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ham or David. The true believer obtained a resemblance to God, partook of the dispositions of the Divine Mind. The adoption of the Jewish nation as the children of God had no other object than this spiritual education and culture. To fulfil this purpose, “the Word,” the Revealer of the divine Will, the Enlightener of men, “became a man, as we are, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory of an only Son, full of grace and truth.” In this manner, the Evangelist introduces his Gospel, a passage of Scripture which has given rise to so many disputes, divisions, and persecutions, with regard to the article of the eternal Godhead of Christ, that a great thinker of modern times, expressed the wish, that “all who had been alienated by the Gospel of John, might be reconciled by the Testament of John. ‘Little children, love one another.’” But the true purpose of this introduction is not to divide, but to conciliate, not to occasion controversies and accusations of heresy, but to do them away. It is a Gospel of peace, not a ban of exclusion, nor a mandate of the Inquisition. The great lesson which it inculcates, is the banishment of the metaphysical speculations, which prevailed among the Gnostics and other philosophical sects, as contrary to the true spirit of the Gospel. “Speak not,” says John, “ of an unknown God in the depths of your dark abstractions. No mortal eye has ever seen him. No human understanding can comprehend his being. But he is revealed to us through the Word. The whole creation is the developement of his plan, the effect of his designing Will. He is revealed in every living thing, and, especially, in the thoughts of men. Divine thoughts cherished by the human soul, divine actions performed by men, proceed from him, from the light which enlightens all, the influence of which, in spite of every obstacle, goes on, and awakens in man the noblest endowment of his nature, an affinity with God. Visible has he been made, in our own day, in him whom we have seen and heard and known as our friend. Not only did this unrivalled being speak to us of God, his Father, and place heavenly truths before us, but from himself we enjoyed celestial favor. An infinite heaven of blessedness lay around him in his teachings so full of love and truth, and from this vast ocean it was ours to draw. Do not divide the Divine Being in your fictions of a heavenly mythology. The inward and outward Word, the only
begotten and the first-born, the Son of God, Jesus and Christ, are not distinct and separate beings. In the man Jesus Christ, the first-born has appeared, the revealer of the hidden counsel of God, the messenger of his gracious will and purpose upon earth. Not as a lawgiver did he come, but as the teacher of truth, the living manifestation and expression of Infinite Goodness and Love.” If then, says Herder, the beginning of the Gospel of John has been so far misunderstood, that, when its great object is to discourage idle speculation, and bring back man to the consciousness of his own nature, and belief in Christianity to its essential character, men have made it a mine of new speculations, a battle-field of learned subtilties, about which many harsh words have been uttered, many tears wrung forth, and often, in hot and bitter zeal, the blood of man, the blood of nations has been shed, what is less to blame for it, than the Gospel itself? Suppose that John had been living at the time of Arius, would he not have addressed him in some such friendly language as this 2 “My son, with what do you bewilder yourself? What do you wish to ascertain and determine How the Son of God was born before the world P But what can you know about this There is not a syllable on the subject in my Gospel, nor in those of my brother Evangelists. I went no further back, than our sacred books go, to the be: ginning of the creation. I spoke to you of the creative Word. That God produced Wisdom, which he was himself, and how he brought forth the Word, –on this I said nothing. How could I utter such sublime folly - “And, you, Fathers of the Councils, after so many deeds of cruelty and shame, after such cabals and quarrels, such falsehoods and calumnies, what formulary of doctrine do you present to the world Arius created from the uncreated a mythological person, whom none of us ever knew ; you, on the other hand, speak of a God of God, Light of Light, begotten not made, - where do you find such notions Have you two Gods, two Lights, where one God produces the other, one Light the other ? Tell me, how one God can produce the other ? I did what I could, to prevent the division of the divine Being into fictitious persons; but you do what you can, to divide the Deity, to make a second God from the first God, a second Light from the first Light, to place two Gods together, and with the authoritative word “begotten,” as an exvol. XIX. — 3D s. vol. 1. No. II. 26
pression of faith, to burden the understanding of your brethren. Who has given you the right to invent new articles of faith as the words of divine Wisdom ? We assume not this right for ourselves. We have one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things. There is one God, and one Mediator between God and Man, the Man, Christ Jesus. This is eternal life, that we know the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he has sent | Let us abide by this, ye disputing Fathers, and have done with your heathen inventions. The times of mythology have gone by.” It would be an unprofitable labor to trace the voice of our Evangelist through all the councils of barbarous centuries, or the halls of mystical scholastics, of presumptuous dogmatists and sectarians. They have piled decision upon decision, canon upon canon, and at last have carried it so far, that no one can now speak correctly without stumbling against the decree of some council or some nicety of dogmatics. The language of most of them would be unintelligible to John himself. He would gently say to them, with this little book in his hand, “My good friends, you are in the wrong road. The doctrine which was taught concerning our Christ by myself and my brethren was always plain and simple. Without him, we knew not God. We beheld him as the person through whom the Deity was manifested. After God had long spoken to the world through prophets and wise men, he spoke to us through his Son. He had only one idea of God, that of Father. From this rich source he derived all that pertains to the salvation of men. Of himself, he had only one idea, that of Son. He must do what he saw the Father do, and freely and gladly sacrifice himself to this work. Of man, he had only one idea, — that, though fallen, he possessed the elements of a divine nature, and was made for an exalted destiny. “After his removal from the earth, when the full perception of his existence here below arose upon us in its beauty and light, after we had lived to see what we had seen,--what could we call him other than that which he was in the depths of his soul, the Son of God, the Saviour of the world When we saw him sacrifice himself in the discharge of his mission, we saw in him the purpose of God concerning our race revealed, we saw in him the might of divine love, we saw all that man can know of God displayed in him. We called him, therefore, as was befitting his character, the Image of his Father, the visible glory of that primal Light which no man can see, or, if you will allow an expression in accordance with your own doctrine, the active organ of the Godhead in humanity. We thus spoke of the essential principles of our religion, without becoming idolaters or polytheists. The agent of the Eternal Father for the salvation of man, the Announcer and Interpreter of his will, was, to our senses and our understanding, the Image and the Representative of God. Whatever had been said and prefigured of the consulting Wisdom, of the creative Word, of the illuminating Light, of the Mediator and Reconciler between God and Man, we attributed to him, and to him the God-Man, we devoted our highest reverence and love. This true and active organ of the Godhead have I exhibited and taught in my writings. But you know him better. Be it so. Only do not ascribe to me your subtile inventions. Our conception of Christ was without mystery, and it spoke to the heart. WE SAw, we LovED, AND HoNorBD THE FATHER IN THE SoN, AND IN HIM w.e. s Aw our BROTHER.” The Divinity of Christ then, according to Herder, consisted in the divine attributes which were manifested in his person. This view he regarded as of the greatest importance to Christianity, and was accustomed to dwell upon it with his characteristic zeal in opposition to those theories, on the one hand, which denied the Divinity of our Saviour, and to those, on the other, which called in question the supremacy of the Father and the strict personal Unity of God. With the speculations of the old Arian and Socinian writers he had no sympathy. He often spoke of them, as striving after a literal accuracy and precision, which the nature of the subject did not admit, while they were apt to lose sight of the true spirit and aim of the sacred histoorians in their representation of Christ. “But Unitarians,” says he, “in the good sense of the word, we must all be; since the doctrine of One God is the corner-stone of the Old Testament as well as the New, and Tritheism is an evident absurdity.” The scholastic doctrine of the Trinity was equally repugnant to his taste, his understanding, and his heart. The controversies, to which it has given rise, he regarded as a disgrace to Christianity, and almost as an insult to human nature. The only idea of the Trinity which he believed tenable, was that of the manifestation of the One God in three important relations. In the creation of the world, as Father, in redemption, through the Son, and in the sanctification of man, through the Holy Spirit, which rests upon him. “God in Christ, Christ himself inseparable from his flock, through their participation in the Holy Spirit; this,” says Herder, “is the Trinity of John. A Trinity as intelligible as it is touching.” We might pursue our sketch of Herder's opinions in Theology to a much greater length, but the space we have already occupied admonishes us that it is time to bring this article to a conclusion. From the statements which we have made it will be perceived, that his writings are marked with the same fruitfulness and beauty, which distinguished his personal character. The science of Theology has, undoubtedly, made great progress since his day, and for the most profound and satisfactory discussions of the topics, on which he touched, we must consult the works of later writers. But in no one can we find a more ardent attachment to truth, a more enthusiastic love of beauty, or more elevated conceptions of religion, expressed with a genial and racy freshness, which betokens the purity and depth of the fountain from which they sprung. G. R.
ART. IV. — Specimens of the Table-Talk of the late SAMUEL TAYLOR ColeRIDGE. In Two Volumes. New York. 1835. 12mo. pp. 168 and 183.
HERE, we suppose, is all that the world is to know of those brilliant discoursings, to which Coleridge owed so much of his fame while he lived. It is a part of his fame that must die with him ; or, at least, will nearly cease from the earth when his musical tones and rapt manner shall have faded from the memories of the few friends, who sat at his feet in faithful and admiring discipleship. From the peculiar character of his mind and conversation, what he said must necessarily be in great part evanescent. He walked much in the air, and of course left no tracks. Occasionally he touched the earth, and, in this book, the editor with great skill shows us the print of his terrestrial footsteps. The general tenor of his discourse was too ethereal to admit of note-taking. His thoughts, in his higher moods, would just bear the sort of semi-spiritual clothing of a sweet and fluent voice, but would bear no grosser embodiment. They could just inhabit a sound, but not well the