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“foreign element” in Protestantism, which it has been a clear gain to lose altogether, deserves for this very reason, we think, to be regarded with jealous and mighty distrust.
In the second place, however, the theory here in consideration falls away palpably also from the sacramental faith of the whole ancient church. The idea which it pretends to set aside as a “ foreign element,” beyond all controversy, entered into the old catholic doctrine of the sacraments, not only as we find this caricatured in the later Roman creed, but as it meets us also in the earliest times, and long before Romanism appeared. No one at all familiar with church history, will think of calling this in question. Indeed the Roman corruptions are themselves fair evidence of the fact; for they could never have sprung certainly from any such view of the sacraments as we find now opposed to them, on the part of Puritanism. The first faith of the chris. tian world must have been far different, to make the gradual rise of transubstantiation, and the sacrifice of the mass, at all practicable or possible. We have evidence enough however, apart from this, that it was thus far different in fact. The mystical force of both sacraments was acknowledged from the beginning; and in the Lord's supper especially, along with the value of Christ's death as a sacrifice for sins, there was felt to go always also the presence of his veritable human life, as the necessary basis of the other grace, and the true pabulum of immortality for the souls of his people. With this old catholic faith, original Protestantism, Reformed as well as Lutheran, professed and endeavored earnestly to abide in communion. Now however it is made to be the iest of sound and mature Protestantism, to have no sense for it nor sympathy with it whatever. The Puritan theory before us discards all mystery from the eucharist, empties it of all inward or objective force, turns it into a mere meinorial of the Saviour's sacrifice, and treats the imagination of any real communion in it with his human life as an obsolete superstition. But can it serve to recommend this modern view, we seriously ask, that it thus falls away from the ancient doctrine, as well as from the original Protestant doctrine, and makes a mere part in each case nakedly taken of more account and worth than the whole? It has been a “process of growth,” we are told; in other words, a theological development. But what sort of growth is that, which leaves behind it the very substance and type of the original life itself, which it pretends in such style to carry forward and complete? We loo allow the idea of development or progress; but not in any such way as this. All true development is the unfolding of the same substance into higher form ; not the casting away of it altogether, to make room for what is wholly of another nature. To develop the old catholic idea of the sacraments into the shape here noticed, is clearly to kill it, to force the life out of it completely, and to fetch in for it a new thing altogether, that can hardly be said to be the phantom even, much less the concrete perfection, of the glorious mystery as it once was.
It deserves consideration again, that in thus falling away from the old church faith, this modern improvement falls in strikingly with the genius of Rationalism, which seeks in various forms to set aside the idea of the church altogether. It is not easy to see any clear difference between it and the view which was formerly taken of the sacraments, not merely by the Arminians, but also by the Socinians; the same subsiantially, we may add, that comes before us in the writings of the later open Rationalists. It agrees remarkably well also with the false spiritualism of the Quakers and Baptists, and with the reigning sect spirit indeed generally, which so sunders form and substance in the life of the church as to make the first a mere outward accident to the second, if not an actual incumbrance; and so runs legitimately at last into the denial of infant baptism at least, if not the renunciation in full of both the sacraments. The doctrine before us looks and leans this way; and having parted with the mystical interest of the sacraments, it offers no couuterpoise against the rationalistic tendency which it thus favors. It is comparatively powerless against the doctrine of the Baptists; being in truth at bottom the very view out of which that doctrine springs. Even against Quakerism it has but small strength. For what does the question of the sacraments amount to, in either direction, if the being of the sacraments, as it was once held by the universal church, their distinctive nature and constitution, be given up us false? In that case, it is of small account whether we have two sacraments, or fifty, or none; for all turns on the name merely; the thing itself, the true and proper reality, resolves itself into a mere outward commandment at best, an empty shell or letter, and nothing more.
Look finally at the theological relations of the subject, and the general doctrine of the Bible. Against all history and past authority, it is the humor of Puritanism here, as in every case besides, lo parade its own sense of the Scriptures simply as the rightful end of controversy. But the early church had the Bible 100; and so had the Protestant world of the sixteenth century, with such men as Luther, Calvin and Melancthon, to assist in its interpretation. What rational reason can be assigned then, , for ruling the older use of it out of the way at once, in favor of the modern; as though this last were accredited from heaven itself, as the infallible mind of the Spirit! The true doctrine of justification, we are told, requires it in the present case. To make this fully objective, something from abroad and not the product of the sioner's own life, it would seem to be thought necessary to make it at the same time an abstraction, a simple thought in the Divine Mind, setting the man free from guilt in a purely outward way But is not this in truth to fall into the very vortex of Pelagianism, which it is pretended thus to avoid ? It brings the subject to no real union with the grace of redemption. Justification, to be real, must be also concrete, the force and value of Christ's merit brought nigh to the sinner as a living fact. Strange, that there should seem to be any contradic. tion here, between the grace which we have by Christ's death, and the grace that comes to us through his life. Could the sacrifice of Calvary be of any avail to take away sins, if the victim there slain had not been raised again for our justification, and were not now seated at the right hand of God as our advocate and intercessor? Would the atonement of a dead Christ be of more worth than the blood of bulls and goats, to purge the conscience from dead works and give it free access to God? Surely it is the perennial, indissoluble life of the once crucified Redeemer, which imparts to his broken body and shed blood all their power to abolish guilt. This, if we read it rightly, is the very thought that rules in particular the Epistle to the Hebrews, in the sublime contrast it draws between the New Testainent substance here and the Old Testament types. The sacrifices of the Law were many, and its priests many, because they were only of transient force; but the priesthood and sacrifice of Christ are one, as always remaining. His works are not events simply, that once were and now are not, save as they live in the world's memory. They carry with them a perpetual, undying force. His one offering needs no repetition ; but just for the reason, that it never comes to an end and passes away. It is “ once for all,” because the once reaches through all time. This it can do however, only as the life in which ii has been rendered continues to live and make itself felt. Abstract it from this, and it becomes in trutb a mere legal fiction. The atonement, in this view, is a quality or properly of the glorified life of the Son of Man. So ihe church felt from the beginning; and this right feeling it was, that led her to see in the central mysteries of her faith ihe presence of the living Christ always, as the necessary guaranty and medium of all true communion with the benefits procured by his death. In the Lord's supper especially, the idea of the living Saviour, the true fountain of life for the world, perpetually surrounded and enshrined the idea of the Saviour who once hung upon the cross. The sacrifice in this way came to have a present reality; it lived in the presence of the glorious life, which had been perfected by its means; and it is not difficult to understand, how it might even come to seem then like a new and fresh transaction in the solemnity of the eucharist. So in the age of the Reformation, it was felt on all sides unsafe to sunder the benefits and merits of Christ from his living person. How earnestly Calvin insisted on their connection, we have had ample opportunity to see. What Christ does or has done, must ever be conditioned certainly by what he is; and it is hard to see, how the force of his righteousness forensically taken can ever be impaired, by its being allowed to be in truth a part of himself and in union always with his own life.
J. W. N.
CONNECTION.–After the word “proper," in the 3rd line from the begin. ning of this article, insert the word “sacramental," so as to read“ proper sacramental faith of the Reformed, &c."
VOL. II.---NO. VI.
THE MORAL ORDER OF SEX.' There are two great conceptions very generally altogether overlooked, which it is all important to hold in full view in our efforts to understand and interpret the mighty problem of human life. In the first place, this life, while it culminates and becomes complete only in the form of morality or spirit, has its root always in the sphere of nature, and can never disengage itself entirely from its power; in the second place, while it reveals itself perpetually through single individuals, it is nevertheless throughout an organic process, which necessarily includes the universal race, as a living whole, from its origin to its end.
Nature, of course, can never be truly and strictly the mother of mind. The theory of an actual inward development of man's life, out of the life of the world below him, as presented for instance in the little work entitled the “ Vestiges of Creation,” is entitled to no sort of attention or respect. The plant can by no possibility creep upwards into the region of sensation, and just as little may we conceive of a transition on the part of the mere animal, over into the world of self-conscious intelli
Originally an Address, delivered in Hagerstown, Md Published afterwards in the American Review. Now reprinted by special request, in the present forma. VOL. II.-NO, VI.