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in relation to the progress of the apostasy from the primitive faith, is the gradual disuse, in the churches of the Reformation, of faithful and intelligible catechetical teaching, and the decay of pastoral and pulpit etliciency. The development of these causes of Rationalism is full of admonition. The representation of the depth of degeneracy and triviality to which the pulpit sunk in the reformed countries of the Continent is most painful.
“ Christopher Sunday descanted on the Perpetual Heart-Calendar, treating of genera and species, and dividing his themes into . Remarkable, Historical, and Annual events, Particular numbers, and the amounts of Roman curre
rency, the Four Seasons, the Seven Planets, the Twelve Heavenly signs, and many aspects and useful directions. All these, this divine claimed, are to be found in the Gospel as in a perpetual calendar of the heart. Another preacher adopted as his theme for a funeral sermon, • The Secret of Roses and Flowers.' Daniel Keck preached a discourse in 1642 from Romans viii. 18, calling his subject • The Apostolic Syllogism,' dividing it into subject, predicate, and conclusion. The subject, suffering, was again divided into wicked, voluntary, stolid and righteous; and these further classed into natural, civil and spiritual suffering.
" A sermon on Zaccheus from the words, Ile was little of stature,' claims for its theme, • The stature and size of Zaccheus.' The first division is, he; the second, was; third, small stature. Application first, The text teaches us the variety of God's works; second, it consoles the poor ; third, it teaches us to make amends for our personal defects by virtue. Tholuck well asks, who would imagine that the author of this sermon was the minstrel of · When the early sun arises,' «Oh Jesus, all thy bleeding wounds, and so many other deeply earnest Christian songs which have touched the hearts of many generations the immortal Herman von Köben? A pastor of Wernigerode preached from Matthew x. 30. His divisions were, 1: Our hair—its origin, style, form and natural circumstances, 2: On the right use of the human hair. 3: The memories, admonition, warning and consolation that have come from the human hair. 4: Ilow hair can be used in a Christian way! A Brunswick pastor commenced his Sabbath discourse on one occasion with the words, ' A preacher must have three things; a good conscience, a good bite, and a good kiss'; wherefore his transition was made to the theme under consideration: • an increase of my salary.' But it is needless to continue illustrations of the almost universal dearth of preaching. One hardly knows whether to laugh at its absurdity or weep over its prostitution.” pp. 70, 71.
Thus scepticism entrenched itself within the churches as its stronghold, from which it is not yet expelled. Children were trained to accept its paganism as the Christianity of the new dispensation. The schools, the universities, the press, joined in the league against the word and truth of Christ, till, about the time of Napoleon's supremacy in Europe, the lowest point of infidelity was touched, in the almost universal rejection, on the Continent at least, of the faith for which the reformers had perilled life. All this was sacrilegiously palmed off on the public as the legitimate fruit of that glorious Reformation, just as now we are told that Mr. Waldo Emerson is the truest exponent extant of the essential spirit or essence of the Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock! The only way in which we can conceive this to be true, is, as a house burning to ashes, may, in some sense, be called a further extension or development of a comfortable family fire.
In the same direction was the altering of the old hymns of the Reformation by the degenerate offspring of its bold confessors. This was carried on upon a scale of strange magnitude. It is like reading contemporary history to turn over these details of literary to say nothing of moral dishonesty.
With Schleiermarcher, we reach the date of a reactionary movement which has gathered strength and consistency, until even Germany is largely delivered from the hands of this worse than secular Philistinism. The author traces this movement up from its inception, with an eye steadily directed to the unfolding of the real religious condition of each successive stage of the conflict. Here, too, as before, the relation of the struggle within the church to the philosophy and general literature of the day, is touched upon briefly but intelligently. Considerable attention is given to the controversy occasioned by the publication of Strauss' Life of Jesus ; and the honored names of Neander, Tholuck, Hengstenberg and others of their associates, are made. yet dearer to us by this record of their heroic labors in turning back the tide of anti-christian error from the churches of their fatherland.
Passing to other countries, the Genevan declension is sketched in faithfully dark colors: the Euglish school of Liberalism inside the established church, is treated with much minuteness, and an interesting analysis of parties in that communion is furnished. The influence of Coleridge and Arnold upon theological speculations is shown to have been unhappy in important particulars. The Unitarian defection in the United States is given with sufficient fulness for American readers, and with commendable fairness. Indeed, we notice throughout this melancholy history the absence of a denunciatory temper, the steady prevalence of a desire to maintain a just standard of criticism, which will greatly increase its usefulness as a guide to true conclusions, particularly with readers who may lean in the opposite direction.
The author allows himself in a few verbal inaccuracies. The
requent recurrence of the connective “But” at the beginning of closely following sentences is awkward. This becomes less noticeable as the work advances, and the style generally flows more easily. The word “ revelator” is recent and not good. It comes from the South and West, and is needless as well as uncouth, as “ revealer” is every way better. Lancing thunder at an opponent, p. 192, must mean “launching” it. “ Resurrected,” p. 405. quoted from an American edition of Renan's Life of Jesus—is worse than “revelator.” There is no authority for it in either of the great American dietionaries. These are easily removed blemishes. The substantial and permanent merits of this survey are many. It is the best book for its purpose of any which have fallen under our eye. Its Appendix of Literature, and Index, are good. We cordiallycommend it to a wide perusal. It deals throughout with subjects which are of present and vital moment.
2.-Essays on some of the Dificulties of the Writings of the Apostle
Paul, and in other parts of the New Testament. By RICHARD WHATELY, D. D. From the Eighth London Edition. 12mo. Andover: Warren F. Draper. Boston: Gould and Lincoln. 1865.
It is a pleasure to read whatever Archbishop Whately may have written, for his style is so perspicuous that there is no difficulty in catching his thought. He always strikes us as nearly all intellect; not dryly this, for there is, now and then, the play of a subtile wit running along his sentences, and he obviously could enjoy the ludicrous aspect of a worsted opponent. But the impressiou of his pages is that of logic rather than imagination, of mind and not of heart. The more familiar memorials of this distinguished man which his death has called forth, do something to change this verdict. Every really great person must, of course, have a warm side of his nature toward some who have shared his life.
But classing people according to the main drift of their character, Whately, more than perhaps any one of his contemporaries, will stand as the sharp, keen, cool analyzer of thought and things.
In this volume, the number of whose editions indicates its high estimation among thoughtful readers, the author enters the domain of dogmatic Christianity, with the purpose of relieving it of various difficulties which he attributes mainly to a misconception of the writings of the apostle Paul. His reasoning to show that the Epistles are the authoritative expounders of the Gospel system of truth, is an admirable specimen of grave and conclusive argumentation, So does he aptly find the probable cause of this apostle's far greater endurance of personal opposition and danger than any of the twelve, in the fact of his own early hostility to the Gospel and its first confessors : not as a punishment or atonement therefor, “but, that he might have an opportunity of completely retracing his steps, and of feeling that he did so; that he might bring to bear upon his dealing with unbelievers the knowledge of the perverse prejudices of the human mind," which he had gained experimentally; and, by all his own singular progress from darkness to light, might the better play the “ Great heart ” in leading the first converts and churches through the countless and sore perils of their new pilgrimage.
The first and second Essays, on The Love of Truth, and on The Difficulties and Value of Paul's Writings Generally, are excellent. So is that on The Influence of the Holy Spirit. The extraordinary gifts of that Divine agent to the early church are well discriminated from those which are permanent and universal among Christians, and the superior value of the ordinary over the extraordinary gifts thus bestowed, is clearly shown. But while all these Essays are marked by great ability, we are far from endorsing all the theology which we find in them.
Dr. Whately expends much labor and erudition in endeavoring to relieve the apostle Paul of all complicity with Calvinism, particularly with reference to Election, Perseverance, and Imputation of sin and righteousness. He regards these views as a gratuitous impeding of the acceptance of the Pauline Christianity by mankind, and puts, in the best possible form, the counter side of the case. Men are elected, with him, not to actual salvation, but to the privilege or opportunity of this. Christians will not persevere in holiness by virtue of electing grace, but by personal endeavor. Men are not guilty of Adam's sin, nor is their righteousness Christ's, but their own.
Dr. W. is too candid not to admit that his opponents commonly hold, with himself, that the electing and preserving grace only works with the person's own efforts which are always demanded to ensure salvation. But he says that they have no right to put in that statement, and that it does not help them, if they do. We shall not here argue this point with our author. We claim the right to this proviso, and that it relieves us of all serious difficulty in the premises. Whately admits that his scheme is not without its embarrassments : also, that his doctrine is “ arbitrary" in electing men to the opportunity of salvation. p. 100. Morover, he concedes that “predestination," as held by his opponents, may be true as a metaphysical fact, and part of the Gospel scheme ; only he denies that it is revealed as this. p. 141. Why, even in Christian lands, thousands are born into well-nigh inevitable perdition, he
allows to be a fact which “ neither Calvinist nor Arminian can explain; nay, why the Almighty does not cause to die in the cradle every infant whose future wickedness and misery, if suffered to grow up, he foresees, is what no system of religion, natural or revealed, will enable us satisfactorily to account for.” p. 109. We do not see, therefore, that his removal of the difficulty of a Calvinistic election amounts to much. He certainly maintains a doctrine of “reprobation," also, about as stringent as any which we encounter from orthodox pulpits.
He misconceives the position occupied by Calvinists when he says: “Absolute predestination to eternal life evidently implies the physical impossibility of ultimate failure”: in short, the necessary perseverance of the elect. p. 128. We know of no such doctrine in our churches : what there may be abroad, we do not know. Neither is the fact of Imputation held so as to make Adam's sin or Christ's righteousness ours, as if by a literal transfer of personal qualities, which is a psycological impossibility. Indeed, there is a good deal of battering down imaginary giant-castles in these pages.
It is a very curious disquisition which maintains that the Scriptures are in the habit of teaching doctrines, and to some extent moral duties, by contrary representations of them, thus requiring us to strike the resultant of actual truth. This is a nice operation, and, as the author confesses, a dangerous one. With respect to doctrine, the path is more obvious, and we might claim that our Calvinistic symbols should equally have the benefit of this rule of interpretation, as they merely enunciate biblical propositions mostly in biblical language, not attempting a metaphysical adjustment of the opposite and seemingly opposing ideas. As to practical morals, the case is less clear. The author's argument grows out of his erratic and questionable theory, that the Christian dispensation has wholly abrogated the Mosaic law, civil, ceremonial, and moral, To this he devotes the fifth essay. Not that we are released from morality. But we are bound to it through the power of abstract right and holy love, not by the Ten Commandments. He argues earnestly that this is the only way to make a highly pure and spiritual religion -by throwing the conscience and will on the ultimate principles of goodness, with no constraint from positive statute. Beautiful as is this ideal of a virtuous life, we are not at all convinced that the Gospel of Christ occupies any such position. We deny that its “ liberty” is at all infringed by the continued obligation of the decalogue upon believers in Jesus.
The Sabbath, of course, passes away, as founded upon or propped by the Fourth Commandment. The Archbishop is not a strict con