Augustine and Calvin in asserting the arbitrary will of the Most High
and in “denying to the human will any self-determining power.”
He has been refuted by events and tendencies, such as the growth of historical criticism and the widespread acceptance of the doctrine of evolution, rather than by the might of any single antagonist.
So, too, the Dred Scott
decision of Chief Justice Taney
, holding that the slave was not a citizen, was not so much answered by opponents as it was superseded by the arbitrament of war. But the idealism of this lonely thinker has entered deeply and permanently into the spiritual life of his countrymen, and he will continue to be read by a few of those who still read Plato
“My mother grieves,” wrote Benjamin Franklin
to his father in 1738, “that one of her sons is an Arian, another an Arminian.
What an Arminian or an Arian is, I cannot say that I very well know.
The truth is I make such distinctions very little my study.”
To understand Franklin
's indifference to such distinctions, we must realize how completely he represents the secularizing tendencies of his age. What a drama of worldly adventure it all was, this roving life of the tallow-chandler's son, who runs away from home, walks the