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RECENT GERMAN THEOLOGICAL LITERATURE.
DOGMATIC THEOLOGY OF THE LUTHERAN CHURCH, by Dr. Philippi, Professor of Theology at the University of Rostock.1
Dr. Philippi, the author of a valuable and detailed commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, is one of the principal theologians of the stricter Lutheran tendency. Those who wish for a thoroughly orthodox discussion of Christian doctrine will do well to refer to the work whose title we have given above. It is written, of course, from the Lutheran point of view, but harmonizes on fundamental matters with the great doctrines accepted by all the Protestant churches. The first volume contains the Prolegomena, and treats, in two chapters, of Religion, Revelation, Faith, Doctrine, the Holy Scriptures, the Canon, Inspiration, Interpretation. On the question of inspiration the author expresses himself as follows: "Inspiration, or theopneustia, is that act of the Spirit of God on the spirit of man by which the latter is so identified with the object to be revealed as to be able to apprehend and communicate it in unclouded purity; in other words, it is such a confluence of the mind of man with the Spirit of God that the revelation of the latter is received in full purity and completeness by the former." He distinguishes three stages or modes of inspiration-historical or legal, prophetical, and apostolic inspiration; and maintains the inspiration of the word, as opposed both to the mere inspiration of the matter and to that of the words of scripture. Much suggestive thought will be found in the first of the chapters mentioned above. Dr. Philippi's work is the best authoritative exposition of Lutheran theology, as distinguished from that known as Unionistic, whose chief representatives are Nitzsch, Twesten, Müller, Dorner, and from that of the Reformed church (Comp. Vol. XXI. p. 888). APOLOGY FOR Divine REVELATION, by Dr. C. A. Auberlen, late Professor of Theology at the University of Basle."
This is the second part of the lamented Auberlen's last, ripest, and most peculiar work. The present volume discusses the presuppositions of revelation; or, in other words, the nature, constitution, and condition of man as requiring, and presupposed by, revelation. The following extract
1 Kirchliche Glaubenslehre. Von Dr. F. A. Philippi, Ord. Prof. der Theologie zu Rostock. I. Grundgedanken oder Prolegomena. Zweite, verbesserte und durch Excurse vermehrte Auflage. Stuttgart: G. S. Liesching; London : Asher and Co. 1864.
2 Die göttliche Offenbarung: Ein apologetischer Versuch. Von C. A. Auberlen, Dr. der Philosophie und Theologie, der letzteren a. o. Prof. in Basel.
from the introductory remarks indicates, in a general way, the tendency of the work: "Man needs a revelation because he is a religious being, because he is an historical being, dependent on the race; he cannot, as idealism supposes, draw the truth out of his own inner being; to the development of his faculties in general he needs stimulus from without, education and culture by means of the spiritual forces already present in history. Of these forces, one of the principal is revelation." In the last section, which treats of religion and revelation, are some admirable observations, bearing on the question: How can man's spiritual life depend on historical facts, whose reality very few men have either the time, ability, or opportunity of proving? - a question which underlies almost all the scepticism distinctive of the present age. We cannot forbear giving the substance of one passage in particular: "If man is to have the fellowship with God which his nature demands, it must be brought about by free divine acts. But these acts of God are not something foreign to man, not something outward to and forced on him; on the contrary, they are the satisfaction of his deepest wants, the fulfilment of the holiest, profoundest demands of his conscience. It lies in the nature of things that these wants and demands can only be met from without and above: the conscience of man is never satisfied until the supra-mundane God condescends to it. Considered from this point of view, the outward is not merely outward, but also inward; the positive, ideal; the historical, natural; or, in other words, answers to our true, inmost nature. Nor is this relation the fruit of sin; no, it is the primal relation between God as the Creator and man as the creature a relation which has been sadly misunderstood by modern thinkers, with their perverted self-satisfaction and deification of humanity. It is but one application of the universal law, that subordinate beings need stimulating and fructifying from those higher than themselves, if they are to have true life. The earth needs the rain and sunlight of the heavens," etc. We commend the book to the thoughtful attention of theologians and pastors.
THE HISTORY OF JESUS ACCORDING TO MATTHEW ITS OWN EVIDENCE, and other Essays, by Thomas Wizenmann.1
It is almost enough to recommend this History of Jesus, to say that, although a posthumous work, it is now republished after an interval of seventy-five
II. Band. Zur Lehre vom Menschen als religiösem Wesen. Mit einem Lebensabriss des Verstorbenen. Basel: Bahnmaier's Verlag; London: Asher and Co. 1864.
1 Die Geschichte Jesu nach Matthaeus als Selbstbeweis ihrer Zuverlässigkeit betrachtet. Ein nachgelassenes Werk von Thomas Wizenmann, zum ersten Male 1789 mit einer Vorrede herausgegeben von J. F. Kleuker, zum zweiten Male mit einer Einleitung und dem Meisten und Bedeutendsten aus Wizenmann's Nachlasse von Dr. C. A. Auberlen. Basel: Bahnmaier's Verlag; London: Asher and Co. 1864.
years; for this is a very uncommon occurrence in Germany, where the best authors become antiquated in ten or fifteen years. But Wizenmann was not an ordinary mind. Kant remarked of him that he had an acute and clear head; Jacobi styled him a thinker of the first order. The design of the treatise is to ascertain how many internal arguments for the credibility of the history of Jesus can be gathered from the book of Matthew considered solely by itself. Wizenmann, we are told, wrote to Jacobi shortly before his death (he was carried away by consumption in his twenty-eighth year, in 1787), “If you would but study the Bible as you study Spinoza, you would find the truth of the Christian religion to be far more evident than any principles demonstrated by philosophy. In opposition to all a priori theories, he appeals to the grand fact of the existence and influence of the Bible; and demands an a posteriori, exact, really historical, and critical investigation of its substance and claims. He called to the opponents of revelation in his own day: "Look at the fact as it lies before your eyes; investigate thoroughly every detail of the Bible till you grasp it as a whole; collect the impressions made on your mind and reflect on them as rigidly, keenly, and acutely as you can; in a word, do with this book as you do with others, and I am sure the result will be that to which Christ refers in John viii. 47: "He that is of God heareth my word." Besides the History of Jesus, the work contains a number of shorter essays on the "Evidence for the Existence of a Higher Being"; "The Trinity"; "God and the World"; "The Knowledge of God from History" (peculiarly suggestive); "The Anthropomorphic Revelations of God" (a sound antidote to the philosophy, falsely so called, of such books as Mansel's Limits of Religious Thought); “The Simplicity and Truth of Divine Revelation ”; “The Divine Economy"; "The Account of Creation and Paradise in Genesis"; "Miracles,” etc. As a posthumous work it lays, of course, no claim to be a rounded and finished production, and in some respects it is behind the times; but it is full of profound hints and thoroughly original thoughts, expressed with great freshness and force.
HISTORY OF RATIONALISM, by Dr. A. Tholuck.1
Dr. Tholuck has brought his "Vorgeschichte des Rationalismus" (Forehistory, one might translate it, if it were allowable to coin so clumsy a word) to an end, and now commences the history proper. If the main edifice were to bear any proportion to the portal, we should have a work almost as large as Macaulay's or Buckle's projected histories; but Dr. Tholuck, mindful of the uncertainty of time, has resolved to limit the present part of his undertaking to three moderate-sized volumes.
1 Geschichte des Rationalismus. Erste Abtheilung: Geschichte des Pietismus und des ersten Stadiums der Aufklärung. Von Dr. A. Tholuck. Berlin: Wiegandt und Grieben; London: Asher and Co. 1865.
A work more interesting for its liveliness and more instructive in its lessons than this, has seldom been published. Professor Tholuck gives its history and its philosophy in so piquant and living a form, that whoever begins to read will read to the end. The present volume comprises the following chapters: I. The Decline of Church Orthodoxy. II. The Biblical Orthodoxy of Pietism till its Decline: 1. Pietism in Halle; 2. In Wurtemburg; 3. The Moravian Brethren; 4. Pietism in its Degeneracy; 5. The Diffusion and Influence of Pietism. III. The first Stadium of Illuminism (from the Beginning to the Middle of the Eighteenth Century): 1. Foreign Influences; 2. Inner Factors: Thomasius, Wolff and his theological adherents, Pfaff, Mosheim, and others.
The chapter on Foreign Influences has a peculiar interest for Englishspeaking theologians. It shows us that Germany was once as slavishly disposed to borrow from and be led by England as our (American and English) theologians are by Germany now. German rationalism was to a considerable extent transplanted from England; just as our rising rationalism is an immigration from the "Fatherland." Locke in philosophy, and Tillotson, Burnet, and Watts in theology, were the patterns imitated by Michaelis, Mosheim, Sack, and others. Mosheim in fact gloried in the title of "the German Tillotson." And just as Germans then borrowed our worn-out garments, so are we adopting ideas and theories which have nearly had their day at German universities.
Dr. Tholuck's allusions to English forms of religious life, however, are seldom as just as one might expect from a man who has had so many opportunities of forming an accurate opinion. He speaks of Methodism, Puritanism, etc., just as our lofty-eyed Episcopal friends do; and seems to sanction modes of conduct which, in our judgment, decidedly clash with the biblical standard of life in Christ.
NEANDER'S LECTURES ON THE HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN ETHICS.1
The design and tendency of these lectures are expressed by Neander in the following words: "The scientific investigation of the History of Christian Ethics will show us how closely connected is the entire development of humanity with the essence of Christianity; and that many efforts now directed against Christianity, would never have been possible but for the world-transforming influence wielded by Christianity. Many in our day think it possible to enjoy the fruits of spiritual culture after rejecting the stem on which they have grown; but we hope to show that the ideas, feelings, customs, in a word the life, of Christendom are outgrowths from the root of positive Christianity, which, though they may last awhile, must eventually wither and perish if historical Christianity itself, or Christ, be
1 Vorlesungen über die Geschichte der Christlichen Ethick. Von Dr. A. Neander. Berlin: Wiegandt und Grieben; London: Asher and Co. 1865.
rejected. We shall see that many intellectual wants by which men are now stirred, and which, being misunderstood, they seek to satisfy by false means, find their true satisfaction in the influence exercised by Christianity on life; and that many a moral task which men seek to accomplish by cunninglydevised plans of their own, can only be accomplished by the aid of Christianity." After an introduction on the relation of a history of Christian ethics to the history of Christian doctrine, and to the history of philosophical ethics, etc., he proceeds to the discussion of the proper subject in hand, under four heads: 1. Christian ethics from the entrance of Christianity into the world till the change in the position of the church brought about under Constantine; in this section, the chapter on the relation of the ethical principle of Christianity to the ethical ideas entertained prior to the coming of Christ is especially noteworthy; 2. From the fourth century to Gregory the Great (seventh century); 3. From Gregory to the commencement of the Scholastic Period (twelfth century); 4. The Scholastic Period till Thomas Aquinas. The work, it will be seen, is not complete; but the torso here presented to us betrays the master-hand of the greatest church historian of the age. As a specimen of the kind of thought it contains, take the following on works of supererogation: "The notion of a perfection higher than that prescribed by the law arises primarily from a false view of the idea of law. The view we take of law will differ, according as we fix our eye on the Mosaic law or on the eternal moral law; according as we pay regard to the spirit or to the mere letter of the Mosaic law; according as we regard the special form or the eternal substance. From confounding these two very distinct things, many Christians fell into the notion that they could go beyond the law. Another root was the false asceticism which led men to regard the kingdom of God as consisting rather in opposition to, than in the appropriation of, the world. The mission of the kingdom of God is to permeate and manifest itself in the various possessions of humanity in art, science, and so forth; not to flee away from them; the divine principle is the glorification of the human, not something solely superhuman. Such false ideas were a return, unawares, to the old heathen point of view, from which Christianity was meant to draw away the mind." With this very bare notice of its contents and character, we commend Neander's History of Christian Ethics to the attention of our readers.
CHRISTIAN ETHICS, by Dr. G. von Harless.'
The fact that Harless's Christian Ethics has gone through six editions since 1842, ought to be a sufficient guarantee for its worth; but as many of our readers may perhaps never have seen the work, we will give a brief account of its method and general character.
German methods of treating moral science are somewhat different from
1 Christliche Ethik. Von Dr. G. Chr. A. von Harless. Sechste vermehrte Auflage. Stuttgart: S. G. Liesching; London: Asher and Co. 1864.