Изображения страниц

in the ways of a man or a world." It is as repugnant, he says, to Christ's proper deity to reason and think, as to say he learns or grows in knowledge.-(P.153.) A third objection is, that Christ obeys, worships, and suffers. He says, the Trinitarian answer to this objection-viz., that these things are to be understood of the human soul of Christ-is an affront to the Scriptures, which assert that "the real divinity came into the finite, and was subject to human conditions."-(P. 154.) When we see the Absolute Being "under the conditions of increase, obedience, worship, suffering, we have nothing to do but to ask what is here expressed, and, as long as we do that, we shall have no difficulty." (P. 156.) All is a mockery and show,even the agony in the garden, the calling on God in Gethsemane and on the cross, was, we tremble as we write, a pantomine, in which the infinite God was the actor. To such depths does a man sink, when, inflated with self-conceit, he pretends to be wise above that which is written! "Of what so great consequence to us," he asks, "are the humanities of a mere human soul? The very thing we want is to find God is moved by such humanities, touched with a feeling of our infirmities." (P. 165.)

These passages teach distinctly the Apollinarian doctrine. They deny that there are two distinct natures in Christ; and they affirm that ignorance, weakness, obedience, worshipping, and suffering, are to be predicated of the Logos, the Deity, the divine nature as such. Thus far the doctrine taught in this book is little more than the reintroduction, with great pomp and circumstance, of an effete and half-forgotten heresy. It is the bringing back a dead Napoleon to the Invalides.

Dr Bushnell next teaches the Eutychean doctrine. Eutyches taught that the divine and human were so united in Christ as to become one nature as well as one person. He thought, as Dr Bushnell does, that two natures imply two persons. Before the union there were two natures; after it, only one. He acknowledged, therefore, in Christ, but one life, intelligence, and will. This, after all, appears to be the doctrine which Dr Bushnell is really aiming at. We have Eutycheanism distinctly asserted, for example, on p. 154. The common doctrine, he says, "virtually denies any real unity between the human and divine, and substitutes collocation, copartnership for unity." "Instead of a person whose nature is the unity of the divine and the human, we have, he adds, "two distinct persons, between whom our thoughts are constantly alternating; referring this to one, and that to the other, and imagining, all the while, not a union of the two, in which our possible union with God is signified and sealed for ever, but a practical historical assertion of his incom


municability thrust upon our notice." In these, among other passages, we have the doctrine, not that the divine nature or Logos, was in the place of the human soul, but that the divine and human natures were so united as to make one, neither human nor divine, but, as our author calls it, "the divinehuman."

All these forms of doctrine respecting the person of Christ, sprang up in the church. They all suppose the doctrine of a personal God distinct from the world. They take for granted a real creation in time. They assume a distinction between God and man, as two different natures, and between matter and mind as two substances. In men, therefore, there are two substances or subjects, spirit and body, united in one person. It was at a later period the heathen doctrine found its way into the church that there is but one substance, intelligence, and life in the universe,-a doctrine which identifies God and the world; which denies any extramundane deity, any proper creation, any real distinction between God and man. This is the Atheistic doctrine which has been revived in our day, and which has been, and still is, taught by deceivers and the deceived, in the church, as the doctrine of the Bible, or at least as consistent with it? The new philosophy teaches, as before stated, that the absolute God is nothing; he exists only as he is reavealed. He produces himself in the world; or, in the world he becomes objective to himself, and thus self-conscious. The human race is the highest form of the world, and consequently the highest development of God. Men are God as self-conscious. What the Bible says of the Son as being God, one with the Father, his image, &c., is to be understood of the race. God is but the substance or power of which all phenomena are the manifestations. All life is God's life, all action is his acting; there is no liberty, no sin, no immortality. The race is immortal, but not the individuals; they succeed each other as the waves of the sea, or the leaves of the forest. This is the worst form of Atheism; for it not only denies God, but deifies man, and destroys all morality in its very principle.

Schleiermacher, in his later writings, does not go all these lengths. His system, however, is founded on the real identity of God and the world, the human and divine.* It makes creation eternal and necessary. It destroys entirely human

*Dorner, the disciple of Schleiermacher, gives as his reason for associating him with Schelling and Hegel, that "he undoubtedly proceeds on the assumption of the essential unity of God and man, though he did not hold that substantial Pantheism in which subjectivity is a mere accident."—(See his Christologie, p. 487.) Schleiermacher was educated a Moravian. His philosophy was pantheistical; with his philosophy his early religious convictions kept up a continual struggle, and, as it is hoped, ultimately gained the victory. This, however, does not alter the nature of his system.

liberty and responsibility. It admits nothing as sin except to the consciousness and apprehension of the sinner. And the personal immortality of the soul it repudiates-i. e., his system leads to its rejection; but out of deference to Christ, it is admitted as a fact. With him the Divine Being, as such, is the one hidden God; the Trinity is the manifested God; the Father is God as manifested in the world; the Son, God as manifested in Christ; and the Spirit, God as manifested in the church. With this view of the Trinity a corresponding view of the person of Christ is necessarily connected. The world is one manifestation of God, God in one form; the human race, a higher manifestation of God; which manifestation, imperfect in Adam and his posterity, is perfected in Christ; the creation begun in the former is completed in the latter. Christ is the ideal man, and, as God and man are one, Christ is God. There are not two natures in Christ but one only, a divine nature which is truly human. As men are partakers of the imperfect nature of Adam, they are redeemed by partaking of the perfect nature of Christ, and thus the incarnation of God is continued in the church. Hence follows subjec tive justification, and rejection of the doctrines of the atonement and regeneration by the Holy Spirit, as matters of

[blocks in formation]

As Dr Bushnell adopts Schleiermacher's view of the Trinity, he naturally adopts his doctrine as to the person of Christ. In Christ there is but one nature; that nature is divine, “the real divinity;" it is also truly human, God in human flesh is a perfect man. He becomes incorporated in the history of our race, and thus redemption is effected. All this we have on page 149 and elsewhere. "If God," says our author, "were to inhabit such a vehicle [i. e., a human person], one so fellow to ourselves, and live himself as a perfect character into the biographic history of the world, a result would follow of as great magnificence as the creation of the world itself, viz., the incorporation of the Divine in the history of the world-so a renovation, at last, of the moral and religious life of the world. If now the human person will express more of God than the whole created universe besides-and it certainly will more of God's feeling and character-and if a motive possessing as great consequence as the creation of the world invites him to do it, is it more extravagant to believe that the Word will become flesh, than that the Word has become, or produced in time, a material universe?" According to this passage, the Word or God became a material universe; (i. e., became objective to himself in the world, we suppose). In the same sense he be

*Schleiermacher's Glaubenslehre, §§ 299-328. Dorner's Christologie (Stuttgart, 1839) pp. 487-529.

came flesh, and was a "perfect character," or a perfect man. As such he became biographically, historically, or organically (all these expressions are used), connected with our race. The Divine was thus incorporated in the history of the world; or in other words, the incarnation of God is continued in the church. This incorporation, or incarnation, is the source of the renovation of the moral and religious life of the world. All this agrees with Schleiermacher to a tittle.

In accordance with this same theory are such expressions as the following, which are of frequent occurrence through the work:-"The highest glory of the incarnation, viz., the union signified and historically begun, between God and man.”—(P. 156). Christ is "an integral part, in one view, of the world's history, only bringing into it, and setting into organic union with it, the eternal life." "God manifested in the flesh-historically united with our race" (p. 165); and all the other cant phrases of the day, which are designed and adapted to ensnare "silly women," male and female.

We think we have made out our case. Dr Bushnell's book in our poor judgment is a failure. It pulls down but does not erect. He attacks and argues against the doctrines of the Trinity, Incarnation, and Atonement, and after all acknowledges not only that they are taught in Scripture, but that we are forced by the constitution or necessities of our nature to conceive of them in their scriptural form. He mixes up in his volume the most incongruous materials. He is rationalist, mystic, pantheist, Christian, by turns, just as the emergency demands. He is extravagant to the extreme of paradox. He adopts, on all the subjects he discusses, the long exploded. heresies of former centuries, and endeavours to cover them all with the gaudy mantle of the new philosophy. His mysticism spoils his rationalism, and his philosophy spoils his mysticism, and is then, in its turn, spoiled by having its essential element left out. Instead of a real Trinity he gives us a threefold appearance. Instead of Emmanuel, God manifest in the flesh, he gives us a Christ which is either a mere expression thrown on the dark canvass of history, or a being who is neither God nor man. Instead of a true propitiation, he bids us behold a splendid work of art! These are the doctrines which, he says, "live in their own majesty," and for which he predicts a triumph which finds its appropriate prefiguration in nothing short of the resurrection of the Son of God!-(P. 116.) For the honour of our race we hope that such a book as this is not about to turn the world upside down.

We have reserved to the close of our review a remark, which was the first to occur to us on a perusal of these Discourses. Dr Bushnell forgets that there are certain doctrines so settled

by the faith of the church, that they are no longer open questions. They are finally adjudged and determined. If men set aside the Bible, and choose to speak or write as philosophers, then of course the way is open for them to teach what they please. But for Christians, who acknowledge the Scriptures as their rule of faith, there are doctrines which they are bound to take as settled beyond all rational or innocent dispute. This may be regarded as a Popish sentiment; as a denial of the right of private judgment, or an assertion of the infallibility of the church. It is very far from being either. Does, however, the objector think that the errors of Romanism rest on the thin air, or are mere grotesque forms of unsubstantial vapour? If this were so, they could have neither permanence nor import. They are all sustained by an inward truth, which gives them life and power, despite of their deformities. It is as though a perfect statue had been left under the calcareous drippings of a cavern, until deformed by incrustations; or, as if some exquisite work of art, in church or convent, had been so daubed over by the annual whitewasher, or covered by the dust of centuries, as to escape recognition; but which, when the superincumbent filth is removed, appears in all its truth and beauty. The truth which underlies and sustains the Romish doctrine as to the authority of the church in matters of faith, is this: The Holy Spirit dwells in the people of God, and leads them to the saving knowledge of divine things; so that those who depart from the faith of God's people, depart from the teachings of the Spirit, and from the source of life. The Romish distortion of this truth is, that the Holy Ghost dwells in the Pope, as the ultramontanists say; or in the bishops, as the Gallican theologians say, and guides him or them into the infallible knowledge of all matters pertaining to faith and practice. They err both as to the subjects and objects of this divine guidance. They make the rulers of the external church to be its recipients, and its object to render them infallible as judges and teachers. Its true subjects are all the sincere people of God, and its object is to make them wise unto salvation. The promise of divine teaching no more secures infallibility than the promise of holiness secures perfection in this life. There is, however, such a divine teaching, and its effect is to bring the children of God, in all parts of the world, and in all ages of the church, to unity of faith. As an historical fact, they have always and every where agreed in all points of necessary doctrine. And, therefore, to depart from their faith, in such matters of agreement, is to renounce the gospel. In some cases it be difficult to determine what the true people of God have in all ages believed. This is an historical fact, which evinces itself more or less distinctly, as all other facts of history do. In


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »