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in a truthful representation of fact, seldom has it been attained by a historian in so high a degree. The temptation-one of the severest-to model History according to certain preconceived aims and opinions, whether dogmatic or not, scarcely affected him; he had overcome it beforehand by his oblivion of self, and would sometimes say, that nothing seemed easier to him, than to let historical phenomena be taken for what they were worth. And yet, possessing the feelings of a powerful soul, he was decided in his likes and dislikes; objects were not regarded by him with a cold indifference, but even in writing ecclesiastical History, he was firm in his belief that the heart made the Theologian. The same devotedness to historical fact and the same love of Truth impelled him to study the most original sources of information. He wished to learn events from their actual exhibition, and to see Persons, as it were, face to face. He fixed his steady gaze on Life in all its amplitude and depth; he penetrated, as by divination, into the hidden ground of appearances, and filled up the blank where information was wanting. If he had to treat of religious characteristics, he would sketch with cautious, but certain strokes, the outlines belonging to both Times and Persons, and from the whole of the developments would make himself master of the separate parts, especially in reference to doctrinal distinctions. Perhaps at times his apprehension of the External would be less vivid, yet his inner sense of the Christian import of events would be so much the more awake; and since he freed History from the confused multiplicity of petty details, he invested it with that meditative repose which was suited to his spirit, and corresponded to the firmness of those eternal principles of action in the contemplation of which he loved to linger. Yet, along with this simplicity and tenderness, what versatility and vividness in the conception of peculiarities! It was his favourite point of view to observe the efficiency of the one Gospel in the diversity of human gifts, and to contemplate Christianity as a divine power, which extended its saving influence to all parts of human nature. For himself, he felt most akin to those souls who by a more gentle process of conversion experienced it as an ennobling of all that was purely human; but he also knew how to estimate in their full importance the more violent agitations of a soul in which Christianity gained the ascendancy by conflict.
Hence, whether he depicted the love of the Gospel in Chrysostom, or its faith in Augustin; the elevated repose of the one under the storms of outward life, or the inward conflicts of the other, we shall find an equally sympathetic interest, an equal understanding, as if each had been a reflection of his own experience. He treats with the same loving thoroughness the meditative stillness of monastic life, and the restless activity of a Boniface. His inclination led him chiefly to the original and free developments which bordered closely on the Apostolic age; but who is there, we may ask, who has traced more accurately scholastic speculation in its strictly ecclesias. tical, as well as its freer forms,—in its dialectic not less than its mystic ramifications, and with a more religious and speculative insight, than He, to whom we are indebted for new views of not a few of its performances ?
What we have said of Neander's method of treating Persons, Parties, and Circumstances, will equally apply to his discussion of particular dogmas. Assuming as an axiom that Christianity, subjectively considered, is the experience of the facts of Redemption in the heart, but that Dogmas are the intellectual expression of the Christian Life, he examines them to discover how far communion with Christ is their animating principle. Every dogma was to him the answer to a question of religious need, and he strove to ascertain what this need might be―under what conditions it originated, as well as the attempt that was made to satisfy it. His patient and loving investigations were rewarded by his presenting in its native splendour the gold of divine Truth, rescued from the distorted and decaying forms in which it had lain through ages of neglect. Even in the labyrinth of the Gnostic systems, as well as under the hardest crust of Scholasticism, he could descry Christian Truth; but with joyous satisfaction he presented those developments especially, in which, as in the Protestant fundamental doctrines, the full contents of the evangelic Consciousness were to be seen in their simplest form. Yet mindful of the Apostle's words, that we have this treasure in earthen vessels, he recognised in all systems something disproportionate to the eternal contents of Divine Revelation. There alone the light was pure; everywhere else was an unequal mixture of light and shade. He believed with enthusiastic confidence in the final triumph of Truth, but he also knew the potency of Sin;
and the acknowledgment of the relative necessity of erroneous manifestations was always connected in his mind with the need of mutual complements, for presenting the truth in its just proportions. In all of them he admired the acts of the Tohoíκιλος σοφία τοῦ Θεοῦ (Eph. iii. 10). He regarded it as the highest office of his historical compositions to be a witness of it, and of the peculiar power of the Christian principle of life, which, harmonizing, purifying, and controlling, is destined to make its way through all opposition, obscuration, and hin
On this perception of a living and self-developing principle was founded the method of composing his historical works, which he was wont to call the organic-genetic. He possessed great tact for the detection of historical connexion; where to others differences were presented in systematic opposition, they arranged themselves for him with ease, according to the immediate and living connexion of their genesis. As in the introduction to his great historical work he alludes to the parable of the grain of mustard seed,* so in the growth of the Christian life, even in its dogmatic processes, he saw it advancing from the germ to the stalk, and producing its everextending branches, and flowers, and fruit.
We know that the personal and scientific importance of the man by whom so much has been effected for the renovation of the Christian profession and theology in our Church is held in grateful remembrance, and was admirably delineated, not long ago, by Dr. Ullman. Yet it seems undeniable, that the apprehension of the simple greatness which belonged to Neander, has been continually lessening among others of his contemporaries who have lost themselves among contrarieties, which should be traced up to a higher source. Many whose Christian piety he highly valued, but in whom he deemed it a defect that they valued it exclusively in their own form, fancy that they can transcend the stage of his Christianity, and from their dogmatic standpoint look down upon him as only half a believer. Persons of this stamp are frequently too hasty they in their turn are again surpassed, and must submit to be set down by those who are further advanced as only three-quarter believers.
General objections have been especially directed against the Neander's Ch. Hist., vol. i. p. 1, Introduction.
kind and method of his Biblical criticism, as well as the standpoint and measure of his historical judgment. Those to whom faith in divine Revelation resolves itself into a mechanical and unhistorical idea of Inspiration, can scarcely find themselves in harmony with the childlike, humble faith, and free examination of the Scriptures, which he knew how to maintain. In other quarters, the absence of Objectivity has been complained of-sometimes because the points of view, under which the developments are arranged, have not been carried back to the most general forms of the intellectual process, and sometimes because they were too general, and not sufficiently narrow to fit the orthodox Church system. As to the former objection, it is a direct testimony to his historical tact, that he divested himself of abstract forms, unreal in their application, and adhered to the categories of real and living historical powers. In reference to the second, we remark that he was not, as Dr. Kurtz imagines, altogether prejudiced by "an undervaluation, or mistaken notion of the importance and value of objective Ecclesiasticism." The description of the Middle Ages-the time when objectiveness was most vigorous in the Church—might have convinced him that Neander well understood how to value this quality, when it was the natural form of the growth of the Christian Life. The internal and most personal were certainly of more importance to him than anything else. When the predominant Christian power was connected with the objective forms of the Church, as in the time of Abelard, he regarded their ascendancy as warranted, without justifying the contemporary suppression of the germs of truth, and the reprehensible means which were employed in particular cases. And is it not confirmed by the experience of all ages, that there is no fault to which the traditionary Church party is more prone than suspicion of every deviation, and suppression of even such dissent as is legitimate? If in modern times, Individualism has increased to a bewildering excess, has it not been one principal reason, that the rights of individuals to form their own views of the Gospel, were not acknowledged as they deserved, either in the Middle Ages, or in the later decenniums of the Reformation—to say nothing of the most flourishing period of Protestant orthodoxy? Would Dr. Kurtz be willing to defend the manner in which Wickliff, Huss, and John Arndt
were treated in the name of orthodoxy; and how, according to his notions, would Luther have been justified in setting himself against the objectivity of the Church, unless, with Neander and Luther himself, he holds, higher still, the objectivity of the Gospel ? It was not Neander's wish to set aside the objectivity of the Church, or to subordinate it to the individual, but to contract its sphere, in order to give the latter liberty of action, and that the pious members of the Church might testify of the Gospel against the Church. But it is not easy to perceive what is to be gained by the maintenance of the objectivity of the Church, especially in the department of historical study, if not a word is to be said for the other factor of [Christian] life. Hence, we are still more surprised that so accomplished a historian as Dr. Schaff should damage, by similar remarks, his otherwise cordial and intelligent appreciation of Neander's historical works. We know not why it should be a matter of reproach to him, that he more or less contrasts what belongs to Christianity generally, with that which merely belongs to the Church. Is there an ecclesiastical communion, which dare maintain that its system, taken as a whole, is, in every particular, a pure expression of the Gospel? Is it not, therefore, a fact, that these two-the Christian and the Ecclesiastical-are everywhere striving at a reconcilement, not yet completed; and, therefore, must be regarded more or less in contrast, relatively, and according to the stage of the Church's development? Nor is there much force of argument in enumerating men of various periods, who have collectively strictly adhered to Church principles; for, apart from what St. Bernard, and similar men, might have furnished for historical consideration, these standpoints are excluded, in proportion as they determinately adhered to the Church system of their times; and if every one of them had his own claims, it appears the more necessary to fix a more general standard of what is to be regarded as Christian. Not as if this also might not be applied in a prejudiced manner; but where it is applied with Neander's knowledge of the nature of the Gospel, the danger is manifestly less than when exclusiveness is employed against every deviation for conscience' sake.
Hence, it may be easily explained why Dr. Kahnis refuses to give Neander credit for depth in dogmatic questions. To