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by the exactions of church discipline; of sins and evils which cannot be purged out by ecclesiastical censures or excommunication. To say that a given course of conduct is sinful, is not, as some suppose, proof that it exposes to excommunication, or can be thus extirpated from the church, without “rooting up the wheat also," and rending the church into fragments. Evils, faults, sins, must be borne with, which can only be extirpated by procedures that would expel the true members of Christ from communion with him and his people, at his table.
It does not follow that the church and ministry are not to bring their appropriate powers to bear for the removal of sins and faults which are beyond the province of the last penalties of church discipline. By argument, persuasion, expostulation, entreaty, example, a living ministry and church, will, by the power of the Holy Ghost, make continual and mighty progress in elevating the tone of piety, benevolence, liberality, selfdenial, zeal, and activity on the one hand; and in rooting out sins, errors, and unchristian practices and fashions on the other. How much, for example, has been done in this way to raise the standard of Christian liberality, and to abate even the temperate use of intoxicating drinks? How much remains to be done in these respects, and also to exorcise the covetousness, worldliness, selfishness, and voluptuousness which still infest the church?
Church censures culminating in excommunication have one aim; to remove from the church those offences which, being capable of judicial ascertainment, are clearly inconsistent with a credible profession of piety; and, to exclude from the communion those whose conduct is not only unchristian, but unchristian in such a sense, as, if persisted in, to certainly evince the absence of piety. Carried beyond this sphere, instead of subserving, it defeats its proper end of purifying the church, and invigorating religion. It is itself thus greatly weakened and brought into disrepute. It divides, debilitates, and destroys. It roots up the wheat not less than the tares, and, from being a power for edification, becomes a power for destruction. The clear apprehension of the distinction between perfect and imperfect rights and obligations, we think will assist not a little in enabling us to define the proper sphere of ecclesiastical dis
cipline; and to avoid those misapplications of it, which have so often brought it into disrepute, neutralized its efficacy, distracted the church, and, instead of promoting religion, inaugurated the reign of envying and strife, confusion and every evil work.
ART. VI.-Strauss and Schleiermacher, in their biographies of
Jesus compared. By P. HOFSTEDE DE GROOT, D. D., Prof. of Theology in the University of Groningen. Translated from the Dutch.
CARL SCHWARTZ, in his ingenious work, History of Modern Theology, where he treats of Schleiermacher, relates that Strauss, tutor at Tubingen, once more visited the university of Berlin, mainly because he desired to attend the celebrated lectures of Schleiermacher on the life of Jesus; and he adds that these lectures, full of disorganizing scepticism in analyzing and of sagacity in combining, gave the principal impulse to the destructive work of Strauss. This account of Schwartz is in some respects modified, but on the whole confirmed by what Strauss himself, recently in an essay, and now in his Leben Jesu für das deutsche Volk bearbeitet, communicates. He did not indeed, he tells us, in the winter of 1831, 1832, which he spent in Berlin, himself hear Schleiermacher deliver these lectures; but yet he made from two copies a copious extract. From his account of these lectures given in his last Life of Jesus, we receive moreover the impression that they both stand on one foundation; yet with this difference, that Schleiermacher moves cautiously and reluctantly, like one walking on a yet untrodden glacier, whilst Strauss sets his foot firmly and courageously, like one passing over ground with which he is familiar. Strauss remarks concerning them:
« Schleiermacher's lectures on the life of Jesus have not, like his other lectures, yet been given to the public. They gave so little encouragement to the conservatism which has ever prevailed in the school of Schleiermacher; they were especially against the
urgency of the mythical view of the evangelical history a bulwark so untenable; they were by the white metallic image of Schleiermacher's theology so greatly feet of clay, that it was deemed advisable to conceal them. These lectures had also done their work, as a numerous audience at the master's feet had imbibed the views which lie at their foundation, and spread them abroad in their writings. In nearly all the elaborations of the evangelical history, even to the most recent time, we are at each step reminded of Schleiermacher's Life of Jesus. He passed also in this respect for an oracle, for which, by the ambiguity of his whole being, truly an enigma, he was eminently fitted.”
With still greater asperity he expresses himself respecting Schleiermacher in the essay, in which he treats of the resurrection of Jesus according to that thinker. According to the extract which he there gives of Schleiermacher's lectures, we should, could we confide in our informant, be obliged to regard the great theologian as very small, yea, as very contemptible, as then his reflection must have been very limited, his scepticism unbridled, his courage very faint, and his deceitfulness outrageous.
Concisely and clearly does Strauss express his judgment of the man, when he begins the section on Schleiermacher thus: “ Neither Herder nor Paulus had more clearly and definitely comprehended the impossibility of a miracle, the inviolability of the order of nature, than Schleiermacher."
The impossibility of a miracle, the inviolability of the order of nature—these are the watchwords of Strauss. Does Schleiermacher herein agree with Strauss—then, indeed, do they stand on one foundation. In the fundamental principle there must then be perfect unity between them; only will the timid master have applied the principle less consistently, less like himself, than the pupil who has much more courage to come out undisguisedly for his opinion.
So will any one be obliged to judge, whose acquaintance with both scholars, in their elaboration of the life of Jesus and in their whole mode of thought, is derived from Strauss alone. But, whatever assurance Strauss may give, if we have sought to know Schleiermacher himself from his own works, we cannot
believe that the report by Strauss touching his Life of Jesus is accurate and just. Were it so, then the great thinker and upright Christian must in these Lectures have apostatized from himself: and this no one acquainted with him will credit, save on incontestable evidence. Such to him is not the assurance of Strauss.
A happy turn has been given to this matter. When Strauss wrote that Schleiermacher's pupils had deemed it advisable to conceal these lectures, one of their number had already been three years engaged in preparing them for the press, so that they might be given to the public shortly after the appearance of Strauss; whilst it appears that the delay of their publication was to be ascribed, not to the apprehension of the pupils for the good name of their master, but to the want of good manuscripts. Now we can judge of Schleiermacher in these lectures from his own words, and we no longer depend on Strauss's report respecting him.
But there is more reason to rejoice in the publication of this work. In some respects it appears to be the most important of Schleiermacher's writings. By this is not meant that these lectures greatly advance our scientific contemplations of Jesus' life; time has advanced much, and also from Schleiermacher so much has been drawn, that it would indeed be a marvel should a new light on the life of Jesus arise to us from these lectures. Every one who has taken them in hand with such an expectation will have laid them aside, on the whole dissatisfied. But they powerfully assist us to better understand Schleiermacher himself. What he has in his Dogmatics and elsewhere given more abstractly, appears here in vivid visibility; certainly elsewhere the notion, here the history is dominant, but both serve as forms to place in the clearest light the one vital principle of his whole theology, Jesus Christ. The shady sides too of his mental character strongly appear, especially needless scepticism and inability to transport himself into the spirit of the lower classes. But be this so: hereby too is this book a much shorter and safer way to attain to a full understanding of Schleiermacher than we have thus far possessed ; let every one who would learn to understand him, begin here his study. Here all is simplicity, clearness, depth. Here, in accordance with
the remark of the editor, “Schleiermacher appears entire according to all sides of his knowledge from the depth and fulness of the faith revealed to him, of which neither the right nor the left side of his opponents seems to have a suspicion. His views are at the same time expressed with so much frankness, that he is throughout liable to be variously misapprehended, and thus lays himself open to hostile attacks."
On this account chiefly is the work of Schleiermacher of sufficient importance to be made in some measure known to our readers, especially in contrast with Strauss and with the judgment of Strauss respecting it. We proceed therefore to offer some observations on Strauss and Schleiermacher, in their biographies of Jesus compared.
We direct attention first to both biographies in general, in order afterward to make these generalities visible in certain particulars, and in conclusion to point out the great difference between them.
The philosophical principle of Strauss is, that the miraculous or the supernatural is impossible. To prove this he does not deem necessary. Our age, the civilization of our time, science, he says,
is convinced of this. Only in section 24, entitled, The Notion of a Miracle, he seeks to adduce a proof for his assertion. It amounts to this, as the caption of this section intimates, that no satisfactory idea of a miracle is to be obtained; from which it must appear, that there is no miracle. This he does not say in so many words ; unconsciously he confounds the apprehension of the thing with the thing itself. He is now so deeply engrossed in thinking, in willing to understand and comprehend, that whatever lies beyond that, for him has no existence. This is both here and everywhere the philosophical foundation of theology and of all science, as with Hegel, so also with Strauss : all must be capable of being comprehended or conceived; what cannot be comprehended or conceived, does not exist. Our reason is the limitation of being. He says expressly in that section, Der Wunderbegriff, in demonstration of the impossibility of a miracle, first: page 147, “ It is the task of historical investigation,'not barely to ascertain what has happened, but also how things have proceeded one from another. But it must abdicate the last, noblest. part of its task, as soon as it grants