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character of Christianity was assailed by an elaborate and audacious criticism; and this character of essential infidelity has remained deeply impressed on German literature as a whole, even to the present time. Glimmerings there have been, indeed, now and then, of a partial and uncertain belief in more or less of the doctrines of Revelation; but we look in vain for any set of men whose faith is not grounded in mere philosophy, and can be regarded as fixed and settled, or who have even advanced so far on their way towards soundness of faith as to embrace, sincerely and simply, the first elements of Christian doctrine- the Creeds of the universal Church. We will take Mr. Sterling's representation of the state of the case, which we believe to be perfectly accurate, and which is not the statement of an opponent of German doctrines. We extract the following passage, not without feelings of horror at its startling irreverence:

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"Divine Commandments are but the Commandments of Divines, for him who does not feel that, in compliance with them is the only liberation of his soul from death. ... The freedom of an earnest mind brings with it laws as strict and holy as any in the Pentateuch or the Canons. Political freedom is a great blessing; but there is a still better kind, known only to the good and wise, and of which Schiller, and Fichte, and their compeers are teachers and examples, such as Europe, for near two centuries, had hardly seen. Connected, not very remotely, with this matter of spiritual freedom is the remarkable fact that, while of the population of Germany considerably more than half are Catholics, every man who has gained an immortal fame in that country as a thinker, was born and bred a Protestant. As to the right of the greater number of the following names to appear in the list, there can be but one opinion :

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"Three of these illustrious men-one Stolberg, one Schlegel, and Winkelmann-became Catholics.


But even these converts, all,

except Winkelmann, but second-rate among the great, were formed in the comparative freedom of Protestant doctrine. Of the others, many,

perhaps nearly all, were very far from what we commonly call orthodoxy, that is, from believing that the Creeds of the Reformers three hundred years ago, or any one such document, contain the whole and nothing but the truth as to man's spiritual constitution and destiny. But, though mostly heretics in the eyes of synods and consistories, and of our bench of bishops, they were generally far more completely removed from any allegiance to the doctrine of the schoolman or to that of the fathers."-Vol. i. pp. 415, 416.

Mr. Hare intimates, that he did not himself concur in Sterling's views on the subject of inspiration, and yet it is evident that he differs widely from the prevalent belief on the subject. He speaks of "the exaggerated importance ascribed in our popular theology to certain ignorant, uncritical, baseless assumptions concerning literal inspiration" (p. cxxx.), as driving such men as Sterling into an opposite error. "An intelligent theory of inspiration," is in Mr. Hare's mind "a most pressing want." But he is of opinion that "little good and far more harm will be done by the removal of the error, if in removing it we cut down the tree round which the parasite has clung" (p. cxxx.). We do no injustice to Mr. Hare, by inferring from this, that he regards an intelligent theory of inspiration as a desideratum, and consequently that it is not merely our popular theology to which he objects.

We really cannot but wish that these men would more fully and frankly state their opinions on the subject of inspiration. They are continually assuring their disciples that all our existing views are wrong, and that there certainly will be an awful explosion, which will subvert the authority of the Scriptures. We think that more mischief is done by such anticipations, than could be done by an open avowal of sentiments, even if they were erroneous. To pursue the former course is to labour to impress on the public mind that the whole existing religious system is unsound and untenable, and destined to fall beneath the assault of a powerful philosophy. Mr. Sterling points to the source-the materials, he says, for an attack on revelation exist in abundance in Germany. We know this: but we differ widely from these writers in our estimate of the comparative strength of the orthodox doctrine, and of the German systems. We should deeply regret to see any members of the Church of England identify themselves with the latter; but we feel perfectly satisfied that if they do-if such writers, for instance, as Sterling or Hare, were to throw their whole strength into the cause of infidelity, backed by the rationalistic theology of Germany-the result of the struggle would be only fatal to themselves and their theories. Let them only speak out dis

tinctly enough at once, and the matter will, we believe, be soon brought to a close in the discomfiture of the antagonists of faith. There is much to lament in the condition of England; but it is not yet prepared to part with Christianity, or to hold it only as a better species of heathenism-a philosophy-a mere fabrication of the human mind.

We would here offer a word or two on the subject of pantheism. It would be of course impossible to deny the shocking nature of this doctrine, its utter contradiction to Christianity, or its inevitable connexion with atheism in the cultivated and polytheism in the popular mind. But, at the same time, the adoption of this theory appears to us impossible, where the mind has not become bewildered by speculations on subjects which are beyond its powers, and where the natural reason and the evidences of the senses have not lost their authority. In such a state of wild and dreamy mysticism the mind may be prepared to receive any positions however monstrous: but the great mass of the community, when in any degree under the influence of Christianity, will not comprehend, we think, the "fascination" of a theory which recognizes THE DEITY in every brute in all matter, however loathsome or offensive to the senses; or even in men polluted with crimes and impurities! Surely fatuity never appeared in a more repulsive and ridiculous form than this! And such is the GOD whom philosophy presents to us, in place of the CREATORthe REDEEMER-the SANCTIFIER the JUDGE of the Universe! Let us here take a more particular survey of the religious theories adopted by Mr. Sterling.

In 1836, he writes thus to Mr. Hare:


"I have just finished an Essay or Discourse on the Narrative of the Fall, which pretty well satisfies my own mind as to the main outlines ; but I do not yet see my way as to the history of Cain and Abel. The narrative is evidently meant to be significant, and not a mere legend (see, for instance, the names); and yet significant of what? What is the meaning of Cain's punishment, and the mark set upon him? I will own to you, that the more I go into the Old Testament, the more ground I find for hesitating about the great physical miracles, from the apparent mixture of alloy in the narratives, their slight outward authority, and the difficulties of any scheme that would furnish a previous ground for the facts, and yet account for the imperfection of our record of them. But I am far from giving the thing up... The obscurity in my mind lies in this, that in the very proportion in which the Hebrew records afford clear and lively evidence of this evangelic element in the old world, in the same degree they are free from the mixture of the prodigiously miraculous; and therefore one cannot but ask whether the physically marvellous be not a separable alloy. I am far from denying the

possibility, that in the earliest times, and especially at the great epoch of the constitution of a Monotheistic nation, all things may have been in a more outward state, and connected themselves necessarily with more visible manifestations of the spiritual system around us and within us.

. . I must add, that any painfulness of interest in the question arises entirely from the state of opinion on the matter in this country; as no possible view of it would be to my mind one which weakens the security of the Gospel, any more than the overthrow of the old notion of the uncompounded and elemental nature of atmospheric air could tend to impede the breathing of the undeceived philosopher."

Mr. Hare observes that "the same train of thought is carried on somewhat fancifully in the following remarks :"

"I have just read Schleiermacher's beautiful and affecting discourse at his son's grave. . . . It is in a great degree the want of faith, hope, and love, that makes people write on religion in a style suitable for bills of lading and kings' speeches; and it was partly the fulness of these in the prophets that gave them their visionary and symbolic style. You see Schleiermacher opens with images; and the style there runs smoother and more equally; and such, I think, is the natural course of passion. I cannot but connect this with the bursts of fact imagery, and phenomenal wonders, at the first crash of each of the great epochs of Revelation. If this makes you laugh, I do not know that it will have done any harm." -pp. lxiii.-lxv.

We own ourselves to be in no small degree surprised at the estimate which Sterling had evidently formed of his correspondent, whom he supposed capable of treating as a matter of levity a sentiment which distinctly resolves the facts and miracles of the Bible into imagery supplied by an excited imagination. We are equally surprised at the publication of this correspondence by Mr. Hare, without any other remark on its decided infidelity, than that the train of thought is "somewhat fancifully" carried on! We might at first sight almost infer that Sterling understood the temperament and the views of his tutor, when he supposed that such speculations would make him "laugh;" but we believe that the real object of the editor was simply to extenuate the faults of the subject of his memoir. Mr. Hare observes that the line of Mr. Sterling's studies at this time was such as "to estrange him more and more from the theological and ecclesiastical opinions of our Church;"-he ought to have said, from the belief of the Christian world.

"I constantly meditate (he wrote in November, 1836) larger and more connected performances, and of late have been speculating chiefly on the possibility and propriety of at last breaking the charmed sleep of English theology by a book on the authority of the Scriptures. I sent

to England for a volume on inspiration, lately published by a learned dissenter, a Dr. Henderson. He means well enough, but merely takes the old ground. . . . . His argument, e. g. for the inspiration of Mark's Gospel amounts nearly to this; that Mark was probably infallible, because he was an acquaintance of Peter, and because Dr. H. would be abused by other dissenting ministers if he allowed that he was not. But make it ever so plain that, in upsetting this dead idol, one was striving for Christianity, and not for critical and historical science merely, yet I am persuaded that any clergyman caught in the fact must abandon all notion of duty for the future in any ecclesiastical function. It has struck me that, if my life shall be prolonged, as I must, at all events, relinquish all public ministration, I might, perhaps, be peculiarly well situated for trying to do some good of this kind in theology. The materials are all prepared and abundant in the books of the Germans. I find that I could not conscientiously publish the things I wrote some time ago about the Old Testament. The earlier portions of it seem to me too uncertain to justify me in professing that thorough and religious faith in them which I do not entertain."-pp. xciv. xcv.

On this passage we must remark, that the object of Archdeacon Hare's eulogium was distinctly and fully aware that his doctrines were such as would, if made public, expose him to ecclesiastical censure of the gravest kind,-that they were contrary to the belief of the Church of England. There was not much of the spirit of martyrdom in the feeling, that being obliged by health to renounce public ministrations, he might safely assail the doctrines of the Church. We should have thought that a testimony given at the hazard of losing something would have been more generous, and more influential.

He afterwards remarks:

"I will own to you-for I do not know why I should not deal with you in all sincerity-that I find myself more and more removed from all the views in which the Church of England divines differ from the foreign Protestant Churches. I cannot trace this tendency to any corrupt selfindulgence of my own. . . . . The more earnestly I strive to know and do the will of God, the less I seem disposed to admit any thing like the claims of a hierarchy, venerable though it may be as a monument, and useful as an instrument; or to believe in any normal outward institution by Christ or the Apostles, of rulers and teachers in the Church." p. xcviii.

We are bound to say that Mr. Sterling does not anticipate agreement in these views on the part of "many of the wisest and holiest of his countrymen." The fact, however, of such actual difference does not appear sufficiently in the present work, we think.

His correspondence, apparently with Mr. Hare, is full of such

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