« PreviousContinue »
Grounds of the Opposition to the Doctrine.
tions which are said to be taken from reason, and which have really operated much more strongly against the doctrine than all the arguments drawn from Biblical Theology. But we would not be understood to deny, what a bare inspection shows, that our theologians took the doctrine, after they had become convinced that it was Scriptural, into their systems of theology almost in the very shape which the Scholastics had given to it. And why should they not do this? Is it in Doctrinal Theology alone, that we can never look upon a labor as already completed? And even when Gerhard1 confesses, that the doctrine of the primitive church, the consent of the most esteemed ecclesiastical writers, and the decisions of the most famous councils have had a certain weight in confirming us in our conviction of the correctness of our interpretation of Scripture, and thus giving us vantage-ground against the opponents of the doctrine; no one can find this unreasonable, who believes that the truth, under the coöperation of the Spirit of truth, must approve itself as true in history also; at any rate, this is something wholly different from receiving a doctrine on mere anthority, and without personal conviction.
But if the doctrine of the Trinity seemed to those who composed and defined our doctrinal systems, to be a necessary result of Scriptural interpretation, and to have its foundation in Christian consciousness, how shall we then account for the opposition, which, in later time, has been raised against hardly any dogma so loudly as against this? In part, unquestionably, from this, that there are many, who neither have a conscious experience of the redemption which is effected only by the Son of God, or of the sanctification which is applied only by the Spirit of God; and who are not inclined, on the bare testimony of Scripture, to adopt mysteries which seem inaccessible to natural reason. But there are also many, to whom the biblical and religious basis of the doctrine is sure and dear above everything else, and who are yet not satisfied, but rather restrained and repelled, by the form in which the doctrine is held in the church. Even where they do not entirely misunderstand it, they yet see in it a dead and dry formula, in which they cannot take any interest, since the original occasions and aims of the formula have long since passed
complete edition of Luther's Latin Works, it were much to be wished that the theses which he put up at different times in Wittenberg, and in which he has expressed most precisely his views upon the most important doctrines, might be made more accessible by a special reprint.
'Gerhard, Exeg. 111. 1. 15 sq.
away. The very character of these formulas, they say, which are rather negative than positive, which ward off error rather than promote clear insight, is such that they find nothing explained by them, no difficulties solved, no truth disclosed. While on the other hand, these same formulas are hindrances and disturbances in the way of one's own attempts to get a clear view of the biblical system, by means of his own free reflections, or to adapt them to his other ideas and convictions, according to his own wants and way of thinking. And, certainly, it may easily become a consequence of such definite doctrinal propositions, that while they guard against error, they also restrain the free movements of mind, and establish a dead uniformity in the place of a living and manifold development; and, on this account, even for historical treatment, those times in which men were endeavoring to approach the truth in different ways, though they may have been sometimes by-ways and false ways, seem more attractive than those in which they believed that they had attained the goal, and must keep precisely to the levelled track. And if any one now longs for a return of this earlier freedom and mobility, in the belief, that then the interest in our doctrine would be far more fresh and living than it is with the constant repetition of the same traditional forms of speech; if he believes that he must seek after, or has found, another mode of exhibiting it, which corresponds as well or better with the Scriptures and with Christian experience, which is less exposed to misapprehension, which is more free from doubt and objections, which ensures more profound disclosures, or at any rate, is more simple; shall we then put him off, by merely holding up in opposition the doctrine of the church? This would be to act neither in the spirit of our church, which never puts the inferences and deductions of men on a line with the words of Scripture ; nor in a truly philosophical spirit, which cannot give the same authority to that which is the result only of our reflections with that which forms a part of our direct religious experience. Consequently, one might have much to say against the doctrine of the Trinity, in the form in which it is held by the
On this account Luther, in his adinirable Confutatio rationis Latomianae (Opp. Lat. Jenens, tom. 11. p. 430, translated in Walch Th. XVIII. S. 1455), will not have even the word ouoovotos forced upon him; (Si anima mea odit vocem óμoovotos, et nolim ea uti, non ero haereticus, quis enim me coget uti, modo rem teneam, quae in concilio per scripturas definita est?) although in other places (e. g. in his work upon Councils and Churches, where he treats of the Nicene council) he shows that he sees the necessity of it in setting aside erroneous views.
1847.] The Importance of this Form of the Doctrine.
church, and yet we might find him agreeing with us in essentials; but whether and how far the latter, would in the end be decided by his relation to the former. This form of the doctrine, then, must be held fast, so far as it expresses, on the one hand, what must always be considered by the Christian consciousness, as the chief element, the relation of the Persons to the opera ad extra, especially the oeconomica; on the other hand, so far as it expresses the general tendencies, from which our reflections should not deviate, either on the side of Modalisin or of Tritheism, if we would not put ourselves into opposition with the Bible. So far as this, the church doctrine remains, as we said above, the regulative and corrective, not only of the popular, but also of the philosophical mode of presenting the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. And that very thing, which in other respects might be an objection to it, its negative rather than positive character, makes it so much the more adapted to such a use; since, within the assigned boundaries, it leaves room for a diversity of methods of explaining the doctrine, according to the wants of different minds, especially, if in doing so, they proceed with that liberality, which keeps in view the thing itself rather than the letter. Presupposing such a regulating statement, we gladly grant a relative degree of truth and value to the varied attempts which have been made to illustrate this doctrine.
The very least, according to our view, which should be conceded to the doctrine as held by the church is, "that the views to which it stands opposed are also," according to the Bible, “actual misapprehensions," (Steudel's Glaubenst. S. 43). When, on the other hand, Baumgarten-Crusius (Bibl. Theol. § 41. S. 408), maintains, "that the New Testament conjunction of Father, Son and Spirit has no connection with the higher Christology, and with that higher idea of Spirit which views it as a person;" and when v. Cölln (Bibl. Theol. § 205. Th. II. S. 282), asserts," that the names Father, Son and Spirit are not to be taken as distinguishing three subjects (persons), but that the one true God is called πατήρ, υιός and πνεύμα in different relations; this seems to me to be only a new evidence, how little honest intentions and a philosophical fitness for a so-called purely historical view of things, can ensure one against the influence of dogmatic prejudices, rationalistic no less than ecclesiastical.
* As when Daub (Einleit. in d. Dogmatik, S. 65, 66), finds in the doctrine of the Trinity an expression of the knowledge of God as the revealer (i. e. one who can reveal), the revealed and the self-revealing; or Nitzsch (System d. Christi. Lehre), that relation of our Christian experience (considered both as a state and a process) to the divine nature, according to which we pay homage, in the Son, to the divine love as speaking and mediating; in the Spirit, to that love as imparting itself to us and giving life; and, in the Father, to that love both as original and also as the result of the mediation; or Steudel (Glaubensl. S. 432), the idea of God, actualized as the ground and condition of all being, as the most intimate alliance of God with all being, and as the imparting of God
this is doubtless what has commended them to the minds of thoughtful theologians. And this, too, is an illustration of that fulness of grace and truth (John 1: 16, 17), which has come to us, not merely in Christianity as a whole, but also in its separate confessions and doctrines; that every one can look at them in the point of view which best corresponds with his wants and peculiarities; and that error usually first enters in, when one considers that aspect of the truth, in which it is first presented to his own mind, as the only one under which it can be viewed, and denies everything which does not come within his own sphere of vision.
THE MOOD IN LANGUAGE.
By Henry N. Day, Professor of Sacred Rhetoric in Western Reserve College, Hudson, Ohio.
LANGUAGE is the body of thought. It is something more than the mere dress of thought. It has an internal, vital connection with it. As the living spirit, in assuming to itself a body, penetrates what was before inert, dead matter with its own peculiar life, fashions, organizes and animates it according to its own proper nature, so thought enters sounds in speech with a vital, determining, organizing power. It exists before language in order of nature. It makes language what it is. In order to determine the properties and laws of language, the nature and uses of its various functions or members, we must accordingly, first go to the thought which is the organic principle of speech, and ascercertain what are the actual or possible characters of thought which may be incorporated and expressed in speech. It is in this view of the relations of language to thought that the follow
to all being; or Hase (Lehrbuch d. Dogmatik, S. 527), the doctrine of God the Father over all, with whom humanity was united in new love through the Son of Man, who becaine (rather, was) a Son of God, so that all men might become sons through the Holy Spirit that binds together the church; or Wegscheider (Institutt. S. 93), that God as Father, through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, has revealed himself to man, so that he, being redeemed from the bondage of sin, might become holy and blessed.
Mood as the Expression of the Copula
ing theory of mood has been conceived and developed; and from this view it must derive, to some extent at least, its justification and support.
We shall present our views under the following heads: The proper function of the mood in speech; The possible kinds of moods as determined by this view of their functions; The forms of moods in their proper import in actual use in speech; The abnormal use of moods.
1. The proper Function of the Mood.
Thought never properly appears in speech but as an expressed judgment; and logic teaches us that a judgment necessarily contains three members, the subject, the predicate and the copula. In every thought expressed in speech, there must necessarily be these three members. If each of these essential members have not an actual form appropriated to itself in every uttered sentence, it must be ever implied. It was to be expected that in expressing itself, thought would ever seek to secure for each of these independent and yet essential members its apppropriate form; and that we should find in language the proper sign and expression of each. The mood is the proper expression of the copula. This is its distinctive office.
The copula has no other proper expression. If it may sometimes express its peculiar character through the use of other functions of speech, of adverbs, tenses, by periphrastic expressions, it does this only as other specific functions sometimes borrow help of their fellows to do their own work. There is no form of periphrastic expression appropriated to the expression of the copula. Adverbs and tenses have their own office-work.
The mood, further, actually expresses the copula. The indicative mood as truly expresses that form of the copula which appears in a real judgment, as truly expresses the reality of the judgment, and the potential mood the possible in the judgment, as the preterite tense expresses past time. All the uses of the mood to express anything else than the form of the copula, may be clearly explained as abnormal and derived uses. The copula, for the most part, for reasons which will hereafter appear, except when the speaker would throw an emphasis on the copula or assertion rather than on the subject or predicate, is found in combination with the predicate in the form of the verb. In almost all principal sentences, where a judgment is enounced, the verb