ABSOLUTE RELIGION
 

A VIEW OF THE ABSOLUTE RELIGION, BASED ON
PHILOSOPHICAL PRINCIPLES AND THE DOCTRINES
OF THE BIBLE.


Thomas_Cogswell_Upham-c


BY
THOMAS C. UPHAM, D. D., LL.D.

AUTHOR OF
“LIFE AND RELIGIOUS OPINIONS OF MADAME DE GUYON”
“A SYSTEM OF MENTAL PHILOSOPHY” “THE
INTERIOR OR HIDEN LIFE,” ETC., ETC.








NEW YORK:
G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS,
FOUTH AVE. & TWENTY-THIRD STREET
1873







TO THE READER.

This Volume, entitled the Absolute Religion, comprises some of the unpublished writings of THOMAS C. UPHAM, deceased. An amanuensis had been engaged to copy his manuscripts, written with pencil, the day preceding an attack of paralysis, May 20th, 1871. This paralysis, causing blindness of one eye, and general debility, rendered him unable to give any farther attention to the work. A second attack of paralysis, as he was rising from his bed on the morning of March 10th, 1872, terminated his life April 2d 1872, six o’clock a.m., at the age of seventy three years. During these three weeks of prostration he was unable to articulate distinctly. The only connected sentence clearly understood is this: “My spirit is with God.”

Several chapters of the work were left partly written, and of other chapters, only the headings and leading thoughts remain. The fact that the author did not complete the work, must be received as an apology for any lack of completeness, in the outline, arrangement and finish of the work. The aim of the author seems to be to unfold and to harmonize as far as may be, religious views and opinions, by explaining them on the basis of a sound philosophy, in the hope that some minds might be benefited by such a philosophical statement. The aim is a great one. And the philosophic and Christian man who loves to see God in providence, and God in man, and religion a reasonable service, will appreciate this effort of one who made the study of man in his mental powers and capacities, the one great study of his life; and whose highest aim, in every practical way, was to benefit by word and deed his brother man.

The responsibility of issuing such a work, which the author did not complete, and which he did not himself revise, is only balanced by the desire that good may be accomplished however imperfect the work.

The following sentences are an extract from his preface to “Divine Union” a work published by him in 1857, and are appropriate here.

In writing this work I have no private or party interests to subserve, but only wish to do, what I may seem, in the providence of God called to do, for that cause of Christ, of God, and humanity, which is dearer to me than anything else. And this is a consolation which always attends me,—the full belief that the truth will live and do the good appropriate to it, and that all error will and must die.


PHŒBE LORD UPHAM.

New York, May, 1873.







EDITOR'S NOTE: I am thankful to Google Books and archve.org for making scanned copies of all of Thomas Cogswell Upham's books available. Upham (1799–1872) is an interesting character, and his holiness books are some of the most significant ones that were written in the 19th Century. Upham was a Congregationalist minister and academic who discovered the message of christian perfection through the ministry of Phoebe Palmer. Upham served as Professor of Mental and Moral Philosophy at the Bowdoin College from 1825-1868. He not only taught this subject, he wrote the primary textbook on the subject: Elements of Mental Philosophy (2 Volumes). To put it another way: Upham was teaching psychology long before the discipline had that name. His textbook on Mental Philosophy was reprinted more than 50 times, going through various editions, over a period of more than 70 years. Thus, Upham's thinking was incredibly influential in its day. At the urgings of his wife, Upham attended some of the meetings led by Phoebe Palmer for the promotion of Christian holiness. Here he encountered the message and experience of entire sanctification. After this, he wrote several books explaining, defending and recommending this experience. His way of understanding psychological issues is structured differently than our present understanding — it may take a while to get used to his categories. Once this adjustment is made, however, the reader will discover many helpful insights in his writings.

This book is the result of an unfinished project Upham was working on at the end of his life. It is an attempt at an apologetic for Christianity — an attempt to show that the teachings of Christianity accord perfectly with religious and philosophical ideas drawn from first principles. It is an attempt to defend the Christian faith from first principles without appealing directly to authority — yet demonstrating accordance with the teachings of the Scriptures.

While this seems to me to be a misguided intellectual project, I nonetheless appreciate the time and thought Upham put into his extended apologetic argument — and its irenic tone.

(I have changed some, but not all, of the spelling in the book to conform to contemporary spelling.)


— Craig L. Adams