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THE PERMANENCE OF CHRISTIANITY INFERRED FROM THE CHARACTER OF ITS INFLUENCE 295

LECTURE VIII.

THE PERMANENCE OF CHRISTIANITY INFERRED FROM ITS

MISSIONARY CHARACTER AND PRESENT STANDING. . . 337 INTRODUCTION

T N the interval between the delivery of these *■ Lectures and their publication a volume has appeared from the pen of the veteran, D. F. Strauss, which has already run through four editions.1 No work could better illustrate the double line of attack to which Christian belief is at this time exposed. Commencing with the inquiry,—" Are we still Christians?" and taking the Apostles' Creed as his standard of orthodoxy,2 the writer seeks to show in detail not only the unreality of a belief in the Holy Spirit; not only the unhistorical character of all that is Divine in the Person and Life of Jesus Christ; but further, the Heedlessness and logical imperfection of the very idea of a Creator of the Universe.3 That Universe, he holds, is itself both the term of human inquiry and the basis of all reality. In it and in its manifold developments must be sought the ground of all

1 Der alte. und der neue Qlaube. Vierte Auflage. Bonn, 1873. 'See §§ 5-13.

3 See more particularly §§ 5, 36,38. It was a saying of Kant, " Give me Matter; and I will show you how a world might from it arise."

existence,1 the secret of life, the measure of eternity and of infinity, the limitations of immortality. Duty is resolved into resignation to the invariable Laws of Nature, and into the submission of individual desires to the general good of the race or species.2 Religion, if indeed it can be said to exist, is explained to be a sentiment of awe and admiration at the grandeur of that Universe,3 of which the particular soul, if that can be called soul, which is so entirely one with the body, forms a minute fraction.

Such are the results of a criticism of forty years, hitherto supposed to be directed to the examination of the historical documents relating to the Life of Christ. It has closed in landing the critic not in the position of the Unitarian; who denies, indeed, the cardinal doctrine of our Lord's Divinity,

1 " Im Laufe unsrer weiteren Betrachtung bestimmte sich uns dasselbe näher dahin, dass es in's Unendliche bewegter Stoff sei, der durch Scheidung und Mischung sich zu immer höhern Formen und Functionen steigert, während er durch Ausbildung, Rückbildung, und Neubildung einen ewigen Kreis beschreibt."—Strauss, p. 226. See also 228.

2 " Alles sittliche Handeln des Menschen, möchte ich sagen, ist ein Sichbestimmen des Einzelnen nach der Idee der Gattung."—Ib., pp. 241 and 243. Strauss of course denies free-will, p. 252.

3 Sec p. 244. "Das religiose Gebiet in der menschlichen Seele gleicht dem Gebiete der Rothhäute in Amerika, das, man mag es beklagen oder misbilligcn so viel man will, von deren weisshäutigen Nachbarn von Jahr zu Jahr, mehr eingeengt wird;" p. 141. See also 145, 147. Similarly M. Littre' on the side of Positivism defines Religion, " La definition de la religion e'est l'cnsemblo des dogmes et destitutions qui confornient a la conception du Monde l'etlucation et la morale."—Paroles de la Philosophie Positive, p. 62. As regards the old theological dogmas he declares himself superior to conviction. Ib., pp. 50, 51.

yet acknowledges " the form," and even, it may be said, "the power of godliness:" but in that of a Pantheistic Materialist,1 indifferent alike to the existence of G-od, or of the soul.2 Professing to write in the interests of a powerful and intellectual minority, Herr Strauss declares his readiness to await the extinction of the popular religion, the doctrines of which, meanwhile, he hardly thinks it necessary to assail.3

Now, if such be, indeed, a fair representation of the issues of an union of Biblical Criticism with Natural Philosophy; it will appear that henceforward there may be expected a new line of attack upon Revealed Truth, the result of a junction of the forces which have hitherto been ranged on

1 "Wenn man hierin den klaren crassen Materialismus ausgesprochen findet, so will ich zunächst gar nichts dagegen sagen," p. 212. Strauss, however, thinks the differences between the Materialist and Idealist of little account He prefers a system of Monism. This again is the view of the Positivist School. See Littrö, Principe«, pp. 38, 39. Strictly speaking, however, Pantheism supposes a God immanent in things; while Positivism sees only Laws.

* " Karl Vogt (er ist sonst nicht mein Mann, aber in diesem Felde stimme ich ihm durchaus bei) hat den Schluss gezogen, dass die Annahme einer besondern Seelensubstanz eine reine Hypothese ist: dass keine einzige Thatsache für die Existenz einer solcher Substanz spricht."—76., p. 210. Vogt, it is well known, after Cabanis, makes Thought a secretion of the brain. See his Bilder aus dem 'lliierleben.

3 " Für uns selbst indessen begehren wir von diesen Bewegungen vorerst mehr nicht als Diogenes von dem grossen Alexander. Nämlich nur so viel dass uns der Kirchenschatteu fortan nicht mehr im Wege sei."—Jb., p. 296. Sec also pp. 7, 8, 15, 75. In his Nachwort als Vonvort, Strauss quotes a very true observation of Dahlmann: "Wie man cine Kirche auf bios Christlicher Moral bauen könne, das sehe ich vor der Hand nicht ein :" p. 41.

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