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1847.)

Doctrine of the Trinity.

433

based upon a supernatural revelation ; but this revelation would be appropriated and understood by the organ of a reason which submits to it; since it is not destined to remain a barely outward thing to the human spirit. The supernatural element must be owned in its organic connection with the natural, which in this finds its full measure and complement. The fact of redemption has for its very aim, indeed, to do away the schism between the supernatural and the natural ; - the fact of God's becoming man is in order to the humanization of the divine, and the deification of the human. Hence there will ever be springing up two tendencies of the theological spirit, corresponding, as must be evident, to the two just now described, and of which the one will feel itself impelled to understand and represent the supernatural element of Christianity, in its opposition to the other, the same element in its connection with the natural : the one will seek to apprehend the supernatural and suprarational element as such ; the other will strive to apprehend the same in its har. mony with reason and nature, - to present the supernatural and suprarational to consciousness, as that which is still conformed to nature and to reason. Thus there comes to be formed a predominance of the supernaturalist or of the rationalist element, both of which should meet together in order to a sound and healthy development of Christian doctrine ; while from the predominance of the one or the other of these elements, opposite dangers arise."

pp. 507, 508. Equally far is he from being blinded, by any Orthodox theories, to the distinction between philosophical conclusions and practical doctrines. And in that freedom he says of the subject so interesting to us, the doctrine of the Trinity :

“ This doctrine does not strictly belong to the fundamental articles of the Christian faith ; as appears sufficiently evident from the fact, that it is expressly held forth in no one particular passage of the New Testament ; for the only one in which this is done, the passage relating to the three that bear record (1 John v. 7), is undoubtedly spurious, and in its ungenuine shape testifies to the fact, how foreign such a collocation is from the style of the New-Testament scriptures. We find in the New Testament no other fundamental article besides that of which the Apostle Paul says, that other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, the annunciation of Jesus as the Messiah ; and Christ himself designates as the foundation of his religion the faith in the only true God, and in Jesus Christ whom he hath sent (John xvii. 3). What Paul styles distinctively the mystery relates in no one instance to what belongs to the hidden depths of the divine essence, but to the divine purpose of salvation which found its

accomplishment in a fact. But that doctrine presupposes, in order to its being understood in its real significancy for the Christian consciousness, this fundamental article of the Christian faith; and we recognize therein the essential contents of Christianity, summed up in brief, as may be gathered from the determinate form which is given to Theism by its connection with this fundamental article. It is this doctrine by which God becomes known as the original Fountain of all existence; as He by whom the rational creation, that had become estranged from him, is brought back to the fellowship with him; and as He in the fel. lowship with whom it from thenceforth subsists : - the threefold relation in which God stands to mankind, as primal ground, mediator, and end, - Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, - in which threefold relation the whole Christian knowledge of God is completely announced. Accordingly all is herein embraced by the Apostle Paul, when he names the one God and Father of all, who is above all, and works through all and in all (Ephes. iv. 6); or Him from whom are all things, through whom are all things, and to whom are all things ; — when, in pronouncing the benediction, he sums up all in the formula: the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the com. munion of the Holy Spirit. God, as the living God, the God of mankind, and the God of the Church, can be truly known in this way only. This shape of Theism presents the perfect mean between the wholly extramundane God of Deism, and the God brought down to, and confounded with, the world of Pantheism. As this mode of the knowledge of God belongs to the peculiar essence of 'Theism and the Theocracy, it follows that its groundwork must be given with the groundwork of the latter in ihe Old Testament, - the doctrine of God, whose agency is in the world through his Word and with his Spirit: and hence it was no acci. dent, to be explained by the supervention of outward influences merely, that such a shaping of the consciousness of God grew out of the germs already contained in the Old Testament; - a truth which has not been duly attended to by those who, in their account of the progressive development of doctrines, have been inclined to explain too many things by a reference to outward causes.

“We must take care not to be deceived by false analogies, in comparing this doctrine with apparently kindred dogmas of other religions, or with mere speculative theories. Its connection, already pointed out, with the fundamental consciousness of Christianity, must furnish, in this case, the right standard of comparison. Aside from this, the threefold designation of the Supreme Essence, or the hypothesis of a threefold gradation in the principles of existence, can furnish only a delusive analogy, where 1947.]

Bushnell on Christian Nurture.

435

perhaps there may be lying at bottom some theory most directly opposed to the Christian view of the world ; - as the case is, indeed, with regard to the Indian Trimurti, which stands connected with a thoroughly pantheistic scheme, wholly at war with the theistic and theological principle of Christianity, - the doctrine, namely, of a divine essence which manifests itself in a constant repetition of the same process of rising and vanishing worlds. And even within the Christian Church itself, systems, consisting of a pantheistic deification of reason and of the world, have employed this doctrine, wrested from its original connection, and made to bear a sense at variance with its true import, for the purpose of giving currency to some scheme under a Christian garb, which in essence was wholly opposed to Christianity.” — pp. 572, 573.

Of the “economico-practical doctrine of the Trinity he thus speaks

" It is that which forms the basis of the true unity of the Church and the identity of the Christian consciousness in all ages. But the intellectual process of development, by means of which the economico-practical doctrine of the Trinity was reduced to the ontological, was a gradual one, and must necessarily run through manifold opposite forms, until it issued at last in some mode of apprehension, satisfying the demand of unity in the Christian consciousness, and in the activity of the dialectic reason.

Neander's History is generally regarded as one of the most important products of the theological literature in which our times have been so fertile ; and we think that Professor Torrey has rendered a substantial service to the Church in the work of this translation.

G. F. S.

pp. 573, 574.

Art. VIII.

BUSHNELL ON CHRISTIAN NURTURE.*

Dr. BUSHNELL's work which furnishes the topic of the present article consists of two Discourses first preached, we suppose, in the ordinary course of the author's ministry. But, for several reasons, we desire especially to commend it to the notice of our readers. It discusses an important subject ; and the argument is conducted in a spirit so rational and free, so truly Christian, that it must command the admiration of those who may dissent from its conclusions. Indeed, were its views generally adopted, they would revolutionize the life of the Christian world. The Discourses come to us under the sanction of unusual authority. Dr. Bushnell's name has a commanding claim to attention. He is one of the prominent preachers of New England, distinguished for profound thought and a glowing eloquence. Further, a brief advertisement to the book insorms us that the argument was read to an association of ministers, who requested its publication. We also learn, from the title-page, that it was approved by the Committee of Publication of the Massachusetts Sabbath School Society, and printed at their depository. Greater importance, of course, is to be attached to opinions which seem to have secured the sanction of such various minds. We propose, first, to notice the peculiar harmony between the views presented by Dr. Bushnell and those which we have been accustomed to cherish, and, next, to offer a few remarks upon the main topic of the work itself.

* 1. Discourses on Christian Nurture. By HORACE BUSHNELL, Pastor of the North Church, Hartford. Boston: Mass. Sabbath School Society. 1847. pp. 72.

2. An Argument for Discourses on Christian Nurlure," addressed to the Publishing Committee of the Massachusetts Sabbath School Society. By HORACE BUSHNELL. Hartford. 1847. Svo. Pp. 48.

A sketch of the general argument of the volume will be the best introduction, perhaps, to what we wish to say. The question which Dr. Bushnell proposes to answer is, What is the true idea of Christian education ? And he replies, in general, in the following proposition :

16. That the child is to grow up a Christian. In other words, the aim, effort, and expectation should be, not, as is commonly assumed, that the child is to grow up in sin, to be converted after he comes to a mature age, but that he is to open on the world as one that is spiritually renewed, not remeinbering the time when he went through a technical experience, but seeming rather to have loved what is good from his ear

He sustains this proposition by various arguments. He meets the objection from experience by the obvious answer, that we do not make a Christian atmosphere around us, in our homes, and in the Church. He contends that his doctrine involves no absurdity, “ for all that is implied to be in a Christian state” is, that one has simply begun to love what is good for its own sake" ; that “it is

liest years.

1847.]

General Argument.

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implied in all religious philosophy, if a child ever loves any thing because it is good and right, that it [the fact] involves the dawn of a new life”; and that this feeling of love may be awakened in the mind of a child to commence the combat with evil there, as well as in the man. He affirms that, upon any theory of the corruption of human nature, the best time, certainly, to apply the remedy, is in “ the most ductile period of life." He tells us, that this view, instead of being new, has long been held in the European churches ; that the Moravians especially, whose piety is so fervent and sweet,

- make it a radical distinction in their system, so that not one in ten of their number recollects the time when he began to be religious.” And, lastly, under this branch of the discussion, by a strong statement of the organic relation between the parent and the child, he shows it to be the intention, that “ the Christian life and spirit of the parent shall flow into the minds of the children, to blend with their incipient and half-formed exercises."

The second Discourse is occupied with the inquiry, How far revelation favors such views. It is not necessary to give any statement of this part of the argument. It is sufficient to say, that Dr. Bushnell insists that the Scriptures sustain every thing which he had previously advanced upon the subject. We should like to transfer to our pages extended extracts. We should especially like to give two passages towards the close of the book; one, in which the author shows how religion is made odious, at times, by insisting upon the inherent necessary opposition between every thing in the child's feeling and the spirit of religion, until a new heart shall have been given him; and the other, in which he attempts to prove that this view of Christian nurture presents the only remedy for the deficiencies in the religious life of the time, leading men to seek, not a piety of conquest, of revivals simply, but a piety of growth, deep, constant, inextinguishable, like the affections of home. The passages referred to would exhibit his view more completely thran any outline we can give. They would furnish a specimen, also, of that calm, simple, yet energetic and sometimes eloquent style, which characterizes the Discourses. But we prefer to commend the entire work to our readers, as well deserving a careful perusal.

We have been surprised at the harmony between the opinions of Dr. Bushnell and our own. Often it is an VOL. XLIII. - 4TH S. VOL. VIII. NO. III.

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