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fits to believers. 66 Spiritualiter," says Calvin, "per sacramenta fidem alit (Deus), QUORUM UNICUM OFFICIUM EST, EJUS PROMISSIONES OCULIS NOSTRIS SPECTANDAS SUBJICERE, IMO NOBIS EARUM ESSE PIGNORA. -(Inst., iv. 14, 12.)
We here leave Dr Nevin's book; we have only one or two remarks to add, not concerning him, nor his own personal belief, but concerning his system. He must excuse our saying, that in our view it is only a specious form of Rationalism. It is in its essential element a pyschology. Ullman admits that it is nearly allied to pantheistic mysticism, and to the modern speculative philosophy. In all three the main idea is, "the union of God and man through the incarnation of the first and deification of the second." It has, however, quite as strong an affinity for a much lower form of Rationalism. We are said to have the life of Adam. He lives in us as truly as he ever lived in his own person; we partake of his substance, are flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone. No particle of his soul or body, indeed, has come down to us. It all resolves itself into an invisible law. This, and little more than this, is said of our union with Christ. What, then, have we to do with Christ more than we have to do with Adam; or than the present forests of oak have to do with the first acorn? A law is, after all, nothing but a force, a power, and the only Christ we have or need is an inward principle. And with regard to spirits, such a law is something very ideal indeed. Christ by his excellence makes a certain impression on his disciples, which produced a new life in them. They associate to preserve and transmit that influence. A principle belonging to the original constitution of our nature was, by his influence, brought into governing activity, and is perpetuated in and by the church. As it owes its power to Christ, it is always referred back to him, so that it is a Christian consciousness, a consciousness of this union with Christ. We know that Schleiermacher endeavoured to save the importance of an historical personal Christ; but we know also that he failed to prevent his system taking the low rationalist form just indicated. With some it takes the purely pantheistic form; with others a lower form, while others strive hard to give it a Christian form. But its tendency to lapse into one or the other of the two heresies just mentioned is undeniable.
It is obvious
We feel constrained to make another remark. that this system has a strong affinity for Sabellianism. According to the Bible and the creed of the Church Universal, the Holy Spirit has a real objective personal existence. There are three distinct persons in the Godhead, the same in substance, and equal in power and glory. Being one God, where the
* Preliminary Essay, p. 45.
Spirit is or dwells, there the Father and the Son are and dwell. And hence, throughout the New Testament, the current mode of representation is, that the church is the temple. of God and body of Christ, because of the presence and indwelling of the Holy Ghost, who is the source of knowledge, holiness, and life. What the Scriptures refer to the Holy Spirit, this system refers to the theanthropic nature of Christ, to a nature or life "in all respects human." This supersedes the Holy Spirit. Every reader, therefore, must be struck with the difficulty Dr Nevin finds from this source. He does not seem to know what to do with the Spirit. His language is constrained, awkward, and often unintelligible. He seems indeed sometimes to identify the Spirit with the theanthropic nature of Christ. "The Spirit of Christ," he says, "is not his representative or surrogate simply, as some would seem to think, but Christ himself under a certain mode of subsistence; Christ triumphant over all the limitations of his moral (mortal?) state ((wotoinders sveuμati), received up into glory, and thus invested fully and for ever with his own proper order of being in the sphere of the Holy Ghost."-(P. 225.) The Spirit of Christ is, then, Christ as exalted. On the following page he says, "The glorification of Christ, then, was the full advancement of our human nature itself to the power of a divine life; and the Spirit for whose presence it [the glorification of Christ] made room in the world, was not the Spirit as extraanthropological simply, under such forms of sporadic and transient afflatus as had been known previously; but the Spirit as immanent now, through Jesus Christ, in the human nature itself the form and power, in one word, of the new supernatural creation he had introduced into the world." Again, "Christ is not sundered from the church by the intervention of the Spirit...... No conception can be more unbiblical than that by which the idea of Spirit (a) in this case is restrained to the form of mere mind, whether as divine or human, in distinction from body. The whole glorified Christ subsists and acts in the Spirit. Under this form his nature communicates itself to his people." (P. 229.) But according to this book, the form in which his nature is communicated to his people, is that of "a true human life;" it is a human nature advanced to a divine power which they receive. The Spirit is, therefore, not the third person of the Trinity, but the theanthropic nature of Christ as it dwells in the church. This seems to us the natural and unavoidable interpretation of these passages," and of the general tenor of the book. We do not suppose that Dr Nevin has consciously discarded the doctrine of the Trinity; but we fear that he has adopted a theory which destroys that doctrine. The influence of his early convictions and experience,
and of his present circumstances, may constrain him to hold fast that article of the faith, in some form to satisfy his conscience. But his system must banish it just so far as it prevails. Schleiermacher, formed under different circumstances, and less inwardly trammelled, openly rejected the doctrine. He wrote a system of theology without saying a word about the Trinity. It has no place in his system; he brings it in only at the conclusion of his work, and explains it as God manifested in nature, God as manifested in Christ, and God as manifested in the church. With him the Holy Spirit is the Spirit which animates the church. It had no existence before the church, and has no existence beyond it. His usual expression for it is, "the common spirit" (Gemeingeist) of the church, which may mean either something very mystical, or nothing more than we mean by the spirit of the age, or spirit of a party, just as the reader pleases. It is, in point of fact, understood both ways. Burke once said, he never knew what the London beggars did with their cast-off clothes until he went to Ireland. We hope we Americans are not to be arrayed in the cast-off clothes of the German mystics, and then marshalled in bands as the "Church of the Future."
We said at the commencement of this article that we had never read Dr Nevin's book on the Mystical Presence until now. We have from time to time read other of his publications, and looked here and there into the work before us; and have thus been led to fear that he was allowing the German modes of thinking to get the mastery over him, but we had no idea that he had so far given himself up to their influence. If he has any faith in friendship and long continued regard, he must believe that we could not find ourselves separated from him by such serious differences without deep regret, and will therefore give us credit for sincerity of conviction and
ART. II.-Discourses and Reviews upon Questions in Controversial Theology and Practical Religion. By ORVILLE DEWEY, D.D., Pastor of the Church of the Messiah in New York. New York: C. S. Francis & Co. 1846, pp. 388, 12mo.
THE author of these discourses stands in the very first rank of Unitarian literature. As a pulpit orator his reputation is distinguished, and the post which he occupies in our greatest city adds importance to whatever he may choose to utter. For these reasons, and because it is some time since a polemic
volume has been produced on the side of Antitrinitarianism, we are disposed to subject it to a serious examination.
With a few exceptions, which shall be noted in their proper place, these essays are not chargeable with the usual offensiveness of controversial writing. Dr Dewey possesses all the qualifications which are needed to give seemliness and polish to the form of his opinions. He shines more to our apprehension in the gentle glow of sentiment than in the conflict of reasoning. Nothing is more characteristic of the whole work than a disposition to avoid bold statement of positions, sharp cutting of defining lines, and penetrating analysis of philosophical difficulties. The shudder with which the author sometimes flies back from metaphysical methods (as on page 73), is more amiable in the saloon than dignified in the field of disputation. Yet he is not a common man, and where he is in the right, as he frequently is, we admire the perspicuity and scholarlike elegance with which he can express a familiar truth.
This volume, as we learn from its first sentence, is designed to give a comprehensive reply to the question, "What is Unitarianism?" This is encouraging, for no one cause has hitherto more prevented successful debate than a sickly dread of disputation, and a studied vagueness and even reticency in regard to the points at issue. In telling us what Unitarianism is, Dr Dewey seems to have found it strangely necessary to tell us also what Calvinism is. Of this we make no complaint; but was it necessary or pertinent to the design above stated? If the reason is, that of all schemes of opinion, Calvinism is that which shows the strongest lines; that of all defenders of ancient faith, Calvinists have been the most determined; or that of all opponents, ours are the most opposed,-we accept the omen in good part. The fact in regard to this volume is obvious to him who only opens its pages. The very first essay is constructed with reference to the views of Calvinists. A laboured treatise is given on "the Five Points of Calvinism;" another treatise discusses the "Calvinistic Views of Moral Philosophy;" and everywhere the form of Christianity which our author depicts is the Calvinistic form. He allows himself to forget that it was not Calvinism but Trinitarianism which he was held to refute.
The book opens with an article entituled, "The Unitarian Belief." This creed is marked by a careful avoidance of the more repulsive points of Socinianism, and as careful an approach as honesty will allow to the words of sound doctrine. We might have expected such articles as these: Unitarians believe that the Son and the Spirit are not divine persons; Unitarians believe that Jesus Christ was a mere man; Uni
tarians believe that faith and works are the same thing;* Unitarians believe that future punishment is not eternal: but this is not the method pursued. We are far from charging the author with a purpose to deceive; we indicate the policy as characteristic of the party from the days of the Council of Nice. Witness the accession of the Arians, save in a single iota, to the homoöusian symbols. If space were allowed us, we should be glad to transcribe every word of Augustine's oral debate with Maximus, the Arian bishop. It would show the disposition, common to all who reject the divinity of our Lord, to fly from too abrupt an avowal of their extreme opinions. The terms used in all these cases are not such as are best suited to express fairly and fully the doctrines maintained, but such as to the ear are most like the orthodox confession.
In this exposition of his faith, Dr Dewey sets himself against those who say that his "creed consists of negations." Although we could ask no better proof of this offensive proposition than this very article, we shall now state what Unitarians actually believe:-1. They believe, according to our author, "in the Father, and in the Son, and in the Holy Ghost." 2. They "believe in the atonement." 3. They "believe in human depravity." 4. They believe "that men are to be recovered by a process which is termed in the Scriptures regeneration." 5. They believe "in the doctrine of election." 6. They believe in a future state of rewards and punishments. 7. They believe "in the supreme and all-absorbing importance of religion." Now, we would not wrong an adversary, in particular one of so many amiable qualities as our author, but we cannot conceal our astonishment at this mode of statement. Knowing, as we do, and as Dr Dewey knows, how many derive all their knowledge of a treatise from the heads or titles of its parts, and knowing that this is a phraseology appropriated by immemorial usage to the orthodox faith, we regard it as a glaring impropriety to employ this very phraseology to denote the precise opposite. We yield all the advantage which may flow from the acknowledgment, that in the body of the essay Dr Dewey, after these several declarations, duly proceeds to empty each of them of all evangelical meaning. We admit that Bible speech is common property, but we contend that thus to use it is neither open nor politic dealing. And if we are asked in what way the objections to Trinitarian doctrine-for of such objections the essay is made up-should be expressed, we reply just as Trinitarians express their repugnance to the op
* "Belief and unbelief, in Scripture use, embrace in their meaning essential right and wrong, virtue and vice, religion and irreligion."-(P. 318.) Yet a little after he says, "Man cannot stand before God, demanding heaven for his keeping of the moral law."-(P. 322.)