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REV. THOMAS ANDROS’S ESSAY
The Doctrine of Divine Efficiency.
BY OTIS THOMPSON, A. M.
Mr. Andros's Essay made its appearance in August, 1820. Il remained a doubl, for some time, whether it was best to take any publick notice of it. Though it assumed an air of much assurance, and contained many positive assertions; yet, it was not perceived, that it shed much light on the point dis. cussed, or exhibited any arguments likely to carry conviction to the minds of those, who are acquainted with the grounds and reasons of the doctrine, which it opposes. Indeed, the Essay seemed to comprise so many concessions, and so many contradictions, as in a good degree to carry with it its own refutation. But, as it was observed, that the piece was circulated with no small degree of zeal and industry; that it was likely to fall into the hands of some but partially acquainted with the subject, or strongly prejudiced against the truth; and that “the foes of sound doc. trine" had already begun to take occasion from it, to exult and speak reproachfully; it was not thought advisable to let it pass without some animadversion.
After it had been deemed expedient to make some remarks upon the Essay, it was still a question, what method it was best lo adopt. Had Mr. A. confined himself to the simple question, whether Divine Agency be the efficieni cause of moral evil, he might have been answered in a concise and systematick manner. The arguments for and against the doctrine, lie in a narrow compass. But, he has seen fit to introduce much extraneous matter, especially of a metaphysi. cal nature, some of which is considered dangerous in its tendency; and to make many incidental observatious, some of which are calculated to give wrong views of truth, others to excite improper feelings, and others to nourish unreasonable prejudices. It was
deemed most advisable, therefore, to follow hini, slep by step, through all his meanderings and aberrations from the point at issue, This course has been adopt. od, and the term Review assumed, as the most proper title to the observations, which it is proposed to make.
If it should be though, that any thing, in the fol. lowing pages, has too much the air of pleasantry and humour, for the seriousness and importance of the subject, the apology is, that it is extremely difficult to set error and inconsistency in a true light wirbout making them look ridiculous..
SECTION 1. Review of the Introduction to the Essay. . Mr Andros professes to be a strict and con. sistent Calvinist. He regards, with respect and honour, many of the writings of New-England divines; and has been as much attached to these, as any mere human compositions, and has read them with much delight, and as he hopes, real profit.'
This orthodox, New-England divine, who regards with so much respect and honour, and has reaci with so much delight and profit. the writings of his fathers and brethren, thus be. gins his Essay:
" It is well known to the christian publick, that New England, for more than half a centu. ry, has been famed for discussing the plainest evangelical subjects, in a deep, abstruse, metaphysical way; so that simple, honest, and well informed christians, have oft been perplexed and confounded with incomprehensible mysteries and difficulties, where none seem to have been apprehended by the sacred writers.” If this sentence had escaped the pen of a supercilious, British reviewer, who looks down upon the re. volted colonies of New England, with about as much contempt, as upon the rude settlements