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Scriptures, until the last stage of the perfected development of the world,—until the judgment of the world, and the restoration of all things, when even the physical world shall be rescued from the control of him who has the power of the death. Now the power is still allowed to him, and the regular course of the world and history shows us the conflicts of light and darkness.
But according to the Scripture account, the temptation of our first parents was gradual, and the motives to the fall are thus psychologically clear. First of all, the serpent raised a doubt concerning the divine prohibition, and the ruinous consequences of sin : "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden ?" "Ye shall not surely die.” Then he awakened pride, inducing man to overleap his appointed condition to become like God, and to use his freedom arbitrarily, and according to his own pleasure: “God doth know, that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened; and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” After this preparation came the thought that the tree was good for food, pleasant to look upon, and to be desired to make one wise. The sensual desire would now naturally start up; and the woman seduced became the seducer. The powers of the soul were corrupted before the actual sin took place : the faculty of knowledge by doubt and unbelief toward God, the faculty of desire through unbounded striving and proud excess, as the Grecian fable of Prometheus represents it; and finally the faculty of feeling, through sensual longing, which propensity the religion of the Greeks sets forth by Epimetheus and Pandora. Thus did the possibility of the fall
, which rests upon the freedom of the creature, pass over into reality under evil outward influences.
The conversation between Eve and the serpent shows how accessible she was; the woman, as the weaker part, is first approached and misled, and not till then the man,—and even then only through her: as also the apostle Paul expresses it, (1 Tim. ii, 14,) the woman was first in the transgression. Dr. Rothe, indeed, (p. 221) thinks that the assumption of a Satanical temptation does not at all help the difficulty; because that assumption always presupposes a real susceptibility of being tempted, a sinful predisposition, a minimum of sin. But the possibility of being tempted to sin is not yet sin; with Rothe that predisposition is rather something already esisting. It is certainly much more worthy of God to conceive of his creatures as pure and good, they first determining themselves to evil, and the enemy active therein. If even the Son of God could be tempted without injury to his sinlessness, much more the first Adam, whose personality and divine resemblance were specifically lower. The three temptations penetrated the mind of Jesus from without, according to the three principal divisions of sin. (1 John ii, 16.) He appeared in the likeness of sinful flesh; but while this gave the tempter a handle, it also occasioned his overthrow.
If, in fine, we compare the Scriptural theory, thus understood, with the modern philosophical explanations of the fall, the result will be that the former will be found to contain incomparably more truth and wisdom than the latter; although Rothe (p. 221) is of the opinion that the Biblical account of the fall can no longer be maintained, and that the fall cannot be explained from the Mosaic standpoint. If we desert the oldest record of the human race-instead of making it the starting point—the attempt to solve the question in dispute will at once be given up; and we place ourselves more or less in opposition to the idea of God, to the conceptions of man and of sin. Only the Bible and perhaps, agreeing with it, the mythology of antiquity) tells us of a man created in the image of God, in a paradisiacal state of innocence; and, in accordance with this fact, shows how this state was interrupted and perverted into one of guilt. Dr. Julius Müller, on the contrary, , although Paradise has still a place in his system, places Adam in it as already a sinner. In the same way Rothe presupposes what he ought to show, since he assumes evil as original and necessary in the development of the world. We cannot see, , either according to Müller or Rothe, whence it could properly come into the natural world. Rothe, with his presupposition, is obliged to assume one of two things: either he must dualistically establish an evil principle in matter, and deny the pure creation of God, or he must ascribe the origin of sin, not to the perverted will, but to God himself: in both cases he has a Manichean life-view of sentient beings. Sin with him is not a free act of man, proceeding out of the heart and will; it springs from the overmatching power of material nature subduing his personality with inevitable nec .(P. 226.) “The origin of evil from pure good must forever remain inconceivable,” (p. 222;) thus he establishes an impure material creation. Is anything explained by this means? Whence comes, then, impurity into the material creation before all acts of the will ? Is not the question more easily explained by the abuse of freedom, than by metaphysics; more easily through the devil and man, than by the act of the Creator? The fall, according to the doctrine of the Church, says Rothe, (p. 220,) was a blunder in the work of the earthly creation, as it were, at the beginning. In order to avoid this, either an evil principle must have been coöperative in the creation, or else God himself must have ruined his own work at its commencement. Shall we call this escaping the blunder made at the beginning? Is it not rather increasing it, and carrying it over into the region of the perfect and the holy? The latter of these two opinions, strictly taken, is that of Rothe, since he assumes matter as created by God, and from matter deduces sin. But the positions: Matter was created by God, and—Matter is the opposite of God, and hence the origin of sin, (pp. 194 and 221,) contradict each other. And every appearance, every open or concealed attempt to place the original cause of sin to the account of God, the Almighty Creator, must be rejected at once. It would be much better to let the great problem, which lies outside of our experience, go unsolved, than to prejudice the doctrine of the creation and the honour of God; and thus place ourselves in contradiction with the religious consciousness of evangelical Christendom, which has laid down its just understanding of the Holy Scriptures in the nineteenth article of the Augsburg Confession: “Although Almighty God created and upholds universal nature; yet still the perverted will works sin in all the wicked and despisers of God; for the will of the devil and of all the wicked, is such, that as soon as God hath removed his hand, it hath turned itself from God to evil.” But it appears to us to be an entirely inadmissible kind of inference, to make this article, which expressly excludes sin from the divine causality, signify that God ought to be blamed for taking away his hand, and to say that it expresses the inevitableness of sin.
The removal of the hand of God clearly means nothing more than that God exercises no irresistible power in the circle of human freedom and personality. Just here the erroneous conclusions have their concealed seat. Because everything depends on the will of God, even that which is opposed to his will must have been ordained by him; because nothing is impossible with God, they ascribe evil to him also, in order to have a really omnipotent God. But there exists no longer an exclusive and absolute causality of God, so soon as by the actual creation of free beings he has renounced it, and we acknowledge its existence. There is no such thing as irresistible grace, to say nothing of irresistible sin; for the will of the devil is not irresistible, but, in opposition to God, impotent.
The doctrine of the inevitableness of sin wars against holinessthe fundamental conception of the revealed God of both Testaments. As certainly as it is true, (Deut. xxxii, 4,) "The work of God is perfect—a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he;" as certainly as we pray, “Hallowed be thy name;" so certainly must we repel every intimation that evil could proceed from God, or be ordained or willed by him. This doctrine also wars against the justice of God; for he who punishes evil cannot produce it. Hence the principle remains firm: “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” It (i. e., the inevitableness of sin) is not a doctrine corresponding to our religious necessities; for redemption and divine grace would be brought into doubt, if sin were regarded as a blameless and unavoidable weakness of our race.* What is
What is necessary to human nature at one time, must for the same reason always remain so; what has once been established in the world-order cannot indeed be destroyed. Again, this doctrine would raise doubts of the validity of the work of redemption. Where there is no guilt, there is nothing to destroy,—no possibility of repentance for the errors of the past. The doctrine which places the origin of evil in the sphere of necessity, mistakes, finally, the nature of sin as a free moral act, which proceeds from the will of man, and turns his heart away from God; it misunderstands the spiritual and ethical character of sin; it assails as well man's noblest distinction-his personality-as his guilt. Neither men of God, moved by the Holy Ghost, nor those touched and tempted by Satan, are or were automatons; but as spiritual essences endowed with the image of God, they coöperate with the one or the other; i. e., with God or Satan. And if they are in the first instance without merit, in the second, according to the testimony of their consciences, they are not without guilt; and even, although the activity of the will, in a state of transport or possession, may be repressed until it disappears, yet in no case is it possible to conceive of the two points, the original condition of innocence, and the fall, in a merely metaphysical way, and without ethical self-activity.
Regarded from this comprehensive point of view, the examination of this question has an important place in dogmatics, and furnishes one among many proofs that the doctrine of the Holy Scriptures is that of the Confession of the evangelical Church, and contains the only true theology and philosophy of divine things; and that every departure from it ends in irreconcilable contradiction.
Thus the Hermes of Plato, which was found at Tivoli in 1846, had the inscription : "Guilt the result of our own election; God without guilt; every soul immortal: αιτία ελoμένω· θεός αναίτιος: ψυχή δε πάσα αθάνατος.” Comp. Plat. de Republ. x, p. 617, C.; Phaedr. p. 245, C. Comp. James i, 13: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.”
Art. VI.-ANSELM, OF CANTERBURY.
Saint Anselme de Cantorbery. Tableau de la Vie Monastique, et de la lutte du
Pouvoir Spirituel avec le Pouvoir Temporel au Onzième Siècle. Par M. CHARLES DE REuusat, de l'Academie Français. 8vo. Paris, Didier; New-York, Bossange.
This is a work of a description coming recently much into vogue, if we may judge of the demand from the supply. The idea of the class is, that the leading minds of the several epochs of human history epitomize, in their biographies, the special features of the times. The principle is sound, undoubtedly, as well as modern in its conception; but the purpose to which these writers for the most part as yet apply it, is, although interesting, scarcely worthy of its scientific import. The object of the present author, one of the ablest of the number--the learned son of the illustrious Remusat—is given as follows in the second chapter :
" It will not perhaps be without attraction to represent to ourselves an image of the age of feudal society in which St. Anselm lived; and to penetrate those gloomy monasteries, into which for several centuries fled for refuge the rarest intellects and purest characters of the times. The recital of an ancient past, when it does not sink into an arid chronicle, possesses an interest independent of the importance of the facts retraced. As the smallest vase, as the humblest utensil, when covered over with the rust of time, becomes an object of curiosity in our museums, so do events, however simple, when turned up at the distance of ages, in all their real and naive character, acquire a singular accession of value, and even a certain charm for those who study history with some imagination, and who practise in its perusal the moral maxim of the ancient writer, — not to feel indifferent toward any object which has regard to our common humanity.'”—Pp. 17, 18.
So we see that the author's purpose is merely moral and sentimental. In the reproduction of the past, he designs to gratify the curiosity, or at best to moralize the sentiments of the present: he does not think of explaining either, still less of indicating the future. He would, in short, have history, he says, perused with some “imagination.” This word discloses the precise condition of his conception of the sphere of history. With M. de Remusat and his fellow-writers of this monographic class, the highest of sciences lingers still in what we may designate the belles-lettres stage; it is regarded as a theme of art, but scarce susceptible of science or system.
No doubt the former of these stages (that of art) must precede, and prepare the way for the stage of science in all things. In the case before us, it is to be noted that the art has reached