Thoughts on Various Subjects

By Rev. R. Donnell



Preface to First Edition, [original page 3]
Preface to Third Edition, [original page 5]
On the Character of God, [original page 9]
On the Trinity, [original page 12]
On the Creation of Man, [original page 14]
On the Government of God, [original page 15]
O the Law of God, [original page 16]
On the Fall of Man, [original page 20]
On the Character of the Mediator, [original page 21]
On the Extent of the Atonement, [original page 22]
On the Operation of the Holy Spirit, [original page 24]
On the Will of Man, [original page 27]
On Man's Authority to Believe on Christ, [original page 30]
On Experimental Religion, [original page 34]
On Faith and Regeneration, [original page 38]
Cardinal Points, [original page 43]
On Election, [original page 50]
Perseverance of the Saints, [original page 53]
Free Moral Agency, [original page 90]
Predestination and Foreknowledge, of Knowledge and Decree, [original page 98]
The Personality and Office of the Holy Spirit, [original page 101]
A Synopsis of the Bible Doctrines in their Order, [original page 107]
On Sanctification, [original page 111]
On Original Sin, [original page 116]
On the Resurrection, [original page 121]
On Baptism, [original page 125]
The Sabbath, [original page 130]
On Missions, [original page 134]
The Church wants more Ministers of the Right Stamp, [original page 139]
The Church wants more Mothers, [original page 143]
The Church wants more Sisters, [original page 146]
Letter on Church Doctrines, [original page 149]
The Interests of the Church, [original page 154]
Religion of the Bible, [original page 155]
Comment on Jude Ninth, [original page 158]
Devils casting out Devils, [original page 161]
A Short Sermon from a Long Text, [original page 165]
Confession of Faith, [original page 169]
Efficiency in the Church, [original page 172]
A View of the Present and the Past, [original page 175]
Comment on I Peter iv, 12, [original page 179]
Theological Class at Lebanon, Tennessee, [original page 184]
He was a Burning and a Shining Light, [original page 187]
On Free Communion, [original page 188]
Why do we Sit Still? [original page 189]
Sin and Holiness, [original page 191]
When may we Know an Enemy or Friend? [original page 192]
Who is in the Fault? [original page 195]
On Building Churches, [original page 196]
Church Business, [original page 199]
Claims of the Different Denominations, [original page 200]
Persecution has Contributed to the Spread of the Gospel, [original page 203]
Be Patient in Tribulation, [original page 207]
Revivals--General Assembly, [original page 210]
Christian Fellowship, [original page 213]


Brief Historical Sketch of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, [original page 215]



IN a country of equal rights, it is the privilege of every one to think freely, investigate fairly, and explain in the most simple, plain and candid manner. Truth acknowledges no dependence on sophistry for success. It relies alone upon fair argument, and, when properly understood, appears well even in a homely dress.

It is the duty of every branch of the Church, when circumstances require it, to give her view of what the Bible teaches. Concealment, double-dealing and mental reservations, in some cases, should always be carefully avoided.

The Cumberland Presbyterians have adopted a system of doctrines, in the belief and practice of which they are, perhaps, as firm and uniform as any other denomination. While they claim the privilege of believing that this system is fully sustained by the word of God, they are very far from arrogating to themselves INFALLIBILITY in interpreting the Holy Scriptures. They have ever maintained, that a difference in subordinate points of doctrine, ought not to constitute separate communions, or destroy the UNITY of the church of Christ.

Although they have adopted and published to the world, a Confession of Faith, and a system of Church Government, yet they have probably been remiss in not giving these formularies a more general circulation. In this they are entirely singular. Other branches of the Church exercise a laudible diligence in putting the volume containing their peculiarities in the hand of every individual within their reach. They thereby manifest not only sincerity in their belief, but a wish to disseminate what they deem correct principles.

The Cumberland Presbyterians have heretofore, manifested but little interest in writing and publishing arguments for the purpose of defending the doctrines of their Church. Their fields of operation have been large and white unto harvest and have required the active and constant labors of all their preachers. This, in connection with a desire to fraternize with all religious denominations, has been, perhaps, of some disadvantage to them. It is still hoped, however, that they will forever banish that little sectarian bigotry that has on some occasions emanated from the presses of other branches of the Church.

The following thoughts and historical sketch have been elicited by frequent applications from abroad, for information concerning the doctrines and origin of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, of which the writer has the honor of being a member. He hopes they will not infringe upon that spirit of harmony and union which he wishes at all times to prevail among evangelical denominations.


SEVERAL years ago the author consented to the publication of a pamphlet entitled "Miscellaneous Thoughts on several subjects of Divinity, so much controverted in the World." This little work, so far as appears, met with the general approbation of the Church of which he is a member and minister.

Long has he been urged by many of his brethren to prepare and publish to the world an enlarged edition of this production. With these urgent solicitations, he has ever felt inclined to comply. But his numerous and pressing calls, have hitherto prevented him. Being one of the oldest ministers of his denomination, the care for all the Churches devolved to some extent upon his mind. His presence was loudly and imperiously called for in many parts of the Church, which necessarily enlarged the field of his ministerial operations, as well as multiplied his many and arduous duties. Necessarily, much of his time and labors have been spent from home.

During the period in which he has endeavored to meet these numerous and pressing calls, he has from time to time, as circumstances might suggest to his mind, snatched a few hurried moments from other engagements, to throw a few other miscellaneous thoughts together for the columns of the "Banner of Peace," and other religious periodicals of the Church. Having at length, become advanced in life, and well worn in the service of the Church, and in the cause of his Divine Master, he has, of necessity, become somewhat more local.

To meet the present demands of the Church, and to enable him with more convenience hereafter to revise and enlarge his little Book, the author has resolved to collect from the files of his religious papers, the short pieces written by him from time to time, and add these to Miscellaneous Thoughts, and thus enlarge his Miscellaneous Book, and send it out to a Miscellaneous Public. Should life be continued a few years, he fondly hopes to have it in his power to enlarge this volume; but should he be removed from the Church below before that time, he desires that some of his surviving brethren, more capable than he now feels himself to be, will take up this little volume and enlarge, extend and perpetuate these very miscellaneous thoughts--they are thoughts upon the Bible--and, if according to that book, they are thoughts of truth. The only desire of the author, in sending these thoughts to the world, is, that they may inspire those under whose observation they may happen to fall, with thoughts of truth--that thought may thus inspire thought, and the truth be perpetuated in the Church, and in the world. When the general mass of mind shall all think according to the truth, then will all be free from error and sin, and be sanctified and happy.
                                                                                                                                                THE AUTHOR.
Athens, Ala., May 3, 1851.

Donnell, Robert. Thoughts on Various Subjects. Louisville, Ky.: Published for the Board of Publication by Rev. Lee Roy Woods, 1852. [2 copies in archives]

Donnell, Robert. Thoughts on Various Subjects. Louisville, Ky.: Published for the Board of Publication by Rev. Lee Roy Woods, 1854. [2 copies in archives]

Donnell, Robert. Thoughts on Various Subjects. Louisville, Ky.: Published by J. Anderson for the Cumberland Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1856. [No copy in archives]

Donnell, Robert. Thoughts on Various Subjects. Nashville, Tenn.: Board of Publication by L. R. Woods, 1870. [No copy in archives]

Donnell, Robert. Thoughts on Various Subjects. Nashville, Tenn.: Board of Publication of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1872. [Two copies in archives]

Donnell, Robert. Thoughts on Various Subjects. Nashville, Tenn.: Board of Publication, Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1880. [one copy in archives]

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Updated March 27, 2007