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offered to the pilgrim through this world, if he believes that his own unaided strength can avail to win for him a safe passage to the next. Unblessed, we must fear, will be the services of God's house, and the teachings of His Word, to him who has forgotten all self-examination and private prayer. But when the formal enunciations of doctrine are duly covered and breathed upon, they live and stand up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.'
Hence we see, in all religious revivals, that alarms of the conscience and appeals to individual seriousness form the just and natural commencement. But it is important to observe that this renewed earnestness almost invariably proceeds to assume a scientific form and objective character, or else evaporates and dies away. This scientific teaching may indeed lean too greatly upon some one man, such as Calvin, and thus become, even though logical and consistent, yet exceeding narrow and imperfect; but, on the other hand, it may, while adapting itself to the needs and availing itself of the resources of its own age, fall back upon the rich resources of antiquity, and thus fostered • upon all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old,' approximate to the wisdom of the true scribe, - instructed unto the kingdom of heaven.''
And while, on the one hand, the dogmas of religion afford resting-places (if we may thus change our comparison) for the weak and weary, they are likewise starting-points whence bolder spirits may safely issue forth to wander over the comparatively unexplored fields of exegetical inquiry, or even, if duty so demand, to traverse the thorny paths of controversy ; for Christianity, while it does not, like paganism, suffer even the most fundamental articles (such as the nature of God, the immortality of the soul, the judgment to come) to remain undecided and debateable, yet leaves open to the inquisitive temper a vast area of lawful speculation. Most especially,' says Lord Bacon, the Christian Faith, as in all things so in 'this, deserveth to be highly magnified; holding and preserving
the golden mediocrity in this point, between the law of the “ heathen and the law of Mahomet, which have embraced the two extremes. For the religion of the heathen had no constant belief or confession, but left all to the liberty of argument; and 'the religion of Mahomet, on the other side, interdicteth argument altogether-the one having the very face of error, and the other of imposture; whereas the faith doth both admit and reject disputation with difference.'?
· Thus the (so-called) Tractarian movement was the natural sequence of the (so-called) Evangelical movement; and numbers who sympathised with the earlier, mainly subjective, current of thought, have since approved, and at length heartily accepted, the more systematic and objective teaching of the latter school, which has superseded it,
2 Cant, vii. 13; Matt, xiii. 52.
The principles we have been occupied in asserting, though put together in our own way, are in themselves so old,
and have been affirmed by so many writers, from S. Basil to S. Bernard, from Bishop Bull to academical professors of our own day, that the reader may not unnaturally be tempted to exclaim, quorsum hæc? We answer, that the re-statement of these positions on our part has sprung from the conviction, that there has arisen in the present century a tendency to revolt against dogma in religion, to deny its use, its soundness, its possibility; and that such a tendency is, in our judgment, fraught with danger, most imminent danger, to the cause of religion at large. The attack has been conducted in very different ways, and with different objects, but the ultimate results would be the same. There has been employed against the value and authority of creeds and dogmas the insidious sneer of Gibbon (who knew well at what he was aiming), often intermingled, however, with some striking admission, some precious fragment of truth; there has been the bold and contemptuous denunciation of all creeds by Dr. Channing; there has been the attempt to represent • the natural history of the soul as the true basis of theology ;' there has been a flood of German writers and American imitators, Deists, Pantheists, Atheists, agreeing in scarcely anything but the rejection, firstly, of creeds, and then (but too consistently) of the inspiration of God's Holy Word; and finally, in this questionable company, along with Fichte, with Emerson, with Theodore Parker, and with Strauss, are conjoined, in so far as regards opposition to dogmatic teaching, at least two writers of real piety and good intentions, Neander, and the author of the book before us, Dr. Horace Bushnell. It is with the last named that we are mainly concerned; with the rest we shall not meddle, except incidentally. Their attacks upon dogmatism, when placed before religious persons, carry to a great extent their own antidote with them. A pious mind, even if disposed to underrate the value of the Church's creeds, will assuredly recoil from the Gibbonian sneer. He may, unhappily, consider the formal teaching of the undivided Church to be erroneous, and then he will regard it as the mistaken aliment of many million souls for long centuries; or he may hold it for God's own truth, divinely appointed to be one of the media of salvation, and to be recognised as such before Christ, and men, and angels, at the last great day; and, in either case, the subject will seem too solemn for mockery. Neither, again, will the attacks of Socinians, although ostensibly based upon general and quasi-philosophic ground, he received without just and well-merited suspicion. They have an obvious interest in denying the worth and authority of documents, which denounce the teachings of Arius and Socinus as fraught with everlasting evil to the souls of those who wilfully, and with full consciousness of what they are doing, accept them; still less can men who have renounced all belief in Revelation, or who have even sunk below pure theism, and hold less truth than a Mahometan, expect a hearing from a Christian audience, when they dilate upon themes which presuppose a Christian treatment. But it is far otherwise, when the writer's aim is evidently good, and what we deem to be dangerous errors are mingled with much that is beautiful and true. In selecting Dr. Bushnell's work as the representative of attacks upon Dogmatic Theology, we are not taking one of the most recent, nor one of the most elaborate of such works, but we are certainly choosing one of the most able and attractive; indeed, so attractive in parts that some of our contemporaries have, we fear, unintentionally given a false idea of the book and its tendency, by quoting only from its most unexceptionable pages.
1 Adv. of Learning, Book II. versus fin. Compare the following striking language of a recent author :-There is extant no perfect theological system which is also proved. On some points, after all the labours of bygone times, we must inquire for ourselves. On the other hand, it would be most false and dangerous to assume that nothing has hitherto been settled ; that there is now no ark in which the truth of God is preserved ; and that every individual Christian must toss in his own little bark on the perilous sea of opinion. We who believe that the Church is really an institution of God, and that our place within it is determined by His divine providence, may discover that the restless waters of doubt are confined within an outer edge of certainty.'—Chretien's Lectures on the Study of Theology (Oxford, 1851). Introductory Lecture.
Dr. Bushnell's Discourses are prefaced by a dissertation upon language, which lays a foundation for much that is to follow. Then come the three discourses; the first being on the Divinity of Christ, the next upon the Atonement, and the last upon Dogma and Spirit. A few extracts from the headings of the introductory and of the final discourse, will show that it is with them that our immediate business lies, although we shall have occasion to refer to other portions besides these.
'A false element in words of thought. Etymologies to be studied. Opposing words necessary. The logical method deceitful. Interpretation. Language insufficient for the uses of dogma. Creeds and confessions.'
Christianity displaces the Pharisaic dogma. Enters the world as spirit and life. Lapses next into dogma. Consequent discord and corruption. The Reformation a partial remedy. The reviving of revivals insufficient. Dogma and spirit distinguished. Province and uses of Christian theology. Causes of the lapse into dogma. Resulting benefits of the same theological capacities of dogma. Piety itself limited by dogma.'
And on the whole, despite what is true and good in Dr. Bushnell's pages—despite some important admissions which seem to us to militate against his theory—his work must be regarded as an attack upon the use of reason in sacred subjects, and a denial of the possibility of Dogmatic Theology.
Our objections to the book might be summed up in the brief but now somewhat hackneyed formula, that'what is true is not new, and what is new is not true.' But, in fact, there is some difficulty in deciding how much even of the upsound
portion can be called new. A reader, who is conversant with • Neander's Life of Christ' and 'Bishop Hampden's Bampton Lectures,' will hardly, we think, find himself confronted with many ideas that seem absolutely novel; while, on the other hand, those who are acquainted with the works of the late Dr. Mill, of Cambridge, or the Sermons of Professor Hussey at the sister University, will certainly be, in a very great degree, forewarned, forearmed. Probably, too, though we cannot here speak with positiveness, the works of Schleiermacher' might be discovered to have suggested a good deal to Dr. Bushnell. We use the word suggested advisedly, for we do not mean to insinuate a charge of any base or unfair plagiarism; we are simply asserting, what must be obvious upon a glance at American divinity, that the mind of Germany has crossed the Atlantic in great force, and is exercising an immense influence upon the thought of the Western Hemisphere.
But, to draw out our objections more fully and formally, we maintain that Dr. Bushnell commits serious mistakes with respect to the functions of language, which vitiate much of his subsequent reasoning; that he ignores important and relevant texts of Holy Scripture, important and relevant facts of human nature; that where he condescends to allude to history, his views are at best but superficial, and occasionally utterly wrong and groundless; that while condemning the dogmatic confessions of the early and undivided Church, he displays (it is a common case) a dogmatism of his own, differing from the Church's dogmatism in this, that hers is scriptural and true, while his is unscriptural and false ; and that, finally, his sentiments concerning both language and dogma would tell fatally, if pushed to their logical conclusions, against the inspiration of Holy Scripture, and its worth as a revelation to mankind.
1 Schleiermacher received his religious education among the Moravians, and thus imbibed a love of religion which never forsook him. But it was a love only of religious feeling, and not a predilection for the distinctive faith of the Christian Church: it was a love of the beautiful, poetical, but vague religious sentiment, which he imagines to be the principal feature of Christianity, and an utter disregard of the definite, unbending doctrines, which were once delivered to the saints.' -Letters on German Protestantism, pp. 167, 168.
These charges, however serious, may be supported, we would trust, without anything like undue personality. We think, indeed, that Dr. Bushnell's reading has probably been limited to a somewbat narrow range.
There is no appearance of any real acquaintance with the works of any one of the great dogmatic theologians—patristic, medieval, or modern-upon whose labours 'he passes judgment. Athanasius, John of Damascus, Augustine, and other saintly fathers, Anselm, Bradwardine, Peter Lombard, Aquinas, Pearson, Bull, Mill, Dorner, Möhler, are all virtually involved by him in one common condemnation; all have committed what in our author's eyes are grievous
It is only natural to desiderate some proof that he possesses more than a mere second-hand and hearsay knowIedge of their works. We think, too, that there may unhap, pily exist a closer connexion between Dr. Bushnell's labours and those of other men, whose writings have been enrolled in Mr. Chapman's so-called Catholic Series,' than he himself is aware of. It is strange at first sight, certainly, to find an anti-Sabellian and anti-Socinian writer in company with Fichte and with Emerson-the pantheistic Fichte, who asserts that 'the conception of God as a particular substance is impossible and contradictory;' the boldly blaspheming Emerson, who declares that Churches are not built upon his [Christ's] principles, but on his tropes. Historical Christianity is not the doctrine of the soul, but an exaggeration of the personal, the * positive, the ritual. It has dwelt, it dwells, with noxious exaggeration about the person of Jesus. The soul knows no ' persons .. By his holy thoughts Jesus serves us, and thus
only.'? Dr. Bushnell, who writes in so different a spirit, has not, we trust, been a consentient party to this conjunction. But, even if it be regarded as the deed of an editor or publisher, it should surely be a hint alike to an author and his readers. It may suggest the question, Is not there some hidden bond of union between authors seemingly so opposite? For our own part, we believe that those who have brought them into company know perfectly well what they are about.
But although the principle of noscitur à sociis may be in some degree applicable to our author, we should be sorry to ignore the features which exalt him conspicuously above most of his allies. There are, as we have already intimated, parts of his book which command our partial, parts which command our entire, sympathy. The following, though by no means a new argument against Socinianism, is extremely well stated. [The italics are ours.]
! Nature of the Scholar, &c. (Translated by William Smith.)
? Orations, No II, delivered in Divinity College, Cambridge, U. S. NO. LXXXIX.-N.S.