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evangelical doctrines and piety in that interesting country, we have the following account from M. Stapfer, and his reviewer in the Eclectic.
“While the illustrious school of Storr has been following out and destroying, one after another, all the sophisms of this system, all its rash fictions, all its gratuitous combinations, the very character of which renders them totally inadmissible in solid exegesis; some profound thinkers (Schelling, Plouquet, Etinger, Hegel, Bilfinger, C. G. Schmid, Bockshammer, &c. chiefly of the kingdom of Würtemburg and from the university of Tübingen,) have been proving to even the most prejudiced minds the doctrine of a miraculous revelation, and displaying, with new evidence, its intimate and perfect connexion with the great designs of human existence, and the sublimest sentiments of the Deity.”....“ Eichhorn's Introduction to the Old Testament was written with the design of applying the principles of the school of Heyne, (so happily employed in illustrating some parts of the Grecian mythology, and the origin of many historical traditions of classical antiquity,) sometimes openly, sometimes more covertly, to all the moral phenomena and miraculous events of the Hebrew Scriptures. Every thing is squared to human proportions; and that with such art and show of erudition, as to effect a stealing away from the reader's attention of the frail foundation which supports, and the purely conjectural nature of the materials which form, the chief parts of this vast structure.-In Germany, a multitude of works have appeared, which search his hypothesis to the bottom, and turn the results of his researches completely upon himself. Jahn, Meyer, Kelle, the pupils of Storr, (in various dissertations published by Flatt, Suskind, and Bengel, in their Periodical Collections, 1792 to 1824,) have not left a single one of Eichhorn's bold assertions without an impartial and solid examination.—Eichhorn had the ascendant from 1790 to 1807. Since that time, his writings have found a counterpoise, and may, therefore, be read with advantage in the country where the controlling works are at the student's side. Gesenius now rules in Hebrew literature; and he has proved Eichhorn to have been the dupe of his own imagination, and to have thought himself excused from bringing reasons for his opinions that would stand the test of sound criticism.-Numerous authors of the first order (I mention only Kruminacher, Lücke, De Meyer of Frankfort, Tholuck of Berlin, Winer of Leipzig,) have not only shown the deepest grief at the profane way in which some celebrated commentators have treated the sacred books, but, in their own exegetical works, they have given examples of the holy reverence which becomes a Bible interpreter. Tholuck in particular, in his spirited Defence of the Study of the Old Testament, has proved, by arguments drawn from a profound knowledge, both of the Hebrew code and of the genius of the Oriental nations, that Jesus VOL. I.
Christ is the centre, the key, the solution, of the annals and institutions of Israel.”
“M. Stapfer goes on to affirm the fact of a decided and widely spreading change, among the theologians and scholars of Germany, to an humble submission to the Gospel. We may mention, that the German translator of Mr. Rose acknowledges this fact, (p. 107,) but presumes to impugn the motives of those once distinguished advocates of false Rationalism, who have, as he expresses it, “thrown themselves into the arms of historical faith, or of fanaticism, or of mysticism.” He lays down the gratifying fact, that, on the Continent, there is a very perceptible increase of men of letters and science, who maintain the Divine authority of Christianity, and openly profess its distinguishing sentiments. He gives instances, with justificatory citations : Müller, the most learned historian of modern times; Creutzer, the antiquary; Köppen, the metaphysician; Heinroth, the great physiologist. Schleiermacher himself has labored to show, that the way in which he understands the work of Christ in the spiritual deliverance of man, is something more than a moral melioration produced by the purity of his doctrine and the superiority of his example ; and he protests against assimilating Jesus to any other benefactors of mankind. Kaiser, Ammon, and De Wette have clearly renounced the self-styled Rationalism.
“The number and excellence of the works now issuing from the Protestant body in that country, and in Switzerland, call for the admiration and the devout gratitude of all who love the Gospel, and are concerned for the best interest of mankind.”
On the same interesting topic our fellow citizen, the Rev. Mr. Kurtz, speaks as follows : *
“In Germany the religion of the Redeemer is gaining ground. Rationalists, so called, by which is meant a large and learned class of people in this hemisphere, somewhat similar to our Unitarians ; yes, whose principles are often even more objectional than those of the rankest Socinians, are beginning to be ashamed of themselves, and though they formerly gloried in the name of Rationalists, they now entirely disclaim the appellation, and their ranks (a few years ago so formidable) have of late been considerably thinned by the increasing and overpowering influence of true evangelic religion. In Berlin, the metropolis of Prussia, a very populous and splendid city, where I spent seven weeks, and therefore had an opportunity to become acquainted with the state of religious matters, the cause of Christ is triumphant. A few years since this great city was in a most deplorable condition, both in a moral and religious point of view. Christ was banished from the pulpit as well as from the desk of the Professor;* unbelief and scepticism were the order of the day; and he who dared to declare his belief in the Scriptures as the inspired word of God, was laughed at as a poor ignorant mystic: and now, the very reverse of all this is the fact. In no city have I met with so many humble and cordial followers of the Lamb ; in the university a mighty change has taken place, and from almost every pulpit the cause of the Redeemer is ably vindicated, and the efficacy of his atoning blood is held forth and proclaimed in strains at which the very angels cannot but rejoice, and which the stoutest heart is often unable to resist. We also meet with Bible societies all over Germany; and in Saxony, the Lutheran church is, at this moment, forming a missionary society for the evangelization of the North American Indians.”
* This letter commences thus :—" ERFURT, Kingdom of Prussia, Augustin Monastery, LUTHER's Cell, May 14, 1827. Dear Brother Shaeffer. From the heading of my letter you will perceive that I have selected a very interesting place to write in. Yes, it is a fact, that I am at present in the Augustin Monastery, in Erfurt, seated in the monastic cell of the immortal Reformer, at the same table at which he so often sat and wrote, with his Bible lying at my left hand, his inkstand at my right, and manuscripts of him and Melancthon his coadjutor, suspended in a frame to the wall in my front, and several other Lutheran relics, which are carefully preserved in the cell, to gratify the curiosity of strangers and travellers, who, when they come to Erfurt, never fail to visit this little room with one window, and record their names in a book which is kept here for that purpose."
PROTESTANTISM IN FRANCE.
Letter of Peter Bayssiere.
(Continued from p. 56.)
I read the promise that Jesus Christ made to the thief crucified on his right hand, who said to him, “ Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy king. dom.” Luke xxüi. 42, 43. If there had been a purgatory, and if any one must remain there some time, it was doubtless this malefactor, condemned by human laws, and probably stained with many crimes. Notwithstanding, the Saviour said to him, “Verily I say unto thee, to-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
I read in the Epistle of Paul to the Romans, viii. 1: “ There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus ;” a declaration directly opposed to purgatory, which supposes that Christians are, after this life, exposed to a thousand torments.
I read in the Epistle to the Hebrews, ix. 27, that “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment,''—which proves indubitably, that the destiny of the good and the bad is irrevocably fixed, from the time of their death; and that there is no purgatory from which masses, prayers, or rather gold and silver, can deliver any one.
I read, besides, in the first Epistle of St. John, i. 7, that “the blood of Christ, the Son of God, cleanseth from all sin ;" which excludes any other kind of purification, and manifestly contradicts the doctrine of purgatory.
Lastly, I read in the Apocalypse, xiv. 13, that “ blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.” Another declaration which con
There is a fourishing university in Berlin, with about sixteen or seventeen hundred students, and a proportionable number of Professors.
firms what the preceding passages, and many others which it would take too long to transcribe here, prove in so convincing a manner.
Not having found a single passage in the New Testament, which spoke in favor of purgatory ; and, on the contrary, having marked and considered those which I have just quoted, and many others which directly opposed this doctrine, I saw clearly, that the idea of this tenet had never entered the minds of those, whom I was so foolish as to believe the inrentors of the Gospel. You think rightly, my dear children, that this discovery was not very likely to cement the bonds which attached me to the Romish church, nor to confirin me in a belief, to which I had never been well disposed.
Nevertheless, I was not satisfied ; I wished to know positively whence the priests had derived this vain bug-bear. This desire, which did not cease to torment me for several days, led me to think that the pope was doubtless the inventor of it; and from that time, I began to wish to seek again who the pope was, and what were his rights to impose such a belief. I had read often, and had often heard it said and preached, that St. Peter was the chief, the prince of the apostles, that he had been the first pope of Rome, and that all the popes who had come after him, had, in succeeding him, inherited all his rights and prerogatives.
I had a desire to see what the New Testament would say on this subject, and I immediately undertook a second reading with the same feelings with which I at first commenced; that is to say, absorbed by a single object, having in view only to assure myself if the apostle Peter had really been appointed chief of the apostles, and placed at Rome to govern all the other pastors, and to rule over all churches.
This reading, performed with an attention of which I should not perhaps now be capable, resulted in convincing me that the sovereignty of St. Peter was no better established by the New Testament, than the first doctrine which I had sought there, and that, unquestionably, the pope had not an evangelical origin.
I found in Matt. iv. 18, 19, 20, the call addressed to Simon, who was called Peter : but this call did not appear to me, and is not, really different from that which was addressed to Andrew his brother, and to the other apostles.
In chapter x. of the same Gospel, I remarked also, that the first mission which Jesus Christ gave them, was absolutely the same for all, without any particular prerogative to any one. True, Peter is there found the first named; but it is a priority of number only, which does not prove any distinction, or any superiority. It was necessary that some one should be named first. I made again the same remark on the last commission which they received, on the day of the ascension of their Master, and which is related in Matthew xxvii. 19, 20; in Mark xiv. 15; and in the Acts of the Apostles, i. 8. This commission, although expressed in different terms in the three places, is still the same, and does not differ in any thing essential. It is given to all, indiscriminately; and to all it is preceded or accompanied by the same promises, at the same time that it confers on them equal rights and equal powers.
The 18th and 19th verses of the sixteenth chapter of St. Matthew, in which it is said, “Thou art Peter, and on this rock I will build my church," &c. arrested me a moment, and I was on the point of mistaking the true sense of this declaration. But having reflected that Christ had interrogated all the apostles, in verse 15th, and that it was the sentiment of them all that Peter had expressed in his forward answer of verse 16th, I perceived that Jesus Christ had addressed equally to all, the words which seemed to be said to Peter only ; and that no supremacy is attributed to him there, any more than in the preceding passages.
I was confirmed in this opinion, when I read in John xx. 2:3, that Jesus Christ, speaking to all, had addressed to them, afterwards, the same promise, saying, “Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained.” I was confirmed in it, by what St. Paul says to the Ephesians, ii. 20, 21 : “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone, in whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord.” And lastly, I was confirmed in it by what St. John relates in the Apocalypse, xxi. 14: “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb."
In all these passages, and many others which I forbear to mention, I perceived that Jesus Christ was announced as the true foundation, as the corner stone on which the Christian church rests; that all the apostles, and all the prophets, were equally appointed to be the foundation of it, but only because all their doctrine relates to Jesus Christ, who is the principal object of it; and I was convinced that St. Peter was in no way more distinguished or more elevated, than his companions in the work. Though I did not then comprehend, as well as I now do, the Gospel sense of the 18th and 19th verses of the sixteenth chapter of Matthew, I nevertheless remained persuaded that the papacy, or the sovereignty of St. Peter, could not reasonably be deduced from them.
The last step of my conviction, that St. Peter was in nothing above the rest of the apostles, was seeing what he himself says in his first Epistle, v.1: “The elders who are among you I exhort, who am also an elder.” It was but to see what St. Paul says, 2 Corinthians xi. 5: “For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.” It was but to see that Paul, as he relates it himself, opposed Cephas, or Peter, to his face because he was censurable ; and he rebuked hin strongly before every body, because he compelled the Gentiles to live as the Jers. It was but to see how the faithful of the church at Jerusalem, Acts xi. 2, 3, made no difficulty to reprove Peter, because that he had been, and eaten, with the uncircumcised; how they asked him the reason of his conduct; and how this apostle hastened to justify himself, by recounting to them, in order, in what manner the thing had happened. Finally, it was but to see Acts viïi. 14: "Now when the apostles, which were at Jerusalem, heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John."
There is not the least doubt, said I to myself, reading again and again all the testimonies, that Peter was in all things equal to the rest of the apostles, and had no advantage, no jurisdiction, over them. If he had been really, if they had believed him, or if he had believed himself, the chief, the prince of the apostles, the sovereign pastor of the church, is it credible, that he would have called himself an elder like the other elders? Is it credible, that Paul would have pretended that he was in nothing inferior to Peter, or would have attempted to oppose him to his face, and to reprove him publicly? Is it credible that private Christians, simple laymen, would have been permitted to dispute with him, would have dared to demand the reason of his conduct; and that he would have felt under obligation to satisfy them, by hastening to justify himself.*
Is it credible in short, that he would have been sent by the other apostles, that he would have received their orders, when, if he had been the chief, it was for him to command and send them?
Nothing more could be necessary to convince me, that all which the Romish church says, of the pre-eminence of St. Peter, and the sovereignty of the popes, his pretended successors, was a fabrication, stripped of all probability ; or, at least, no more taught in the Gospel, than that of purgatory.
If I was astonished at this, I was not less so at not finding in all the New Testament a single word which says, or even led me to suppose, that St. Peter had ever preached, or had ever been at Rome, where the Catholics pretend, and beleve, as an article of faith, that he was the first pope.
The book of Acts keeps the most profound silence with respect to it, and gives as no reason to suppose it. All the Epistles, also, leave this fact enveloped with a reil which renders it still more doubtful. In those of St. Paul to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, the second to Timothy, that to Philemon, all written from Rome, at different periods, and that to the Hebrews, written from Italy, in which it would be natural to find this fact established, there is no mention of it. In the four last, the apostle speaks of his companions in sufferings, labors, and the work of the Lord ; but he says not a word of Peter, as being with him. He would doubtless have named him, as he did Tychicus, Onesumus, Aristarchus, Luke, Demas, Eubulus, Pudens, Limus, and Claudia, if Peter had been at Rome ; but, among all these names, we seek for his in vain. It is not there, nor is anything found which relates to the residence of this apostle in the capital of the world. In my opinion, this does not prove that he exercised the popedom there. Lastly, his own Epistles tend no more to prove it. The first, (and without doubt the second also,) was written from Babylon, not to the Romans, but to the strangers, that is to say, the Hebrews converted to Christianity, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia ; countries in which, it appears certain, that this
* The popes, his pretended successors, have not been so complaisant; they have known beter the value of their authority. Note to the Paris Edition.