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On motion of E. S. JOYNES, LL.D., a Committee of Publication was ordered to be appointed.
On motion of Dr. JOYNES, the thanks of the Trustees and Faculties were tendered to the Chief Marshal and his staff, and to the Organist and Choir.
CHARACTER AND DESIGN OF THE BIBLICAL DEPARTMENT OF THE UNIVERSITY.
BY THOMAS O. SUMMERS, D.D.,
THE character and design of the Biblical Department of the University were set forth in a Discourse delivered in the Chapel of the University on Sunday afternoon, October 17, 1875, as follows:
"Search the Scriptures." John v. 39.
In entering upon the duties which lie before us, we find it necessary to vindicate the high rank to which we have assigned the science which is to engage our attention.
It has become quite common to put Theology in contrast with Science, confining the latter to natural phenomena arranged in systematic order. But there is no good reason for this. Theology is as much a science as Biology, or any other logia which engages the philosophic mind.
Our great lexicographer defines Theology, "The science of God and divine things-the science which teaches the existence, character, and attributes of God, his laws and government, the doctrines we are to believe, and the duties we are to practice."
This is the general view of Theology. But this science is divided into Natural Theology and Revealed Theology. Natural Theology teaches what may be known of God by
the light of nature. Revealed Theology teaches us what we may know of God by the Holy Scriptures.
The term is used in both a general and a specific sense.. In the general sense, it embraces all that we comprehend in divinity, or religion-whether natural or revealed.
In the specific sense, it is one department of the great science of religion, which comprehends Theology in the proper sense, which treats of the being and perfections of God; Christology, which treats of the person and work of Christ; Pneumatology, which treats of the person and work of the Holy Spirit; Anthropology, which treats of the nature, origin, duty, and destiny of man; Hamartiology, which treats of sin; Soteriology, which treats of salvation; Eschatology, which treats of the four last things, Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell; not to note numerous subdivisions, such as Cosmology, Angelology, Demonology, etc., which treat respectively of the World, Angels, Demons, etc.
It is obvious that there can be no sharply-defined logical division of the Science of Divinity into departments which will mutually exclude each other. Any attempt at this would be puerile and vain.
From the importance of the subjects comprehended in Theology, it is clear that this is the Science of Sciences. It subordinates all other sciences to itself. Like Emerson's "Representative Man," it subsidizes all besides. Even the Atheist, who ransacks creation to prove that there is no God, is made to yield his quota to the Theologian, who has the true philosopher's stone, with whose touch he turns all the baser metals to gold.
Mr. Locke, therefore, is justified in his eulogy of this sublime science. "Theology," he says, "is a science incomparably above all the rest. It is the comprehension of all other knowledge directed to its true end-that noble study which is every man's duty, and every one that can
be called a rational creature is capable of. This is that science which would truly enlarge men's minds were it studied, or permitted to be studied, every where, and with that freedom and love of truth and charity which it teaches."
When we say that Theology teaches the being and perfections of God, we do not affirm that natural religion, apart from divine revelation, demonstrates the existence and attributes of a Supreme Being. This subject will in future engage our serious attention.
Our business is primarily with revealed religion-collaterally only with natural religion. Revealed religion is positive, authoritative, demonstrative; and Hagenbach has well observed, "It can never be the object of a positive religion to prove the existence of God, inasmuch as it always presupposes the knowledge that there is a God."
There is nothing so peculiar in our condition, living in an age long posterior to the miraculous inauguration of the Christian religion, which makes our case essentially different from that of the Apostles and Fathers of the Church. They assumed, and we also assume, as a fundamental fact, the being of God. As Hagenbach says, "Christianity stood on the basis of the Old Testament idea of God-now purified and carried beyond the limits of national interests—as a personal God, who, as the Creator of heaven and earth, rules over the human race; who had given the law, sent the prophets, and manifested himself most perfectly, and in the fullness of his personal presence in his Son Jesus Christ. Consequently, the believing Christian needed as little as his Jewish contemporary a proof of the being of God. But in the farther development of the Christian system, it became necessary, on the one hand, that Christians should defend themselves (apologetically) against the charge of Atheism, which was frequently brought against them; on the other hand, they had to demonstrate to the heathen
(polemically) that their pagan worship was false, and consequently in its very foundation was a denial of the living God (Atheism). When, therefore, the writings of the Fathers contain any thing like a proof of the existence of God, it is either the spontaneous expression of religious feeling in a rhetorical and hymnological form, or it is intimately connected with other definitions about the nature of God, with the doctrine of his unity, or with the doctrine concerning the creation and government of the world. But the Fathers of this period generally recurred to the innate knowledge of God-testimonium animæ, λóyos opsppatizós— which (as they thought) could be traced even in the heathen, and on the purity of which the knowledge of God depends."
That is to say, they held that the pure in heart can see God. "God is seen," says Theophilus, "by those who can see him, when they open the eyes of their soul. All men have eyes, but the eyes of some are blinded, that they cannot see the light of the sun. Thus it is with thee, O man! The eyes of thy soul are darkened by sin, even by thy sinful actions. Like a bright.mirror, man must have a pure soul. If there be any rust on the mirror, man cannot see the reflection of his countenance in it; likewise, if there be sin in man, he cannot see God."
This is as much as to say that, apart from divine tuition, no man can acquire the knowledge of God, because all men are born in sin. This is what the primitive Fathers meant by "the innate knowledge of God."
"With this," as Hagenbach says, "they connected, but in a popular rather than in a strictly scientific form, what is commonly called, The Physico-theological, or teleological, proof, inferring the existence of a Creator from the works of Creation. More artificial proofs, such as the cosmological and the ontological, were unknown in this period. Even