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NOTICES OF BOOKS.
We place at the head of our notices of recent theological works, tho title of two elegantly printed volumes, sent us by Messrs. D. Appleton & Co.,_"The Emancipation of Faith, "* by the late Henry Edward
, Schedel, M. D., Laureate of the FIospitals of Paris. He was a man of extraordinary genius and energy, who turned aside from the labors and studies of his own profession to investigate the fundamental questions of Theology. He perished alone, by one of the saddest of catastrophes, on Mt. Pilatte, near Lucerne, July 25, 1856. His remains were discovered and buried by his friends, and the manuscript of these volumes was left to be edited and published in this country by a surviving brother.
The emancipation of Faith for which he writes, is its deliverance from the reasonings and conclusions of Theology. He contends for an original Revelation of God's existence and attributes, by Moses, and for the obligation to Faith which such a revelation involves and imposes on man. This Revelation was renewed in Christ, who is the Divine Word, God revealed. All else is Theology or human science derived from these original and only reliable communications of truth, and in part mistaken and perverted. Even the reasonings and conceptions of the Scriptures themselves are, except the revelations named, human and not the words of God to man.
It is a fundamental doctrine with him that these Truths cannot be developed nor reached by human Reason-that they can be known only as they are revealed from God or are transmitted by tradition. To sustain these two positions, he has submitted all religions to a careful induction, and also studied with close attention and laborious reading, the principal speculative systems of philosophy, both ancient and mod
His reading must have been prodigious. To all appearance it was prosecuted with unsparing industry, and the results are given with great clearness and skill. As a resume of the history of philosophy, touching the point in question, the book may be consulted with great advantage, and will be valued by those who know how to use it. We dissent from the conclusions of the writer, but can easily understand how he may have been led to adopt them by the painful experience and observation of the mischief which church systems and theological dogmatism have wrought to the simple gospel. We cannot but hope that the work will be useful, not in emancipating Faith from all the obligations from which the author would deliver it, but in adjusting the limits of Faith and Theology with greater exactness, so that Faith and Science may both have their rights.
* The Emancipation of Faith. By the late Henry EDWARD Schedel, M. D., Laureate of the Hospitals of Paris, author of "A Treatise on the Diseases of the Skin," “A Clinical Examiner of Hydropathy,” &c., &c. Edited by George Schedel. 2 Vols. 8vo. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1858.
The spirit of the author seems to have been truth-loving and Christian, and we add our tribute of sympathy that so gifted a genius should have been so strangely taken from life.
We have received from Messrs. Carlton & Porter, Professor Bledsoe's " Theodicy;* or Vindication of the Divine Glory, as manifested in the Constitution and Government of the Moral World." The author is one of the ablest thinkers and writers on philosophical subjects, wbich our country can show. With no pretension of manner or style, he coolly surveys the writer whom he would criticise or the system ho would examine, seizes upon the strong or weak points of the argument, discusses fairly, intelligibly, and with exhausting completeness, and sets forth his views in intelligible and agreeablo English.
The work before us is the most important which he has as yet attempted, and the execution of it brings honor to him and to our country.
The introduction treats of the failure of previous attempts to construct a Theodicy, and argues that these furnish no reason why others should not renew the attempt with hope of success.
Part I, is on the theme : The Existence of Moral Evil, or sin consistent with the holiness of God. The scheme of necessity is considered at great length and in all its aspects and relations. The views of the leading writers, English, American, and French, are given with great minuteness. Calvin, Edwards, Spinoza, are analyzed most thoroughly,
A Theodicy; or Vindication of the Divine Glory, as manifested in the Constitution and Government of the Moral World. By Albert Taylor BLEDSOE, LL. D., Professor of Mathematics in the University of Virginia. Seventh Edition. 8vo. New York: Carlton & Porter.
and with a candid and truth-loving spirit. The Augustinian and Pelagian schemes are both stated and criticised.
Part II, is entitled : The Existence of Natural Evil, or suffering consistent with the goodness of God.
This is expanded, and includes the consideration of the various theories of the atonement and of retribution.
The conclusion presents a summary view of the principles and advantages of the system defended. We are not prepared to criticise at length the principles and positions of the author. We might dissent from some of his judgments of Calvin and Edwards. We can, however, safely commend this work, as a whole, as carefully and clearly considered and in general a just vindication of the divine goodness. It is the first formal Theodicy that bas been attempted since the days of Leibpitz. It might adnit of a clearer and more scriptural doctrine of grace. We commend the work to all who shall be excited by the briefer discussion of these subjects by Dr. Bushnell, to the perusal of the more exact and careful investigations of this volume.
Messrs. Phillips, Sampson & Co. have published “Thoughts on the Life and Character of Jesus of Nazareth," by Rev. W. H. Furness.* This subject is not a new one for the author. In 1836 be published “ Remarks on the Four Gospels," which two years afterwards was published in an expanded form, in “ Jesus and his Biographers.” In 1850, he published “ A History of Jesus," which went to a second edition in 1853. Now in 1859, he gives us his “ Thoughts," &c.
In all these volumes he teaches substantially the same views. We do not wonder that he is not content with them, and seeks to give new expression to them, in order that he may find in language some prop or stay to his unsatisfied mind.
He does not write for orthodox believers, and expects to disappoint and offend them, but for those who have rejected such views of Jesus and know not what to believe. For himself, he avows, as the result of his studies in preparing for the ministry at Cambridge, “a very satisfactory conviction of the substantial truths of the New Testament history." As the result of subsequent studies, he thinks he has separated the truth from fable in this history, and" at the hazard of seeming arrogant, avows his conviction that he has caught, through the thick mists of superstition that have been gathering round Jesus for long ages, a glimpse of his actual person." His design is to reinstate him in nature, fully. I would show that, while he is new, original, in some most important respects unprecedented, he is a thoroughly natural human being, in nothing at variance with nature, but always, and in all respects, even in regard to those great gifts which are peculiar to him, subject to the law of her consistency."” “As I look upon Christ, he comes, not in violation, but in the order of nature; not to suspend her laws, but to observe them; not to interrupt, but to reveal the harmony of things.” “And in the light
* Thoughts on the Life and Character of Jesus of Nazareth. By W H. FueNESS, Minister of the First Congregational Unitarian Church in Philadelphia. 16mo. Boston: Phillips, Sampson & Co. 1859.
" of his presence, the universe is no longer a complication of blind mechanical forces, but slowly, grandly, the diorama changes, and there rises all around us a majestic sanctuary, not made with hands, wherein angels are ceaselessly ascending and descending in beneficent ministries, and glad tidings of love and hope sound evermore."
"The miracles of Jesus being regarded, not as fables, but as actual occurrences, the question arises : How were they wrought ? By what means did he produce these astonishing effects ?"
“I answer, not by a power breaking through or suspending the laws of nature, but by means of a natural gift. I believe, then, that the won. der-working power in Jesus was a natural gift, like the genius of Shakespeare, or the extraordinary faculty of arithmetical calculation, occasionally manifested in individuals.” " It paid respect to the inner laws of our nature, and wrought in concert with them, and its effects were realized through their coöperation.” Jesus “ was a human being, greatly endowed. So far from being removed beyond the reach of our sympathy on this account, he is brought very near to us through the generosity and greatness of soul which he shows in the use of his uncommon power ; far nearer than if he had no such means of manifesting that generous spirit wbich the bumblest can appreciate and be inspired by.”
These quotations are sufficient to show that a book like Dr. Bushnell's is greatly needed, and also that the exceptions which have been taken to some of his language, are well founded. We do not for an instant admit, as is intimated in the Christian Examiner, that his view of the supernatural is similar to that which Mr. Furness gives of the natural as intensified and sublimated in Jesus. Indeed, in their impression and influence, the two volumes are diametrically antagonistic and incompatible. Yet we could wish that their language did not, now and then, sound 60 nearly alike.
Dr. Schaff is a model of industry to American scholars, among whom he has received so glad a welcome and so honorable a place. This new volume of Church History* is a very handsome, well-printed book of 535 pages, furnished with that indispensable appendage, a good index. The work is a continuation of the author's copious History of the Apostolic Church, although the events of this first period beginning with the birth of Christ and ending with the death of the last apostle, are here again reviewed in a rapid summary. This volume, though the first of a series, is coinplete by itself, being devoted to the antedicene period, the first three centuries. This great era begins with the Saviour's advent and concludes with the triumphant establishment of the new faith in the reign of Constantine. Dr. Schaff has written a perspicuous, animated, often eloquent, and always trustworthy narrative. This is high praise when we look at the deficiencies of the best of the current works in this department.
Neander, the most profound of all and the most instructive, is so little of a painter, so absorbed in the forces and so comparatively heedless of the phenomena of history, that his priceless work is to common readers beavy. Gieseler is a brief and frigid commentary upon a store of materials collected and arranged with masterly skill and impartial fidelity, If we come down to smaller works, Hase is somewhat flippant, Guerike is stiff,-far more so in the original German than in Prof. Shedd's admirable translation. We hail, therefore, the appearance of a work, written on our own soil and designed in the first instance for American readers, which is at once clear and warm in style, and lucid while it is philosophical in method. It should be added, however, that Dr. Schaft's work should not supersede, but supplement, for the student, such works as we have named above, which are drawn more directly from the original sources of knowledge and are the result of independent and more laborious investigation. We meet constantly in the pages of the volume before us, remarks and judgments which we bave met before in the course of our German reading. For example, the observation on page 42, at the beginning of the chapter : “ Heathenism is religion in its wild growth on the soil of fallen human nature,"— is remembered as a fine thought of Schelling. We do not charge this use of previous writers as a fault upon Dr. Schaff's book; it is a merit. Much less do we design to imply that he has interwoven the ideas of other men without
History of the Christian Church. By Philip SCHAFF, D. D. New York: Charles Scribner. 1859.