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considerations, and having the authority which no system other than religious can have; and further supplying considerations on which the mind can rest, and in which it can, under any circumstances, find happiness, Christianity is a thing of value, whose place intellectual culture is not able to supply, and with which there is no reason why it should not co-exist. If there are any religious beliefs among us which intellectual progress is likely to destroy, such progress is, on that account, all the more to be desired and promoted, so that the evidence in support of religious truth, and the power of such truth, may not be weakened in the minds of its friends or in the eyes of its enemies by its association with error. In any case, it is increasingly desirable that the religion of every Christian should be not an emotion merely, or a mixture of emotions, nor a conservative adherence to an old belief, but the result of intelligent conviction.
DR. BUSHNELL was a genius in theology, but he is the founder of no school. He has created no body of followers to adopt his tenets and be called by his name. In one way his influence has been great and will be enduring. He has made a strong mark on the living generation, at least in this country. He has done much to determine the direction of theological inquiry. He has stimulated a large number of active minds, and thrown into them seeds of thought which will long continue to bear fruit. There is a conservation of force, even though force is diffused abroad and resolved into new forms. In a similar way the influence of Dr. Bushnell will be perpetuated. But he framed no system. This was not from a lack of energy, a moral infirmity, such as prevented Coleridge from giving to his philosophical opinions a coherent form. In the case of Dr. Bushnell it is because his thinking was never complete. The ferment did not subside, or it subsided only to recommence. Nothing more disconcerts disciples than to find themselves deserted by their leader. They wake up to. discover that he has pushed on to a new position, whither they must follow him as best they can, or be left as sheep without a shepherd. There was no end of brilliant and even profound suggestions; but, speaking generally, the teaching was immature ; it was liable at any moment to undergo essential modification. This was because Dr. Bushnell was indisposed to patient, scholarly investigation. He wrote with an insufficient stock of learning. He published and studied afterward ; and studied then mainly for the purpose of self-defence. The want of a broader converse with other minds was a great loss to him. He was wanting in respect for the thinking of other men. He took up recondite themes, which had been canvassed with intense earnestness by subtle Greek thinkers in the early ages of the Church, and by every generation since ; and this he did with little heed to what had been thought and said before. So vivid, and for the moment so exhilarating, were his own conceptions, that to stop for the sake of poring over books was like reining in a mettlesome horse when at the height of his speed. He said of himself : It is very hard for me to read a book through. If it is stupid and good-for-nothing, of course, I have to give it up; and if it is really worth reading, it starts my mind off on some track of its own that I am more inclined to follow than I am to find out what the author has to say.'* A few thoughts caught up from favourite writers sufficed to kindle his mind into a flame. The sentences of Coleridge, in the Aids to Reflection,' on the distinction of nature and spirit, were the germ of his eloquent treatise on the Supernatural. An essay of Schleiermacher on the Trinity, translated by Professor Stuart, was at the root of his discussions of that subject. I shall not stop to confute the vulgar notion that learning and study put fetters upon independent intellectual activity. Scholars who are effected in this way are destitute, at the start, of mental independence. Reading, to an active mind, is fuel to the fire. Especially do adventurous, original minds need to put them, selves alongside of other minds, and to find, in the work done by the past, a corrective and complement for their own speculations. The opposite method, with regard to any other science than theology, would be scouted. What student in astronomy, or botany, or medicine would think of shutting his eyes on the investigations of previous labourers in the same province? If he did so, he would find himself anticipated in many of his discoveries. He would be misled, also, into the adoption of hypotheses which had been tested and found wanting, and which, on a wider inspection of the field, he himself would be driven to abandon. Nothing is more fallacious than to set up a contrast between scholars and thinkers. To stigmatise students as plodders is an impertinence of the ignorant. Was Leibnitz a plodder ? Was Schleiermacher a plodder ?
* Life and Letters of Horace Bushnell. London: Hodder and Stoughton. 1880.
New York: Harper and Brothers. * Life and Letters, p. 295,
There must be culture as well as thought; and culture, as Matthew Amold has expressed it, implies that one turns into his own mind streams from the thinking of other men. There must be rain and sunshine, an upheaval of the soil and tillage, in order that the earth should bring forth fruit. Fruit growing wild is not so savoury as that produced in the garden. On any other method than that just indicated, in which the present connects itself with the past, progress in any department of knowledge is out of the question. The individual can do no more than pour water upon the sand. The toil of his brain is spent in vain ; those who come after him pay no heed to it. Students, then, do not constitute an army ever moving forward to new conquests. They are rather dispersed stragglers, each of whom fights and fires by himself. There has been and still is in this country a great waste of intellectual power on account of the deficiency which we have here pointed out.
The first publication which brought Dr. Bushnell prominently before the public · as a theological writer was his discourses on Christian Nurture in connection with his argument in vindication of them. In this timely and suggestive discussion he took up
the divine constitution of the family as a provision for planting Christian character in children, and of thus extending the kingdom of God. The organic relation of parents to their offspring, the organic unity of the family, was insisted on in opposition to an extreme theory of individualism. The atomic conception of Christian society was vigorously attacked. It was the design of Providence that character should be transmitted from parent to child. It should be expected of children that they should grow up in the exercise of Christian piety. To take it for granted that the young born in religious households are to be irreligious up to the age of maturity, and are then to be suddenly converted, was pronounced a gross practical error. The main reliance of the Church for the spread of religion should not be revivals and revivalism, but right methods of Christian nurture. Spasmodic excitements and sporadic conversions were of minor utility compared with the silent agency of the family within its own circle. These views were not novel beyond the bounds of New England, certainly not in the European churches. They were novel, however, in the community to which they were immediately addressed, and the reasoning by which they were supported was in no degree hackneyed. The discussion was not free from over-statement. For example, true as it is that in Germany religious character is apt to be gradually developed as the fruit of Christian training, it is far from being uncommon for religious persons to be able to recollect an epoch of decision, a turning-point in conscious experience. The reverse is the fact. Out of New England the criticism was made that the author bad accounted for the congenital origin and the progressive growth of Christian character on the plane of naturalism by the law of heredity. There was no more recognition of the agency of the Spirit of God, it was said, than a pious deist, who holds to the immanence of the Divine Spirit and Providence in the whole creation, might allow. This criticism, however, was conceded not to be valid as regards the intent of the author, and could be justified only by reference to the apparent drift of a portion of his language. He postulated an operation of Grace, and an operation as immediate as is pre-supposed in the prevailing creed in the case of adult conversions. All that could fairly be said was that be had neglected to guard himself fully against misconstruction in this particular, and had not been entirely consistent in his explanations. This publication made it quite manifest that here was a man of vigorous intellect, rich in his resources of argument and illustration, whose modes of thought were quite diverse from those in vogue in the existing schools of New England theology-a man of gallant bearing, who had no lack of confidence in his own thinking, and not the least timidity in proclaiming the results of it. No one could predict with certainty what precise attitude this new-comer would take in relation to the old conflict between Unitarianism and Calvinism, or to the intestine controversy within the pale of orthodoxy between the New School and the Old. The Unitarians hoped that they were eventually to be reinforced by a potent ally from the ranks of their opponents, while the Princeton Review, finding in the book a great deal to applaud, was. in doubt as to the probable outcome to be expected from such a beginning.
The public were not long left in suspense on these points. The work entitled “God in Christ' appeared in 1849, and was followed, two years later, by Christ in Theology.' Theological thought in our times, so far as it is not taken up with apologetic inquiries, turns to Christology. The proofs of revealed religion, but, most of all, the aggressions of Atheism and Agnosticism, are now the most absorbing topics of discussion. But independently of these questions relative to the foundations of religious and Christian belief, and within the pale of the Church, attention is mainly concentrated upon the person and work of Christ. Schleiermacher, in Germany, revolutionised the method of theology by fencing off extraneous matter from its domain, and by making redemption the one theme of dogmatics. The doctrine of Christ was made the central topic. In other countries the same tendency is manifest. Dr. Bushnell, therefore, did not go counter to the current of the times in turning away from anthropology to take up the subjects which are handled in his principal writings. Yet for New England this was a change. Free agency and decrees, the doctrine of sin and of regeneration, the moral government of God and the theodicy, had been most prominent in theological teaching. Controversies, even the Unitarian controversy, had revolved mostly about these themes. Dr. Bushnell has done much to turn theological thought into a new channel.
By way of prelude to the theological discourses contained in the first of the volumes just mentioned, Dr. Bushnell introduced a disserta