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The New Theology

XII.

THE NEW THEOLOGY.*

The New Theology, so called, is a theology of exaggerated individualism. What this means, and what are the errors and probable results of the system, will appear as we go on. It is well to remember, however, that the new always has its roots in the old, and before describing the phenomenon of the present I wish to mention some of its historical connections in the past.

I trace the history of this tendency in theology as far back as to the nominalism of Roscelin, Duns Scotus, and Occam. To these philosophers, general conceptions have their source only in the mind; there is nothing corresponding to them in the actual world. Genera and species are mere names; individuals are the only realities. Upon this view, science is the study only of units: in truth, there can be no science, for science would imply law and the binding of particulars into unity.

There is of course a realism equally objectionable — the realism which would hold to the independent existence of universals — the horse in general, apart from all individual horses. With Dr. H. B. Smith, we "hold to universalia in re, but insist that the universals must be recognized as realities, as truly as the individuals are."

There have been two chief applications of this nominalistic principle in theology: the first is its application to the nature of God; the second, its application to the nature of man. In the former case the result has been either a practical tritheism on the one hand, which denies the possibility of a divine nature without a divine person, and so holds that there must be three Gods because there are three who possess a divine nature; or on the other hand a practical unitarianism, which holds that as there is but one God, so only one person can possess the divine nature. Nestorianism for a similar reason held that Christ was two persons instead of one, because it could not conceive of human nature in him without independence and individuality.

Nominalism has, moreover, conceived of the divine attributes as mere names, with which, by a necessity of our thinking, we clothe the one simple divine essence. It holds that the attributes are not distinct from God's essence or from each other. This is to deny that we can know God at all; for knowing is not possible without distinguishing. Yet this false tendency to regard God as a being of absolute simplicity has infected much of the post-reformation theology, and is found as recently as Schleiermacher, Rothe, and Olshausen. Schleiermacher makes all the attributes to be modifications of power; Rothe, of omniscience; and Olshausen attempts to prove that the

* Printed In the Baptist Quarterly Review, for January, 1888.

Word of God must have objective and substantial being, by assuming that knowing is equivalent to willing; whence it would seem to follow that, since God wills all he knows, he must will moral evil. It is only an application of the same principle when we find Horace Bushneli, one of the progenitors of the New Theology, identifying righteousness in God with benevolence, and denying for that reason that any atonement needs to be made to God. Herbert Spencer only carries the principle further when he concludes God to be simple unknowable force. Hence we can adopt the statement of Thomasins: "If God were the simply One, To d>rAuf ev, the mystic abyss in which every form of determination were extinguished, there would be nothing in the unity to be known." Hence "nominalism is incompatible with the idea of revelation. We teach, with realism, that the attributes of God are objective determinations in his revelation, and as such are rooted in his inmost essence."

More important, however, for our present purpose is the application of nominalism to the nature of man. Mankind upon this view is but a collection of individuals. The race is not an organic whole. Souls are individually created by God, not propagated with the body from a common stock. There is no such thing as an archetypal humanity, of which each man is a natural evolution and a partial illustration. The genus "man" is but a name which we attach to the multitude of individual men. This is the atomistic account of humanity; individual men have as little organic connection with each other as the sand-grains in a sand-hill. They influence one auother as do the bricks which children set up in a row — each receives the impact of its next neighbor entirely from without, and there is no living unity between them. Hence there can be no common fall of humanity in its first father — each man falls by himself and for himself, just as each angel did. It would seem to follow that there can be no common salvation, and that Christ can be no more the source of a new humanity to believers, than Adam was the source of sin and guilt to the race at large. There is no condemnation in Adam, there is no justification in Christ; for there is no real union of humanity with either.

Over against this nominalistic conception of humanity, I put the realistic doctrine which I regard as implicitly contained in Scripture. This regards humanity at large as the outgrowth of one germ. Let me illustrate my meaning. Though the leaves of a tree appear as disconnected units when we look down upon them from above, a view from beneath will discern the common connection with the twigs, branches, trunk, and will finally trace their life to the root, and to the seed from which it originally sprang. So the race of man is one, because it sprang from one head. Its members are not to be regarded only atomistically, as segregated individuals; the deeper truth is the truth of organic unity. Yet we are not realists of the mediaeval sort. We do not believe in the separate existence of universals. Our realism only asserts the real historical connection of each member of the race with its first father and head, and such a derivation of each from him as makes us partakers of the character which he formed. Adam was once the race; when he fell, the race fell; we have the very nature which transgressed and corrupted itself in him. I may add that the new conceptions of the reign of law and of the principle of heredity which prevail in modern science are working to the advantage of Christian theology. The doctrine of Adam's natural headship is only a doctrine of the hereditary transmission of character from the first father of the race to his descendants. I do not deny man's individuality and personal responsibility; I only deny that this is the whole truth. Besides personal sin, there is race-sin. The New Theology is false by defect. It is the theology of nominalism. It regards man simply as an individual. It holds that each human soul is immediately created by God and has no other relations to moral law than those which are individual; whereas, all human souls are organically connected with each other, and together have a corporate relation to God's law, by virtue of their derivation from one common stock.

The second source to which I trace the New Theology is the idealism of Berkeley, Hume, Kant, and Hegel, or rather the modern idealism of which these philosophers are earlier and later representatives. This general method of thought regards the mind as conversant only with ideas. The tendency has its root in Locke's teaching that all the materials of our knowledge come originally from sensation; the mind only examines and rearranges the impressions received from sense; carry the principle a little further, and we must maintain that all we know of an external world is these impressions — the external world is, in fact, nothing but these impressions, and this of course implies a denial that any such thing as substance is known at all. Here again is exaggerated individualism — the reduction of all knowledge to the knowledge of particulars. This individualism, applied to matter, makes things to be only thoughts; and Berkeley saves the unity of the external world, not by recognizing created substance in which qualities inhere, but by referring the impressions we receive directly to God the Creator. Hume justly thought it a poor rule that would not work both ways, and he applied the rule not only to matter but to mind. The same individualism which denies substance in the outer world must logically deny substance in the inner world; we need no soul within, any more than we need matter without; what we call soul is but a series of ideas — a string of beads without any string. Hume apparently did not see that the very first "impression" presupposes the existence of something to be impressed, that is, presupposes a soul within; just as the cognition of quality presupposes something to which the quality belongs, that is, presupposes material substance without. Yet Mill and Spencer have followed along this same line, and are equally with Hume sensational philosophers.

It is easy to see how the refusal to recognize the validity of the mind's intuitive cognition of substance should result in the loss of God as well as the loss of the soul. Kant maintained that things conform to cognition, not cognition to things. Things in themselves are unknown. Behind phenomena lies a world which human reason cannot penetrate. Compelled to think as we are, we can never know whether or not the reality corresponds to our thought. No wonder thut Hegel rebelled against this agnosticism, and went to the opposite extreme of maintaining that the process of thought guaranteed its own validity; that thought, in fact, was existence, and existence was thought. Hence in his system we have the merging of reality in a thoughtprocess; thought thinks; there is thinking without a thinker. There is no need of postulating any divine essence, any more than there is need of postulating any substance for the world or for the soul. God becomes a universal, but impersonal, intelligence and will; an intelligence and will that come to consciousness only in man. It is only fair to say that will, even in man, never reaches a self-determination that can be called freedom; and intelligence in man never reaches a proper self-consciousness; for how can either of these be, where there is no real substantial self? Soul is not recognized as anything separate from the whole of which it forms a part, and of which it is the necessary manifestation. So idealism, aiming to save the life of thought, really loses it; refusing to recognize substance or essence, and confining itself to particulars, it finally gives up the individuality both of man and of God.

Not all idealists, however, carry the system to its logical conclusions. Many a modern theologian has adopted idealistic principles without consistently applying them. The doctrine of the immanence of God which forms so large an element in the New Theology has been derived from idealistic sources, and is distinctly Berkeleian and Hegelian in its spirit. The theology of Elisha Mulford, Theodore T. Munger, and Newman Smyth, is a theology which tends to make God in the human spirit the only cause. God and man are still recognized as personal, but the life of man is merged to a large extent in the life of God. Internal revelation is substituted for external; all men are conceived of as more or less inspired ; the boundaries between the natural and the supernatural are broken down. Some recent writers * pride themselves on having discovered anew the thought which made the early church so devoted and yet so active — the thought that in •God we live and move and have our being, and they ascribe the decline of Christianity to the fact that Augustine and Calvin lost sight of it, and looked upon God, after a deistic fashion, as a mechanical contriver of the universe and a worker upon it from without. As if some of the noblest utterances of this great truth of God's immanence had not proceeded from Augustine's and from Calvin's lips! t Let us give all proper emphasis to the truth of God's immanence; let us grant that it did not receive sufficient attention in the days of Butler and Paley; let us welcome the new light that is thrown upon it to-day. But, then, let us equally remember that God not only speaks with the still, small voice in the constitution of man and in the course of human history, but also by outward miracles of healing and resurrection, by the incarnation and death of his Son, and by the external revelations of Scripture. God's immanence is a vast truth; but we must not let it hide from our eyes the other truth of God's transcendence. He who is "in all," .and '' through all," is also '' above all"; and, if he had not by miracle proved his transcendence, we probably should never have believed in his immanence.

It is mainly, however, through the identity-system of Jonathan Edwards that idealism has influenced the New Theology. To this identity-system, therefore, as its third source, I trace the movement in thought which I am .considering.

There can be no doubt that Jonathan Edwards was an idealist. We do

♦See Allen, Continuity of Religbnis Thought. iSee Augustine's Confeexurm, 1:1.

not know that he ever met Berkeley, during the Bishop's stay in America, 01that he ever read a work of Berkeley's, though Berkeley's Principles of Human Knowledge was published before Edwards's Freedom of the Will. It was probably through Dr. Samuel Johnson, Berkeley's American friend and disciple, and Jonathan Edwards's teacher at Yale College, that Edwards received his first bent to idealism.* The latter gives us his own statement of philosophical doctrine, as follows:

"When I say the material universe exists only in the mind, I mean that it is absolutely dependent on the conception of the mind for its existence ; and does not exist as spirits do. whose existence does not consist in, nor in dependence on, the conceptions of other minds. . . . All existence is mental .... the existence of all exterior things is ideal. . . . That which truly is the substance of all bodies is the infinitely exact and precise and perfectly stable idea in God's mind, together with his stable will that the same shall gradually be communicated to us, and to other minds, according to fixed and exact established methods and laws."

Jonathan Edwards was no traducian. Yet he was a believer in original sin, and held to such a unity of Adam's posterity with their first father as made them justly responsible for his first sin. This unity was constituted, not by the historical descent of the bodies and souls of Adam's posterity from the body and soul of Adam, but rather by the idea and will of God, which can make any two things to be identical. The radical error in his philosophy was his denial of substance. The past existence of the moon in the heavens is not the cause of its present existence — God's will is the cause; preservation is a continuous creation ; every instant the moon is new-created by God. Similarly, Edwards had no thought of a common humanity, flowing by natural generation from Adam to us, ard still less had he the idea of a realistic presence of the race in its first father. A union with Adam in acts and exercises is sufficient, and such a union exists by divine decree. The idea of this unity, in God's mind, itself constitutes the realty. Our sinful acts and exercises are Adam's, and Adam's acts and exercises are ours.

So Edwards held that God imputes Adam's sin to his posterity by arbitrarily identifying them with him — identity, on the theory of continuous creation, being only what God appoints. I do not mean that this is a complete account of Edwards's doctrine of sin. Since God's appointment did not furnish sufficient ground for imputation, Edwards joined the Placean doctrine to the other, and showed the justice of the condemnation by the fact that man is depraved. He added, moreover, the consideration that man ratifies this depravity by his own act. Thus he tried to combine three views. But all were vitiated by his doctrine of continuous creation, which logically made God the only cause in the universe, and left no freedom, guilt or responsibility to man. He thought too little of sin as a nature, and located responsibility too inuch in the acts and exercises which we put forth. It is no wonder that his followers repudiated his doctrine of the union of our acts and exercises with Adam's, and denied that sin is in any sense a nature. Baird, in his Elohim Revealed, has remarked that Edwards's idea that the character of an act is to be sought somewhere else than in its cause involves the fallacious assumption that acts have a subsistence and moral agency of their own, apart from that of the actor.

This divergence from the truth led to the exercise-system of Hopkins and

* Krauth, Berkeley's Principlex of Knowledge. Prolegomena, pages 36 and 37.

Emmons, who not only denied moral character prior to individual choices, that is, denied sin of nature, but attributed all human acts and exercises to the direct efficiency of God. Hopkins declared: "All power is in God. This is the proper efficient cause of every event. All creatures which act or move, exist and move or are moved, by him."* Emmons said: "We cannot conceive that even omnipotence is able to form independent agents, because this would be to endow them with divinity. And since all men are dependent agents, all these motions, exercises, or actious must originate in a divine efficiency, "t God therefore creates all the volitions of the soul, and effects by his almighty power all changes in the material world. According to this view, the contact of fire with the finger, the stroke of the axe on the tree, are only the occasions — divine omnipotence is the cause — of the tree's falling and the finger's burning. All causal connections between the different objects of the universe are at an end. No such things as physical forces exist. Nature becomes a mere phantom, and God is the only cause in the universe. It seems plain to me that this doctrine tends to pantheism. If all natural forces are merged in the one all-comprehending will of God, why should not the human will be merged in the will of God also? Why should not mind and matter alike be the phenomena of one force which has the attributes of both? Such a scheme makes supernatural religion impossible, for the reason that nature is denied, and everything — that is to say, nothing —becomes supernatural. How shall we save the sense of sin, if every sinful thought and impulse is the result of the divine efficiency? And, finally, how shall we save the character of God, if he is the direct author of moral evil?

It was such difficulties as these which led the main body of New England theologians to reject the exercise-system, with its attribution of all man's states and acts to the divine efficiency. But as they still followed Edwards in his rejection of substance or nature, the result was an almost unmitigated individualism. Smalley, Dwight and Woods were apparently conservative. N. W. Taylor best represents the tendencies of the system. He agreed with Hopkins and Emmons that there is no imputation of Adam's sin or of inborn depravity. He called that depravity physical, not moral. But he made all sin to be personal. He held to the power of contrary choice. Adam had it, and, contrary to the belief of Augustinians, he never lost it. Man '' not only can if he will, but he can if he won't." He can, yet, without the Spirit, will not. Yet he did not hold to the Arminian liberty of indifference or contingence. He believed in the certainty of wrong action, yet in power to the contrary. "The error of Pelagins," he says, "was not in asserting that man can obey God without grace, but in saying that man does actually obey God without grace." { Dr. Park, of Andover, is understood to teach that the disordered state of the sensibilities and faculties with which we artborn is the immediate occasion of sin, while Adam's transgression is the remote occasion of sin. The will, though influenced by an evil tendency, is still free; the evil tendency itself is not free, and therefore is not sin. This doctrine, though less radical than that of Dr. Taylor, is notwithstand

* Hopkins. Workx, 1:164-167. + Emmons, Workx, 4:381. Moral Government, 2 :132.

ing at a vast remove from that of Jonathan Edwards. Here is no union of nature, or union of act, with Adam; no imputation of Adam's sin or of our hereditary depravity. On the whole, the history of New England theology shows a tendency to emphasize less and less the depraved tendencies prior to actual sin, and to maintain that moral character begins only with individual choice,— most of the New England theologians, however, holding that this individual choice begins at birth.

If the reader has followed me thus far, he will be able to recognize in the New Theology many of the traits I have been describing, and to trace them to their sources. Nominalism treats human nature as a mere name. Idealism regards substance as non-existent. The identity-system makes acts and exercises the be-all and end-all of our moral life. All these are features of an exaggerated individualism; and of this, as I said at the beginning, the New Theology is the latest and most popular theological expression. That this is so will be more fully apparent, if I mention now certain of its more specific ideas. I propose to characterize them in each case by a catchword, more or less descriptive. I do this mainly for the sake of clearness, -and as a sort of mnemonic; I would therefore have the catch-word interpreted by the following text, rather than have the text interpreted by the catch-word.

The first specific idea of the new theology, then, is that of the Christian consciousness. The new method of thought, while not formally setting aside the Scriptures or assigning to them an inferior authority, sets side by side with them another standard of faith and practice, namely, the intuitions and experience of the believer. It connects itself very naturally with what we may call the illumination-theory of inspiration, which regards inspiration -a8 merely an intensifying and elevating of the religious perceptions of the Christian, the same in kind, though greater in degree, with the illumination of every believer by the Holy Spirit; and which holds, not that the Bible is, but that it contains the word of God — not the writings, but only the writers being inspired. Those who hold to this general form of doctrine, as they bring inspiration down to a lower level, would correspondingly bring illumination up, so that both shall walk upon the same plane. It is the idealistic scheme of which we have already spoken. It depreciates the outward revelation, with the intent of exalting the inward. The spirit of scientific unity seems to constrain it; since there is undoubtedly something of the nature of inward revelation, all revelation must of necessity be inward. Christian consciousness becomes the only medinm of receiving religious truth. The intuitions of the Christian are the final test. And so we have Christian preachers declaring that they will preach no doctrines which they have not realized in their own experience, and private Christians asserting that what they cannot understand they will not believe. Neither these preachers, nor these Christians, seem to perceive that they are acting upon the essential principle of rationalism, and that, so far as they act upon it, they are not believers at all. If I will accept nothing and preach nothing but what my reason can demonstrate and my intellect comprehend, why call myself a Christian? As Leasing said so well: "What is the use of a revelation that reveals nothing?"

We get good from the Scriptures, only in proportion as we understand them. But we are not, for that reason, to keep back from men the Scriptures which we do not understand—others may understand the truth we speak, better than we do. We have an objective message and communication from God, and this it is our business as ambassadors to deliver, whether men will hear, or whether they will forbear. The Old Testament prophets were not absolved from the duty of publishing God's word, although they themselves searched "what time or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ, which was in them, did point unto, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that should follow them." And New Testament prophets are under equal obligation to "declare the whole counsel of God," in spite of their own personal ignorance of its full meaning. We get the good of truth only by understanding it, and we understand it only as the Holy Spirit takes of the things of Christ and shows them to us. Yet we are to accept the truth, and to publish the truth, whether we understand it or not.

What, now, is the relation of Christian consciousness to the Scriptures? Or, to put the same question in different form: How far, and in what sense, are the experience and judgment of the Christian to be trusted, where Scripture is either ambiguous or silent? It seems to me that the very word "consciousness," which plays so important a part in this discussion, might teach a good lesson to the advocates of the New Theology. Consciousness, like conscience, is an accompanying knowledge. As those who would make conscience legislative, or would give to it original authority, are untrue to the meaning of the word itself, which intimates that conscience subsumes particular acts or states under a standard previously accepted from some other source, and judges them by or in connection with that standard, so consciousness is a con-knowing; in mental philosophy, a knowing of my own acts or states, in connection with my knowledge of self; in the matter we are discussing, a knowing of doctrine or duty, in connection with the permanent standard given us in Scripture.

Consciousness is in no case a new or collateral source of truth. Experience is only a testing or trying of truth already revealed. Intuition is not creative; it only recognizes objective realities that were already there to be recognized. And so all these words, loosely employed as they frequently are, should be kept to their primary meaning. The Christian consciousness is a con-knowing of the things of God, in connection with and by means of his written word. It is not a norma normans, but a norma normata; and this it must ever be, at least iu our present state, for the reason that sin yet remains to blind us. The spiritual perception of the Christian is always rendered to some extent imperfect and deceptive by remaining depravity. "The ethico-religious consciousness" is by itself utterly untrustworthy; it must ever be rectified, as the judgments of conscience are to ba rectificl, by comparison with express divine revelation; where revelation speaks, there Christian consciousness may safely speak; where that is silent, the latter must be silent: "To the law and to the testimony! If they speak not according to this word, surely there is no morning for them."

Equally plain is it that nothing which we know of the work of tho Holy Spirit warrants the attribution to the Christian consciousness of authority aside from or co-ordinate with that of Scripture. Despite the claims of advocates of "the inner light," from George Fox to the latest enthusiast, it still remains true that the Holy Spirit works only by showing us the word; the "sword " or instrument of the Spirit is "the word of God." The Holy Spirit takes of the "things of Christ," "brings them to remembrance,"" unfolds the truth "as it is in Jesus." All this indicates not a new, but the revival of a past, revelation ; not the providing of a new reservoir, but distribution from a reservoir already filled; not communication of new truth, but illumination of the mind to perceive the meaning of truth revealed already. So the Holy Spirit merely turns the outer word into an inner word, and makes its truth and power manifest to the heart. Any other doctrine than this is covert mysticism — new communications from God, aside from, or co-ordinate with, those embodied in the Scriptures. We can no more make theology without Scripture, than the Israelites in Egypt could make bricks without straw.

The New Theology, in emphasizing the fact of the Holy Spirit's work within, is bringing into needed prominence a fact which has been too much neglected. Thus far I hope for good results from this movement of thought, and rejoice that the third person of the blessed Trinity is recognized as the author of all internal revelation. But all new movements in thought tend to extremes. I fear that the animating principle of the new movement is not so much zeal for the Holy Spirit's work as it is disinclination to recognize the outward revelation of God, which the Holy Spirit's work presupposes; and therefore that the tendency of it will be not so much to mysticism as to naturalism and rationalism. Let us ever remember that, as man can reveal himself by works and words, so can God. Internal revelation proceeds only upon the basis of external revelation; it presupposes external revelation ; reflects, confirms, and establishes it. As the Holy Spirit is the organ of internal, so Christ is the organ of external, revelation. We must not exaggerate the work of the Holy Spirit, for that is to depreciate the work of Christ. We must not overstate the internal evidence for Christianity, for that is to discredit miracles and the supernatural generally. We must not insist on the immanence of God, to the exclusion of the transcendence. And yet all these errors the New Theology is in danger of committing when it elevates Christian consciousness into a source, however subordinate, of Christian doctrine. The moment we exalt Christian experience into an authority, we undermine the Scriptures which constitute the only safe foundation for Christian experience. The logical result will sooner or later be the teaching that the only inspiration is Christian experience, and that all Christian experience is inspiration. We shall then cherish a thousand blind hopes for which revelation furnishes no solid basis; but with these hopes will come a thousand vagaries of doctrine, and finally both the vagaries and the hopes will be succeeded by the uncertainty, the unbelief, and the despair, into which an uu bridled rationalism plunges the soul.

There is a second specific idea of the New Theology whioh I must now mention. It has to do with the person and work of the second person of the Trinity, as the last had to do with the persou and work of the third person of the Trinity. I know of no phrase that better expresses the idea than that of the extra-temporal Christ. Of course there is an antithesis intended here. The extra-temporal Christ is not the Christ of our earthly history. bat the Christ who is beyond present time and spaee; the eternal Logos who upholds all things, while at the same time he exists beyond them. Here, too, we must acknowledge that a great truth — a truth often ignored — is brought out and emphasized. Christ is "the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world." "In him all things consist." He is "the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever." The whole physical universe is dependent upon Christ; but it is equally true that the intellectual and moral world is dependent on him also; he is "the light that lighteth every man." Let us thank the New Theology for recalling theological thought to this truth. But with its inculcation of this truth there goes too often a tendency to forget that the historical manifestation of Christ is in the Scriptures declared to be the only ground of hope for sinners, and it is this tendency which we must criticise and reprehend.

Let me make plain this objection to the New Theology. It substitutes an extra-temporal Christ for the Christ of historic fact, and bases its hopes rather upon Christ's ideal and essential nature than upon his actual manifestation in humanity. In this I seem to see the influence of Schleiermacher, in whom idealism found its champion, and through whom idealism has infected the religious thinking of Germany. Schleiermacher had little confidence in Christianity as an external and historical fact; even the incarnation and resurection of Christ, as literal events, he discredited, by calling them unnecessary to the vindication of our faith; the Christ within seemed to him much more important than the Christ without; Christian feelings and not outward facts were made to be the real sources of theology. Schleiermacher did noble service in bridging over the gulf between the old rationalism and the new evangelical faith. He "builded better than he knew," when he declared that Christianity could rest its argument upon the facts of the inner life of the believer. But, as has been well said, he was another Lazarus; he came forth with the grave-clothes of a pantheistic philosophy entangling his steps. He did not see that the loftier the structure of Christian life and doctrine, the greater the need that its foundation be secure; and that the authority of Christ as a teacher of supernatural truth rests upon his miracles, and specially upon the miracle of his resurrection. The inward wonders of the Christian life will not long impress men, if the historical facts of Jesus' incarnation and resurrection are denied. These inward wonders, like the outward miracles, will be attributed to merely natural causes, and Christianity will be counted only the pleasing dream of the enthusiast.

As with Jesus' life and teaching, so with his atonement; the New Theology tends to substitute the inward for the outward. It has accepted very fully the idea that there is no principle in the divine nature that needs to be propitiated. It is man, not God, who needs to be reconciled. The atonement is subjective, not objective. It has effect, not to satisfy divine justice, but so to reveal divine love as to soften human hearts and lead them to repentance; in other words, Christ's sufferings were necessary, not in order to remove an obstacle to the pardon of sinners which exists in the mind of God, but in order to convince sinners that there exists no such obstacle. We see here again the nominalistic element. Righteousness in God is no distinct attribute; it is a mere name for benevolence. Hence Dr. Bushnell's view that an internal change in man himself is all that is needful; hence Dr. Park's view that the cross is not an execution of justice, but only an exhibition of justice — a scenic representation of God's regard for law, which will make it safe for his government to pardon the violators of law. All this makes the atonement histrionic instead of real, converts it from an objective into a subjective fact, and transfers its place from the court of God's justice to the secret heart of the believer. In short, the theory exalts the Christ in us at the expense of the Christ outside of us, and does this in respect to the atonement just as much as it had previously done in respect to revelation in general.

There is an error here so subtle, and yet so fundamental, that we may do well carefully to consider it. It is the error of supposing that because outward revelation and atonement are limited by the conditions of space and time, they cannot have in them any infinite or absolute element, and therefore we must look beyond them for something larger and more spiritual. It is of a piece with the mistake of Philip. Philip would have looked beyond the present historic Christ in order to find the Father. But Jesus' words were a sufficient correction of his error: "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; how sayest thou, show us the Father?" Do we desire an ideal and spiritual Christ? We shall find him only in the crucified and risen Redeemer. In him is "all the fullness of the Godhead bodily," that is, in bodily form. The Christ of history divinely expresses the eternal Logos, nay, the very mind and heart of the whole Godhead; for "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself." The outward atonement has compressed into it the whole compass and meaning of redemption — God's love, in union with humanity, offering itself as a sacrifice to God's holiness, outraged by human sin. Human symbols only partially express the truth they are intended to convey; divine symbols express the whole — nay, they are the truth and the fact itself, put into the forms of sense and time. Do we wish to know more about the meaning of the outward word? Then let us not add to it our human speculations; let us only study more closely what the word itself declares. Do we desire to know more about what Christ will do beyond this present earthly sphere? Then let us study anew his historical manifestation; for the historical Christ is the extra-temporal Christ manifested. Eternity will only unfold the truth which we already possess in germ. Ab omnipresence is the presence of the whole of God in every place, so, in the revelation of God in Christ which we have already, we possess the substance of God's eternal truth.

The third and last specific idea of the New Theology may be characterized as that of a second probation. I am aware that the phrase will not be accepted by many of the advocates of the views I am examining, and I grant that it needs qualification. The probation for which they contend is not, they say, a second probation, since those who undergo it have never had, prior to that, any proper probation at all. It is not claimed that a future probation is enjoyed by all, but only that it is enjoyed by those who have had no opportunity here to learn of the historic Christ. I must be allowed to say, however, that the probation claimed is fairly called a second probation, if only those to whom it is granted are moral creatures here; for a moral creature here, under only the providential government of God and with the mere light of conscience within, is being tested and tried in character. Whether this probation is a proper probation, is really the question at issue. The advocates of the New Theology declare that for multitudes it is not a proper probation. They say that for the heathen, as well as for infants, the opportunity to decide for or against Christ, since it is not given here, must be given hereafter. The immutable God must deal alike with all. Since Christ has died for all, all must have a chance to accept him as a Savior. For some at least, the work of the Holy Spirit must be done the other side of death. To some, Christ is offered as a Savior in the next world, rather than in this.

I wish to point out first of all that this view is but a corollary of the nominalistic individualism, which I described in an earlier portion of this essay. The view rests upon an atomistic conception of the race as a mere collection of units. It can be successfully met, only by those who accept the Scriptural doctrine of the organic unity of humanity and its common fall in Adam. New School theology cannot erect any sufficient barrier against it. It cannot rind what it regards as a fair and sufficient probation for each individual since the first sin; and the conclusion is easy, that there must be such a fair probation for each individual in the world to come. So New School theology inevitably becomes New Theology, and only illustrates the ultimate results of evil that flow from what at first seemed an unimportant deviation from Scriptural doctrines. Let us advise those who take this view to return to the old theology. Grant a fair probation for the whole race already passed, and the condition of mankind is no longer that of mere unfortunates unjustly circumstanced, but rather that of beings guilty and condemned, to whom present opportunity, and even present existence, is matter of pure grace, — much more the general provision of a salvation, and the offer of it to any human soul. To put my thought yet more clearly: This world is already a place of second probation; and, since this second probation is due wholly to God's mercy, no probation after death is needed to vindicate either the justice or the goodness of God. Since one probation of the race was passed before our conscious experience began, since our present individual life is already a second probation and is wholly a matter of grace, it is presumption itself for any human being to demand in the future life still another and a third probation.

But aside from a denial of a common probation and fall in our first father, which the New Theology involves, it commits the yet more palpable error of denying the universal guilt of mankind. I do not mean that this guilt is formally denied, but that it is so explained as to make it equivalent to mere misfortune or disease, and to absolve it from all obligation to suffer punishment. Of course no advocate of the New Theology is a believer in the guilt of inborn depravity. Denial of our oneness with Adam in the first transgression carries with it a denial of responsibility for the direct consequences of that transgression. Sin consists in sinning, says the New Theology; and by sinning it means only individual and personal transgression. The vast number of those who never in this world come to conscious moral life can have no sin or guilt to be atoned for; they need no Christ, and, if they enter heaven at all, they enter it by right of native innocence. Sinf nl dispositions are sinful, not because they are sin, but because they lead to sin. And, since God takes into consideration the degree of light which men enjoy, those who in heathen lands are destitute of knowledge of the gospel are supposed to be in much the same condition as infants or idiots, and it is said of them that "where there is no law, there is no transgression." So our conviction of the guilt of the heathen is weakened, and it is held to be unjust in God to punish them, —at least until after they have heard of Christ and have consciously rejected him.

Here is the weakness of Dorner's Esehatology, from which, as from an armory, many of the offensive weapons of the New Theology are drawn. Dorner began his great work on Christian doctrine with a just and profound view of sin, as unlikeness to God and self-determination of the will against him. But in the Esehatology this view is exchanged for another which practically ignores the element of guilt, and makes the sinner a mere creature, with just claims to God's pity. All this falls in with the pantheistic tendency of our time to regard sin as a natural necessity, instead of being, as it is, the wilful revolt of the free will from God. Let us take our stand upon that law of God which is a reflection of his holiness and is identical with the constituent principles of being; that law which demands absolute perfection in thought, desire, word, deed, aye, even in the very substance of the soul; that law which declares all falling short of this standard as sin and guilt, deserving not pardon but punishment. The heathen can claim nothing from God ; the Scripture expressly declares that they are "by nature children of wrath." God is under no obligation to them. They are guilty by birth, and guilty by overt transgression. Not one of them has a claim to grace in this present world; much less has he a claim to grace in the world to come. Does the New Theology believe that the heathen are guilty? if so, let it cease to argue that the justice of God requires that they should have a chance to accept salvation, either here or hereafter.

The fact that Christ, as eternal Logos, exists beyond the bounds of his historic work is often urged to break the force of this argument from the guilt of the heathen. But let us remember that this manifestation of Christ is granted to the heathen even here and now. As he is "the light that lighteth every man," all natural conscience and all religious ideas, so far as they have truth in them, are derived from him. Before his advent in the flesh, patriarchs were saved by believing in him, and the antediluvian world was condemned for rejecting him; for, whether in believing or rejecting, they had to do with him who is the only revealer of God, of whom, and through whom, are all things. God did not even then leave himself, he does not now leave himself, without a witness. The heathen are without excuse, because "that which is known of God is manifest among them." Missionaries find everywhere the knowledge of law; there is a universal sense of sin; every man in some way violates conscience, and feels justly condemned. The New Theology speaks of a supra-historic Christ, and prides itself on emphasizing his inward work in human hearts. Let it recognize the fact that Christ is already doing a supra-historic work; that the revelation of nature is itself a revelation of Christ; that men do not need to see the cross on which he died, in order to reject him. In short, in this great controversy between God and the sinning children of men, let us put ourselves upon the side of God and not upon the side of his enemies. Let us declare God to be true, though we have to call every man a liar.

If men may accept Christ or reject him, even without knowing of his historical manifestation in the flesh, what limits can we put to his work of mercy? We put no limits but those which his word declares. The patriarchs, though they had no knowledge of a personal Christ, were saved by believing in God so far as God had revealed himself to them; and whoever among the heathen are saved must in like manner be saved by casting themselves as helpless sinners upon God's plan of mercy, dimly shadowed forth in nature and providence. But such faith, even among the patriarchs and heathen, is implicitly a faith in Christ, and would become explicit and conscious trust and submission, whenever the historic Christ were made known to them. Christ is the word of God and the truth of God; he may therefore be received even by those who have not heard of his manifestation in the flesh; we may hope that "many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven." For " God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is acceptable to him." A proud and self-righteous morality is inconsistent with salvation; but a penitent and humble reliance upon God as a Savior from sin and a guide of conduct is an implicit faith in Christ; for such reliance casts itself upon God so far as God has revealed himself, and the only revealer of God is Christ. But as the Scriptures intimate that men muy be saved by an implicit trust in Christ, so they equally intimate that men may be lost by only implicitly rejecting him. As men can be saved by casting themselves as sinners ulx>n the mercy of a Christ whose very name they do not know, so they can be lost by transgressing the law and resisting the drawings of that same Christ who speaks to them only in nature, in conscience, and in providence. How long his Spirit will strive with man, and when the day of his grace shall end, reason cannot inform us; the objective word is the only source of knowledge. Since his atonement is a matter of grace, not of justice, it can be applied when and where he pleases. Only he can tell us upon what terms, and for how long, men can obtain salvation. And what saith the Scripture? Does it hold out the hope that after death, for the heathen or for any others, there may still be opportunities of faith and pardon? On the other hand, we have the declarations that "they that sin without law shall perish without law ;" we shall all be "manifest before the judgment seat of Christ"— not that each may have new opportunity for salvation, but "that each may receive the things done in the body." Of the wicked, it is said that their " end is to be burned." "It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this," not a new probation, but "judgment." In the next world, between the righteous and the wicked there is "a great gulf fixed," impassable to both. "They that have done ill" shall come forth from their graves, not to undergo a new probation, but " unto the resurrection of judgment." All these Scripture passages indicate finality in the decisions of this present life; and for this reason Protestant churches have never thought it right to pray for the dead. We know that conversion and renewal are the work of the Holy Spirit; but we have no Scripture evidence that the influences of the Spirit are exerted, after death, upon the still impenitent; there is abundant evidence, on the contrary, that the moral condition in which death finds men is their condition forever.

I began my article by calling the New Theology a theology of exaggerated individualism. I have spoken of its historical connections, and have traced it back to nominalism, idealism, and the identity-system of Jonathan Edwards. I have noted and criticized the most prominent specific ideas of the New Theology, namely, the Christian consciousness, the extra-temporal Christ, and the future probation of those who have not in this life had the gospel preached to them. But there are certain practical results to be apprehended from this tendency in the theological world, which, as the application of my subject, I feel compelled, finally, though very summarily, to mention. The theology of exaggerated individualism, will, in my judgment, do much to accelerate that deterioration of family life which has often been pointed out as a sign that Christianity is losing its hold upon the nation. The individualistic theory of the family is au outgrowth of the individualistic theory of the race. To great masses of our population marriage is but a civil contract, which, so far as the mere right of the thing is concerned, is dissoluble at pleasure. After marriage, as before marriage, the parties are two, not one; the merging of the two into each other, the constitution of a new organic unity — in short, the very idea of the family bond — is absent; the individual is still a law unto himself, instead of being under law to another. Hence the frequent discord which invades the family, and the increasing prevalence of divorce. The same exaggerated individualism appears in the labor-strifes of our day. Every man is for himself, whether he be capitalist or workman. Each thinks of his rights, but thinks much less of his duties. The idea of the organic unity of society, of merging personal interests in the interests of the whole, of thinking not simply of his own things but of the things of others also, this idea is fast dying out. We need to revive and reinforce it by the inculcation of human unity and brotherhood. The Scriptures furnish us with our doctrine. The family is one; society is one; the nation is one ; the race is one. Because one blood flows in our veins and we have one divine Father, we are members one of another.

In the life of the church this principle is more important still, and forgetfulness of it brings results yet more pernicious. There is a vital union with the Redeemer which joins all Christians to one another. In connecting themselves with Christ they become members of a mighty organism pervaded with the common life of the Head. In a true sense the Christian ceases to be an individual, and merges himself in the body; he can say: "For me to live is Christ;" "no longer live I, but Christ liveth in me." And yet how plain it is, that to many Christians there never yet has come this sense of the real meaning of their relation to Christ, and to his body, the church. An exaggerated individualism yet rules them. They have no conception of the church as an organism which derives its life from Christ, a living unity into which they have merged themselves. They have no sense of the dignity of their position, as belonging to Christ's body, or as responsible for the condition of the whole. "Am I my brother's keeper?" is still their cry. Surely nothing is so much needed in our church-life as the substitution of the instinct of unity for the spirit of isolation and division. And what better recipe can be given than the inculcation of the Scripture doctrine of union with Christ? But that doctrine cannot be taken by itself. Side by side with it is the other doctrine of union with Adam. As justification comes to all who receive their spiritual life from Christ, so condemnation comes to all who receive their natural life from Adam. And so the highest conception of the Christian life, and the highest efficiency of the Christian church, are inseparably bound up with the acceptance of the old doctrine of the organic unity of the race and its common fall in the person of its first father.

This subject has a special relation to the ministry and to missions. It has been felt of late that there was a great falling off in the number of recruits; that the disposition to enter the ministry was waning; that there was no sufficient impulse to prosecute the work. I venture to suggest a reason for this. Christian people are losing out of their thoughts the idea of oneness with the race ; and young men are no longer pressed with the conviction that, as a part of this common humanity, they are bound to do all they can to save it. We are bound to love our neighbor as ourselves, because our neighbor is ourselves. It was because Christ was one with us that he was bound to die. In order to revive the sense of obligation to preach the gospel, we need first to inculcate the organic unity of the race. And what is true of ministers is true of the church at large. The only sufficient incentive to missionary effort is that sense of unity which Christ's teaching and example are calculated to inspire. All that separates the heathen from us, or makes their fate dependent upon the decisions of another world, is a hindrance to missions. We must feel ourselves the brothers of all, and we must feel that their fate is in our hands, if we are ever to put forth the effort necessary to their conversion. Only upon the view that Paul regarded the heathen as lost if they did not in this life learn of Christ and accept him, can we explain his consuming missionary zeal. Only upon the view that "the heathen perish day by day," can we explain the communication of Paul's spirit to the missionaries of modern times. If the salvation of the heathen practically depends upon the prayers and gifts and labors of the church, wc may hope yet to see Christendom pouring into heathen lands its men and its treasure, in order U> bring the nations to the faith of Jesus Christ. But if the heathen are not shut up to this life as their only time of mercy, if a vast future of larger opportunity opens to them beyond death, not only will the Christian world cease to feel their guilt, but it will cease to feel their danger. "The nerve of missionary enterprise will be cut," and the day of Christ's trinmph will be postponed, until there rises a new generation with deeper convictions of the sinfulness of sin, and with deeper compassion for the millions that yearly perish for lack of knowledge.

The New Theology exaggerates the principle of individualism, and thinks that it gains thereby a nobler view of man. But it looks only at the individual man; of humanity as a whole, fallen in Adam and sunk in a common guilt, it has no conception; hence it can never rise to the sublime conception of a common redemption in Christ and of the common dependence of the race upon the one historical Savior. It needs the idea of man as man, to lift it out of doctrinal inconsistency and practical inefficiency. Not only theoretical considerations but observed effects argue that the well-worn path is the path of safety — via trita, via tuta. We have no need of the New Theology, for the old is better.