Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]

judge of the correctness of this censure, we refer to his treatment of that part of History where the most profound ideas are brought under discussion: the development of Augustin, and his controversy with Pelagius; of Anselin, Bernard, Thomas Aquinas, and the Reformation ; not to mention the delineation of the doctrinal teaching of the Apostles. What deeper employment can there be for Christian thought, than to follow everywhere the traces of the Son of God ? Even Dr. Hengstenberg has acknowledged that Neander, in writing his History of the Church, has opened a new path; that he had the faculty of discovering Christ everywhere, even where his image seemed to us darkened and disfigured.

Neander, on his part, would have found in the excessive importance attributed to dogma, in comparison with Christian life ; in the unseemly weight attached to the dogmatic differences of the leading reformed communions; in the Catholic over-valuation of the authority of the Church, which conceals a Pelagianizing germ ; in the unevangelical idea of official sanctity; in the Puseyite view of the Sacraments ; in the introduction of the opus operatum ;- in all these mixed influences, by which, at present, the Lutheran Theology is affected, he would probably, with greater justice, have found the marks of an incipient shallowness; and it would not have been difficult to find traces of the same in Dr. Kahnis. Perhaps, also, it was a part of Neander's deep insight in the dogmatic department, that he thought the revivification of the Lutheran dogma, in its full extent, was impossible, because the necessary premises were wanting.

We, by no means, refuse to acknowledge the talent and merit which exist on that side; but it appears to us, that under the hackneyed phrases of the authority and the objectivity of the Church, a very pretentious subjectivity and loose caprice are frequently indulged ; and if really an exact agreement with the entire system of Church Dogmas be indispensably necessary to a satisfactory Christian unity, and the extension of it warrants such severe reproaches of the points of difference in Protestant Churches, as have been incessantly expressed, ought we not to expect that on this side the Conformity would be most exact. Instead of this, scarcely'a more thorough representation of dogmatic ideas has lieen given, against which the reproach of important deviations

For our

from the views of the Church has not been cast. part, we wish to make no complaint against opponents, we only notice this connexion of a far-extending Syncretism of doctrine, which exactly the most gifted men cannot resist, with a pretension to sharply-defined ecclesiastical views, as an evidence that our age, incapable of forming a new system, or to satisfy itself with a repetition of the ancient one, must keep in mind its mediative character; and we beg that persons would accord that freedom to others which they claim for themselves.

Hence we can arrive at no other conclusion than that Neander's free historical composition, imbued with humble devotedness to the Saviour, and sustained by warm sympathy for all who were animated by his Spirit, will still maintain its position ; and we hope that its excellencies will not be wholly wanting to the work now presented to the reader.

A volume, prepared by himself for publication, or one of his lectures, taken down, word for word, would, doubtless, show these excellencies in a far higher degree; yet I have attempted to form into a whole the notes that have been kindly furnished by his former hearers, exactly and intelligently written from lectures, delivered when Neander was in his prime, with the aid of his General History of the Church, as far as it reaches. The principal difficulty arises from what made his lectures so very attractive—the free treatment of the subjects of them as they were continually produced afresh. It was also indispensable to correct, for reading, the somewhat loose and monotonous quality of the style, which is more easily tolerated in oral delivery. I have endeavoured to retain the excellencies of the several parts of this work, and confined myself to the most necessary alterations of the language, of which the literary references contain the most important. A greater fulness of these appeared to me unsuitable for a work intended as an Introduction to the History of Dogmas. Whoever needs more will easily obtain more extensive information from those that are here set down. Neander gave quotations from his authorities very copiously in his lectures. Hence, little more was necessary than to add the references. Yet where the understanding of the connexion or the peculiarity of ihe language made it appear desirable, I have placed at the bottom of the page, the

[blocks in formation]

original text. Since Neander's death, several sources of in. formation have been discovered, which render much more complete our knowledge of the Ancient Church. Though they still require to be more thoroughly examined, yet no small number of the results have been so far ascertained, that they could be introduced into this work. With the exception of the general discussion respecting Hippolytus, which seemed to me to belong to the text, I have made the additions in notes under the text, and all such are marked [J.].* Apart from these additions, the work is not merely an abstract of the dogmatic-historical portions of Neander's General History, but presents valuable additions in the Introduction, as well as in the History of Dogmas, since the Reformation, besides many separate discussions. Hence, I hope it may be used advantageously along with many meritorious works, which have lately appeared in other quarters, on the History of Dogmas.

Especially, I trust it will be found faithful to the object of the author's life, to point, amidst the disruption of parties, to HIM, who is the head, not of one contending party, but of the contending Church.

J. L. JACOBI. Halle, Michaelmas Day, 1856.

* In the translation Dr. Jacobi's name is given at length.-[TR.)

[ocr errors]
« PredošláPokračovať »