As has already been made quite clear, religion played a prominent role both in Kames’s thinking and in his conduct, as it did in that of his countrymen generally at this time. We would, therefore, be giving a very imperfect idea of his thought about man, society and the world about him, did we not include here some account of his views on man’s relation to his larger universe and on the implications of a belief in Providence for his conduct in relation to his fellow man. To be sure, his thinking on such matters reflects in some ways both the more traditional and the changing thinking of his contemporaries; but there are also ways in which his thinking was in advance of that of his contemporaries and in which he may be said to have made a distinct contribution to religious thinking that looked to the future rather than to the past. His more personal creed and personal piety, we have dealt with in a previous chapter. In this chapter we shall attempt to characterize both his philosophy of religion, if we may call it that, and the tenets of the Christian faith to which he gave his strongest approval.1


Religious Thinking Personal Creed Public Worship Natural Religion Religious Opinion 
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  1. 1.
    On the religious background, ecclesiastical and doctrinal struggles, etc. in Scotland in Kames’s time, the reader will find the following particularly helpful: Mathieson, op. cit., Chs. IV and V and pp. 226–233; W. Ferguson, op. cit., Ch. IV; Graham, The Social Life of Scotland in the Eighteenth Century, Chs. VIII-X; Brown, History of Scotland, Vol. III, Ch. VIII, sec. iii. Alex. Carlyle’s Autobiography, passim, throws interesting sidelights on the matter.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Thos. Carlyle’s essay on Walter Scott.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    See infra, p. 282.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    John Millar, Historical View, Vol. III, pp. 87f.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    See esp. Brown, Surveys, pp. 108f., Mathieson, op. cit., Chs. IV and V, and Graham, Social Life, Ch. IX.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Mathieson, op. cit., pp. 169–185.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    The principal sources on Kames’s own religious associations, attitudes, beliefs and ideas are the following: Tytler, I, pp. 137–49 and II, pp. 220–26 and 233–38; pertinent sections of his own Principles of Morality and Natural Religion, especially essays VI and VII and the prayer at the end of the work (see below, Appendix IV); his “sketch” on “Principles and Progress of Theology” (Sketches, Book III, Sketch 3, or vol. IV, pp. 189–434); and Sec. VII, including appendix, of his Loose Hints on Education. There are also occasional references in Ramsay, Boswell, and in Smellie, op. cit. Citations and brief quotations without source reference in what follows fall within the “sketch” here cited (Sketches, IV, 189–434).Google Scholar
  8. 22.
    LHE, p. 167 and in general pp. 161–220.Google Scholar
  9. 23.
    See infra, App. I, letter 7. The letter here cited is dated 13 Nov., 1764.Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1932

Authors and Affiliations

  • William C. Lehmann

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