Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Alexander Hamilton; The Calvinist, Part II


Continuing my post on Alexander Hamilton leaves no doubt his belief in Calvinism. As with James Madison et al. AH remained a partial Calvinist his entire life. Contrary evidence from their writings has yet to be found, apart from, in Madison's case, irrelevant 19th Century religious inclinations. In Hamilton's case, there is no evidence he departed from belief in the Total Depravity of John Calvin. From my previous posts on James Madison, belief in human depravity demands belief in man bearing God's image, hence they are both founded on the principle of imputation; imputed from Adam. Also, from a letter by Stanley Stanhope Smith, it appears JM believed in pre-destination, not the freewill of hyper-arminianism. I cannot make that claim for AH; pre-destination is not derived from imputation.

Furthermore, JM cannot be considered a Unitarian; 18th Century unitarians, including the "Old Lights," rejected God's Grace; JM affirmed Grace in his Memorial and Remonstrance. Many bloggers confuse 18th, with 19th Century Unitarianism. They are not the same. William Ellery Channing's 19th Century unitarianism allowed for Grace that the Old Lights did not.

Much has been said about Hamilton never joining a church; this claim, made with other various heterodox christian labels, is un-factual.

Hamilton rented Pew 92 at Trinity Church as early as 1790. Further detail into Hamilton's church attendance, and if he communed, needs to be done. His wife Elizabeth is listed as a communicant in Rev. Moore's record book. Interesting to note, Hamilton provided legal counsel regarding the independent incorporation of St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery, a complex issue that arose in the late 1790s.

Is there a doubt Hamilton went to church after his son died, mandating his son go to church every sunday?
"On Sunday he will attend the morning church."

-Rules for Philip Hamilton, 1804. Works of Hamilton.
Knowing Hamilton's character, would he allow his children to do what he did not approve of? Hamilton's notion of human depravity resonate through his writings:
"But I reverence humanity, and would not wish to pour a blush upon the cheeks of its advocates. Were I inclined to make a satire upon the species I would attempt a faithful description of your heart. It is hard to conceive, in theory, one of more finished depravity."

-Publius, November 16, 1778. New York Journal, and the General Advertiser
Regarding the Caesar Letters of 1787, we do not know for sure if Hamilton wrote them. However, if they are attributed to him, Hamilton used a Biblical description for God while forming the Constitution, refuting many skeptics who claim God is absent. Hamilton stopped short of claiming the Constitution is inspired:
"For my own part, I sincerely esteem it [The Constitution] a system, which, without the finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interested I will not presume to say that a more perfect system might not have been fabricated; but who expects perfection at once?" [bold face mine]

-Caesar II, October 17, 1787. For the Daily Advertiser.

1 comment:

Our Founding Truth said...

It is possible AH never went to church even though he owned a Pew in the Church.