns—Isaac Watt s 5
2. Biography of a Moravian—Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf 11
3. Justice for the Punishment of Sin—Jonathan Dickinson 17
4. George Whitefi eld’s Signature Sermon—George Whitefield 23
5. Calvinism under Fire—John Wesley 29
6. The Conversion of a Welshman—Howell Harris 35
7. A Selection of Hymns—Charles Wesley 42
8. A Divisive Great Awakening Sermon—Gilbert Tennent 53
9. Revivals as a Means of Reform—Samuel Finley 60
10. Diary of Doubts—Hannah Heaton 68
11. Racing to Hear Whitefi eld Preach—Nathan Cole 73
12. Revival at Cambuslang, Scotland—William McCulloch 76
13. Overcome by the Power of the Spirit—Sarah Pierpont Edwards 82
14. Revival at Kilsyth, Scotland—James Robe 91
15. Jonathan Edwards Assesses a Revival—Thomas Prince 97
16. Piety over Worldly Pleasures—Susanna Anthony 103
17. Satan’s Strategies of Deception—Thomas Gillespie 106
18. Spiritual Devotions for the Soul—Philip Doddridge 114
19. A Conversion Story—John Cennick 121
20. A Missionary among Native Americans—David Brainerd 128
21. A Selection of Hymns—Benjamin Ingham 135
22. Summarizing God’s Law—Joseph Bellamy 141
23. Revival in the Low Countries—Hugh Kennedy 146
24. Satirical Revenge—John Witherspoon 153
25. Natural versus Moral Necessity in the Will—Jonathan Edwards 165
26. Open Letter to Commit Oneself to God—Sarah Prince Gill 174
27. The Humiliation and Exaltation of the Cross—John Maclaurin 178
28. Determining Divine Grace—Sarah Osborn 184
29. Eloquent Calvinism—James Hervey 189
30. Life as the Wife of a College President—Esther Edwards Burr 198
31. Report on African American Religion in Virginia—Samuel Davies 204
32. Praising the Ineff able—Anne Steele 207
33. Before Dartmouth College—Eleazar Wheelock 217
34. The Diff erence between True and False Religion—Henry Venn 223
35. Salvation at Sea—John Newton 228
36. An Anglican Minister Describes Faith—William Romaine 236
37. Faith Restricted to the Mind—John Erskine 242
38. Advice to Women on Chastity, Poverty, and Obedience—Mary Fletcher 248
39. Defending the Doctrine of Christian Perfection—John William Fletcher 254
40. A Selection of Hymns—William Williams 261
41. Advice on Alcohol—Samson Occom 267
42. An Argument for the Separation of Church and State—Isaac Backus 271
43. A Selection of Poems—Phillis Wheatley 276
44. Practical Disinterested Benevolence—Samuel Hopkins 283
45. Amazing Grace (How Sweet the Sound)—John Newton 291
46. A Baptist’s Beliefs—John Ryland Jr. 293
47. A Gospel Call to Sinners—Henry Alline 300
48. The Duty to Respond to the Gospel Message—Andrew Fuller 306
49. The Ideal Student—Charles Nisbet 313
50. The Unlawfulness of Enslaving Humans—Thomas Clarkson 322
51. An Appeal to the Higher Ranks of Society—Hannah More 329
52. Salvation Comes to a Sailor—Olaudah Equiano 336
53. Journal of an American Methodist—Francis Asbury 345
54. Guidelines for American Methodists—Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke 352
55. An Argument for Overseas Missionary Work—William Carey 357
56. The Necessity of Evil—Samuel Hopkins 365
57. Godly Living in a New England Town—Timothy Dwight 370
58. Debunking Racial Stereotypes—Richard Allen 377
59. An Anglican Evangelical’s Sermon—Charles Simeon 381
60. True and False Religion Exposed—William Wilberforce 386
61. Godly Government during a Time of Crisis—Lemuel Haynes 390
62. A Conspiracy Theorists Theory—Jedidiah Morse 396
Further Reading 401

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

New Issue of Fides et Historia

I'm enjoying reading the Winter/Spring 2013 issue of Fides et Historia. There are several articles and book reviews that I found interesting. The issue opens with Robert Tracy McKenzie's presidential address at last fall's Conference on Faith and History meeting at Gordon College, "The Vocation of the Christian Historian: Re-envisioning Our Calling, Reconnecting with the Church," followed by articles by Philip Jenkins ("A Critic in the Desert: Robert Browning and the Limits of Plain Historic Fact"), George W. Harper ("'It is a Battle-Royal': A. Z. Conrad's Preaching at Boston's Park Street Church during the Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy"), and Daryl R. Ireland ("John Sung's Malleable Conversion Narrative").

The following book reviews caught my eye:

Alister Chapman reviews David Hempton's The Church in the Long Eighteenth Century

Colin B. Chapell reviews Catherine Brekus and W. Clark Gilpin, eds. American Christianities: A History of Dominance and Diversity

Matthew Bowman reviews Edward Blum's and Paul Harvey's The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America

Jared Burkholder reviews Thomas Kidd's American Christians and Islam: Evangelical Culture and Muslims from the Colonial Period to the Age of Terrorism

Chad Lower reviews Adrian Weimer's Martyrs' Mirror: Persecution and Holiness in Early New England

Robert Caldwell reviews Michael McClymond's and Gerald McDermott's The Theology of Jonathan Edwards

Miles Mullin reviews Darren Dochuk's From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain-Folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservativism

Charles McCrary reviews D. G. Hart's From Billy Graham to Sarah Palin: Evangelicals and the Betrayal of American Conservativism

Colin Chapell reviews Randall Stephens's and Karl Giberson's The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Faculty Job

A job in the Chattanooga area...

Covenant College

The Biblical and Theological Studies Department of Covenant College invites applications for a Visiting Professor of Theology for the spring semester of 2014.  Prior teaching experience is desirable.  Teaching load for the successful candidate will be 12 hours, primarily delivered in multiple sections of a doctrine survey course.

Necessary requirements include a doctorate in a theological discipline (ABD considered) and agreement with the Westminster Standards.  Interested and qualified candidates should send a curriculum vitae, a testimony of Christian faith and experience, a response to the Westminster Standards (, and a philosophy of Christian Higher Education to:
Dr. Jeff Hall
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Covenant College
14049 Scenic Highway
Lookout Mountain, GA  30750
Phone:  706-419-1121

Monday, 20 May 2013

Another Great Post from the Folks at RiAH...

Jason Byassee, former editor of Christian Century, shares his thoughts on Elesha Coffman's new book Christian Century and the Rise of the Protestant Mainline.

Byassee's comments reminded me that I need to move this book to the top of my summer reading list.  I first had a taste of Elesha's work when she agreed to be a contributor to my edited book Evangelicals and the Early ChurchHer chapter explored the development of and responses to "The Chicago Call: An Appeal to Evangelicals" statement, the result of a 1977 conference aimed at the recovery of historic Christianity.  It was well researched and a delight to read.

Byassee also reminded me that there is an interesting story to tell about the Century's rival magazine, Christianity Today.  Some years ago I embarked on a side project (my main project has been the completion of my phd on modernist evangelicalism c. 1880-1914) to investigate the evolution of (mainly midwestern) evangelicalism in the 70s and 80s, particularly as it related to three of the flagship evangelical institutions during that period, CT, Wheaton College and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.  The three institutions were closely linked to one another, both formally and informally (Ken Kantzer, for instance, had been a Wheaton College faculty member then Dean of TEDS before accepting the editorship of CT), and were keen to defend, define, and direct the future of evangelicalism.  Since embarking on my phd this project has lain dormant.  I hope to pick it up again in the near future.


New Website for Center for the Study of Religioon and American Culture

I'm sure most of our readers are members of the H-AMREL list serve but wanted to post this advert from Phil Goff anyway because we're so excited about it.

The Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture has launched a new and far more robust web site, one built to handle the variety of activities taking place and the growth of the field across North America. The new web site enables us to offer easier access to those searching for specific aspects of the Center's work, including:

 *   Meetings and Conferences, including information on the upcoming Third Biennial Conference on Religion and American Culture, as well as other meetings held at the Center.
 *   Professional Development, with information about the Young Scholars in American Religion Program and NEH-sponsored K-12 institutes.
 *   Teaching Resources, including YSAR syllabi dating from 1991 to 2012 and K-12 lesson plans, as well as educational videos.
 *   Publications, including information about the latest issue of "Religion & American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation" and downloadable versions of previous "Proceedings of the Biennial Conference on Religion and American Culture."
 *   Research Projects, which will soon include data and analysis for the Bible in American Life national survey.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

An Early Evangelical that Didn't Make the Cut--Part V

I had a difficult time deciding which excerpt on John Erskine to include in Early Evangelicalism: A Reader. He wrote a number of interesting works, including his Shall I Go to War With My American Brethren, in which he questioned Britain's fight with the American colonists. Limiting myself to only one excerpt from Erskine, I decided to cut his pro-American pamphlet and instead include his very interesting treatise on the nature of faith. On Erskine, I highly recommend reading Enlightened Evangelicalism: The Life and Thought of John Erskine :-)

John Erskine
            Over twenty years of corresponding with leading Americans had softened John Erskine’s heart toward the colonists. When America complained that Britain was unfairly trying to extract money through legislation like the Stamp Act of 1765, Erskine and other Scottish evangelicals rose to defend the colonists’ grievances. Erskine was the best known American sympathizer in Scotland. He wrote a total of three pamphlets outlining a defense of the liberties of Americans: Shall I Go To War with My American Brethren? (1769), Reflections on the Rise, Progress, Probable Consequences, of the present Contentions with the Colonies (1776), and the Equity and Wisdom of Administration, in Measures That Have Unhappily Occasioned the American Revolt, Tried by the Sacred Oracles (1776). But of the three, Shall I Go to War was the most controversial. Published anonymously in 1769 and republished in 1776 with a preface signed by Erskine, Shall I Go to War questioned the logic of waging war against the normally loyal North American colonies. With prophetic insight, Erskine hinted that Britain may not win a fight against a nation that God seemed to favor in times of distress. Although critics labeled his pamphlet as treasonous, Erskine claimed the necessity of the work as a last resort for avoiding war between a “mother” and her “child.”

Shall I Go to War With My American Brethren? (1769)
            Judges 20: 28: “Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease?”
            If the denomination of Christians to which I belong, and my rank in the church, gave me the honor of addressing you from the pulpit, I should remember, that my business there was not to discuss political questions, and to determine the disputed rights of sovereigns and subjects, but to explain and inculcate the great truths and duties of our holy religion; and among these I would not fail warmly to recommend, loyalty to our prince, love to our country, and a willingness to sacrifice pleasure, ease, wealth, and preferment, to the public good. But the sciences are not, as trade and manufactures, confined to particular corporations. If men make conscience of the public and private duties of the offices with which they are invested, it is lawful, nay, on some occasions, it is laudable, in their leisure hours, to unbend their minds by a change of study, to follow where their genius leads them, and to impart their thoughts to the public, if they see cause. The exercise of government, and the authoritatively deciding political questions, must be the work of the few; but to study politics, and to write of them, is the right of every freeborn Briton. Every Christian may aspire after the blessing of the peacemaker. One who has a mean rank in a family, one who has no rank in it at all, is authorized, is obliged, if he sees a house on flames, to call upon those who may have it in their power to extinguish them. My duty as a minister does not annihilate my duty to the best of princes, and to my dear fellow subjects. If a watchman see danger approaching, and blow not the trumpet, the blood of the people, whom he neglected to warn, shall be required at his hand. If we forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; if we say, behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart, consider it? And he that keepeth our souls, doth not he know it? And shall he not render to every man according to his works? Shall I then, can I with safety be silent, when my king and country appear to me in the most imminent danger?
            I love and respect my sovereign, not only as the guardian of our civil and religious privileges, but as one, whose virtues would honor and ennoble even a private station. I love my country, and I love the posterity of those brave and good men, who fled from the rod of oppression in their native land, to what was then a waste and howling wilderness; but what now is, and I pray God may ever remain, a fruitful field, a seat of liberty and of true religion. The principles of humanity and universal benevolence, and the warm attachment I feel to British liberty, and to the succession in the illustrious house of Hanover, constrain me, though it may offend many whom I would not willingly disoblige, to sound an alarm. The prudent, I know, will keep silent in such a day, for it is an evil day. But a flame, not to say a dispute between B—n and her colonies, appears to me in so alarming a point of view, that I cannot be easy, without making this feeble effort to prevent it…
            If war with foreign nations is undesirable, how shocking is it to think of war with our own countrymen, connected with us by birth, alliance, or commercial interest, so that we cannot hurt them without injuring ourselves. Shall the friend, the brother, the father, the son, imbrue their hands in the blood of men, by the ties of nature, esteem, or gratitude, dear to them as their own souls? The fancied voice of loyalty or of liberty, calls their respective votaries to rush on, and to risk the consequences, while natural affection whispers in the breast, “Let not the mother country forget her children, let not the children tear in pieces the bowels of the mother. If the child must be sacrificed, let it be by a savage Indian, or a perfidious Frenchman. Let it not be by a parent’s hand. Let not Abraham’s trial be our choice.”
            And what is it, that in some has well nigh extinguished parental compassion? Whence is it, that they can talk with all imaginable coolness, of bombarding the cities of their children, nay, of bringing them to scaffold? It is for claims, which (besides a plausible foundation in charters, the validity of which parliaments and courts of law have ratified, by judging and determining according to them), are supported by more than a hundred and thirty years uninterrupted and undisputed possession. In the opinion of Mr. David Hume, whose authority some of you too much regard, Britain, before the late Glorious Revolution, had no such claim as this, for either her civil or her religious liberties. Do we think our forefathers erred, in deeming a claim sufficient, that had a feeble legal support? Do we wish, they had thought and acted otherwise? Have we such slavish , dastardly spirits, that we would have thought or acted otherwise in their situation/ If we disclaim the charge, let us not be so uncharitable as to do to others what we would not should be done to us.
            Should the colonies acknowledge a power in the British parliament to tax them, whatever confidence they may have in the wisdom and moderation of the present parliament, it is natural to dread, that in process of time, an unequal and disproportionate burden may be laid on their estates and commerce, to lessen the burden on those of the imposers. Plead not, that the colonies being a part of the British empire, a British parliament will naturally consult their welfare, and take as tender a care of their concerns, as of any other part of it. That would be a good argument, if members of parliament, by their property in Britain, had not an interest distinct from, and sometimes opposite to that of the colonies. But as they have such a separate interest, it must strongly tempt them, in raising funds for the support of government, to prefer their own ease to that of the North Americans. The present parliament, however willing, can give no security, that the power of taxing shall not be thus abused, because no rules or limitations fixed by them, can restrain subsequent parliaments from suspending or altering these rules, when they judge it for the interest of the British empire, and from conducting themselves according to these new emergencies, which in their apprehensions may require new laws, new measures of government, and new plans of procedure in the exercise of their acknowledged powers…
            Tell me not, that it is certain, from the wealth and power of Great Britain, that she must prevail, and that her colonies are as yet too weak to give her any effectual opposition. That this is probable, I allow: that it is certain, no wise or modest man will venture to assert. However we exceed them in number, we would do well to remember, that the New Englanders, inured from their infancy to fatigue and hardship, though unable to face a British army in a fair and open field, may yet be the destruction of those, whose education was more soft and delicate, by harassing them with constant marches, and obliging them to be exposed to the open air in the most cold and tempestuous weather. Animated by a spirit of patriotism, or of revenge, one has chased a hundred, and two have put a thousand to flight. It was the brave New Englanders, that in 1745, projected the siege of Louisburg, carried it on with courage, prudence, and unwearied activity, looking up to God to prosper the cause in which they were embarked. Though most of them never before witnessed a siege, or even a battle with regular forces, yet they made themselves masters of that important fortress, and thereby furnished Britain, and her allies, with a price to purchase peace, after a most disastrous and unsuccessful war. This one article, I imagine, fully balances the account of the New England colonies with the mother country. Though some may pronounce it enthusiasm, I must add, that as the first planters of New England honored God, by leaving their estates, their friends, and their native country, that they might worship him, though in a wilderness, according to the dictates of their consciences, God has honored them and their posterity with distinguishing instances of his favor and protection; and often, when they were on the brink of ruin, has interposed in their behalf. When they were but a few men in number, yea, very few, and strangers in a wilderness; when by tyranny and persecution, they were driven from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people; God suffered no man to do them wrong, and reproved the numerous tribes of Indians for their sake. By unusual sickness and mortality, he drove out the heathen, and planted them, increased his people greatly, and made them stronger than their enemies…
            After all, it must be confessed probable, that B—n must prevail in this dispute with her colonies. But if she prevail by harsh and severe measures, may, if not sow among them seeds of animosity, which, when twenty or thirty years have added to their strength, may ripen into a general revolt. I would not entrust my garden to one, who new no way to make a tree flourish, but by lopping off the most fruitful branches. I would not entrust my horse, or my hounds, to the butcherly physician, who is fond of cutting off a limb, in cases where a gentler remedy might be as effectual. A severe chastisement may be justly inflicted, where it would be neither honorable nor expedient to inflict it. Fire and sword are as preposterous arguments to teach men allegiance, as to instruct them in religion. The taking off the heads of a faction by capital punishment, tends to inflame and enrage their deluded followers. The friends, the associates, the well-wishers of those who immediately suffer, conceive, cherish, and transmit to their posterity, a rooted aversion to the men, or to the country, which they consider as the faulty cause of their sufferings. A people thus roughly enraged, will soon find themselves a method: fury will in some cases supply the want of prudence, and mischief shall be done in an hour, which an age shall hardly repair. Through unexpected revolutions, bloody measures are often repaid with usury, on those who advised them, or who assisted in them. Men only restrained by fear, will cease to submit when they find it in their power to rebel, and will eagerly seize the first opportunity of bursting asunder their galling yoke. From the blood of every individual, who in the field of battle, or on a scaffold, falls in the American cause, new enemies to the mother country will spring up, and in process of time, some foreign power, prompted by hatred or envy to B—n, may assist them to throw off their allegiance. It is only gaining the heart, that destroys all inclination to revolt. No victories have such irresistible, happy, and abiding effects, as victories gained by clemency and condescension. Princes and states have been taught this by fatal experience, who would not be taught it by reason. The ten tribes would have remained faithful to the house of David, had Rehoboam hearkened to the counsel of the old men, to be a servant unto the people that day, and speak good words unto them that they might be his servants for ever, and to ease the heavy yoke his father had put upon them. The wholesome severities of the Duke of Alva, lost Spain the seven United Provinces; and probably King James II lived to be convinced, that the bloody western assizes, instead of establishing his authority, contributed to his ruin. It is to be presumed, from what has happened in similar cases, that if we give our colonies terms indeed for their interest, their allegiance will be faithful and perpetual: and if not, that they will renounce it, whenever they can. A small matter may now quench the spark, which, if suffered to kindle into a flame, may consume all our power and glory…
            Say not, that the North Americans are a forward, murmuring people, not to be satisfied. Where were their murmurs, before the unhappy Stamp Act? Where was the corner in his Majesty’s dominions, that open rebellion, or secret disaffection, had less disturbed; and where loyalty to the prince, and a zealous, I had almost said an enthusiastic attachment to the mother country, more universally prevailed? Did they ever dispute the right of the Crown to repeal laws enacted in the colonies, and to determine finally in appeals from their courts of justice; or the right of parliament to regulate their trade and manufactures, so as they deemed necessary for the general good of the British empire? Did they not quietly submit to prohibitions of carrying, to other nations, commodities that might enable them to interfere with the trade of the mother country; to prohibitions of manufacturing hats, iron, and steel; and to many other restraints, very prejudicial to their separate interests? What power of parliament have they ever questioned, unless the power of levying taxes, to raise a revenue for the support of government, in America? And shall we condemn them without mercy, for questioning the existence of a power, which, till a few years ago, never appeared? When were the brave and generous new Englanders backward, called or uncalled, to hazard their lives, and spend their treasure, for the honor and interest of Britain? Have you forgot their heroic, though unsuccessful expeditions against Canada; or their surprising conquest of Louisburg? What had Britain done for New England before that conquest, any way comparable to what New England then did for Britain? Have not the New England colonies, on different occasions, exerted themselves so much beyond their power, that a grateful prince and parliament have seen cause to refund them?
[John Erskine], Shall I Go To War With My American Brethren? (London: G. Kearsly, 1769), 1-4. 9-16, 19-22, 30-31.

An Early Evangelical that Didn't Make the Cut--Part IV

I hated to make this cut also, but I decided not to include Jonathan Dickinson's Familiar Letters in Early Evangelicalism: A Reader. I did, however, write an introduction and edit an excerpt of Dickinson's Reasonableness of Christianity that will appear in Early Evangelicalism: A Reader. 

Jonathan Dickinson

             Jonathan Dickinson’s Familiar Letters counts as his most widely circulated publication. In the eighteenth century alone, it went through nine editions. The format is in the form of nineteen letters that address a variety of theological concerns. In his eighth letter, Dickinson presented two types of faith: an authentic saving kind and a false one. After witnessing the waning of religion in the wake of the Great Awakening, with its excessive itinerant preachers and ephemeral zeal for Christianity, Dickinson sought to explain the marks of true faith from those who falsely professed devotion to God at the time of the revivals. Dickinson argued that only a person enlightened by the power of the Holy Spirit could experience the heartfelt change necessary for conversion. While some people could learn knowledge about salvation through Christ, only a true believer not only knows the gospel, but also acts on it. Authentic Christians repent of their sins and earnestly strive to replace a sinful lifestyle with a godly one.

Familiar Letters To a Gentleman upon a Variety of seasonable and important Subjects in Religion (1745)
Letter VIII: Wherein the Difference between a true saving Faith, and a dead temporary Faith, is distinctly considered
            I do indeed insist upon it, that men may notionally and doctrinally believe the truth of the gospel, without a saving faith in Christ, and without an interest in him, or a claim to the benefits of his redemption. This is a truth clearly taught in the scriptures; and abundantly evident from the reason and nature of things. If any therefore should expect salvation, from a mere doctrinal and historical faith in Christ, they will in the conclusion find themselves disappointed, and ashamed of their hope.
            We read (John xii. 42, 43) of many of the chief rulers who believed in Christ, but dared not confess him; for they loved the praise of men, more than the praise of God. And will any man imagine, that such believers who dare not confess Christ before men, shall be confessed by him before his heavenly Father and his holy Angels, in the great day of retribution? Will any man imagine, that our blessed Lord will own such for his sincere disciples and followers, who love the praise of men, more than the praise of God? Here then is a clear instance of a doctrinal and historical faith, which was not saving; and could give no claim to the promise made to true believers. We have this matter further illustrated and confirmed by the Apostle James, in the second chapter of his epistle; where we are shown, that such a Faith is dead, being alone; that it is but a carcass with breath. As the body without the Spirit is dead, so faith without works, is dead also. Of such a faith we may therefore say with the same apostle, What doth it profit, though a man say that he has faith? Can faith save him?
            But I need not multiply scripture quotations in this case. It is what is continually confirmed to us by our own observation. How many do we see every day, who acknowledge the truth of the gospel, and yet live worldly, sensual and vicious lives; who profess they know Christ, but in works deny him; who call themselves by his name, and yet value their lusts and idols above all the hopes of his salvation; and even run the venture of eternal perdition, rather than deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow him?  Now there can be nothing more certain, than that these men are utterly unqualified for the kingdom of God; and that they can have no special interest in him who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
            As, on the one hand, there is a gracious promise of final salvation, to all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved: He that believeth on the Son, hath everlasting life: So, on the other hand, there is a sort of believers, who can have no claim to this promise, nor any interest in the salvation by Christ. It must therefore be of infinite consequence, that we have indeed the faith of God’s elect, that we may become the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ; and therefore that our faith be distinct, in its nature and operations, from such an empty, lifeless and fruitless belief, with which the formal, worldly and sensual professor may deceive and destroy his own soul. From whence it appears, that your question is most important; and deserves a most careful and distinct answer: which I shall endeavor in the following particulars.
            1. A true and saving faith, is a realizing and sensible impression of the truth of the gospel: whereas a dead faith is but a mere notional and speculative belief of it. Faith is by the apostle described, the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen: That which brings eternal things into a near view; and represents them unto the soul as undoubted realities. Whence it is, that the true believer, when he has experienced the defect of his own purposes and endeavors, when he is wearied out of all his false refuges, emptied of all hope in himself, and is brought to see and feel the danger and misery of his state by nature, he is then brought in earnest to look to Jesus, as the only refuge and safety of his soul. He then sees the incomparable excellency of a precious Savior, breathes with ardent desire after him, repairs to him as the only foundation of his hope; and proportionably to the evidence of his interest in him, rejoices in Christ Jesus, having no confidence in the flesh. Now, the blessed Savior and his glorious salvation is the subject of his serious, frequent and delightful contemplation. Now, an interest in Christ is valued by him above all the world; and he is in earnest to obtain and maintain good evidence, that his hope in Christ is well founded. Now, the favor of God, and the concerns of the unseen and eternal world, appear of greater importance than every thing else. He now mourns under a sense of his former sins; he groans under the burden of his remaining corruptions and imperfections; and with earnest diligence follows after holiness, endeavoring to work out his own salvation with fear and trembling. And in a word, he has such an impression of these invisible realities, that whatever temptations, desertions, or prevailing corruptions he may conflict with, nothing can so banish the great concern from his breast, as to make him habitually slothful and indifferent about it: Nothing can quiet him, short of having his heart and affections engaged in the things of God and godliness; and his appetites and passions under the restraint and governing influence of the Law of the Spirit of Life.
            But now, on the other hand, if we take a view of the influence which a dead faith has upon the soul, it is visible, that this usually leaves the subjects of it secure and careless, trifling and indifferent, in the concerns of the eternal world. These appear to such a person but distinct futurities, which don’t engage his solemn attention, and make him in earnest solicitous about the event; nor give any effectual check to his inordinate appetites and passions. Or if (as it sometimes happens) any awakening dispensation alarms the conscience of such a person, to a distressing apprehension of his guilt and danger, drives him to duties and external reformations, and makes him more careful and watchful in his conduct, he has yet no sensible impressive view of the way of salvation by Jesus Christ. He either endeavors to pacify the justice of God, and his own conscience, by his duties and religious performances; and so lulls himself asleep again in his former security: or else continues to agonize under most dark, dreadful and unworthy apprehensions of the glorious God, as if he were implacable and irreconcilable to such sinners as he. Such a person would readily acknowledge, but he cannot feel this blessed truth, that Christ Jesus is a sufficient Savior. He allows it to be truth; but it is to him such a truth, as has no effectual influence upon his heart and life. Though he owns this to be true: Yet he can never comfortably venture his soul and his eternal interests upon it, unless a ray of divine light shine into his soul, and give him a lively and sensible view of what he could before have but a slight and superficial apprehension of.
            Here then you see an apparent difference between a true difference between a true and a false faith. The one realizes the great truths of the gospel, by a lively and feeling discovery of them; giving the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. The other gives but a lifeless and unactive assent to these important truths. The one influences the heart and affections, and by beholding with open face, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, changes the soul into the same image, from glory to glory: The other only swims in the head, and leaves the heart in a state either of security or despondency. The one is an abiding principle of divine life, from which there flows rivers of living water: The other is transient and unsteady, and leaves the soul short of any spiritual principle of life and activity.
            2. A saving faith is a hearty consent to the terms of the gospel: while a dead faith is but a cold assent to the truth of it. Accordingly a true faith is in the gospel described to be a receiving of the Lord Jesus Christ. To as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the children of God. Our blessed Redeemer is freely offering himself and his saving benefits to poor perishing sinners, in the gospel. Our compliance with and acceptance of the gospel offer, are the terms of our interest in him, and constitute the faith of God’s elect. They therefore, and they only, are true believers in Christ, who heartily acquiesce in the glorious method of a sinner’s recovery from ruin by Jesus Christ; and heartily accept an offered Savior, in all his offices and benefits. A true believer, convinced of his natural blindness and ignorance, repairs to the Lord Jesus Christ to enlighten his mind, to make his way plain before him, and to give him a clear sensible and spiritual acquaintance with the great things of his eternal peace. The true believer has found by experience his utter incapacity to procure the divine favor by the best of his duties, reformations, or moral performances, and that he has cause to be ashamed and confounded in his own sight, for the great defects of his highest attainments in religion: and therefore welcomes the Lord Jesus Christ to his soul, as the Lord his Righteousness, repairs to him, and to him only, for wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; and builds all his hope of acceptance with God, upon what Christ has done and suffered for him. The true believer labors and is heavy-laden with the sinfulness of his nature; and longs for a further victory over his corrupt affections, appetites and passions, for more spirituality in his duties, and for a further progress in piety and holiness; and therefore heartily desires and accepts the Lord Jesus Christ as his Sanctifier, as well as Savior; and earnestly seeks after the renewing, strengthening, and quickening influences of his blessed Spirit. The true believer feels the necessity of this blessed Savior in all his offices, relations, and characters. He sees him to be just such a Savior as his soul wants; and therefore cheerfully accepts a whole Christ, with his whole heart, without any reserve, without any desire of other terms of acceptance with God. He may entertain dark apprehensions of himself, and complain heavily of the great defects of his faith and holiness; but he can never entertain hard thoughts of the gospel-scheme; nor complain of the terms of salvation therein proposed. These appear to him the wisdom of God, and the power of God; and every way answer the exigencies of his state, and the desires of his soul.
            But if, on the contrary, we consider the character of a dead faith, it is what never brings the soul to a full consent to the terms of the gospel, without some exception and reserve. The unsound believer may imagine, that he accepts of the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior: But what is the foundation and encouraging motive of his imaginary compliance with the gospel offer? Upon an impartial inquiry, it will always be found to be something in himself: His good affections, duties, moralities, reformations, promises, or purposes. He endeavors by these to recommend himself to God; and on the account of these, he hopes to find acceptance through Christ. Or if he feels ever so strong a desire of salvation by Christ, yet he is driven to it only by fear and self-love; and will renew his affection to his other lords, as soon as his awakening apprehensions are worn off. He doesn’t feel his want of Christ’s enlightening and enlivening influences. For he knows not what they mean. He submits not to the righteousness of Christ. For he is still endeavoring to procure acceptance with God from some good qualifications of his own, some duties which he performs, or some progress which he makes or designs to make in his religious course. He cannot submit to Christ as his Lord. For there is some slothful indulgence, which he cannot forego, some darling lust which he cannot part with, some worldly idol which his heart is set upon, or some difficult duty which he must excuse himself from.
            There is nothing more apparent, than the distinction between these two sorts of believers. The one comes to Christ destitute of all hope and help in himself; but sees enough in Christ to answer all his wants. The other is full in himself. The one looks to Christ to be his light. The other leans to his own understanding. The one makes mention of Christ’s righteousness, and that only. The other hopes for an interest in Christ and his salvation, on account of his own attainments; and in effect, expects justification by his own righteousness, for Christ’s sake. The one brings a guilty, polluted, unworthy soul to the blessed Redeemer, without any qualification to recommend it: expecting from him alone all the supplies he wants, repairing to him for gold tried in the fire, that he may be rich; for eye-salve, that he may see; and for white raiment, that he may be clothed. The other ordinarily raises his expectations from Christ, in proportion to his own imaginary qualifications and good disposition. The one as well desires salvation by Christ from pollution, as from guilt. The other has a reserve of some deceitful lust; and hugs some Delilah in his bosom, which he can’t be willing to part with. In fine, the one is willing to accept of the Lord Jesus Christ upon any terms. The other will not come to Christ, but upon terms of his own stating. 
Jonathan Dickinson, Familiar Letters To a Gentleman, upon A Variety of seasonable and important Subjects in Religion (Boston: Printed and Sold by Rogers and Fowle, 1745), 109-17.

An Early Evangelical that Didn't Make the Cut--Part III

The availability of Doug Sweeney's and Allen Guelzo's The New England Theology: From Jonathan Edwards to Edwards Amasa Park convinced me not to include the introduction and excerpt of Jonathan Edwards Jr. in Early Evangelicalism: A Reader. Sweeney and Guelzo have put together an excellent anthology on many of the "New Divinity" followers of Edwards, including the writings of Jonathan Edwards Jr.

Jonathan Edwards Jr.
            Arguably, the most critical comments on eighteenth-century American revivalism came from Charles Chauncy (1705-87), the Boston Old Light Congregational minister. In his Seasonable Thoughts on the State of Religion in New England (1743), Chauncy denounced the Great Awakening as a festival of “enthusiasts” rather than a venue for godly renewal in the colonies. Chauncy abhorred the preaching and excessive emotionalism of the revivals, convinced that God desired an orderly and rational form of Christianity antithetical to the kind of religion nurtured by the New Lights. Although in many ways an ardent defender of traditionalism in New England committed to maintaining a hierarchy with clergymen as society’s ruling elites, Chauncy strayed from the orthodox Calvinistic beliefs of his forefathers on soteriology. In his research, Chauncy came to an Arminian understanding of salvation whereby Christ died not only for the elect, but for the whole of humanity.

Around mid-century, Chauncy began working on more radical alterations of traditional doctrines in a manuscript he dubbed as “the pudding.” When served, the pudding carried with it the taste of universalism whereby Chauncy proclaimed that God’s love could not allow sinners to experience the torrents of everlasting punishment. Rather, hell was an intermediate place where the unrepentant would suffer for a period of time in proportion to the crimes committed while on earth. For Chauncy, it seemed logically impossible for a benevolent deity to create anything that would not be brought to an ultimate state of happiness. In the end, everyone would enter a final stage of eternal bliss. Chauncy’s formerly clandestine views on universalism surfaced in the 1780s in a number of works, including his Divine Glory Brought to View in the Final Salvation of All Men (1783), The Benevolence of the Deity (1784), The Mystery Hid from Ages and Generations Made Manifest by the Gospel-Revelation (1784), and Five Dissertations on the Scriptural Account of the Fall (1785).

            As a response to Chauncy, Jonathan Edwards Jr. wrote The Salvation of All Men Strictly Examined in 1790. Having studied theology under Joseph Bellamy, the younger Edwards was aptly prepared to engage his father’s nemesis. A long and theologically technical specimen, The Salvation of All Men was an attempt to refute Chauncy’s justification for universal salvation with logic and biblical evidence. Edwards charged Chauncy with a number of inconsistencies on issues pertaining to the definition of justice, but one of his most effective critiques had to do with the necessity of Christ’s death. The younger Edwards wondered why Christ needed to die if a person could serve time in a state of intermediate punishment. If a person essentially pays for crimes committed during his or her lifetime, has that individual earned the right to enter the final stage of happiness without the benefit of divine grace? Edwards Jr. believed that in denying the existence of hell as an eternal designation for the unregenerate, Chauncy had reduced the consequences of sin and made Christ’s death on the cross meaningless.

The Salvation of All Men Strictly Examined
            Beside the doctrine of the salvation of all men, to establish which is the design of his [Chauncy’s] whole book; there are several other doctrines, which may be considered as fundamental to his system. He does not deny all future punishment of the wicked; but allows that they will be punished according to their demerits, or according to strict justice. Thus he allows that “many men will be miserable in the next state of existence, in proportion to the moral depravity they have contracted in this. There is no room for debate here… They must be unavoidably miserable in proportion to the number and greatness of their vices… For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord: i.e. if men continue [as] the servants of sin, the wages they shall receive, before the gift through Christ is conferred on them, will be the second death.” If some men suffer that punishment which is the wages of sin, they doubtless suffer all which they deserve. No man deserves more than his wages. “In the collective sense, they will be tormented for ages of ages; though some of them only should be tormented through the whole of that period; the rest variously as to time, in proportion to their deserts… There shall be a difference in the punishment of wicked men, according to the difference there has been in the nature and number of their evil deeds.” He speaks of the wicked as liable “to positive torments awfully great in degree, and long in continuance, in proportion to the number and greatness of their crimes
            Another fundamental principle of Dr. C’s book, is, that all men, both those who are saved immediately from this life, and those who are saved after they have suffered the pains of hell; are saved by the mere mercy, compassion, grace or favor of God, through Christ. He allows, that the Apostle’s doctrine of justification stands “upon the foot of grace through Christ,” and “that mankind have universally sinned and consequently cannot be justified upon any claim founded on mere law… The gift by Christ takes rise from the many offences, which mankind commit in their own persons, and finally terminates in opposition to the power and demerit of them all, in their being restored, not simply to life but to reign in it forever… As mankind universally are subjected to damage through the lapse of Adam; so they shall as universally be delivered from it, through the gift by Christ… The gift on Christ’s part ought to be taken in its abounding sense… The plain truth is, final everlasting salvation is absolutely the free gift of God to all men, through Jesus Christ he has absolutely and unconditionally determined, of his rich mercy, through the intervening mediation of his son Jesus Christ; that all men, the whole race of lapsed Adam shall reign in life.” He speaks of God as exercising pity, tender compassion and grace, towards the damned; and speaking of the disciplinary punishment of the damned, he says, “that God, in the other world as well as this, must be disposed to make it evident, that he is a being of boundless and inexhaustible goodness.” He “speaks of the doctrine of universal salvation, as the gospel plan of mercy extensively benevolent; and a wonderful design of mercy” as “the scripture scheme of mercy,” and of the vilest of the human race as “the objects of mercy.” He quotes with approbation, from Mr. Whiston, “That there may be in the utmost bowels of the divine compassion, another time of trial allotted” to the damned, “in which many or all of them may be saved, by the infinite indulgence and love of their Creator.”
            Our author abundantly declares also, that this rich mercy, this free gift, this tender compassion and grace, this infinite indulgence and love of their Creator, this boundless and inexhaustible goodness, in the salvation of all men, is exercised through Christ only, and for his sake. “Jesus Christ is the person through whom and upon whose account, happiness is attainable by any of the human race… The obedience of Christ, and eminently his obedience unto death, is the ground or reason, upon which it hath pleased God to make happiness attainable by any of the human race… It was with a view to the obedience and death of Christ, upon this account, upon this ground, for this reason, that God was pleased to make the gospel promise of a glorious immortality to the sons of men… Christ died not for a select number of men only, but for mankind universally and without exception or limitation.”
            Now, how can this part of Dr. C’s system be reconciled with that part, in which he holds, that all the damned will be punished according to their deserts? Can those who are punished according to their deserts, after that be saved on the foot of grace through Christ? Can those who are punished according to the nature and number of their evil deeds; in degree and continuance, in proportion to the number and greatness of their crimes; in whose punishment the divine law takes its course, and the threatened penalty is fully executed: can these persons be saved by a gift? by a gift taken in the abounding sense? by the free gift of God through Christ? by rich mercy? by pity, tender compassion and grace? by mercy extensively benevolent? by a wonderful design of mercy? by boundless and inexhaustible goodness? by the utmost bowels of the divine compassion? by the infinite indulgence and love of their Creator? Is the man who by his crimes has, according to law, exposed himself to the pillory, or to be cropped and branded, and on whom the law has taken its course, and the threatened penalty has been fully executed; is he after all delivered from further suffering by grace, by pity, by tender compassion, by indulgence and love, by the utmost bowels of compassion? No; he has a right on the foot of mere law, and of the most rigorous justice, to subsequent impunity, with respect to the crime or crimes, for which he has been thus punished: and to tell him after he is thus punished, that he is now released by grace, by pity, by utmost compassion, by indulgence and love, would be the grossest insult.
            Again; how can those who have been punished according to their deserts, be saved through Christ, or on his account? How can the obedience and death of Christ be the ground or reason of their salvation? Having suffered the full penalty threatened in the law, they have a right to demand future impunity, on account of their own sufferings. What need then have they of Christ, of his obedience and death, or of his mediatory intervention, to be brought into the account? Dr. C. speaks of the “deliverance” or “the redemption which Christ has purchased” for all men. But what need is there, that Christ should purchase deliverance for those, who purchase it for themselves, by their own personal sufferings?
Jonathan Edwards Jr., The Salvation of All Men Strictly Examined, and the Punishment Of Those Who Die Impenitent, Argued and Defended Against the Objections and Reasonings of the Late Rev. Doctor Chauncy, of Boston, in His Book Entitled, “The Salvation of All Men” (New Haven: A. Morse, 1790), 1-2, 8-10.