« ElőzőTovább »
unlike most French discourses, suffer little by translation. Yet Coquerel's style is thoroughly French, as idiomatic as the style of Pascal or Voltaire.
In addition to his eight volumes of sermons, Coquerel has published many works of an historical, biographical, polemic, and practical character : an answer to Strauss, which was noticed and translated in Germany for its signal ability ; two volumes of a Christology, which entirely overthrows the sacrificial theory of the person and work of Christ; and, within the present year, a beautiful book of meditations for private and domestic use, on the plan of the Erbauungs-bücher of the German preachers. He is editor-in-chief of the Lien, a weekly newspaper of small size, which advocates liberal principles, without directly attacking the creeds. Like John Monod, Coquerel seems likely to become the founder of an ecclesiastical family. Two of his sons, Athanase and Stephen, are associated with him as preachers of the Consistoire, and are already known as authors. The elder, though but little more than thirty years old, has published two volumes of sermons and several works of historical and artistic criticism, and has gained a high rank as a pulpit orator. His course of sermons on the Beatitudes invests those somewhat worn topics with a new freshness and beauty. The sons share the principles of the father, and have no inclination to the orthodox reaction which has manifested itself within a few years. This Coquerel family, more than any other, give the tone and direction to the National Protestant Church of France.
If. Athanase Coquerel may be regarded as the leader of the moderate Liberals — the old-school Unitarians — within the French Protestant Church, Timothy Colani is as certainly the leader of the progressive Liberals, — the new-school Unitarians. With no official position, and suspected by the ecclesiastical authorities, he is able, as the editor of the Nouvelle Revue de Théologie, to sway the opinions of the younger clergy by the force of his free, earnest, and powerful mind. His heresies have twice excluded him from the chair of philosophy in the College of Strasburg, and he holds only the place of teacher in some young ladies' boarding-schools, preaching by favor once a month, in French, in the German Lutheran Church at Strasburg. Colani's father — the minister of a Reformed church in the village of Lemé (Department of the Aisne), in the north of France, and very active in his vocation — was a native of the Swiss Grisons in the Engadine, where his cousin, John Marchiet Colani, has long been famous as the most daring chamois-hunter of this century. His wife, the mother of Timothy, was the daughter of a Huguenot minister, and, born in a time of persecution, was carried to the cathedral immediately after her birth, to be baptized as a Catholic. In 1830, at the age of six years, the son was sent to Switzerland to be educated, subsequently spent four years in Germany in philological studies, and came to Strasburg in 1840 to study theology. The influence of the celebrated Professor Reuss, at that time teacher in Strasburg, soon weaned the young student from his pietistic associations, and changed his whole system of belief. In 1845 he finished his college course, and in 1847 received the prize of $600 (3,000 francs) for a review of Strauss's Life of Jesus, offered by the Faculty of Theology. In this period of his studies Colani had become intimately acquainted with Edmond Scherer, a young scholar residing, with his English wife, at Strasburg. In 1845 Scherer was called away to teach in an orthodox school at Geneva ; but he had been there but a little time before his views of inspiration and Biblical interpretation underwent serious change, and in 1850 he was compelled by conscience to resign his charge, giving his reasons therefor in a pamphlet entitled La Critique et la Foi, which caused a lively sensation in all the French churches. The religious public were unprepared for such views from one so rooted and grounded in the orthodox faith. Taking advantage of this sensation, Colani issued, in July of that year, the first number of the Revue de Théologie, with the motto, “ Veritati cedendo vincere opinionem." The editors of the Revue were Colani, Scherer, Reuss, and Réville, a French minister in Rotterdam, the first two caring chiefly for the polemic and critical articles. All sorts and varieties of theological subjects were discussed; there was no plan, and each writer followed his own inspiration. After continuing for more than seven years, the title and the motto were slightly changed, and it now appears monthly as the Nou
velle Revue de Théologie, with the device, “ Fides quærens intellectum.” It has relinquished, in great measure, its polemic character, and now professes to be only an organ for free religious thought and for scientific theology. Its signal ability all acknowledge. On this Review, and on the volume of sermons which he has published, — the most striking, on the whole, of any volume that has come under our notice, — rests Colani's claim to distinction. The volume has already passed through two editions in French, has been translated into German and Dutch, and an English translation is in press. In it the most striking and original thoughts are expressed in a style of singular purity. Not one page is tame or commonplace.
A few words on the Jewish Church in France may be added, since it numbers in the Empire not less than one hundred thousand. The Jewish clergy are salaried by the state, and their religion is on the same footing before the law as that of the Protestants. Their affairs are managed by a “ Consistoire Centrale,” which has its seat in Paris, and is composed of nine persons, three Rabbins and six lay members. The chief of these Rabbins has the title of “Grand Rabbin de France.” The present incumbent of this office is Dr. Ullmann, a gentleman of great learning and influence.
Subordinate to this “ Consistoire Centrale," there are five provincial “ Consistoires,” the seats of which are at Bourdeaux, Marseilles, Strasburg, Metz, and Paris. The organization of these bodies is the same as that of the superior body, with the exception that the junior Rabbins in the central body hold no other office, while the Rabbins in the provincial Consistoires are each at the head of a congregation, and take their seats in the assembly according to seniority.
Of the 100,000 Jews in France, 15,000 reside in Paris. The remainder are found principally in the east and south. In Alsatia they are a numerous and influential class. There are very few in the west, — probably not one organized congregation in all the province of Brittany and La Vendée. The congregations of Colmar, Verdun, Lyons, Nancy, and Strasburg are presided over by Rabbins of high reputation. Lambert, Rabbi of Metz, has written a popular history of the Jews. In that city there is a Jewish college, subsidized by the state.*
The principal Jewish congregations in the south of France are at Avignon and Bordeaux. The historian Salvador and the statesman Cremieux are natives of the former city ; Furtado, Fonseca, and Pereira, the inventor of the system for teaching deaf mutes, were natives of the latter. In Paris there are two synagogues, the larger of which follows the German, the smaller the Portuguese ritual. The charitable associations, of which there are several, have also their places of stated prayer-meetings. The most eminent preachers among the Rabbins are Ullmann, Isidor, Vogue, Charleville, and Marx. A remarkable sermon on “Toleration,” by Rabbi Isaac Levy, of Verdun, has recently come under our notice. The doctrine which it lays down harmonizes rather with the doctrine of Colani than of orthodox Judaism.
The Jews of France have three periodicals, the Archives Israélite, the Univers Israélite, and the Lien d'Israel, representing severally different parties and shades of opinion. Their most eminent scholar is Munk, one of the curators of the Imperial Library. Cahen and Vogue have translated the Bible. The future of Judaism in France is highly encouraging, and powerful influences in the Cabinet sustain the Israelite connection.
If these sketches of preachers and churches in France seem too long for the patience of readers, they are far too short and slight for the theme. Want of space has not allowed us to fortify our judgment of individual preachers by extracts from their sermons. We must not omit, in closing, to mention the most hopeful of all religious signs in France, the strong sympathy within the Catholic Church for liberal opinions in theology. A Unitarian movement within that Church is not altogether a new thing. It was tried as long ago as 1831, when the Abbé Ferdinand Chatel, in connection with the Abbé Louis Napoleon Auzou, undertook to establish a new Catholic body on the basis of " the natural law,” rejecting fasting and abstinence, adopting the French language in prayer instead of the
* The College of Metz has, by a very recent imperial decree, been removed to
Latin, and asserting the humanity, as opposed to the Deity, of Christ. This movement, after more than ten years of existence, was put down as șchismatic and disorderly. Auzou recanted, and Chatel, after long controversies with the ecclesiastical authorities, was silenced by imprisonment. The doctrines which he proclaimed, however, took root in various parts of the land, and are to-day substantially maintained by the leading writers of the Revue des Deux Mondes, in our judgment the ablest review in existence. Ernest Renan, Edward Laboulaye, Charles de Rémusat, and Lucien Prevost Paradol, — four of the most accomplished scholars and most profound thinkers in Europe, — appear steadily as the defenders of that style of thought and study which is associated in England with the name of Martineau, and in America with the name of Channing. Scholarship and philosophy in France are coming more and more to the support of liberal Christianity.
ART. VI. – DR. FURNESS'S WORD TO UNITARIANS.
A Word to Unitarians. À Discourse delivered in the First Congre
gational Unitarian Church, Sunday, September 4, 1859. Philadelphia. A
b este, To few among the living preachers of our land is liberal theology more indebted than to Dr. Furness, its indefatigable advocate in Philadelphia, and for more than a third of a century its sole official representative in that city. His presentation of Christ, analytically first and then synthetically, in the “ Remarks on the Four Gospels” and in the “ Life of Jesus," embodies some of the finest thought, and offers some of the most weighty suggestions, in American Unitarian literature. The development, especially in the first-named work, of the latent internal evidence for the verisimilitude of the Gospel story, we have always esteemed a masterpiece of criticism, unsurpassed in the moral force of its argument.
No one, on the whole, is better entitled, by service and position, to address a word of admonition to Unitarians, than Dr.