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Congress that speaks for them, who else shall hope to escape political pulverization that ventures to follow his instructive example ?
And so, by these tests, the Providence that shapes our ends has been showing the people their own heart, and awaking to more perfect consciousness their convictions of duty to the sacred cause of national unity and genuine emancipation. The loyal people mean to keep the powers of this Government in their own hands, until they can trust it with a wiser administration than we now have. They mean to have full and satisfactory guaranties of the loyalty of the late rebel States, before they admit them back to place and power. They intend to defend the freedmen, and see them in full possession of civil and of political rights. The victories of Maine and Vermont were but the first picket-shots, or the fire of the skirmish line. The triumphant battalions of Pennsylvania, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, have just discharged their solid platoon fires, and the welkin rings with their echoes. What will not be the uproar, when the great West brings all her mighty artillery into range, and the vast voices of her prairies speak through the hoarse throats of her freedom-shotted cannon? If that political Jericho, the administration policy, can stand the noise of this triple-deep procession that thus knells with awful thunders its downfall, it will be because no masonry ever equalled the obstinacy of Mr. Johnson's temper, and no walls ever showed the elasticity of Mr. Seward's confidence.
ART. VIII. — REVIEW OF CURRENT LITERATURE.
JUDGED from the point of view of a liberal theology, the recent volume of Dr. Clarke * has several points of marked interest, and a value which we are glad to recognize. It is a sincere attempt to appreciate, through pious and imaginative sympathy, the religious value of a doctrinal system of commanding importance in the history of the Church. It is, to some extent, an attempt to trace the actual origin of that system, in facts and philosophies, of which history makes record; still more, to view it with philosophical fairness, as a mode of thought based on real emotions and experiences of the religious life. It shows throughout the marks of careful and thoughtful study; and, what is better, of an anxious desire to mediate among theories conflicting and little understood. We welcome it as a help towards a generous historical and critical estimate of what, in our view, the foremost intelligence of mankind has, once for all, utterly outgrown. With the system of religious dogma known as Orthodoxy, we desire no compromise whatever; nor do we consider that any compromise is possible. But there may be a better mutual knowledge, and we thank Dr. Clarke for whatever contribution he has made towards it. To this end, even the bookish and technical style of his discussion, which we dislike, may be of use,f by lifting the topic out of the sphere of passion into regions impersonal and symbolic; while his simplicity and directness of statement, his frequent felicity of illustration, and the tenderness and skill with which he touches on lines of religious emotion and devout experience, are qualities as precious as they are rare in controversial theology.
In the criticisms we shall make upon this volume, we shall have in view simply its aim to mediate between systems of belief irreconcilably hostile. That the author should fail in this generous attempt was inevitable: we shall endeavor to show why and how he fails.
* Orthodoxy: its Truths and Errors. By JAMES FREEMAN CLARKE. Boston: Published by the American Unitarian Association. 12mo. pp. 512.
† Seen, for example, in such verbs as "posits” and “conditions,” such nouns as “noumena,” and such adjectives as “multilateral” and “unilateral.” As another fault of style, we remark that the manly and direct “I concur,” is immediately preceded by the slipshod and vague “we regard,” – the writer, in each case, expressing only his own independent view.
Regarding the nature of Orthodoxy in itself, Dr. Clarke is of the opinion, that there are “great convictions underlying and informing all the creeds," which “ have been the essential ideas of the Church, and constitute the essence of its Orthodoxy.” He adds, that “it is not any definite creed, or statement of truth, — is not of the letter, but of the spirit.” So far, his assumption seems to be, that Orthodoxy is the very truth underlying certain systems of belief; that Orthodoxy, although it has errors, is at bottom not only true, but the essential truth of Christianity. The “heart” of our generous brother seems to have been the source of this good-natured view. At any rate, his head shows it little respect. The Orthodoxy which he leaves, after removing “errors,” is the mere ghost of actual Orthodoxy. Moreover, he deals with Orthodoxy as a system, of which, he says, “We assume the · Assembly's Catechism' as almost the standard,” and the “underlying convictions" of which he thus recites :
“By Orthodoxy we mean that great system of belief which gradually took form in the Christian Church, in the course of centuries, as its standard theology. The pivotal points of this system are sin and salvation. In it man appears as a sinner, and Christ as a Saviour. Man is saved by ar inward change of heart, resulting in an outward change of life, and produced by the sight of the two facts of sin and salvation. The sight of his sin and its consequences leads him to repentance; the sight of salvation leads him to faith, hope, and love; and the sight of both results in regeneration, or a new life. This system also asserts the divinity of Christ, the triune nature of God, the divine decrees, the plenary inspiration of Scripture, eternal punishment, and eternal life.”
We might justly assume that Dr. Clarke considers these the "truths” of Orthodoxy; and yet the last sentence of the passage evidently mentions several of his “ errors of Orthodoxy, if we may judge from the succeeding discussions. Without this sentence, we have here the “underlying and informing ”“ truth” of Orthodoxy. And, behold, it does not allude to God! Its Saviour is the man Jesus. Its Holy Spirit is the feeling with which man looks upon Jesus. Hence we reject wholly Dr. Clarke's “truth" in Orthodoxy. We go to a deeper thought; we demand a deeper faith. God is with us.
He it is who, by his paternal chastisement, shows us the evil of sin. He it is who inspires in us, by his merciful dealing in ten thousand events of life, the hope of deliverance from the evil. He it is who challenges our faith and love. His blessed spirit, his holy inward influence, leads us to truth and quickens us for heaven. A theology with only a man to fill the offices of God! Much as we admire the kindness of Dr. Clarke's heart towards Orthodoxy, we cannot but be shocked by the position in which he places himself. Orthodoxy has in Christ a “God and Saviour.” In Dr. Clarke's “truth,” on which Orthodoxy and Unitarianism are to meet and unite, there is no “ God and Saviour.” We can assure Dr. Clarke that Orthodox faith in God will never accept this “truth.” Loyal to God always, it will cease to regard Jesus as Saviour when it ceases to regard him as God. And Unitarianism, if it will not cease to have a theology, and become the merest Humanitarianism, must advance to pure Theism.
We pass over Dr. Clarke's chapter on “The Principle and Idea of Orthodoxy.” It is enough to cite the language in which he states the fundamental maxim of his religious philosophy :
“ We say there is a power 'in man by which he can see spiritual facts, as with his earthly senses he can perceive sensible facts. If he has no such power, he is incapable of knowing God, but can only have an opinion that there is a God.”—p. 38. So again (p. 39), he states as “the basis of religion . a living sight of God, the soul, duty, immortality.” The metaphor here is suggestive, but misleading. Surely, a man may have a well-founded, earnest, and confident religious belief, who can attach no intelligible meaning whatever to the assertion that one can see” such “spiritual facts as Dr. Clarke enumerates. Nor have we ever before heard, that “the central idea of Orthodoxy” is, that “saving faith is essentially not emotional nor volitional, but intellectual.” We are very sure that we were taught, that to see God in Christ without emotion or surrender of will would consign us to the lowest hell.
“Naturalism and Supernaturalism” is the title of Dr. Clarke's third chapter. To speak with entire respect, the definitions and argument of this chapter could hardly be more unsatisfactory. We despair of bringing them under critical notice. But the “ truth” of supernaturalism in Orthodoxy may be readily stated and judged. It is, that the moral and spiritual law and order of the Divine administration would not in itself bring truth and redemption to man. The moral law and order of God, says Orthodoxy, would not in itself spare a single soul. There must be intervention from without the Divine government. The spiritual law and order of God, says this
facts of man,
system, would never enlighten and quicken the soul. A special intervention must introduce truth and life to man. Naturalism asserts, that the natural course of God's dealing with humanity, by his holy providence and blessed spirit, is entirely adequate to give truth and life to every soul of man. The worst aspect of the “ supernaturalism” represented in this book is, that it takes a man and certain
and asserts of them a divine adequacy which it denies of God in his natural course of law and order. Jesus and his “miraa man and his deeds
are the supernatural by eminence. God stands in the background. Naturalism asserts, that Jesus and his deeds are in no special sense supernatural, but the product merely, the same as all humanity is, of God's infinite and perfect order of the supernatural. Thus true supernaturalism, which treats of God, agrees with true naturalism; and the actual “supernaturalism,” whose "truth" Dr. Clarke seeks, is pseudo-supernaturalism.
“Miracles," says Dr. Clarke (chap. iv.), are true. As he had said in “ The Hour which Cometh,” Jesus “had at his beck the inexhaustible supplies of miracle.” Or, as he now puts it, “ The whole life and character of Jesus were supernatural and miraculous in this sense. They cannot be explained as the result of any thing existing in the world before." Dr. Clarke appears to forget that God existed before Jesus was born, and was the author and providence of the progress of mankind before the son of Joseph undertook, if he did undertake, to take the kingdom upon his shoulders. He appears equally to forget, that God had supernatural power enough to make some display, before Jesus made, if he did make, the great display for all time. The question then is, not whether the world could produce Jesus, but whether God could produce him in and of the world. Did God, in the regular course of his dealing with humanity, produce Jesus? Theism has to answer that he could and did; for it teaches that God was with humanity adequately all the time, and it utterly repudiates the untheistic, almost atheistic notion, that, before and beyond Jesus, God was not fully with man. Dr. Clarke can concede the Orthodox “truth,” because in his view God had hardly begun to give supernatural attention to mankind until Jesus came.
He can so far adopt the Orthodox spirit as to pronounce the history of Jesus under the treatment of Renan “ an amorphous mass of unhistoric rubbish.” And, although he seems to say that he has seen God and immortality, he can insist on the resurrection of Jesus as “ bridging over the gulf between this life and the life to come.” Not that he