A selection from a letter by Jonathan Edwards to John Erskine in Scotland. The letter was written from Stockbridge on December 11, 1755. Mr. Edwards comments on a book that he had recently received from Erskine but had already read. Erskine had sent him a copy of Essays on the Principles of Morality, by William Hogg. He also refers to a book by the Scottish philosopher, David Hume, who was famous for his naturalistic philosophy and trust in the powers of human reason. Titles by David Hume in Edwards “Catalogue of Reading,” include A Treatise of Human Nature, Philosophical Essays Concerning Human Understanding, and An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals.
I had before read that book of essays; having borrowed Mr. Bellamy’s; and also that book of Mr. David Hume’s which you speak of. I am glad of an opportunity to read such corrupt books; especially when written by men of considerable genius; that I may have an idea of the notions that prevail in our nation.
Jonathan Edwards: Letters and Personal Writings, edited by George S. Claghorn, vol. 16 in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Yale University Press, 1998, p. 679.