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its scope of investigation and cognition. It not only gives reason jurisdiction over the proposition that two and two make four and not five, but that there can not be " three persons in one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory." That this supreme enthronement of reason was never " the kernel of Protestantism ” everybody knows who has read its confessions of faith from the beginning. But to adopt any other construction of the jurisdiction of reason than this, is with our author" bibliolatry," " fetichism,” a slavish dependence on the e says-so of an individual.” Our true Scripture is "the oracle within, the answer of the Holy Ghost which the listening, waiting soul receives in the innermost recesses of her own consciousness.” p. 205. Yet, reason can not inform us of any fundamental truths in religion, not even of a God. p. 208. "All true religion is revealed religion.” What then is revelation ? It is education of reason and heart. p. 209. "Faith is no critic.” It takes what is set before it, asking no questions. Education must ask the questions, and separate the precious from the vile. In this light, Paul is affirmed to have been the true type and forerunner of the rationalizing and liberalizing Christian, the proto-Abelard and Unitarian of the ages.
It is interesting, at this point to note that Dr. Hedge, as if fearful of the license which he has given to the inner light,” which may very easily be only the inner darkness, puts in a plea for a conscientious, reverential, critical spirit in working out these individual "revelations” of religious truth, a positive and loving spirit, not a negative and destructive. What Whately says of some people's " following the dictates of their consciences,” has an equal application here: they do this only in the sense in which a person, driving in a carriage wherever he pleases, may be said to follow his horses. This will hardly answer, even in our author's judgment. The educated soul, that is, the personal bible, must do its task carefully, or the consequences, to put it mildly, may be disagreeable.
But what of Jesus Christ? The Athanasian view was true against the Arian ; p. 238 : and was not true in itself. The essential deity of Christ is denied as destroying, ex necessitate, his humanity. The Arian Christ was an abnormal product of which we can form no notion ; with which we can have no sympathetic relations. Christ was purely a man. Yet he was "God-man" in the sense of a union, through him, of humanity with God. "God and man are one in Christ.” "God and man are one"-are formulas to which our author assents in a " deep interior sense." "God and man are one in the selfconsciousness of the Spirit.” pp. 238-9. This is, in reality, a flat rejection of the historic Christ of the Gospels.
While the apostolic view recognized the pure human nature alone of the Son of God with these variations of a quasi divinity, according to our present guide, the church, we are informed, found it necessary in a short time to give the converted pagans some kind of a tangible and mixed Deity to fasten upon by faith, in place of the discrowned divinities of their old worship. Hence, to meet this sensuous state of thiugs, the Christ of the Gospel narratives was provided-his birth, struggles, triumphs, death, and so forth, answering very nearly to their former mythological ideas. Thus the orthodox views were a blessing, for the time. But, that exigency of the world being passed, we are coming back to the apostolic Unitarianism, as fast as perhaps could reasonably be expected. Now that the race is putting away its " childish things”in its advancing adolescence, the doctrine of Christ's pure and simple manhood is all which is needed.
The Holy Spirit, likewise, is objectively the one God, our Father, in the manifestation of truth and love. Subjectively, it is man's " divine instinct," his " dæmon," or "good genius.” "Grieve not the Spirit” means; "Be true to your higher instincts."
Religion is spiritual, but must have its " letter.” The churches which have the most of the letter of sacrament, ordinance, rite, are "strongest, not only in the way of efficient action and ecclesiastical power, but strongest in spiritual vitality": only, the letter must not be mere letter, but spiritualized by the divine instinct within us.
Salvation by works is impossible, because obedience must then be perfect. But this can not be. Therefore, salvation is by faith; in other words, not by what a man does, but by what he is. By faith in what? In himself. "Confidence in one's own salvation, is salvation.” p. 328. This is regarded as the doctrine of Paul and Luther. Far enough is this from their teaching
It reminds us much more of a popular theory of a " Higher Life” frequently met with, of late, in religious works of a certain class, and in the teachings of some revivalist preachers, making saving faith to consist in a sentiment of self-persuasion.
Atonement by sacrifice or expiation is a pagan delusion. The biblical language so representing it is " figurative not dogmatic,” derived from heathen sources. The Gospel is a message of love and pardon direct from God. There is no other grace than this. The idea of satisfaction is regarded as necesarily antagonistic to that of grace.
“ Nothing in the history of opinions is more marvellous than that Christian theologians should fail to see, that by treating Christ's death as the satisfaction of a debt, whether in the sacrificial sense of expiation, or the governmental sense of a shift or compromise, they rule out of Christianity precisely that which constitutes its most distinctive feature -- grace. ... Instead of living under a dispensation of grace, we are under a dispensation of inexorable law. Instead of a Heavenly Father, we have only a Hebrew Jehovah or Olympian Jove." pp. 334, 335.
This passage strikingly reminds us of some readings, a few years ago, of a very similar character, in however a quite different quarter. We will quote briefly, before offering a remark or two in reply to this objection.
“Pardon is the gracious remission of deserved penalty. But according to this theory, the penalty is not, and in no case can be remitted; it is, and must be, in every instance of sin, endured to the last jot or titule, either by the sinner, in his own person, or in the person of his substitute. ... There is no longer any penalty due to the sin, and of course there is none to remit. The non-infiction of penalty in such a case is, in no proper sense of the word, pardon, It is an act of justice, not of grace. The believer can boldly claim it as a right, and need not humbly sue for it as a gracious favor. .. The believer's exemption from punishment is not due, directly, to an act of divine sovereign grace, but to a mere act of divine justice; and is only what he can, and should, unhindered by a 'false humility,' demand as his right."}
This elaborated statement of the precise position defended by Dr. Hedge, is more distinctly given in another recent work from a yet more distinguished pen.
1 Bibliotheca Sacra : “The Necessity of the Atonement,” by Daniel T. Fisk D. D. Vol. XVII. pp. 303, 304.
“Did Christ bear the legal penalty which was due to us? "Yes," many Calvinists reply. "No,' was the reply of Emmons; for after our penalty has been borne once, distributive justice forbids that it be borne the second time, and therefore, on this theory, our freedom from punishment results immediately from strict justice, not from Sovereign Grace.”
The difficulty thus urged against a true atonement, by this singular combination of theological interests, is less real than apparent. The fallacy which it involves is this—that it makes Christ's work of redemption a mere business or commercial transaction ; it places committed crime upon the level of a financial obligation. If a pecuniary debt be once discharged, it can not again be collected. No one questions this. If, however, it were discharged by some third party, through pure benevolence, the released debtor might very well feel that an act of especial grace had put him under bonds of deep gratitude. But, to meet the objection more radically, Christ's satisfying his Father's law though an expiatory death does not obliterate the grace of salvation thereby, because sin has in it a moral demerit, a worthiness of punishment, a demand for retribution upon itself, which will ever make its pardon essentially gracious, no matter by what arrangement this pardon be effected. The idea and the reality of an intrinsically just exposedness to eternal wrath goes along so consciously with guilt under God's government, that, though Christ assumes the law-place of the sinner, in bearing his penalty, sufficiently to satisfy Divine justice in his forgiveness when penitent, the deliverance can never lose its character as an act of grace in the sovereignty of Heaven, or in the consciousness of the Christian. This doctrine does not frustrate the grace of God.” The objection here considered springs from a low and human conception of the whole subject. It is neither a biblical, a philosophical, or a soundly experimental view of it. The true solution of this question lies in a profounder region of thought, and takes up a more spiritual sense of the relations of God and a sinful race, than this popular but superficial cavil appears to have recognized. And here lies the trouble with all the varying shades of defective beliefs on this central doctrine of Atonement. Diminishing the * Park's Memoir of Nathaniel Emmons. pp. 389, 389,
claims of God's holy and eternal justice upon the sinner, getting rid of its grasp in some theory of mercy without a Mediator, or of general benevolence with a Mediator—"the governmental sense of a shift or compromise,” as Dr. H. calls this semi-orthodox scheme; the gate is opened and the track graded to even 80 low and anti-biblical a plane of theological heresy as this volume develops. But to return to our analysis :
Immortality, under the lights of revealed religion, is not a natural destiny, but a moral and spiritual result of Christ's union with humanity. It is "not universal but special, not a heritage but an acquisition.” Most will enjoy it in future repose and bliss. The very wicked will have a sort of diffused, unconscious, unorganized life hereafter; no souls are utterly annihilated. Brute souls live on, in some form — so do all spiritual existences.
Looking further into this department of his theme, in a longer chapter than usual, bearing the title of a "Critique of Partialist and Universalist views of Penal Theology," Dr.: Hedge indulges himself at the outset with a libel of Orthodoxy. He says :
6. The first and last and only question which this system propounds to the individual is, how to escape the eternal damnation to which it supposes him doomed by the fact of his humanity ; that is, by the measure of sinfulness proper to human nature as such. The question is, not how to escape the sin, but how to escape the damnation incurred by it." pp. 387—8.
We suspect that the writer of this sulphureous passage was very near the point, just then, of losing his customary equanim-, ity; from what cause, it would not be gracious in us to guess. We have too elevated an opinion of his intelligence to suppose that he believes that this jeu d'esprit is anything more than the stale stock-fling of his school which, to be sure, he should not have stooped to pick up and throw again at men who continually preach as earnestly, at least, and perhaps as rationally as himself, that "the aim of a true religion is, not to escape damnation, but to lay hold of everlasting life.” Passing this :
i If the reader would see this process of deterioration more fully set forth, we refer him to a former volume of this work: The Boston Review, III. 217—235. “Atonement-Steps Downward."