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and substituted in its place, the Calvinistic. With no intention to vary from the Augsburg Confession, he consulted Melancthon, as to the propriety of preparing some suitable book for the instruction of his people in the true faith. Melancthon approved of his design in his Heidelberg Response, celebrated for the obloquy, which it brought down upon him, and for its defining more definitely his own position. The text-book desired, was the Heidelberg Catechisin, prepared by Olevianus, and Ursinus, the former a disciple of Calvin, the latter of Melancthon, and published in 1563 with the approbation of a Synod convened at Heidelberg. This is generally reckoned among the Calvinistic formularies of the time; but it has always been regarded as teaching the objectionable parts of Calvinism more by implication, than expressly. One who reads discussions on predestination attentively, may perceive from which of the parties it came, and it may be said of it with truth “thy speech betrayeth thee;" but the granite pillars upon which the superstructure rests, are so concealed from view, that a casual observer would not suspect their existence, unless from the firmness and solidity of the building itself. But this quiet, unobtrusive form of the Cate chism was not such as Calvinism presented in those times in other lands. Elsewhere it was accustomed to push the consequences of its system out to their utmost extremes, and such was the ardor of its adherents, that neither faggot nor sword, could lower its courageous front. It was rather Melancihonian christianity, mingling with, and pervading the Calvinistic system, that gave the German portion of the Reformed Church such an air of easy, peaceful, majestic repose.
In the Palatinate then, Melancthonianism in connection with the Reformed Church, found a genial soil; but it was not confined to this part of Germany: jt penetrated other parts of the Empire. In the seventeenth century, the Palatine-Elector was offered the crown of Bohemia, which he unfortunately accepted, and thus gave occasion to the Thirty Years War, one of the longest and bloodiest on record. During its continuance, the Reformed countries suffered most from that papal wrath, which had been kindling for a century, and were obliged for a long time to bear the heat of the day, until the magnanimous Swede, Gustavus Adolphus, came to the rescue of the Protestant faith. At the peace of Westphalia, 1668, Reformed power and influence in Germany lay prostrate. The Palatinate, its classic soil, was one wide scene of desolation, with little prospect of its ever regaining its former standing and influence. It was a righteous dispensation, a parental discipline, to open up a more glorious
future for the faith of its children. My Kingdom is not of this world. John Sigismund, the Elector of Brandenburg had already established the Reformed faith in his dominions, and as that energetic house rose from the command of a mere principality to a place among the great powers of Europe, 'Calvino-Melancthonian Christianity bas raised its head in Germany.' In 1817 the Evangelical Church was formed by the king of Prussia out of the old Lutheran and Reformed Churches in his dominions, and his example has been followed in a great portion of the German States. This measure has been represented as the veriest act of tyranny, that has been exercised upon the consciences of men, and opposition has been long and loud. But the sympathies of Germany have ever been in favor of its general tendency, and it could be shown that the soil had been previously prepared for the new Church. The spirit of Melanothon awoke at the Jubilee of the Reformation, as well as that of Luther, and now it claims its rights among the German people. The Evangelical Church carries with it the weight and influence of Germany against the separatistic tendency on the one hand, and Catholic Austria on the other. Her best and most learned men heartily adopt it as their platform, on which they are content to labor, and erect those theological structures, which will endure to the latest period. The Union has not as yet been consummated in an internal way, which is moreover something that is more than could be expected. Clashings and collisions reach our ears even beyond the Atlantic, but this is a necessary attendant on every great and earnest effort of the human mind. It is strange, however, that in this country so little is known of the origin and present state of the Evangelical Church. A morement has been going on in Germany for the last quarter of a century, destined in the end to make itself felt to the extreme himits of Protestantism, and we are scarcely in a condition to
The German Reformed Church in this courtry, whilst it is composed of German Reformed, Swiss Reformed, Huguenotic, and some few Walĉensian elements, has preserved its original character, which may be owing to the fact that so many Palatines settled here during the last century: The piely of her communion, where it has had an opportunity to unfold itsell, is ihat which breathes throughout her excellent Catechism,-peace, moderation, forbearance, brotherly love, and an active interest in the church, and cause of Christ generally. Her venerable Synod, now over a hundred years old, in her annual assemblies, usually presents scenes such as Melancthon would delight to witness, and Calvin would approve. Althe same time, it is the only body in this country, where delegaies from high-toned Lutheran, and high-toned Calvinistic Synods meet in an ecclesiastical capacity.
give the facts in the case. Sublime Melancthonian silence is all this, that can placidly survey the troubled sea of the present, and rest calmly in the future, final result, though it fail to arrest our attention. Of late, it is true, the Theology of the Evangelical Church, has been making its way from country to country, and we in America are beginning to hear something of it, but generally in the Calvinistic world, it is heartily despised, and its honorable parentage is either denied, or traced to the father of lies. Such we hope and believe will not continue to be the case in this our western world.
During the late convulsions in Germany, on a remarkable occasion, Evangelical christianity was called forth by the pressure of the times to the view of the civilized world, when it was seen that it was not altogether that leaden mass of infidelity, which many had surmised, but a living portion of the body of Christ, with all its tender veins and arteries in full play, blooming with beauty. The revolutions of '48, had broken asunder as in a moment all authority, whether in Church, or State. Thrones tottered, crowns fell from their places, and kings were sent into exile. There was another such a revelation of the man of sin, as had been seen in the previous century. The filth of iniquity was laid open, and the earth was filled with the stench. The tongue of the blasphemer was loosened, and Atheism found its organs in high places. Many thought the last day had comethat Satan was loosed for a season. No rescue seemed to be at hand for either Church or State, except in the direct interposition of heaven. Then the united Church rose with the mag. nitude of the occassion. A convention of over three hundred ministers and laymen, convened at Wittemberg, the home of the Reformation, in the temple which contains the ashes of Luther and Melancthon, to consult respecting the path of duty. A suitable time was spent in prayer and fasting, when a solemn league was formed to resist the inroads of infidelity, and to pay particuJar attention to the cause of domestic missions. To evangelize and christianize Germany, seemed to be a work so transcendently important and pressing, that other objects were scarcely thought of. As if rebuked by the finger of God, they returned to their homes more firmly bound together than ever, in the determination to seize the land that was siill to be possessed. The bands that beld this illustrious assembly together were remarkable. They formed no new creed, the labor of balf an hour. They chose merely to base themselves on the symbols of the church from the earliest period downwards. On these a platform, broad and firm enough, could be reared to sustain them in their work and labor of love.
The general tendency of the christian Church at the present day, is neither Petrine, nor Pauline, but Johannean, which is but another word, for Melancthonian. Her deepest, most heartfelt voices are for peace, unity, catholicity. She has long carried the cross, and fought in the strife. She now sighs for deliverance, and waits for the crown.
If we examine attentively the course of Theology, we shall observe that it does not flow entirely in the direction of Lutheranism, nor Calvinism as such. In the case of the former, the doctrine of the Lord's Supper offends the christian consciousness; in the case of the latter, the doctrine of predestination, often carried to the verge of fatalism, produces the same effect. With reference to the Eucharist, the age so far as it is christian, inclines towards the Calvinistic platform. Not that its deeper wants are here satisfied, but because it finds firm material on which to build so as to secure the legitimate progress of the Church. The Calvanistic theory of human freedom is loosing ground, and high-toned predestination, though most satisfactory to the naked intellect, is undergoing a softer process before the tribunal of the religious consciousness. This tendency is something distinct from the stale Pelagianism of our day, which can bear no comparison in point of solidity with what may be regarded a one sided Calvanism. There is another and a more wholesome tendency at work, which is ready to admit a certain species of freedom to the natural will, whilst at the sanje time, it carefully protects the sovereignty of God and the necessity of divine grace.
These two have not been reconciled and made to appear in a consistent system of faith, as in the case of Melancthon, but it is a matter of supreme importance that the necessary dala should be granted in order to development in any science. Here again the Melancthonian platform is the safest on which to stand, if we have apprehended it correctly.
The churchly tendency of our times, so far as it is sound and scriptural, is also Melancthonian. Among the many divergent lines of thought which constitute ii, proceeding from the same point, we may see one which it is safe for us to pursue. It is fruly protestant and sufficiently reformatory. It does not feel itself in all cases bound by traditions, that reach back to the Reformation period, much less by those which are the mushroom growth of the day. It fears not to break the green withes laid upon the strength of the truth, and regards as of little nccount, the hue and cry of the multitude so generally attendant on an effort at real progress. At the same time as in the case of Melancthon it is ever ready to throw itself back upon antiq.
uity, either to fortify or modify its position by the voice of the past, much as the forest oak strikes his roots deeper into the earth, in proportion, as he elevates his head into the region of the tempest and the storm. This is in accordance with the direction of scripture : "Every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and eld.” As our age is emphatically an age of progress, much more so than any previous one, and as the Church is modified by the spirit around her, how necessary the hallowed influences of the Church of the past, to serve as a counteracting force to the fearful velocity, with which the times are carrying us forward. How strange too does it sound for good men to grow suspicious, and become excited at the very word, antiquity. But midst all the noise and bustle of the present, the meditating, the reflective, the serious can discern the mellowed voices of the ancients, as from a distant shore, waxing louder and louder, as our troublous times seem to require their co-operation in carrying forward the work of God in the world. No species of theological knowedge is beginning to be regarded of more value, Than Church History, and in no department of knowledge, have more genius and learning been summoned to the task of satisfying the crying wants of the Church. Our commentaries are beginning to be valued not so much for their novel modes of interpretation, as for the authority of any single explanation, and we hope the time is not far distant, when the laity will place the pulpit under similar, wholesome restrictions. And with reference to the present state of our doctrinal Theology, it is being felt by many, that its purification can be encompassed only by its transmission to the head-waters of the Reformation.
In conclusion, we would say, that in the above, we do not intend to disparage any of the Reformers. We regard Luther as the greatest man: Calvin, the greatest Theologian : whilst we regard Melancihon as the greatest christian, and his position as the safest starting point for the progress of Protestantism, that on which the future universal church is destined to rest. We do not claim for him originality, for all that goes to constitute the ground-work of his life. We regard it as a matter of the highest praise that could be bestowed upon him, that in an excited, agitated age, warding off the influences of party-spirit, he adopted such a full, niany-sided view of the Gospel. Smithsburg, Md.