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a well turned figure, or sounding on a character that is true to the declamation, or practical homily, holy in God, and then flowers into and you can not often find it precise, rich luxuriance, and ripens into preconsistent and thorough-going in its cious fruit ;-and concerning man, deductions. But in arguing, it has that he is unfortunate and badly deprinciples which it dare not state, veloped, rather than guilty and conand applies a system which it will demned, that he needs to be educated not affirm ; whether consciously or under happier circumstances, rather unconsciously we assert not, but of than to be renewed by the Spirit of the fact we are sure. In a previous God. essay we have described this phi The logical road from these prinlosophy at some length, under the ciples to Mr. Parker's conclusions, several heads of the Nature of Re is short and direct. ligion, the Government of God, and Take his first position. A superthe Guilt and Wants of Man; ex. natural revelation is not required. pressly and abundantly declaring, It is as clear as the sunlight, that that this philosophy was applied the liberal philosophy being true, in arguments rather than avowed it is not demanded. All the necesin a naked and systematic form. sities contemplated by such a natuWe shall not re-state these princi ral theism, may be met and satisfied ples at length; but we remain cer without a supernatural revelation. tain that they constitute the prima There is no natural necessity for philosophia of the liberal school, it. Who shall say that it is not in and give to it its beauty and its fas the power of God, and the resources cination in the eyes of a majority of already furnished by nature, to bring its adherents. An appeal to those out such a style of men, of moral principles, if logical, will carry the heroes or providential men, as Carfield in argument.
lyle calls them, who shall furnish We assert then that Mr. Parker all that is needed for instruction and is not only justified in retaining his impulse ;-who shall reflect a clear position, as a liberal Christian, by image of the divine in the steadied whatever is peculiar in the terms of mirror of their own pure hearts, and liberal fellowship; but that his con then make the truth beam from their clusions are the logical result of eye, and speak from their lips, and whatever is peculiar in the liberal shine from their beautiful lives? Who philosophy
shall say that such men could not Mr. Parker's conclusions are two. make their mark deep and enduring A supernatural revelation is not re- enough to meet the demand of their quired by man. There is not evi. age? Who shall say, that a sucdence sufficient to warrant the be- cession of such men would not, by lief that the supernatural recorded successive impulses, lift the race upin the New Testament is historically ward to any point of religious truth true.
or culture which is demanded ? On The principles of the liberal school the liberal theosophy, and for the are these ;-Concerning God, that purpose for which it admits a superhis government is not one of love natural intervention, there is no de. in its highest form, as animating and mand for it in the nature of things. enforcing a law of holiness, but Nor is there a moral necessity of love, as distinguished from law; for such an intervention. The fault -concerning religion, that it is a with man is not so much guilt, as an sentiment like the sense of the beau. imperfect and ill-developed humanitiful and of the true, and not that ty. There is no strong and presentiment of the divine which be vailing tendency to sin" by nature,” comes religious only when it is based but a divine aspiration after truth
and holiness which gropes for the so few. We know that Mr. Norton light; there is no not liking to re endeavors to relieve this difficulty tain God in the knowledge” which by cutting down the Scriptures 10 requires that Jehovah should step very small dimensions, but even his out from the onward course of na Bible has rather more of the superture, that he may be heard ; but natural than seems to us to be called there is a longing after the divine, for. To remedy this difficulty he which needs but to see what it longs creates another, by lowering the dig. for, and it rushes to embrace the nity of human nature, even below glorious vision. There is in man, our view of it; a difficulty which no perverse and hardened impeni. we leave him to adjust with his own tence, upon which, God, when reveale friends of the liberal school, and ed to man with miracles of healing, with the plain testimony of history, a wondrous life and a most moving of literature, of the human condeath, tries his utmost power as it science, and of Paul the apostle. were in vain; but man is a poor But it may be said by those who victim of ill-developed humanity stand upon the history of man, that that looks for the light, as “they miracles were needed in a ruder that watch for the morning.” Here age, to amaze the senses and to is no moral demand, which may not wake up the torpor of badly edube met and satisfied, without a su- cated men, and thus to force an en. pernatural messenger.
trance for truths, which having enThere is no necessity for such inter- tered would stand upon their own vention, on the liberal theory, attested merits and make good their own de. by the history of man. The history fense. Nay rather, says Mr. Parker, of man unrolls its dark chapters of history teaches that it is more prob. error, ignorance and imperfection, able that Moses and Jesus did, by it is true, and it may be said that the their grandeur of character and force facts of man's condition require a of utterance make an impression so revelation by miracle to fix the deep and strong, that their wonderdoubtful, make clear the obscure, ing disciples denied them an earthand to declare, by an authorized ly origin, and from the gorgeous messenger, the paternal character hues of their own imagination wove of God, and the soul's immortal life. for them a halo of divine splendor. But history has also her brighter History testifies this of other great chapters, and her immortal record men confessedly not supernatural, of such teachers as Socrates and and why when closely questioned Plato; and of races too, that seem may she not affirm it of these? to be inspired of nature, with supe. The only possible answer to this rior notions of honor and duty. question, the liberal philosophy can Who shall say that nature who by not furnish. She can not say
there her unaided energies could produce is a demand for the supernatural, such men as Socrates and Cicero, which makes its occcurrence not might not also without a miracle, merely credible, but even necessaproduce a Moses and a Jesus, if all ry, and hence she can not save herfor which Moses and Jesus were self from the logical result to which wanted, and all which they did, was Mr. Parker would conduct her. * to teach the liberal theism, which Mr. Parker's second proposition Mr. Norton ascribes to them ? or if concerns the credibility of the mirwe admit a miraculous revelation to be desirable, surely it were a * It is the maxim of Horace," Nec Deus useless expenditure of force, to do in tersit nisi dignus vindice nodus incideall that the Bible records of mira. theism that it does not furnish the “ no
rit," and the misfortune of the liberal cle to establish truths so simple and dus."
acles that are in fact recorded in teachings, they are imported from the New Testament. Of these he the school of Alexandria, or are the says, that he can not receive such intense expressions of excited minds. facts on such evidence.' To this The promise of aid to these disciples conclusion the liberal philosophy by their master, after his death, and furnishes the premises. It does this, its striking fulfillment as it shines as it fails to furnish the most decisive out from the sacred page, is nothing. evidence for such facts, in their be. The applications by Jesus to himself ing morally required. It also does of the Messianic prophecies, are noit by the actual interpretation which thing but accommodations to the it is forced to put upon the Scrip. prejudices of the mistaken Jews. tures, even while it seeks to sustain The significance attached to his their supernatural origin.
death, the assertion of it in grave Let us follow the liberal theist in discussion, the illustration of it by the use which he must make of the figures as various almost as language Bible, with his philosophy of man can furnish, the connection of it and of God. He opens the Old with Jewish sacrifices, by men who, Testament. The God who is there if they were not inspired, ought at revealed is unlike the God of his least not to write nonsense, the use philosophy. The principles of his of it by John and Paul and Peter, in government-his command to cruel sentences of angelic rapture, that deeds, bis despotic spirit and cruel are kindled by the thought of the acts, so described—are all to be re love that was commended to man in ceived with large abatements, and that death, all this is diluted and excopious explanations. Accordingly plained away, by methods to which he disposes of the inspiration of we care not to apply an epithet. The parts, or the whole of it, and if that government of God too, as its undoes not answer his end, he cuts compromising claims and the terror very largely in upon the record. of its wrath were uttered by the lips Instead of reading it in the true his- of Christ himself, and declared again toric spirit, he gives it forced con- and again by his apostles; the darstructions and violent suppositions. ing of human guilt as it is measured All anticipations of a Messiah vanish by its trifling with the claims of the at the point of his dissecting knife, Eternal; the peculiar guilt of reand are evaporated before the spirit, jecting the salvation that was wrought alike unbelieving and unpoetic, of by the dying Son of God; the terhis dry interpretations. The ritual ror of the condemnation which shall system of Moses is too barbarous and
come of thus dealing with his offer. vulgar to be tolerated by his delicate ed mercy ;-all this is distilled by sensibilities, and its bloody sacrifices the chemistry of liberal hermeneuare too savage to have a moral sig. tics to a delightful otio of roses, as if nificance. It is well if he does Christianity were a moral perfumery, not go beyond the conclusions of to give the last finish to modern Mr. Norton, and deny that the Old culture. Instead of salvation to be Testament furnishes evidence of a received or rejected, it commends miraculous revelation to the Jewish to us the mild and tolerant spirit of people.
Christianity. Instead of God wait. He goes to the New Testament. ing to be gracious, it gives us God He admires the spirit of Christ, but as such a Father, that his children his assumptions of equality with the must be spoiled by his weakness. Father are the strained expressions Instead of exhorting to repentance, of oriental hyperbole. When they it enjoins upon men to be mild and are repeated in the words of those charitable. who wrote his life and explained his Having passed the Scriptures Vol. III.
through this alembic, till its residuum Germany and another in America. is this spiritless caput mortuum, the Nor is German philosophy a thing liberal expounder brings them to so utterly and hopelessly foreign, as Mr. Parker as a trustworthy record of in no respect to find its likeness in a supernatural revelation. Having schools that have the utmost horror loaded them down with these violent of the Teutonic transcendentalism. explanations, he offers them as the The nomenclature of these two rationalized version of the miracu. schools may be different, while the lous. Mr. Parker can not receive spirit and principles are the same. them. Surely, says he, if God were The one may follow Locke and Pato give man a record of this reve- ley, the other Leibnitz and Kant, lation, he would not leave it in such and yet both may deny to God his a form. He would not mingle in it rights as a moral and personal sove. truth so important with error so reign, and to man his serious ac. mischievous, nor majesty so high countability and his actual guilt. with weakness so puerile, nor confi. The pantheism of Hegel and the dent assertion of truth in the name sensualism of Hobbes, agree in de. of God, with so much Jewish error nying the theism that is true to the and prejudice uttered in the name nature of things and the conscience of the same God, nor true his- of man. The German school and tory with such credulous exag. the Priestleian, have the same relageration. Rather let me give it the tions to a supernatural revelation highest honor as the noblest work of made to man as a sinner, and are man, which of course shall not be equally averse to the theism of Paul free from human weakness, than and of Shakspeare. In all its bear. call it the gift of God; and then beings upon the question of such a forced to interpret it with a violence, revelation, Mr. Parker's philosophy which, if used upon a human au is the same with that of the liberal thor, would call up his bones from school ; and to call it German in its their tomb. Mr. Parker, as we think, origin and to show that it is Gerhas the better of the argument. Of man in some of its principles, does course we do not here ask whether not relieve the difficulty. The same these liberal interpretations are or law holds good, both of the liberal are not justified on critical grounds. school of interpretation and of the We say only, if they are, they lead German. The one may go farther to Mr. Parker's conclusions. We than the other. There is here more rest therefore in the opinion that Mr. sober judgment, more restraint from Parker is the logical result of what public sentiment, and less of the ever is peculiar in the liberal philos. university isolation and indepenophy, and therefore he may reasona. dence, and of the madness that combly ask to be recognized as a liberal eth from such learning, and in conseChristian.
quence less logic and consistency in Against this conclusion it is urged, following principles to their concluthat Mr. Parker is of the German sions. It would not be difficult to school in philosophy and interpre. show that Mr. Norton and Mr. Furtation, and that his system is a hasty ness are less consistent than Mr. compound of their pantheism and Parker, though they are in some rationalism combined. Doubtless points nearer the truth. Nor would Mr. Parker is a German scholar. it be difficult to show that German Doubtless he is familiar with the rationalism was the same in its be. varieties of its many-sided theology, ginnings with the rationalism of and employs the barbarous technics Boston, and that the tendency of of its fantastic philosophy. But the both is swift and headlong by the human mind is not one thing in force of logical consecutiveness to
the termini attained by Strauss and against us. As to the fact alledged, Parker.
we confess ourselves ignorant, that It is also said, that Mr. Parker is the liberal community never conthe farthest possible from being a trast themselves with others, to their close and consistent thinker, that he own advantage, or that they do it is rather an enormous reader, a very less offensively or less contemptu“helluo librorum”—hat he reck.. ously than others do the same thing lessly jumps at conclusions in his for themselves. So too it may be youth, and publishes them in his said that the attempt to connect Mr. haste, which, if he would revise in Parker with their body is a poor and silence and with time, he would re- pitiful effort to make sectarian capiject in his maturity. That Mr. Par- tal,--that he is no more to be charge ker has read too much we do not ed upon the Unitarian body because doubt. That his conclusions are he happens to be among them, than strange, fantastic and ill-sustained, Strauss & Co. upon the German orwe have testified abundantly. We thodox church, because they appearwonder that he does not start backed in that body.* It is enough for from them, and re-examine his us to say, that this has never been premises; or even choose to be
our argument, and that we have more believing at the expense of expressly and forcibly disclaimed being inconsistent. But his prem. and rejected it, and to insinuate that ises, and not the haste and frankness we have used it, is to appeal to secof the man, are the causes of the tarian feeling with an emphasis. frightful conclusion. Would that the Our argument is, that the principles, light which the result casts back. which, in the German church, have ward upon its causes, might not ended in Strauss, have in the Amerishine in vain.
We may be told, that all this is * When our liberal friends talk in this none of our business; that a com
fashion, we are tempted to refer them to munion which never intermeddles tle of “ the Magician's Apprentice.” This
a poem by Goethe, translated under the tiwith “ the sects” might be let alone apprentice in his master's absence had with a better grace. Did we argue forgotten Dr. Bellamy's advice, never to
raise the devil unless he could lay him'this question in a sectarian way, this
and had turned the old broom into a sercharge might lie, on that ground, vant to bring water for him, remembering
the spell that would raise, but not the
spell that would send him back. He * The Christian Examiner of March, brought water, and still brought it, and says upon this point, “ atroce vultu." would not heed the youth as he called “ He who can not see an essential differ out,ence between the writings of Mr. Norton, “Stay now. Stay now Dr. Palfrey or Mr. Furness, where the facts Ainple measure of the divine mission of Jesus Christ and Of ihy treasure its miraculous attestation are continually Thou hast given !-asserted, and the writings of Mr. Parker, Wie is me! What shall I say now, where they are as continually denied, I've forgot the word, by Heaven !" must be incapable of discerning or mea
Ai last, in his despair, he throws an suring the relations of ideas; and he who
axe at him and cleaves him in two, and the will not see the difference because it suits
consequence is thus indicatedhis purpose to overlook it, saves his in
“ Woe! Another! lelligence at the expense of his honesty."
Both halves, springing pp. 252, 3. We see and assert a difference, but it is, that the premises of both being
Up, come bringing admitted, the difference is in Mr. Parker's
Each would fain outdo the other: favor as respects the argument. If any one doubts this, let him study the intro
Heavens! O cut my anguish shorter !" duction to Strauss's Life of Christ, and see We presume our liberal friends will be how he conducts such writers as Norton, wise enough not to throw the axe at Mr. Furness and Palfrey triumphantly on to Parker, lest in cleaving one, they should his own conclusions.
make two spirits.