« הקודםהמשך »
mind is excited and preserved, notwithstanding the paralizing influence of mechanical employments, or the exclusive devotion to professional pursuits. To those who are engaged as public lecturers, on the whole, or on single periods, of the history of literature, these volumes will prove of inestimable value; and such persons, especially, will be capable of estimating the great utility of the minute and numerous bibliographical notices, with which their pages are interspersed. “To develop the course of history,” says Dr. Wachler, “ to represent more fully the particular facts, to review literary productions, and to direct the hearer in the methodical use of particular authors, belongs to oral communications. My lectures on the history of literature, occupy three semesters; (that is, halfyears.) In the first, ancient literature is lectured upon for six hours each week, and the general introduction for two hours ; in the second, the history of the middle ages is treated; in the third semester, that of modern times. The latter is reduced to somewhat narrow limits. The literature of professional studies, and of philosophy, is, in many respects, a subject of separate consideration. In general history, it is sufficient, therefore, to direct the attention to the intellectual tendency, which exercises a universal influence, and which is reflected in every particular branch; and to present a historical view of the relations of each individual department, considered in connection with the general character of history"
Having so decidedly spoken of the advantages which the public lecturer may derive from these works of Dr. Wachler, we need not enlarge upon their utility, as a book of reference to students of the history of literature. We know of no other work, of this kind, which, in practical value, can be compared with these volumes; as we know of no other nation than Germany, which has so distinguished itself, in arranging and digesting the literary productions of the whole world, even from the period when their great reformer became the interpreter and representative of the spirit of his time. With this acknowledgment of the superiority of Germany, where it is due, we would recall the bistorical fact, that Luther, and his cotemporaries in restoring the freedom of the mind, at the time of the reformation, likewise first laid the foundation of that highest political freedom, which rests upon the principle, that the interests of the government and those of the people are identical. For the preservation of that principle, the founders of this western republic left their ancestral shores, and the enjoyment of both literary and social privileges. Even now, then, in the benefits which we derive from our political institutions, we seem to enjoy the fruits of a mighty tree, which first struck root in the soil of Germany; but, as its growth was there neglected, its branches
have been bending over to us, and we are permitted to gather its rich produce. It is a precious privilege which is thus committed to us ; and it becomes us to beware how we lose our birthright, by neglect or licentiousness. Io reference to this fact, and hence in a peculiar sense, we may exclaim, with Dr. Wachler, LIFE IS NOT
THE GREATEST GOOD.
ART. III.-SCRIPTURAL ARGUMENT, ON THE EPISCOPAL Con
Answer to a Review (in the Quarterly Christian Spectator) of “ Episcopacy tested
by Scripture ;" first published in the Protestani Episcopalian, for May, 1834. Philadelphia: Jesper Harding; 1834. pp. 19.
When the review of the tract, “ Episcopacy tested by Scrip ture," was prepared,* it was not our design, to engage in a controversy on the subject there discussed. We well knew how unprofitable and how endless such a controversy might become; and we felt, that we had more important business to engage our attention, than that of endeavoring to defend the external order of the church. The subject attracted our notice, because, on two different occasions, the tract, which was the subject of the review, had been sent to us, in one instance accompanied with a polite request,evidently from an Episcopalian,-to give to it our particular attention; because, too, the tract had been published at the “ Episcopal Press," and it was known, that it would be extensively circulated; because it had been the subject of no small self-gratulation among the Episcopalians, and had been suffered, notwithstanding the manifest complacency with which they regarded it, to lie unanswered; but mainly, because it made an appeal at once to the bible, and professed a willingness, that the question should be settled by the authority of the scriptures alone. This appeared to us to be placing the subject on new ground. The first emotion produced by the title of the tract, was one of surprise. We had been so accustomed to regard this controversy as one, that was to be settled solely by the authority of the fathers; we had been so disheartened, and sickened by the unprofitable nature, the interminable duration, and the want of fixed bounds and principles, in that investigation; we had seen so little reference made to the bible, on either side of the question, that it excited in us no small degree of surprise, to learn, that a bishop of the Episcopal church should be willing to make a direct, decisive, and unqualified appeal to the new testament. It was so unusual ; it gave so new a direction to the controversy; it promised so speedy an issue, and one
Christian Spectator, vol. vi.
so little auspicious to the cause which the bishop was engaged in defending, that we were not unwilling to turn aside from our usual engagements, and to examine the proofs adduced in this somewhat novel mode of the Episcopal controversy.
Shortly after our review was published, an “Answer” to the article appeared in the “ Protestant Episcopalian,” understood to come from the author of the tract. With a copy of this, the writer of the review was politely furnished by Dr. Onderdonk. The “ Answer" is marked with the same general characteristics, as the tract itself. It evinces, in general, the same spirit of christian feeling, and of candid inquiry ; the same calm, collected, and manly style of argument; the same familiarity with the subject; and the same habit,—by no means as common as is desirable, -of applying the principles of the inductive philosophy to moral subjects. To this general statement, perhaps, should be made a slight exception. A candid observer, possibly, would discern in the “ Answer,” some marks of haste, and some indications of disturbed repose,-possibly of a slight sensation in perceiving, that the material point of the argument in the tract, had not been as strongly fortified as was indispensable. As instances of this sensation, we might notice the train of remarks in pp. 8, 9, and especially in the following expressions. “The reasonings throughout his article, (the reviewer's,) are much the same as those usually brought against Episcopacy; and where they are not the same, they are so much minus the former ground,” etc. “No one, for three years, brought these old reasonings against the tract,-no one, till the reviewer fancied he had discovered a weak spot in it, and might, therefore, re-produce some of them with effect.” “The present is only a start in its slumber.” And again, on p. 15, the author of the reply speaks of the reviewer, as one whom he suspects to be a new comer into this field of controversy," if not with the intention, at least with the appearance, of designing to disparage the force of the arguments, which the reviewer had urged. Now, it is unnecessary for us to remind Dr. Onderdonk, that the inquiry is not, whether the arguments are old or new, but whether they are pertinent and valid. Nor is the question, whether one is a "new comer” into this controversy. Arguments may not be the less cogent and unanswerable, for being urged by one who has not before entered the lists; nor will arguments from the bible be satisfactorily met, by an affirmation, that they are urged by one unknown in the field of debate. It may be proper, however, for us to observe, in self-vindication, that the arguments which we urged, were drawn from no other book than the bible. The “ Tract” and the new testament, were the only books before us in the preparation of the article. The course of argument suggested, was that only which was produced by the investigation of the
scriptures. Whether we have fallen into any train of thinking, which has been before urged by writers on this subject, we do not even now know, nor are we likely to know; as it is our fixed purpose, not to travel out of the record before us,-the inspired account of the matter in the sacred scriptures. If, however, the arguments which we have vrged, be “the same with those which are usually brought against Episcopacy,” (p. 8.) it furnishes a case of coincidence of results, in investigating the new testament, which is itself some evidence, that the objections to Episcopacy are such, as obviously occur to different minds, engaged in independent investigation.
When the reply appeared, it became a question with us, whether the controversy should be prolonged. A perusal of the “Answer" did not suggest any necessity for departing from our original intention, not to engage in such a controversy. It did not appear 10 furnish any new argument, which seemed to call for notice, or to invalidate any of the positions defended in the review. Almost the whole of the “ Answer” appeared to be simply an expansion of a note in the tract, (p. 12, note z.) which, when the review was prepared, seemed not to furnish an argument, that required particular attention. The fact, too, that then the argument was expressed in a note, in small type, and at the bottom of the page, was an indication, that it was not of much magnitude, in the eye of the author of the tract himself. Why it is now expanded, so as to constitute the very body and essence of the reply, is to us proof, that the subject, on the Episcopal side, is exhausted. This fact is of such a nature, as to impress the mind strongly with the belief, that henceforth nothing remains to be added, in the effort to “ Test Episcopacy by Scripture.”
In departing from our original purpose, it is our wish to reciprocate the kind feeling and candor of the author of the “ Tract," and of the “ Answer.” Truth, not victory, is our object. We have but one wish on this subject. It is, that the principles upon which God designed to establish and govern bis holy church, may be developed and understood. We resume the subject, with profound and undiminished respect for the talents, the piety, and the learning of the author of the Tract and Answer; and with a purpose, that this shall be final, on our part, unless something new, and vital to the subject, shall be added. In this, as well as in all other things, our desire is, not to write one line, which, dying, -or in heaven,
- we would wish to blot.
Still, this desire, so deeply cherished, does not forbid a full and free examination of arguments. Our conscientious belief is, that the superiority "in ministerial power and rights,” (Tract, p. 15.) Vol. VII.
claimed by Episcopal bishops, is a superiority known in the Episcopal churches only, and not in the new testament; and this we purpose to show,
In entering upon our examination of the "Answer," we may remark, that the scriptural argument for Episcopacy is now fairly and entirely before the world. On the Episcopal side, nothing material to be said, can remain. The whole argument is in the Tract, and in the Answer. If Episcopacy is not established in these, we may infer, that it is not in the bible. If not in the bible, it is not necessarily binding.” (Tract, p. 3.) To this conclusion,--that the whole of the material part of the scriptural argument is before the world, in these pamphlets,—we are conducted, by the fact, that neither talent, learning, zeal, nor time, have been wanting, in order to present it; that their author entered on the discussion, manifestly acquainted with all that was to be said ; that the subject has now been before the public more than four years; (See advertisement to the Tract.) and that, during that time, it is to be presumed, if there had been any more material statements to be presented from the bible, they would have appeared in the “ Answer.” There is much advantage in examining an argument, with the conviction, that nothing more remains to be said ; and that we may, therefore, contemplate it as an unbroken and unimproveable whole, without the possibility of any addition to the number of the arguments, or increase of their strength. On this vantage-ground we now stand, to contemplate the argument in support of the stupendous fabric of Episcopacy in the christian church.
In entering upon this examination, we are struck with—what we had indeed anticipated,-a very strong inclination, on the part of the author of the tract, to appeal again to certain "extraneous” authorities, of which we heard nothing in the tract itself, except to disclaim them. The tract commenced with the bold and startling announcement, that if Episcopacy has not the authority of scripture, it is not " necessarily binding." p. 3. “No argument, ” the tract goes on to say, "is worth taking into the account, that has not a palpable bearing on the clear and naked topic,—the scriptural evidence of Episcopacy.” p. 3. We have italicised a part of this quotation, to call the attention of our readers particularly to it. The affirmation, so unusual in the mouth of an Episcopalian, is, that no argument is worth TAKING INTO THE ACCOUNT, that does not bear on the scriptural proof. Now we anticipated that, if a reply was made to our review, from any quarter, we should find a qualification of this statement, and a much more complacent regard shown to the fathers, and to other “extraneous considerations,” (Tract, p. 4.) than would be consistent with this unqualified disclaimer, in the tract. The truth is, that the fathers are regarded as too material witnesses, to be so