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CHRISTIAN COMPREHENSIVENESS.

We are not among those who re- the present distribution of the church, gard the Christian sects as equiva. abating what is due to causes that leni to so many schisms. Neither are criminal, makes it more comis it necessary, in our view, to the pletely one ; just as an army, set off unity of the church, that it should into companies and battalions, some be politically one ; indeed the polity trained to serve as infantry and of the Anglican establishment and some as horse, some with artillery that of the American Episcopal and some with the rifle, undergoing church are as truly separate, one each a form of exercise and disci. from the other, as the latter from pline peculiar to itself, becomes the Congregational polity. As little thereby not several and distinct aris it necessary to the unity of Christ's mies, but because of the orderly disbody, that the several polities should tribution made, a more complete be similar to each other; for here and perfect whole-in the field, an again it can be shown, beyond a engine of greater power, because it reasonable doubt, that the polity of unites so many forms of action and the Anglican establishment is less bears so many sorts of armor. resembled, as regards all practical At the same time, it is not to be purposes, to that of the American denied that this manifold distribution Episcopal church, than the latter to of the church has its propriety, in the Congregational. So if we speak causes and events that imply a crude of brotherly love or the unity of the state, or a state of only partial deSpirit, it is clear that distinct and velopment. Therefore, while we dissimilar forms of polity work no do not regret the distribution, or necessary detriment. How often proclaim it as the public shame of indeed is it proved that proximity religion, we may well desire a riper exasperates disagreements, and that state, in which the Christian body men will only hate each other the shall coalesce more perfectly and more cordially, the closer the bond draw itself towards a more compre. which unites them. Doubtless there hensive and catholic polity. The is such a thing as schism, divisions work of distribution and redistribu. that are wrought by evil passions, tion has already gone far enough, therefore dishonorable, hurtful and as most Christians appear to supcriminal; and such is the weakness pose. We see, indeed, that unity of our nature that there are doubt. is rising, now,

a new ideal less vestiges of schism, in all Chris. upon the Christian world. They tian bodies. Still it is our privilege, pray for a closer fellowship; they on the whole, and being our privi- flock together from the ends of the lege, our duty, to regard the Chris. world to consult for unity. A proptian sects, not as divisions, but as er and true catholic church is bedistributions rather; for it is one of fore the mind, as an object of longthe highest problems of divine gov. ing and secret hope as never before ernment in the church, as in all oth —it is named in distant places, and er forms of society, how to effect by men who have had no concert, the most complete and happy distri. save through the Spirit of God and bution—such a distribution as will the spirit of the age. And if these meet all wants and conditions, con. are signs of capacity for a more tent the longings, pacify the diver. catholic state, it may also be seen, sities and edify the common growih in the few persons rising up here of all. Thus it may be said that and there to speak of a more comVol. VI.

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prehensive faith, or to handle ques- of their own opposing truth, is not tions of polity and doctrine in a once entertained. Hence it is that more comprehensive spirit, that men, in expelling one error, are per. there are powers coming into the petually thrusting themselves into field, which possibly God has train. another, as if unwilling, or unable ed for the preparation of a new to hold more than half the truth at catholic age. Probably never until And so if any advance be now has the world been ready to made, it is wrought out between conceive the true idea of a com- batiles and successive contraries, in prehensive Christianity. Nor is it which, as society is swayed from ready now, save in part. The idea side to side, a kind of irregular and itself is yet in its twilight, dimly desultory progress is maintained. seen, only by a few—by none save Thus if any human reformer had those who are up to watch for the risen up to assail the titbings, wash. morning.

ings and other tedious observances Our object, in this article, is to of the Pharisees, observances the say what we are able of a subject more easy to regard as, odious, beformerly so remote from the world. cause the men themselves were odi. We confess that, in our own appre- ous-a sanctimonious race of ophension, we seem rather to stammer pressors and hypocrites, who live than to speak plainly. Still, as it is by forming the public superstitions by stammering that we learn to this human reformer would have speak, we go to our rudimental ef. said, “away with you hypocrites, fort suffering no pride to detain us. and away with your works. Let

your tithings go, and, if you will do What we mean by comprehen- any thing right, come back to the siveness, or a comprehensive Chris. weightier matters of judgment, mer. tianity, may be illustrated, in part, cy and faith.' This Christ did not from the manner and teachings of say. Detesting the cruelties and Christ himself, who is the Lord of base hypocrisies of the sect, as he Christianity. In nothing did Christ certainly did, he is yet able to see prove his superhuman quality more some benefit in their practices, some convincingly, than by the compre- truth in their opinions. Therefore hensiveness of his spirit and his he says, “These ought ye to have doctrine. He held his equilibrium, done, and not to leave the other unflew into no eccentricities, saved done'-comprehending, at once, the what was valuable in what he de. exact and ihe free, the disciplinary stroyed, destroyed nothing, where and the useful, offerings to God and it was desirable rather to fulfil labors for mankind. And the most than to destroy. It is the com- remarkable feature in his sermon mon infirmity of mere human re- on the mount is the fact that, while formers that, when they rise up to he perfectly transforms the old doc. cast out an error, it is generally not trines and laws, he yet annihilales till they have kindled their passions nothing. I came not to destroy, against it. If they begin with rea- but to fulfill—to bring spirit to form, son, they are commonly moved, in extend the outward law 10 the in. the last degree, by their animosities ward thought, to fill out the terms of instead of reason. And, as animos. knowledge and the statules of duty, ities are blind, they, of course, see but to suffer no jot or tiule of the nothing to respect, nothing to spare. law to perish. It is by this singu. The question whether possibly there lar comprehensiveness, in the spirit may not be some truth or good in of Christ, that the grandeur of his the error assailed, which is needed life and doctrine is most of all con. to qualify and save the equilibrium spicuous. For by this it was that he set himself in advance, most Besides these three, he declares that clearly, of his own and of all subse. it is even impossible to invent an. quent times. With men, if they other. And ihe latter of the three ever atiain to any thing of a com. he regards as she ripe school, one prehensive aim, it is only in what that will contain the last and fully may be called the second age of the matured results of philosophic inchurch or society, the historical and quiry. Now as human life lies becritical age. In the first age, they iween the infinite and the finite, as see truth; in the second they consid- regards thought and the objects of er the seeings of others and their thought, having contact in fact with import. In the first age they re. both, there is certainly a show of gard the forms of truth as identical truth in the theory offered. The with truth itself; therefore they history of opinions too may be made, stand, every man, for his own form, without any great violence, to yield having no choice but to live or die it a complexion of favor. Still it is by it, and no thought, perhaps, but easy to show in what manner other to make others live or die by it too. and more various oppositions may But in the second age, opinions be. arise, and how they may be multicome a subject of comparison, their plied almost without number. They laws are inquired after, their forms are, in fact, so multiplied, both in become plastic and are seen melting philosophy and in religious doctrine. into each other. Under contrary Having it, then, for our subject, forms, are found common truths, in this article, to investigate, as far and one form is seen to be the com- as we are able, the causes out of plement of another-all forms, we which religious oppositions arise, and may almost say, the complement of to suggest the true remedy, let us, all others. But it was in no such first of all, glance at the methods in philosophic and critical method that which the Christian world fall into Christ attained to so great compre.

so many repugnant attitudes. hensiveness. He found it rather, in Doubtless it is true, in part, as M. the native grandeur of his own spirit. Cousin suggests, that many of these Speaking nol as a critic, but as a repugnances are due to the fact that seer, his simple seeing placed him the material of thought is itself die thousands of years in advance of us, vided between what is absolute or under all the lights of history. We ideal, and what is actual or empiriseem now 10 be just beginning to cal; so that a mind, viewing any spell out in syllables, and by a labo subject partially, that is from one rious criticism, that which Christ pole, is likely to confict with one seized upon, as an original intui. viewing it from the other, and both tion.

with one who endeavors to view it But we must enter, if possible, from both poles at once. into the more interior merits of our But there are divisions, or repug. subject. It was given out a few nances, that are due as much to the years ago, by the distinguished incomprehensibility of the matter of French philosopher, M. Cousin, ibat thought, as 10 the twofold nature of there are, in philosophy, three pos. its contents. The matter of thought sible schools of opinion, which must is infinite in quantity, as well as each have an era to itself-one that ideal or empirical in quality. Hence begios with the ideal, or absolute; it results that, as the minds of men a second that begins with the em- are finire, they can only pull at the piric, or conditional; a third which hem of the garment, and must there. seeks to adjust the relations of the fore be expected to pull in different two, producing an ideal-empiric, or, ways, accordingly as they fall upon as he would call it, an eclectic school. the hem on one side or on the other.

For as the garment is, to each, noth- haps on a method that combines the ing but the hem, in that part where excellences of both. he has hold of it, he is likely to make There is yet one more source of up bis sect or school according to repugnant and partial opinion, which the view he has. But after long is quite as fruitful as the others; ages of debate, wherein every part namely, language. No matter whethof the hem is brought into view, er we speak of philosophic doctrine, then it is possible, certainly, for any or of that which is derived froin rev. disciple, who will look through the elation, every opinion or truth must eyes of all, to form to himself some come into the world and make itself view of it, that is broader and more kuown, under the terms of language. comprehensive.

And all the processes of ratiocinaThen again there are reasons for tion, under which opinions are genthe rise of repugnant views, in erated, are processes that are conthought and religious doctrine, which tained within the laws of language. lie in what may be called the con- But language can not convey any tents of persons. For it is not mere. truth whole, or by a literal embodia ly the contents of thought, but quite ment. It can only show it on one as much the contents of the think. side, and by a figure. Hence a ers, that give birth to contrary opin. great many shadows, or figures, ions and sects. We speak here of are necessary to represent every personal temperament, or of nation. truth; and hence, again, there will al temperament, working in the sub- seem to be a kind of necessary ject; of that which history has pro. conflict between the statements in duced, or waits to have produced; of which a truth is expressed. One impulses, wants, all of which need statement will set forth a given truth as much to have their day and be or subject matter under one figure, tried, as the subject matter of thought and a second under another, and a itself. For example, the Pelagian third, possibly, under yet another. doctrine of will, or self-supporting The doctrine of atonement, for exvirtue, and the Quaker doctrine of ample, is offered, in Scripture, upquietism, may arise, in no small de- der a great variety of figures, and gree, from varieties of personal tem- a history of the doctrine, up to this perament. And since temperament moment, consists, in a great degree, is as much a reality as thought ito of the theologic wars of these fig. self, what can ever display the man. ures, doing battle each for the su. ifold forms of a perfect and com. premacy. For as soon as any figo plete doctrine, unless temperamenture of

ure of truth is taken to be the truth also is allowed to have its trial ? itself, and set up to govern all the So also prelacy was produced by reasons of the subject, by its own historic causes, that is, by impulses contents as a figure, argument itself and sympathies historically prepa. settles into cant, and cant is enthrored. So also of independency or ned as doctrine. For cant, in rigid equality. It was something in the definition, is the perpetual chanting, convenience of political power, or or canting of some phrase or figure, private ambition, or Christian expe. as the fixed equivalent of a truth. rience, that produced these repug. And as most men who speculate, nant methods of organization, and both in philosophy and religion, are set them in conflict. And now, not fully aware of the power of since they are both set before the words, or how, if they place a truth mind, as exhibited on trial, it is pos. under one word in distinction from sible to decide, with greater confi- another, it will assuredly run them dence, on the method most conge- into dogmas that are only partially nial to the Christian scheme-per- true; successive dogmas in theol. ogy or philosophy are perpetually to follow also, as asserted by M. coming upon the stage, and wear. Cousin, that there can arise, about ing themselves down into cant to any subject or question, only three die-in which, though they resem. schools of opinion-he schools of ble themselves to the swans, it is the extremes, and a third school, yet with a difference; for the swans which undertakes to settle their reonly sing when they die, but these lation, or comprehend them in a sing themselves to death. The num- common view. And perhaps there ber of contrary theories that may be can not in any legitimate way. Still gathered round a given subject are it will be found, in historical fact, limited, of course, only by the num- that men do not always proceed in ber of figures adjacent to it. a legitimate way. Oiher causes act

Instead, therefore, of the single upon them, which do not lie in the cause for repugnant, or opposing subject matter of inquiry. As we theories, discovered by M. Cousin, see them in actual controversy, they we find as many as four class of describe a history which may be well causes; one that lies in the twofold enough represented by the five quality of the contents of thought; stages or modes which follow. a second in the infinite quantity of First comes up into the light one the contents; a third in the contents extreme and, with or without conof persons, including society and troversy, it is adopted. After awhile history; a fourth in the containing a second school, looking the domipowers of language, as an instru- nant opinion or practice in the face, ment of thought and speculation. begins to see that there is something

On the whole, it does not appear wrong or false in it, and rises up as that the theory of M. Cousin is suffi. an assailant, to assert the second excient. It is less defective as rela. treme. Now comes the war beting to questions of philosophy or tween extremes. The parties are philosophic systems, for which it certain, both, that they have the was specially intended, but it is de. truth. They regard each other in fective even here ; for nothing is their present half seeing state, as more certain than that the thoughts wholly repugnant and contrary. and speculations of men are shaped The war goes on, therefore, as a by causes which do not lie in the war between simple truth and falsequality of the subject matter of hood, which no terms of peace can thought. Far more extensively true reconcile, and which permits no isis this in matters of theology or re- sue but one of life or death. Prob. vealed religion, where so much de- ably the new extreme will prevail, pends on questions of fact or inter. and the old subside into a secondary pretation-questions that are not de. place. terminable by any philosophic or a : Meantime, there is likely to appear priori method. Still the doctrine he a neutral school, made up of those advances that all questions of phi- who are disposed to peace, and losophy lie between two poles or ex. deprecate war, and who can not es. iremes, is one that has a vast and cape the feeling that there is somealmost universal application. So thing extravagant or excessive, (as also of his doctrine that, inasmuch there certainly is,) in both the milias men are after truth and not after tant schools. These are the moderfalsehood, it may generally be as. ate men who praise moderate things sumed that under all extremes ad. —the wooden headed school, who vanced there dwells a truth. And dread no!hing with so great reason these will hold equally well in mat- as a combustion of any sort. Hence ters of theology.

it is the real problem with them to Holding this view, it may seem divide distances, and settle them

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