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with greater power than by a word, and draws us with more tenderness than by the fairest work of creation. In Christ we look upon God with unveiled face, as God looks upon us with the full glance of grace and love.
THE PROGRESS OF TRUTH.
Truth in and for itself, as it exists in the divine mind, is eternal ; but for the human race it is progressive, always developing itself in a purer and higher form. Even in revelation, it is not presented in the fixed and unchangeable form of a precise theoretical system ; but as a spirit which is to be realized in humanity, a principle to be gradually unfolded. The eternal, the immutable substance of all knowledge of truth, is established by the Deity himself; but its realization within the limits of time is intrusted to the activity of the human mind. In this respect, every age has its peculiar call, a specific commission, and hence certain distinct rights. It can never be the problem of one generation, merely to re-produce in itself the ideas and convictions of another, any more than we can require of one individual, that he should be another rather than himself; and even if the old is brought again upon the stage, it must always appear in a new form, and inspired with fresh life, or it can have no actual significance. In fact, every individual person, but much more a whole race, notwithstanding all historical connexions, has the need of being developed from within, of moving according to his own spiritual laws and wants, and of thus attaining strength and satisfaction in his spiritual being. This demand, which is made also on the present theological generation, would fail of being met, the generation would show itself unworthy of its place in the developement of the whole, if it absolutely persisted in any theological tradition, any hereditary scientific or ecclesiastical result; hence also, if it desired to perpetuate the existing form of Supernaturalism or Rationalism, though perhaps with certain modifications and improvements in individual details. They, who with honest convictions cannot pass beyond these forms, must of course abide in them ; but the whole grand developement of the age and of society cannot remain banished within their limits. Theology and the church in general must escape from these distractions, and create for themselves a new and more appropriate form. We cannot again go back to the old in its ancient shape; a dress, which the spirit has once laid
aside, it assumes no more; it is inexhaustible in the creation of new forms; but it accomplishes this, as buman spirit, only from materials that are already given, in historical continuity, - not bringing forth an absolutely new production, but building on a certain established ground-work. Our problem then can be only to appropriate to ourselves from the old that which has been tested and found genuine, and with these materials to carry up a fresh structure in a more beautiful and imposing style. No individual, certainly, will complete this. The building will not arise by a single blow. But it is not a work which we are first called upon to begin ; it has already been commenced. Every theological science exhibits proofs of this regeneration ; from year to year, new productions are brought out, alive with a deeper Christian spirit, but without prejudice to earnestness and strength of inquiry; and as soon as sincere love and a holy enthusiasm become more prevalent, these living stones will be joined together, with still more glorious beauty and harmony, for a magnificent temple of Christian science.
USES OF CONTROVERSY. There are often moments in which theologians of the present day may feel a yearning after that ancient Past, (though, in other respects, less attractive) when unity and firmness prevailed in the church, under a traditionary and rigidly exclusive system ; and although subordinate points of difference excited contention and doubt, yet those which involved the very existence of Christianity, the whole compass of the religious lise, were not made a question. But such yearning, were we disposed to yield to it, would be effeminate and idle; division, when it has once entered into the spiritual life, can be avoided by no one; we must either be overwhelmed by it, or pass through it to higher peace. Even controversy has something elevating and delightful, and is indispensable in the developement of the whole ; only it is not properly engaged in for its own sake, it serves for the education and strengthening of the spirit, and should lead to a determinate end, to true union. War is only for the sake of peace. Every spiritual contest of humanity has also always laid down a result, whether the points at issue have been confirmed in decided opposition, or a third product, higher than either, has been the fruit of the struggle. The former has usually been the case in ecclesiastical, the latter, in theological combats. There, separation has taken - 30 s. VOL. III. NO. III.
place, and the parties have filed off from each other as distinct consessions; here the parties contend together in one and the same community, until a new party is elaborated by their conflict. We are now in the midst of such a war of mind; we evidently live in an age of crisis and transition, though perhaps approaching to its close. The results are not yet brought 10 light, but they cannot fail, they are even now beginning, to make their appearance. Only one of two things is before us. We must proceed either to what is better or worse. Either a time of scientific, moral, and religious laxity and corruption must follow; or our age is in preparation for a new birth of religion, theology, and the church; it stands nearly in the same relation to the future, as the filteenth century did to the Reformation. The first is not probable, in an age, in which, amidst much degeneracy that we do not conceal from ourselves, a new religious spirit, especially among the German people, is evidently poured forth, in which a greater moral earnestness has been restored, and a fresh and vigorous life been developed in every department of science. All this must be suddenly broken up, before we can actually suffer the ruin which is predicted to us by many. On the contrary, the lamentations of those who think that humanity or science is on the decline, because their system is thrown into the shade, must appear ludicrous to the unprejudiced observer. Reason and science are not bound up in the conceptions of the eighteenth century ; and if there are men at the present time who do not possess much mind and vigor of thought, and hence would fain repress a powerful intellectual developement, we need not be surprised; it has never been otherwise; but they can avail nothing against the extraordinary movement and activity of mind, which are found in almost every department of society and knowledge, on a larger and more comprehensive scale than has hardly ever been the case before. This, taken in connexion with the awakened religious interest already alluded to, clearly indicates a progress to what is better; and faith also rejoices in this more cheerful view of the future, and cannot renounce the conviction, that the course of history is ordered by God, who will bear on his truth through every conflict to victory. At the right time, then, the right men will not be wanting, who will renew the covenant between faith and science, in a still more successful manner, than is possible in this period of transition ; who, with an energy like that of the old Reformers, will establish a
new creation in the church, and introduce as a universal result, that which is only striven after, by our yet distracted age, the victory of pure, Apostolic Christianity, but placed on firmer basis, and born to a higher life, in the spirit of deep and genuine science. Then, if there be need of a prominent individual instrument, another Luther will arise, who, nourished in the motherly bosom of a sincere piety, and fed with the very marrow of science, will reconcile faith with speculation, theology with the church, and install them in their true position, in society and life.
CONFLICT OF OPINIONS.
The clergyman, as indeed every one, who would act upon the heart, must possess a firm stand-point; he must have a decided character and ai.n at a decided object; he must speak to others with a consciousness, it is true, of human weakness and imperfection, but, at the same time, with the secure repose of inward certainty. This demand, at the present moment, will be so modified, that a man should either avoid involving himself in the divisions and struggles of the age, or else must have labored his way through them to inward unity and to higher peace. If he has not shared in the conflict of opinions, he has then preserved the full simplicity of Christian faith, and by means of this unclouded and child-like piety, he is capable of producing a great effect, especially on hearts equally pure and simple with his own; but there can be only few, particularly in our relations in Germany, who through the whole course of a university education, are able to preserve themselves in this condition of religious and theological innocence; nay, amiable as we may deem this child-like sense in laymen and women, we ought not even to wish it in a theologian, who is to grow up in the assaults, and commotions, and storms of our present spiritual life. Of him, we should rather demand the contrary, that he should have pressed through the divisions of the age, that he have survived the critical period of inward experience, that he have raised doubts and also solved them, that he have rescued for himself, from the war of systems and opinions, a treasure of holy and indestructible truth, wbich may form the very spring of his life, the priceless diamond of Christianity, purified and strengthened in the fire of severe and earnest inquiry. But ill does it stand with him, if he is yet engaged in conflict himself, if the rent of the world's history goes also through bis soul; he is there an ávn, siyr:yos, torn asunder in the interior of his being; and since he finds himself still in uncertainty, he has not the fixed stand-point, which alone enables one to act decidedly on others, and to gather them around a common and living centre.
THE IMPORTANCE OF DISTINCT EXPRESSION. Whoever is in the habit of reading theological writings, particularly those designed for the public at large, will not be able to suppress a great many wishes, with regard to language and style. First of all, he would make the most natural demand, that every one should have some definite meaning in what he writes. But what if we could take all men who write, at their word? I venture to say, that among twenty, who use the word “mystical,” there are not five, who have a clear and philosophical conception of its meaning, and one which will bear the test of history. How much party clamor on all sides would be removed at once, if every writer would make use only of those expressions, which are founded on a fixed, precise, and distinct idea! As soon as we circulate in theology too much small coin, and pieces that are worn smooth, we must take up with phrases that are current, but past service, indefinite, without character or value. But when all shall endeavour in earnest, to give only a faithful copy in words, of the essential nature of the subject in hand, or at least, of the true and complete import of what they think and feel, we may then expect greater freshness, reality, and life, in theological language and ideas. The subjective truth would lead us to a greater degree of objective truth. Another canker on our theology is the ambiguity and incompleteness of expression, of which many avail themselves, in order to say one thing to the simple, and suggest another to be inferred by the wise, in order privily to insinuate the new under the garb of the old, and in suspicious cases to get clear of difficulty. This was never done by the open-hearted Reformers ; this was scorned by the straightforward Luther. Least of all does such a masquerade dress become their admirers; poorly does it sit upon us Germans, whose plain and honest language, by its very nature, rebels against such abuse. Finally, we should always speak on the loftest subjects, in the most dignified and graceful style. We do not ask for pomp or affectation ; simplicity will always remain the chief sign and ornament of truth, -- above all, of