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for a reasoning church. The laws of God's providence, the conditions of man's probation, both forbid that it should. So long as new minds shall come into being, and must go through the same struggle with doubt and unbelief, which is a part of the discipline and trial allotted to man's depravily and weakness, so long will their teachers need to meet them with convincing logic-so long will their sluggish torpor need to be awakened by giving life to the intellect, so long will it be required to tear them from their refuges of lies, that the truth be armed with convincing light and resistless energy. As long as each successive generation shall grow up from ignorance to knowledge, and grope its way from darkness to light, and shake off the envelopments of its unexpanded, blinded energies, into the clearness of well established convictions, and the firmness of undoubting faith, so long must the truth be sustained by argument, and that argument be set home to the intellect, and through the intellect to the conscience of man. Error, too, will be ever awake; and if, through a pious dread of calling in question the claims of religion, or the vague pretensions of a confident philosophy, the believer ceases to reason, error will not. The aspects and arguments of Error will change with each changing age. From each advancing science, from the fickle and capricious phases of a morbid literary taste, she will derive new arguments, and cast up new defences; and if Truth will only let her defences alone, and proclaim herself of the celestial empire, she will be as well satisfied as the English are with each new issue of contemptuous bravado from Pekin.
Nor is it desirable that this necessity for a reasoning church should terminate. When its teachers imagine that that time has come, then will they sink into sluggish and animalized torpor, or bask in the luxurious sunshine of spiritual quietism, or amuse themselves in literary trifling, or forge and hurl anathemas for those who dare to knock about their ears any of the mistaken and defenceless outworks of their Faith Then, too, will their disciples yield a supine and tame submission to church authority, or a lifeless faith to the dogmas of an orthodoxy out-worn and dead, instead of resorting for themselves to the living word, to learn the will of God from his own mouth, not only awed but quickened by the responsibility under which they reason, as they know it is for their lives. The moment that the church ceases to be a reason
ing church, that moment does she cast forth the element which marks the character of Protestantism. For Protestantism has been what she is, by her logical and instructive ministry, and by the quickening energies
of the Word of God, as they have reasoned out of it to the aroused understandings of their flocks. Thus only have they made the people what they are, possessed of a manly growth and an independent life men able to give a reason for the hope that is within them, and in their turn instructors of their own households, and holders forth of the word of life unto all. The instant that this is to cease, and the intellect of the teacher and the taught is no longer tasked and aroused that faith and hope may also live, then let him who was appointed a teacher turn a priest, and as the intellect is stupified, let him dazzle and amuse the senses ; and in token of the change which is to come upon his flock, let him turn his back upon them in the ministration of the sanctuary. Let those, also, who find it easier to believe, than to know why they believe, and to give a reason for their faith to others, rather by bold and vague generalities than by clear and progressive reasonings, understand where their affinities connect them. If they want a believing church, there is one at Rome, with a branch at Oxford, which, the last especially, grieved at the unbelieving spirit of the age, and with the progress of reasoning without, urges itself to more daring heroics in faith, as the rude and glaring light drives into remoter darkness the birds of night, disturbed in their dim retreat. Nothing should be less surprising than the tendency of this undefined and morbid spiritualism, to those churches in which authority is the prevailing element, in which faith is nourished rather by the impressive solemnity of sensible rites, than by that animated and convincing reasoning which sways the man. It is natural that the confusion of thought wiih which it is often accompanied, with its morbid aspirations after the high and holy, and its desire to rest upon fixed belief, without that expense of thought which the nature of things requires, has led some of its disciples who had been nurtured in a communion more purely Protestant, to seek a rest and refuge under the authority of prelacy, where the thinking has been done up in past generations, and faith may occupy all the energies of the man.
" But the moral and religious tendency of spiritualism is still most happy, and especially needed in an age of prevalent
unbelief.” We are aware that it commends itself to the fa vor of many men of refined sensibilities and high moral feeling, as springing from a devout and believing spirit in those who originate it, and as suited to exert a healthful influence on the character of those who adopt it. To it, therefore, they give their adhesion and their sympathy, as men of taste and of piety, rather than as philosophers. We have naught to affirin against the moral elevation and amiable feelings of many who are ardently enlisted in its favor, nor do we care to offend the enthusiasm for good, of any right hearted man.
But our convictions, and our observation, too, compel us to say, that this indiscriminate admiration of whatever tends to faith, this seeking to believe without the clear and rigid insight into the grounds of what we believe, is far from tending wholly to moral or religious good. Nor is it, as a token of good in character, worth so much as it often passes for. Often, very often, the very zeal for faith signifies simply this—that there is less of calm conviction and of firm reliance, than there is of a perturbed desire after more, which calls upon the will to supply what is lacking in the intellect and heart. So, instead of the soul which is fixed and at peace because it has proved and understands its foundations, there is the pretension and cant of a school, and the being certain merely for the comfort of certainty. This is bigotry—it is not faith-no matter with what literary accomplishments it is associated, or with what intellectual grace, or with what words or songs of pious fervor. It is wilful-defending its position to itself, because it has taken it, and repelling others that it may be let alone to enjoy it. True, while it is cloistered in the schools, or buoyed up by the consenting sympathies of an admiring clique of like-minded spirits, or nursed in the artificial air of affected sentiment, it will be confident to itself, and scornful and repellant to the last degree, to those who differ. But let it be summoned to endure the severer struggles of life, or to grapple with its sterner duties, or to bring out its own faith into collision with the opposing faith of another,--let it measure itself with the brawny strength of some coarse but intellectual assailant, or face the sneer of some rude scoffer or some discerning sceptic, and the trial will not only detect intellectual incapacity, but uncover a moral weakness; and as doubt and despair rush thickly in upon
the soul, it will see that pretension to faith in excess, is not faith, and the cant about believing, is not believing. By such a trial is it shown that Truth is the only food of faith; and the more clearly Truth is seen, and the more distinctly is it held in the method of its proof, the deeper downward does Faith strike its roots, and the fairer, and richer, and more abundant are the fruits which she yields in profit to man, and in honor to God. So, too, is the weakness of this affected Faith made manifest, as she sinks for a time in despondency, because her cherished arguments, and high pretensions, and accustomed plaudits, are gone, and she finds herself compelled to meet argument with dogmatism, and to bestow her splenetic contempt upon the adversary whom she cannot face. Happy if the consequence be not a misanthropic and moody anger with the vulgar herd, and a hasty abandonment of the defence of truth, because they are too obtuse to be moved by the high and spiritual arguments of a transcendentalizing theology. “He who begins by loving Christianity better than the truth, will proceed by loving his own sect or church better than Christianity, and end in loving himself better than all."
Not such has been the faith of the real martyrs to principle, in church and state. They who have faced danger with that high minded peace, which was too calm to scoff or dogmatize, they who have bled upon the scaffold of martyred patriotism, or have been burned in the fires of Christian piety, have been made of other stuff than this. They have acted no heroics in sentiment or profession, but have been truly heroes. They saw the truth in her deep and strong foundations, upon them rested their souls, with all the energy of men convinced, and for the truth they cared not if they were called to die. We would not then cultivate faith for the sake of faith, for then do we turn spiritual mountebanks, and actors, and are in danger of doing mockery to the holiest thing, but we would that she should be nurtured by the truth, her vital element and her appropriate life.
Of the influence of spiritualism upon scientific theology, and upon students in theology, we shall offer a word. When it proposes to relieve metaphysical theology of the standing objection, which is sometimes so eloquently urged ; that it is unfavorable to spiritual culture, we reply with all due respect to those who bring the charge, that it is the merest humbug.
For it is plain, that every theologian must have his metaphysics, and cannot advance an inch without them. He who urges the objection, therefore, can only mean by it, that those who go more deeply into metaphysics than himself, incur this danger. To allow the objection, then, would be to give license to every theologian to speak ill of the piety of his neighbor, who is blessed with a higher capacity than himself, or who has more diligence to use it faithfully.
But did the charge lie against the common metaphysics, it would equally hold against those called transcendental. As far as they are scientific, so far are they metaphysical, and of course, will harden the heart and dry up the soul. As far as they are meditations, and poetry, and praise, so far are they an ill-assorted mixture to the man who would desire with Baxter, that his intellect should "abhor confusion." However splendid and elevating they may be in their place, that place is not upon the page of science.
But they are friendly to theology, as they see mysteries in nature, and of course are not offended at mysteries in religion. And what philosophy does not see mysteries in nature? What science that is true to the reality of things, does not acknowledge truths behind which she cannot gofirst truths, which, as they explain other truths, cannot themselves be explained, but must be received ? Surely there are mysteries enough in nature without creating new ones to try the faith of the philosopher upon, so that when he comes to theology he may swallow not only mysteries but absurdities.
Better at once adopt the sage conclusion of Sir Thomas Brown ; “Methinks there be not impossibilities enough in religion for an active faith ; the deepest mysteries ours con tains, have not only been illustrated, but maintained by syllogism and the rule of reason. I love to lose myself in a mystery, to pursue my reason to an 'O Altitudo!''Tis my solitary recreation to pose my apprehension with those involved enigmas and riddles of the trinity, with incarnation and resurrection. I can answer all the objections of Satan and my rebellious reason, with that odd resolution I learned of Tertullian: 'Certum est quia impossibile est.'"
As far as this spiritualism raises expectations which it is sure to disappoint, and carries the mind away from the humbler course of severe and cautious thinking, and intoxicates it with expectations, that some potent mystery is wrapt in its pe