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he not now, in a revival of his former candor, do himself an unspeakable favor, and Christian thought a signal justice, by dismissing his whole definition as a radical misconception ?
Rev. 0. F. Safford.
The Rising of the Greek Theology.
The end of the Middle Ages and the rise of modern civilization were due to no one cause. Columbus gave a new world to Europe and its wonders stimulated thought and aroused activity. The invention of movable types served to place the thoughts of the wisest into the hands of the poorest. The insufficiency of the feudal system, the growth of the free towns, the decay of chivalry, the development of patriotism, and the need of a centralization of authority, made order and rule the more desirable. The world was beginning to wake from sleep and its fantastic dreams to fade in the morning light. The giant was stirring. But his linbs were fettered by the authority of the church. There were but few paths for ambition. One could adopt the rude profession of arms and rise by brute strength and courage. Or he could enter the church and find some food for his mind. All other avenues to mental achievment were simply non-existent. Yet even in the church tlie feet were hobbled by authority and injury could not advance with bold and free stride. The great discoveries were rousing the mind, it began to search for food on which to flesh its coming appetite, food which would also foster its growth. The thrice chopped straw of scholastic metaphysics had lost its nutriment. At this juncture the Greek Empire fell under the blows of the Turks. The Greeks, snatching a few of the treasures of ancient Greek literature, fied with them to the western world. Again a new world was given to Europe. Scholars lastened to enter this new
world of thought with as keen avidity as did adventurers follow in the wake of the ships of Columbus to America. A new Greek manuscript was the greatest treasure. To be able to read Greek and to interpret its thought was a passport to fame and honor. Other studies were laid aside that men might study Greek, might enter this new world, might be able to read the New Testament in the original. As the knowledge of these intellectual and literary treasures spread, intellectual vigor was aroused, food was given to the mind, man broke the shackles of scholastic authority, and the end of the entlıralment of mind was coming. The knowledge of the Greek classics was a new birth to the mind of man.
In these latter days a tolerably close parallel can be found to this historical fact. There is another renaissance. The scientific truths and theories of to-day vastly extend our ideas of the material creation and our conception of the power and wisdom of the Creator. Astronomy no longer timidly skirts the shores of the world but boldly and confidently sails into the illimitable seas of space and time. It goes back, through the dim ages of the past until the mental vision fails and the wing of imagination tires in its flight. In theory it sees the growth of the universe from the star dust in those remote ages and spaces, whose distance from us is so great that we have no unit of ineasure wherewith to compute it. It resolves the nebulæ into stars, and then avalyzes the light of these bodies quivering on the boundaries of space. The theory of evolution ; the researches of the biologists; the labors of students in the history of the race as evidenced in its various languages, relig. ions, customs and folk-lore ; – these have allocen added to our stock of knowledge, and they have broadened human conceptions to a wonderful degree. The discoveries of Columbus, the religious truth of Luther, the rising of the idea of freedom in the Middle Ages did not stir the mind more or broaden its conceptions more than have the scientific discoveries of the last century stirred the inind of today and extended its vision. When we add to these things the wonderful industrial in ventions, the giant strides that commerce has taken through their aid the knowledge of other peoples that have come to us through our missionary and commercial operations, then again, is the knowledge of the powers of the human mind in. creased and we have for the first time a demonstration of the truth of the unity of the race.
But all this time the burden of a mediæval theology has been borne by the race. Calvinism with its cruel and phari. saical doctrine of the election of a few and the damnation of the rest which inakes human life an anxious attempt to escape the inlcrited doom, an attempt foreordained to failure for many; which proclaims a mechanical atonement, a conventional piety, a distant and unlovely God, a dead and vanished Christ, and a ruined humanity-these dogmas are a survival of the mediæval theology in the midst of the breadth of mind and enlightenment of the nineteenth century. They are as incongruous to-day as would be the monstrous Saurians of the Cretaceous age among the mammalia of to-day, or as the cumbrouis feudal forms would be in a representative democracy. The mind and heart of man, broadened and ennoled by all these discoveries, strains at the bonds that a narrow theology places upon them. The old theology is unsuited to the knowledge of to-day. It is cruel, narrow, and unscientific; while humanity to-day is tender, broad, and scientific. This incongruity has divorced the thought of to day from theology and religion. Many minds have been forced into scepticism, into agnosticism, and some into bold antagonism to all theology and revealed religion. Liberal Christianity has done, and is doing, much to relieve this strain, to destroy this incongruity, for it marches with equal pace with the advance. ment of human knowledge and the enlightenment of the mind. But owing to the consequences of past conflicts between Orthodoxy and Liberal Christianity, consequences found in the prejudices of to-day, Liberal Christianity has not made that impression on the mass of Orthodox theology and its believers which its truth merits. At the same time the religious world is stirring and striving and straining against these bonds of an incongruous theology. It feels, if it does not see, how
unsuited it is to the thought of to-day. It seeks to hold to the form of the dogma, while it changes entirely its contents. It would be glad to accept the Liberal theology if it should come from some other source than from these despised sects against which it has fought. It does not wish to adopt the thoughts of its enemies. And Liberal Christianity is not yet strong enough, like the Romans, to impose its own ideas on realms it has conquered. Where shall authority be found for changing the contents of the dogma ?
This is found in the Greek Theology. As the discovery of the Greek literature gave food to the growing mind of the Middle Ages, so the theology of the Greek Fathers seems to be able to give food to the theological mind of to-day. For the spirit of Greek theology is suited to the needs of to-day and expands with the needs of all future thought. it is a spiritual theology and is in direct opposition to the mechanical and legal theories of the Latin and modern Orthodox theology.
It is our purpose in this paper to direct the thought of our theologians to this field of enterprise. It lias rewarded the search of many scholars. The Ancient History of Universalism, The Church of the First Three Centuries by Dr. Lamson, Dr. Beecher's Scriptural Doctrine of Retribution, and similar works owe much of their interest to researches in this field. But very few works with which we are acquainted consider the contrast between the fundamental ideas of the Greek and Latin theologies. Among those that have come under our notice is an essay entitled, “ The Two Religions," in Dr. Hedge's Ways of the Spirit. Dr. Mulford's “ Republic of God” is the Greek theology come to the world again. But the most notable publication on this subject is the “ Theological Renaissance of the Nineteenth Century,” found in the Princeton Review of November, 1882, and January,1883. In these articles the contrast between the spiritual Greek and the legal Latin theologies is clearly and forcibly drawn. It is to invite attention to this contrast, to show that the spirit of the Greek theology is what is needed to-day to burst the bonds of mediæval the
ology and destroy the incongruity that exists between Orthodoxy and the thought of the nineteenth century, that we introduce to the readers of the QUARTERLY an extract from Prof. Allen's article :
“ The idea of God, as seen in the earlier Greek theology, is that of a being whose presence pervades the world, and with whose essential nature man has a constitutional kinship or relation. In the Western Church of the third century, represented by Tertullian and Cyprian, the idea of God was that of a being apart from the world, governing it from a distance, and communicating with it through agencies which had no essential comection with Him beyond His formal and arbitrary appointment. If we compare the two theologies which grew out of such widely differing motives, we shall see at once how on every point they reflect the divergence of their origin. The Greeks conceived God as pure spirit, and aimed to keep their ideal free from the grosser conceptions of anthropomorphism ; while the Latins, notably Tertullian, thought of God as existing in a human form. With the Greeks revelation in its larger aspects was not limited to the Christian and Jewish dispensations, but all truth, wherever found, was held as com, ing from God, and even heathen philosophers, inspired by Him, had, in their own way and place, contributed to the preparation for Christianity which constituted the fulness of time. Revelation was, therefore, a living process, superintended by a divine and ever-present teacher, who spoke to men made in the Divine image and constituted for truth, while human reason, conscience, and experience, were the ordained channels for its reception.
“ Among the Latins philosophy and human reason were regarded with distrust, as sources of heresy, and revelation became a mechanical method of communication, more particularly defined as a deposit embodied in a rule of faith, whose integrity was guaranteed by bishops in apostolic descent. Ac. cording to Greek theology, the Logos, the Divine Word, in whose image man was made, had always been present in huuman history, and thus foreshadowed the incarnation of the Divine in the human, when God should be manifest in the flesh in all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. With the Latins his coming had been as abrupt as his departure had been complete, and, instead of a present Christ still guiding the education of human souls, was a last will and testament,