Philosophy and church history experts wanted! I need some help. I’ve got a theory; but can anyone confirm its validity?
Having researched the ins and outs of the development of Revivalism during the eighteenth and nineteenth-century against the backdrop of the Enlightenment, my thesis is that Charles Finney's central emphasis on human ability and his confidence in the effect of natural means to change the world can ultimately be understood as an over-reaction by American Evangelicalism to David Hume's scepticism and rejection of causality.
David Hume had argued in1739 in A Treatise of Human Nature:
"I am sensible that of all the paradoxes which I have had, of shall hereafter have occasion to advance in the course of this Treatise, the present one is the most violent, and that it is merely by dint of solid proof and reasoning I can ever hope it will have admission, and overcome the inveterate prejudices of mankind. Before we are reconciled to this doctrine, how often must we repeat to ourselves, that
 the simple view of any two objects or actions, however related, can never give us any idea of power, or of a connection betwixt them : that
 this idea arises from the repetition of their union : that
 the repetition neither discovers nor causes anything in the objects, but has an influence only on the mind, by that customary transition it produces : that
 this customary transition is therefore the same with the power and necessity; which are consequently qualities of perceptions, not of objects, and are internally felt by the soul, and not perceived externally in bodies?" (Hume, 1739)
At the time that it came out, Thomas Reid was particularly disturbed by Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature. He as a moderate Presbyterian saw Hume’s work as a denial of the reality of external objects, causation and the unity of the mind. So he attempted to overcome what he saw as a threat posed by Hume to Christianity by writing: Inquiry into the Human Mind on the Principles of Common Sense (1764), Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man (1764) and Essays on the Active Powers of Man (1785). Scottish Realism was the popular movement that he left behind him in the eighteenth and nineteenth-century. It was ultimately a humanistic teaching of common sense realism that taught that ‘reason’ provides proof of the first principles of morality that make humans free moral agents.
Jonathan Edwards would have loathed reading Thomas Reid. But sadly, Edward’s own grandson, Timothy Dwight was greatly influenced by Reid’s new realism, who then in turn profoundly influenced one of his students, Nathaniel W. Taylor, who went on to build on his foundation to undertake a major rewrite of almost every almost every doctrine of the Reformation, Calvinism and Edwards, including revelation, human depravity, the sovereignty of God, the atonement, and regeneration. And picking up Taylor’s New Haven theology, Charles Finney brought it to maturity and widespread acceptance as one of the leading evangelists in the Second Great Awakening and American Holiness movement.
In an age of Enlightenment, when Reason was the language of debate, and Philosophy had seemingly taken the ground out from under Christianity by rejecting causality and confidence in human ability, Thomas Reid reacted by asserting the power of people to shape their world and their destiny. His approach of fighting reason with reason, and philosophical innovation with theological revision set in place a chain-reaction that would result in the evolution of a brand new form of revivalism: a revivalism that has long left behind Edward’s insistence on total dependence on the sovereign and free grace of God and has become a new form of Christian legalism. It insists on the central role of human ability and free choice, and preaches a Christian duty of exercising total commitment to his work in order to bring a new and unique power from God to change both our lives and our world.
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Expert advice and insight anyone?