Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine,  3rd ser. 3 (1824), 177–86.

[Review of Sermons Preached in St. John's Church, Glasgow, by Thomas Chalmers]  [2/2]



Review, Serial

Publications extracted:

Chalmers 1823b


Christianity, Theology of Nature, Natural Law, Human Species, Philosophical Psychology, Infidelity, Piety, Reasoning, Feeling, Reading, Biblical Authority

    Criticizes Chalmers' sermon on predestination, quoting his use of an analogy between the laws of material nature and of human action: 'Every step of every individual character receives as determinate a character from the hand of God, as every mile of a planet's orbit, or every gust of wind, or every wave of the sea, or every particle of flying dust, or every rivulet of flowing water' (178). Argues that Chalmers makes all human actions, including sinful ones, the direct result of divine action. Suggests that in combating the errors of one set of infidel philosophers, 'who exclude the divine agency entirely', he has fallen into the error of another set, making 'God the efficient in every thing, good and evil'. Reviews the 'practical use of piety and zeal' to which Chalmers' principles can be turned, and reflects that, while 'the tide of good feeling' in Chalmers' sermon would not lead readers astray, his reasonings might provide readers with an 'excuse' for going astray. (179) Discusses Chalmers' view of the human will, arguing that he is wrong to claim that it is 'a merely passive instrument in the hand of God' (184). Argues, however, that it is also bad philosophy to consider the human will an entirely independent principle, and suggests that it is influenced by the affections and understanding, which are susceptible to divine action. Observes: 'For the philosophy which walks with Revelation into all her beauteous paths of holiness, justice, and mercy, and gives glory to God, and sheds benevolence on man, we thank every man whose intellect has created, or whose fancy has adorned it;—and to few are our obligations more due than to our Author;—but science is most unfortunately employed, if, in driving out roads in new courses, it heaps up the soil of the beaten track, obliterates the direction of the very King's highway, and converts it into a quagmire' (185).

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