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Religious Character of Hegelianism.


workings of the human soul does God arrive at self-consciousness; and if there were no men there could be no God. There seems to be recognized a sort of natura naturans, a sort of blind, unconscious, fermenting leaven, constantly working; but this never attains to personality or consciousness except in the human soul.

We will not ourselves undertake to make the statements of the doctrines of this sect-we will take them just as they are made by one of the most able and active of the living advocates of the system, in his work entitled Das Wesen des Christenthums. This is a favorite book among the Germans of our own country, and can be obtained in any quantities at our principal German bookstores. A brief, but very satisfactory, notice of it has been given in the Christian Examiner published in Boston, No. CLXI.

Says this writer, "The absolute Being, the God of man, is man's own being." "Since God is but our own being, the power of any object over us, is the might of our own being. In willing, loving, feeling, etc., there is no influence but of ourselves over ourselves." "All limiting of the reason rests on error." "Every being is allsufficient to itself." "It is delusion to suppose the nature of man a limited nature." "Religion is the consciousness of the infinite; it is and can be nothing but man's consciousness of his own infinite being." "If you think infinity, or feel infinity, it is the infinity of thought and feeling, nothing else. The knowledge of God is the knowledge of ourselves; for the religious object is within us." "God is man's revealed inner nature—his pronounced self. Religion is the solemn unveiling of the concealed treasures of humanity, the disclosure of its secret thoughts, the confession of its dearest secrets. The Christian religion is the relation of man to his own being as to another being." "Religion is the dream of the human soul."

This is not caricature, nor ridicule, nor misrepresentation. It is just a plain statement of some of the prominent doctrines of the system, by one of its most able advocates. There is no God; and the devout man, when he thinks he is worshipping God, is simply worshipping himself. There is no accountability; there is no individual immortality; when a man dies, his soul is reäbsorbed into the great mass of being, by the natura naturans to be again, perhaps, in time developed, and so on from eternity to eternity. These principles are boldly and openly avowed, and find able and popular advocates both in Germany and in this country. One of the most eminent of the German republicans, Dr. Voight of Giessen, during the summer of 1848, declared publicly in the Frankfort parliament, that there could

be no permanent freedom, till the idea of God and of all responsibility to God were entirely banished from the human mind. No wonder that the German revolution, with such men to lead it, proved a miserable failure. No wonder that the pious, intelligent, sober men of Europe, viewed the whole movement with distrust, and finally abandoned it altogether. Atheistic liberty is the worst kind of tyranny. An editorial article in a political newspaper published in Cincinnati during the present year, says, "Religion is the cause of all the oppression which exists; inasmuch as it cajoles poor sufferers with the chimerical idea of a heaven hereafter; and the source of religion is want of education, ignorance. This is the origin of all evil." The same principles, with a little more regard to a religious public sentiment, and partially disguised under a garb of specious phraseology, are zealously propagated in New England, and infect large numbers especially of our educated young men. Before they begin to feel the need of religion, the foundation of religious faith is taken away. For this work of ruin, the genius of Hegelianism has peculiar facilities. It can approach unperceived, and accomplish its purpose before its presence is suspected. It can use the language of any theology, even the most orthodox, and convey its own ideas in the words of an evangelical faith.

One of the phrases already quoted from Feuerbach, may serve as an example of the deceptive manner in which language may be used. It is this, "God is man's inner nature, his pronounced self." Here, it may be alleged, is the New Testament doctrine of the Logos, the God-man, God revealed; and in like manner we may get the Holy Ghost, as that may be considered to be the inner nature of man reäcting upon itself, and this may be called that spiritual influence which good men crave and pray for. Thus can the Hegelian atheist, with most conscientious deceptiveness, use all the language of the Trinitarian christian. For the Trinity of Hegel, see the last Number of the Bibliotheca, p. 293.

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With this philosophy, testimony is nothing, objective narrative is nothing, history is not to be learned from external sources, it must be developed from within facts must not be sought for, they must be made; and on this principle they act with great consistency and vigor, as we shall see when we come to examine their theories of the gospel history. Another of the principles of this philosophy is eminently a practical one, namely, that "man is God, and must worship himself." This the Hegelians do with the most enthusiastic devotion. Such self-worship was never before witnessed on earth. The enor


Extended Influence of Hegelianism.


mous self-conceit of these men, the self-conceit of Hegel himself, the pitiful folly of his admirers who pronounced their eulogies over his grave, are among the greatest monstrosities which ever existed on this planet of monsters, comparable to nothing but the lizards larger than ten whales, and the frogs bigger than elephants, which are said to have existed on the pre-Adamite earth. Self-conceit is a symptom of the disease. The venerated Neander, in a letter to Prof. Schaff of Mercersburg, justly characterizes the system as "the philosophy of a one-sided logic, of intellectual fanaticism, and of self-deification." My respected friend, Prof. S., himself, I am happy to see, takes no exceptions to this view of the subject. Indeed, he himself calls this kind of Hegelianism, an "arrogant pantheism, different from atheism only in form"-"a lifeless formalism of the understanding, that destroys at last all soul in man, and turns him into a pure speculator on the open heath, an unfruitful thinker of thinking, a heartless critic and fault-finder." (Schaff's Kirchenfreund for Jan., 1851, also Mercersburg Review, Vol. III. p. 81, ff.

There is no disinterestedness in this philosophy, there is no veneration, there is no love. Each being is all-sufficient to itself, and each revolves around itself as its own centre, and each is at the same time both planet and sun, both axis and orbit. And what can come of such kind of principles, but selfishness, and animalism, and every evil work?

Now, it is such philosophers as these, who presume to sit in judgment on the New Testament, to estimate the characters therein portrayed, to determine as to what is, and what is not, fitting in a revelation from God to man; to decide with solemn majesty, à priori, from internal marks only, out of the depths of their own consciousness, and with nothing else to aid them, as to what is spurious, and what is genuine, in the sacred writings! How well they succeed, we shall see under our next head; and we will only say here, that if opposites are the best judges of opposites, if goats are the best judges of perfumes, if worms have suitable qualifications to decide on the merits of eagles, then are these men qualified to sit in judgment on Jesus, and the apostles, and the writers of the gospels. Yet their writings are published, translated into different languages, and extensively read. In various ways they exert a great influence even over those who never read them; the echoes of their voice reverberate from many a newspaper and popular periodical; their sound is heard in many a lyceum, and mechanics' institute, and mercantile association, and debating club; they inflate the vanity, and heighten the

self-conceit, and set loose the passions of many a young man in our institutions of learning, and produce extensively a ruinous infection in the whole intellectual atmosphere not sparing even the theological school, the ministerial study, or the Christian pulpit.

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So many ingenious ways do poor short-lived men devise, and such infinite pains do they take, to rid themselves of God their heavenly Father, of Christ their gracious and only Saviour. It is often and justly remarked of rogues and freebooters, that they employ far more ingenuity, and energy, and perseverance, to get a living by dishonesty, than would be necessary to make them securely and reputably wealthy in an honorable calling; yet, they are always poor, and in constant dread of detection and punishment. So these proud thinkers tax their minds and hearts more severely to be irreligious, than would be necessary to secure an eminent place in the Christian walk; while they can look only for the wages of sin, which is death, while the gift of God, and that only, is life and peace. According to the Scripture, it is the fool who hath said in his heart, there is no God; and the same Scripture says, The fool is wiser in his own conceit, than seven men that can render a reason; and, though you bray a fool in a mortar with a pestle among wheat, yet will not his folly depart from him. How wonderfully descriptive of the foolishness of Hegelian pantheistic atheism!


The four gospels exist, they have for ages existed in all the languages of the civilized world, they have produced the most astonishing revolutions, they lie at the foundation of all modern civilization; they did not arise in a remote antiquity nor in a fabulous era, but in the zenith of the Roman empire and in immediate contact with the Grecian culture. The problem of the philosophic sceptic is to account for all this, on any other supposition than that of the historical truth of the gospel narrative and the reality of miraculous interposition. The first regular, systematic, Hegelian attempt towards the solution of this great problem was made in 1836 by David Frederic Strauss, then a young man just commencing his career as a teacher in the university of Tübingen. We were in Germany at the time when Strauss's Life of Jesus first appeared, and it was exciting as great a commotion among the learned of Germany then, as a few years after the prophesyings of the millenarian Miller excited among the unlearned in


Hypothesis of Strauss.


America. That was the year fixed on by Bengel for the end of the world; and many who had no faith in Bengel or the apostle John, yet devoutly believing in Strauss, thought surely the end of Chris tianity had come. Prof. Tholuck told us he considered it the most formidable attack the New Testament had ever sustained, and he was right heartily at work in answering it, and soon after published his excellent book on the Credibility of the Gospel History. The answers to Strauss were numerous, almost numberless, the controversy raged with great vigor for some six or eight years; but now Strauss, before he is an old man, finds himself an obsolete and antiquated writer; as much so as was, when he began, the old Paulus whom he treated so cavalierly. But though Strauss is already intellectually dead and buried, never to rise again, among the Germans, he just begins to live among those who use the English language, and translations of his book are read with the most innocent wonderment by many of our young men, who have no knowledge of the fact that it has long since been thoroughly exposed and exploded in the land of its birth. In the track of Strauss, with more or less of divergency, followed Weisse, Gfrörer, Bruno Bauer, Wilke, Schweitzer, Schwegler, Luetzelberger, F. C. Baur, and many, many others; the greater part of whom remain unto this present, though, as to any influence, they have already mostly fallen asleep; for even the eighth is of the seven, and goeth unto perdition.

In analyzing some of the principal Hegelian hypotheses of the gospel history, as specimens of the whole, we shall avail ourselves liberally of the labors of Ebrard, who, in his admirable work, entitled Wissenschaftliche Kritik der evangelischen Geschichte, has with great industry, skill and fairness, epitomized, arranged, and made them intelligible.

(1) Hypothesis of Strauss.

(a) The facts out of which the gospel narratives have arisen. These, according to Strauss, were very few, and mainly the following: The Jewish nation, during the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius, had the expectation of a national Messiah, predicted in the Old Testament, who would be a political deliverer and work miracles greater than Moses wrought. At this period there was a Jew born at Nazareth in Galilee named Jeschuah, (the sceptic sometimes gains considerably by simply changing the orthography of a well-known name); and another Jew, by the name of John, became a celebrated ascetic preacher and baptizer. Jeschuah attached himself to John as one of

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