[Review of Sermons Preached in St. John's Church, Glasgow, by Thomas Chalmers] [1/2]
Political Economy, Christianity, Natural Law, Instinct, Causation, Chemistry, Laboratories, Gender, Experiment, Display, Societies, Discovery, Biblical Authority, Piety
Notes Thomas Chalmers's sudden rise to 'celebrity' and praises his 'generalizing faculty which seizes the philosophy of a subject' (110). Quotes Chalmers' apology for including two sermons on 'Christian Economy'. Chalmers observes: 'I have been led by experience to feel the religious importance of their subject, and I think that much injury has been sustained by the souls of our people from the neglect of obvious principles, both in the business of education, and in the business of public charity'. Applauds Chalmers sermon on 'The constancy of God in his Works, an argument for the faithfulness of God in his Word', giving a précis and extracts. Chalmers invokes the notion developed in the Scottish common-sense school of philosophy that 'God hath planted a universal instinct, by which all are led to believe, that Nature will persevere in her wonted courses'. (111) He refers to the chemist putting nature (which is feminized) 'to the torture', continuing: 'When tried in his hottest furnace, or probed, by his searching analysis, to her innermost arcana, she by a spark, or an explosion, or an effervescence, or an evolving substance, makes her distinct replies to his investigations' (111–12). Chalmers observes that the replication of such experiments (as also science more generally) relies on the immutability of God, and argues from this for the constancy of God in being faithful to 'his word' (112).
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