« السابقةمتابعة »
If, forgetting the technicalities of sectarian theology, and in the spirit of a catholic wisdom, we read the biographies of mystics and saints, we shall see that these pious souls all consciously reach a crisis through which, sooner or later, suddenly or gradually, every human being is led by God, and must willingly pass in attaining to iinmortality. A time would come, even to the sinlessly pure, as they entered from moral infancy to moral maturity, when the experience of rational liberty would be felt, never again through eternity to be forgotten ; such a time must come to the sinful and impure, as they recover from moral sickness to moral health. Then is the wonderful problem to be solved, of establishing just relations between finite existence and the Infinite Being ; then are conflicting individual rights confronted before the judgmentseat of absolute law; then must will and wisdom be married, and from their union spring beautiful charity ; then is inward unity enthroned in sovereignty over all affections and faculties; then, above all, does conscience, the central authority in the spirit, acknowledge its loyal duty to the King of kings, whose purposes are impersonal, whose thought is order, whose desire is the well-being of every creature.
Men learn then the threefold fact of existence : their near connection with nature, yet power of moulding and governing it, — their living union with their fellow-men, yet duty of reacting upon them, - their dependence upon God for reason and will, and yet their need of aspiring towards him, working together with him, as the very condition of receiving his aid. Life, in all its complexity and richness, its stern facts, its solemn and glad realities, its everlasting issues, its boundless relations, opens above, below, in wonders which no thought can fathom. Is it surprising that men sink under the weight of revelations given in these high hours of self-knowledge, and are blinded by too near vision of the glory of God ?
Religious enthusiasts, in their extravagances, have still testified to facts. In every person is the great warfare — portrayed in all history, biography, and literature - once again waged between Providence, Free-will, Fate ; in every person must the ministry of reconciliation be repeated, the atonement made. Man's liberty consists in obedience to the Divine command, as given afresh each day and hour in duty ; his wisdom, in conformity to the laws of heavenly order, wherever and however revealed ; his joy, in disinterested communion and coöperation with the Creator and fellowcreatures. His highest success is in entire self-surrender. Piety is an opening of our inmost spirits for the living God to dwell in us by love ; morality is a diffusion of the harmony, truth, beauty, of which willingness makes us the medium ; eternal life is this very influx and efflux of goodness, by which the growing spirit is re-formed for ever and ever, in the image of the Father. And in this process of incessant renewal, why should we hesitate to believe that mighty powers from the past, from holy spirits in heaven, from humanity, from all humble and heroic souls, work with us, if we are faithful ? This sublime experience has been perennial in all lands, all ages, - in China, India, Persia, Greece, - most manifestly throughout Christendom, — and grows ever fuller and richer with the development of the human race; but the language in which it may find expression will vary with the associations of each nation and era, and with the character and condition of individuals. Every mortal must be “ born again” of the spirit ; and the sign of this regeneration is always and everywhere a consecration to universal good.
W. H. C.
Art. VI. — GERMANY, RELIGIOUS AND POLITICAL..
“ It will be a long time,” says a French writer, “ before Germany of the Present will begin to be Germany of the
* 1. The German Reformation of the Nineteenth Century. By the German CORRESPONDENT of « The Continental Echo." London. 1846. 12mo. pp. 469. (Evangelical.]
2. Die Throne im Himmel und auf Erden (The Thrones in Heaven and on Earth). By Pastor Uhlich. Dessau. 1845. 12mo. pp. 40. [Friend of Light.]
3. Die Kirchliche Bewegung der Gegenwart (The Ecclesiastical Agitation of the Present): a Sermon. By Dr. Grossman. Leipzig. 1846. 12mo. pp. 24. [Moderate Rationalist.]
4. Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung: January, 1845. Article entitled, Die Politische Stellung Preussens (The Political Condition of Prussia). (Liberal.)
5. Revue des Deur Mondes : Octobre, 1845. Article entitled, Histoire de l'Avitation Religieuse, d'après les Documens Politiques et les Pamphlels (History of the Religious Agitation in Germany, from Political Documents and Pamphlets): Novembre, 1845. Article entitled, Le Parti Constitutionnel en Prusse (The Constitutional Party in Prussia): Janvier, 1846. Article entitled, L'Allemagne du Present (Germany of the Present); continued in the sud ng numbers.
6. Vorträge vor Protestantischen Freunden, gehalten zu Magdeburg am
The question of the condition of Germany is one that seems fated never to be settled, because the data are in a state of constant change. The topographer of Sahara is puzzled, and not a liule vexed, to find his outlines contradicted over night by the shift of the sand-heaps. We pity the man who thinks he has got a permanent and available chart of the German soil, more than we do the harassed amateur of South Sea exploring expeditions. Cook's ultimatum served very well for a score or two of years, till it was suddenly discovered that neither his dictum nor the ice-barrier was impassable ; and now new coasts and inlets, taking most impracticable and contradictory directions, occur somewhat faster than a man of moderate means can furnish himself with their crayon profiles. The Congress of Vienna never obliterated the old limits of Germany, extinguished her obsolete territories, and inverted the customary relations of states and rulers, with more breathless facility, than the process of thought or the spirit of the age at present shifts the mental distinctions of her soil, like the bits of a kaleidoscope. Germany is a great, bewildering blur; to unravel nebule which have resisted all the mammoth telescopes were comparatively a jest. But we resist our inclination for this particular vein of description, lest a praiseworthy reluctance to peruse the impending article be a result, which we prefer not io hazard.
Any definite view of the condition of Germany which a journal ventures to offer must be understood to be valid only till the succeeding number. But we hold the question to be far more important than might be presumed from its confused and variable character. It is true, some of the elements which enter into that great heap of fermentation are little more noticeable than the boisterous hangers-on of a revolution. They are low agents from the suburbs, who mix up a deal of sansculottism with freedom of thought and conscience. We refer now, for instance, to the exaggerated radicalism of such men as Bruno Bauer and Feuerbach ; they strike us like disappointed and spleeny politicians, who change their party, but not their nature. Both attempted something in the
Reformations-feste, 1842 (Addresses before Protestant Friends, delivered at Magdeburg upon the Reformation-festival). Leipzig12mo. pp. 62.
7. The Progress and Prospects of Germany. À Discourse before the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Brown University, at Providence, R. I.
, September 1, 1847. By HENRY WHEATON, late Minister of the United States at the Court of Prussia. Boston: Little & Brown. 1847. 8vo. pp. 54.
ultra-democratic line in politics; but as nobody formerly could be a politician in Germany except in a very imbecile and gentlemanly way, their ambition was soon diverted, by hints the most unequivocal, to the domain of theology, where, with changed formulas, their spirit remains the same. We refer to a crowd of shallow and testy pamphleteers, with no definite theories, but who exist simply to annoy the flanks. They are the moral vermin, whose puncture is no sooner felt than a lazy shake of the royal hand drives them into Switzerland, Belgium, or Paris. Unfortunately for Germany, every body can write ; and we are not certain that the Prussian system of instruction does not render censorship a necessary antidote.
We may also safely refer to sone of the Catholic writers with more zeal than judgment. If the accounts of the last book of a man no less distinguished than Goerres, designed to oppose the Rongean movement, be correct, he has excited bad passions, disgraced himself and his cause, and authorized a complete Jacobinism of thought and language. There is also a certain class among the Communists to which we might refer, who injure the cause of the working-men, and vitiate the question of the rights of labor, so prominent in Germany, by loose talk about property and marriage, quite distinguishable from the scientific coolness and reserve of Fourier. *
But these are only the dregs and scum of Germany, who 1847.]
* Some extracts upon German Communism, derived from the Almanach Phalanstérien for 1847, are corroborated by our impressions obtained from other sources. “ This thought is attributed to Marc: – Liberty does not exist, because Christianity is still too profoundly rooted.' Standau, head of a club at Lausanne, writes as follows:-The club marches with giant strides in the path of atheism and of the subversion of morality.'
Yet we suspect he only refers to a conventional morality. Again, a journal contains these sentirnents : “God and immortality are effete words. I would rather see great vices, I should prefer the commission of monstrous and bloody crimes, that there might be no longer any question about this tedious morality. All that the liberal party is doing in Germany has a fatiguing monotony." Mrs. Aston, wife of an English manufacturer, but daughter of a German pastor in Halberstadt, leads the female corps who criticize the immoralities of marriage. These exist in Boston no less than in Berlin, and call loudly for a better legislation ; but we are not impressed by Mrs. Aston. “Booted and spurred, a switch in her hand, a cigar in her mouth, and a plumed chapeau coquettishly tipped upon one ear, Mrs. Aston promenades along the most fashionable streets in Berlin, and people say, There goes the German George Sand.'' Certainly not the Parisian George Sand, who has eschewed such amenities, while she has repressed, we think, her early grossness. But we refrain froin propagating the scandals, which are so greedily devoured by the fastidious, about Mrs. Aston and her clique, whose great license may yet never have degenerated into crime.
Confusion of Parties.
briefly swim the surface, like the drift and yeast of a mighty tide. The various legitimate parties, who seek to win the public ear and to establish both their civic and spiritual validity, move in an atmosphere of much confusion, and generate no little heat; but then they all start with a definite theory, and advance according to fixed laws. They are surrounded with the turbulence inevitable in a revolutionary period ; for Germany is passing through a great revolution, whose ultimatum is the radical modification of both Church and State. To one who values freedom of conscience, and that healthy growth which is achieved under a popular constitution, Germany is the centre of absorbing interest. A period of hope and activity has occurred there, to be paralleled only by the times of the Reformation, whose faults it is rectifying, and whose interrupted labors it seems destined to complete. We shall find, however, that even the legitimate parties constituting this great national movement contain men of crude thought, of hot passions, and of boundless egotism ; so that the leaven of selfishness, which insects every human aspiration, is here also to be continually noticed and deplored. Each party
is like Daniel's statue, with head of gold and feet of “ iron mixed with miry clay.” Neither does each present a unity of opinion any more than of motive, though the differences do not endanger that amount of coherence which is necessary to create a party that shall not merge all healthy individualism in one symbol or constitution. The party drill of the Evangelical wing and of the Pietists is, after that of the Ultramontanists, the most complete ; for their unity is partly created by the necessity of defence. The state supports them, it is true, but the whole tone of German thought impinges upon their exclusive position, and threatens their emoluments. However varied and confused the movements which proceed from different confessions and hostile schools of philosophy, yet a fair elimination will give the prominent tendency in the formula of the great Frederic, “Let every man save himself in his own way.” This is a matter of some difficulty, where the state superintends the transit from earth to heaven, and its corps of testy douaniers intercept contraband articles as rigorously as if a customs-union had been established between those territories. Numerous civil disabilities await the courageous dissident, almost, and in many notorious instances actually, amounting to a decree of exile. In Germany one man may think as he pleases ; but the moment that