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Philosophy and Religion in Enlightenment BritainNew Case Studies$
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Ruth Savage

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199227044

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199227044.001.0001

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Presbyterianism and the right of private judgement

Presbyterianism and the right of private judgement

Church government in Ireland and Scotland in the age of Francis Hutcheson

(p.141) 7 Presbyterianism and the right of private judgement
Philosophy and Religion in Enlightenment Britain

James Moore

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines Hutcheson’s ideas of rights and prudence in the context of debated issues of church government in early eighteenth-century Ireland and Scotland. He agreed with ministers in northern Ireland who refused to subscribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith: he thought that every individual should enjoy the right of private judgement in matters of religious belief. And he argued in response to concerns expressed by his father, John Hutcheson, that determination of the form of church government must be left to human prudence. He endorsed an initiative within the Church of Scotland that ministers should be called by landed gentlemen or by magistrates, not by congregations who might call ministers who would insist on subscription to confessions and creeds. True religion could be best achieved by prudence and by respect for the right of private judgement.

Keywords:   church government, Francis Hutcheson, John Hutcheson, Presbyterianism, prudence, rights, private judgement

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