Lucy Hutchinson (1620–1681). On the Principles of the Christian Religion. 1817.


THE TALENTS of Mrs. Hutchinson as a writer are so well known, and have been so justly appreciated, that it will be unnecessary to say more in this place, than that it is presumed the present work will be found to shed fresh lustre on her character, from the uniform moderation, rationality, and mildness of the principles it discovers; from the liberal, elegant, and dignified deportment of mind it displays, and the pure and gentle spirit of Christianity which pervades every sentiment, and actuated every motive of the Author. As such, it was considered a duty to her memory to rescue from oblivion another most eminent proof of her singular talents and virtues, that they may bloom anew for the future edification of her sex.

That such a subject should have exercised her pen will not be thought extraordinary, when the times in which she lived, and her own peculiar turn of mind, so beautifully described in the fragment of her own Life, published in the Memoirs of her Husband, are taken into consideration. And it will be found, that there are displayed throughout the Work great scriptural learning, argumentative acuteness, classical genius, and extensive research, conjoined with an ample knowledge of the leading works of the Jewish, Heathen, and Christian writers on Theology, Ethics, Philosophy, Logic, and other branches of literature connected with the subjects brought under discussion; and that she has communicated her knowledge in such a style of chaste simplicity, and in such nervous, elegant, and unaffected diction, that it will give her as high a rank among the religious, as she already holds among the historical writers of her country.

Wherever her comments on scriptural opinions happen to differ from those generally received, it will be recollected that the responsibility for such deviation rests with Mrs. Hutchinson, and with her alone, whether it be established on tenable grounds or the contrary. But it is not unworthy of remark, that she rarely steps aside, in order to hazard a novel idea, without assigning her reasons for so doing, which are often not without their force, and never uninteresting.