Dissertation On The End For Which God Created The World

Dissertation On The End For Which God Created The World-56
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.

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This second process through which the faith has to pass, ought, like the first, to be made the subject of a distinct work: I shall here merely give a sketch of its most important features, that I may not terminate an historical criticism without pointing out its ultimate object, which can only be arrived at by dogmatical criticism as a sequel. Its fundamental principles are found in the New Testament. As, before his appearance on the earth, he was in the bosom of the Father, in divine majesty (John xvii. The risen and ascended Jesus will one day return to wake the dead and judge the world (Acts i. Or rather he can do this with slight labour, if he abstain from study and thought, or, if not from these, from freedom of speech and writing.

The root of faith in Jesus was the conviction of his resurrection. Now, his death appeared to be the chief article in his messianic destination; according to Isa. 5): so his descent into the world of mortals, and still more his submission to an ignominious death, was a voluntary humiliation, to which he was moved by his love to mankind (Phil. Of such there are already enough in our day, and there was no need to make continual additions to their number through the calumniation of those who have expressed themselves in the spirit of advanced science.

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.

In this, Christ himself aids him by his Spirit, who fills those whom he inspires with spiritual strivings, and makes them ever more and more free from the slavery of sin (Rom. It is true, that if in the discourses and instructions of the spiritual teacher, the main interest were an historical one, this would be a correct representation of the case: but, in fact, the interest is a religious one,it is essential religion which is here communicated under the form of a history; hence he who does not believe in the history as such, may yet appreciate the religious truths therein contained, equally with one who does also receive the history as such: the distinction is one of form merely, and does not affect the substance.

Nor alone spiritually, will the Spirit of Christ animate those in whom he dwells, but corporeally also, for at the end of their earthly course, God, through Christ, will resuscitate their bodies, as he did the body of Christ (Rom. The difference between the theologian and the church is regarded as a total one; it is thought, that in answer to the question, whether he believes in the history of Christ, he ought to say exactly, no; whereas he says, yes: and this is a falsehood.Further, our criticism, though in its progress it treats of details, yet on becoming part of our internal conviction, resolves itself into the simple element of doubt, which the believer neutralizes by an equally simple veto, and then spreads anew in undiminished luxuriance all the fulness of his creed. How richly fraught with blessing and elevation, with encouragement and consolation, were the thoughts which the early Church 870 derived from this view of the Christ! Nevertheless, there remains a marked distinction between these two propositions: since, and in so far as, this has happens, so and so is your duty and your consolationand : this is indeed related as having happened once, but the truth is, that it always so happened, and both in and by you ought to happen.But hereby the decisions of criticism are only dismissed, not vanquished, and that which is believed is supported by no intermediate proof, but rests absolutely on its own evidence. By the mission of the Son of God into the world, by his delivery of himself to death for the sake of the world, heaven and earth are reconciled (2 Cor. At least, the community will not receive both as identical; and thus, here again, in every excess or diminution which the more or less spontaneous relation of the teacher to critical theology, together with the variety in the degrees of culture of the community, introduces,the danger is incurred that the community may discover this difference, and the preacher appear to it, and consequently to himself, a hypocrite.Against this dogma, presenting itself totally unsupported by evidence, criticism must in deed awake, as it does against all deficiency of proof, in the character of a negativing power, and a contender for intermediate proof: it will, however, no longer be occupied with history, but with doctrines. 2); his blood poured out on the cross, operated like that which on the great day of atonement the high priest sprinkled on the mercy-seat (Rom. 25); he was the pure lamb by whose blood the believing are redeemed (i Pet. 18 f.); the eternal, sinless high priest, who by the offering of his own body, at once effected that, which the Jewish high priests were unable to effect, by their perpetually repeated sacrifices of animals (Heb. 22); but also, according as the one idea or the other was most readily formed, either he was supernaturally engendered by the Holy Spirit (Matt. and we have shown that our age has not arrived at a certain decision on this subject.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. The dogmatic import of the life of Jesus implicitly received, and developed on this basis, constitutes the orthodox doctrine of the Christ. and Luke i.), or he had descended as the Word and Wisdom of God into an earthly body (John i.). But this collision is not the effect of the curiosity of an individual; it is necessarily introduced by the progress of time and the development of Christian theology; it surprises and masters the individual, without his being able to guard himself from it.Criticism cannot but direct itself against this absence of intermediate proof, and thus the controversy which seemed ended is renewed, and we are thrown back to the beginning of our inquiry; yet with a difference which constitutes a step forward in the discussion. In this difficulty, the theologian may find himself driven either directly to state his opinions, and attempt to elevate the people to his ideas: or, since this attempt must necessarily fail, carefully to adapt himself to the conception of the community; or, lastly, since, even on this plan, he may easily betray himself, in the end to leave the ministerial profession.Hitherto our criticism had for its object the data of Christianity, as historically presented in the evangelical records; now, these data having been called in question in their historical form, assume that of a mental product, and find a refuge in the soul of the believer; where they exist, not as a simple history, but as a reflected history, that is, a confession of faith, a received dogma. But, thenceforth, the Messiah who was exalted to the right hand of God, could not have been a common man: not only was he anointed with the divine spirit in a greater measure than any prophet (Acts iv. 38); not only did he prove himself to be a divine messenger by miracles and signs (Acts ii. i), participating in the government of the world, as he originally did in its creation (Matt. We have thus admitted the difficulty with which the critical and speculative views are burthened, with reference to the relation of the 901 clergyman to the church; we have exhibited the collision into which the theologian falls, when it is asked, what course remains for him in so far as he has adopted such views? 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.


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