« PreviousContinue »
universe in all time, to moral beings hereafter to be created, and on the employment of the redeemed in the future state, are highly interesting. With all the theories defended in the volume, we cannot coincide. Some of them are not only correct, but eminently useful. The entire volume is ingenious and able. The style of it is lucid, the spirit reverential and devout. Some of the phraseology, however, as for example on pp. 124, 125, appears to us infelicitous. As a whole, the volume will repay the student for a thoughtful perusal.
VI. THEOLOGIA GERMANICA." This work was probably written about 1350. Its author “was of the Teutonic Order, a priest and a warden of the Teutonic Order in Frankfort.” Martin Luther discovered the work, and published an edition of it in 1516. During his life-time, seventeen editions of it were published. More than sixty editions of it have already appeared in Germany, and it has been widely circulated in France and the Netherlands by means of Latin, French, and Flemish translations. Luther says of it: “Next to the Bible and St. Augustine, no book hath ever come into my hands whence I have learnt, or would wish to learn, more of what God, and Christ, and man, and all things, are." Chevalier Bunsen adds: “ With Luther, I rank this short treatise next to the Bible; but, unlike him, should place it before, rather than after, St. Augustine.” The main principles of the work are thus stated by Bunsen : “ Sin is selfishness ; godliness is unselfishness ; a godly life is the steadfast working out of inward freeness from self; to become thus godlike, is the bringing back of man's first nature.” On the nature of sin, the instructions of this volume are very explicit : “For all manner of sin and wickedness can never make us evil, so long as it is outside of us; that is, so long as we do not commit it, or do not give consent to it.” “Disobedience and sin are the same thing; for there is no sin but disobedience, and what is done of disobedience is all sin.” “But what, then, is there which is contrary to God and hateful to him? Nothing, but sin. But what is sin ? Mark this : sin is nothing else than that the creature willeth otherwise than God willeth, and contrary to him. Each of us may see this in himself ; for he who willeth otherwise than I, or whose will is contrary to mine, is my foe; but he who willeth the same as I, is my friend, and I love him. It is even so with God; and that is sin, and is contrary to God, and hateful and grievous to him. And he who willeth, speaketh or is silent, doeth or leaveth undone,
1 Theologia Germanica: which setteth forth many fair Lineaments of divine truth, and saith very lofty and lovely things touching a perfect life. Edited by Dr. Pfeiffer, from the only complete manuscript yet known. Translated from the German, by Susanna Winkworth. With a preface by the Rev. Charles Kingsley, rector of Eversley; and a letter to the translator, by the Chevalier Bunsen, D.D., D.C.L., etc.; and an introduction by Professor Calvin E. Stowe, D.D. Andover: Printed and Published by W. F. Draper, at his Printing House, Main Street. Boston: John P. Jewett & Co. MDCCCLVI.
otherwise than as I will, is contrary to me, and an offence unto me. it is also with God : when a man willeth otherwise than God, or contrary to God, whatever he doeth or leaveth undone, in short, all that proceedeth from him, is contrary to God, and is sin. And whatsoever Will willeth otherwise than God, is against God's will. As Christ said: he who is not with me, is against me.' Hereby may each man see plainly whether or not he be without sin, and whether or not he be committing sin, and how sin ought to be atoned for, and wherewith it may be healed. And this contradiction to God's will is what we call, and is, disobedience. And therefore Adam, the I, the Self, Self-will, Sin, or the Old Man, the turning aside or departing from God, do all mean one and the same thing." “ And what sin is, we have said already, namely, to desire or will anything otherwise than the One Perfect Good and the one Eternal Will, and apart from and contrary to them, or to wish to have a will of one's own. And what is done of sin, such as lies, fraud, injustice, treachery, and all iniquity, in short, all that we call sin, cometh hence, that man hath another will than God and the True Good; for, were there no will but the One Will, no sin could ever be committed. Therefore we may well say that all self-will is sin, and there is no sin but what springeth therefrom. And this is the only thing which a truly godlike man complaineth of; but to him, this is such a sore pain and grief, that he would die a hundred deaths in agony and shame, rather than endure it; and this his grief must last until death ; and where it is not, there be sure that the man is not truly godlike, or a partaker of the Divine nature. Now, seeing that in this light and love, all good is loved in One and as One, and the One in all things, and in all things as One and as All, therefore all those things must be loved that rightly are of good report ; such as virtue, order, seemliness, justice, truth, and the like; and all that belongeth to God in the true Good and is His own, is loved and praised ; and all that is without this Good, and contrary to it, is a sorrow and a pain, and is hated as sin, for it is of a truth sin. And he who liveth in the true light and true love, hath the best, noblest, and worthiest life that ever was or will be, and therefore it cannot but be loved and praised above any other life. This life was and is in Christ to perfection, else he were not the Christ.” For whenever we speak of the Adam, and disobedience, and of the old man, of self-seeking, self-will, and self-serving, of the I, the Me, and the Mine, nature, falsehood, the devil, sin ; it is all one and the same thing. These are all contrary to God, and remain without God.” “It hath been said, that there is of nothing so much, in hell, as of self-will; the which is true, for there is nothing else there than self-will, and if there were no self-will, there would be no devil and no hell. When it is said that Lucifer fell from heaven, and turned away from God, and the like, it meaneth nothing else than that he would have his own will, and would not be at one with the Eternal Will. So was it, likewise, with Adam in Paradise. And when we say Self-will, we mean, to will otherwise than as the One and Eternal Will of God willeth.” See pp. 25, 54, 117, 118, 154, 155, 159, 172—180. Vol. XIII. No. 50.
Equally plain are the teachings of this volume on the disinterestedness of true virtue.
“ Behold! in such a [holy] creature, there is no longer anything willed or loved but that which is good, because it is good, and for no other reason than that it is good ; not because it is this or that, or pleaseth or displeaseth such a one, is pleasant or painful, bitter or sweet, or what not. All this is not asked about nor looked at. And such a creature doth nothing for its own sake, or in its own name, for it hath quitted all Self, and Me, and Mine, and We, and Ours, and the like, and these are departed. It no longer saith, “I love myself, or this or that, or what not.' And if you were to ask Love, 'what lovest thou ?' she would answer, “I love Goodness.' • Wherefore ?' • Because it is good, and for the sake of Goodness.' So it is good and just and right to deem that if there were ought better than God, that must be loved better than God. And thus God loveth not Himself as Himself, but as Goodness. And if there were, and He knew, ought better than God, He would love that and not Himself. Thus the Self and the Me are wholly sundered from God, and belong to Him only in so far as they are necessary for Him to be a Person.
“Behold! all that we have said must indeed come to pass in a godlike man, or one who is truly made a partaker of the divine nature;' for else he would not be truly such.” pp.
105-107. “Further, mark ye; that when the True Love and True Light are in a man, the Perfect Good is known and loved for itself and as itself; and yet not so that it loveth itself of itself and as itself, but the one True and Perfect Good can and will love nothing else, in so far as it is in itself, save the one, true Goodness. Now if this is itself, it must love itself, yet not as itself nor as of itself, but of this wise: that the One true Good loveth the One Perfect Goodness, and the One Perfect Goodness is loved of the One, true and Perfect Good. And in this sense that saying is true, that · God loveth not Himself as Himself.' For if there were ought better than God, God would love that, and not Himself.” pp. 151, 152. See also pp. 161, 162.
The Theologia Germanica is often complained of as mystical. On some topics it is remarkably plain and simple. We know not where we could find a more definite explanation than is here given of the union between good men and their Maker. This union results from love to God. “And this love so maketh a man one with God, that he can never more be separated from him.” • Now, what is this union? It is, that we should be, of a truth, purely, simply, and wholly at one with the One Eternal Will of God, or altogether without will, so that the created will should flow out into the Eternal Will, and be swallowed up and lost therein, so that the Eternal Will alone should do and leave undone in us." “ Now, when this union truly cometh to pass and becometh established, the inward man standeth henceforward immovable in this union ; and God suffereth the outward man to be moved hither and thither, from this to that, of such things as are necessary and right. So that the outward man saith in sincerity : 'I have no will to be or not to be, to live or die, to know or not to know, to do or to leave undone, and the like; but I am ready for all that is to be, or ought to be, and obedient thereunto, whether I have to do or to suffer.' And thus the out
ward man hath no wherefore or purpose, but only to do his part to further the Eternal Will. For it is perceived of a truth, that the inward man shall stand immovable, and that it is needful for the outward man to be moved. And if the inward man have any wherefore in the actions of the outward man, he saith only that such things must be and ought to be, as are ordained by the Eternal Will. And where God himself dwelleth in the man, it is thus; as we plainly see in Christ. Moreover, where there is this union, which is the offspring of a Divine light and dwelleth in its beams, there is no spiritual pride, or irreverent spirit, but boundless humility, and a lowly, broken heart; also an honest, blameless walk, justice, peace, content, and all that is of virtue, must needs be there. Where they are not, there is no right union, as we have said. For, just as neither this thing nor that can bring about or further this union, so there is nothing which hath power to frustrate or hinder it, save the man himself with his self-will, that doeth him this great wrong
Of this be well assured.” pp. 91, 92. The doctrine of human impotence is explained and asserted, very profoundly, on pp. 116, 178, 179, et al.
The entire volume is full of deep, rich thought. It is eminently practical. It is fitted to nurture a meditative spirit. It is a scholar's “ daily food;" for many a single sentence of it will cherish a devout and humble temper during the day on which the sentence is studied. Clergymen, and all instructed laymen, owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. DRAPER, for having published this volume, especially in such an appropriate and elegant style. It will delight and profit every intelligent reader.
THEOLOGICAL AND LITERARY INTELLIGENCE.
The work which has attracted by far the most attention among the recent theological publications of Germany, is that by Chevalier Bunsen, on the “ Signs of the Times;” the appearance of which was announced in the last Number of the Bib. Sacra, and which has since been through three editions. The book owes its significance partly to the distinguished position of the author, and partly to the fact that it discusses with the utmost freedom, and from a somewhat novel point of view, questions which have, of late, assumed a good deal of importance; or, to speak more precisely, it is an earnest and vigorous attack upon the so-called New Lutheran party, or the party of ecclesiastical and political reaction.
On returning to his native land, after a residence of fourteen years in England, Bunsen was impressed with the revolution both in religious and political opinion which, during his absence, had taken place; and, after pon
dering the phenomenon for a while, in the seclusion of his charming villa on the Neckar, he gives the results of his meditations to the public, in the form of Letters to a friend. He regards as the two most striking “ Signs of the Times,” the development of the principle of the associated effort of individual churches, especially as shown in the missionary operations of Independent and Baptist churches ; and, in contrast with this, the increased prelatical spirit, manifested among the English Puseyites and the German Lutherans. These are taken to be the evidences of increased desire, on the part of the people, for individual freedom of belief, and an increased zeal for its suppression on the part of the priesthood.
In proof of this spirit of prelatical aggression, Bunsen passes, in rapid review, some of the recent instances of religious persecution : the case of the Madiai and of Ceccheti in Italy, and of Borczynski at Prague. The general conclusion drawn is, that Protestantism has never fully developed itself, save in connection with civil liberty; and that this latter has ever been advanced by the Calvinistic churches, but never by the Lutheran. It should be remarked that here Bunsen has reached the same conclusion, though in a wholly different spirit, with Prof. Leo, of Halle, who upbraids Calvin with being the author of all the political commotions since his time. Civil freedom, says Bunsen, has never shown itself vital, save as resting on self-government in the lower spheres of common life ; and this is only possible with spiritual liberty. The great ceremonies in commemoration of St. Boniface, which occurred while he was writing, give occasion for some strictures upon the character of the so-called Apostle of the Germans. Bunsen maintains that Boniface was not the apostle of Christianity, but of the Church ; that he reaped the fruit of better men's labors, and succeeded in saddling upon the German race a system which effectually stunted their development, till the Reformation, by reviving the influence of the individual congregations, restored the vital element which Boniface had suppressed. The failure of the Romantic School, in its protest against the disorganizing tendencies of Modern Philosophy, arose simply from the fact that it endeavored to place itself on the basis of the Middle Ages. The Churchquestion in Baden, the resistance to the Civil-marriage, and other local questions, also receive notice. In contrast with this spirit of Ecclesiasticism, Bunsen brings out, in bold relief, the characteristics of the early English Independents. A hearty tribute is paid to their founder, Brown; and, in speaking of their vigorous career on the other side of the Atlantic, he declares that “the moral earnestness of the Puritans is the mightiest root of the gigantic power of the United States.” He then proceeds to criticise the views propounded, last winter, in Berlin, by Prof. Stahl, in his famous lecture on Religious Toleration. Viewing this lecture as representing the sentiments of the New Lutheran party, he earnestly protests against them as breathing the genuine essence of Popery, and as standing, moreover, in flat contradiction to the principles of the Primitive Church. This leads him to enter, at length, into the vexed question of the Union, into which our limits do not permit us to follow him.