acles that are in fact recorded in the New Testament. Of these he says, that “he can not receive such facts on such evidence.” To this conclusion the liberal philosophy furnishes the premises. It does this, as it fails to furnish the most decisive evidence for such facts, in their being morally required. It also does it by the actual interpretation which it is forced to put upon the Scriptures, even while it seeks to sustain their supernatural origin. Let us follow the liberal theist in the use which he must make of the Bible, with his philosophy of man and of God. He opens the Old Testament. The God who is there revealed is unlike the God of his philosophy. The principles of his government—his command to cruel deeds, his despotic spirit and cruel acts, so described—are all to be received with large abatements, and copious explanations. Accordingly he disposes of the inspiration of parts, or the whole of it, and if that does not answer his end, he cuts very largely in upon the record. Instead of reading it in the true historic spirit, he gives it forced constructions and violent suppositions. All anticipations of a Messiah vanish at the point of his dissecting knife, and are evaporated before the spirit, alike unbelieving and unpoetic, of his dry interpretations. The ritual system of Moses is too barbarous and vulgar to be tolerated by his delicate sensibilities, and its bloody sacrifices are too savage to have a moral significance. It is well if he does not go beyond the conclusions of Mr. Norton, and deny that the Old Testament furnishes evidence of a miraculous revelation to the Jewish people. He goes to the New Testament. He admires the spirit of Christ, but his assumptions of equality with the Father are the strained expressions of oriental hyperbole. When they are repeated in the words of those who wrote his life and explained his Wol. III. 59

teachings, they are imported from the school of Alexandria, or are the intense expressions of excited minds. The promise of aid to these disciples by their master, after his death, and its striking fulfillment as it shines out from the sacred page, is nothing. The applications by Jesus to himself of the Messianic prophecies, are nothing but accommodations to the prejudices of the mistaken Jews. The significance attached to his death, the assertion of it in grave discussion, the illustration of it by figures as various almost as language can furnish, the connection of it with Jewish sacrifices, by men who, if they were not inspired, ought at least not to write nonsense, the use of it by John and Paul and Peter, in sentences of angelic rapture, that are kindled by the thought of the love that was commended to man in that death, all this is diluted and explaimed away, by methods to which we care not to apply an epithet. The government of God too, as its uncompromising claims and the terror of its wrath were uttered by the lips of Christ himself, and declared again and again by his apostles; the daring of human guilt as it is measured by its trifling with the claims of the Eternal ; the peculiar guilt of rejecting the salvation that was wrought by the dying Son of God; the terror of the condemnation which shall come of thus dealing with his offered mercy;-all this is distilled by the chemistry of liberal hermeneutics to a delightful otto of roses, as if Christianity were a moral perfumery, to give the last finish to modern culture. Instead of salvation to be received or rejected, it commends to us the mild and tolerant spirit of Christianity. Instead of God waiting to be gracious, it gives us God as such a Father, that his children must be spoiled by his weakness. Instead of exhorting to repentance, it enjoins upon men to be mild and charitable. Having passed the Scriptures

through this alembic, till its residuum is this spiritless caput mortuum, the liberal expounder brings them to Mr. Parker as a trustworthy record of a supernatural revelation. Having loaded them down with these violent explanations, he offers them as the rationalized version of the miraculous. Mr. Parker can not receive them. Surely, says he, if God were to give man a record of this revelation, he would not leave it in such a form. He would not mingle in it truth so important with error so mischievous, nor majesty so high with weakness so puerile, nor confident assertion of truth in the name of God, with so much Jewish error and prejudice uttered in the name of the same God, nor true history with such credulous exaggeration. Rather let me give it the highest honor as the noblest work of man, which of course shall not be free from human weakness, than call it the gift of God; and then be forced to interpret it with a violence, which, if used upon a human author, would call up his bones from their tomb. Mr. Parker, as we think, has the better of the argument. Of course we do not here ask whether these liberal interpretations are or are not justified on critical grounds. We say only, if they are, they lead to Mr. Parker's conclusions. We rest therefore in the opinion that Mr. Parker is the logical result of whatever is peculiar in the liberal philosophy, and therefore he may reasonably ask to be recognized as a liberal Christian. Against this conclusion it is urged, that Mr. Parker is of the German school in philosophy and interpretation, and that his system is a hasty compound of their pantheism and rationalism combined. Doubtless Mr. Parker is a German scholar. Doubtless he is familiar with the varieties of its many-sided theology, and employs the barbarous technics of its fantastic philosophy. But the human mind is not one thing in

Germany and another in America. Nor is German philosophy a thing so utterly and hopelessly foreign, as in no respect to find its likeness in schools that have the utmost horror of the Teutonic transcendentalism. The nomenclature of these two schools may be different, while the spirit and principles are the same. The one may follow Locke and Paley, the other Leibnitz and Kant, and yet both may deny to God his rights as a moral and personal sovereign, and to man his serious accountability and his actual guilt. The pantheism of Hegel and the sensualism of Hobbes, agree in denying the theism that is true to the nature of things and the conscience of man. The German school and the Priestleian, have the same relations to a supernatural revelation made to man as a sinner, and are equally averse to the theism of Paul and of Shakspeare. In all its bearings upon the question of such a revelation, Mr. Parker's philosophy is the same with that of the liberal school ; and to call it German in its origin and to show that it is German in some of its principles, does not relieve the difficulty. The same law holds good, both of the liberal school of interpretation and of the German. The one may go farther than the other. There is here more sober judgment, more restraint from public sentiment, and less of the university, isolation and independence, and of the madness that cometh from such learning, and in conse. quence less logic and consistency in following principles to their conclusions. It would not be difficult to show that Mr. Norton and Mr. Furness are less consistent than Mr. Parker, though they are in some points nearer the truth. Nor would it be difficult to show that German rationalism was the same in its beginnings with the rationalism of Boston, and that the tendency of both is swift and headlong by the force of logical consecutiveness to the termini attained by Strauss and Parker.” It is also said, that Mr. Parker is the farthest possible from being a close and consistent thinker, that he is rather an enormous reader, a very

“helluo librorum”—that he reck

lessly jumps at conclusions in his youth, and publishes them in his haste, which, if he would revise in silence and with time, he would reject in his maturity. That Mr. Parker has read too much we do not doubt. That his conclusions are strange, fantastic and ill-sustained, we have testified abundantly. We wonder that he does not start back from them, and re-examine his premises; or even choose to be more believing at the expense of being inconsistent. But his premises, and not the haste and frankness of the man, are the causes of the frightful conclusion. Would that the light which the result casts backward upon its causes, might not shine in vain. We may be told, that all this is none of our business; that a communion which never intermeddles with “the sects” might be let alone with a better grace. Did we argue this question in a sectarian way, this charge might lie, on that ground,

* The Christian Examiner of March, says upon this point, “atroce cultu." “He who can not see an essential difference between the writings of Mr. Norton, Dr. Palfrey or Mr. Furness, where the facts of the divine mission of Jesus Christ and its miraculous attestation are continually asserted, and the writings of Mr. Parker, where they are as continually denied, must be incapable of discerning or measuring the relations of ideas; and he who will not see the difference because it suits his purpose to overlook it, saves his intelligence at the expense of his honesty.” f. 252, 3. We see and assert a difference, ut it is, that the premises of both being admitted, the difference is in Mr. Parker's favor as respects the argument. If any one doubts this, let him study the introduction to Strauss's Life of Christ, and see how he conducts such writers as Norton, Furness and Palfrey triumphantly on to his own conclusions.

against us. As to the fact alledged, we confess ourselves ignorant, that the liberal community never contrast themselves with others, to their own advantage, or that they do it less offensively or less contemptuously than others do the same thing for themselves. So too it may be said that the attempt to connect Mr. Parker with their body is a poor and pitiful effort to make sectarian capital,—that he is no more to be charged upon the Unitarian body because he happens to be among them, than Strauss & Co. upon the German orthodox church, because they appeared in that body." It is enough for us to say, that this has never been our argument, and that we have expressly and forcibly disclaimed and rejected it, and to insinuate that we have used it, is to appeal to sectarian feeling with an emphasis. Our argument is, that the principles, which, in the German church, have ended in Strauss, have in the Ameri

* When our liberal friends talk in this

fashion, we are tempted to refer them to a poem by Goethe, translated under the title of “the Magician's Apprentice.” This apprentice in his master's absence had forgotten Dr. Bellamy's advice, “never to raise the devil unless he could lay him'— and had turned the old broom into a servant to bring water for him, remembering the spell that would raise, but not the spell that would send him back. He brought water, and still brought it, and would not heed the youth as he called out,

“Stay now. Stay now

Ample measure

Of thy treasure

Thou hast given —

Woe is me! What shall I say now,

I've forgot the word, by Heaven "

At last, in his despair, he throws an

axe at him and cleaves him in two, and the consequence is thus indicated—

“Woe! Another'

Both halves, springing

Up, come bringing

Water, water

Each would sain outdo the other:

Heavens ! O cut my anguish shorter!"

We presume our liberal friends will be wise enough not to throw the axe at Mr. Parker, lest in cleaving one, they should make two spirits.

can church resulted in Parker. We certainly know no reasons, why the liberal body may so affect either state or mystery, or social prerogative, as to refuse to explain itself, or to stand upon its principles. While we say these things we can not but earnestly testify our respect for the believing spirit in the body, which has been so shocked by Mr. Parker's conclusions, as to rise against them, even though in so doing, they have forgotten their own first principles of fellowship and philosophy. Our object is not to dishonor their honest motives, nor to weaken their good enterprises, nor in any way to justify Mr. Parker. As far as we have to do with him, we desire in a friendly spirit, to lead him to better conclusions, by giving him better premises. As far as we have to do with the liberal body who hold the same premises, but shrink from the conclusions to which he

carries them, we desire to test the premises by their results to Mr. Parker and his associates of the liberal school, and of them we might say much that is favorable and not do full justice to our convictions and feelings.

For that portion of the liberal body, whether lay or clerical, who mingle in their system the good and evil element of Christian truth and liberal philosophy, we testify our highest interest and most friendly regard, as we think, by doing what lies in our power, to lead them to cast out the evil element which has been so fully illustrated in Mr. Parker; and to follow the good, in its better philosophy and better interpretations, to its legitimate and unalloyed conclusions. Let them do this, and we shall hope to read John and Paul with them, and find in their words, the same substantial Christianity.

[ocr errors]

Life of Godfrey William Won Leibnitz, on the basis of the German work of Dr. G. E. Guhbrauer. By John M. MACKIE. Boston : Gould, Kendall & Lincoln. 1845.

THE work of Dr. Guhbrauer, is the last and best of the biographies of Leibnitz. The abridgment before us is well executed. The style is clear, manly, free from Germanisms, and so compact, that few volumes of the size contain an equal amount of information. A continuous and minute history of a man of remarkable activity and power of achievement, through a long life full of vicissitudes, is condensed into a less compass than three hundred duodecimo pages.

An outline of the principal events in the life of Leibnitz, his intellec

tual character, his chief aims and projects, his most important discoveries, inventions and writings, his religious and moral principles, may, we think, be interesting to our readers. These several points we shall embrace as far as possible in a brief narrative of his life. Godfrey William Von Leibnitz, was born at Leipsic on the 21st day of June, (O.S.) 1646. His father was Professor of Philosophy in the University of Leipsic. Both his grandfather and great grandfather, held honorable offices under the government. When he was six years of age, his father died and left him to the care of his mother, a woman of sound judgment and exemplary piety, who early imbued his mind with her own principles. He was sent at a tender age to a grammar school in Leipsic, where his extraordinary talent soon manifested itself. From this preparatory school, he passed at the age of fifteen to the University of his native city—and received at the age of nineteen the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy. He then entered on the study of law, intending to make it his profession for life. During these studies, he spent three months at the University of Jena, enjoying the lectures on jurisprudence, of the celebrated professors of that institution. In the year 1666, after having completed his legal studies, he applied to the University of Leipsic for the degree of doctor of laws, intending then to enter on the practice of his profession. With a view to obtain this honor, he wrote his celebrated treatise entitled De Arte Combinatoria, which unites in a focus all the philosophical views and tendencies of his precocious mind, with the germs of the subsequent discoveries of the differential calculus, and the project of a universal language. He was then only twenty years of age. For reasons that we can not here detail, but which had no connection with his scholarship, the University refused him the doctorate of laws. This event, together with the recent death of his mother, quite weaned the young philosopher from Leipsic. He bade adieu to his friends, left his native city, and repaired to the University of Altdorf, near Nurenberg, where he sustained an examination with great applause, and received the degree of a doctor in his twenty first year. He was also offered a professorial chair in the University, which he declined. He spent the winter of 1667 in Nurenberg, where he became a member and secretary of a Society of Rosicrusians, whose object it was to discover the philosopher's stone, by chemical experiments. Here he learned the folly of alchemy. At this time Leibnitz met at Nurenberg, Baron Von Boineburg of Frankfort, who had formerly been first minister of the


Elector of Mentz ; and who now became the close friend and patron of the young philosopher. He accepted an invitation from the Baron to visit Frankfort, where he served his patron in various capacities, as librarian, secretary, advocate, counsellor, and factor, and became acquainted with the celebrated Spener, and other distinguished men. He was soon favorably introduced to the Elector of Mentz, a liberal patron "of learning, by means of a treatise which he wrote, entitled, “A New Mode of learning and teaching Jurisprudence.” The Elector appointed him an associate with Lasser, to revise the System of Roman Law, in order to adapt it to the existing circumstances of the German empire. He also assisted his patron, Boineburg, in preparing for a mission to Poland in behalf of the Palsgrave of Newburg, who laid claim to the throne of that kingdom. He prepared a learned state paper in support of this claim, which produced no small sensation among the adepts in political science. The fame of Leibnitz rapidly extended to other courts, and he received invitations from the Duke of Hanover, and from the Prince of Durlach, to engage in their service; which however he declined. Yet in the following year, when he was not fully twenty four years of age, he accepted the office of counsellor in the College of Appeals, the highest judicial tribunal of the Electoral Archbishopric of Mentz. It was in this year, 1670, that he published an essay, which is said to contain the germs of his doctrine of monads; and commenced that epistolary correspondence with men of learning all over Europe, which cost him a great part of the labor of his life. At this period he began to devote himself more exclusively than ever to the subject of politics. He engaged actively with Boineburg in a plan to unite the German Princes against their common enemy, Louis

« 上一頁繼續 »