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he saith,''But be ye not called Rabbi, low servants, and fellow-children of for there is one Master” (one guide God; it therefore doth not become or governor) “of you, even Christ, you to be any wise imperious over but ye are brethren.” How more one another ; but all of you humbly pregnantly could he have declared and lovingly to conspire in learnthe nature of his constitution, and ing and observing the precepts of the relation of Christians one to your common Lord; the doing another established therein, to ex. which is backed with a promise clude such differences of power ? and a threat suitable to the purpose; whereby one doth in way of domin. “He that exalteth himself shall be ation impose his opinion or his will abased, and he that will abase him.' on others.
self shall be exalted ;" Ye are all fellow-scholars, fel
Elements of Biblical Theology, their philological and theological
translated from the work of Story writings. Such a melancholy deand Flatt, with Additions; by S. parture from truth and godliness as S. SCHMUCKER. 2 vols. 8vo. has been exhibited in the history of Andover : 1826.
the Lutheran church of Germany,
is not to be feared in the orthodox GERMAN theologians and philolo- church of the United States. A gists we bave never idolized; we grand reason is, that a very plausihave never thought that they were ble heresy already exists in the the only men, and that wisdom would country, under the banners of die with them. We have known, which all classes of unbelievers can and been ready ever to state, that most easily and most honourably whatever might be true or false rank themselves. That this heresy as to the talents and erudition, will extend farther than it has we and facilities for research, and think not improbable, when we fundamental methods of study, consider how fond the depraved which have distinguished the Bibli. heart is of error in religion. But cal scholars of Germany, the great it will be extended, as it has been body of them have come to results hitherto, chiefly by its gathering which make the Word of God a under the mantle of a very broad dead and useless book, while many and indefinite name, all who dislike of them have interpreted its most and reject the truth, and who are interesting passages in a manner a hereby induced to break away from hundredfold more inconsistent with the doctrines and discipline of a common sense than any of the pure and holy church. The effect mysticisms of ihe Platonists, or the of this will be, not in reality to diabsurdities of the schoolmen. minish the true church, but only to
On the other hand, we have exalt its character, to raise its never been filled with alarm, as we standard of piety, and increase its know some excellent Christians living energies. In this view we have been, to notice a growing think the orthodox church has befondness among our theological fore her the brightest and most students for German authors. We cheering prospects. Her lifeless apptehend no important dangers members, her fruitless branches, from the greatest familiarity with are cut off; and of the support of
her life and strength, she has assu- ed, that he must arm himself at all rance, under God's blessing, from points, and he will be able to draw those peculiar means of grace, from these writers important as. which the piety of the past and sistance. He will ever find among present generation has brought in thein a few strong supporters of to use in this country. The great orthodoxy, whose writings are pemovements of benevolence which culiarly valuable, especially those give a character to the age are the of the later authors who have writ. security of the true church. In ten in view of all the doctrines of fact they are exerting a mighty in the modern rationalists and liberalfluence to stop the progress of eve- ists. Such was Dr. Storr, chici ry great error, and to reclaim and author of the work of which Propurify even the churches which fessor Schmucker has given us a have given heed to lying vanities. translation.
If then there were danger that Storr lived while the Liberalists some of our theological students were in their greatest glory, and would imbibe the errors of the may justly be considered as the writers in question, there would, in chief restorer and supporter of the the present condition and prospects orthodox faith in Germany. His of the American church, be little to name has long been fa niliar to the fear.
Biblical student. One of his minor But Christians need not appre- pieces, the Essay on the Historical hend many apostasies from the true Sense of the New Testament, was faith among our theological stu- several years ago put into an Engdents in consequence of reading lish dress, and soinewhat extensivethe German writers, even if there ly circulated. His Doctrina Chris. were no guard against it in the cir- tiana had found a place in the libracumstances of the church. The ries of almost all our recent theoloerrors of the authors are well un- gians, and when Mr. Schmucker's derstood in the general, before intention to translate it was annountheir writings are consulted, and ced, it was received with great there is a distinct and fixed object pleasure by many, who have waited in view, which is to take the benefit with some impatience for the comof their attainments in all the pletion of the work. branches of knowledge auxiliary to Before proceeding to a particular the grand business of interpreting notice of this work, it may be suitthe Bible, while there is not the able to glance very slightly at the least regard to their philosophical state of theological and biblical dogmas, which it must be remem- opinions in Germany when the work bered are the great source of all was composed, and the steps which the loose and erroneous doctrines had led to their adoption. they advance. The student goes The original creed of the Lutherto their works knowing that he will an church was substantially orthohave the task of separating the dox, as is shown by her symbolical precious from the vile, of sifting the books. Subscription to these was wheat from the chaff.
required of all candidates for the Were the danger, however, much ministry or for a degree in theologreater, it would probably on the gy, and of all laymen on accepting whole be expedient to hazard it. any official situation, and in a few Such is the present state of the. of the States they were guarded by ological discussion in our country, severe pains and penalties. Some and such is the nature of the argu- of the German writers consider that ments and objections by which the the symbolical books had an infludefender of the truth is now assail. ence in holding together the church
down nearly to the middle of the ological subjects, chose to retire last century. But in the middle of from the field of controversy, and the seventeenth century a subscrip- pursue, with a criminal indifference tion or oath with some reservation to the practical interests of religion, began to be allowed, the person be- those liberal studies which had ing required to assent to them only been growing in popularity from ' quatenus cum S. S. concordant.' the commencement of the reforma
During the first century, (from tion. In opposition, on the one the middle of the sixteenth, to the hand, to those who with so much middle of the seventeenth,) the di- indifference to religion gave themvines remained generally true to the selves to the pursuit of learning faith of the reformers. The chief and science, and on the other, to subjects of discussion and disputa- those who placed so much stress tion were the points in controversy upon the thorough orthodoxy of between the Protestants and the their faith, arose the Pietists. It Catholics, and in the grand essen- was the grand object of the good tials of orthodoxy all were united. men of this school to render reliA spirit of controversy however gion an efficacious principle, to exhad begun to burn between the hibit it as designed to control the Lutherans and Calvinists, which heart and the life. Hence their soon rose to such a height and pro- doctrine that the word of God is duced such unhappy dissensions, understood only when the heart is that several excellent men made affected by a divine influence, and great efforts for a union of the two the inference which some of the churches. One of the warmest ad- disciples soon made, but which by vocates of union was Calixtus, a pro- no means follows, that all human fessor in the University of Helm- attainments are useless. Had all stadt, whose zeal and writings in this to whom this name was applied cause occasioned what is called the been such men, or cherished only syncretistic controversy, in which such principles as Spener of Berlin, torrents of abusive scurrility were or Franck of Halle, the Lutheran poured upon him, although in every church would have had great occarespect one of the most eminent sion to be grateful for the rise of the divines of the age. The bigotry sect. But the colleges of piety, as displayed in this dispute by the their private meetings were called, Lutheran clergy created disgust in unfortunately were frequented by liberaland reflecting minds,especial- religionists of the most fanatical and ly as a melancholy number of the disorganizing principles. The conclergy, so far from manifesting the sequence was that both in Germany piety of Christians, actually indul- and abroad, the name of Pietism ged in immoral and vicious habits, came at last to be associated with for which the most rigid and punc- the wildest enthusiasm, and when tilious adherence to the ancient ever presented brought to mind, in symbols of their faith could make a woful train of recollections, the no atonement. Here we think it stubborn prejudices of Arnold, the more than probable was the first acrimonious bile of Dippelius, the germ of that poisonous plant, which romantic follies of Petersen and his has spread its roots and twined its visionary wife, the mystic dreams tendrils so fatally among the found of Jacob Behmen, the star-gazing ations and around the columns of reveries of Paul Nagel, and the rithe Lutheran church. Many, wea- diculous pretensions of Christopher ry of the strifes, and disgusted at the Kotter and Anne Vetter, with the
tants, and beginning to despise their Aristotelian method of treating the.
of delirious prophets.
The only effect therefore, which
Pietism could produce as to the duce that disposition, which became party which had begun to swerve so general about the middle of the from the strictness and spiritual century, to unite the doctrines of ity of the primitive reformers, was scripture with the discoveries of to alienate them still more from eve. reason; to connect Christianity ry thing favouring the peculiarities with natural religion ; to give, in of evangelical religion, and induce short, to the whole gospel a rational them to look abroad for principles and philosophical dress. more congenial to the cold specula: Just at this juncture appeared tions of reason and philosophy, the bold innovator, who has the unThey began accordingly, in the disputed honour of being the father former part of the eighteenth cen- of the modern Liberalism. Semler tury, to study the writings of the was brought up in the midst of the Polish Socinians, the English De. Pietists, and although he caught ists, and the French Literati, and none of the ardour of their relisoon imbibed many of their perni- gious feelings, nor of their indiffercious notions.
ence to human learning, he imbibThis, co-operating with the nat- ed a double portion of their conural effect of Pietism, led the tempt for formal creeds and symmore orthodox party to a higher bols. Nature gave him a most cultivation of philosophy, and an powerful mind, and he stored it attempt to build their system of richly with the fruits of diligent, faith upon principles more purely various, and extensive research; demonstrative. Leibnitz and Wolf but both his talents and learning were the founders of the philosoph- were most grossly abused in devisical school, and their system, al. ing and defending the theories of a though it was at first opposed, subtle and perverse ingenuity. His (Wolf being even expelled from doctrines soon attracted universal his office in the university of Halle attention, and obtained an astonon account of his principles,) yet ishing degree of approbation and before long gained numerous and influence. He attacked the symvehement admirers, who laboured bols of the church in a most violent with great assiduity and ardor in manner, and from this period they applying it to support the doctrines ceased to have any power. He at. of religion. The disciples of this tacked the canon of scripture, and school produced metaphysical and shortly had followers who stripped even mathematical demonstrations the whole Bible of its claims to diof the Trinity, the nature of Christ, vine authority. He started the and the duration of future punish- doctrine of accommodation, and in ment. One of them commenced a the hands of his disciples it proved new version of the Bible, prefixing a most fearful engine in sweeping to it a system of theology drawn up away every valuable principle of in geometrical order, which was to religion. The new light rapidly guide him in interpreting the sa. spread. Writers multiplied. Speccred writers. It is impossible to ulation grew in audacity. Ere long say how much these efforts con- it was ascertained that miracles tributed to nourish the same mis- are an absolute impossibility, inspitaken views as to the power and ration a downright absurdity, nearprovince of human reason, which ly all that Jesus ever did or said were fostered by the deistical stud- was in condescension and adaptaies of the other class of theologians tion to the ignorance and prejudice just mentioned ; but it certainly of the Jews, most that was written must appear probable that they by the apostles was little better tended in no small degree to intro- than blunder or falsehood, the account of the creation was merely a that those in the higher ranks should philosophical fable, and the history begin to look with favour upon the of Christ a new mythology, like worship and ceremonies of the the incarnations of Vishnoo. Catholic church as most congenial
Such were the speculations of to religious émotion, and actually the school of Semler. No serious desert, as numbers did, the ranks mind can think of them but with of the Protestants. It was no disgust. Yet more or less of this wonder that some of the more re. indecency and profaneness is found flecting should come forward with in nearly all the Commentaries, new systems of philosophy, supBiblical Antiquities, Introductions, porting religion and morals not upand Hermeneutical or Dogmatical on any grounds of reason or de. systems, which deluded Germany at ductions of argument, but upon inthe close of the last century. It tuition and original feeling. These deserves to be noticed too, that systems, although opposed for the these pernicious doctrines were most part to the scheme of rationnot confined to writings designed alism, are by no means calculated merely for scholars and divines. to promote correct views of theoloThey were embodied and circula- gy or practical religion. Kant ofted in popular treatises, and in pe- ten advocates the cause of the scripriodical publications, which carried tures and the old orthodox faith, the poison throughout the commu- and is frequently quoted with renity. They were boldly and impi- spect by Storr, but his views tend ously avowed and proclaimed in too much to mysticism and Platonthe Lutheran pulpits. They were ism to be followed with advantage taught in the Gymnasia and Uni- or safety. Schelling, whose sys. versities to every class of the youth. tem is we believe, the latest in They were even infused into the el. vogue in that land of systems and ementary books of instruction, of theories, is a violent opposer of the which we will give one example in Rationalists, comparing them to a work of Becker, called a Uni. the unhappy beings whom Dante versal History for the Young.'— places “in the foreground of the This contained a chapter on Chris- mansion of woe, rejected by heaven tianity, in which the evangelists are yet not received by hell ;' but his styled the wretched biographers of philosophy, besides being exceedJesus. John the Baptist and Jesus ingly vague and mystical, is directly are represented as artful emissaries atheistic in its tendencies, teaching of the sect of Essenes, who secret that the existence of man and of spily supported them; the account of rits is nothing real, except as it is the crucifixion is pronounced a identical with the existence of God, mere tale, and the miracles of the and that in fact, neither exists out New Testament, termed in general of the Divine Being. concerted fabrications.
In such a state of things as reIt was no wonder therefore that sulted from the principles of Sema great indifference to all religious ler, nothing could be more desirasubjects, and consequently a low ble for the cause of religion, than tone of inoral feeling, should soon that some man of piety, talents, and pervade the country. It was no suitable Biblical attainments should wonder that the lower classes, be found to resist the flood of mischief where there remained any serious swelling on every side. It was at ness and religion, should turn this time that Storr came forward to again to the writings and system of overthrow the foundations of the the Pietists for something to satis liberal school, being every way fy and sustain their feelings, or qualified for his task. He was as