Rev. John Witherspoon’s lectures and writings evidence extensive preparation and reading of the literature of the past and his own day. He evidences spiritual wisdom in his treatment of varied subjects. His world-and-life-view unapologetically Christian.
This volume of works includes his The History of a Corporation of Servants. It is a satire on the history of the Christian Church and of the Scottish branch in particular. The scene is laid in the interior of Brazil whither the survivors of a vessel are cast away on a desert island in South Seas. They lived there many years as slaves and at last two of them acquired such favor that they made their way back to Great Britain. The story consists of twelve chapters and the key to the whole is found in the idea that the servants are the clergy and the corporation of servants is the Church.
The next piece of writing, in this volume, is his Lectures on Moral Philosophy. These lectures show the kind of philosophy that he brought from his native Scotland and instilled to some degree in Princeton. Witherspoon came upon the American scene with an opposition to early American idealism.
President Witherspoon also gave Lectures on Eloquence. In this series of lectures Witherspoon gave a warning, “And the truth is, after the highest improvement in the art of speaking, there must be the greatest reserve and self-denial in the use of it, otherwise it will defeat its own purpose.” Human ability was not appropriate to the sermon, but the Holy Spirit was looked for to bring about the divine will.
Table of Contents:
John Witherspoon (February 5, 1723 – November 15, 1794) was a Scottish-American Presbyterian minister and a Founding Father of the United States.