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the narrative. He must not expect, on the other hand, a full, perfect, methodical view of the physical, political, social, moral and religious condition of Great Britain, much less of France and Belgium. Some features in such a general view he will find well delineated.
We cannot close without expressing our severe reprobation of the typographical character of the work. You can hardly open its leaves without having your eye rest on some flagrant error in orthography or punctuation. Quotation marks are half omitted, hyphens left out, sentences distorted and mangled by misplaced stops, syllables are split at the ends of lines, and to the mis-spellings there is no end. These errors are often so great as to affect the sense, and shake your confidence in the accuracy of the statement, especially where figures are introduced. Names of places are so disfigured, that you are at a loss to recognize them. We are obliged to stop and ponder long, for instance, whether Corisbroke is our familiar Carisbrook ; and through defective punctuation and false orthography, even a Parisian might stumble on Mont Matre Pere La Chaise. He knows his own Montmartre, and his Père Lachaise, but what does this barbarous phrase denote? And how shall the chimist recognize the well-known Daubeny in the uncouth Danberry ? Surely we have a right to expect better things of a press in the literary atmosphere of Amherst.
Art. IX.—THE PROGRESS OF THEOLOGICAL SCIENCE SINCE THE
We are not without apprehension, that the language in which this subject is announced, will, however without any fault of its own, convey to some minds an idea altogether different from what we intend to express. It would seem, indeed, that no one could doubt the possibility of such a thing as progress in theological science; or consider it as trenching on the borders of unwarrantable assumption, to intimate, that within a given period, this science has actually made some advancesyet we are continually reminded, not to presume too much in this matter. The suspicion is frequently excited, when we speak of improvements in theology, that we contemplate some improvement in truth itself. We are gravely told, that we can not make a new bible—that God will not alter his revelations
to accommodate man ; and in the same breath, as if the proposition were identical with the former, that there can absolutely be no advances in theology, that Augustine and the Reformers settled every thing, and it is folly to think of the least improvement on any of their views. We wish, therefore, to be indulged with a brief definition of terms, in order that we may go on to treat somewhat of the subject above indicated, without liability to the strange charge of supposing, that new truth can be made, or old truth unmade-neither of which, notwithstanding our extreme simplicity, do we happen to believe.
Theology is often used in the same sense as the phrase divine truth. As thus used, it designates the truth itself, objectively considered. In this sense we say, of course, that no advance can be made in theology. Essential truth-that which the bible calls, by way of unapproachable pre-eminence, the truth, fahrbera—is necessarily fixed beyond the possibility of change. Like God himself, its author and revealer, it is the same, yesterday, to-day, and forever-incapable of increase or diminution. Human invention can not add to it; human spoliation can not make it less. It would be the same if every created intelligence in the universe were blind to its glories. New divine truth there cannot be. It is as old as eternity. From everlasting it has stood, in its living forms, before the infinite mind. It is as unchangeable as the throne of heaven. might as well speak of a short eternity-weak omnipotenceas of new truth, or of new theology, if by theology be meant divine truth itself. Taking the word theology in this sense, it were as proper and as christian-like to tell us, as if out of bowels of compassion for our blind temerity, that we can not make a new sun, or a new Jehovah, as that we can not make any advances in theology. Is it seriously supposed, that we deem ourselves, or any human being, endowed with the power, to change, to add to, to diminish, aught of the truth of God?
But the word theology may be, and is most commonly used to mean human viers and statements respecting divine truth. It is of course in this sense, and this only, that we hold theology to be susceptible of improvement. To assert, that no advance can be made in theology, meaning by the term men's apprehensions and statements concerning the truth of God itself, is ascribing perfection of knowledge, not to God, but to man.
It is not exalting the revelation-it is not placing the bible far away beyond all reach and possibility of improvement, It is exalting imperfect and erring man's views and explanations of it. To deny that theology, in this sense, can be improved, is to rob ourselves, and our age, and all following ages, and God himself, of the supreme glory of his wisdom, in order to enrich the men of generations gone by, who were as much dust and ashes as we are. It is glorifying the creature, not the Creator-yea, glorifying the creature at the Creator's expenseexalting, as the case may be, Augustine and the Reformers, not the omniscient God. It is not asserting, that no man can manufacture truth, which none but the most perverted understanding can for a moment dream to be possible—but that none can know more of it than certain who have gone before us. It is ascribing inspiration, not to Paul and David and Isaiah, but to men who themselves, if good, would have thought it sacrilege to lay the slightest claim to the hallowing touch of the Spirit. It is a scheme which makes the truth and perfection of an opinion out of its antiquity-which will have it that the only idea of progress possible to man, is that of an effort to return to what has been. In the sense of the term theology now explained, we do suppose that advances may be made in theology--that one generation may know more of it than another, or may state it better.
If progress may be made in men's views and modes of stating divine truth, much more may it be made in theological science, properly so called, in distinction from theology. In the sense just unfolded, theology is a human statement respecting the fundamental doctrines of God's word. Theological science respects the rationale or philosophy of those doctrines. Its aim is to explain the why and wherefore of those great revealed facts, which constitute essential truth. That there are objects to occupy such a science, there cannot be the shadow of a doubt. The distinction between the grand revealed facts, or fundamental doctrines of the bible, and any and every explanation of them, is perfectly plain. No distinction can be plainer. Take an instance: The doctrine of the saints' perseverance is a cardinal doctrine of the gospel. It is a grand revealed fact, that all who are ever converted will finally be saved—will persevere to the end, and enter the realms of glory. This is one thing; and every attempt to explain the reason why the fact is thus, is altogether another. The doctrine is held alike by all orthodox christians; but they may give different reasons for
One ascribes the saints' perseverance to something in the nature of moral principle, either sinful or holy, which tends to secure the perpetuity of that principle. Another ascribes it to the supposed fact, that God has pledged himself to create the exercises of a new heart in all that were ever re
newed, unto the end, and that there is no tendency in moral action, or principle, to perpetuate itself. It is obvious, that these and all attempts to explain the philosophy of the saints' perseverance, are totally distinct from the doctrine itself. Not that the true philosophy of that doctrine is of no consequence to its standing or falling. Far from it. The doctrine could not stand without a foundation. But it is entirely distinct from any and every foundation that man has invented, or will invent, for its support. It has a true foundation. God sees it. Man may not have seen it. It is not indispensable, that man should see it, in order that the doctrine should do its intended work upon him. It is only necessary, that christians should know simply the fact. They need not know even the true philosophy of itat least, not indispensably. They may hold the head, on this part of divine truth, and yet hold a wrong philosophy of it. Let us at once illustrate this point, and the distinction just attempted to be drawn between revealed doctrines of the bible and any or all modes of accounting for them :—The sun is the source of light. Here is a fact. Light comes from the sun by undulation. Here is a theory to account for the fact, entirely distinct from the fact itself. Heat and moisture sustain vegetable life. Any and every attempt to explain the process by which heat and moisture contribute to the support of vegetable lise, is entirely distinct from the fact itself. Thus the facts of natural philosophy—its principal and obvious phenomena—are of one kind; its theories, or modes of explaining these facts, are entirely of another; and a philosopher may hold the right doctrine respecting the origin or source of light, who gives the wrong account of its propagation to us. He may even give a theory of its propagation to us, which, if true, would subvert the great fact itself, and yet believe the fact as firmly as any. Just so, in our view, is the mass of revealed truths—those which constitute the essence of revelation-distinct from the mass of theories devised to account for them—distinct even from the true philosophy, without which they could not stand ; so distinct, that there may be a correct theology with a wrong philosophy. This mass of theories constitutes what we call, if they are correct, a theological science, in distinction from theology. It is the philosophy of theology. It is of man; while theology, in the sense first explained, is of God. It is in the philosophy of theology, or theological science, as now interpreted, that we suppose the proper field for effort to advance the cause of theological truth to lie. It is true there may be improvement in the modes of stating the cardinal doctrines of the
gospel, in theology understood in the last explained sense of the term. But it is mainly, beyond all question, in the philosophy of theology, that the proper field of theological inprovement lies. Here, and not in any vain attempts or thought of making a new bible, do we place it.
Under some, but a limited diversity of statement, there has ever been agreement among the pious of earth respecting the fundamental doctrines of the gospel and of the bible,—that practical theology which, so far as truth is concerned, is the foundation, the ground-work, of piety and holiness, is the same every where, in all good men, let them belong to what church or denomination they may. It could not be otherwise. By those doctrines, by the word of God, they are all alike begotten again to a lively hope; and by those same doctrines, their new and spiritual life, hid with Christ in God, is alike preserved and maintained. Such effects could not be produced by the truths of the gospel, unless understood. Such similarity of effects, through all the ranks of the renewed on earth, could not be without a similarity in their understanding of these truths. We can hardly bring ourselves to believe, that a real christian was ever left habitually to reject or doubt any essential truth of the bible. We are slow to think, that a christian at heart can be a heretic in his understanding. That is misplaced and perverted charity, in our view, which has compassion and good will, and christian regard for heresy itself, but pours its indignation and wrath, without mixture, on every tendency to it—which holds it to be better directly to subvert or deny the acknowledged foundations of the gospel, than to hold opinions whose real but unsuspected tendency is to undermine themwhich would fellowship Voltaire rather than Origen, and Socinus rather than Arminius. There can not be a christian who is not grounded in that which the bible calls the truth-who does not know, and knowing, love and obey it. Similar is the testimony of observation. Wherever you meet a pious heart, there you meet an understanding which receives and feeds upon the distinctive doctrines of God's word. No where do you see a consistent, genuine christianity, beyond the limits of a pure, practical theology. You find no mixture of piety, warm from the heart, and active in the life, with radical error. When you meet a man whose soul is instant in prayer, fixed, stereotyped in the act of supplication, whose mind dwells in the midst of things unseen and eternal, whose active powers are given to the cause of men's salvation and the glory of the Lord, then you find one who does not believe, that all are to be