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tention to pray, that they all might become one identical person or being; but simply that they might be united in harmony of purpose and co-operation. So also the Apostle Paul, in the 3d chapter of his first epistle to the Corinthians, after saying that he had planted and Apollos watered, adds in the 8th verse: “Now he that planteth, and he that watereth are one.” Here again it is certainly not the intention of Paul to assert, that he and Apollos were one and the same person, but simply that they were fellow laborers in the same cause.
The last passage to which, under this head of my subject, I intend to refer, is the conversation between our Saviour and Philip, recorded, John xiv. 8, 10. where we read: "Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it suffices us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that has seen me has seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself; but the Father, that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works."
Here Trinitarians assume that the personal identity of Christ with God, is clearly taught, because Christ says: that whoever has seen him, has seen the Father. I believe, however, that this is a mistake, and that this text admits of another and very natural explanation. God is a spirit, and as such invisible. Man can see the Deity, not in his essence, but only in his works. Jesus was the representative of God on earth. In him the divine wisdom, power and goodness, had become manifest, and visible to mankind. Philip had been with Jesus from the beginningHe had heard his teaching, and been witness of his mighty works, and of his acts of beneficence; and hence he had seen the Father in the only manner in which he ever can become visible to mortal eyes. That such is the true explanation of this passage, appears to me to be evident from the 10th verse, where Christ says, that the words which he speaks, he speaks not of himself; and that the Father who dwelleth in him, doeth the works.
I have thus endeavored to show, that the texts, which are usually relied on, to prove that Christ announced himself to the Jews as the Supreme God, prove no such fact. To my mind the examination I have made of those passages, is perfectly convincing. Should the explanations, however, which I have given, appear unsatisfactory or inconclusive, to any one, I would recommend to such, a careful and earnest consideration of the text, John i. 18, which appears to me to be perfectly decisive, not only with respect to the particular point now under consideration, but also of the whole doctrine of the proper Deity of Christ. In that text the Apostle tells us: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” In the consideration of this passage, two things are to be observed. The first is, that in it the Apostle speaks of God, and of the Son of God, as two perfectly distinct beings, of which, the latter had come to reveal the former. The second is, that the Apostle asserts in the most express manner, that no man has ever seen God. But thousands had seen Christ. John himself had been with him during nearly the whole of his ministry on earth; had been his beloved disciple, and lived with him in habits of daily intimacy; and when under those circumstances, he asserts that no man has ever seen God, the inference is irresistible, that he considered Christ as not being God. This inference appears to me so unavoidable, that I cannot see how Trinitarians can pretend to believe in the proper Deity of Christ, and at the same time in St. John's Gospel. I know that in ordinary difficulties of this kind, recourse is had to the doctrine of the two natures; but that doctrine cannot help us out here, unless we attribute to the Apostle, a disingenuousness of language, which would render his writings totally worthless.*
ART, V.-GERMAN THEOLOGY AND AMERICAN FOLLY.
ORTHODOXISM CHARACTERIZED. There is a great deal of folly in this world, no doubt; many foolish things are done, many more uttered; but we think of all subjects, the one which has elicited of late years the most nonsensical remark, is that of German Theology, or Neology, (the two words seem to be used as synonimous.) The general opinion among a certain class of writers and critics, seems to be, that some hitherto unheard of, and awful form of Infidelity has possessed itself of all Germany. It is so deceitful, that it can pass itself off for an angel of light; so learned a devil, as utterly to confound all the Hebrew and Grecian lore of English and American colleges; its logic, its
Some endeavor to avoid the force of this passage by saying, that though Christ was God, yet that his Divine nature was not visible, but merely his human nature. Suppose a man should, in a court of justice, testify that he had not seen a certain man, whom he bowever had seen, and then justify himself by saying that he had not seen the man's soul, which is the most essential part. Would not such a witness be held guilty of perjury? And yet, men will attribute to the bosom friend of Jesus, a similar prevarication, merely to uphold their own schemes of human invention.
criticism, its profound speculation, make up an element too deep to be safely ventured into by the best protected defender of truth. So that, on the whole, we must label it, “Touch not-taste not-handle not,"—and keep clear of the whole matter. This chimera has been commonly known, as I before said, under the general name of Neology. Every now and then some new scribbler takes occasion to imprint a mark on this poor sheep, and to utter his
“Hic Niger est—hunc tu, Romane caveto,” And every now and then some traveller in that wonderful region sends back, or brings back, such dreadful tales of the ins habitants, that we almost begin to believe in the existence of the
"Anthropophagi, and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders.” These remarks are occasioned just now by our happening to meet with extracts from the journal of such a traveller as we describe. One professor Sears (professor of what, or whereabout professing, we cannot inform the curious reader,) is, it appears, inditing a series of communications with respect to the heathenish darkness of this unfortunate land of the reformation-land of Luther and Melancthon, and in later days of Klopstock, Herder and a thousand others whose piety is world-renowned. But what says professor Sears? “The great majority of the Germans who are occupied with these subjects (sacred philology,) are decidedly hostile to the spiritual nature of the gospel. It is a curious spectacle to see a nation of infidels expounding the Bible.”
So we should think. But these wholesale assertions smack too much of the style of the Trollope and Fidler school of travellers to win implicit credence. The German people has always been distinguished by its deep sentiments of piety and by its patient investigation after truth. A fearful argument for the cause of Deism, if these qualifications have at last brought the whole nation to a rejection of revealed religion!
Even if it were true, however, that German theology is one corrupting mass of infidelity, we doubt the propriety of the well meaning professor's advice. He says that we had better have nothing at all to do with their philology, till it has been purified from all error. Better not go into water till you know how to swim. How is this purification to be accomplished, except we examine, and investigate, and criticise.
He dreads the consequences of introducing German learning into this country. He thinks it doubtful whether we ought not to mourn over the translations which have been
. made from the German-meaning we suppose such books as “Jahn's Archæology and Introduction," "Ernesti,” “Knapp's Theology," &c. He seems to be as low spirited as the spies who came from Canaan, saying, "and there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which came of the giants; and we were in our own sight as grass hoppers, and so we were in their sight.” Are these German scholars such Anakim, such sons of giants, that if they are engaged in propagating and defending error, we should fear to meet them with the weapons of Truth? Have they thrown away the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God; and shall we, possessing it, tremble and say, “We be not able to go up against this people, for they be stronger than we?” Let us not be as void of understanding as the Ostrich, who hides his head in the sand, and because he does not see his enemy, thinks he is not there. It is better, at any rate, that we should know how bad the case is—we had better examine the nature of German neology, and get a correct idea of it, if possible.
And at the first glance we see, what any sensible man, acquainted with human nature, might have predicted, that there is no propriety in such a broad sentence as this. You might as well class under one rubric, Dr. Beecher, Abner Kneeland, Mathias the Prophet, Dr, Channing, Burchard, Finney, and Joe Smith the Mormonite, as attempt to bring into one class the infinitely various theological systems of Germany. In that country, as in this, there is every grade of belief, and every variety of unbelief. In that country as here, speculation runs wild, knowledge puffs up, and free inquiry sometimes produces scepticism. But on the whole, their theology is at least fifty years before ours, in depth, spirituality, and a real reverence for scripture. We speak from some slight acquaintance with German theology. Ours is but dry sticks and chaff compared with it. Compare such books as Knapp and Hahn, (both orthodox) and see their superiority to most af our theological writers in the above mentioned particulars.
What then is the reason that so many persons talk like this Mr. Sears about Neology? The fact is this. They are brought up to look upon the form of words in which they received their faith as an essential part of it. The letter which killeth, is as important in their eyes as the spirit which giveth life. Now when they read German books they miss the oldfashioned language, the set phrases, the sound form of doctrine, and they feel lost. Their head swims with all these novel ideas. Too many thoughts produce mental giddiness. They say with John Bunyan's Pilgrim, “We are come into
deep waters where there is no standing, yea the floods come over us."
Fortunately, however, we have among us men who can go deeper into these waters without fear of drowning. We are much indebted to Stuart, Robinson, Stowe, Woods, jr., Upham &c., for their excellent translations from the German. Professor Stuart has written an admirable article in the last number of the Biblical Repository, * which sets this whole subject in a true light. Would we could place the whole of it before our readers instead of this short fragment.
“Whenever we cease, or even seem reluctant, to advocate fair, open and free examinations of all questions about truth, then let us take some other name which may more properly belong to us, and no longer profess to be Protestants. We have come upon times, at all events which demand, and which will hear both sides of all important questions: at least there are a portion of our community who are of this character. Young men, therefore, should not be shut out from reading German books, by undistinguishing and contumelious declamation against Germany and neology. * * * In every shape and form, so far as it is neology we are, and always have been, frankly and openly opposed to it. But we do not profess yet to have attained to that state of advance in opposition to heresy, or unbelief, which will lead us to hold it to be criminal to love wheat bread because Voltaire was fond of it, or wrong to believe that a triangle is not a square, because David Hume was much the same way of thinking. Fas est ab hoste doceri, even a heathen could say. Is it wrong to expect as high a degree of self-denial from meek and humble christians? What Gesenius, or any other neologist, has exhibited that is good and true, we should like to see and know, and believe; and even their errors we would not willingly be ignorant of. * * * We may be permitted to add, without the imputation of saying it for invidious purposes, that we greatly desire to see specimens of better lexicography, grammar, commentary, geography &c., produced by those who make light of, and reproach the German ones. Then we will assuredly and readily give up our German cousins, and cleave to those of our own household. Until then it must be expected, that at least one part of the public will not receive declamation for argument, nor contumelious reviling and innuendo for good philology.”
To take a more general view of this matter, we would say, that all such “foolish fears and fond desires” spring from a tendency of mind widely prevalent in the Christian world, and to which we have seen the word Orthodoxism applied. It is a diseased love of orthodoxy, and fear of heresy. The fear of error has gained an undue predominance over the love of truth. This trait is hateful to the generous seeker after truth, for such an one loves truth so well as to lose all fear of
* Critical Notice of Beke's Origines Biblicæ