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man form, which must first be understood correctly in a human sense, if we will not misunderstand the divine kernel concealed within it.
Emil to Charles.—The strife between you and us does not in fact concern the essential nature of reason; at the bottom, that which separates us, consists alone in a different conviction of the power
of sin. “ The secret lies under the splinter,” says the Arabian, “The art is only in raising the splinter." This splinter is the knowledge of the power of sin. In the Scriptures every declaration upon the glory of reason is followed by a “but," and this “but” those of your side do not understand. When Paul has spoken of the inner light in the hearts of the heathen, there follows directly, “but they have changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the creator.” When John testifies that the eternal light ever shineth in the darkness, it is said directly after, “but the darkness hath not comprehended it.” When Christ speaks of the inner light that can lighten the whole inner man, there follows immediately after the “but," namely, that the inner eye becomes so very easily an evil eye; and what then happens, when the inner eye becomes evil, you can observe in the outer eye; when it is no longer single but becomes double-sighted, it illudes us with mere phantoms. That was why I said, you may be zealous for the glory of reason, if you only willingly let your reason be ruled and commanded by the Scripture.
Charles to Emil.—The truths then of a Father in heaven, of a providence over all men and of a retribution, and that morality in which our reason recognizes its own laws, these truths are then after all the property of reason?
Emil.-I maintain by no means, that these truths do not lie in your reason, for if they did not how could they give you satisfaction in your inmost being ? The spark lies too in the stone, but the truth is, every wisp of straw does not strike it out, but only the steel.
Neither can the plant grow without its own forming principle from within; but just as little, without the warming and lifegiving sun-beam from without. One may surely wonder what an incapable child reason is, that she has not of herself, without the Bible, comprehended even the simplest truths, as for example, that there is but one God—one God; now what child would not see, that there can be but one God? Thus you say, but, ye masters of wisdom, when a thing is done, says the proverb, e'en
1847.) The Reliance to be placed on the popular Belief. 241 the simple understand it. Here too the saying is true, one drives the nail and the other hangs his coat npon it; the Bible has driven the nail and you have hung the coat of your wisdom upon it. How many among the great lords of the reason, in our days think of this, that, with the exception of those nations that have been taught by the Bible, on the whole globe, in ancient and modern times, not even a single people will be found that believed in one God? For in respect to the Mohammedans, it is acknowledged, that the founder of their religion received this belief only from the Jews and the Christians, as he also called his religion the religion of Abraham.
Charles to Julius.—Truly, there is a commotion in political things among the German people; bu: if the meaning of this movement were nothing but this, that they are going out to seek on earth the heavenly city of God, that has been abandoned, then indeed, I say for myself, it is a dear loaf of bread that costs a cake. I think, however, you have not rightly seen and heard : " What one himself has in mind, that is sounded by all the bells.” I am convinced, that if our people observed that it was your design, to change that God, to whom they can pray when in distress, for the generic conception of the human race, and the kingdom of God in eternity, for the free citizenship in time; as soon as they observed this, they would hang you all at once as traitors. And if you have really betrayed the secret to me, if you make use of the old rationalists only as vanguard of your free corps, and if the young theologians, of whom you speak, have already sworn to your standard, although they still appear under quite other colors, then do I turn away with indig. nation from the jesuitical morality, which you wish to exalt to power in your new kingdom of humanity. You have not the face to wish to revile before the people the old Jesuits with their morality ?
Emil to Charles.—You give me much to answer at once. You have called a great leader to your assistance against me in favor of the vox populi, vox Dei. I will begin by calling the same leader to assistance, and that too to give testimony against him. self as against you : “ To trust the momentary voice of the peo. ple, or regard'as an oracle the shout of the multitude upon that which delights them just in the present hour, is folly. But that, which, in a large space, and through all classes, and still more through a course of long periods, has established itself in public opinion, as approved and without contradiction excellent, let that VOL. IV. No. 14.
be earnestly inquired into, and, in case of doubt, let us endeav. our rather to seek a worth in it, than deny a worth to it.l" Which of us now is the one, that follows most that adviser in his better hour, when he speaks not as the advocate of a party, but as a man of science? “ That which has approved itself through a large space, in all classes, and still more through a course of long periods." When I take the map of Europe in my hand, it does not appear to me precisely as if your wisdom could boast of being able to abide even the first proof, the last and chief one, certainly not.
My highest criterion for the spirit of different ages, I have not yet expressed in the words of that writer of profane history; it is contained in the words of that historian, who beside the spirit of the world and its ages, has made himself familiar with an. other spirit: “ The spirit of the age is not the oracle of truth; it is in many cases too the mouth of falsehood, and the oracle of delusion. There are predominant errors and predominant truths, and we can receive the one as well as the other from the tradi. tion of time; there is need of a higher criterion to distinguish them from each other.”
Emil to Charles.—You will also make this requisition of him who claims to continue the building of a house according to the plan of the original architect, that at least he do not touch the foundations. You reject the foundations of the reformation. What these foundations or principles are, there is no dispute; they must without doubt be those truths, through which it was first called forth, -no authority but that of the Holy Scriptures! and no justification but alone through faith in Christ! That these are the two fundamental principles, from which the reformation has
gone forth, is on no side contested. But you do not acknowledge these principles. Hence the difference in principle between your continuation in building and ours. You, because the Scripture is no longer your authority, wish to strike out from the confessions what stands in contradiction with your so-called com
But those among you, who still inconsequently appeal to the Scriptures as authority, are without the key to the right understanding of Scripture, because justification through faith in Christ is a fact foreign to their inner being.
Emil to Charles.—However well you mean with your wide confessions, an old proverb says: a wide conscience and none at all are in the end the same thing." And would it be much other
i Gervinus, National Literature of the Germans, 11. page 411.
243 wise in this case? A confession, which embraces peacefully in one communion the worshippers of the Word, which was from eternity with the Father, and those, to whom this worship appears as idolatry; the deriders of the mystery of the Trinity and its adorers; those, who stand upon the word of man and those who stand upon the word of God! Pardon me, if I am reminded of that coat of arms, which was once proposed to a vain, new made nobleman,—three snow-balls in hot water. Yes, so long as it was not yet awakened from its rest, the peace, that slepi its soft sleep with the sweet breath of childhood, in the cradle of the apostolic church, then the simple testimony might suffice, with which they testified more to themselves than to opponents and enemies, what is the revolving point of the inner life.
But when wide-spreading error began to disturb this sweet sleep of childhood, then also the necessity was soon felt of adding to that so simple primitive faith, points that were turned against error in its manifold forms. And now, after eighteen centuries, when so many conscious differences stand armed against each other, can that be the right help to weaken all contrasting colors into a feeble gray? Besides, are you the one, that to-day would allow the rationalist, to-morrow the Lutheran orthodox; and the next day the denyer of a self-conscious God, to speak to the hearts of the congregation from the same holy place? or is here too the concord to be established by the gray color of the confession ? and is the sermon and liturgy to be painted over with this peace-bringing gray? And is that still Faith? You know better what faith is than to be capable of such an enthusiasın for gray?
Gerhard to Emil.- What else is said in all that, than that a piece of armour like Dr. Luther and the rest, must after all go to school to you gentlemen of the quill? And in what do you think that you are more advanced than they? What does not suit you in their confessions ? Perhaps some ideas are not split sufficiently hair-fine for you ; a point is not correctly placed, or a dot is wanting over an i? For the sake of such arts of the pen will you look over their shoulders ? You seem to me sometimes, just as much as the Friends of light, quite to forget, that it is no art to drive a coach with other people's horses and your own whip! For the sake of such trifles will you reject the confessions, assemble new councils and perplex the unlearned people in their faith? That is indeed gathering the ashes and scattering the meal.
Emil.-Dear friend, moderate yourself. To hit, it is necessary not only to have a sharp sword, but to see where you strike. I have not spoken about a false point in the confessions or a failing dot over an i. I have spoken in the first place of theological views and definitions of certain truths, which it is our office, as theologians, to establish, an office enjoined upon us of God; and then of the right, which the confessions themselves give to you laymen as to us theologians, to try them by the Scriptures.
* But what, I ask, gives you then the right, thus at the outset, with such confidence, to regard the confessions as free from error, and the men who composed them as infallible ? And will you say, that you do not do it at the outset, but be. cause you have become certain by a careful trying of their harmony throughout with the Scriptures? Can you, as protestant, dispute the possibility, that they could have erred, nay, that an. other
than yours can in fact detect this and that error? Gerhard.—The conclusion which I make is a quite simple one. Without certainty of the pure doctrine, no pure faith and no pure life; now this certainty our private judgment will give to us laymen ten times less, than that of your theologians. I need therefore a church, whose word I can follow, as the child its mother's.
a I will not be continually rocked upon your theological balance. board; and I know no other way of coming down from it on to the firm ground.
Emil.—My design in reference to you, believe me, extends to nothing else than to procure for your faith a divine bulwark, the Spirit of the Lord, and “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” Only he can tremble thus in anxiety before the word of man, who like you has built his faith upon the word of man. That faith which no human authority and no human wisdom has built up, shall human wisdom be able so soon to overrun ?
Gerhard.— That may be very well, yet one does hastily what he long repents. You will at least be obliged to grant me some time, in order to become more agreed with myself, than I am in fact at present, whether my former faith needs recasting or not. Should I find it so you will see ine very soon again at your side.
Emil to Charles. It is a matter of less importance, in what theoretical form, whether in that of a fantastical dreaming, or in that of common sense, the human spirit reacts against the word of revelation; where the spirit of man no longer humbles itself before the Spirit and word of Christ, but arrogates to itself the