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Confessions and teachers. It was called out by that revived zeal for Evangelical religion--the recoil from Rationalism which has found place in the German Church during the present century. The serious minds of Germany, drawing back from the abyss of unbelief into which a large part of Protestantism had sunk, might be attracted, it was thought, by the exhibition of a system so uniform and conservative as that of Rome, in vested with such features of moderation as it assumed under the handling of Dr. Moehler. The work created a sensation among all parties, and is assigned a very high rank among works of its class, both by Catholics and Protestants. In respect to its style, it may be observed, the work is grave and decorous ; written, not only without acerbity of manner, but with an expression of liberal and kindly feeling, as rare in such polemic treatises, as it is wise and Christian.
The author of this work, John Adam Moehler, the son of an inn-keeper, was born not far from Wurtzburg, in Bavaria, on the 8th of May, 1796. His parents were devout persons, and destined him early to the priesthood in the Romish Church. The promise of his early years, however, was not great. He developed slowly, as is often the case with minds of the firmest texture. But he was persevering, and manifested soon a predilection for historical studies. He was sometimes seen serving his father's customers with wine, and returning at every spare moment to an open book. In 1815 he commenced the study of Theology, and, after four years of application, was ordained to the priesthood at the age of twenty-three. He still continued at Tübingen, acting as tutor in a preparatory school, with a growing reputation for talent and learning, till, in 1822, he was appointed by the Wurtemberg government, private teacher in Theology.
The government, at the same time, with enlightened liberality, appreciating his talents and promise, furnished him with means for undertaking an extensive literary tour in northern and southern Germany.
It was a wise arrangement to give a young and rising Theologian the opportunity of enlarging his views by travel, and gathering suggestions and stimulus by communion with the best minds in the various centres of influence. Moehler visited, accordingly, the universities of Jena, Leipzig, Halle, Berlin, and Göttingen; and, on his return, those of Prague, Vienna, and Landshut. In this tour he formed the acquaintance of the most eminent scholars and divines of the time, both Protestant
hanthers, and influence anderenIt was an
and Catholic; among the former of whom he acknowledged special obligations to the celebrated Planck, Protestant Professor of Theology at Göttingen. It was Planck, more than any other, whose influence and advice led him to the study of the Fathers, and cured him of a tendency to Rationalism which he had imbibed at Tübingen.
Returning to Tübingen, in the Summer of 1823, Moehler entered upon the duties of his office by delivering a course of lectures on Ecclesiastical History, and more than meeting all the expectations of his friends, he was, not long after, created Professor Extraordinary. In 1827 appeared his great monograph on Athanasius; and in 1832 his Symbolism. In 1837 he extended the argument of this work in his reply to Dr. Baur of Tübingen. His other writings consisted of a series of contributions to the Theological Quarterly Review of Tübingen, which have been collected and published in two volumes by Döllinger.
In 1835, Moehler received, from the king of Bavaria, an invitation to a Theological chair at Munich ; in consequence of which he removed to that capital. His labors here, however, were, ere long, interrupted by ill health. The climate of the place proved unfavorable, and indications of pulmonary disease began. Rest and travel furnished some relief; but the insidious disease had riveted its grasp upon him. The king of Bavaria, to give him opportunity of removal to a more congenial climate, appointed him Dean of Wurtzburg. But the relief came too late ; and falling into a rapid decline, he died on the 12th of April, 1838.
Thus prematurely, in the midst of his career, fell a man, who, though a dangerous enemy of Protestantism—an able advocate of an unsound faith—deserves, for his talents and virtues, our respect and admiration. He was a devout and conscientious man; modest and humble in his deportment, and greatly beloved by all classes, both of his own and other communions.
We part from such men as Moehler and Newman; devout, zealous, and gifted 'advocates of a system of falsehood and impiety, with painful regrets. They themselves well know that the differences between us involve, essentially, our relations to God and eternity; though the gentle and humane nature of Moehler shrinks from asserting it. The author upon whom we have chiefly commented, closes his essay with the following earnest and feeling address, “And now, Dear Reader, Time is short, Eternity is long. Put not from you what you have here found; regard it not as mere matter of present controversy ;
wrap not yourself round in the associations of years past; nor determine that to be truth which you wish to be so; nor make an idol of cherished anticipations. Time is short, Eternity is long.'
We reply, in the words of Moehler, to his antagonist Dr. Baur: “Dann schliest er diesen Punct mit Luther's worten : Sic in aeternum disjungimur et contrarii invicem sumus!' In aeternum! mir bangt in der tiefsten Brust bei diesen Worten. In aeternum also. Dies will viel, will sehr viel sagen! IN AETERNUM! Um keinen Preis in der Welt möchte ich also sprechen, aber—'du sagest es.'”
ART. VI.—WHAT OUGHT LAYMEN IN OUR CHURCH TO DO?
side in doing right oftenir laymen ere, Elory of our inter
No one denies that it is essential to the prosperity of the Church, that its lay members should feel and act right. But as an English author remarks, “Great truths often lie side by side in the garret of the memory with exploded errors." We fail of doing right often, for want of suitable reflection.
One way in which our laymen err, perhaps, is in a failure to appreciate the peculiarity and the glory of our position as Presbyterians. Other men seem to have a more intense attachment to their Churches. We are aware that this springs, in part, from the very liberality of our principles. We feel that if any one have the essential life of Christianity, it is not 89 material what is its special form. Yet this is not the whole of the case, nor is our charity as discriminating as it is general. Far be it from us to discourage that noble spirit which embraces in the arms of brotherly love, all who have obtained like precious faith with us. But as a child should love its own home best of all, while looking gently and kindly on all other homes, so should our charity rise from a basis of broad and comprehensive love for our own altar, and our own brotherhood.
Every organic body, to develope powerfully and healthily, must develope in the order of its own historic life. An oak does not grow like a sycamore, nor do the roses of June blow like the rich scarlet plants of autumn. Yet God hath made all beautiful in their season. It is full time that our Church had reached the position of self-consciousness. Where stand we in the ages ?
ment can ing in our time any thing baseless ex
Two points especially need to be considered.
One is the relation of our Church to the question of Progress. We know of no other Church of the larger bodies of America, which, with a field wide as the land itself, to occupy without trammel or drawback, has permission from its historic life, to move parallel with the spirit of the age. This surely is a privilege unspeakably important and delightful. Certainly no other Presbyterian body is in this free position, while there are Churches which are either surrounded with a thousand traditions of the past, amid which they walk fettered; or are restrained by an inward narrowness which looks askance at that which is not in the line in which they are moving. We do not mean that there is, in our body, any disposition to run wild, or enter upon untried and baseless experiments. Far from it. But if there be any thing wise, or lovely, or of good report arising in our time, the life of which we are the exponent can incorporate it with itself and grow the more active, wise, and pure, for the incorporation. The wild herds who in our day contend for red republicanism, socialism, pantheism, and the rescue of women from the thraldom of custom, who grow mad at the evils of life, and rush to every empiric for a remedy; are the exponents of a something in human nature, which, if properly trained, would blossom and bear fruit unto nobleness. It is our glory that we meet all that is good in this tendency, while bearing back all that is evil. We can, not standing at a distance and railing at these undue outbursts of freedom not understanding itself, feel for the overburdened heart of humanity, and strive with kindness to relieve it. It is noble always to make allowances. This our blessed Master does. This we can do without being overborne by the hard dogmas and still severer spirit of a narrow sectarism.
Do our laymen sufficiently consider all this, weigh and value it? Like the American people who, in their freedom, do not consider the thraldom of the old world, we become so used to this great privilege, as to undervalue it. · This illustration reminds us of the other idea to which we alluded. Do we sufficiently value the grand simplicity of Pres. byterianism ? Simplicity is ever an element of greatness. The greatest men we have ever known, were the simplest. The vastest things we have ever seen, were mighty from their unity. The mountain peak which pierces the clouds, and “stays the northern star upon its front,” makes but a single impression.
mitive Chodcout 2we are faint holomew's dad Huguen
The ocean, whether in the calm of the noon-tide, infolding the hues of sunset, or foaming white with tempest, is but one; simple, and so sublime. So is it with eternity, of which it is said to be the emblem; so with the infinite in space; so even with the Lord of Infinity and Eternity. And when He tabernacled in clay, the little child nestled to His side, and the gentle and beloved disciple did not fear to lay his head upon His sacred breast.
Presbyterians ! do you know what God has done for you in giving you the simplest and severest Church that the ages have created ? Are we equal to our mission, are we worthy of such & Church? Oh, when we see Presbyterians forsaking the Church of their fathers, and seeking to a showy ritual with paraphernalia copied from Antichrist, when we see them dissatisfied with the grand simplicity of the primitive Church, of the Waldense, of the Genevan Republic, of the noble old Huguenot, such as him who suffered on Saint Bartholomew's day, of Calvin and Knox and Hampden; we are fain to ask, Has the race of heroes died out? Is it impossible to maintain a truly primitive Church? Is there no quiet simplicity? Must the free spirit leave the Church where it poured itself out like the waters of our mountain streams, to be fettered in sluggish forms? Is the experiment of a Church, formed after the model of John and Paul, utterly in vain ? Is there not enough of grandeur in man to take the Church just as our Saviour made it, and develope it from its own inward and blessed life?
And then again. Presbyterians! Do you know on what model was built this mighty Republic ? Have you ever laid, side by side, our American Constitution and the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church? In whose bosom glowed the flame of patriotic devotion in 1776 ? Whose fathers bled and died, at Saratoga, at Stony Point, at Brandywine, at Eutaw? And for what? To found a monarohy or an aristocracy? Was it to bring upon this virgin soil the stars and garters, the frippery and the trumpery of worn-out governments? Why did they abolish titles? Why did they declare all men equal ? In a word, did they not establish a republic with forms of most noble simplicity? And is not this our glory and our joy? Do not our bosoms, as Americans, swell whenever we think of the magnanimity of these our conscript fathers, who, instead of aggrandizing themselves, thus calmly leveled all factitious distinctions, and sacrificed every ambitious aspiration upon the altar of our beloved country?
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