Chauncy, Charles

Chauncy, Charles

(chôn`sē, chän`–), 1705–87, American Congregational clergyman, b. Boston. He was ordained as a minister of the First Church, Boston, in 1727 and remained in that pulpit for 60 years. Next to Jonathan Edwards, his great opponent, Chauncy was probably the most influential clergyman of his time in New England. As an intellectual he distrusted emotionalism and opposed the revivalist preaching of the Great AwakeningGreat Awakening,
series of religious revivals that swept over the American colonies about the middle of the 18th cent. It resulted in doctrinal changes and influenced social and political thought. In New England it was started (1734) by the rousing preaching of Jonathan Edwards.
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 in his Seasonable Thoughts on the State of Religion in New England (1743) and other pamphlets. He became the leader of the "Old Lights" or liberals in theology in the doctrinal disputes following the Great Awakening. He was also the leader in the opposition to the establishment of an Anglican bishopric in the American colonies, writing his Compleat View of Episcopacy (1771) and other works on the subject. A firm believer in the colonial cause, he clearly set forth the political philosophy of the American Revolution in sermons and pamphlets during the period. After the war he defended the doctrine of Universalism in two anonymous tracts: Salvation for All Men (1782) and The Mystery Hid from Ages and Generations (1784).

Bibliography

See W. Walker, Ten New England Leaders (1901, repr. 1969).

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Chauncy, Charles

(1705–87) Protestant religious leader; born in Boston, Mass. A 1721 Harvard graduate, he became pastor of the First (Congregational) Church of Boston in 1727 and remained for 60 years. A leader of theological liberalism in New England, he was in constant conflict with his Calvinist contemporary, Jonathan Edwards. A political liberal, too, he was an ardent patriot during the Revolution.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.