From these results we see that Shaftesbury, opposed to Hobbes and Locke, is in close agreement with Hutcheson, and that he is ultimately a deeply religious thinker, inasmuch as he discards the moral sanction of public opinion, the terrors of future punishment, the authority' of the civil authority, as the main incentives to goodness, and substitutes the voice of conscience and the love of God.
This seeming pedantry is, however, atoned for by the clear practical aim of his sermons, the noble ideal he keeps before his hearers, and the skill with which he handles spiritual experience and urges incentives to virtue.
Tribal feuds are no longer the main incentives to verse.
Moreover, independently of special incentives to the alarmist and the man of property, the opinions of many Americans turned again, after the war, into a current of sympathy for England, as naturally as American commerce returned to English ports.
In brief, then, the criticism of the Old Testament seeks to discover what the words written actually meant to the writers, what the events in Hebrew history actually were, what the religion actually was; and hence its aim differs from the dogmatic or homiletic treatments of the Old Testament, which have sought to discover in Scripture a given body of dogma or incentives to a particular type of life or the like.