previous next
[386] were likewise in jeopardy from the effects of re-
Chap IX.} 1636
ligious divisions. The minds of the colonists were excited to intense activity on questions which the nicest subtlety only could have devised, and which none but those experienced in the shades of theological opinions could long comprehend. For it goes with these opinions as with colors; of which the artist who works in mosaic, easily and regularly discriminates many thousand varieties, where the common eye can discern a difference only on the closest comparison. Boston and its environs were now employed in theological controversy; and the transports of enthusiasm sustained the toil of abstruse speculations. The most profound questions which can relate to the mysteries of human existence and the laws of the moral world, questions which the mind, in the serenity of unclouded reflection, may hardly aspire to solve, were discussed with passionate zeal; eternity was summoned to reveal its secrets; human tribunals pretended to establish for the Infinite Mind the laws on which the destinies of the soul depend; the Holy Spirit was claimed as the inward companion of man; while many persons, in their zeal to distinguish between abstract truth and the outward forms under which truth is conveyed, between unchanging principles and changing institutions, were in perpetual danger of making shipwreck of all religious faith, and hardly paused to sound their way, as they proceeded through the ‘dim and perilous’ paths of speculative science.

Amidst the arrogance of spiritual pride, the vagaries of undisciplined imaginations, and the extravagances to which the intellectual power may be led in its pursuit of ultimate principles, the formation of two distinct parties may be perceived. The first consisted

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: