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points in a manner which, according to the Confession of Augsburg, must be condemned as Arian, and Pelagian heresy. Perhaps, borrowing a principle from the Roman Catholics, it will be said, that as long as the Church had not developed its conviction upon certain points, a variety of opinion was allowable; but that as soon as the Church has come to a definite view, every member is bound sincerely and humbly to adopt it. To this we answer that the same advances of development, which we observe in successive ages, are repeated in every single period of time taken by itself. Mankind is as much under a process of development in its co-existing, as in its successive members.*
We are told that all error proceeds from sin. We do not deny a general connection of sin and error; but we beg to observe that the very circumstance of the universality of the fact renders it perfectly irrelevant in supporting a right in some to pass a damnatory sentence upon the opinions of others. For, since our nature is so universally under the disturbing influence of sin, where shall we find any one whose theological development is secure from error?
From the Unity which belongs to the invisible Church, and manifests itself in a multiplicity of external Church-forms, we must distinguish the peculiar Unity of each of these definite bodies, as such. The principle of this Unity consists, historically, in the facts and principles from which each of these societies derives its existence. As long, therefore, as any such society continues to exist, its identity must be proved historically in reference to that principle of its origin. In regard to the Evangelical (Lutheran) Church, we must observe that the protest against the See and the Church of Rome, or even against all human authority, on points of Faith, is not a sufficient principle of identity; for this is a negative conclusion at which people may arrive from the most different views. Nor is it a sufficient mark of distinction, that the Evangelical Church acknowledges the Bible as the only source of her doctrines; for, besides that even the Socinians make the same acknowledgment, it should not be forgotten that all these declarations against Popery, against all external authority on matters of Faith, and in favour of the supremacy of Scripture, inseparable as they are from the Evangelical Church, were nevertheless not the cause, but the effect, of another principle which, having previously exerted its power on the minds and hearts of the leaders of the Reformation, was the real origin of that great event. We must look for the principle of the identity of the Evangelical Churches, in some one point, round which, as a centre, every thing which those churches conceive to be scriptural truth, arranges itself,-a point, in fact, which attracts and brings into unity all other individual doctrines. To find out this point, we must examine the process of development of the Christian life in Luther : for that must be considered as the original specimen whose characteristic marks must be repeated in the development of every one who is a living member of the Evangelical Church.
* It is probable that this answer will appear both obscure and insufficient to many English readers. Germans, who having no religious party prejudices, are familiar with the philosophical phraseology of their country, will, on the contrary, be perfectly satisfied with the short reply of our learned author. It will not, therefore, be deemed presumptuous in the translator to attempt an explanation of the original, in this place. The evasion which Dr. Neander had to stop, implies that the Church (whoever and wherever that supposed visible ruling Church may be—which is the most difficult point of all) required time for the development of her belief. But if there was a time of development for the Church, on what ground can we assert that it ceased at any particular period ? All that can be supposed is, that some part of the Church arrived at some Theological truths, in the course of the development which takes place successively from one age to another. But since all Christians had not come to the same result, at any one Chronological period which we may choose, it is clear that their course of development was still at a different stage. In other words, as portions of time, arbitrarily taken, when compared with each other present, in the prominent results, the process of development at different stages ; so every one of those periods will be found to contain, in itself, individuals who, in point of development, may be said to belong respectively to every one of the preceding ages. To bring this nearer to the argument: if there was a time when Justin was not to blame for entertaining Arian notions, or Chrysostom for thinking as Pelagius did afterwards, because Theological development, measured by centuries, had not advanced the majority of Divines to a certain point; why should we blame those who, in any one period collectively taken, stand just at the point of development which is now made an excuse for the errors of Justin in the middle of the second century, and of Chrysostom at the close of the fourth and beginning of the fifth? It is not to be supposed that any intelligent reader will here say, that the difference is, that the Church has already decided. The question of an infallible church is not before us. The debate in which we are concerned, is entirely between Protestants.—TRANSLATOR.
We shall find the central point we want in the fundamental truth to which the struggle of Luther's internal life finally led him : the truth out of which the whole Reformation grew up: the truth which, glowing as it came from the experience of his own heart, kindled the sympathy of every one who was capable of a like experience, into one holy flame: the truth which, still unconscious of its consequences, he promulgated in his Theses against Tetzel; and out of which a spontaneously growing Christian knowledge continued to develop itself in the form of consequences made clear by contrast with Popery, till, three hundred years ago, it grew into a connected doctrinal view, publicly professed as the distinguishing mark of the members of the Evangelical Church.
I speak of that collective fundamental principle which arises from the doctrine of Sin, Grace, and Justification, or to express it briefly, and as the fourth article of the Augsburg Confession declares it, the conviction that we could not obtain from God remission of sins and justification through our own merits, our works, or any satisfaction; but that we obtain forgiveness of our sins, and become justified before God by Grace, for Christ's sake, through Faith. This is the fundamental truth which the apostle Paul opposes to the Jewish justification by works, and the all-sufficiency of the Law: this is the fundamental truth to which the Reformation gave currency against the Judaism which the Church of Rome had revived: this is the truth which the spirit of the Evangelical Church repeatedly and constantly opposes, not only to the justification by works of Popery but, to every kind of pretended moral sufficiency, in whatever shape it may appear: this is the unchangeable foundation of Christian Faith on which the Reformation arose, and through which it continues to work. A Church may continue to be Christian even when it has ceased to make that notion its peculiar leading principle; but its internal historical connection with the Church founded by the Reformation, cannot subsist after that link is broken. In a negative sense such a Church might certainly celebrate the Anniversary of the Reformation; but, a body of Christians who reject the main principle of the Confession of Augsburg, could not properly commemorate the solemn delivery of that document. If such be still the main principle of the spiritual life of our Church, her Theology, whose character depends on that life, cannot but be completely pervaded by it.
This principle cannot, however, be employed as an external rule, applicable to Theology as a Science; for no science (as was said before) can be subjected to rules which do not arise within it. As that principle passed over from the spiritual life of the Reformers to their Theology, so must it be communicated anew to our own, from the living source of our minds and hearts. No dead tradition will avail here: all must proceed again from the life of man. If we are convinced that the great truth just mentioned is necessarily connected with the whole notion of our Christianity, we should also trust that Theology, as it will develop itself anew out of the holy Scripture, in mutual action and re-action with the awakening life of our Church, will return gradually and scientifically to the acknowledgment of the main principle of the Reformation,
Gladly, indeed, upon the grounds herein laid down, shall we join in the commemoration of the Confession of Augsburg :*
• The famous Diet of Augsburg, for the settlement of the religious troubles in the empire, was opened by Charles Vth, on the 15th of June 1530. The protestant Confession of Faith was read on the 25th of the same month. It seems that a public commemoration of this great event was about to be made when Dr. Neander's pamphlet was published.- TRANSLATOR.
and ardently do we wish that the fundamental truth which (to use Luther's expressions) by its being publicly acknowledged, glorified Christ in the presence of the imperial Diet, may re-appear, by God's power, as the animating principle of the Church and its Theology. But strongly as we feel on these points, equally strong is our objection to the external limitation of Theology by the rule and measure of the Augsburg Confession.
To the reasons already given why that Confession should not be used for that object, we shall add, that, far superior as a Declaration of Faith, having its source in real spiritual life, and therefore full of practical tendency, as it must be acknowledged to be in comparison with all those æcumenical symbols of Faith, whose dialectic forms cannot come in contact with the immediate perception of Christian truth; still we must declare, that in several individual representations of doctrine, the Augsburg Confession does not come up to what we, in common with many other Divines, wish for, as an indispensable declaration of the Christian Truth. The letter of every declaration of this kind, like all human things, must be imperfect and changeable, although the Truth professed in them is perfect and for ever victorious. Confident of this, we feel assured that, provided the opposite and contending views which agitate our period are allowed free development and mutual comparison, a glorious period will arise from the present struggle, in which that Truth appearing in a nobler and purer form, and led by the hand of Him whose spirit guides the Church, will add a fresh triumph of divine Grace to those which, as epochs of a spiritual creative power, displayed themselves in the apostolic age, in the twelfth century, and at the time of the Reformation.
NEANDER. Berlin, June 16th 1830.
ART. II.-CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE EDINBURGH
REVIEW. By FRANCIS JEFFREY, now one of the Judges of the Court of Session in Scotland. 4 vols. London: 1844.
It seems that the public is to be indulged, in due course of time, with republications of all the best articles in the Edinburgh Review. Sydney Smith's contributions led the way, and have already been followed by those of Lord Jeffrey and Mr. Macaulay; and others, we presume, are to come, in such doses as the public patience shall be found to bear without injury. If we may be allowed to judge from the prefaces to the two latter works, the authors have not been dragged without reluctance from their privacy, and the merit or demerit of the publication belongs, not to them, but to the proprietors of the Review itself.
Mr. Macaulay's reviewals will always find readers, as they do not refer to the topics of the day, but mostly to historical questions of permanent interest ; and as they treat subjects with which every one is desirous of being acquainted, in an easy flow of language that is never wearisome. Sydney Smith's performances will perhaps be read for their wit. But those of Lord Jeffrey owe almost all their value to the writer's previously earned reputation. We should characterize him rather as a good reviewer, than a talented author : the merit of his writings is not intrinsic, but is bound up with that of the work which may
be under his notice. He is remarkable for good taste, more than any other kind of talent, and consequently he pleases and instructs, not so much by his own reflections, as by judiciously pointing out the beauties and defects of another's composition, and selecting with art, such passages for quotation as are interesting to the general reader, and tell well in a reviewal. Hence his peculiar fitness for the task of Editorship, and the weight which his opinions carried with them: but hence, too, the comparative inutility of the republication after such a lapse of time. The works he reviewed have, long since, either been forgotten or become well known: in the one case no one cares to hear them criticised ; in the other, their qualities are familiar to all.
Considered as a writer, his forte lies in a sort of ironical pleasantry, hardly to be called humour, though probably derived from the same sources—a quick sense of the ludicrous, joined with good-nature. The reviewals in which this faculty comes into play, are decidedly superior to those, where he exerts himself to be eloquent or profound. The notices of the memoirs of