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field of knowledge, to give him the most complete and manifold view possible of every truth. He has not only the words of Christ, the most manifold of all teachers, but he has gospels which present him in his different words and attitudes; and then, besides, he has four-some say five-distinct writers of epistles, who follow, giving each his own view of the doctrine of salvation and the Christian life (views so unlike or antagonistical that many have regarded them as being quite irreconcileable). Paul, the dialectic, commonly so called; John, the mystic; James, the moraliser; Peter, the homiletic; and perhaps a fifth in the Epistle to the Hebrews, who is a Christian templar and Hebraizer. The Old Testament corresponds. Never was there a book uniting so many contrarious aspects of one and the same truth. The more complete, therefore, because of its manifoldness; nay, the more really harmonious, for its apparent want of harmony.-Pp. 59, 60.
From this passage, taken by itself, it might be imagined, that the author had sufficiently answered the question proposed; but from the ensuing comparison with the poetry of Goethe, and the allusion to "those august and magnificent forms of Scripture"-incarnation, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, atonement as blood, &c.,-we are still left in doubt, whether we are to accept the Bible as poetry, or are to look on these dogmas as something objective and real. We have still to ask, is its manifestation of divine things a simple reflection of the human mind filled with the light of religious inspiration, or is it the display of a vast supernatural apparatus from age to age, for the formation of the religious sentiments of mankind? We conclude, that the latter is Mr. Bushnell's opinion. But the subject he has opened, is too vast to be shut in by such arbitrary limits. The language that utters strong religious emotions, demands a qualified interpretation, not only in relation to the objects of the invisible world, but also to the events and the personages that are called up by remembrance from the dimness of the past.-We wish distinctly to guard ourselves from the imputation of denying the possibility of an intermixture of superhuman signs and agencies in a course of human history; but in a discussion professing to open from its very depths the whole question of the symbolism of religion-it strikes us as a serious omission, that the author should never have touched on the test of a distinction between the subjective and the objective in its nar
ratives; since, if we are not to probe the power of influences external to the Bible as a literature, and determining the conditions of its formation, we are obviously incompetent to appreciate the force and pertinency of the symbolism that is so deeply interwrought with every portion of its contents.
With the limitations now indicated, we think there is much that is just and worthy of attention in Mr. Bushnell's preliminary dissertation. Its influence will work most beneficially towards a less dogmatic and a more spiritual interpretation of the Bible; and our opinion of it is not the less favourable, because, without at all weakening the foundation-stones of Christian faith, it is capable, in the hands of thoughtful readers, of a still wider and more fruitful application.
The three discourses on the Divinity of Christ, on the Atonement, and on Dogma and Spirit-are included under a common title-God in Christ; and the author's principles find their application in his showing, how contradictions insuperable by human understanding, are inevitably involved in every attempt to bring down the infinite into the finite, and to blend the divine with the human. On this ground he puts himself in prominent opposition as well to the old orthodoxy as to its natural re-action, Unitarianism. Although at opposite poles, he argues that both agree in a common principle of rationalism, and make the same mistake of attempting to confine within the limits of a logical definition, what is necessarily too vast for human comprehension. On his replies to the orthodox we shall not dwell. To us they seem unanswerable. Our curiosity is rather drawn to the position which he assumes in relation to the Unitarians. He takes up the three following grounds against them: (1,) the simple statement of Scripture, affirming the incarnation; (2,) the impossibility of any direct communion between God and man, apart from the intervention of a being at once divine and human; (3,) the inevitableness of the contradictions which constitute the objection, and the existence of which (the necessity for the interference being pre-supposed) is an indication rather of truth than of falsehood. The first point we shall not here discuss with him, not because we think it unassailable, but because we have only time to say
a word or two on other topics. We shall merely remark by the way, that however the simple assertions of Scripture may pass unquestioned among those who agree in general terms to accept its contents, the position would not be so easily tenable against that large and, we fear, increasing class of men who are disposed to question the credibi lity of Scripture altogether, and who would put such a fact as the incarnation in the front rank of their objections. But to these, the two latter positions may be expected to furnish a reply. The grand theosophic argument advanced by Mr. Bushnell for the Incarnation, is that in no other way can we conceive the possibility of an union between God and Man. The difficulty and the solution as stated by him, differ but little from those suggested in Swedenborg's celebrated argument on the Infinite; and indeed throughout Mr. Bushnell's theory of the Trinity, it is impossible to overlook a very perceptible influence of Swedenborgian ideas. The question is, how to approximate the finite and the infinite. It is solved by the assumption of a nature that is at once finite and infinite. If we hesitate to admit the possibility of such an union, Mr. Bushnell replies :
"You have the same objection in reference to the first revelation, the Word in the world. This also is limited—at least what you have known of it is limited; besides, you have a special delight in seeing God in the smallest things, the minutest specks of being. If, then, it be incredible, that God should take the human to express himself, because the human is finite, can the finite in the world, or in a living atom, express him more worthily, or do it more accordantly with reason ?"-P. 135. "As regards the interior nature of Christ, or the composition of his person, we perhaps know nothing; and if his outward nature represents an unknown quantity, it may, for aught that appears, represent an infinite quantity. A finite outward person, too, may as well be an organ or type of the Infinite as a finite thing or object; and God may act a human personality without being measured by it, as well as shine through a finite thing or a world, without being measured by that."P. 136.
No doubt the Infinite does shine through the finite; but not in the sense in which God is affirmed to be in Christ. God in his fulness is never said to be revealed in any par
ticular finite, but only in the totality of finites. Or if it should be maintained, that the whole essence of God is present to each individual existence, we then take away all distinction between Christ and any other being. There is no more of God in him than in a blade of grass, or in a pebble on the sea shore. We are astonished, that Mr. Bushnell should have lapsed into so obvious a sophism. On his own hypothesis, it was to fill up the chasm between God and Man, that a peculiar manifestation in Christ became necessary. The Trinity set forth in this discourse is a threefold condition of God's self-revelation to the universe, differing from Sabellianism inasmuch as it does not identify the Father with absolute Deity. Like the Trinity of Swedenborg, it begins with revelation, and terminates with it; and to that extent alone can be regarded as inherent in the nature of God, that we find it impossible to conceive of the Divine existence apart from some expression of itself in a work of creation. But the true and absolute God-the Power which is the ground and vital energy of the Universe-is declared by the author to be incommunicable, the revelations of Father, Son and Holy Spirit disclosing only sides of his infinite nature. In himself He lies beyond the reach of human apprehension, and takes his place above the triple Godhead in the same rank of invisible sovereignty, as Parabrahma beyond the Trimurti of the Brahmins, or Zeruane-Akerene, who crowns the dualism of the Zendavesta, or Cneph, who presided unseen at the head of the multiform deities of ancient Egypt. But what is gained to the plain and simple monotheism of the Hebrew Prophets, by intruding into it distinctions that are essentially polytheistic, and had their source, we have little doubt, in the refinements of sacerdotal speculation? For that the Jehovah of the Old Testament is the Father of the New, we hold it impossible for any one to doubt, who has compared the two parts of the Bible with each other, and corrected them by the intervening links of thought that may be traced in the Apocrypha.And why, we may ask, first, this gratuitous effort to put God at such a distance from us, and then, a recourse to this subtle machinery to bring Him back again, and place Him in living contact with our souls? Divines have gone to work like the lawyers.-They have made business for
themselves unnecessarily; they have entangled the plainest questions with a multiplicity of imaginary difficulties, and then reaped honour and profit from a solution of them. There is far more piety in a simple acceptance of the words of Paul, that "in God we all live and move, and have our being, and that he is not far from any one of us." Only the inward vision of the soul needs opening, to behold his presence with us continually. We then first behold Him clearly in Nature, when the Soul is conscious of Him within :-and the most effectual disclosure of Him to the inward sense, and the surest way of opening the soul to a perception of his living presence-is the exhibition of a human life filled with his spirit, doing his work, and moving in harmony with his laws. The life of a true prophet who unreservedly submits his entire being to the Divine will, and gives up his heart and devotes his life to its accomplishment, is the highest conceivable revelation of the infinite Mind.-Mr. Bushnell urges against some Unitarians-not altogether, we are of opinion, without reason the extremely rhetorical language, in which, to justify their retention of orthodox phraseology, they still continue to speak of the superhuman virtue and absolute sinlessness of Christ. Virtue of this sort, he says, would cease to be human, and therefore be without efficacy or example. When we behold a God incarnate, the feeling is different; we are elevated by the contemplation of a spiritual ideal, and not disconcerted by a sense of its inapplicability. We cannot stay to argue this point with Mr. Bushnell, or we think it might be shown, that the moral power of Christ's life lies wholly in its coincidence with human sympathies, and that what it gains in the incommunicably divine, it must lose in the proper human. But we are anxious to remove from ourselves the charge of inconsistency that he has brought against others. The only perfection that we claim for Christ, is a human perfection-such a superiority to the weaknesses and sins, and such a triumph over the trials and temptations of life, as we can safely predicate of a human nature, wholly possessed by the power of religion, and down into its deepest consciousness united in perfect friendship and sympathy with God. Such-as we read and feel it was the life of Christ. We desire nothing higher than a human virtue