By Thomas Chalmers
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2009
Online Publication Date:August 2010
Original Publication Year:1834
Subjects: History of ideas and intellectual history
The eight Bridgewater Treatises of the 1830s aimed to contribute to an understanding of the world as created by God. This, the first treatise, by the Scottish mathematician and churchman Thomas Chalmers, proposes an 'argument for the character of the Deity, as grounded on the laws and appearances of nature'. It sees harmonies between the intellectual and material worlds as manifesting the hand of God in their creation, anticipating aspects of today's 'intelligent design' theory. Volume I includes chapters comparing virtuous and vicious personalities; the concept of habit; how external nature is adapted to man's moral constitution; and how moral and intellectual aspects of mankind lead to the civil and political well-being of society. Volume II provides specific examples of God's design including happiness and the connection between intellect, emotion and will, concluding that areas left as open questions by science's lack of proof are indications of divine architecture.