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Jonathan M. Yeager

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199916955

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199916955.001.0001

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Practical Disinterested Benevolence

Practical Disinterested Benevolence

Chapter:
(p.283) 44 Practical Disinterested Benevolence
Source:
Early Evangelicalism
Author(s):

Samuel Hopkins

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199916955.003.0045

This chapter presents excerpts from Samuel Hopkins's A Dialogue, Concerning the Slavery of the Africans; Shewing it To Be the Duty and Interest of the American Colonies to Emancipate All Their African Slaves (1776). Hopkins was one of the two leading intellectual disciples of Jonathan Edwards, the other being Joseph Bellamy. In 1770 he was invited to become the pastor of the First Congregational Church in Newport, Rhode Island. In response to Edwards's posthumous Dissertation Concerning the Nature of True Virtue (1765), Hopkins sought to clarify some of Edwards's seemingly abstract language concerning true virtue and promoted a theology that had a more significant practical application. In his Inquiry into the Nature of True Holiness (1773) and in later works, Hopkins proposed a theory of “disinterested benevolence” that was put to the test when he relocated to Newport, a large port city known for its flourishing slave trade. In his Dialogue, Hopkins portrayed slavery as morally and biblically antithetical to Christian ideals.

Keywords:   slavery, Samuel Hopkins, Africans, Jonathan Edwards, First Congregational Church, Newport, Rhode Island, true virtue, disinterested benevolence, slave trade

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