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devotees of knowledge, who are so occupied by the wealth of facts that he has mastered, and the lucid order in which he arrays them, that they fail to see in the theory itself—blank atheisin grinning through the mask of a defective and povertystricken metaphysic.
To all these forms of naturalism should be added another, which is clothed with imposing snpernatural pretensions, and invested with high religious and theological authority. We mean the scheme of actual Pantheism, taught under the name of High Calvinisin. If it is Pantheism to absorb God in nature, and to make God himself come to self-consciousness for the first time in the spirit of man, it is philosophically and as really such to absorb man into God, even by a theory of sovereign grace. This is done by those who teach such views of God's government as make sin and the consciousness of guilt as really impossible, as those who in terms deny it, who hold that sin is not only imputed when there is no law, but when there is no personal guilt, and who resolve the administration of electing and redeeming grace into the ultima ratio of a sovereigu who reigns, not by the authority of beneficent goodness, but by that of creative power. Though the scheme is taught in Christian pulpits, and propounded from chairs of theology, it is exposed to all the philosophical objections which hold against the other schemes of naturalism, and to this in addition that it puts a horrid mask on the Christian faith.
To all these existing forms of naturalism, Dr. Bushnell opposes his theory of the supernatural, as a system of powers or forces, higher in dignity and more important in its ends than the entire realm of natural agents with their powers and laws. He ains to show that the supernatural is possible in theory, and real in fact. This being established, it follows that sin is possible and real, and that a miraculous redemption is not incredible. To these results tend all the philosophical discussions of the book. The real applications of the argument are the powerful chapters on the fact of sin, and Jesus himself a miracle.
But low does he demonstrate that the supernatural is both
possible and real? He plants himself on the fact that man himself is supernatural in a part of his being, i. e. his will; that by this he truly originates—that though brought in close connection with nature, he is not subject to it but above itbringing to pass effects which the mechanism of nature never could have accomplished, and acting upon the lines of cause and effect already furnished. He is thus himself a new power—a superior force competent to effect results not provided for by nature acting alone. This is a fact which no one will deny-which, if he should, would be confuted by his direct experience. There may then, be other supernatural agencies, superior in dignity, more comprehensive in their reach, and vastly more important in their results. These higher agencies, ruled over by the highest of all, constitute a snpernatural system which is ever acting on this vast universe which we call natural, and producing striking effects in the interest of this higher system, and for its immeasurably superior ends. But this supernatural system and its actings is not a ghostly thing, but is to be conceived as ever present and ever acting along the chain of natural agencies.
Here it will be asked on every quarter, Is this all the supernatural which he gives us—a supernatural like that of the personal will in man? Does he not thereby degrade the supernatural to the natural, and instead of lifting the natural up, does he not bring the supernatural down-giving us the name—the empty shell, but destroying the reality-by casting the kernel away? What avails it to contend for inspiration, if by this is meant that all are inspired, or, to defend the supernatural and the miraculous, if all that is intended is, that man acts supernaturally and works a miracle every time that he raises his arın ?
We reply, this does not follow necessarily, but everything depends upon the conception of the higher powers and agencies which the author gives us, and to which he leads us upward from the lower. To argne from the fact of the lower to the possibility of the higher, is surely pertinent and effective as a method of reasoning, for it silences objections and stifles misgivings. The only question to ask is, what the higher is to
which we are conducted. The use of the terms in the sense of Coleridge and Bushnell, if they are carefully defined, may be open to objection as departing from nsage, but it has its advantages in arresting the attention to a truth too readily overlooked, as well as in fixing and recording the arguments which the terms thus employed will be sure to bring to mind. We shall consider in its place whether the author's conception of the higher grades of the supernatural is in fact true and satisfying
But what of his theory of the supernatural in man; is even that correct? Has he truly stated the fact on which he founds these important inductions? Do the phenomena of our own experience justify the representations which he makes? Will no: the very foundation of his theory tail, so that the whole superstructure must fall in? In other words, it becomes a serious question, which in some quarters will be sharply contested, whether Dr. Bushnell's views of human freedom-called by him the supernatural-are tenable.
Of this question we observe, that the author does not profess to give a theory of freedom complete in its details, philosophically exact in its language, which is clear from all verbal inconsistencies and guarded against every possible objection. To do this was not necessary for his purpose ; nay, it might defeat this purpose, which was to state the fact of freedom in a way which would arrest attention, and to assert for it an element supernatural. This he has done in Chapter II, under the titles of nature and the supernatural, and with a fuller expansion in Chapter III, under the contrast between powers and things. In developing his views of freedom, he does indeed bring out its most important relations, and attempt to clear his doctrine from its most serious difficulties. He defends the fact and forcibly appeals to our experience and observation. He discusses its relation to motives or the natural element in the soul and the universe which environs it. He faces the difficulties which grow out of the divine omnipotence, and gives a solution of this much vexed question, which is clear if it is not satisfactory. He enters the labyrinthine discussion concerning “foreknowledge absolute," and gives his impression of the real clue that would conduct him through, while he does not linger 60 long as to lose himself and bewilder his readers in its
wandering mazes.” Upon his position in respect to these relations of freedom, we have no criticisms to offer, for we think his views are just in the main, though they are not so complete and guarded as for other objects might be desired.
One important oversight we notice, because it runs throngh the entire treatise and carries with it important consequences, both to his philosophy and theology. We refer to his conception of character, as determined or constituted by the actings of the will. These actings he makes to terminate directly and exclusively in the domain of nature, and there to leave all their influence. Thus the natural in the soul, the
memory, appetite, passion, attention, imagination, association, disposition,” are governed by their own laws in part, and in part subjected to the action of the will; and whatever the will can do, is manifest in its effects upon these and other similar departments of the natural self.
If its action were normal, it would bind nature to its service and find in her concurrent impulses, as well a security against
a a fall, as an inspiration to higher virtue. But if it is sinful, the will becomes the slave of nature, remaining indestructible indeed as an autonomic power, competent to choose, powerful to condemn, but not competent to execute so as to realize its own ideals. These views run through the volume and are ever recurring in the explanations of sin and redemption. Dr. Bushnell expressly tells us that " volitions, taken by them
“ selves, involve no capacity to regenerate, or constitute a character. Holy virtue is not an act, or compilation of acts taken merely as volitions, but it is a new state or status rather, a right disposedness, whence new action may flow.” pp. 239, 240. Compare pp. 51, 52, 53. · Of this we observe, it is true that volitions do not constitute the whole of character, when considered apart from what nature has provided in original endowments and dispositions—nor do they, irrespective of the forming influence which the volitions [the actings of this supernatural agent called the will] add to these original gifts of nature. It is as near nonsense to speak of the will as constituting the whole of a man's character, as it would be to say that his
stomach constitutes his health. But when the question is, what is the moral element in his character, or what in character has worth or the opposite, incurring praise or blame, we do not hesitate to say that it is his will.
This Dr. Bushnell asserts broadly, boldly, and truly. But when he limits the acts of the will to single, transitive efforts that pass into the pliant chain of nature, he overlooks the fact that there are activities which remain and live on, not by their effects upon nature only, but as acts which are springs o living energy to the man himself; that there are states and conditions not only of the intellect or of the sensibility, but states of the will itself, giving a sublime interest to those great decisions by which the act of the moment decides the character, and the decision of an hour becomes a living force for good and evil, which makes or mars the man, which blesses or curses his destiny. The fact is unquestioned in our psychological history. It is attested by our experience and observation. It is true in other applications than the moral and religious. Had Dr. Bushnell not overlooked this fact, he would not have set the disposition or character in so sharp a contrast with the volition, and seemed to involve himself in a constant inconsistency with his main doctrine concerning the will.
By so doing, he would also have relieved his doctrine of the will from grave objections. These objections are, that many, nay, the most of our volitions, seem to follow the disposition or character with the force of natural law; that there is no moral element in them, except that which this character innparts. If therefore, the character itself is not directly dependent on the will, these so called acts of will are brought under the dominion of nature and obey the law of cause and effect. But let it be seen that in those most trivial acts, this voluntary, self-sustained, ever-renewed character, is manifested and expressed, and the difficulty vanishes, while justice is done to the two elements that seem to conflict-the element of nature giving constancy and steadiness to our executive acts, and the element of the supernatural which holds us responsible for them all, because of the character which they embody and express.