I am slowly working on HTML editions of Thomas C. Upham’s (1799-1872) spiritual writings. The titles with active links below are at this site — and they are also listed on the navigation bar at the right. I will add others as I am able. Here are the titles that are currently available to read at this site:
- The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd edition).
- A Treatise on Divine Union
- The Life of Faith.
- The Testimony of Prof. T. C. Upham.
- Absolute Religion
A reader in Switzerland created ePub editions of two of these books: The Interior or Hidden Life and The Life of Faith — for reading on e-readers.
I have also included an important 19th Century critique of Upham's writings written by Asa Mahan (1799-1889) which appeared in The Oberlin Evangelist in 1849:
But, bear in mind: all of Thomas C. Upham's writings are available online, though they are mostly in scanned PDF form rather than text. In the full list below I have included links to scanned copies of these works at Google Books and at archive.org. I recommend searching Amazon and Abebooks for print copies of Upham’s books. You may be surprised by how much you find, though most of these are scanned & reprinted copies — which often reproduce the defects of their original sources.
I have listed the titles in chronological order, but because Upham sometimes substantially revised his writings for new editions, the chronology is not always as clear as it might be. For example, I have listed Mental Philosophy late in the list, because I believe the final revision was in 1869. The first edition, Elements of Mental Philosophy was published in 1841, however. His book The Interior or Hidden Life was first published in 1843, but I feel the second edition in 1844 was a significant and substantial revision, and so I have listed that instead. I have commented on a few of these.
- American Sketches - Poetry (1819). google.
- Elements of Intellectual Philosophy (1827). archive.
- A Philosophical and Practical Treatise on the Will. (1834). google. archive.
- The Religious Offering - Poetry (1835). google. archive.
- The Manual of Peace (1836). google.
- "Essay on a Congress of Nations." In: William Ladd and George C. Beckwith (eds.) Prize Essays on a Congress of Nations. (1840). google. archive.
- Outlines of Imperfect and Disordered Mental Action (1840). google. archive.
- Principles of the Interior or Hidden Life (2nd edition 1844, 1st edition 1843). google. archive. In his study of Upham’s theology, Darius Salter writes: “Upham’s writings are the first attempt to weigh the tenants of holiness theology within the rubrics of psychological investigation. His findings are integral to the history of the psychology of religion. Upham’s Principles of the Interior [or Hidden] Life (1843) may be the best attempt to stress experiential holiness theology within a psychological context.” Because I consider the 1844 second edition a significant improvement on the 1843 first edition, I have based my online edition on it.
- Religious Maxims (1846). google.
- Life and Religious Opinions and Experience of Madame de la Mothe Guyon. 2 vols (1877) (1st ed. 1847) Vol. I google. archive. Vol. II google. archive. This is one of the best known of all Upham’s writings. David Bundy says: "In [this] biography, Upham demonstrated a careful historical technique as he brought together much of which could be known from published materials about Guyon. Her spirituality was accurately represented, if one allows for a certain amount of de-Catholicizing of her story, with extensive quotations of key passages from both Guyon and Fénelon. The perspective is remarkably similar to that of Pseudo-Macarius who was used as a source by Wesley, Guyon and Fénelon. The biography insists on the notion that through the grace of God and the working of the Holy Spirit, sanctification is given to those who surrender themselves to God. The ‘state’ (described in early Christian literature as theosis or divinization) is clearly available in the present for those who ask and are willing to accept the consequences.”
- American Cottage Life - Poetry (1850). google. archive.
- A Treatise on Divine Union (1851). google. archive. David Bundy summarizes the themes of this book: “The... Eastern Christian themes [exemplified by the writings of Pseudo-Macarius] can be seen in Upham’s Treatise on Divine Union. In this volume he analyzes carefully the origins, grounds and goals of the relationship between God and humans as well as the practices which may result in the improvement of that relationship. The journey, or goal of all human spirituality, he affirms, is the reestablishment of the perfect union with God that was broken when humans, through their free will, decided not to conform to the will of God. Every aspect of life, has a bearing on spirituality. It is through prayer and total ‘abandonment’ of ourselves for God that we move toward the goal.”
- The Life of Faith (1852). google. archive. This is a follow-up to The Interior or Hidden Life. Some of the content from the earlier book appears here again, but the emphasis is it a little different. It focuses on faith — and what faith means to the whole of the Christian life. Upham writes: "The present Work... is, to some extent, kindred in its nature with The Interior Life....The leading object of both Works is the promotion of practical holiness….” And, David Bundy writes: "In this volume [Upham] argues that the goal of ascetic, self-controlled Christian living is ‘the stage of divine union.’ This description of the conditions, methods and nature of union with God could perhaps have been written by Pseudo-Macarius. The middle Platonic Christian vision is presented in all its clarity without the hesitations of Wesley with regard to human perfectibility and the ability of the human will to will its way toward God."
- Life of Madame Catharine Adorna (St. Catherine of Genoa) (1858). google. archive.
- Letters, Aesthetic, Social, and Moral (1857). google. archive.
- A Method of Prayer, an Analysis of the Work so Entitled by Madame de La Mothe Guyon (1859). google. archive.
- Abridgment of Mental Philosophy (1864). google. archive.
- Mental Philosophy. Vol. 1. The Intellect (1869, 1st edition 1841). google.
- Mental Philosophy. Vol. 2. The Sensibilities and Will (1869, 1st edition 1841). google.
- Christ in the Soul - Poetry (1872). archive.
- “Testimony of Prof. T. C. Upham, D.D.” Phoebe W. Palmer (editor), Pioneer Experiences, or The Gift of Power Received by Faith Illustrated and Confirmed by the Testimony of Eighty Living Ministers of Various Denominations (1872).
- Absolute Religion (1873). archive. This is an uncompleted book that Upham was working on at the time of his death. This seems to be a final (and a bit misguided) apologetic for Christianity based upon his life work in psychology and philosophy. Upham seeks to show that an Absolute Religion — based upon first principles and not upon an appeal to authority — accords perfectly with the Christian faith. He writes: "The religion of Christ is the Absolute Religion, though man is its object, and is also, in the exercise of his powers of perception and reasoning, the appointed and necessary instrument of its development, yet being founded in the nature and constitution of things, and thus being beyond measurements of time, it synchronizes with God himself in its origin and continuance, and goes step by step with the divine authority in the assertion of its universal empire."
Writings About Thomas C. Upham
Here are some links to online information about the life and writings of Thomas C. Upham. I am very much indebted to John Uebersax’s online article (see below) for much of this bibliographical information. I have made comments on a few of these.
Dieter, Melvin Easterday. The Holiness Revival of the Nineteenth Century. Metuchen: Scarecrow Press, 1980 [2nd Ed. 1996]. This is a fine overview of the Holiness revival in the 19th Century, written by someone who is sympathetic with the movement. Dieter mentions many of the main figures in the holiness movement. This was originally released as part of the series entitled “Studies in Evangelicalism” edited by Kenneth E. Rowe and Donald W. Dayton.
Fay, J. W. American Psychology Before William James. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1939.
Salter, Darius. Spirit and Intellect: Thomas Upham's Holiness Theology. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1986. This is undoubtedly Salter’s doctoral dissertation, which was reprinted as a book in the series entitled “Studies in Evangelicalism” edited by Kenneth E. Rowe and Donald W. Dayton. This is a very fine and well written account of Upham’s life and teachings. Salter writes: “Upham’s writings are the first attempt to weigh the tenets of holiness theology within the rubrics of psychological investigation. His findings are integral to the history of the psychology of religion.” This is the book that first awakened my interest in Upham’s writings. I recommend this book very highly — if you can find a copy!
Upham, Frank Kidder. Descendants of John Upham of Massachusetts. Albany: Joel Munsell’s Sons, 1892.
Ward, Patricia A. Experimental Theology in America: Madame Guyon, Fénelon, and Their Readers. Baylor University Press, 2009
-------------------. Thomas Cogswell Upham. Wikipedia. This is a brief and rather poor overview of Upham’s life and teachings — but I think it is worth taking a moment to consider why it is so bad. The contributor(s) attribute Upham’s emphasis on the human Will to his “spiritual journey from a Calvinistic background to the Wesleyan holiness perspective.” I suppose one can look at it that way. But, I think this more properly reflects his general interests. I think it has far more to do with his phenomenological approach to human experience. Upham would have appealed to universal human experience in support of the concept of the human will. He was not especially interested in speculative, systematic theology. And, I think we should not underestimate the influence of Jonathan Edwards on Upham’s thinking.
Allibone, Samuel Austin. Upham, Thomas C. In: Samuel Austin Allibone (ed.), A Critical Dictionary of English Literature, and British and American Authors Living and Deceased. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1871.
Bundy, David. Thomas Cogswell Upham and the establishment of a tradition of ethical reflection Encounter 59.1-2, 1998. This is an excellent account of Uphams’s spiritual teachings, and the sources that influenced him. Bundy shows the similarity of Upham’s teaching to the Eastern Christian themes in Pseudo-Macarius. He also shows how this emphasis on the spiritual life worked itself out in Upham’s opposition to slavery, capital punishment, and war. Bundy writes: “It is argued here that Thomas Cogswell Upham developed a fusion between Scottish Common Sense Realism and the interconnected spiritual traditions of the Wesleyan/Holiness Movement and Continental Catholic mysticism. Through this he provided a superstructure that could bring together the spiritual and developmental concerns with the ethical moral vision of Common Sense Realism.”
Fuchs, A. H. “Upham, Thomas Cogswell.” In J. A. Garraty & M. C. Carnes (eds.). American National Biography (Vol. 22, pp. 112-114). New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
Fuchs, Alfred H. The Psychology of Thomas Upham. In: Gregory A. Kimble, Michael Wertheimer (eds.), Portraits of Pioneers in Psychology. Vol. 4. Mahwah, NJ: Earlbaum, 2000 (pp. 1-14).
Hovet, T. R. “Principles of the Hidden Life: Uncle Tom's Cabin and the Myth of the Inward Quest in 19th Century American Culture” Journal of American Culture, 2, 265-270, 1979.
Mahan, Asa. The Spiritual Writings of Prof. Thomas C. Upham. The Oberlin Quarterly Review, Vol. 4, Jan. 1849, pp. 101 — 127. Mahan, a friend and contemporary, writes: "There are few authors of modern times, whose writings have, in our judgment, more nearly realized the idea of universality, in an important sense of the term, than those of Prof. Upham. We refer to their manifest adaptation to the necessities of all truly spiritual minds, not in any one age, but in all future ages of the church. Wherever such a mind does or may exist, and whatever its spiritual attainments may be, it will find in these writings, much, very much with which it will be instructed, edified and delighted. In all future ages, his name will be 'as ointment poured forth.’” However, Mahan, while heaping praise on Uphams’s writings, is also critical. He feels Upham shows an insufficient emphasis on faith in Christ and upon the Scriptural portrayal of the sanctified life. PDF edition at Google books.
Packard, Alpheus Spring. Address on the Life and Character of Thomas C. Upham, D.D. Brunswick: Joseph Griffin, 1873.
Rieber, R. W. Thomas C. Upham and the Making of an Indigenous American Psychology. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Volume 291 (The Roots of American Psychology: Historical Influences and Implications for the Future). April 1977 (pp. 186–202)
Roche, Rebecca. Phebe and Thomas C. Upham: the Rabble Rousers. Pine Grove Cemetary of Brunswick, Maine. August 5, 2010. This brief article highlights Phebe and Thomas Upham’s involvement in the social reform movements of their day. “Like Harriet Beecher Stowe, the Uphams passionately believed that slavery should be abolished. The Uphams, like William Smyth, used their home as a stop on the Underground Railroad for escaping slaves. Harriet Beecher Stowe herself records that she sent an escaping slave to the Uphams, who fed, sheltered, and gave the slave money. Thomas C. Upham was a proponent of the “Back-To-Africa”, or colonization, movement. He believed that American slaves should be returned to African countries like Liberia. Upham served as the vice president of the American Colonization Society and even contributed an impressive $1,000 to the cause (approximately $14,000 today). Like we have seen in so many of his contemporaries, however, Thomas C. Upham did not limit himself to one cause. He was a supporter of temperance and was among the first people to sign the Brunswick temperance pledge. Upham also opposed capital punishment, which was not abolished in Maine until after his death. Thomas C. Upham was also a strong supporter of the peace movement, a belief he had developed during the War of 1812. He supported the cause for peace by serving as the vice president of the American Peace Society and publishing many works championing peace under the pseudonym “Perier”.”
Salter, Darius. "Mysticism in American Wesleyanism: Thomas Upham" Wesleyan Theological Journal Volume 20, Number 1 Spring 1985. Salter gives a basic overview of the mystical themes in the teachings of Thomas Upham, showing how they produced a rift with Upham's spiritual mentor Phoebe Palmer. Salter writes: "The intense spirituality which marked Thomas Upham's writings, relied on the thought patterns of seventeenth and eighteenth century European mysticism more than any other source. More specifically, Upham drew from the French Quietists Francois de Sales, Francois Fenelon, Madame Guyon, and the Italian Catherine Adorna. … this essay… will seek to discover the particular influence which the above writers and others had on Upham, how he interpreted them, and what differences from Wesleyan holiness, if any, they imparted to his theology." He goes on to write: "At the core of both Wesleyan perfectionism and Madame Guyon's mysticism was the religion of the heart. Upham's introspective psychology was easily adapted to both. Each aimed at total commitment of the "will" to God and each strove for an intimacy with God, which was beyond nominal Christianity and sheer rationalism. The holiness movement, at least for Upham, epitomized in contemporary form that which he had read about in a century gone by."
Uebersax, John. The Legacy of Thomas Cogswell Upham: An American Psychology of Holiness and Peace. Works on Psychology, Religion and Society. It is this article to which I owe most of this bibliography. Uebersax says of Upham that he “dominated American academic psychology in the mid-19th century. Though little remembered today, there is much in his work to warrant attention by modern readers and scholars. In particular, Upham attempted, and, to a very significant degree, succeeded, to meld scientific psychology with practical spirituality.”
Wozniak, Robert H. Mind and Body: Rene Déscartes to William James. Bryn Mawr College, Serendip 1995. (Retrieved from: http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/Mind/ on March 26, 2011.) Originally published in 1992 at Bethesda, MD & Washington, DC by the National Library of Medicine and the American Psychological Association.