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Study of History in Germany.


treatment of theology. But the way in which their philosophy has had the most important bearing upon their researches in the history of Christianity still remains to be mentioned. One of the tests which a German considers of valid and necessary application to a system of philosophy is, that it shall be able to explain the phenomena of history, the course of thought, the rise and fall of religions and systems; that is, that all historical changes shall be seen to be the development of the principles and laws which are contained in their philosophical systems. This must be the claim and position of every system which aims at universality, which declares itself to be absolute. To history, then, they must go, and show that its unfalsified records will confirm the principles of their schemes. This the German systems, especially that of Hegel, have attempted; and this is the way in which their ab. stract schemes have led to one of the most remarkable features in the present literary condition of that country, that is, that it seems to be giving itself up to the study of history with as fervent a zeal as ever it engaged in the discussion of metaphysical problems. The effect of this in drawing down the pride of their philosophic speculations, in compelling them to test the reality of their pantheistic abstractions by the realities of history and of life, and thus of showing the insufficiency of any pantheistic system to explain phenomena which not even one who denies the existence of matter can deny to exist, has been most signal and auspicious. Especially has this been the case with the application of the system of Hegel to the doctrines and history of Christianity, and most especially in its attempted solution of the problems contained in the person and work of our Lord. This was the rock upon which it fell and was broken. This is the reason why both Hegelian and Evangelical are engaged so earnestly in the study of history. This is one of the reasons, in addition to others connected with the whole character of the Lutheran the. ology, which has led to those more careful and profound investigations in the history of Christian doctrine, which have already produced a literature unrivalled by any on the same subject in any other land. All this is, indeed, in one point of view, a reäction from, but, in another point of view, it is a necessary consequence of, their daring attempts after a universal and absolute system. And the more history, and especially the history of Christian doctrines, has been thus studied the more deep seems to be the conviction of the German mind, that the historical problems are greater than are the problems of mere speculation, and that no system can be true which perverts or disallows the sub. stantial verities of the Christian faith, as exhibited in the Bible, in the church, in its history, and in the history of its doctrines.

. And so in the end it may be found, that the Gerinan philosophy, like all other systems, shall only contribute to enhance the glories of the truth as it is in Jesus.

It night be interesting and profitable to give a somewhat ex. tended account of what the German mind has been doing in respect to the history of doctrines; but this we must waive for the present. They have produced, in succession, a series of valuable works, covering the whole ground, of which those that stand at the head of this Article are among the more recent. Münscher, Ruperti, Leniz, Augusti, Klee, Engelhardt, Baumgarten-Crusius, and Meier, have all published able and learned works. Those of Engelhardt and Baumgarten-Crusius contain the results of the most thorough study of ihe original sources. Kliefoth has pub. lished an Introduction to the History of Doctrines, which is truly admirable, though pervaded somewhat too exclusively by the spirit of Schleiermacher's system of theology. But after all these works, we still believe that those portions of Neander's Church History which relate to the history of doctrines, are the most attractive, impartial, and truly philosophical, of any which have hitherto been written. His acquaintance with the original sources is probably unrivalled. His general tone is both Christian and humane. If he is often too tolerant of error, this is a more venial fault than a harsh intolerance, and less likely to pervert his critical

The work of Baumgarten-Crusius was first published in 1832. Its learning is immense Under a different title (Compendium instead of Lehrbuch), the first voluine was re-written, and published in 1840 'The second volume, containing the special history, was published in 1846, under the editorship of Hase. The text of this volume was all written out, “ only the notes are wanting," said the author, just before his decease, to the editor; an important deficiency, since more than half of the volume is made up of the notes, which contain the chief citations and references. “An extraordinary way,” says Hase, "of writing history, possible only to a man who had not merely the most intimate acquaintance with the sources, but always kept everything he had ever read in clear order before his mind-lo write, as readily as a romance, a history which rested throughout upon the original authorities, and often upon the definite expressions, of a single document; and then, after months and years, to add to it, with a sure hand, the documentary evidence and all the learned apparatus.” This deficiency, however, has been ably and fully supplied by the learning and zeal of the accomplished editor, a man whose own works are the most wonderful specimens of compressod learning and graphic statement of which the German theological literature, in the departments of church history and doctrinal theology, can boast,

Qualities of Hagenbach's Treatise.

567 judgment. If he seems indefinite in his statement of the views of the champions, both of heterodoxy and of orthodoxy; this may be partly because they were themselves not explicit; and this is a milder error than thongh he forced upon them the precision of usage which the theological terms acquired only at a much later date. If he delights in finding the points of union between the opposing parties; this may help to counterbalance the opposite evil of seeing always strife and never concord. Besides these works covering a larger field, there is a multitude of special histories, monograms, upon the great historical personages of the church, giv. ing full views of their lives, times, controversies, and doctrinal systems. And the investigations are now concentrating more and more upon extended histories of special doctrines, of which that of Dorner upon the Person of Christ, is the most illustrious example; those of Baur upon the Atonement and the Trinity (including the Incarnation), are most learned and most Hegelian; that of Meier upon the Trinity is able and more orthodox than Baur; and that of Ebrard upon the Lord's Supper, published the last year, from the known ability of the author, is undoubtedly worthy of the highest consideration, and of special interest to us, since his views of the sacrament are Calvivistic.

The work of Hagenbach, to which we now turn, will be comprised, in the English translation, in iwo octavo volumes of about 500 pages each. Only the first volume of the translation has appeared, and of that we shall have something more to say after describing the main features of the original. This is quite uniforinly referred 10, with bigh commendation, by the fellow-laborers of the author in the same field. It is distinguished for its brevity, its clear statement of the leading points, its great candor, and its ample references to the body of contemporaneous literature. Much niatter which ought to be in such a work, is referred to as contained in the other works on the same subject, which are supposed by the author to be accessible to his readers. Thus, ipun many important points, v. Cöln's edition of Minscher (continued by Neudecker) is cited, but the original passages themselves are not quoted. The same is the case with other works. Such citations would be unnecessary in Germany. The author, in his preface to the second part of the second volume, says, that he takes for granted that Winer's Comparative View of the Confessions, will be in the hands of the students, and that he did not think it worth while to transcribe the passages from the older divines, which are found in such accessible books as Hase's Hulterus Redivivus and De Wette's Dogmatik der lutherischen Kirche. It is a serious defect of the English translation, that it does not give these notorious and important passages. The additional bulk would not have borne any comparison with the additional usefulness. The same might be said of the references to the leading works upon particular doctrines, and the views of the most eminent men. It cannot be taken for granted that these works are in the hands of English readers. Very many of these references in the German, should have been enlarged into quotations in the English. But still, even without them, the translation might be of the greatest value as an incitement to more thorough investigations.

Hagenbach divides the whole history of Christian doctrines into five leading periods, with various subdivisions. The first period, from the end of the apostolic times to the death of Origen (A. D. 80 to 254), he calls the age of Apologetics. The second, from the death of Origen to John of Damascus (A. D. 254 to 730), is the age of Polemics. The third, from John of Damascus to the Reformation (A. D. 730 to 1517), is the age of Systems of Scholasticism. The fourth, from the Reformation to the Abolition of the Formula Consensus in Switzerland, and the rise of the Wolfian philosophy in Germany (A. D. 1517 to about 1720), is the age of conflicting of Confessions of Faith, or polemico-ecclesiastical Symbolism. The last period reaches from this era to the present time, and is described as the age of criticism, of speculation, of the conflicts between faith and knowledge, philosophy and Christianity, reason and revelation, and of attempts to reconcile these antagonisms.

Every writer, except a Hegelian, must be allowed to have a certain liberty in respect to his main divisions, and great freedom in the choice of the epithets by which he may characterize them. A Hegelian stands or falls by his trichotomy; but other men have a larger liberty of numbers. And this has been used most freely by the authors of church history and of histories of doctrine. Certain points are fixed; not even a Roman Catholic can forget the Reformation, though he may think the Council of Trent yet greater. The Council of Nice is generally assumed as another fixed point. Then we may take either John of Damascus or Gregory the First, according to our preference for the ecclesias. tical or the doctrial. Whatever may be the number of leading divisions, ivo, there will always remain a large possibility of subdivision. We may make three great epochs, or twelve; but under the shadow of the three greater, some ten or dozen lesser 1847.]

Divisions in the History of Doctrines.


ones will be sure to find shelter. It will be often convenient as well as right to say, about such a period. The main thing, however, is to give the leading doctrinal tendencies of the successive periods with tolerable exactness. The chief fault of the above division, we think, consists in the fact, that the ages are named, not after their doctrinal character, but after the form in which doc. trines were presented and discussed; now it is polemics, now sys. tems; at first, apologetic vindication, and at lost antagonisms and adjustments. And then, too, the early Christianity was no more distinguished for its apologies than has been the later; it was only almost exclusively apologetic. The age of polemics did not cease with John of Damascus. There have always been conflicts between philosophy and Christianity, and faith and reason. Besides, in a history of doctrines, the division should be taken from the substance and not from the form ; it should, if possible, exhibit the doctrinal character of the successive epochs. Thus the early ages of the church were chiefly occupied with the dis. cussion of the doctrines of the Trinity and the Jucarnation; the next period, with inquiries about nature and grace; the middle ages, not only with the development of the hierarchical system, and with systematizing the results of previous discussions, but also with the first rudiments of a correct theory of the atonement, and of a scientific natural theology; the period of the Reformation, with the articles of justification by faith, and the extent of church authority. Or, again, it has been said, that the past period embraced the purely theological questions; the second, the anthropological inquiries; the third, the subjects connected with redemption. The first is the early history; the second embraces the Augustinian and subsequent period; the third began with the Refor. mation; and now, it is said, we are entering upon a new series of investigations, those connected with the church. This is the scheme proposed by some writers, particularly Kliefoth, and, even if it be only an imperfect description of the actual course of the development of Christian doctrine; yet, the principle which lies at the basis of this division is preferable to that adopted by Hagenbach, if, indeed, he can be said to have any definite principle.

But this defect may be considered as merely nominal, and it is in part remedied by the full view which the author has given in the general description of each period, of its chief doctrinal features and controversies.

The introduction is occupied with giving a definition of doctrinal history; with exhibiting its relations to the other departments VOL. IV. No. 15.


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