Observations on “The Two Sons of Oil” (LF ed.)
Observations on “The Two Sons of Oil” was written in 1811 in response to the Reverend Samuel B. Wylie’s work, The Two Sons of Oil, which was published in 1803. In this work of radical Presbyterian theology, Wylie pointed out what he considered to be deficiencies in the constitutions of both Pennsylvania and the United States and declared them to be immoral. Findley’s response to Wylie’s criticisms in Observations showed that it was neither the purpose nor the design of the United States government to have a federal religion and a federal creed. In a broader sense the book is also a passionate defense of a civil government guided by moral principles that allow for essential freedoms. Findley’s defense of religious liberty and the American constitutions affords a grand window through which to view early American understanding about the relationship between politics and faith and why it is essential for both liberty and piety to resist any attempt to unite government and Church.
Observations on “The Two Sons of Oil”, Containing a Vindication of the American Constitutions, and Defending the Blessings of Religious Liberty and Toleration, against the Illiberal Strictures of the Rev. Samuel B. Wylie, edited and with an introduction by John Caldwell (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2007).
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
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Table of Contents
- 1.: The federal constitution “does not even recognize the existence of God.”
- 2.: Most of the state constitutions contain “positive immorality” in recognizing the rights of conscience in worship.
- 3.: The government gives a legal security and establishment to gross heresy, blasphemy, and idolatry, under the notion of liberty of conscience.
- 4.: Civil officers are sworn to support the constitutions, which sanction gross immorality.
- 5.: The governments make no provision for the interest of true religion.
- 6.: The governments are in a state of national rebellion against God.
- 7.: Deists and even atheists may be chief magistrates.
- 8.: Most of the states recognize the principle of slavery.
- 9.: “A last reason why we reject these constitutions is, that we are bound by the moral law, as subjects of the God of Heaven, to obey his will; and whatever is contrary thereunto we are obliged to reject.”
- Observations on “The Two Sons of Oil”
- CHAPTER I
- CHAPTER II
- CHAPTER III
- CHAPTER IV
- CHAPTER V
- CHAPTER VI
- INDEX OF BIBLICAL CITATIONS
- Old Testament
- New Testament