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and faithful workmanship of the same spirit that lives disembodied, mourning or rejoicing, sporting or worshipping, in the full and free effusions of German poetry.'— pp. 12 - 14.
Another popular objection to the study of German is the character of its theology. A strong prejudice has been excited against that, as if a German theologian was necessarily an infidel, and a scoffer at religion. Perhaps we need not say that we have no sympathy with German theology as such; but we do think it high time that its real merits were understood. It is by no means true, as many would lead us to think, that it is a bold system of daring speculation and heartless skepticism. Rash and absurd theories, no doubt, have been proposed in Germany; but are we free from such theories ourselves? Do we enjoy a privileged Goshen on which the light of Heaven always falls ? Are German theologians the only theologians by whom crude and strange opinions are emitted ? Besides, many of their great writers are warm defenders of orthodoxy, - orthodoxy, we must own, in a mitigated form, considerably softened down from the orthodoxy of John Calvin, and the orthodoxy of New England, but yet orthodoxy, as distinguished from Pelagianism, Socinianism, and Deism. There is Tholuck, the young professor at Halle, the rival of Wegscheider, who, though hardly up to the full measure of the Andover creed, is still regarded as a standard-bearer by the learned friends of Calvinism in this country. So too there are others, whom we need not name, sufficient, one would suppose, to wipe off the stain of infidelity, which is said to cleave to the entire mass of German theologians. And between the class which we have mentioned, and the Rational school, as it is called with no great precision or propriety, there is almost every variety of opinion, more or less liberal, embraced by the most eminent and influential men ; which shows the folly of classing all the German theologians together as a band of open or disguised deists. Even among those, whose views on the historical facts of our religion are such as approach most nearly to the infidel speculations of the last century, there are none who make war against religion itself, and who do not, in fact, contend for the vital, spiritual truths, which form the essence of the Christian system. We do them as great injustice in confounding them with the profane scoffers, who attempted to cover religion with ridicule and
doubt, in England and France, as is sometimes done to liberal Christians in this country, when they are confounded with the German Rationalists of whom we speak. The following passage from Professor Follen's Discourse, at once confirms the accuracy of our statements, and
presents a beautiful tribute to the religious spririt of which his countrymen have been falsely supposed to be destitute.
' The great diversity of opinion which is the natural result of such a state of society, makes it highly important for the student of German literature, particularly of theological works, to be directed in the choice of his studies by a competent guide; but it makes it in the same degree unjust to judge of all, or even a portion of them, by any single production. Besides, I would call to mind again what has been said of German philosophy, that materialism, or unbelief in spiritual realties, is not an indigenous, but a rare, an exotic plant in Germany; so that even those who doubt or reject the historical facts that form the body of Christianity, still embrace its spiritual
Though they deny a part of divine truth, they are not infidels or unbelievers as the followers of Hume would be, in case they rejected the historal evidence of our religion. Indeed, such is the state of the public mind, of society, and of education in Germany, that real infidelity, or apostasy from faith itself or the evidence of things not seen, is not likely to
The charm of novelty, which in other countries draws numbers after the syren song of modern atheism, does not exist in a country where a general acquaintance with the history of philosophy preserves at least the well educated portion of the community from the allurements of a system of seeming liberty, but of real slavery of the mind. Even the weight of political oppression which has curbed but not broken the German spirit, even the unsatisfactory nature of the external state of society which meets the “ sight," seems to urge the mind to “ walk by faith" alone ; to resolve upon a life of intellectual action and enjoyment, and to seek in the "spirit-land" the substance of the things hoped for, but hoped for in vain under the dark influence of the princes of this world. Every German, whose soul has grown in sight of the bright examples of a high, though sometimes mistaken spirit of self-sacrifice, with which the history of his nation abounds, who has listened to the voices of the living and of the dead speaking to him through their works, feels ever compassed about by a cloud of witnesses to the reality and eternity of the things which are not seen. All the branches of his instruction, though they
N. S. VOL. VI. NO. II).
seem destined to bear blossoms and fruits only for this life, become so many roots to fix the tree of spiritual life more firmly in the eternal ground of his being. For if faith, or the trust of the spirit in its own essence, is the groundwork, and if love, or a vital interest in perfection, in truth, goodness, and beauty, is the soul of religion, then it may well be said of every one who has enjoyed a German education, that his mind has been nurtured in religion, that in it he has lived and moved and had his very being. He feels as if his great parent, even his own father-land, had presented him early, while yet a child, to the God of his fathers, and obtained for him a blessing with promise, that the Great Spirit who made him in his own image, who gave him this hard earth for his cradle, will guide him also through its wilderness, will feed his starving soul with the bread of life and the cup of salvation, and, when made perfect by suffering and endurance to the end, will raise him again in his own likeness.' — pp. 17, 18.
It would be superfluous for us to recommend the Discourse, of which we have given this slight notice, to the attention of our studious men. It has been extensively read, and has received the testimony of public favor to which it is richly entitled. We hope to see other fruits of the Professorship which the author holds, equally valuable with this Discourse.
ART. IX. — The Life of John Locke, with Extracts from
his Correspondence, Journals, and Common-Place Books. By Lord King. New Edition. With considerable Additions. In two volumes. 8vo. London. 1830.
It is remarkable, considering the distinguished rank which Locke has always held among the great names of England, that so little is known of his personal habits and the incidents of his life. It is not, of course, to be supposed that the life of such a man could abound in adventures; but, according to the true understanding of biography, events are of greater or less importance, in proportion as they throw light upon the character and mind of the person described. Thus in the life of Napoleon, some little incident within the walls of his palace gives us a better idea of the man, than a full description of Austerlitz or Marengo. We want to know the man, before we follow him to the open fields of glory or shame. Lord King has undertaken to supply this defect in the case of Locke ; and we are indebted to him for his good intentions, if not for the manner in which he has discharged his trust. With his talents and materials he might have made a more entertaining work; still it is encouraging to our hopes for the human race, to see that a British peer can take an interest in such matters, and knows how to reverence that nobility of mind, which cannot be transmitted by succession, and which derives its patent only from the King of kings.
We consider Locke as one of the best examples of the Christian character; and when we present him as such, we hope we shall not be accused of wandering wide from our subject, if we attempt to correct some wrong impressions concerning that character. The general impression is, that it is meek almost to effeminacy. Men distinguish between the manly and the Christian character; they use the word man, as if it were almost the reverse of Christian ; they understand by a good man something less than a good Christian ; that is, they regard goodness, not as the improvement made by religion in human nature, -- they look upon it as something which Christianity puts in place of our nature. Thus they keep themselves in the dark as to what Christianity requires them to do. They aim at something which is impossible; they attempt to root out all the feelings which God has planted in their souls, and to plant the tree of life in their stead. The whole process is a thing only done in imagination ; it is as much out of the question in reality, as for the surgeon to tear out a diseased heart, and replace it with a new one. But this is not the way with Christianity. That admirable religion takes the human heart as God made it ; it takes man as he is. It does not tell him, that, before he begins its duties, he must be something different from what he is; because its whole object is to make him something different from what he is now; not by a sudden change or substitution, but by the gradual change of improvement, to make him a wiser, happier, and better man.
When the first man was told to cultivate the garden, he did not begin by cutting down every other tree
that the tree of life might have room to grow and spread; nor does Christianity make a similar destruction in the heart. So far from destroying the manly character, Christianity aims to give a finish, grace, and perfection to its virtues.
By forgetting or never knowing this truth, that a good Christian is nothing more nor less than a good man, confusion has been brought into morals and reproach cast upon Christianity. Our religion has too often passed for an unmanly faith, -amiable enough, but not strong, - a faith of feelings and raptures, - a faith, which loves better to sit by the fireside counting up its virtues, than to march out to the open ground of active duty. The result has been, that many firm and sagacious men have taken a prejudice against it. If they went to the Scriptures, they would find that all is not Christianity that bears the name ; but they do not go to them; and they look on this faith with a condescension approaching to scorn. For themselves, they want none of it; but as they they think it may comfort some weak and gentle souls, they will not say a word against it; it is harmless, and they let it stand. If they would read to ascertain what the faith really is, they would be astonished to find what energy there is in it, and how gloriously it inspired its disciples, apostles, and martyrs. They had more of the oak about them than of the weeping willow; there were spirits among them as brave and manly as ever led an army's van; so far from being unmanly, our religion affords in its records the most energetic and practical displays of character ever seen in the world.
There seems to be a mutual misunderstanding between men of the world and Christians. Christians speak of the manly character as if it were something assuming, jealous, and revengeful; they talk as if manly spirit consisted in asserting one's rights, honor, and independence on all occasions, and in making blood atone for every imaginary insult and wrong. This is not, however, a description of a man.
The man is collected within himself; he is not easily persuaded that others can injure his feelings or his fame; he is sure that they cannot reach his soul. The man does not put it in the power of others to insult and wound him ; he feels like despising insults, where others are furious to revenge them. The manly character, as enlightened men of the world understand it, is calm and forbearing, as well as strong and com