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Spirit in its regenerating ministries. Place others of wider culture, of apparently greater influence, upon thrones, if you will. To the Waldenses still belongs a royal place; for they also were kings and priests unto God.
What will be the future of such a Church ? for nineteen thousand Waldenses and three thousand Catholics dwell together in the valleys of Piedmont to-day. Since 1848 they have comparatively flourished. In Turin they have three preachers, with masters, colporteurs, a small journal, and a depository of books and tracts. In Genoa, Nice, Pinerola, and various other places, they have preachers and missionaries. It is said that they are to be found in many parts of Italy. The College of Torre, in the valley where their churches have always been, has twelve professors, and one hundred and five students, including those of the Normal School and the Theological Faculty. A church with such a past, the representative of a host of confessors and martyrs, though small to-day, must have a future. We should gladly welcome any of its members, honored both for its past history and its present character, into our own land.
Still we hope to see its triumph in Italy itself. Recognized already in Piedmont, in the revolutions which may suddenly burst upon the world, and cannot always be postponed, it may yet be recognized by the United Italian States. Perhaps the Church which popes and princes could not crush, which preserved its purity almost, it may be altogether, untarnished, through long centuries of poverty and persecution, may come down from its Alpine retreats, in its true apostolical succession, to be enthroned even in Rome. If that consummation should ever come, may the purity of its martyr days still remain, to give it an omnipotence which Rome could never win. May no degeneracy cause its prosperity to become the loss of its power. Whatever the future may be, the past is secure.
The prayer of Milton's Muse has been answered. God has avenged his slaughtered saints. The Inquisition, with its armies and its- racks, is losing or has lost its power in the dominions of Catholicism itself; while the Waldenses live in their mountain valleys, - live in the thought, the faith, the life, of reformed
churches and nations. The justice of history is slow, but
For ages we say, “ How long! O Lord, how long!” But at length the Lord gloriously comes.
Christian candor may magnify the work of Dominic as it will, but it cannot save his name from deepening shame. Prejudice may obscure the name of Waldo or of Claude, of the Waldenses both of earlier and later centuries; but they shall yet shine like the stars. Tyrants and warriors usurp the pages of history, and make it profane. But the world has a sacred history too. It has its glorious roll of saints. As we study the past, they seem to come forth, bending beneath the cross, circled with martyr fires, crowned with piercing thorns, yet with transfigured faces; and as they take their place in the upper sky, a sacramental host of God's elect, the moral heaven is filled with celestial rays. They come from every age and clime; and the pure and true whom we have known go up from our homes, from the places of loyal service of man and God, to join their blessed company. Compass us about, — the earlier and the later gone, - and fill our hearts with your eternal life, and take us up into your own fellowship and rest!
Such is the position of the two parties of Protest in Piedmont. The one is the party now in possession of the government, under the lead of the accomplished statesman, Count Cavour. It is the one liberal government, born in the throes of 1848, which has escaped “reaction.” It has kept itself clean from the atrocities of revolution. It has risen above the impracticability of most“ moderate” governments, which, even in their name, seem doomed to ruin. Although the intrigues of the more violent clergy sometimes result in persecuting a Waldensian congregation or arresting a Bible-reading traveller, we suppose there is little doubt that the general drift of the popular sentiment will sustain the Parliament. A strong majority of the government has advanced by these first steps on the road of reformation. The other party of reform is still a handful of men.
But they sustain eternal principles, which they have held since the twilight of antiquity. Their fathers have gone to the stake for them; - and the children seem to be worthy of the fathers. There are not among them many high or mighty; but the low and weak cling to the eternal truth to which they were born with a courage which makes them kings and priests. Such a company, in the struggle which awaits Piedmont, are allies who will do more than half the work that is to be done. They may well be proud of the position in which their country stands. They may look forward to a future in which their little leaven shall have leavened the whole lump. That is a touching story told by Signor Gajani, — that when Napoleon imprisoned the Pope in Piedmont, the only visit of courtesy he received was from an aged Waldensian pastor. A priest of the oldest of churches visiting his unfortunate brother of a younger communion ! Was there an omen in the interview ?
ART. IX. — REVIEW OF CURRENT LITERATURE.
RECENT GERMAN THEOLOGY.
ALTHOUGH the keen interest which followed the course of German speculation down to Hegel in metaphysics, and Strauss and Baur in criticism, has partly abated, Germany is still the land most rich in erudition, and most fertile in speculation, - still the mother of all things new and strange in the domain of Theology. It is true that the creative period seems to have passed by; that - if we except the constructive criticism of the later Tübingen School - self-confident energy and the audacious hope of intellectual youth are replaced by a microscopic criticism, an erudition painfully minute, a groping and searching in the plane of religious speculation, that turns in the same circle, and perpetually recoils upon itself. As political problems are given to England to work out painfully, and social ones to France, so to Germany it seems committed to exhaust every vein of abstract thinking and erudition, to run the round of every possible hypothesis, to test and eliminate the errors of all half-way systems, and by a reductio ad absurdum leave the right way to be taken at last by those not wearied with following the truth through all its doublings and windings. If a feeling like sadness comes upon us at seeing the weariness and chaos that appear to occupy the field of that earnest and high debate, if we are amazed to behold a new-school metaphvsics plunging rampant into Atheism, and a hyper-Lutheranism toppling over into a mongrel Romanism, — if a host of obscure names and petty
controversies occupy the ground where Lessing and Herder, Fichte and Schleiermacher, De Wette and Neander, have waged their high controversy with error or unbelief, - still a little attention will show that good service is rendered us by the present generation also. are indebted to any one who will help to clear up the confusion, and arrange the new party men and names in their true bearings.
In this service, it may be right to say, the Christian Examiner has the assistance of a gentleman eminently qualified, both by sound learning in theology, and by his position as Professor at Halle, to interpret the various phases of the living mind of Germany. Most of the reviews which follow in detail are from his careful and experienced hand. With this aid, it is hoped that each succeeding volume of the Examiner may be able to register, with accuracy and promptness, the intellectual results of the half-year. But it will be an aid to many
of our readers, if we introduce such notice by a brief preliminary survey of the field.
The general results of the last thirty or forty years we cannot better describe than in the following paragraph, taken from a recent number of the Westminster Review.
“ The critical theology has become conscious of its own mission. From a blind instinct of aimless inquiry, from the eager ebullition of youthful curiosity which would question everything, it has matured into à habit of careful research, governed by a conscientious spirit, and armed with all the resources of knowledge, direct and collateral. If, indeed, its early enthusiasm has abated, this is inevitable. All fertile periods of speculative agitation, such as that which Germany has just gone through, are only possible because they are stimulated by hopes too sanguine to be realized. After a time the human mind is brought to, in its most adventurous flights, by the bounds which it cannot pass. It recognizes, when 'roused by the shock which drives it back, the wall of adamant which bounds inquiry.' It lowers its pretensions, but at the same time consolidates its efforts. In this stage is German theological endeavor. Never was speculation less wild or capricious. Its every movement has to be made under the surveillance of the most vigilant criticism. Its own intense consciousness of the laws of logical method checks it at every turn. The enormous wealth of applicable learning which it has accumulated hampers its operations. It can no longer be ingenious or inventive, but is under the imperious necessity of being júst. It may smile at the crude conjectures of its young rationalist days, but it must be with a mixture of regret for the freedom and elasticity with which it then sallied forth for the conquest of the world.”
In our survey we shall follow the method, and, wherever we can, the language of Schwarz, whose volume* is the most recent on the subject, and for our purpose the best.
It is a work generous and liberal in spirit, apparently free from party bias. Sympathizing most nearly with the middle or reconciliation
* Zur Geschichte der neuesten Theologie. (An Essay towards the History of the Newest Theology.) Von KARL SCHWARZ. Leipzis 1856. 12mo. pp. 437.
school of theologians, of whom Bunsen is the noblest representative, rather than with either extreme section, yet with a clear exposition and frank acknowledgment of the service rendered by the most unsparing critics. It covers, professedly, the period of twenty years, – from 1835, when the work of Strauss brought to a head the critical ferment of German erudition, — in fact, a little more. The “ Leben Jesu” was a true “ epoch-making” book. The epoch which it led was “not creative, but revolutionary,” an anticipation, by some dozen years, of the political storm of 1848. Up to 1835, we find the two old-fashioned parties, Rationalist and Supernaturalist, about equally one-sided and superficial: now they are brushed aside by a current of deeper speculation, and a breeze of sharper historic criticism. Hitherto, all manner of hybrid and transitional theologies. Rationalism has grown sterile and effete, resting on barren erudition, blind to the mystic or poetic side of the Scripture it professes to expound, lacking in religious sense, speculative sense, and historical sense.” The Idealism in vogue fifty years ago becomes abstract and fantastic, — drifting vaguely through romantic dreams of the Middle Age, through mysticism and fable, towards a spurious Catholicity, a high-church "positivity.” The real religion of the time sprang from the inspirations of patriotism, and was born in the war of German independence. A self-sacrificing conviction, a faith unto death, whatever its source, is religion. The regeneration of Germany came with the shock that struck from the popular heart the spark of liberty.
Hegel and Schleiermacher - two men whose influence on the development of thought has been, perhaps, exceeded by none in the present century - are the two eminent leaders in the period that now ensued. All the more recent German schools either date immediately from them, or at least have been most powerfully affected, whether as disciples or opponents, by the movement in which they bore the leading share.
It was when the government was trying to extinguish all embers of the revolutionary spirit, that Hegel appeared at Berlin, in 1818. His system of abstract necessity set itself against all abstract ideality. His maxim of “the self-development from substance to subject," practically came to this, — “Whatever is, is right." His disciples of one wing interpreted his speculative theory into old-fashioned orthodoxy. His “logical category they made an historic category"; his philosophical Absolute was realized to them in Jesus of Nazareth, a translation which only hid the real drift of the original. A more dangerous tendency set in the direction towards mere nihilism and unbelief. The phrases of the master are taken out of their place in a comprehensive and fertile system, and made mere handles to an opponent, or catchwords of a sect. In Hegelism, so read, “events are brought to pass by ghastly Universals; it is a philosophy of history, in which history stains the purity of philosophy, and philosophy drains away the blood from history.” The Christian ethics of freedom disappear. There is no germ of personality. “Persons are only masks; humanity is a mosaic, not an organism." “ The Absolute is not that which creates, but that 5TH S. VOL. I. NO. III.