« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
those sins “which belong to us [South Carolina) as a particular commonwealth.” And here he says, “I shall restrict myself to our dealings with the institution which has produced the present convulsions of the country, and brought us to the verge of ruin.” We have no time to follow him throngh his defense of slavery as a just and most felicitous “organization of labor;" though the sciolism of his political economy might yield a chapter of amusement. We pass by, also, what he says about the sin of “putting the defense of slavery upon grounds which make the slave a different kind of being from his master.” Having demonstrated, as he thinks, that the "science falsely so called," which makes the black man specifically different from the white man, is dangerous to slavery,he comes to the inquiry, “whether we have rendered to our servants that which is just and equal.” Some of his questions, on this topic, are such as few Southern preachers-especially if born and educated in the free states—would dare to raise.
"Are our laws such that we can heartily approve them in the presence of God? Have we sufficiently protected the person of the slave? Are our provisions adequate for giving him a fair and impartial trial when prosecuted for offenses? Do we guard, as we should, his family relations? And, above all, have we furnished him with proper means of religious instruction ?" “ The people whom we hold in bondage, are the occasion of all our troubles. We have been provoked by bitter and furious assailants to deal harshly with them, and it becomes us this day to review our history, and the history of our legislation, in the light of God's truth, and to abandon, with ingenuous sincerity, whaterer our consciences cannot sanction.” p. 38.
Most heartily do we honor the fidelity which prompted those bold and honest words. But let us say to Dr. Thornwell, first, that whenever South Carolina shall have brought her laws into conformity with the spirit of his suggestions, she will have entered upon a glorious career of self-reformation ; that neighboring states will be constrained to follow her example; that their “bitter and furious assailants" will be disarmed; and that the world will be content to wait with charitable patience and with confident hope for the conclusion of a great work of justice so auspiciously begun. And let us say to him, secondly, that if Congress should promise to enact a slave code for the territories, and should then proceed to frame that code in close conformity to the spirit of his suggestions, protecting the person of the slave,-securing for him when charged with crime, a fair and impartial trial,-guarding his family relations as no less sacred than the family relations of the free,—and effectually providing for him the means of religious instruction, so that he may read and understand the charter of his salvation,—there would rise immediately throughout the south a storm of indignation at the outrage.
We have left ourselves no room for adequate commentary on the thanksgiving sermon preached at New Orleans by Dr. Palmer. Yet we must say that the treason of that sermon, its incendiary call to insurrection and civil war, is not its only wickedness. Its passionate averments of falsehood in the place of facts, and its deliberate call upon the cotton states, in the holy name of God,-not to reform their slave-code, as Dr. Thornwell would have them do, but—“to conserve and perpetuate the institution of domestic slavery AS NOW EXISTING," coinbine with its treason, to give it, in connection with its brilliant rhetoric, a character of monumental infamy—such as belonged to the pillar of salt by the sea of Sodom. Let every man who finds himself entrusted with the ministry of God's word, take heed lest the temptation to be silent in the presence of wrongs which God's word denounces, lead him into the same wicked
ARTICLE IX.-NOTICES OF BOOKS.
RECENT INQUIRIES IN THEOLOGY.*_These Essays and Reviews—for that is the title of the volume, as originally published-have been hailed by the Westminster Review as introducing a new epoch in the Theological discussions of the Anglican Church, which is to end in the abandonment of the received views of Christianity and the Scriptures, and in the adoption of the very negative Theology of that notorious journal. Dr. Hedge greets them with especial favor because “they represent a new era in Anglican Theology," of which, “the spirit ” “ is at once progressive and conservative; careful of all essential sanctities, careful also of the rights of the mind, of the interests of science, and the liberty of prophesying,' carefully adjusting old views with new discoveries, transient forms with everlasting verities; regarding symbols and articles' as servants of thought, not as laws of thought; as imperfect attempts to articulate truth, not as the measure and guage of truth.” On the other hand, the London Christian Observer, and the Christian Remembrancer, are alarmed at the fatal defection from the standards of the Church of England of which the authors of this work have been guilty, and condemn, if indeed they do not denounce them, as Rationalistic and Anti-Christian. The Christian Examiner of Boston, is much refreshed in spirit by the countenance to its own ways of thinking which is furnished from a quarter so unexpected, and yet so respectable. Doubtless the Westminster Review sees in these speculations the promise of a day in England when a man may buy and read that quarterly without being exposed to social proscription; and our own Examiner hopes that its own
* Recent Inquiries in Theology by Eminent English Churchmen; being “Essays and Reviews.” Reprinted from the Second London Edition. Edited, with an Introduction, by Rev. Frederic H. HEDGE, D. D. Boston: Walker, Wise & Co. 1860. 12mo. pp. 480. (For sale in New Haven by T. H. Pease. Price $1.25.) VOL. XIX,
theology may hereby gain more extensive currency, because it is partially sanctioned by the men of Oxford.
We agree with both these Reviews in regarding the publication of this volume as certainly a significant phenomenon. That seven clergymen of the Church of England, of unquestioned scholarship and culture, occupying high ecclesiastical and social positions, should issue a volume like this, containing such views, on such themes, and at a time distinguished like the present by the almost headlong proclivity of men of science and education toward the rejection of historical Christianity, is, indeed, a phenomenon that requires some explanation.
This explanation is furnished, in part, by the history of opinion in the English Church for the last century, and especially by the spirit that had been dominant in the Universities, in respect to the free and the thorough study of Christian Theology. The Universities are the sources of opinion and influence to the English Church. They furnish and train the thousands of its clergy. But how do they furnish and train them? They prescribe an examination in “Paley's Evidences,” and it is expected that candidates for orders should master “Pearson on the Creed,” and “Burnet on the Articles." But Theological study, as we understand the term, has, till of late, been almost unknown at Oxford and Cambridge. Even the Fellows have spent the four to ten years which have intervened before their accession to the long expected living, in pursuits and investigations of which it was safe to say that generally they were not Theological. We do not intend that systems of divinity and commentaries have not been often consulted at Oxford, and, least of all, do we forget that the Fathers have been much quoted, occasionally perused, and sometimes, perhaps, translated and edited. But we do intend that the conceptions of what Theological science is, and of what it is to investigate questions in Theology, have heen deplorably low and inadequate. The principal reason for
. this has been, that the genius of the Church has been traditional, ecclesiastical, and sacerdotal, rather than scientific, evangelical, and Biblical. Even the so-called evangelical party, with all its earnest zeal and deference to the Scriptures, has distrusted scientific Theology as tending to skepticism, or to useless intellectual refining, and been prejudiced against the new exegesis as of doubtful utility, if for no other reason, because it would divert the preacher from the practical enforcement of well known truth. The less zealous of the clergy have been content to perform the formal duties prescribed by the Church, and have been more anxious to live the comfortable life of a country gentleman than earnestly to prosecute the inquiries of the Theological and Biblical student. The Church as received from their fathers was regarded as faultless and finished in all its appointments, in its “excellent and incomparable Liturgy," in its wise, conciliatory, and well considered articles, in its apostolical ministry, and in its authorized and life-giving sacraments. Its reverence for the Fathers—the Fathers before the Romish defection, and the Fathers of the age of Elizabeth and of Charles the Martyr-precluded the possibility that there should be any new questions in Theology to resolve, or new investigations concerning the Scriptures to prosecute. It ought not to surprise us, in view of these notorious facts, that the Church of England has, for the last century, done so little for the cause of Biblical literature and Theology--that, with a few rare exceptions, both “ the Bishops and the other Clergy” have not only done little themselves, but have manifested so comfortable an ignorance, and so stolid an indifference in respect to
, what others have done; and that the Universities have furnished both impulse and example to apathy and neglect, as to what the learned and the thoughtful, the believer and the infidel in other countries have been thinking and writing. It is true that, about thirty years since, a few of these University gentlemen became suddenly alarmed at the Rationalism of Germany, and were painfully affected with the suspicion that the Church of England might be in some danger from this new movement of thought. Forthwith they began to cast about them for new defenses against the unexpected foe. It would seem that thinkers should have examined the arguments of the New Infidelity, and have reasoned against them with stronger arguments in return-that scholars should have outdone its learning, have criticised its critics, and have surpassed its historians. But such a thought did not occur to these Oxford Churchmen. It would be out of all keeping with their conceptions of Churchly Theology and the duty of Churchly Theologians. The only expedient against the Rationalism of the times, which they could devise, was to prepare the “Tracts for the Times”—the