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WHAT IS TRUTH?
BY REV. ANDREW P. PEABODY.
PRINTED FOR THE
American Uritarian Association.
JAMES MUNROE & Co. 134 WASHINGTON STREET. FEBRUARY, 1838.
Price 3 Cents.
WHAT IS TRUTH?
THIS is a question, which all are equally ready to ask and answer. On most subjects of research and interest, truth is daily elicited by the natural progress of science and knowledge. But on the prime subject of all, religion, if we may judge from the multiplication and mutual animosity of sects, there is now more doubt and difficulty in the quest of truth than ever before. Men devote the vigor of youth, the sound judgment of maturity, the wisdom of age, to the study of sacred science, and the issue often is mere vanity and vexation of spirit, with more vague and entangled notions than were cherished at the outset. But may there not be some shorter, less circuitous, and at the same time, surer route to the truth, than that of critical and philosophical analysis? May it not now be the case, as it was in the Saviour's time, that the things which are hidden from the wise and prudent, are revealed unto babes? I apprehend that this is the case; that the truth, as it is in Jesus, is marked by
unity, simplicity, and consistency, that, though the most indefatigable efforts in the search of it may prove fruitless, yet he who assumes the right starting point, and takes the right direction, will surely and easily find it. My object in this tract is to guide the inquirer after truth. I wish to exhibit the only foundation on which a system of religious truth can be safely built; and then to show my readers how, upon this basis, they may interpret the scriptures, try the creeds of others, and construct their own systems.
We are then first to seek a foundation for the system of religious truth, for some great central doctrine, from which all others shall radiate, and by which all others shall be tested. The lack of such a foundation has been the defect, and has occasioned the dissolution of numberless systems. They have been composed of discordant materials. There has been in them no principle of cohesion, no necessary connexion of part with part, none of that strength which compactness alone can bestow. They have accordingly been attacked and demolished in detail. Far different has been the case with Calvinism, a system which has cursed the birth, and triumphed in the death of hundreds of rival creeds, a system which, though now known under the name of a modern reformer, cannot in fairness have a later origin assigned to it than the days of St. Augustine. Calvinism has a foundation. It is a regular and compact structure fitly joined together. This distinction is at once claimed for it by its advocates, and ceded to it by its enemies; and to this is it indebted for its length of days, and for the adamantine front, with which it has for ages blunted the weapons of theological controversy. Its foundation is the doctrine of man's