From The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, p. 364:
HOPKINSIANISM: A system of theology which was very prominent in New England in the later eighteenth century. Its roots are embedded in the published and unpublished writings of the elder Jonathan Edwards; hens it has been called the "Edwardean Divinity." The main principles of it are either taught or implied in the writing of Samuel Hopkins, or Newport, R. I. (whence the name; see Hopkins, Samuel). Those principles which are merely implied in the system of Hopkins were unfolded and somewhat modified by this three friend Stephen West, Nathanael Emmons, and Samuel Spring (qq. v.). As logically connected with each other, and as understood by the majority of its advocates, the system contains the following principles:
- Every moral agent choosing right had the natural power to choose wrong, and choosing wrong has the natural power to choose right.
- He is under no obligation to perform an an act, unless he has the natural ability to perform it.
- Although in the act of choosing every man is as free as any moral agent can be, yet he is acted upon while he acts freely, and the divine providence, as well as decree, extends to all his wrong as really as to his right volitions.
- All sin is so overruled by God as to become the occasion of good to the universe.
- The holiness and sinfulness of every moral agent belong to him personally and exclusively, and can not be imputed in a literal sense to any other agent.
- As the holiness and the sin of man are exercises of his will, there is neither holiness nor sin in his nature viewed as distinct from these exercises.
- As all his moral acts before regeneration are certain to be entirely sinful, no promos of regenerating grace is made to any of them.
- The impenitent sinner is obligated, and should be exhorted, to cease from all impenitent acts, and to begin a hold life at one. His moral inability to obey this exhortation is not a literal inability, but is a mere certainty that, while left to himself, he will sin; and this certainty is no reason for his not being required and urged to abstain immediately from all sin.
- Every impenitent sinner should be willing to suffer the punishment which God wills to inflict upon him. In whatsoever sense he should submit to the diving justice punishing other sinners, int that sense he should submit to the divine justice punishing himself. In whatever sense the punishment of the finally obdurate promotes the highest good of the universe, in that sense he should be submissive to the divine will in punishing himself, if finally obdurate. This principle is founded mainly on the two following.
- All holiness consists in the elective preference of the greater above the smaller, and all sins consists in the elective preference of the smaller above the greater, good of sentient beings.
- All the moral attributes of God are comprehended in general benevolence, which is essentially the same with general justice, and includes simple, complacential, and composite benevolence; legislative, retributive, and public justice.
- The atonement of Christ consists not in his enduring the punishment threatened by the law, nor in his performing the duties required by the law, but in his manifesting and honoring by his pains, and especially by his death, all the divine attributes which would have been manifested in the same and no higher degree by the punishment of the redeemed.
- The atonement was made for all men, the non-elect as really as the elect. See New England Theology.