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meditations of genius or reveries of imagination, but those of John Bunyan, has it ever breathed its soul ? We say not this reproachfully, but in self-defence. But we do say, that a system, which has never appeared in any recognised delineations of the true and beautiful, which never comes into that department even with those who profess to hold it in theory, which dwells not with men in their happy hours, by their firesides, and among their children, which wears no form of beauty that ever art or imagination devised, but hangs, rather, as a dark and antiquated hatchment on the wall, the emblem of life passed away; and we do say, too, that a system whose frowning features the world cannot and will not endure, whose theoretical inhumanity and inhospitality few of its advocates can ever learn ; whose tenets are not, as all tenets should be, better, but worse, a thousand times worse, than the men who embrace them ; whose principles falsify all history and all experience, and throw dishonor upon all earthly heroism and magnanimity ; whose teachings warrant no hopes, comfort no afflictions, soothe no sorrows, but of an elected few ; and whose dread messages ought to make the sympathies of those few to be tortures and agonies to them, while they bind in chains the rest of mankind, and hold them reserved for blackness and darkness for ever, — we do say that such a system cannot be true ! It may be a sort of theory to be speculated about, to be coldly believed in, but it is not truth, that can be taken home to the heart. “Coldly believed in,”—did we say? No; so believed, it is not believed in at all. It is not believed, unless it is believed in horror and anguish,_unless it sends its votary to his nightly pillow in tears, and wakes him every morning to sorrow, and carries him through every day, burthened as with a world’s calamity, and hurries him, worn out with apprehension and pity, to a premature grave! He who should grow sleek and sat, and look fair and bright, in a prison, from which his companions were taken one by one, day by day, to the scaffold and the gibbet, could make a far, far better plea for himself, than a good man living and thriving in this dungeon world, and believing that thousands and thousands of his fellow prisoners, were dropping daily into everlasting burnings. Once more, then, we say, that this system cannot be proved to be true, till nature and life and consciousness are all proved to be false; till the ties of affection are proved to be all snares, and its sympathies all sorrows; till the tenor of life is proved to be a tissue of lies, and the beneficence of nature all mockery, and the dictates of humanity all dreams and delusions !
ART. II. — State of Religion in Germany.
THE state of things in regard to the progress and prospects of Christianity at the present day is very extraordinary. It appears to us, that it has not received from theologians the attention which it demands. While the Christian community has been making new and zealous endeavours to extend the blessings of our holy religion to the idolatrous nations of Asia, and to the Islands of the Pacific, we see infidelity making rapid progress, and almost triumphant, in some of the most enlightened countries of the world. By infidelity, we here mean the rejection of the religion of Christ as a supernatural revelation. In Germany, especially, where theological writers have abounded, and where biblical studies have engaged in an unusual degree the attention of the strongest and most cultivated minds, we find those who reject Christianity as a supernatural revelation occupying the most important pulpits, filling the most important professorships in theological schools, and in fact constituting the predominant party in the church. It is also worthy of special remark, that Commentaries on the Scriptures, written by Naturalists, have been, and continue to be, imported in great numbers into this country, as being the most able and learned, which have appeared. No books are more common in the libraries of our young theologians, than the writings of the younger Rosenmueller, Gesenius, Eichhorn, and Bertholdt, all Naturalists. The commentaries of Kuinoel and Rosenmueller the elder, who, to a considerable extent, adopt the views of the Naturalists, are regarded as the most valuable compilations we possess. Add to this that the study of the German language and literature in England and in this country is fast increasing, and must continue to increase. And now we would ask, in view of this state of things, what has been done in England and in this country, to point out its causes and its remedy. What uneasiness, what shame, has been manifested, that, I will not say the best, but the most able and learned commentaries, introductions, and other theological works are the productions of avowed unbelievers in the Christian religion, as a divine revelation ? Above all, I repeat the question, What has been done to point out the causes and the remedy of the evil? What new defences, suited to meet the new modes in which divine revelation has been assaulted, have appeared 2 Even in Germany, where we might expect better things, it seems that the machinery of a party united under a venerable name, the revival of creeds, and the patronage of the civil power are relied upon by the Orthodox, as the means of putting down Naturalism, rather than the power of truth, and the intrinsic superiority of the Christian cause. It is true that something has been done in the way of argument; but nothing answering to the exigencies of the case. When the very citadel of Christianity is invaded, we find our American theologians contending about such points as these : Whether a sinner is able to repent ; Whether sin commences before birth, at birth, or at what time after birth ; Whether a good man can turn from his righteousness, and fall away; and other questions of equal importance. We do not desire that the attention of the Christian community, generally, should be unnecessarily drawn to difficulties, which have never entered their minds. But that the attention of theologians, of those to whom the defence of Christianity is entrusted, should be drawn to the state of Christian belief in Germany, France, and other enlightened countries of the world, we do deem of the utmost importance. We do not say that the most extravagant of the German speculations need an express refutation. But we suppose we need not take pains to prove, that Christianity must suffer, if it long continue to be the fact, that the most able and learned commentaries, and those most used by our young theological students, are the productions of avowed unbelievers in supernatural revelation. . We do maintain that a new effort is required of the friends of divine revelation to meet the exigencies of the times. The former defences must be reëxamined. What is untenable must be given up, what is strong be fortified by new arguments, and defended against new objections. These brief remarks, in which we hope we have used no exaggeration, we make with pain. But we have a strong conviction that nothing is gained in the end by suppressing the truth. Let those, whom it concerns, know the full extent and the real nature of the malady, which has made and is making such inroads into the Christian church, and then let them discover and apply the remedy. We have a strong faith, that there will be, at no distant period, a limit to its progress. But our faith is equally strong, that this limit will be put to it by new investigations and exertions on the part of the friends of revelation. The promise, that the gates of hell shall never prevail against it, should be remembered, not to repress, but to animate the zeal and the labors of the friends of Christ. We have only to add, that the truth and importance of the preceding remarks have been particularly impressed on our minds at this time, by the perusal of an article, handed us by a friend, with permission to print it, if we should think proper, accompanied by some prefatory notice. We at first had doubts about the propriety of printing it, occasioned by the fear that a wrong use might be made of some parts of it. But, as we have said, believing it highly important, that the true state of religious opinion throughout the world should be known to the friends of revealed truth, we have concluded to insert the whole. It is translated from the Supplement to the seventh edition of the celebrated “Conversations-Lexicon,” of which thousands and thousands of copies are circulated in Germany. Taking into view the popular character of the work in which it appears, and other known facts, some of which have been adverted to in the preceding observations, the article may be regarded as expressing, not merely the opinions of the writer, but the predominant opinion of the reading community in Germany. Hence, though its professed object is to give an account of what is called the Evangelical party, it incidentally gives much information in regard to the extent of unbelief, or Naturalism, amongst their opponents. The intelligent reader will perceive that the article is somewhat tinctured with the spirit of party. For this he will make due allowance. We need not point out to the Christian believer all that we deem erroneous in it. Especially we need not refute the position, that bigotry, intolerance, and persecution are inseparably connected with the belief in supernatural revelation, or attempt to prove that these sins against God and man might belong to a Naturalist church abusing their power. The objectionable parts of the article are so obvious, that we shall give it without farther comment. As we have intimated, our object is to give information in regard to the real state of Christianity in one of the most enlightened countries in the world, and thus to lead to the inquiry, What are the causes of the present state of things, and what is to be done to meet it 2
vol. xix. — 3D s. vol. I. No. 1. 6
With respect to the account given in the article of the new ultra-Orthodox school, we have reason from other sources to believe that it is substantially correct. Its opposition to Naturalism is distinguished by imprudence and violence, rather than by wisdom and ability. We regret that so little permament aid to the cause of divine revelation is to be expected from that school.
“Non tali auxilio, nec defensoribus istis,
Hengstenberg and the Journal of the Evangelic Church.
ONE of the most memorable events of our time, though far from an agreeable one to the friends of a free and healthy developement of the religious spirit, is the religious and ecclesiasticopolitical tendency of a party, of which Hengstenberg is the champion, and the “Journal of the Evangelic Church " the organ.
Hengstenberg was born on the 20th of October, 1802, at Frondenberg, a village in the county of Mark, where his father, a man of sound learning, now in Wetter, was then a clergyman, and prepared his son for the University without sending him to an academy. The father may have laid the foundation of an earnest religious spirit in the son, but the gloomy mysticism which Hengstenberg has since professed, by no means came from him; on the contrary, he was rather inclined to Rationalism, we mean a Rationalism of a moderate and Christian character, inclining to Supernaturalism; and it was perhaps owing to the influence of his son, that he subsequently became more disposed to Pietism. Hengstenberg himself, during the period of his education, had very different tendencies from those which he has since manifested. In 1820, he entered the University of Bonn, and there devoted himself to philological studies, particularly to Oriental learning. Among the students at Bonn, as at most other German universities, there then prevailed an enthusiastic patriotism and love of freedom, which found its great support in the Burschenschaften, societies of the students, which flourished in secret in spite of prohibition. Hengstenberg entered warmly into the