The True Scripture-Doctrine Concerning
Some Important Points of the
Rev. Jonathan Dickinson
Jonathan Dickinson was the first President
of the College at Princeton, New Jersey. In this excerpt, Dickinson states
that atheism is pure "stupidity" and "madness." Dickinson's opinion in
this regard represented the consensus. Subsequently all of the founders
of the United States were certain of the existence of a Deity. On the other
hand, Dickinson here emphasizes the doctrine of Predestination, which was
the central controversy of the eighteenth century in the Colonies. Colonists'
opinions were divided in this regard. Earlier in the century predestination
was the majority view, but by the end of the century a belief in "free-will"
had become prevalent among many such as Methodists.
That there is a supream and eternal Being, and
that he is possess'd of all infinite Perfections, are truths so visible
by the Light of Nature; that to call these into Question is not only Weakness
and Ignorance; but the height of Stupidity and Madness... We have clear
light to discover that he is, and that he is infinite; yet none but his
own infinite mind can fully understand what he is or how he exists
Here is set in View the Object of the Decree of Election... And as all
the children of God, and none but they, shall inherit eternal Life, so
all that shall inherit eternal Life, so all that shall inherit eternal
Life, and none but they, were predestined to the Adoption of Children.
...They are chosen in Him; and predestined to the adoption of children
by Jesus Christ...
They only Motive (if I may so speak) by which God has acted in the Decree
of Election: According to the good Pleasure of his will. He was himself
his own motive and End. As there was nothing eternally existing but God;
so there could be nothing outside of himself to influence his eternal Counsels...
Thus I have given a brief and general View of the Words before us; and
shall now endeavor a more distinct consideration of them under these propositions.
1. That God has according to the good pleasure of his Will, from all
Eternity, elected some to everlasting life.
2. And those that God has elected, are chosen to Salvation by and through
the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. All who are thus chosen to Salvation, shall be sanctified and made
meet to partake of it...