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year ago, however, the devoted disciples, by dint of a careful collation of the notes they had taken, elaborated a pretty reliable original text, and have published the same under the editorship of Rütenik. This appearing a little later than Strauss's last work, "Life of Jesus, for the German People," he now takes up the pen again for the purpose of showing up the untenableness of Schleiermacher's stand-point more fully than he was able in the just mentioned work to do. This is in truth no difficult task, for the fundamental contradictions of Schleiermacher's Theology and Soteriology affect his Christology to the very core. In addition to this the revered "Believer" often out-rationalizes the extremest Rationalists in his treatment of the documents of evangelical history. His account of the Resurrection will sufficiently illustrate his capacity for dealing with the Gospels. His idea of the said event is this. The sepulcher in which the body of Jesus was laid was not Joseph's newly-hewn tomb, but another private one in the garden where he was crucified. The body was merely deposited there temporarily, with the intention of removal to Joseph's tomb as soon as the Sabbath should be over. Matthew's guard of soldiers is all a fiction. Mary Magdalene's angels were persons commissioned by Joseph to remove the body; the emptiness of the grave, the rolled-back position of the stone, etc., merely consequences of the removal itself. Whether the reanimation of the supposed lifeless body was due to efforts put forth by these employes of Joseph on discovering signs of life in it he does not tell us. Strauss, who was himself one of Schleiermacher's auditors, says that in his earlier lectures he denied all human co-operation in the resuscitation, and attributed it to the influence of the cool vault in which he was first placed. The great stone made him little difficulty. The tomb had been left open Friday perhaps to dry, (!) and some of the garden owner's hired men coming along Sunday morning and finding the great stone rolled up before the door, exclaimed, (unconscious of what had taken place,) "What's that stone there for?" and rolled it away! About this time the crucified came to himself, rose, and finding his way providentially opened, walked out and showed himself to his disciples. Wherein such a dealing with the Gospel records is better than Strauss's it is hard to say.
The present criticism of Schleiermacher will unquestionably do good. It is keen and successful. It illustrates anew Strauss's undeniable ability in the line of showing up logical inconsistencies and subterfuges. It will show many, who piously abhor the no longer fashionable Rationalism of Strauss, but glory in the revered name of Schleiermacher, that they must logically either go to Strauss or return to evangelical orthodoxy. That will be a service to the cause of truth.
The closing sentence of the preface is interesting as characterizing the spirit by which Strauss confesses himself still to be actuated. "The illusion (Wahn) that Jesus can have been a man in the full sense of the word, and nevertheless have stood, as individual, above the whole race, is the chain which still closes the harbor of Christian theology against the high sea of rational science; to burst this chain in sunder is the object of the present, as of all my former theological writings." And this man, avowing such aims, not even believing in a future life, is a clergyman of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Wirtemberg in regular standing.
Johann Albrecht Bengel, Lebensabriss, Character, etc. Nach Handschriftli chen Mittheilungen Dargestellt. Von DR. OSCAR WACHTER. 8vo., pp. 558. Stuttgart. 1865.
Building tombs to the prophets has become of late the favorite occupation of the orthodox of Germany. The saints of the Protestant calendar never found such unqualified panegyrists in the palmiest days of the Church as now. A recent writer in Vilmar's "Pastoral Theologische Blätter" takes the ground that Luther was literally a PROPHET in the strict biblical sense of the word, and maintains that, while the other reformers can be understood as reformers, Luther can never be understood except in this light. It would scarcely be venturesome to assert that the last ten years have witnessed the publication of more biographical works relating to the founders and early fathers of the Lutheran and Reformed Churches of Germany than the fifty years preceding. Many of them have an exceedingly partisan character, and possess but little value; others belong to the best contributions of our time to the ever-increasing treasures of theological literature. The explanation of this remarkable passion for glorifying the dead is easy to all in any way familiar with the recent history and present state of the German Church.
The above-named biography of Bengel is valuable. The man was a character well worthy of study, and this book enables us to make his acquaintance with greater facility than any which have previously appeared. The chief reason of this excellence is, that it is for the most part Bengel himself who speaks. The custodians of the family archives have at last yielded up his diary, correspondence, sermons, meditations, etc., and extracts from these make up a good part of the work. Many curious facts have thus come to light, among others, that the great critic and arduous student was restricted lifelong to the use of one eye without ever betraying the fact even to his own wife! The entry is under date of April 23, 1748: Uno tantum oculo utor, inde ab annis pueritiæ meæ altero ne literas quidem distinguere valeo.
Miraculi instar apud labores meos criticos. Hoc, me quidem vivente nemini discendum. Ipsa uxor mea nescit. This entry may be thought to reflect little honor on its author, but there are enough others which cause us to admire both his profound insight in divine things and the excellence of his personal character.
The work was projected by the hymnist Albert Knapp, but in consequence of his late decease transferred to Dr. Wächter, known at large only as the author of a small but bigoted defense of the Wirtemberg State Church in its recent persecutions of Dissenters, published two years ago. We can but join in the regret of the present editor, that the gifted Knapp was not permitted to accomplish his purpose. The present work embraces the following sections: 1. Sketch of Bengel's life, pp. 1-154; 2. Character, pp. 155-207; 3. Letters, pp. 208-359; 4. Bengel as Theologian, pp. 360-436; 5. His Departure, pp. 437-463. Supplement, Sermons, Hortatory Addresses and Poems. The fourth section reveals to us a strict Lutheran, dutifully accepting the dogma of Baptismal Regeneration and of the bodily Presence of Christ in the Eucharist; the supplement the fairer form of a wise and winning preacher of the word.
Die Geschichte Jesu nach Matthäus als Selbstbeweis ihrer Zuverlässigkeit betrachtet. Ein nachgelassenes Werk. Von THOMAS WIZENMANN. Detloff, Basel. 1864.
This is a posthumous work of a young author of the last century, who, had he but attained his threescore years and ten, might have figured in history as one of the most philosophical minds of his age. JACOBI styled him a thinker of the first order, before whose philosophical genius his own made willing obeisance. KANT praised his clearheadedness and lamented his early death. The above work may be conveniently described as a demonstration of the truth of the history recorded by the evangelists, by an application of the method employed by Paley in the "Hora Paulina" to Matthew's Gospel. It is an acute and happy development of the internal evidences scattered through the first Gospel. The work was published under the supervision of Klenker in the year 1789, but has for a long time been as good as forgotten. It is now reproduced by the late Professor Auberlen of Basel, who has enriched it with an instructive introduction of thirty pages, and a supplement of over two hundred pages, containing all that seemed valuable in the writings left behind by the youthful author. These remains are of no small interest, being Pascal-like contributions to the philosophy and history of revelation. Many of them, despite their fragmentary and aphoristic form, are exceedingly fine, and one can but regret that such a mind should have been
withdrawn from the German people at so critical a juncture in their history. Fundamental errors, however, are mingled with the truth; and despite his unusual faith in revelation, he might, had he lived, have injured the cause of Christ more than he could have served it. His conceptions of sin and atonement are decidedly shallow, and the in Wirtemberg endemic notion of a final restoration of all, Satan included, to the favor of God and blessedness of heaven, is a foundation doctrine in his theology. He even seems to think, that the grand aim of man's existence and history is simply the conversion of the devil and his angels. Wizenmann the apologist is excellent, Wizenmann the theologian a heretic.
Dr. A. Neander's Katholicismus und Protestantismus. Herausgegeben von Herman Messner. Berlin: Wiegandt & Grieben. 1863.
This volume is the fourth of the series of Neander's valuable posthumous works, published under the general supervision of Dr. Julius Müller. It contains the substance of his lectures delivered at Berlin in reply to Möhler's Symbolism. Yet we have here more than a mere reply. Neander, having thoroughly studied the relations of the Catholic and Protestant Confessions before the appearance of Möhler's celebrated work, was fully prepared to discuss the fundamental differences between the two. The real point and value of the work before us is that the author here shows the genesis and philosophy of the irreconcilable antagonism, together with the radical and inherent superiority of Protestantism to Catholicism.
The book is divided into three parts: Introduction, First and Second Divisions. The introduction, after furnishing a sketch of the polemical history of Protestantism, directs attention to terms. The Romish Church arrogates entirely too much to itself when it assumes Catholicity. The only real Catholic Church is Protestantism. The Augsburg Confession commences with the principle that it contains the true doctrines of uncorrupted Catholicism. The ground thus taken can never be wrested from it. The first division embraces the great differences between the two Churches. These have their origin in the early sinful appropriation of Pagan corruptions by the Church. The Eastern and Western Churches betrayed great diversity, the former indulging in many speculations, while the latter addressed itself to practical theology and life. It was owing to the practical spirit of the Western mind that Protestantism arose as the force which opposed a system that was doing violence to the practical mind.
The second division is subdivided into eight chapters: 1. Tradition and Scripture; 2. The First State of Man; 3. The Present Nature of FOURTH SERIES, VOL. XVII.—30
Man; 4. The Doctrine of Justification; 5. The Divine Law and Christian Perfection; 6. The Doctrine of the Church; 7. The Doctrine of the Sacraments; 8. The Doctrine of the Last Things. Under each of these topics we find the differences between the Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches clearly and fully stated. We then find the genetic development of the doctrines historically traced. Finally the author generalizes the arguments in favor of each, and establishes the great superiority of the Protestant interpretation of them all.
In the sixth chapter Neander combats the long-held assumption of the Catholics, that the Protestant Church is no Church at all, because neither Luther nor his successors performed miracles; for, say they, the power of working miracles must ever reside in a real Church. The reply to this charge is, that miracles are not needed in the history of the Church after that history has once fairly commenced; for the culmination and purpose of all miracles, as well as of all revelation, has already been reached in Christ. His epiphany and earthly existence constituted the greatest of miracles, all of which centered in him, and were perfected by him. Christianity needed the evidence of miracles because it was a new revelation, an original, creative, divine force brought into connection with the development of humanity. When the religion of Christ was once furnished with that evidence no new accessions to it were needed; the miracles became a permanent possession, which, neither for its own sake nor for the sake of the Church, required any additional number.
We hope it will not be long before this work will be translated into English. It richly deserves the attention of all theologians who may be interested in the points at issue between Catholicism and Protestantism. We know of no treatise which so successfully portrays the gradual growth of error in the Roman Church, and the necessity for that view of the doctrines of revelation which is presented by the Protestant Churches. Neander, in his other works, shows his rare power of individualizing character and truth. But in this he manifests equal skill in generalization. The editor, Licentiate Messner, of Berlin, had a difficult task before him when he set out to make a readable volume from the fragmentary and almost illegible notes of the lamented author. But the task has been well discharged; and Neander, though dead, is still speaking in defense of the cause which lay so near his heart.
Handbuch der Christlichen Sittenlehre. Von ADOLF WUTTKE. 2 Ausgabe. Vol. II. Berlin. 1865.
The second volume of this Manual of Christian Ethics justifies all the encomia which we pronounced upon the work in our last number.