« 이전계속 »
have been ever pite transition state, hristianity. When the
All this is very fine; but our religion is no way thankful for such defenders. For the last entire century there has been a flying cohort of thinkers hanging upon the outskirts of Christianity who have been ever proclaiming that her existence is coming to an end. Science, in its transition state, appears in its various phases, to threaten different truths of Christianity. When the science by completion becomes a science, the method by which the religion and the science may combine spontaneously emerges.
The most important of these essays are as follow: Rev. Rowland Williams, D. D., indorses the Biblical theory of Chevalier Bunsen; according to which, mankind has existed some twenty thousand years before the beginning of the apparent Hebrew chronology; all biblical history before Abraham is a fragmentary mass of fable and history, and all supernatural narratives throughout the Bible åre false. Rev. Baden Powell shows us, on the grounds of metaphysics and natural philosophy, that a miraculous violation of the laws of nature is a strict impossibility. Rev. H. B. Wilson, D. D., shows the folly and the unspiritual and irreligious tendency of all historical evidences of Christianity. Paley is worthless, and he and his age were a dry, soulless set, with very little, if any, religion in them. C. W. Goodwin, A. M., shows the wickedness of attempting the great falsehood of maintaining that the Mosaic narrative of the creation, so plain in itself, is accordant with the facts of geology. Professor Jowett shows that the prevalent mode of interpreting Scripture, by which immoral passages are hammered into rectitude and contradictions are pressed into agreement, is achieved at the expense of the common sense and the moral sense. He completes the set. Of course, after these successive assaults are completed there are left but a tattered fragment of our old Bible, and but a shadowy phantasm of our old religion.
That our Bible has some accounts to settle with the incomplete sciences is true. But the Bible being a proved and true book, upon it we take our affirmative stand, and deal with those difficulties in methods accordant with their particular nature. When the difficulty allows two or three constructions of any point or passage, we are entitled to the most favorable. When a difficulty cannot be solved, we assume that there is a solution of which we are ignorant, or we postpone its solution until further research solves the method. Not until a negative demonstration, admitting neither of these methods, stands at undeniable issue with the truth of the Bible, do we surrender; and that negative demonstration has never yet come. With the incomplete science of geology the Bible has an open problem; we wait its solution without misgiving, and we shall wait for something better than Professor Hitchcock's latest essay. As to Egyptology, its ambiguous interpretations are yet to be reduced to certainty; and when that comes the reconciliation will come with it. Chevalier Bunsen, with his grand chronological romance, will never unsettle a single verse of Genesis. That the Author of the course of nature has not full power to vary that course, neither Hume nor Baden Powell can prove. On the contrary, that God can come forth just as easily and just as wisely in the extraordinary as in the ordinary, in the supernatural as in the natural, we hold to be one of the plainest dictates of common-sense.
In his elegant preface to this volume, Dr. Hedge says of the Paleyan age that its “practical evil ” “ found a corrective in the rise of Methodism. That new dispensation of the Gospel reacted with healing power on the Church.” But we reply, Methodism, strangely as it may sound, is founded upon, and is a necessary consequence of, Paleyism. Whitfield and Wesley assumed the evidences of Paley to be valid, and made the historical miraculous Christ, with his actual vicarious atonement, the basis of their “dispensation.” Take away these, and these men were powerless. And take away these, and every dispensation will be powerless. No religion can live and work without its body of historical facts. Dean Milman pregnantly remarks, that, 'no Pelagian ever has or ever will work a religious revolution." With the implements that these writers and their editor would furnish, the indifferentism and skepticism whose reign closed the last century could never have been dethroned. It would only have found " in the lowest deep a lower deep.”
While Methodism was working out her humble and hard-working dispensation, Unitarianism was the deadest part of the Christian Church. President Kirkland and his cotemporaries were the driest of Lockians, the tamest of Paleyans, reducing Christianity to the most naked history, and preaching a Gospel of natural ethics. To them, Methodism and fanaticism were different ways of spelling the same word. What has wrought the change by which our graceful Unitarian can call Methodism“a new dispensation of the Gospel ?” A fashionable philosophy. Intuitionalism is now in the ascendancy; and the high glow of moral and philosophic feeling which it cherishes not only sincerely feels an affinity for, but even confounds itself with, a spiritual, earnest religion. Dr. Hedge speaks then with no purpose of shallow compliment, but with a profoundly serious meaning. Yet, with all its profoundness, it is a mere ephemeral phase of sentiment. It is simply the humor of the reigning metaphysics. Twenty years hence it may be blown off, like the foam from a German's mug of lager, and leave nothing but a residuum of dead sensationalism worse than ruled the age of Paley and Kirkland. Should we now allow ourselves to be cheated into the humor of renouncing the historical evidential basis of Christianity, what will become of us when the high fever glow of the present transcendentalism chills down into empiricism ? Both the historical and the spiritual would be lost, and nothing but a blank, desolate Tom Paine infidelity would be left us. We must tell our Unitarian and rationalistic friends, then, that we can no more accept their guidance in this their hour of excitement than we could in the day of their deadness. Methodism maintained her revivalism in the day of their prosaic Paleyism; she now maintains her Paleyism in the midst of their revivalism. For if Paleyism be true, our revivalism is right. If the facts of Christianity are reality, the spirit of earnest religion is solely rational. Paley was right and logical when he framed his evidences; he was illogical when he declined to infer the obligation and necessity of the most earnest religious feeling and action. Paley and Wesley are antecedent and consequent.
We are not, then, to be fascinated out of that firm maintenance of Christian FACTS, for the masterly statement of which William Paley's name is illustriously trite wherever the English language is read. His manual has solidly based the faith of untold thousands. It will survive whole æons of literary bubbles like these essays. With all our Methodism, we would not give one ounce of Paley's solid evidential sense for the entire volume of transcendental gas that exhilarates the brains of these glowing intuitionalists, who would kick the massy platform of fact from beneath their feet to show how buoyantly they can dance on nothing.
The Rock of Ages ; or, Scripture Testimony to the One Eternal Godhead of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. By EDWARD H. BICKERSTETH, M. A. With an Introduction by Rev. F. D. HUNTINGTON, D. D. 12mo., pp. 214. Boston: E.
P. Dutton & Co. 1860. This little book attempts no scientific statements, metaphysical adjustments, nor even polemical defenses of challenged proof-texts. Its author, an English clergyman of the evangelical school, with the most transparent simplicity and earnestness, merely sets himself to the task of tabulating, in arrangements of striking and cumulative force, the various declarations of holy writ which bear upon the mystery of the Holy Trinity. Many scholars as zealously Trinitarian as himself will, undoubtedly, demur to the use made of some passages, and even deprecate the employment of a style of argument and of biblical interpretation 'so minute and mechanical as is his in some of its parts. Indeed, there is reason to fear that an ingenious man, constructing his arguments upon the same plan, and with the same disregard of textual and analogical connection, might "prove" that a great many irrational, immoral, and heterodox things are taught in the Holy Scriptures. Still, the great outlines of the argument are sound and irrefutable, while the skillful arrangements of related passages, printed in full, render the book a convenient manual of reference upon the subject.
The Introduction by Dr. Huntington is a feature of considerable interest in this American edition, inasmuch as in it the late convert from Unitarianism replies to the numerous criticisms which his sermon, entitled “Life, Salvation, and Comfort for Man in the Divine Trinity,” called forth from his former ecclesiastical associates. He thinks a considerable part of these criticisms is sufficiently disposed of by reminding their authors, firstly, that his sermon was not a systematic and exhaustive treatise on the doctrine, but merely an exposition of some of its practical uses; and, secondly, that it did not pretend to state the doctrine in the identical terms of any particular symbol. He then discusses the sources of light upon the question: 1. Holy Scripture. This of course is first and foremost. 2. Man's higher intuitions and cognitions. These he grants need “educating,” need to be “developed under the best conditions,” in order to lend any confirmatory evidence. Unitarians will be likely to differ from Dr. H. as to what the “best conditions” are. 3. Its providential history. Here he very successfully maintains the great points contended for by the best Trinitarian historians. Altogether the book is likely to find many readers.
The Cloud Dispelled; or, the Doctrine of Predestination Examined. By John Kirk, Edinburgh. With an Introduction by Rev. DANIEL CURRY, D. D. 12mo., pp. 293. New York: N.
Tibbals & Co. 1860. Scotland, so long the peculiar and loyal domain of Calvinism, is beginning at last to revolt. One large and growing Arminian denomination has recently sprung up on its soil. And the latest and, in
some respects, the best history of the life of Arminius is from the pen of a Scotchman. The present work is a new token of good. It consists of a series of popular lectures, seventeen in number, originally delivered in Edinburgh, and published in 1847. It devotes one lecture to the consideration of Calvinian Predestination as related to each of the following topics : The Foreknowledge of God, Wisdom of God, Justice of God, Truth of God, Love of God, Crucifixion of Jesus, God's Purpose in Jesus, Wickedness of Men, Stumbling of Men, Infatuation of the Reprobate, Hardening of Hearts, Death of the Reprobate, Foreordained Judgment, Book of Life, The Bible View, Security of Believers, Foundation of Hope. It will be seen that this extensive plan enables the author to traverse the whole wide field of the pretended practical, metaphysical, and biblical advantages of Calvinian views, and bring to bear the whole power of Arminian ordnance. In style he is plain and clear. Scotch piety and common-sense mark every page. It would be difficult to find any other work so admirably adapted for popular service as an antidote to old-fashioned Calvinistic predestination as is this. Several members of the general synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, in 1859, having examined an English copy of the work in possession of a Scotch family with whom they boarded, it was recommended for publication under the auspices of the Lutheran publishing house at Philadelphia. W.
Kritisch-Praktischer Commentar über das Neue Testament. Von
WILHELM Nast, Doktor der Theologie. 8vo. Cincinnati : L.
Swormstedt & A. Poe. 1860. We have received four numbers of Dr. Nast's Commentary, handsomely printed in octavo form, containing in each number sixtyfour pages, at thirty cents per number. The work is to embrace from thirty to thirty-six numbers, comprising at minimum more than seventeen thousand pages at nine dollars for the entire work. Yet, by the happy expedient of publishing in numbers, the formidable amount is diffused and rendered practically easy.
Dr. Nast has full possession of the best critical literature of the German as well as the English languages. Besides Olshausen, Stier, Neander, and Tholuck, he has made much use of Lange, Meyer, Lisco, Ebrard, and others. The work was commenced at the instance of the General Conference of 1852 for the use of our German brethren. It is gratifying that such is the state of our German “ work,” that such a publication should be imperatively
FOURTH SERIES, VOL. XIII.-11