Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

Worker's Book, then, go forth, if not to make others as good, to make them at least much better, than they would have been without it. We fear that most of the Ragged Schools are taught by mere routine, with all the effects of routine, and not by love and piety, with all their effects. And yet

"It is necessary that those who commence Ragged Schools should be in the highest sense religious; should be actuated by so strong and earnest a desire for the glory of God, and for the extension of his kingdom, as to seek that end only, and employ those means alone, which are in accordance with his known and revealed will ;that they should be ready to sacrifice self, to take up the cross daily, if need be, in the work;-that they should have a firm and everacting faith in God, and in the power of his might, which will sustain them under apparent want of success, and frequent disappointment, by the conviction that all that is good in the seed they are sowing, will, in due time, spring up and bear rich fruit.”—P. 23.

The withered formal Catechism of the English Church will not answer the purpose of religion. The Teacher and pupils must form between them a living Catechism. Those who wish to see what we mean may apply to this Manual of a Worker."

CORRIGENDE.

In the article, in our last Number, on the Relation of the Second to the First and Third Gospels, the reader is requested to make the following corrections:

P. 61 and elsewhere, for epitomater read epitomator.

P. 64, the foot note belongs to p. 62, l. 16, "Nothing either in its opening or elsewhere has any reference to a future reader."

P. 66, for Luke (Matthew ix. 1) is here very concise, read Luke (Matthew ix. 1 is here very concise).

THE

PROSPECTIVE REVIEW.

No. XXIII.

ART. I.-BUSHNELL: GOD IN CHRIST.

God in Christ. Three Discourses, delivered at New Haven, Cambridge, and Andover : with a Preliminary Dissertation on Language. By Horace Bushnell. London: John Chapman.

1850.

HERE is another of the many indications that daily meet us, of wide-spread dissatisfaction with the existing state of theological opinion, in bodies reputedly orthodox. From the heart of the Calvinistic section of the New England Congregationalists, Mr. Bushnell has put forth doctrines that vibrate with a deep undertone of the newest philosophy and shake the old dogmatic system to its centre. With all the qualities that are wanted for a stirring reformation of old and stagnant opinions, his mind, as expressed in the work before us, seems richly endowed. His bold and somewhat dashing treatment of his subject, though seasoned throughout with great warmth of devotional feeling the quaintness and originality of his copious illustrations-the juicy freshness and vigour of his style, not without a native roughness which enhances its poignancy-bespeak no ordinary man, and must ever have secured interest and attention to a book like this, apart from the remarkable circumstances which attend its publication. That he is often inconsequential and open at many points to the attack of a rigorous logic, follows inevitably from the union-indispensable to one who would act CHRISTIAN TEACHER.-No. 49.

[ocr errors]

strongly on popular sympathies-of profound religious susceptibility with intellectual acumen. Perhaps no writer could be more constantly quoted against himself than Paul; and yet to this apparent want of logical consistency -a result of different tendencies developed in their utmost force-he owes no small portion of his extraordinary spiritual influence.

Our readers are probably aware, that the descendants and representatives of the old Puritan stock which originally colonized New England from this country, have not all adhered with equal tenacity to the Calvinistic standards of their forefathers; and that while the settlers in Massachusetts have cast off their ancient creeds and gone through nearly the same course of theological development with the English Presbyterians, the churches of Connecticut have hitherto preserved in its integrity their original profession of orthodoxy. The consequence has been a general suspension of ecclesiastical relations between the two bodies the chasm widening with the continuance of the controversy. But a reactionary tendency is already perceptible. The spirit of the age-breathing direct from the schools of Germany, or qualified in its passage through the writings of Emerson and Carlyle-has swept with no slight influence over the cultivated minds of North America, and softening down the sharp and rigid lines of previous separation, appears to be awakening a desire for mutual approximation. The rationalists thirst after more spirituality; the orthodox demand larger sympathies and greater freedom of mental expansion. Mr. Bushnell's book is a herald of this auspicious movement. He professes respect and sympathy for the Unitarians, without participating in their doctrinal views: and of the three discourses which constitute the substance of his volume, while the first and the third were prepared for the orthodox Academies of Yale and Andover, the second was delivered by request in the Divinity School of Harvard University, where an Unitarian theology is publicly taught.

These discourses are preceded by a preliminary dissertation which takes up the subject from a deeper and more fundamental principle, and assumes as an essential condition for the adequate treatment of the questions involved, a previous determination of the necessary limitations of

language in its efforts to express the spiritual. So much unfruitful controversy has sprung from this source-in spite of the repeated cautions of philosophical minds-that too much praise cannot be given to the author for again directing public attention to the subject. In his general theory there is nothing original: what we owe to himself, is the more immediate application of it to Christian dogma, and the forcible manner in which he has set forth its importance and deduced its consequences. His leading view may be thus described. The bases or types of all words or forms of speech for the expression of spiritual ideas, are to be found in the objects and operations of the physical world; for simple states of consciousness are of course incommunicable, except through association with some outward sign which is a common object of perception to different minds. But the inherent power of the physical to represent the spiritual-the correspondence and as it were pre-adaptation of the outward to the inward worldimplies a secret and mysterious affinity between them, which finds its explanation in the original conception of the universe by a Sovereign Mind. This is a favourite idea with the author, which enters largely into the subsequent applications of his theory, and which he particularly insists on as distinguishing his view from that of Locke. In the main we think him right; but he has rather indicated than developed his idea: and in the absence of any sufficient analysis on his part, we crave the reader's indulgence for a few moments, while we briefly trace the process through which, as it appears to us, the imagery suggested immediately by the gross impressions of material objects, is transformed and subtilized, and becomes continually a more refined and delicate exponent of spiritual agency.

The earliest states of mind requiring expression in speech, must have been such as were excited by outward objects of want, desire, aversion or fear. A latent instinct would most likely prompt the sounds, that associated themselves with those objects and were used thenceforward as their vocal designation. With the remembrance of the object not only the sound or word would be recalled, but the feeling, appetite, or passion under which it was originally given. By a double association, therefore, the word would denote at once an object and its associated feeling;

and if, as must often happen, different terms should be applied to the same object, when viewed under different relations or blended with various states and gradations of emotion—some terms in which the expression of feeling was most intense and predominant, would in time be loosened off from their object, and be reserved and set apart as simple exponents of emotion, while others would retain undisturbed their primitive adhesion to the objective reality. Thus language would possess from the first a twofold office that of registering the impressions of sense, and that of expressing the emotions awakened by them; and while perception and memory continued, as for a long time they must, the sole or chief operations of the mind -its spiritual vocabulary, if we may so call it, would be limited to the few terms that would be yet needed as representative of the most prominent states of human consciousness. Imagination would come next into play, in the endless forms of myth and song-using the materials which sense and memory had already treasured up, and still further spiritualising them-and elaborating a rough terminology for those incipient efforts at abstraction and generalisation which are demanded by a quickened sense of moral truths and obligations, and by the mind's transference of its own consciousness to the laws and operations of the visible universe. With increased habits of reflection the facts of consciousness would become more distinct and clear, and specific designations be appropriated to them; till at length in many words the spiritual so thoroughly absorbed and dissolved the material element by which it was at first stimulated into existence, that the most sagacious etymologist can no longer detect any traces of it. When this conversion is completed, a reflex action takes place. The spiritual element of the mind having now acquired an independent force and consistency, repays with ample interest the tribute that it once received. It no more wants a ray from without to light up its dim machinery and buried laws, but throws back its own intellectual lustre on the face of the material creation. It is no more a passive recipient of external imagery, but reads the phænomena of earth and heaven in the light of its own higher thoughts. It gives speech to the silent hills and inarticulate woods, and opens with them a solemn

« AnkstesnisTęsti »