Dissertation On The End For Which God Created The World

Dissertation On The End For Which God Created The World-69
Schleiermacher has said, that when he reflected on the approaching crisis in theology, and imagined himself obliged to choose one of two alternatives, either to surrender the Christian history, like every common history, as a spoil to criticism, or to hold his faith in fee to the speculative system; his decision was, that for himself, considered singly, he would embrace the latter, but that, regarding hjmself as a member of the church, and especially as one of its teachers, he should be induced rather to take the opposite course. This is the difficult question which presents itself to us in conclusion. RELATION OF THE CRITICAL AND SPECULATIVE THEOLOGY TO THE CHURCH.

Schleiermacher has said, that when he reflected on the approaching crisis in theology, and imagined himself obliged to choose one of two alternatives, either to surrender the Christian history, like every common history, as a spoil to criticism, or to hold his faith in fee to the speculative system; his decision was, that for himself, considered singly, he would embrace the latter, but that, regarding hjmself as a member of the church, and especially as one of its teachers, he should be induced rather to take the opposite course. This is the difficult question which presents itself to us in conclusion. RELATION OF THE CRITICAL AND SPECULATIVE THEOLOGY TO THE CHURCH.

The expediency of describing in compendious forms the riches of their faith in Christ, was early felt by his followers. The more popular form at length settled into what is called the creed of the apostles. As thus in the matter of religion an impassable gulf would be fixed between two parties in the church, the speculative * Glaubenslehre, 1, s. 898 theology threatens us with the distinction of an esoteric and exoteric doctrine, which ill accords with the declaration of Christ, that all shall be taught of God.

On this basis was constructed in the first centuries what was called the rule of faith, regula fidei, which in divers forms, some more concise, others more diffuse, some more popular, others more subtle, is found in the different fathers. And as a teacher and spokesman to the church, he could not possibly attempt the task of elevating old and young, without distinction, to the idea of God and of man: he must rather attack their faith as a groundless one, or else endeavour to strengthen and confirm it while knowing it to be groundless.

He who had been put to death, however great during his life, could not, it was thought, be the Messiah: his miraculous restoration to life proved so much the more strongly that he was the Messiah. liii., he had suffered for the sins of his people and of mankind (Acts viii. But there are also a few, who, notwithstanding such attacks, freely declare what can no longer be concealedand time will show whether by the one party or the other, the Church, Mankind, and Truth are best served.

Freed by his resurrection from the kingdom of shades, and at the same time elevated above the sphere of earthly humanity, he was now translated to the heavenly regions, and had taken his place at the right hand of God (Acts ii.

The point of the title of this section is perhaps summed up in the 4th. 20); by this most stupendous sacrifice, the love of God is securely guaranteed to man (Rom. In his discourses to the church, he will 900 indeed adhere to the forms of the popular conception, but on every opportunity he will exhibit their spiritual significance, which to him constitutes their sole truth, and thus preparethough such a result is only to be thought of as an unending progressthe resolution of those forms into their original ideas in the consciousness of the church also.

paragraph "Thus our historical criticism is followed up by dogmatical criticism, and it is only after the faith has passed through both these trials, that it is thoroughly tested and constituted science."] 868 developed; the most firmly believing Christian has within him the elements of criticism as a latent deposit of unbelief, or rather as a negative germ of knowledge, and only by its constant repression can he maintain the predominance of his faith, which is thus essentially a re-established faith. Thus, to abide by the example already chosen, at the festival of Easter, he will indeed set out from the sensible fact of the resurrection of Christ, but he will dwell chiefly on the being buried and rising again with Christ, which the Apostle himself has strenuously inculcated. The boundless store of truth and life which for eighteen centuries has been the aliment of humanity, seems irretrievably dissipated; the most sublime levelled with the dust, God divested of his grace, man of his dignity, and the tie between heaven and earth broken. Now, there is no longer imposed on us the impossible task of satisfying all the demands of the law (Gal. 10 f.)a task which, as experience shows, no man fulfils (Rorn. The latter can conceive no faith in the dogmatical truth of the resurrection of Christ, for example, apart from a conviction of its historical reality: and if it come to discover that the theologian has not this conviction, and yet preaches on the resurrection, he must appear in the eyes of the church a hypocrite, and thus the entire relation between the theologian and the church would be virtually cancelled. NECESSARY TRANSITION FROM CRITICISM TO DOGMA* THE results of the inquiry which we have now brought to a close, have apparently annihilated the greatest and most valuable part of that which the Christian has been wont to believe concerning his Saviour Jesus, have uprooted all the animating motives which he has gathered from his faith, and withered all his consolations. 20), which, by reason of his sinful nature, no man can fulfil (Rom. 12 ff.), and which only involves him who strives to fulfil it, more and more deeply in the most miserable conflict with himself (Rom. 7 ff.): whereas he who believes in Christ, and confides in the atoning efficacy of his death, possesses the favour of God; not by works and qualifications of his own, but by the free mercy of God, is the man who throws himself on that mercy just before God, by which all self-exaltation is excluded (Rorn. Strictly considered, however, this identity of the substantial truth, exists only in the apprehension of him who knows how to distinguish the substance from the form of religion, i.e., of the theologian, not of the church, to whom he speaks. Meanwhile, we may console ourselves that we have in him an Intercessor, who from his own experience of the weakness and frailty of our nature, which he himself assumed, and in which he was in all points tempted as we are, but without sin, knows how much indulgence and aid we need (Heb. If the Ebionitish view, on the contrary, leave but little of Christ, yet this little is equally attainable by all, and we are thereby secured from the hierarchy of speculation, which ever tends to merge itself in the hierarchy of Rome. His resurrection not only confers atoning efficacy on his death (Rom. 25), but at the same time is the pledge of our own future resurrection, of our share in Christ in a future life, in his messianic kingdom, to the blessedness of which he will, at his second advent, lead all his people. They celebrated him as Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us, (Rom. 34); or with more particularity as Jesus Christ our Lord, who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holinesss, by the resurrection from the dead, (i Tim. This symbol, in that edition of it which is received in the evangelical church, has in its second and most elaborate article on the Son, the following points of belief: et (credo) in Jesum Christum, filium ejus (Dei patris) unicum, Dominum nostrum; qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria virgine; passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus et sepultus, descendit ad inferna; tertia die resurrexit a mortuis, ascendit ad clos, sedet ad dextram Dei patris omnipotentis; inde venturus est, judicare vivos et mortuos. The scientific alone have the foundation of the faith: the unscientific have only the faith, and receive it only by means of tradition. 19), by its allocation of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, presented a sort of framework in which to arrange the materials of the new faith. As a member of the church, he could have no satisfaction but in perfect equality, in the consciousness that all receive alike, both in kind and manner, from the same source. For the idea of God and of man on which, according to the speculative system, the truth of the Christian faith rests, is indeed a precious jewel, but it can be possessed only by a few, and he would not wish to be that privileged individual in the church, who alone among thousands held the faith on its true grounds.Piety turns away with horror from so fearful an act of desecration, and strong in the impregnable self-evidence of its faith, pronounces that, let an audacious criticism attempt what it will, all which the Scriptures declare, and the Church believes of Christ, will still subsist as eternal truth, nor needs one iota of it to be renounced. Believers are redeemed from the curse of the law by Christs sacrifice of himself, inasmuch as he suffered a death on which the law had laid a curse (Gal. In this case, the theologian, though in himself no hypocrite, would appear such to the church, and would be conscious of this misconstruction.Thus at the conclusion of the criticism of the history of Jesus, there presents itself this problem: to re-establish dogmatically that which has been destroyed critically. If notwithstanding this, he should continue to instruct the church under the form of its own conceptions, he would ultimately appear a hypocrite to himself also, and would be driven to the third, desperate course, of forsaking the ministerial office.And just as the believer is intrinsically a sceptic or critic, so, on the other hand, the critic is intrinsically a believer. This very course every preacher, even the most orthodox, strictly takes, as often as he draws a moral from the evangelical text on which he preaches: for this is nothing else than the transition from the externally historical to the inward and spiritual, it is true, we must not overlook the distinction, that the orthodox preacher builds his moral on the text in such a way, that the latter remains as an historical foundation ; whereas, with the speculative preacher, the transition from the biblical history or the church doctrine, to the truth which he thence derives, has the negative effect of annihilating the former.In proportion as he is distinguished from the naturalistic theologian, and the free-thinker,in proportion as his criticism is conceived in the spirit of the nineteenth century,he is filled with veneration for every religion, and especially for the substance of the sublimest of all religions, the Christian, which he perceives to be identical with the deepest philosophical truth; and hence, after having in the course of his criticism exhibited only the differences between his conviction and the historical belief of the Christian, he will feel urged to place that identity in a just light. In addition to all this, every trait in the image of the Messiah as sketched by the popular expectation, was attributed with necessary or gratuitous modifications to Jesus; nay, the imagination, once stimulated, invented new characteristics. Viewed more closely, however, the transition of the orthodox preacher from the evangelical text to the moral application, is not free from this negative tendency; in proceeding from the history to the doctrine he implies at least thus much : the history is not enough, it is not the whole truth, it must be transmuted from a past fact into a present one, from an event external to you, it must become your own intimate experience : so that with this transition, the case is the same as with the proof of the existence of God, in which the cosmical existence, which is the point of departure, apparently remains as a foundation, but is in fact negatived as a true existence, and merged in the absolute.

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