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wrong to refer an Author's meaning to himself, by distinctive marks, though not literally in his words.
We confidently hope that Mr. Gardiner, in his announced reply, will do full justice, whether it be for or against himself, to the Work under review, and by leaving no room for further complaint or controversy, close the subject.
CHRISTIAN TEACHER .
ART. 1.—NEANDER, ON THE FREE TEACHING OF
Though I had not intended to write further on the subject of the free teaching of Theology, I cannot well omit to notice several objections and misconceptions which have appeared respecting my former Observations. I am resolved, however, to abstain from particular charges, and to dwell entirely upon the subject itself, with a view to avoid every thing which might offend individuals who are particularly dear to my heart, and who shall continue so, in spite of our present difference of opinion.
In the first place; that which I said about the propriety of settling our highest mental duties according to the ideal point of view from which we see the subject, has been so misunderstood, as to suppose that I set that ideal point of view against the historical or experimental view, and establish certain notions formed a priori as the rule of that judgment. Now, I never did place that ideal conception in opposition with historical experience, as such; but only in opposition with the practical result of that experience, as it appears empirically, at any one point of time. The contemplation of the pure ideal notion, according to my view, does not oppose, in any way whatever, the contemplation of the history of the object which corresponds to the notional conception in question : on the contrary, I acknowledge that history, in the course of events), brings forth the Idea embodied, and in progressive development. To follow up that development historically, and to perceive the power of the Idea, is one and the same problem. But it is otherwise, if we
Vol. VI. No. 24.-New Series.
speak of the phenomena which are empirically perceived at any one period: for since the pure ideal notion of which we speak, owing to the opposition which it raises between the godly and the ungodly principles in human nature, cannot develop itself in a straight line, we may happen to find it, at any particular period, following its course in some of the devious and circuitous directions into which it is forced, against its natural tendency. The empirical point of view may indeed arise from the interference of some heterogeneous influence which has diverted the notional conception from its intended course. The works of man cannot be supposed free from such influence at any one given period : this mortal life of ours can only be gradually delivered from these disturbing agencies, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
There can be no doubt that if we proceed from this empirical view, making what once has been regularly established the supreme Rule by which to decide spiritual relations that are higher than the letter of any law, there is no limitation ever so opposed to the essential notion and demands of God's kingdom, no spiritual Despotism whatever, which may not be justified. According to such a view we must, in pure consistency, condemn every advance of the spiritual development, every Reformation which leads to the final victory of what is truly Christian over what is Anti-Christian. It was this
very same View, this principle, which originally condemned Christianity itself, as a defection from ancestral and legal religion : Religio a majoribus tradita, et legibus sancita.
I hope I may be allowed to dwell a moment upon the fact which I have just mentioned, as one which cannot fail to give clearness to the whole subject. According to the fundamental view taken by the ancients, no general right of mankind freely, and in common, to unfold its powers,—no universal rights of man, as such, were recognised. Whatever nature bestows on Man, was supposed to belong to the State in which every individual was born, and could not be used except under the limitations prescribed by law. Every means of forming the mind was made subordinate to what might be called political education. In conformity with this principle, one religion alone—that of the State—could exist, and conformity to it, in all its externals, was one of the duties of the citizen. The introduction of a new religion was a political offence, unless the new religion obtained the sanction of the law. This was the case especially among the Romans, to whom the State was all in all. But Christian Divines, Lawyers, and Statesmen should be on their guard not to confound the universal and spiritually theocratical
constitution of Christianity, with the principle of the heathenish State-religions : they should avoid whatever coincides with the views and language attributed by Dio Cassius to Mæcenas, who advised Augustus to support the old national religion, and oppose the diffusion of all others; since to allow this rivalry opened a door to dangerous intrigues, and was very unfavourable to the monarchical principle.
If this empirical principle of law be granted, it cannot be denied that the Roman authorities acted throughout with perfect consistency and justice, when they wished to compel the Christians to comply with the externals of the religion established by the Roman State, and punished them on their refusing to perform that public duty. The language of the younger Pliny to Trajan is a natural consequence of the empirical principle which Juridical Theologians and Theological Jurists employ, exactly alike, in support of limitations to the liberty of theological teaching. But a religion had appeared in the world, which was to expose the vanity and nothingness of the ancient politicoreligious point of view. It was a religion which published and realized a Godly kingdom-a kingdom of God-which was to embrace the whole of mankind; a kingdom with one immortal king, before whom every one within it must bend the knee; where every one must look upon his fellow-subjects as brothers employed in the same service; a kingdom animated by a peculiar Spirit, and regulated by peculiar laws. It was the Idea, (the essential notion), of this kingdom, which by creating a direct opposition to the State-religions of antiquity, was to burst the fetters by which they restrained the moral and spiritual progress of mankind.
This is the IDEA which, obtaining currency by means of Christianity, was to oppose the juridical empiricism of the politicoreligious view. That view, however, continued, for some centuries, to struggle against the power of the Christian principle, but was at last forced to yield. Thus foiled, it cast off the heathen form in which it had opposed Christianity, and assuming the much more dangerous appearance of a Christian feeling, made its
heart of the Church. From that position it exerted its influence in keeping up the dominion of every error which bore the stamp of tradition, and in preventing the process by which alone Christianity could purify itself from every thing adventitious and foreign to its spirit. Yet the juridical empiricism began again not to be able to resist the progressive advance of the kingdom of heaven, and was forced to give way, at one time, to one of the revivals of the Christian Spirit, such as that which was exhibited at the time of the Reformation; at another, to the change which Christianity is constantly producing, both directly and indirectly, upon public opinion. The power of the collective Christian Mind, which at this moment is variously and, in various countries, so strongly manifesting its opposition to that most fatal obstacle to the
free progress of the Church—the combination and confusion of the political and the religious point of view—is one of the signs of the times which is both pointing to an approaching period of glory for the kingdom of Christ, and also paving the way to it. Everyone who knows the powers which Christ has communicated and is constantly imparting to his kingdom, must cherish an ardent wish, that these powers may have unlimited room for action, so that, free from every extraneous influence, they may shape out and animate every thing about them; he must wish to remove every impediment to the unfettered collision of minds with each other; and to abolish whatever threatens to weaken, in one way or other, that activity of the true Christian Spirit, with which none are acquainted but those who can partake of it. Unquestionably, whenever a fresh mental creation is in progress, there must be a reaction on the part of the previously established empirical point of view, which, it is intended, should give way. But this reaction will only promote the victory of the notional principle—the Idea—as it already begins to appear the events which have called forth this Explanation. This reaction will, of course, be most violent in countries, on which, by their rejection of the Reformation, the pure light of the Gospel has not yet dawned.
By this separation between Politics and Religion, we must not be supposed to deny that Christianity—that power which is appointed to embrace and pervade every part of the true nature of man, purifying it and ennobling it should not exert its beneficial power upon civil life. But since the governing power of the State can best be benefitted by a settled conviction and acknowledgment, that there is a divine law entirely out of the reach of, and above, all human jurisdiction, everything hitherto said, not only proves the natural influence of Christianity upon Governments, but shows that, in order to enjoy the benefit of Christianity as an influence, we should not mix it up with that which is to be influenced. The intended beneficial effect of Christianity upon Governments presupposes, in fact, not amalgamation, but perfect distinction. If Christianity is truly to pervade the political Government, that object cannot be promoted by the subordination of the Church to the State, or by that appearance of Christianity which Governments have so often assumed since the time of Constantine. History informs