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we can at least listen patiently to the plea that is put in for his infallibility. But this is not the view that Romanism is willing to allow. The infallibility must be set quite above the standing order of our life. The authority is lifted clear out of the process of humanity, and in this way ceases to be concrete and historical altogether. It has no objective mediation in the actual constitution of the world. It is wholly abstract, transcendent, superhuman; and so in the end it is not moral; leaves no room for freedom; but runs into despotism, spiritual legerdemain, and magic.
We have never meant to deny the supernatural ; nor yet to make it the same thing simply with the supersensible, the world of pure thought as distinguished from the world of sense. Our objection to Mr. Brownson is, not that he sets the supernatural out of nature over it and above it, but that this transcendence, in his hands is carried to the point of such an absolute disruption of the one world from the other as amounts at last to downright dualism, and leaves no room for the accomplishment of any real conjunction between them in the life of man; which, however, at the same time is the necessary conception of all religion, and the very form especially in which the idea of Christianity becomes complete. We see not how such a real conjunction should imply anything like a full sufficiency on the side of nature, left to itself for the actualization of the supernatural as its own product; but it does seem to us certainly to require a constitutional fitness and capability on the part of the first, for apprehending with some inward connatural grasp, the presence of this last when brought within its reach. We question not the full objectivity of the supernatural, as an order of life above nature; only we ask that a corresponding subjectivity be allowed also on the part of man, whereby he may be able to receive the object which is thus higher than himself into true union with his life, so as to be lifted by the power of it, not magically but rationally, into its own supe. rior sphere. Such directly receptive capacity we take to be inherently at hand in the gift or faculty of faith. Faith carries in it a real inward living and rational correspondence with the truth it is called to embrace; and in this view it belongs to the proper original nature of man, though a divine influence is needed certainly to bring it into exercise. Such drawing out of the subjective capacity of our nature, however, by no means implies that the truth itself is drawn out in this way ; just as little as the awakening of sight in a previously blind eye would imply, that the surrounding world was brought to pass by its becoming thus an object of vision. What else does our Saviour mean when he
says : No man can come to me, except the Father draw him; He that is of God, heareth God's words ; If any man will do my will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God. For the reception of Christ, all depends on a certain inward sympathy and correspondence with the truth revealed in his person, a real receptivity for the supernatural on the side of the human soul itself, such as all men ought to have, but only some men have in fact.
To affirm such a rational correspondence between faith and its object, is not to affirm by any means the full intelligibleness of this last for the human mind. The world of sense is not at once understood, by being apprehended as an object of sense. Still this apprehension carries in it the relation of a real inward connection with the intrinsic nature of what is thus perceived as real and true. So here. The object supernatural, according to the measure of each particular revelation, is substantiated and made to be real, not objectively of course but in the sphere of the human mind, by the power of faith, touching it, falling in with it, embracing it, and so admitting it into union with man's life, though it be still by no means fully comprehended. Faith is not itself the truth it embraces; just as little as the Holy Ghost is the same truth, in making way for it to the believer's soul; but it is nevertheless truly the very form under which truth exists in the soul, as the Holy Ghost also is the real medium by which such result is brought to pass. Supernatural truth is for man no truth al all except as it is “ mixed with faith” in them that hear it. The language of St. Paul, Heb. xi. 1, taken in connection with the whole chapter, clearly implies, we think, that faith is such a power of grasping invisible and eternal things, as serves to authenticate them, and to make their reality actually felt, as truly as the things of sense are felt in their own way. By it, for instance, we know that the worlds were framed from nothing by the word of God. We get that by no ratiocination, and by no outward testimony; but in the form rather of a direct response on the part of our religious nature, to the word that addresses faith directly out from the constitution of the world itself.
But this, Mr. Brownson tells us, is to exclude testimony, as the necessary medium of faith. “Even Divine testimony is not to be credited, it seems, according to our German Reformed Doctor, till we have examined what it testifies to, and satisfied ourselves by our own light that it is true, and worthy to be believed” p.
204. But this is not a fair representation of our meaning. What we have objected to is the idea of a purely outward evidence in this form, coming between the believer and the truth
to be believed, and engaging his assent to this on grounds wholly extrinsical to the truth itself. Certainly we allow the testimony or word of God to be the true foundation of faith. The question is simply, how this testimony is to be obtained. Can ii be conclusively ascertained in a purely abstract way, as something sure and full on the outside of the revelation to which it requires our assent; according to the view taken of faith, if we understand Mr. Brownson rightly, in the Roman system? We think not. The whole revelation, be it less or more, commenc. ing with the miracle or primary seal and reaching out to all that is spoken, must be regarded as entering into the evidence by which the presence of the Divine Speaker is authenticated and his testimony accredited. This is not to make the word more certain than the Speaker, but only to set the Speaker before us under a form worthy of himself, and sufficient to command faith. When we have, in such circumstances, the Presence of God joined with its proper concrete relations, these serve of course lo complete the evidence of the adorable fact; but it is still the Presence itself, as the centre of all, which at the same time legitimates and proves the reality of the whole revelation. So the world of Nature proclaims the being and glory of God; but only as the idea of God himself, discerned by faith, comes into view through Nature, and in the midst of it, to authenticate it as his own spoken handi-work and word. The miracle seals properly a Divine commission ; but not abstractly; not magically; otherwise no direction could have been given, (Deut. xiii. 1-5,) to destroy a wonder-worker using such argument in favor of idolatry and falsehood. The miracle, to prove truth, must have a certain moral constitution; must be surrounded with right relations; must proceed froin a worthy quarter and look to a worthy end.
So Christ stands commended to faith certainly by evidence ab extra as the Son of the living God; only however as he is himself the Light, which sheds on all such evidence its full significance and power. The knowledge which Peter had of Christ, (Matt. xvi. 17,) came not of course by mere sense; it was from God, and not in any way from flesh and blood; but still it was not a secret whispered in his ear in this form from beyond Christ's person. The truth was there before him, with self-authenticaiing force in Christ himself; and it was his peculiar privilege to see and feel in Him the living glorious SHEKINAH which he was in fact. But her our limits require us to stop.
J. W. N.
VOL. II.---NO. IV.
MELANCTHON AND THE PRESENT.
Versuch einer Charakteristik Melancthons als Theologen, und einer Entwickelurg seines Lehrbegriffs von Friedrich Galle. Halle, 1840.
It is the professed object of the book referred to at the head of this article, to give a fair representation of Melancthon, as a theologian in the general acceptation of the term, and more parricularly 10 point out his variations on the two most important subjects in Theology, the Lord's Supper, and the Freedom of the Will. The book indeed, as the author says, sprung originally from a previous article on bis variations in doctrine, but as these constitute but a part of his mental history, it was a happy idea in the author, that led him to seek for those portions that remained, and to clothe them with life and beauty. In this be has happily succeeded, and we consequently have an internal bistory of Melancthon in all its parts, the only true history, which can be given of a scholar, who has spent his time in reflection, rather than in practical life. The book is thorough, that is, it quotes original anthority for proof, and it may be regarded, we presume, as standard authority on all subjects connected willa the life of the Reformer. In Germany it has taken its place in the theological literature of the day, as a "nonograph," a VOL. II.-KO. IV.
species of Church History, known only to the modern Theology of Germany. It shall be our object to employ the information it contains with an object in view somewhat different from that of the author, but one to which we think his learned researches would justly lead.
We regard Melancthon as one of the best abused men in ecclesiastical history. Luther and Zuingle, whilst they have been a bye-word and a term of reproach in the catholic world, have ever been held in grateful remembrance by their Protestant children generally. Calvin, whilst he has been no less heartily hated by Roman Catholics, and in addition, has been obliged to bear the maledictions of thousands, who were too much obliged to him for their spiritual inheritance, to have treated him so unthankfully, has ever had his more particular adherents, to rally around his standard, and to revere his piety and genius. But neither the Protestant world as such, nor any particular section of it, has as yet placed so firm a barrier around the memory of Melancihon, as has been the case with the illustrious men already alluded to. If his enemies have not been as numerous or as bitter, his friends, though numerous, have not been so enthusiastic and decided as theirs; if the foriner have been less successful in repudiating his claims to the grateful regard of the Church, the latter by their faint praise have been more successful in giving him a less elevated position in the great Protestant movement, than the case in fact demands. It has been common to represent him as the secretary or amanuensis of Luther, his colleague. That he was a correct, and classic writer, and a thorough linguist, and highly distinguished in these respects is freely admitted, and full praise is accordingly awarded. His spirit, in which of course imperfection could not be lacking, looking benignantly over the tumultuous waves through which the Reformation passed, and seeming to say, Peace, be still, is frequently regarded as having subserved its main purpose, in checking the passions by which Luther and others were unreasonably excited. His learning was of importance mainly as the store-house, from which the heroes of the battle-field drew forth their weapons, burnished and bright, when the heat of the contest gave them no time to prepare themselves. But his merits under this aspect were chiefly of account in giving the principles of the Reformation a suitable form and vesture, although such a position as is ascribed to him, in such an arena, would be an honorable one indeed. The merits of Melancthon, however, we believe, can be shown to be of a higher character,--that he was truly a hero of his own kind in the strife, whose influence has left an impres