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Of the estimation in which the Creeds of the Catholic Church are held in Germany, the following is given as a fair specimen:
Speaking of a certain writer, M. Rupp observes, that his work did but add fresh confirmation to the truth that the present • Church knows nothing of any importance as attached to the • letter of the Creed. And further, how little the spiritual • authorities of the provinces of East and West Prussia favour the strict adherence to the letter of Creeds (symbol zwang),
seems as if it could not be better made known to those who • happen to be but little acquainted with what relates to us than * by the fact, that Richard Baxter's Book, “ The Minister of • the Gospel,” is given into the hands of every preacher when • ordained, to put him in mind of the day of his ordination. Who is 'the man who is set forth as a pattern to the preacher entering • upon his office ? A Presbyterian minister, who was degraded * by the Episcopal Church of England; because at a time when * many thousands of the clergy acted against their conviction, he * remained true to his, and sought to defend Christian liberty of conscience, by declining to subscribe that he willingly, and * ex animo, without any reserve, believed and accepted all that was contained and ordered in the Book of Common Prayer.
· Protestant theologians are, in this point, in perfect accordance with the authorities, that in our Church the letter of the • Creed is not binding. The ecclesiastical and theological
periodicals, which are edited by Rohr in Weimar, and • Bretschneider in Gotha, throw light upon the question of • Creeds in every point of view. The scientific labours of • Wegscheider in Halle, and David Schultz in Breslau, further 'confirm this view. And how greatly mistaken would he be • who should maintain, that it was by the tenet of one external • form of Cristianity" that the representatives of Rationalism, so called, were distinguished from other theologians.
On the contrary, all who entertain Schleiermacher's way of 'viewing Christian doctrine, and who, according to the language
of Hegel's philosophy, have found in it the expression of their • Christian faith, hold the same views as to Creeds. De Wette, • Ulmarin, Haas, in theological writings breathe the same spirit; and the celebrated Church historian, Neander, would be little understood, were it to be maintained that he did not see, in the ' present Evangelical Church, a development external to the • letter of the Creed.' - Symbol Zwang, p. 47.
• Does the English High Church, this nursling of kings, be* long to us? is she really protestant? It is true she calls herself so, but she is not; a circumstance far from so strange that any one ought to wonder at it.'— Der Thurm-bau zu Koln, p. 105.
Extract from the Evangelical Church Periodical, 1843, No. 7. * Since these brothers, (editors of a print in Switzerland) have thought it of sufficient importance to place a testimony of ‘mine, which they have wholly misunderstood, at the head of
their paper, what I am now about to bear testimony to as a • notorious fact, well known to me from my acquaintance with • the higher circles at Berlin, will not be a matter of indifference * to them, viz. that I have as yet not met with a single person, 6 from among the highest down to the lowest circle, who held the • reform of our Church system, after the pattern of that of the • English, to be a point of real necessity; that not a single • person is known to me, even by name, whose efforts have been • directed to any such end.'—Otto con Gerlach.
The 'Calner Missionsblatt,' No.1,1843, (written by Dr. Barth, a man who has for many years conducted the affairs of the Missionary Society ;) the Baseler Heidenbote,' No. 3, 1842, and the Baseler Missionsmagazin, 1841, vol. iv. p. 150; the organs of the friends of missionary enterprises,- all take a decidedly unfavourable view; the former expressly states that it is an illusion to suppose that a Bishop would in any way advance the success of missionaries; the second declares that he has already injured that cause; and the last attributes to the English clergy all the evils that have befallen the Druses.
• Rheinwald's Repertorium,' (published at Berlin monthly, by Professor Rheinwald, one of the most esteemed periodicals, of rather a critical and historical, than controversial character, has, April 1844, an article on the subject, taking a decidedly unfavourable view, and regarding the whole as a failure.
* Le Semeur,' (1842, Nos. 2 and 6,) organ of the French Protestants, is opposed to the scheme, and demands whether the Church of Prussia is ready to follow her political chief, whether she is ready to submit to the Anglican Episcopal ordination, which must sooner or later be offered to ber.
Similar sentiments occur in the Archives du Christianisme,' (No. 2, 1842,) and also in a French Protestant Journal ; this latter article met with a reply from a French Anglican, Mr. Gourrier. On the whole, the French Protestant (Calvinistic) body, consistently enough, recognises in the measure a declaration of union among all Protestant bodies. Witness the following truly French sentiments, spoken by a Comte Agenor Gasparin at a Bible Society Meeting :
* Toute église évangélique est une sour, c'est notre église, c'est nous-mêmes ! Sur ce rapport tous doivent se réjouir de la • fondation d'un évêché protestant à Jérusalem.'
VOL. XLVII. - N.8.
Perhaps the most important publication in this quarter is one by the candid A. de Mestral, of the Canton de Vaud; ‘l'Evêché évangélique de Jerusalem, (Paris 1843.) He approves very highly of the whole scheme. He, with great truth, considers it the true exponent of what we should call the pseudo-catholicity among Protestants, symbolized by the phrase, l'unité des formes variées. He states that the two contracting Churches of Prussia and England treated on the basis of national independence and catholicity, or l'unité intérieure : to use his own striking words, « Une 'église unique, mais dans le sein de cette église culte separé et libre
par chaque nationalité,' p. 38. Which is exactly what Dr. Arnold's Church Reform pamphlet suggested. He draws, (p. 82,) a curious distinction between the episcopate, viewed as a doctrine and as what might among us be called an event in providence.'
L'épiscopat, la succession des évêques sont pour elle (l'église • d'Angleterre) non pas un dogme mais un fait.' The inference is obvious. He insists that Mr. Bunsen was the presiding genius, and that the Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop of London adopted his views: and now that the Life of Arnold has proved that Bunsen alone symbolized in all their fulness with Arnold's frightful sentiments, this fact is not without its value, and that a very remarkable one. However, Mr. de Mestral admits, (p. 47,) that convocation is the sole constitutional representative of the Church, and that our two chief prelates only act, of course, without any canonical authority, in default of this body: in other words, the Church of England is, most providentially, not committed to the scheme at all.
We would willingly quote many passages from a polemical pamphlet of Dr. Schneckenburger's, but must content ourselves with referring our readers to the original. It is full of extracts from the various writers who have written and discussed the question of the so-called Anglo-Prussian missionary undertaking, and is perhaps that one of the ephemeral productions which will best reward an inquirer who is desirous of learning what people generally, in Germany, think and feel respecting the undertaking. Two other pamphlets, which have been made accessible to the English reader by translation, may be recommended with the same view,- The Anglican Bishopric of Jerusalem, by a French Protestant pastor ; and The Anglo-Prussian Bishopric of St. James, at Jerusalem, by Wm. Hoffman, inspector of the missionary schools in Basle.
It would be exposing a reader's patience to a needless trial to multiply quotations similar to those already cited. They are here given as samples of a mode of thought, characteristic of Protestant Germany, which has neither desire nor love for the Episcopal government, which holds fast to nothing fixed in Revelation, but fluctuates hither and thither, and is really carried about by every wind of doctrine, under the idea of advancement and development of the truth.
Happily for England, as yet we know very little of the sentiments of Germany, and of our ignorance we need not be ashamed. Yet their language now is being extensively cultivated, and, of course, its general diffusion will bring in an influx of literature to which we have long been strangers. If, tben, German literature must needs become known, and German divinity attract notice, we rejoice to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Dewar for his sound and able review of the
progress of Theology in Germany since the time of Luther. It will be an antidote to the poison as it comes out. It will be found to confirm our fears of the malignant influence that we think must inevitably accompany the spread of the German language. It is satisfactory to see the views of the late respected Mr. Rose so ably confirmed and substantiated; and to both these works we now beg to refer such of our readers as may desire to be convinced that we have not misrepresented our subject.
In fact, the true Protestant, whether he be of Germany or elsewhere, in his heart hates the Episcopal power; his principles, carried to their legitimate extent, lead him to seek absolute freedom from all restraint, -entire liberty of conscience and belief; whereas the Episcopal power is a living human pattern of conscience and orthodox belief, and the end of Episcopacy is to be a guide of conscience and belief to those who embrace its government. It is not in the truth, but in the act of seeking the truth, that a Protestant thinks he will make himself free. It needs then hardly to be urged, the inference is so plain, that where such sentiments as have been quoted are characteristic of the mind of a people, they are far, very far, from that child-like love for order and guidance without which we are told that men cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.
If, therefore, England would benefit the Christians of Prussia, for the present at least there seems to be no other
way, except by prayer for them, that they may have given them a sincere love for the pastoral care of · Bishops. The only true foundation that the Christian hierarchy can have, is in the love and reverence borne towards them by their people. What is Episcopacy without this, but the outward representative of something inward that is dead; a skeleton form, the heart and lifeblood of which has perished? If, therefore, it can be shown that we are mistaken in our estimate of the mind of Prussia towards Episcopacy, we shall rejoice to hear it; but sincerely believing as we do, and having formed our opinion from many opportunities of living observation, that Episcopacy is not regarded by the
Protestants of Germany in the light of a precious blessing given of God,—we can only pray God of His mercy to withhold from them a gift, which as yet they shew no symptom of a desire to receive religiously, and in which they do not as yet understand that the Giver must be honoured; unless the gift is to be followed by a misuse, that will be a far greater curse than its continued absence.
As for the ill advised scheme of union, we can but dismiss it as we began; if it in anywise has injured the character of our Church for catholicity, and there is Dr. Arnold's striking testimony that it has :
• To Sir T. S. Pasley, Bart.
• Fox How, September 23rd, 1841. ... The first Protestant Bishop of Jerusalem is to be consecrated at Lambeth next Wednesday. He is to be the legal ' protector of all Protestants of every denomination towards the • Turkish government; and he is to ordain Prussian clergymen,
on their signing the Augsburg Confession, and adopting the • Prussian Liturgy, and Englishmen on their subscribing to our * Articles and Liturgy. Thus the idea of my Church Reform pamphlet, which was so ridiculed and so condemned, is now carried into practice by the Archbishop of Canterbury himself. For the Pro• testant Church of Jerusalem will comprehend persons using * different liturgies, and subscribing different articles of faith; * and it will sanction these differences, and hold both parties to 'be equally its members. Yet it was thought ridiculous in me to conceive that a national Church might include persons using a different ritual, and subscribing different articles. 0. course it is a grave question what degrees of difference are com
patible with the bond of Church union; but the Archbishop of •Canterbury has declared in the plainest language, that some • differences are compatible with it; and this is the great principle • which I contended for.'- Dr. Arnold's Life and Correspondence, vol. ii. p. 274, letter 257.
If it has its foundation in the violation of sanctions and obligations of canonical law, hitherto held sacred,—we repeat with Mr. Newman, ‘God grant that it may utterly perish, and come to nought, and be as though it had never been!