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proceeded in great measure from a very simple cause, to wit, an almost entire ignorance of their writings, or at best from a judgment of them founded upon partial, and often very unfairly extracted, specimens. Far different had been the judgment of the better writers of the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries, in most of whom we may discern the influence of • the scholastic logic in which they were trained," such as Herbert, Hooker, Sanderson, and others. Far different, so far at least as regards the intellectual valuation, is the judgment of those of our own age who have really made acquaintance with the schoolmen, such as Coleridge, Sir William Hamilton, Sir G. C. Lewis, Prince Albert de Broglie, and others, who are unanimous in admitting their extraordinary penetration and amazing compass of thought,' as well as their admirable skill." But although a large amount of our non-acceptance of their conclu. sions may be traced to difference about the premises to be employed, as is shown by Bishop Pearson in the first of his Lectiones de Deo et Attributis, yet it may be found that in many cases the legitimacy of the process is likewise open to question. Thus, to mention a single example, the scriptural terms (we take for convenience two already alluded to), only-begotten,' proceeding' (uovoyevns, nopevóuevov), imply a certain distinction between the relation in which the Persons of the Holy Trinity, to whom they are respectively applied, stand towards the Father, who is confessedly the Fons et Origo Deitatis. It is possible that we may be able to obtain a glimmering of light, so as to perceive some faint reason for such distinction. But Aquinas, though admitting that human reasonings cannot attain to the mystery of the Holy Trinity, yet certainly does assign reasons for the use of these terms, with a fulness and a positiveness which few can, we imagine, think safe or satisfactory, and which stands in marked contrast with the language of S. Austin on the self-same theme. “But of the difference between birth
i Guesses at Truth. First Series, p. 272. (Ed. 1847.) · Bishop Hampden, Lect. ii, p. 100.
3 “Satis quidem sunt acuti in illationibus conclusionum, satis in deductionibus assertionum perspicaces. Sed in ipsis locis ex quibus reliqua deducunt sæpissime peccant, et in ipsis principiis unde disputant semper aliquid est reformandum.' The Bishop proceeds to name the appeal to apocryphal books of Scripture, to non-ecumenical councils, to spurious works of Fathers, and to decrees of any Bishop of Rome, as premises involving dispute. Might he not have added the undue deference displayed by some, especially of Aquinas, to Aristotle? It should be observed that the lecture recommends, with these cautions, the study and even imitation of the schoolmen.—Minor Works, Ed. Churton, vol. i. p. 3. et seq.
* Summa Theologiæ, Pars Ima. Quæst. xxxii. art. 1.
5 Ibid. Pars Ima. Quæst. xxvii. arts. 1, 2, 3, especially art. 3. This is rather, perhaps, an example of over-explanation than undue deduction. But the latter is not far to seek Thus, e.g. can the conclusion, 'quod beatitudo dicatur in Deo
* and procession, who, in speaking of that most surpassing nature,
is able to explain? Not everything that proceeds is born, ' although everything which is born proceeds; as not everything • that is biped is man, although every man is a biped. This 'I know; but to distinguish between that generation and this pro
cession I know not, I have no power, I cannot acail. And for 'that, both the one and the other is ineffable, just as the Prophet, 'speaking of the Son, saith, “Who shall declare His generation ?” 'so, too, concerning the Holy Spirit, may it be truly said, “ Who • shall declare His procession ? Enough, then, for us that the
” • Son is not from Himself, but from Him of whom He is born; “the Holy Spirit is not from Himself, but from Him from whom • He proceeds." But we must not digress further in the question between words and things (the distinction between real and verbal truths being often, as students of logic are well aware, a much more difficult thing to settle than appears at first sight), except to observe that the scholastic authors are, after all, if studied with the cautions of Bishop Pearson, far safer guides even in this respect than Dr. Bushnell. And here we leave the objection against theology being constructed as a science upon a base of words, repeating that however justly it may be urged against certain teachers of theology, it leaves untouched the dogmatism of the creeds, the great bulk of patristic theology, and a very considerable portion even of the treatises of the schoolmen; and that it may be as fairly pressed against physical as against mental and moral philosophy. If (to take an example suggested by a friend, all endogenous plants should be proved by experiment to be monocotyledonous, we may then feel sure that such and such plants which we have in our hands, being endogenous, are also monocotyledonous. But this conclusion (assuming, for argument's sake, our major premiss to be correct) did not arise ex vi termini. That we called these plants endogenous, signified that we knew already that their accretions were formed inwardly. The scientific terms sum up, as it were, wliat we already know, and serve to exclude, with definiteness and precision, certain erroneous notions; but from the terms themselves we can conclude little beyond mere verbal truths, secundum intellectum,' (P. i. Qu. xxvi. art. 2,) be considered a safe inference from the premises ?
1. Quid autem inter nasci et procedere intersit, de illa excellentissima natura loquens, explicare quis potest? Ñon omne quod procedit nascitur, quam vis omne procedat quod nascitur, sicut non omne quod bipes est homo est, quamvis bipes sit omnis qui homo est. Hæc scio : distinguere autem inter illam generationem et hanc processionem nescio, non valeo, non sufficio. Ac per hoc quia et illa et ista est ineffabilis, sicut Propheta de Filio loquens ait, Generationem ejus quis enarrabit ? ita de Spiritu-sancto verissimè dicitur, Processionem ej is quis enarrabit ? Satis sit ergo nobis, quia non est à se ipso Filius, sed ab illo de quo natus est : non est à se ipso Spiritus-sanctus, sed ab illo de quo procedit. S. Aug. cont. Maximinum Arianum, lib. ii. cap. xiv. (Tom. viii. p. 703. Ed. Ben.)
such as that these endogenous plants are not exogenous, and the like. Other truths concerning them must be discovered by observation, not from the force of words.
Now, we submit to those who are already, or shall by study become, competent judges of the question, that it was the latter, the true function of scientific terminology, and not the mistaken one of seeking in any wise to rear science upon it as a basis, that the framers and defenders of the creeds attempted. Even in a later day, the famous Master of the Sentences, Peter Lombard, is found arguing against those heretics who maintained that the human soul is of one substance with the Creator (insisting on the term 'breathed into,' in Gen. ii. 7, inasmuch as that which any being breathes forth must be part of himself), as elinging with obstinacy to the words of Holy Writ (verbis scripturæ pertinaciter inhærentes).' And of the important difference between the East and West, upon the single or the twofold procession of the Holy Spirit, he expresses the opinion, which may, we trust, be found correct, that the difference is verbal rather than real: etiam in hoc in eandem nobiscum fidei sententiam convenire videntur, licet in verbis dissentiant." And if we go back to the doctors of those earlier ages, whose authority stands with us so much higher than that of the schoolmen, the case seems still more clear. At Nicæa each Bishop appears to have rehearsed the faith, which had been always professed by himself and the church over which he presided, and all (with some eighteen exceptions at most) condemned the views of Arius as unheard-of.3 What was sought was some new phrase which should exclude the new error. But that the master mind, which virtually ruled that council, only regarded the famous Homoousion as the expression of old truth, stated in such a way as to put a seal to the teaching of the Church, and its true interpretation of Holy Scripture, and effectually protest against the nascent heresy, is shown, if we mistake not, by the following words, among many similar ones which we might quote, addressed by S. Athanasius to the Semi-Arians:
• Those who accept everything else that was defined at Nicæa, and quarrel only about the One in substance, must not be received as enemies; nor do we attack them as Ariomaniacs, nor as opponents of the Fathers; but we discuss the matter with them as brothers with brothers, who mean what we mean, and dispute only about the word.''
This is surely not the language of one who was inclined to build
up theology upon mere words ; nor is it possible to judge the mind of the Church of that date more fairly than by the
i Sentent. lib. ii. distinct. xvii.
2 Ibid. lib. i. distinct. xi. D. 3 Vide Keble, Sermons, (Postscript) p. 386. • S. Athanasius, Epistle on Councils of Ariminum and Seleucia, chap. iii. (P. 138. Oxf. Tr.)
tone of one who ultimately became in these matters its spokesman and representative.
But does it therefore follow that, because a science is not strictly deductive, it thereby ceases to be a science? Such a doctrine would annihilate the inductive sciences at a blow, and all others which do not attain to the rank of purely deductive sciences. But definitions may still prove extremely valuable in the way of keeping us out of error. This,' says a recent editor of a work by Malthus, is the real use (and a most important one it is) of definitions in political economy, to determine what they do or do not include. They are intended to avoid 'ambiguity, and not, as in mathematics, to serve as the basis of 6 our reasonings."
Now, if Dr. Bushnell means, as we suspect he does mean, that language is insufficient, in the case of theology, for this latter object, all we have to remark is, that the assertion is a mere ipse dixit, which remains unproved, and is contrary to the general sense of the Christian world. As a plain matter of fact, the dogmas of Nicæa (which he especially attacks) have remained as a witness against all forms of Arianism for more than 1,500 years. Lambeth, and Trent, and Augsburg are here at one. • Ecclesiæ magno consensu apud nos docent, Decretum * Nicænæ Synodi de unitate essentiæ divinæ et de tribus personis 'rerum et sine ulla dubitatione credendum esse.' These are the opening words, not of an Anglican article or Tridentine decree, but of the Lutheran Confession of Augsburg. The consub
• 'stantiality of the Father and the Son was established,' says Gibbon, by the Council of Nice, and has been unanimously
received as a fundamental article of the Christian faith, by the 'consent of the Greek, the Latin, the Oriental, and the Pro
testant Churches.' Will the rationalism of Germany, will the cavils—for such we must call them--of Dr. Bushnell, succeed in persuading us to relinquish that inheritance? We speak more of the Nicene Creed than of that which bears the name of S. Athanasius, simply because it is the primary object of assault in the book before us and in kindred works, not as for a moment supposing that the latter is not equally defensible, and has not, like a finger-post marked dangerous,' saved numbers from the precipices of heresy.
"Creed of the saints, and anthem of the blest,
To thy recalling, tempted else to rove?' ? i Definitions in Political Economy. New Edition, with Notes. By John Cazenove. (London, 1853.)
Even if the language of these creeds imparted only negative ideas, which we are not prepared to admit, it would be much, if we cannot learn what our Creator is, at least to know what He is not. We need not have recourse to professed theologians to gain an admission of this principle. Les notions négatives,' writes a famous metaphysician,' sercent à nous garantir de l'erreur. • Elles ne sont pas donc pas nécessaires dans le cas où il est ' impossible de se tromper. Elles sont très-necessaires, très-importantes, par exemple, par rapport au concept que nous nous faisons d'un étre tel
Dieue' Dr. Bushnell feels the force of this view, and makes large admissions concerning it, (p. 295.) How he reconciles these admissions with the general purport of his argument, and his condemnation of the Nicerte and Athanasian Creeds, we do not understand, and must leave to others to discover.
Amongst the advantages divinely vouchsafed, we must still humbly believe, to the former, at least, of those solemn docu- ments, is that of having been composed in Greek. The Semitic
languages, unsurpassed in the expression of all that is simple and pathetic in narrative, or wise in moral precept, or sublime and awful in devotion and denunciation, yet fail in the combinations required for subtlety of argument, and definiteness in the expression of what is abstract. Thus the Koran, being composed in Arabic, a Semitic language, reminds us (it has been truly said) in its finer passages far more of Moses and the Prophets than of Apostles and Evangelists. The New Testament, we may boldly say, could not have been composed in Hebrew A vehicle for its teachings was provided in that western tongue, which had already been tried, and not found wanting, in every species of human composition, whether requiring copiousness or precision,—that musical and prolific • language that gives a soul to the objects of sense, and a body
to the abstractions of philosophy.' It proved, as might have been expected, equally well adapted for the flowing eloquence of a Christian orator, like S. Chrysostom, or the terse definiteness of dogmatic confessions, and the apologies for them, by S. Athanasius, or S. John Damascene. Indeed, S. Augustine, if we recollect aright (though we cannot at this moment point out the passage), declares that he need not have written upon certain questions of doctrine, had there but existed any good translations from the works of the Greek fathers.
If the difference between the relation of language to material and to immaterial objects in reality render it inadequate
· Kant's Logic, (Introduction,) chap. viii. French Transl. by M. Tissot. (Paris, 1840).
Gibbon, chap. Ixvi. Cf. S. Augustine's 'Græci, quorum lingua in gentibus præeminet.' (De Civ. Dei, Lib. VIII. cap. x.)