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ady crombus obianism, ples once the
he docate of religioused by the prevaldical dis
ness already cropping out among its numerous adherents which foretel to sagacious observers a change for the worse in the fortunes of Grundtvigianism, and the universal spread, let us hope, of sounder gospel principles once more.*
When from the doctrinal aspects of the Danish Church we pass to the general state of religious life in Denmark, we find the one, as is natural, largely influenced by the prevailing tone and character of the other. For the moment, theological discussion holds a conspicuous place among the clergy; and the laity have not remained indifferent spectators of the strife. On the whole, its effect has in their case proved salutary, because arousing; and we are glad to report, from the testimony of all parties, and our own personal experience, that in Denmark there has been marked and cheering religious progress during the last decade. Much, indeed, must be still accomplished, and in many different directions, ere the spiritual life of Scandinavia, and especially of Denmark, develop itself and flourish, as the best of the Scandinavian people and their warmest friends in other countries would desire. In Denmark the secular element is still too exclusively predominant, and that worldliness which constitutes the most effectual obstacle to the triumphant progress of the gospel, exerts as yet extensively its evil power. But the redoubled life and energy of the pastors are producing a corresponding fruit among the people. Deeper interest by far is now generally taken by them in matters appertaining to the soul's salvation; the churches are better attended than they have been before ; and, in the case of numbers of individuals, the old dead formalism has given place to peace and joy in believing. All this is matter for congratulation, and a good omen of better things to come. There can be no doubt that to the influences already hinted at, which have spiritually vitalized the mass of professing Christians in Denmark within the last twenty or thirty years, must be added the impulse administered by the writings of the celebrated Sören Kierkegaard. That remarkable man,whose productions deserve to be known and read in England, while he rudely shocked many with the extremes to which he pushed his principles, infused new life into others, both by the freshness and novelty of the views he held, and his powerful exposition of the fundainental moral elements of Christianity. We cannot here give any analysis, or even brief description of his works. Suffice it to say, that Kierkegaard waged perpetual
# Since writing the above, we are informed that within the last few weeks two highly important works have appeared in Denmark, expressly directed against the Grundtvigian theory, by Bishop Martensen and Professor Clausen of the University of Copenhagen. They are said to be admirable, and will doubtless essentially contribute to check the farther progress of the system.
in the great the true misud laity, or at all of
and terrific warfare with everything in the shape of religious formality and indifference; and, although he built up no theological system (for he was one of those who rather like to think yourassirūs than doyuatinãs, and his mission was not to construct, but to destroy), he urged home to the consciences of men with such wonderful force and ardour the paramount importance of personal and practical piety, that it was as if a sudden earthquake had convulsed the religious world of Denmark, and multitudes were awakened from the depths of spiritual torpor. His errors—and they were neither small nor few—may be forgiven, in respect of the service he rendered to the moral and religious revolution. Passing, however, from this topic, to which we can only make the most transient reference, let us state, that a convincing proof of the renewed existence of vital Christianity among the Danish people is to be found in the deeper and warmer interest everywhere cherished in the great cause of missions, both at home and abroad. In Denmark, the true missionary spirit is now at work, and, as regards alike clergy and laity, produces its usual blessed results. Who that knows anything at all of missionary labour in the north of Europe has not heard of the excellent and indefatigable Dr Kalkar, whose exertions have contributed so largely to the furtherance of the missionary cause in Denmark? The Danish Missionary Society holds yearly meetings, which are attended by large numbers of people, and where information is communicated regarding foreign missionary enterprise, as in Greenland and other places. Generally speaking, the Grundtvigian section of the Danish clergy rather stand aloof from the cause of missions. There are noble exceptional cases, no doubt; but this is the usual rule, and might have been expected in the circumstances, since the true and only mode of prosecuting missionary work,—the teaching or preaching, in private or in public, of the whole glorious gospel of the grace of Christ,—comes in awkward collision with the first principle of their system, the distinction between the living and written word, and the superior efficacy of the apostles' creed for conversion. Home mission efforts are also put forth with much zeal, and have been attended with considerable success. An interesting sign of the times is the recent establishment in some country congregations of a union for home missions, whose directors are chiefly of the peasant class, and whose object, we are told, is to produce and foster Christian life by the institution of weekly meetings for worship and Bible reading. Such attempts deserve all praise, and cannot fail, if carried out in a judicious spirit, to produce beneficial consequences. There are still, however, two dark and ungainly blots in the picture presented by the state of religious life in
VOL. XIII.-NO. XLVII.
action betision with sospel of theing, in
the Tech for bass, and life by
Denmark, and we are sorry that we cannot report any immediate likelihood of their removal, or even diminution. Among the Danes, as among the Germans, a vast amount of Sabbath desecration openly and grossly prevails; and among the Danes, as among the Germans likewise, there is a general dread of the imputation of aught resembling pietism, which has the effect of unduly checking the outward manifestations of genuine spiritual-mindedness, and thus inflicting serious injury on the best interests of religion. Denmark has little of a Christian Sabbath in the proper sense of the term; and the most earnest and excellent of her people too frequently cherish lax and unscriptural views of its binding obligation. Again, the wave of that pietistic tendency to which we have already referred, as rolling across Denmark at an earlier period, and imparting a more earnest impulse to many professing Christians, bas now broken, and largely disappeared, and by a kind of natural yet unfortunate reaction, numbers of truly pious Danish believers shrink from all that, in their estimation, savours of the outward pietistic form, and consequently, for example, attach slight importance to the neglect of family worship, social prayer-meetings, and other similar duties and exercises justly dear to the Redeemer's followers. Let us trust that, as a pure gospel faith gradually gains complete ascendancy in Denmark, those dark and mournful blemishes will also be effaced.
In regard to the government and constitution of the Danish Church, the reader does not require to be reminded that, like the sister churches of Sweden and Norway, its government is episcopal, and its constitution connects it closely with the state. Yet, although possessing bishops, there is a good deal of the presbyterian element in its ecclesistical framework, as respects even ritual as well as government, and, on the whole, we may style the Lutheran episcopacy of Denmark a very moderate episcopacy indeed.* In the eye of Englisb Tractarianism, it lacks the one thing needful, apostolical succession, namely; and hence the Puseyites do not scruple, by a single stroke of their infallible pen, to unchurch, in a moment and for ever, the entire body of the Danish bishops and the Danish pastors. According to the fundamental law of 1849, which is the basis of the new political and ecclesiastical constitution, “the Evangelical Lutheran Church is the Danish National Church, and as such must be supported by the State,"_every other religious body, nevertheless, receiving the most perfect toleration. It is to the credit of the church, and an additional proof of renewed life among her clergy and her people, that since 1849 she has
• It was Bugenhagen who, at the request of Christian III., first organised the Danish Church after the Reformation. He appointed superintendents, not bishops. The change to episcopacy took place afterwards.
been engaged in a constant struggle for autonomy and spiritual independence. At present the relation of the church to the state is singularly imperfect and unsatisfactory. “The church is in no way separated from the state : it possesses no selfgovernment. On the contrary, it is nothing more, under the constitutional régime, than it was formerly, under the absolute monarchical régime, viz., a state church. It is a national church, indeed, but at the same time a state church ; for the state governs and controls all ecclesiastical legislation. The church has not yet succeeded in establishing a common constitution, to embrace the whole monarchy; while in the kingdom of Denmark proper, that is, in the islands and in Jutland, the ties which have hitherto held the church and state together are becoming loosened more and more.” In fact, there is a strong tendency at the present moment in Denmark to the complete severance of the church and state, and many who desiderate ecclesiastical automony and spiritual independence are scarcely disinclined to make the sacrifice, in order that they may obtain privileges of such paramount importance. Various difficult and complicated questions naturally arise out of the peculiar relations of the Danish Church and the Danish Government. On these questions, semi-political and semi-ecclesiastical, we cannot touch ; only meanwhile it may be stated, in general terms, that should there not occur, ere long, a satisfactory settlement of the points at issue, probabilities are in favour of a total separation between church and state in Denmark.*
In conclusion, we may be allowed to express the conviction that, all things considered, a noble future lies before the Danish Church in the providence of God. It is difficult, indeed, as well as rash and hazardous, to indulge in vaticinations; and it would be equally wrong to paint the present with fairer colours than it can boast, or to exaggerate the good residing in the now-existent state of religious life among the Danish people ; yet we cannot close the preceding imperfect sketch without recording our hope and also our belief, that the cause of Christ's pure gospel will continue to prosper more and more in that important section of the great Scandinavian North to which our attention has been drawn. The true elements of spiritual success are there, if but fairly, scripturally, and
*The Scandinavian "Kirkemöder," Convocations or Synods, deserve special mention as an interesting and important fact in the recent ecclesiastical history of Denmark and the other northern kingdoms. The first of them met at Copenhagen in 1857, and since then they have assembled every second year, and alternately in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. They are attended by numbers of the whole Scandinavian clergy and laity, and have for their object the discussion of all matters affecting the common religious interests of the entire north.
prayerfully carried out to their legitimate issue. Only let the Lutheran Church in Denmark gird herself for the grand enterprise before her, only let her rise to the full perception of the peculiar mission she has to accomplish, the complete development in a religious direction of the two characteristics of her believing people,—the quiet life of faith on the one hand, and the tendency to the practical on the other ;-above all, only let her cast away the tattered robe of mere human tradition, and assume instead the regal garment of the Scriptures of eternal truth; then may we expect to see her step forth in power and dignity, a worthy daughter of the Reformation. None would more rejoice than ourselves in Britain, at such a desirable result. For, although justly proud of possessing a purer and more scriptural creed in some respects than the Lutheran, we still believe in the communion of saints, in the brotherhood of the one universal church, and across the waters of the North Sea can send to that old homeland of our race the cheering words of Christian fellowship, and a “God-speed” in the common glorious work.
ART. VI.--Renan's Life of Jesus.*
Vie de Jésus. Par Ernest Renan, Membre de l'Institut
tion. Paris : Michel Lévy Frères. 1863.
It is in one respect a most enviable, and in another respect al most painful, position which the intelligent and confirmed believer in Christianity occupies at the present day. His own feet stand securely on the rock of salvation. His own heart rejoices in the sublime discoveries and the sustaining promises of the gospel. His own mind, perhaps after much anxiety and agitation, has attained perfect repose and peace in the reception of the truth as it is in Jesus. In his case the most momentous of all questions has been for ever settled. He believes that God has spoken to man by a long series of inspired servants, and in these “last days” by his own Son from heaven. With him it is a conviction which nothing can shake, which is as immoveable as the belief in his own existence, and against which, therefore, all hostile arguments are directed in vain,
* We consider it only fair to state, that the writer of the following valuable article undertook it at our special request, on the understanding that he could not avoid referring to his own work, “ Discussions on the Gospels," with the general views presented in which we cordially agree.-En. B. f F. E. Revier.