The English church has produced no great systematic theologian (see reasons assigned in Dorner, Gesch. prof. Theologie,. 470). The ?judicious ?Hooker is still its greatest theological writer, although his work is only on ?Ecclesiastical Polity.? Bishop Burnet is the author of the ?Exposition of the XXXIX Articles,? and Bishop Pearson of the ?Exposition of the Creed.? Both these are common English textbooks. A recent ?Compendium of Dogmatic Theology,? by Litton, shows a tendency to return from the usual Arminianism of the Anglican church to the old Augustinianism; so also Bishop Moule?s ?Outlines of Christian Doctrine,? and Mason?s ?Faith of the Gospel.?
5. American theology, running in two lines:
(a) The Reformed system of Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), modified. successively by Joseph Bellamy (1719-1790), Samuel Hopkins (17211803), Timothy Dwight (1752-1817), Nathanael Emmons (1745-1840), Leonard Woods (1774-1854), Charles G. Finney (1792-1875), Nathaniel
W. Taylor (1786-1858), and Horace Bushnell (1802-1876). Calvinism, as thus modified, is often called the New England, or New School, theology.
Jonathan Edwards, one of the greatest of metaphysicians and theologians, was an Idealist who held that God is the only real cause, either in the realm of matter or in the realm of mind. He regarded the chief good as happiness ? a form of sensibility. Virtue was voluntary choice of this good. Hence union with Adam in acts and exercises was sufficient. This God?s will made identity of being with Adam. This led to the exercise system of Hopkins and Emmons, on the one hand, and to Bellamy?s and Dwight?s denial of any imputation of Adam?s sin or of inborn depravity, on the other ? in which last denial agree many other New England theologians who reject the exercise scheme, as for example, Strong, Tyler, Smalley, Burton, Woods, and Park. Dr. N. W. Taylor added a more distinctly Arminian element, the power of contrary choice ? and with this tenet of the New Haven theology, Charles G. Finney, of Oberlin, substantially agreed. Horace Bushnell held to a practically Sabellian view of the Trinity, and to a moral influence theory of the atonement. Thus from certain principles admitted by Edwards, who held in the main to an Old School theology, the New School theology has been gradually developed.
Robert Hall called Edwards ?the greatest of the sons of men.? Dr. Chalmers regarded him as the ?greatest of theologians.? Dr. Fairbairn says: ?He is not only the greatest of all the thinkers that America has produced, but also the highest speculative genius of the eighteenth
<- Previous Table of Contents Next ->
Was this article helpful?