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Pastu carnis enutritur
De Nativitate Domini.'
L'Eterno eterno seco,
Inni Sacri.--Il Natale: Moreover, the work of Christ on behalf of man, although intended ultimately to sanctify and harmonise the operations of body, soul, and spirit, yet, during the process, must frequently cause the contradictory principles to be more clearly perceived and acutely felt; for the presence of what is good brings out evil, as the sunlight the shadow. Satan sows the tares among the wheat, not in the barren field; he attempts to rival the workings of holiness by counterfeit imitations: *for after the Prophets
come the false prophets, and after the Apostles the false 'apostles, and after Christ the antichrist.'3 "And this internal contradiction, so vividly painted by S. Paul, (if, with a majority of commentators, we may understand the well-known passage in Rom. vii. of his regenerate condition,) is repeated, though in a different way, if we regard the condition of the Apostles themselves. Their social position so humble, their spiritual one so lofty; the present so full of distress, the future beaming with such glorious promises; the contempt of the world, the stripes and dungeons, here; the certainty of the praise of Christ before men and angels, and the twelve thrones' hereafter: these make the first followers of our Lord, and many a one since who has walked in their footsteps, examples of this living contradiction.
We owe an apology to the reader for so prolix a statement of positions, which to many will appear the merest truisms. But strange errors demand, as has been already remarked, the reassertion of the most obvious truths. And we are anxious to insist upon the consideration that in all these cases-human nature, unregenerate and regenerate, the person of Christ our
I Trench's Sacred Latin Poetry, p. 97.
3 Και γαρ μετά τους προφήτας, οι ψευδοπροφήται και μετά τους αποστόλους, οι ψευδαπόστολοι και μετα τον Χριστόν, ο αντίχριστος. 8. Chrys. Ηomil. xlvi. in
Lord, and the condition of his Apostles—the antithesis is one of fact. When this is once called to mind, there will be a due appreciation of the exceeding erroneousness of a thinker, who can see, in the descriptions of these phenomena, little more than ingenuities of language, and a proof of its insufficiency for dogma. Because, forsooth, poets and orators have often imparted life and vigour to their expressions by some bold contradiction, which is after all but a figure of speech, therefore the description of things, which are in their very nature contradictory, is to be regarded in the same light. Such is the teaching of Dr. Bushnell. That we may not wrong him, we subjoin the passage:
*Wc never come so near to a truly well-rounded view of any truth as when it is offered paradoxically; that is, under contradictions; that is, under two or more dictions, whichi, taken as dictions, are contrary one to the other.
· Hence [!] the marvellous vivacity and power of that famous representation of Pascal : “What a chimera, then, is man! What a novelty! What a chaos! What a subject of contradiction! A judge of everything, and yet a feeble worm of the earth; the depositary of truth, and yet a mere heap of uncertainty ; the glory and the outcast of the universe; if he boasts, I humble him; if he humbles himself, I boast of him; and always contradict bim, till he is brought to comprehend that he is an incomprehensible monster."
Scarcely inferior in vivacity and power is the familiar passage of Paul—“As deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as baving nothing, and yet possessing all things.
• Probably, the most contradictory book in the world is the Gospel of John; and that for the very reason that it contains more and loftier truths than any other.'--Pp. 46, 47.
We submit that a writer, who exhibits such a confusion of rhetorical and poetical forms of speech with matters of fact, can hardly be considered a safe guide in the very profound and difficult questions which beset the connexion of thought and language. Indeed, he appears to us like a man who has got hold of many valuable truths, but is not successful in marshalling them together. Thus, for example, Dr. Bushnell is quite right in maintaining that our ideas of things immaterial can only be expressed in terms derived from our sensible experiences of material things, nor are we aware that the position has ever been denied. We speak of a “great” mind, of “elevated" strength, of “low" desires, of a “hardened conscience, of
a "clear” understanding, of a “brilliant” imagination, of 'a "black" heart, of “ foul" passions. All these are metaphors '-metaphors taken from the material world.' This quotation is from a writer of a school the most opposite to Dr. Bushnell :
· Mr. Sewell, Christian Politics, p. 12. Cf. A Lecture on Symbolism, by Chas. Browne, Esq., M.A., p. 6. (London: Masters, 1855.)
but he proceeds to add, with great justice, what the American author before us either ignores, or admits at best but very grudgingly and imperfectly; namely, that they are metaphors taken not by compact and convention, as words intrinsically
inapplicable, and requiring to be stamped by art with other new significations, but offering themseloes by an internal fitness . and similitude to express unseen and spiritual ideas.' · That dogma is impossible by reason of the defects of language must mean, either that theological science cannot be constructed upon a basis of words, or else that words are inadequate to express the results of such science, when they have been obtained by other means. Let us look at each position separately.
If it be meant that theological science cannot be constructed on a base of words, the assertion is probably true; but then it must not be confined to theology. It may with equal probability be asserted of all science, philology, and perhaps (in some sense) pure mathematics alone excepted. We do not mean to assert that erroneous views upon this head have never prevailed; but they must be allowed to have prevailed at least as fally in the domain of physical as of mental science. To have overthrown this error in respect of the investigation of external nature, is the great triumph which is claimed for Bacon. So far as the error has prevailed in divinity, it has been exhibited in some of the early heresies, or in that extreme and undue love for completeness of system, explanation of scriptural terms, and deductive theology, which, with all their high and noble gifts, must, we think, be admitted to have distinguished tho schoolmen. It was exhibited by Arius, who was well versed, the historian tells us, in logical discussion, and who thus argued from the earthly meaning of the terms Father and Son, that such relationship involved priority of time upon the part of the Father, and disproved the eternity of the Son. It has been exhibited by those supporters of Sabellianism, who have attempted to give illustrations of the force of the word Person by analogies drawn from the union of offices in one man (such as those, e.g. of the same man being at once a bishop and a temporal peer or prince), or Cicero's tres personas unus suscipio. And if a similar charge be brought in some degree against the scholastic divinity, we shall not be thereby supposed to rank its constructors with heresiarchs or apologists for heresy, or to apply to their labours that tone of contempt which was so common in the earlier part of the present century. That contempt, indeed,
Oik tuoipos tîs dialektuchs Néoxns. Socrates, Hist. Eccles. i. 5. 2 φησίν, ει ο πατήρ έγέννησε τον υιόν, αρχήν υπάρξεως έχει και γεννηθείς και εκ τούτου δήλον, ότι ήν οτε ουκ ήν ο υιός.-Ibid.
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 conclusions 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' (uovoyevòs, Tropevóuevov), 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 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
1 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.
3. Ibid. Pars Im. 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 ''Quid autem inter nasci et procedere intersit, de illa excellentissima natura loquens, explicare quis potest ? Non omne quod procedit nascitur, quamvis 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.)
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 ?