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without him and above him what pertains to himself. All theology and christology has its origin in this illusory setting himself outside of himself; and is consequently nothing more than anthropology, an external reflection of the proper essence of the man himself. In other words, philosophically speaking, " man's knowledge of God is merely man's knowledge of himself." The belief in immortality is regarded by Feuerbach as a product of egoism; and as highly injurious, because it takes off the thoughts of men from the present life into an unreal dream-world.
It is hard to believe that this cheerless play of speculations can be carried any further; but the power of speculative dialectics is inexorable. The admirable Feuerbach retained one trait of that well-meaning dream-life of religiosity, namely, love to mankind. The fine head of Max Stirner detected this, and forthwith he scribbled a book, "The Individual and what belongs to him," in which he calls Feuerbach a parson, because he yet adheres to an idol; and so this last residuum of religion, philanthropy, must be annihilated at the behest of egoism.
The egoism of this earthy philosophy is gross and vulgar materialism. There wants not a band of subordinate literary hacks, devoid of conscience, shame, and sense of decency, who popularize this most modern wisdom in fashionable journals for "the elegant world," in fugitive pieces, letters to the ladies, and poems for the enlightened public; and therein avail themselves of the rights of "poetic licence" in its largest liberty. The bookseller Otto Wigand of Leipzig, has the enviable merit of helping at the birth of this nauseous spawn of German literature, and of standing as its godfather. The "Young Germany slovens," to use a phrase of Leo, lift up their voices with renewed effrontery for "the emancipation of the flesh" and "the rapture of the sensual glance." At a festival of an Author's Society held at Leipzig in 1845, atheism was formally toasted, and loud cheers were given to "the free German spirit," " for which there is a future, when it shall be at once delivered from the fetters of all authority, as well of the existing authority on earth, as of the imaginary goblin-power in heaven!"
Still, there is in Germany too much of moral and religious principle to allow anti-christianism, in a form of such naked godlessness, to find free currency among the people. Besides, there cleaves to Strauss, Bauer, Feuerbach, and Ruge too much
of metaphysical abstraction, of the rubbish of logical formularies, and of speculative pedantry, to be intelligible to the great mass of the people. These men are mere book-learned Germans, and unpractical idealists.
It will be necessary, therefore, if ever this modern wisdom shall find its way into the market-place of popular life, that there be a system which, taking middle ground, shall locate itself in a theoretical respect rather on the far more popular principles of the vulgar Rationalism, and in a practical respect shall seek rather to hold on upon the moral principle of Christianity so thoroughly interwoven with the heart-strings of the German nation. This brings us to the "Friends of Light" and the "German-Catholics," who appeared nearly at the same time on the theatre of history, the first in 1841, the second in 1844. These, of late years, have abruptly crowded philosophical speculation into the back-ground, and have made the greatest noise in the market of German ecclesiastical affairs.
OBSERVATIONS ON MEN, BOOKS, AND THINGS.
DR. PETERS ON BAPTISM. In this thorough-going piece, Dr. Peters maintains that sprinkling is the only mode of baptism made known in the Scriptures. In this case, our Baptist brethren glory in their distinctive name without cause; for they neither baptize as much as do those who extend the ordinance to whole households, nor do they baptize as well according to scriptural precedents. There are several sorts of persons with whose opinions on this subject those brethren have very little patience. Some, like Neander and other Germans, say that immersion was the primitive and apostolical practice; but that the Church has changed it by her proper ecclesiastical power. Such a notion is very offensive to our Baptist friends. Others maintain that the Scriptures do not favor one mode of administering this rite more than another, but that all modes are equally proper. This view, also, is very repugnant to the feelings of the Baptists. But when a man comes out, like Dr. Peters, and "goes the whole figure," insisting that sprinkling, though not the only valid, is the only orderly and suitable, mode of administration, the Baptists listen to him with some respect. They are ready to say: "This looks like fixed principle, it looks honest and sincere." Strong ground is always the safest, and the easiest to maintain. The cause of truth has in no respect suffered so much as from the needless candor and unjustifiable concessions of its defenders. Nothing but such concessions keeps the
Baptist cause alive. This is their vantage-ground, and is more than half the battle to them. But for this, poor Pengilly, and other "hard shells," would be as mute as a clam immerged in his miry bed. We rejoice to believe, that the views of our Baptist brethren are becoming more favorable to Christian liberty, and to the rights of conscience in those who honestly differ from them. It is well known that, in the mother country, they are rapidly relinquishing the custom of communion with none but immersionists. We have known of one of their noblest spirits and most scholarly professors in this country, who has said, that, if he were to write a commentary on the book of Acts, he should not feel called upon to insert a sentence to which the pædobaptists would refuse their assent. Another of their prime men, of like stamp, has said in our hearing, that the feeling is gaining ground in his denomination, that they have hitherto laid too much stress on matters of form. Such indications are truly gratifying, as tokens of an increasing unity in the spirit of religion, which must lead to an increase of brotherly love, if not to free fraternal communion.
BAPTISM, ITS IMPORT AND MODES. - Dr. Beecher here gives us a book for the student, as Dr. Peters has done for the more general reader. The peculiarity of Dr. Beecher's very learned book is this; admitting that immerse is the primary sense of baptize, he maintains that baptize as used religiously, to indicate a certain ordinance of the Christian religion, has a secondary sense, peculiar and technical; and that this secondary sense is PURIFY, without reference to the nature of the purification, whether natural, ceremonial, or spiritual; and without reference to the mode, whether by immersion, affusion, or sprinkling. His mode of treating the subject is altogether philological; and is chiefly remarkable for the immense array of examples which he adduces in support of his views from the Greek ecclesiastical writers, who used their mother-tongue, and must have known, if ever any men did, what the Greek term "baptize" really imports. As he marshals his veteran host, and marches with these venerable fathers, resistless and triumphant, over the whole field of the controversy, it does appear to us that he has completely carried the day, and that he has put the discussion on a basis which promises far more satisfactory results than have heretofore followed from such debates. His book is admirable for the learning of its matter, the force of its logic, the vivacity of its style, and the piety and gentleness of its spirit. The manner in which Dr. Beecher deals with his furious assailant, Dr. Carson, reminds us of the remark of a witty friend on Dr. Woods's reply to President Mahan on the doctrine of perfection: "The Doctor seized him as a boa constrictor seizes upon a bullock, twining his coils about the victim so that there is no getting away, then tightening the coils till every bone is broken and all is reduced to a mass of pulp, then gently lubricating him all over with the tongue, and finally gorging him at a single swallow!" It is rather odd that many leading Baptists should be so much displeased with the Bible translators and Bible societies for "transferring," instead of "translating," the word baptize. They are indebted to this circumstance for their very name, if not for their existence as a great and prosperous
denomination. The old English Puritans agreed with Dr. Beecher in understanding water-baptism as a washing, and so rendered it in some of the older English versions. King James prevented his Translators from doing this, by requiring in the third of his injunctions laid upon them, to retain "the old ecclesiastical words," such as "church" for "congregation," and "baptism," for "washing." Had the Translators been permitted to use the proper terms, instead of the so-called ecclesiastical, and in every case had put congregation for “church,” and washing for "baptism," what would have been the consequence? Why, plainly, we would have been all Congregationalists, and no Baptists! Truly, there is much in a name.
THE PRISONERS' FRIEnd. This publication belongs to the insect world. It first made its appearance as a little newspaper, monthly, we believe, called "The Hangman." It was then a creeping thing. Next it became a weekly, under the still more ironical name of "The Prisoners' Friend;" as though "hangman" and "prisoners' friend" were all one and the same. This was its chrysalis state, disgusting and helpless. It is now a handsomely printed monthly pamphlet, with a sort of jaunty and literary air. This is its butterfly-state, though it leaves a slimy trace on every leaf and flower where it alights. The way in which the editor and his helpers befriend the prisoner is, by excusing all his unhandsome peccadilloes, and by laying the blame wholly on an uncertain impersonal something called "Society," which has organized itself so badly as to compel the poor misfortunate prisoner to steal or kill that he may gratify propensities which he has no other means of indulging. This publication seeks to befriend lovely manslayers also, by bringing capital punishment to an end. It regards life as so sacred that it may never be taken. "You must not take what you cannot give." We presume that when the editor "catches a flea in his ear," or some other interesting animal which grazes in near vicinity to that organ, he never extinguishes the vitality which he is impotent to impart; but, like Uncle Toby with his fly, turns the depredators loose to prey upon society at large. On the subject of capital punishment, we have a divine law, and the reason of that law; which were also proclaimed long prior to the Mosaic code, and addressed to whole human race through its second progenitor and his sons. "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." This is the universal and perpetual law of God; and the reason of the law is added, “FOR in the image of God made he man." As the defacing and overthrowing of the statue of a king is an act of high treason, which stands at the head of all crimes, so to destroy the living image of God is the highest treason against the King of kings. The wilful homicide has murdered God in effigy! For this he stands an outlaw, and is placed in the same class with the wild beast which has destroyed a human being; and "at the hand of every beast," and at the hand of every such brutal man, the blood they have shed is required. Here the maxim applies in full force: "The law remains so long as the reason of the law remains." It is said that the gospel brings in a milder law. But has the gospel taken away "the image of God" from man? Or
has it rather, so far as its influence has gone, heightened and perfected that image? If the benevolent power of the gospel has increased our likeness to God, then it has strengthened the reason of the law given through Noah, and so confirms the law itself. Here is the argument in a nut-shell. We will only add, that in Michigan, the only state in the union which has yet abolished the death-penalty, the people already, after a short trial, are alarmed at the increase of the blacker crimes, and grand juries are petitioning that the principle of the divine legislation may be restored to the statute-book.
Missionaries. Within a few weeks, strong reinforcements have been sent out to various mission stations. The societies are so topheavy with debt, that, like the drunkard, they have to run to keep from toppling over. Their heavy burdens, and the resolution with which they stagger along under them, must create a sympathy, and a disposition to lend a helping hand. The societies will have to proceed upon Napoleon's principle, that only by gaining more could he preserve what he had already gained. They seem also to be learning from his great war-minister, Carnot, how to make war sustain itself after the expense of the first invasion is defrayed. Every year, the missionary enterprise becomes more evidently a practical thing.
Rev. Dr. Poor. The return of this veteran and pioneer of our East Indian missions, after an absence of one-third of a century, gives great joy to his friends, and is lending a new impulse to the home-interests of the missionary work. It does great good to have such men revisit us, to tell us of the immense changes which have taken place among ourselves while they were far away, and also of the changes which they have witnessed during that time in the regions of heathenism. The visits of such men as Scudder, Spaulding, Calhoun, and Poor, are the best of all agencies for the funds of the Board. We hope to see Dr. King and Mr. Goodell yet, as well as other worthies whom we only know by the reports of their labors.
Mrs. M. S. B. Dana. - This lady, whose book, giving the reasons of her turning from orthodoxy to Unitarianism, was so widely and eagerly circulated by our "liberal" friends, has lately, as we learn, again changed both name and creed. It is stated that she is married to an Episcopalian clergyman, and that she has been confirmed in his church with its Athanasian creed. It would seem that she was not so wedded to Unitarianism but that she was willing to be divorced from its cold embrace, and espoused to the opposite system. It is to be hoped that she has husbanded so much of her strength as will suffice to produce a most kind and conclusive refutation of her celebrated letters in opposition to the doctrine of the Trinity.