« AnteriorContinuar »
writing, come by nature." But they should know, that, however good what thus comes may be, it is not religion, and should never be called by that name. Whether they are right or wrong in commending what they thus get is not now the question. The simple question before us is, whether what they dignify with the name of religion is what we are to understand by that venerated word. We think we have shown that it is not, and, if for no other reason, for the reason that in religion we offer a service to God because believed to be his due, and his due from us; whereas, in what they propose as religion, we merely follow our nature, and do what we do, not because we see its justice and will it, but because our instinctive nature prompts it. In their religion we act merely ad finem, and our acts are, properly speaking, not human acts; in religion as we must understand it, if we retain it at all, we act always propter finem, therefore not as instinctive, but as rational and voluntary agents. Here is a broad line of distinction, which separates the Transcendentalists totally from the religious world. Religion is a virtus, and it demands that we remain and act as MEN. Transcendentalism would sink us from men, from beings of rational nature, that is, persons, to mere automata, or, at least, to mere sensitive plants. For ourselves, we prefer to remain as we are, of rational nature, and to act as rational beings. If the Transcendentalists do not, if they prefer to sink into the category of mere things, be it so; they have not, if they so prefer, far to sink; nor could their responsibility be great, should they remain even as they are.
In our next Review, God willing, we shall close our examination of Transcendentalism, and be prepared to enter upon the discussion of open, avowed infidelity. Thus far all we have said, whether against High Church or Low Church, NoChurch or Transcendentalism, is merely preliminary to the discussion of the real question for our age. Disguise the matter as men will, the real question of the age is between Catholicity and Infidelity. Protestantism, with its Protean forms, would excite only universal derision and contempt, did it not afford a quasi shelter for the multitudes who wish to conceal their doubts both from themselves and their neighbours. These multitudes are ashamed of their doubts, have a lurking sense that they are wrong, and that they ought to be believers; they therefore seek to hide their doubts from themselves and from one another. To this end, they catch, as
drowning men at straws, at one form of Protestantism or another; but most of them feel that they do catch at straws, and nothing else. Protestantism is incapable of satisfying, for a single moment, a mind that thinks and knows how to reason. It needed not to have been born and bred a Protestant to be aware of this. A few women among the Protestants, who silence their doubts by their gentler affections or their religious dissipation, may fancy that they are firm believers; but the great mass of the world, out of the Church, are really at heart, we will not say disbelievers, but doubters. The great question, deny it as they may and probably will, which they want settled, is, whether Almighty God has actually made us a revelation of the supernatural order. We know they will not own this, for, as we have said, they are ashamed of their doubts, and do not like to avow them; but if they lay their hands upon their hearts and answer truly, they will confess that we have stated the real question they want settled. Once recall them to faith in the great fact of the Christian revelation, and it will require no labored arguments to bring them into the Church. The only two armies now on the great moral battle-field of the world are those of Catholicity and Infidelity, and between these the great battle is to be fought. We have felt this from the first, and have entered into the discussions we have, because we wished to carry all the outworks before attacking the citadel. These we think we have now pretty much carried, and whoever will read fairly the articles we have written against Anglicanism, No-Churchism, and Transcendentalism, will be troubled to find a single stronghold in which he may intrench himself between the Roman Catholic Church and infidelity.
The next article on Transcendentalism will commence the war on infidelity, by showing that the facts, or at least a portion of the facts, of the religious history of mankind are not explicable on any hypothesis which excludes the supernatural intervention of Providence, and, therefore, that, on the plainest principles of inductive reasoning, we must admit the supernatural order, and that God has made us a revelation of it. In the mean time we would say, that we, as Catholics, are too well instructed to rely on argument alone for the conversion of unbelievers. No matter who plants and waters, 't is God alone who gives the increase. The fervent prayers of the faithful, offered in secret, in the solitude of the closet or the cell, will avail more than all the elaborate arguments ever constructed;
VOL. II. NO. IV.
and one reason why the conversion of unbelievers is not more rapid is because we rely upon ourselves, upon our wisdom and strength, upon human efforts, rather than on Him without whose aid and blessing all labors are thrown away.
ART. II. Bibliotheca Sacra and Theological Review. No. VII. Andover. Allen, Morrill, and Wardwell. August, 1845.
THE periodical here introduced to our readers is a quarterly journal, somewhat larger than our own, published at Andover, Massachusetts, and "edited by B. B. Edwards and Edwards A. Park, Professors in Andover Theological Seminary, with the special coöperation of Dr. Robinson and Professor Stuart." It is the most elaborate, erudite, and authoritative organ of the Puritan or Calvinistic denomination of Protestants we are acquainted with, though it wants the lively and interesting character of The New Englander, another organ of the same denomination, which is published at New Haven, in Connecticut. It is able, but, upon the whole, rather heavy. It appears to be made up, in great part, from translations, learning, and ideas from the modern Rationalists, Supernaturalists, and Evangelicals of Germany, and its pages bear very unequivocal evidence that its contributors have made considerable proficiency in "High Dutch."
But our present concern is not with the journal, but with the third article in the number before us, on the Intellectual and Moral Influence of Romanism, -a Dudleian Lecture, delivered before the University of Cambridge, last May, by Professor Edwards A. Park, of Andover Theological Seminary, and one of the editors of the Review itself. We have heard Professor Park spoken of as a profound thinker, an able reasoner, and an eminent scholar, and been assured that he holds a high rank among his brother professors. His Lecture has evidently been elaborated with great care, and, considering the importance of the question it discusses, and the distinguished body before whom it was prepared to be delivered, we may reasonably presume it to be a fair specimen of what he is
able to accomplish. He has done here, probably, the best he could. If so, we cannot help thinking that it requires no extraordinary abilities or attainments to be a distinguished professor in Andover Theological Seminary; for the Lecture, though it makes some pretensions to a philosophical appreciation of principles and tendencies, is characterized by no remarkable depth or acuteness of thought, force or justness of reasoning, extent, variety, or accuracy of scholarship, novelty of view, originality of illustration, clearness of method, precision, strength, or beauty of expression. From a commonplace lecturer against "Popery "it would be respectable; but we are not able to discover in it any thing to indicate the distinguished professor, or that in the seminary in which its author can be a distinguished professor there prevails any but a low tone of thought and feeling.
In a community accustomed to close, vigorous, and just reasoning, accustomed to demand a reason before believing, and not to believe without a tolerable reason for believing, and in which the real principles and history of Catholicity were passably known, this Lecture could only excite a smile at the author's simplicity or temerity, and would deserve and receive no answer. But, unhappily, ours is not such a community. Our enlightened community has a remarkable facility in disbelieving against reason, and in believing without reason. will believe any thing against Catholicity, on the bare assertion of an individual whose oath, in a case involving property to the amount of five dollars, it would not take,—and not believe any thing in its favor, though sustained by evidence the most conclusive. Consequently, we have heard this Lecture, in which there is nothing from beginning to end but bare assertion, unsustained by the least fact or argument, highly commended, as a masterpiece of philosophical investigation and of logical argument, a triumphant refutation of the claims of the Catholic Church; and one of our editors, a most malignant enemy of Catholicity, goes so far as even to intimate in one of his papers, that, if its reasoning should be fairly met and refuted, he would almost or quite turn "Romanist " himself. We hope, however, in this the editor is joking; for we should be sorry to gain a convert on such easy terms, fearing he would hardly be worth having, and that he would be one in whom the word would soon wither away. Nevertheless, this indicates the state of our community, and shows, that, however intrinsically undeserving a serious reply the Lecture
may be, it yet, under existing circumstances, requires to be refuted, so far as what is without principle can be refuted.
The design of the Lecture, as the author himself tells us (p. 452), is to "attempt to show that the essential tendencies of Romanism [Catholicity] are injurious to the mind and heart of man." Its design is not to show, that in the history of the Catholic Church, reference being had to the conduct of Churchmen, and not to what the Church officially teaches and commands, there has been much evil,-many depravities of mind and heart, justly deplorable, justly censurable, but that the essential tendencies of Catholicity are injurious; or that the injurious effects the author thinks he has discovered are not merely accidents of the system, growing out of the ignorance of the human mind and the depravity of the human heart, against which the Church always struggled, though unable at once to overcome them, but that they are essential in her very nature, necessarily inseparable from her very existence and action. In proof of this, he alleges that Catholicity, 1. Discountenances the investigation, of first principles; 2. Checks the instinctive longings of the soul for progress in the science of divine things; 3. Exalts the traditions of antiquity above our own perceptions of truth, and degrades the mind by communion with triflers; 4. Authorizes a worship which presents a low standard of thought and feeling; 5. Is deficient in candor, in truth, and in eminent philosophers and preachers; 6. Holds doctrines which have a peculiar tendency to be perverted; 7. Adopts mystical machinery, or asserts that the efficacy of the sacraments is ex opere operato; 8. Has a tendency to separate religion from good morals, or undervalues morality as distinct from religion, and thus gives a false idea of religion itself; 9. Is austere; 10. Engenders an exclusive and persecuting spirit; 11. Founds religion on faith instead of reason; 12. Is fascinating to all classes; and, 13. Is peculiarly injurious to a republic.
Here is a formidable list of charges, and some of them rather queer ones to come from a theological professor, who himself has a fixed creed, and is a professor in a seminary in which the professors are obliged to subscribe to a creed imposed, not by the Church even, but by the lay-founders of the professorships, and to renew their subscriptions every five years. But this is of small moment. It will be seen by the Catholic reader at a glance, that the Professor proceeds throughout on what logicians call a petitio principii, or begging the question. Set aside all those charges which are false