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Orville Dewey.

The works of Orville Dewey : with a biographical sketch online

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LIB R A RY

OF THE

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA.

GIKT OF

Received |V>AR29l892 ^ i8g .

^ Accessions No. ^y-^J^ Shelf No.

68. ^ -30



THE WORKS



OF



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ORVILLE DEWEY, D.D.



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N£IV AND COMPLETE EDITION.



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OF THE



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BOSTON:

AMERICAN UNITARIAN ASSOCIATION.

1890.






Copyright, 188S,
By The American Unitarian Association.



SInibn-gita ^resa:
John Wilson and SiyN, Cambridge.



PREFACE.



Very early after the death of Dr. Dewey many requests came,
both from this country and from England, that the American Uni-
tarian Association should publish a dollar edition of his works,
uniform with a like edition of Dr. Channing's works. We ought
especially to mention an official letter received from the British
and Foreign Unitarian Association. It seemed desirable, both on
account of the great and permanent value and interest of the works
themselves, and also from the position and influence which Dr.
Dewey had acquired and maintained in our body during a long
and useful life, that these requests should be complied with.

The family of Dr. Dewey with great readiness granted permission
to prepare such an edition ; while by purchase the Association has
secured from the estate of the late James Miller the plates and what-
ev^er copyright he held. After much consideration, it was decided
to print his works just as they came from his hands, and in the order
of time in which they issued from the press. One change only
is to be noted ; namely, the omission of the prefaces which were
originally prefixed to the separate volumes. In all other respects,
this edition is a reproduction of the editions which the author super-
vised and corrected.

Miss Mary E. Dewey has kindly furnished a brief but compre-
hensive sketch of her father's life, which will be found at the begin-
ning of the volume. At the close will be found a full and carefully
prepared index.



IV PREFACE.

It seems needless to add any word concerning the value of the
book. With the possible exception of Dr. Channing, no person
occupied a more prominent position in the early annals of American
Unitarianism than Dr. Dewey. As a preacher of practical truth
to tried and tempted men and women, he had an almost unique
power. His lectures on the Problem of Human Destiny, when de-
livered, awakened great and wide interest; and they will be found not
to have lost their pertinency and attractiveness to-day. That dis-
courses delivered before the present generation came on the stage,
should still be in steady demand, even in an expensive form, is
sufficient evidence of their worth and permanent fitness for human
need. Coming as they will now to the reader at a moderate cost,
we feel confident that they will command a wide circulation and an
earnest perusal.



CONTENTS.



Page

SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF REV. ORVILLE DEWEY, D.D ix

DISCOURSES ON HUMAN NATURE, HUMAN LIFE, AND
THE NATURE OF RELIGION.

[First Published in 1846.]

ON HUMAN NATURE.

I. On Human Nature i

H. The Same Subject 9

HI. On the Wrong which Sin does to Human Nature 15

IV. On the Adaffation which Religion, to be True and Useful,

SHOULD have to Human Nature 22

V. The Appeal of Religion to Human Nature 28

VI. The Call of Humanity, and the Answer to it 35

VII. Human Nature considered as a Ground for Thanksgiving ... 47

ON HUMAN LIFE.

VIII. The Moral Significance of Life 51

IX. That Everything in Life is Moral ■ 57

X. Life considered as an Argument for Faith and Virtue .... 64

XI. Life is what we make it 71

XII. On Inequality in the Lot of Life 78

XIII. On the Miseries of Life 84

XIV. On the School of Life 90

XV. On the Value of Life 97

XVI. Life's Consolation in View of Death 103

XVII. The Problem of Life, solved in the Life of Christ 109

XVIII. On Religion, as the Great Sentiment of Life 115

XIX. On the Religion of Life 122

XX. The Voices of the Dead 131

ON THE NATURE OF RELIGION.

XXI. The Identity of Religion with Goodness, and with a Good

Life 138

XXII. The Same Subject 147

XXIIT. The Same Subject 157

XXIV. Spiritual Interests, Real and Supreme , 163



vi . CONTENTS.

DISCOURSES ON THE NATURE OF RELIGION, AND ON
COMMERCE AND BUSINESS, WITH SOME OCCASIONAL
DISCOURSES.

[First Published in 1846.]

ON THE NATURE OF RELIGION.

Pace

I. Spiritual Interests, Real and Supreme 172 ■

II. On Religious Sensibility 177

III. The Same Subject 185

IV. The Law of Retribution . 191

V. The Same Subject 199

VI. Compassion for the Sinful, 208

VII. God's Love the Chief Restraint from Sin, and Resource in

Sorrow 214

VIII. The Difference between Sentiments and Principles 219

IX. The Crown of Virtue 227

ON COMMERCE AND BUSINESS.

X. On the Moral Law of Contracts 234

XI. On the Moral End of Business 251

XII. On the Uses of Labor, and the Passion for a Fortune .... 262

XIII. On the Moral Limits of Accumulation 272

MISCELLANEOUS AND OCCASIONAL.

XIV. Oration before the Society of Phi Beta Kappa, at Cambridge . 279
XV. The Arts of Industry, with their Moral and Intellectual In-
fluence UPON Society. An Address before the American Institute . 295

XVI. The Identity of all Art. A Lecture before the Apollo Association

of New York 307

XVII. The Moral Character of Government . . . . ■ 318

XVIII. The Slavery Question 326

XIX. Public Calamities 334



DISCOURSES AND REVIEWS UPON QUESTIONS IN CONTRO-
VERSIAL THEOLOGY AND PRACTICAL RELIGION.

[First Published in 1846.]

The Unitarian Belief 342

On the Nature of Religious Belief; with Inferences concerning Doubt,

Decision, Confidence, and the Trial of Faith 353

Cursory Observations on the Questions at Issue between Orthodox and
Liberal Christians.

I. On the Trinity 366

II. On the Atonement ^7^

III. On tlie Five Points of Calvinism 381

IV. On Future Punishment 387

V. Conclusion. The Modes of Attack upon Liberal Christianity, the same

that were used against the doctrine of the Apostles and Reformers . . 393



CONTENTS. vii

The Analogy of Religion with other Subjects considered. Paj;,,

I. The Analogy of Religion 401

II. On Conversion 40b

III. On the Method of obtaining and exhibiting Religious and Virtuous Affec-

tions 415

IV. Causes of- Indifference and Aversion to Religion 421

On the Original Use of the Epistles of the New Testament compared

with their Use and Application at the Present Day 429

On Miracles 442

The Scriptures considered as the Record of a Revelation 4155

On the Nature and Extent of Inspiration 462

On Faith, and Justification by Faith 4j>i

That Errors in Theology have sprung from False Principles of Rea-
soning 4S8

On the Calvin istic Views of Moral Philosophy 501



LOWELL LECTURES.

THE PROBLEM OF HUMAN DESTINY; OR, THE END OF
PROVIDENCE IN THE WORLD AND MAN.

[First Published in 1S64.]

I. On the Character, Fitness, History, and Claims of the Inquiry 514
II. The Problem of Evil. The Case presented, the Theory offered,

and the bearing of it considered 526

III. The Material World as the Field of the Great Design: its

Adaptations to the End — Human Culture 541

IV. The Body and the Soul, or Man's Physical Constitution : the

Ministry of the Senses and Appetites 553

V. Of Man's Spiritual Constitution — Ministry of the Mental and

Moral Faculties ^6^

VI. The Complex Nature of Man, Periods of Life, Society, Home,

Balance of the Physical and Mental Powers 575

VII. On the Special Influence upon Human Culture of the Disci-
pline OF Nature, of the Occupations of Life, and of the Art^
of Expression ; or, the Mental and Moral Activity elicited

by Man's connection with Nature and Life 586

VIII. Against Despondency. — Helps- and Hindrances, or a Considera-
tion OF THE Moral Trials or Emergencies that attend the

WORKING out of OUR HuMAN PROBLEM 598

IX. Problems in Man's Individual Life: Physical Pain; Hereditary

Evil ; Death 609

X. Historic Problems: Polytheism, Despotism, War, Slavery, — the
Prevalence and Ministry of Error in the System of the

World 620

XI. Historic View of Humanity: Human Progress, — the Agencies
employed in it; the History of Thought, of Institutions, and

OF Actions or Events 632

XII. Historic View of Humanity: Human Progress, — the Steps of it 645



viii CONTENTS,



THE TWO GREAT COMMANDMENTS.

SERMONS.

[First Published in 1S76.]

Page

I. On the Cultivation of the Religious Affections 658

II. Righteousness the Self-revealed and Central Law 665

III. On the Reasonableness and Greatness of Devotion 671

IV. The Alternative 678

V. Truth in all Religions 684

VI. The Symbol and the Reality 691

VII. The Love of God and of Man 698

VIII. On Truthfulness 703

IX. On Impatience .^ 710

X. On Self-Renunciation 716

XI. On Perfection 722

XII. Humanity, and the Gospel Demand upon it 728

XIII. Humanity compared with Human Distinctions 734

XIV. This Life the Prophecy of a Future 740

XV. Christ Intelligible and Imitable , 746

XVI. The Same Subject 753

XVII. The Old and the New 759

Basis and Superstructure 768

Theism and Atheism 779

On the Validity of our Knowledge of God 784



SKETCH



OF THE



LIFE OF REV. ORVILLE DEWEY, D.D.



In offering a popular edition of the works of Dr. Dewey to the public, a
short sketch of his life may be interesting to the general reader.

Orville Dewey was born in 1 794, in Sheffield, in the southern part of Berk-
shire County, Massachusetts. His father was a farmer, and both his parents
were children of the first settlers of the place. It was, in his childhood, a
quiet, homely village of the primitive New England type, with one wide grassy
street, and scattered houses on either hand, with vegetable gardens beside
them, and lilags almost as tall as the houses shading the doors, and a rustic
wealth of roses and peonies and hollyhocks under the windows. Here he
passed his boyhood, the eldest of a family of seven, working on the farm in
summer and going to the district school in winter. He was naturally thought-
ful, and was encouraged in his love of reading by his father, a man of strong
though untrained mind, a lover of poetry and of eloquence. His mother's
simple, genuine piety was another powerful influence in the formation of his
character ; and to these may be added the strict Calvinism which was the only
form of religious life around him, and the interest taken in him by Paul Dewey,
an elder cousin of his father, a great mathematician, a keen thinker, and a
sceptic in regard to the prevailing theology.

His parents, not without effort and self-denial, sent him to Williams College,
Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he graduated in 1814, with the first honors
of his class, although suffering from weakness of the eyes, caused by reading
too soon after the measles. It was while at college that religious ideas, which
had always been interesting to him, but heretofore tinged with the deepest
gloom, became irradiated in his mind by the Divine Love and Goodness, till
they made his chief delight, and the desire arose in his heart to be a preacher,
and convey to other souls the comfort and joy which filled his own. But the
state of his eyes rendered study impossible, and for two years he tried school-
keeping in Sheffield, and business in New York, till the swelling desire for his



X SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF REV. ORVILLE DEWEY.

chosen work determined him to try to prepare himself without eyes and to
preach without notes ; and, being still Calvinistic in doctrine, he went to Ando-
ver, and entered the Theological Seminary. There he spent upon Hebrew all
the time that he could read, and was helped in Greek by the brotherly kindness
of his room-mate ; and, to use his own words, " The being obliged to think for
myself upon the theological questions that daily came before the class, instead
of reading what others had said about them, seemed to me not without its
advantages."

Three years at Andover had two noteworthy results. His eyes were re-
stored, by a simple and judicious treatment with cold water, and his faith in
the dogmas of the popular theology was completely shaken. Leaving the
seminary in this unsettled state of mind, he preached for nearly a year in
behalf of the American Education Society, and then received a call to Glouces-
ter, Massachusetts. In answer to this, he frankly declared his position, and
the invitation was changed into one for a year, at the end of which time church
and minister might know their own minds clearly. The proposition was most
acceptable, giving him opportunity for patient and prayerful examination of his
difficulties. That year in Gloucester was the turning-point in his career. With
earnest wrestlings of spirit, with bitter struggles of separation, with solemn
devotion to the truth as he was able to perceive it, he won his way to convic-
tions, that never afterwards faltered, of the unity of God, the dignity of human
nature, and of thq, eternal progress of mankind towards virtue and happiness.
At the end of the year the young minister was an avowed Unitarian, and the
society was about equally divided in opinion. Meanwhile his remarkable
powers must have become known, for he was immediately asked to come to
Boston, and assist in Dr. Channing's pulpit ; and this he did for two years,
preaching on alternate Sundays when Dr. Channing was at home, and taking
the whole charge while he was in Europe. The intimate companionship into
which he was thus brought with that great and good man was one of the most
highly prized blessings of his life, and the friendship then formed was inter-
rupted only by the death of the elder.

In 1820, just before going to Gloucester, Mr. Dewey was married to Miss
Louisa Farnham, daughter of William Farnham, of Boston. In 1823 he
accepted a call to New Bedford, Massachusetts, and went with his family to
make his home in that beautiful Quaker town, among a people of uncommon
refinement and kindness, where he was happy, useful, and appreciated. But it
was then a lonely post, and he was a zealous worker. Few exchanges were
])ossible, and two new sermons must be written for every Sunday, and he was
at the same time a constant contributor to the "Christian Examiner." Under
the unbroken strain the working power of his brain gave way, and after ten
years he was forced to take absolute rest. He went to Europe for a year, but
on his return attempted in vain to resume his work, and, resigning his parish,
withdrew to Sheffield, feeling as if, at forty, his active service was over.



SKETCH 01



Online LibraryOrville DeweyThe works of Orville Dewey : with a biographical sketch → online text (page 1 of 134)