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Bushnellism : or Orthodoxy and Heresy identical

Brownson's Quarterly Review, October, 1849

ART IV  God in Christ. Three Discourses, delivered at New Haven, Cambridge, and Andover. With a Preliminary Dissertation on Language. By Horace Bushnell. Hartford : Brown & Parsons.     1849.     12mo.    pp. 356.
2. Ten Discourses on Orthodoxy. By Joseph H. Allen, Pastor of the Unitarian Church, Washington. Boston : Crosby & Nichols.    1849.    12mo.    pp. 227.

We have brought these two works together, because we must take some notice of them, and we would do it with as treat economy of space as possible. Their authors belong to different sects, and resemble one another very little in their manner of presenting their respective views ; but they advocate pretty much the same doctrines at bottom, and with very nearly equal ability, and equal  ignorance. Both prove that they have as yet found no form of religion that satisfies them, and both come forward as reformers, each endeavouring to improve upon the formal teachings of his sect. Dr. Bushnell is the older man of the two, and has naturally the more comprehensive and energetic mind ; but Mr. Allen is the more clear, logical, and acute. The former falls into the more ridiculous mistakes, the latter is more systematic in his errors, and keeps more uniformly at a distance from truth.

Dr. Bushnell is the pastor of a Congregational parish in Hartford, Connecticut, and professes what are called in New England "Orthodox" doctrines ; Mr. Allen is the pastor of a Congregational society in Washington, D. C, and professes what is termed Unitarian or Liberal Christianity. The u Orthodox " doctor labors to prove that orthodoxy is liberal, and excludes no heresy ; the Unitarian pastor labors to prove that orthodoxy is heresy, and heresy orthodoxy, or that, to be truly orthodox, one must be heretical. The Liberal Christian seeks to demolish orthodoxy ; the Orthodox minister seeks to accommodate orthodoxy to every heresy ; both agree in this, that all heresies are to be kindly welcomed and warmly embraced. So, at bottom, as we say, there is not much difference between them, and we may with propriety include both in the same category.
Dr. Bushnell, for the last five or six years, has produced considerable excitement in New England, and is just now one of our principal " lions." He is certainly not without influence, and we are assured that he carries with him a large portion of his own denomination, and is followed, it is said, by the larger part of the younger Congregational ministers. The New Eng-lander, the organ of the New Haven school, fully indorses his views, and Andover, we are told, adopts them as explicitly as it can, without forfeiting its funds. The indications now are, that the Bushnellites will either divide the Congregational body into two sects of nearly equal strength, or that they will leaven the whole lump with their peculiar views, change essentially the character of New England theology, and virtually obliterate the last traces of New England Calvinism. Such are the indications ; but what the result will actually prove to be, we by no means venture to predict,  though the latter alternative seems to us the more probable.

We have  discovered little that is new in Dr.  Bushnell's views, little with which we were not in former years perfectly familiar, or which has not had for a long time a large number of adherents both at home and abroad.    He  is evidently dissatisfied with all the recognized forms of Protestantism,  and desirous of hitting upon something which shall dissolve and re-combine them all in a new and far more comprehensive form, or rather no-form, in which all men shall unite, however divided and mutually hostile they may be in their mere doctrinal statements.    Mr. Allen has the same aim, and, to realize it, he comes out boldly and denounces as false and mischievous all the doctrinal statements about which men are divided, and insists that nothing should be held essential, or even important, except such points  as   nobody disputes.     But  Dr.   Bushnell thinks the end is attainable by a shorter method, and without the labor of clearing away any false doctrine, or abolishing any extant creed or formula of faith.      All creeds and formulas, according to him, are tentative, and never final.    Yet they all serve to suggest the truth to the mind and conscience ol those who adopt them, not adequately, indeed, but in the least untrue manner in which the given mind and conscience are capable ot receiving it.     The union already exists at bottom, and the only difficulty is, that men are not aware of it, do not know it, and suppose they differ when and where they do nou    1 he work to be done is, not to induce men to believe otherwise than they do, but to show them what it is they really do believe,  not to persuade them to change their formulas, but to enable them to see what it is their formulas really stand for in their own minds, and to appreciate their real significance.

To understand this, we must advert to the author s theory of language,  which  he develops at   length in his preliminary essay.    This theory he promulgates as if it were original and profound, although it strikes us as an old acquaintance, and the one now very generally resorted to by unbelievers.    Language, he assumes, has a divine origin only in the sense that it is the creation of man who is himself the creation of God, and is therefore strictly a human invention,  a notion which we are far   from   accepting ;   for  language presupposes  society, and society  is impossible without language.    Man  cannot create language out of society ; for whatever system of signs he should nvent,  being invented by and for himself alone,  they  would have no significance for any but himself, that is, no common significance.   He cannot create it in society ; for where there is no language, that is, no common medium of intercommumcation between individuals, there is no society conceivable. Doubtless, a man can think, that is, perceive intuitively, externally and internally, without words or signs ; but he cannot note his perceptions, retain them in his memory, or make them objects of reflection, without the aid of language of some sort;  or, in other words, he cannot take a reflective cognizance of his perceptions or intuitions, mark, or distinguish them even in his own mind, without the aid of signs. Language must have been a Divine revelation, for it is not possible to conceive man, without language, setting about the invention of language. We do not, however, suppose that God gave to man in the outset, be-lore giving him the ideas to be expressed, a complete language; it is sufficient to suppose it infused along with the knowledge itself, or supplied as occasion demanded. But this amounts to little, because we cannot suppose a moment when man wanted the ideas. Adam was not created a baby, but a full-grown man, with a knowledge as extensive, as complete, as has ever been, or ever will be, possessed by any of his posterity. He did not grow into his knowledge, or acquire it by his own efforts, as we do ; for he possessed it at the first moment of his existence. It must, then, have been given him, or infused into him, by his Maker. It is not possible to conceive of him as a perfect man, possessing from the moment of his creation a perfection never to be surpassed by any of his posterity, and yet destitute of the faculty of speech, Even those of our philosophers who hold language to have been a human invention are obliged to suppose him originally endowed with that faculty. But the faculty of speech cannot be understood to mean a power or faculty to invent or create speech, but the power or faculty of speaking, that is, of using language. The object or material of the faculty is language ; and since no human faculty does or can either work without object or material, or create its own object or material, it follows that the faculty, where language is wanting, is as if it were not. The very assertion, which all are obliged to make, that man is endowed by his Maker with the faculty of speech, then, presupposes, prior to the faculty or independent of its exercise, the existence of signs as signs which it uses, and therefore language.

The attempt to make language a human creation or invention seems to us to proceed from a forgetfulness of the fact, that Almighty God instructed immediately the first man in what pertains to the natural order, as well as in what pertains to the supernatural, and  therefore that Adam's knowledge was  infused, instead of being acquired ; and also from an unconscious leaning to the modern doctrine of progress, that man began, not in perfection, as reason and faith both teach, but in imperfection.    Our modern philosophers have a singular tendency to remove God as far as possible from the world, and manifest great   reluctance   to   ascribe   anything   to  his  direct  agency. They will in no instance, where they can help it, allow him to have done more than create the mere germ, and seem to fancy that they have made an important advance towards  the secret nature of things, when they have supposed the germ developing itself.    All that comes from the Creator, they wish to suppose, comes rude and imperfect, and is subsequently perfected by its own efforts.     They will not allow us to believe that God created the heavens and the earth glorious and perfect, but they would have us believe that he merely created their germs, or rather certain rude and formless bodies, which have, in the process of ages, by the operation of secondary causes, been   developed   or wrought  into  what  we   now   find   them. Some, not content with the application of this principle within the natural order, would extend it to the supernatural, and have us suppose that the Christian revelation itself was made originally only in germ, and has been since developed and matured by the agency of secondary causes.    All these notions belong to one and the same general system, which develops all things from rude and feeble beginnings, and seeks perfection from imperfection, the actual from the potential, as teach the  Saint-Simoni-ans and all other classes of modern  Socialists,  a doctrine alike repugnant to   sound philosophy and Christian theology. A religious-minded man should  think twice before assigning an origin to language which demands for its basis the blasphemous doctrine of modern  Socialists, or adopting notions which involve, if pushed to their logical results, the old Epicurean doctrine that the Divinity, having launched the world in space, concerns himself no more with it, but retires to doze, as the excellent Dr. Evariste Gypendole would say, in his great armchair, leaving the world to take care of itself, or to "go ahead on its own hook."      Perhaps,  the   less  we are disposed   to magnify the sphere of secondary causes, the more likely we are to arrive at truth.                                             

But this by the way. Dr. Bushnell, having given language as the product of a human faculty or instinct, supposes it to consist primarily in symbols borrowed from the outward or material world, and  absolutely incapable of expressing thought, or of serving as the medium of communicating, from one mind to another, truths which pertain to the intellectual or spiritual order. Its signs are all signs of merely sensible objects, and never are and never can be signs of any other class of objects. When they are used as media of spiritual or intellectual truths, they do not communicate or express those truths to the one addressed ; they only suggest them, or direct his attention to them, and occasion his recognizing them in the intelligible world by his own intuitive power. Thus, the word love does not convey an intelligible idea to the mind, but merely suggests a fact of inward experience, and will mean one thing or another, more or less, according to the particular inward experience to which it is addressed. So, the word God is the sign of no invariable idea, but stands in each mind for one or another idea, means this or that, more or less, according to each one's particular capacity, discipline, or internal experience. The truths suggested by language to each one, the moment it leaves the material world, are not presented by it, are not beheld in it or through it, as the medium of their revelation, but independently of it, in the intelligible world or idea,  in the Platonic sense,  in immediate relation with which, in varying subjective degrees, all men are placed by their Maker. The plain English of all this is, we take it, that the Creator has not endowed man with the faculty of speech, save for the sensible world, and that for the intelligible or spiritual world we have no language, and intercommunication of ideas or spiritual conceptions is impossible ; and though we may converse with one another on sensibles, we can yet hold no intelligible conversation. This seems to us, nevertheless, very intelligible language against intelligibility.

That there is a partial truth in what Dr. Bushnell asserts we are not disposed to deny. Language can mean nothing to unintelligent beings, and intelligible conversation is possible only between intelligent persons. This, we suppose, is undeniable, and we have never heard it disputed. Intelligible conversation requires, certainly, that the one spoken to, as well as the one speaking, should be by his own constitution intelligent, that is, in relation with the intelligible. It cannot be perfect where there is a lack of unity in those who undertake to converse. There is no proper conversation possible between a man and a horse or a dog, nor between any irrational individuals. But this does not necessarily deny, as the author's doctrine implies, that man has   " discourse of reason,"  is   endowed  with  the  faculty  of  rational  or  intelligible  speech. The human race began in unity, and its unity was in the unity of the intelligible, that is, the reason,  the Platonic idea or Logos,  taken objectively, not subjectively.   By virtue ot the unity of the intelligible, that is, of the non-sensible, or supersensible, intelligible language was possible, and men were capable of intelligible conversation.    The idea, or the intelligible, being one in itself, for all truth is one, and therefore the same for all men in relation with it,  its languuge was the same to all men, having the same significance for all.    Intelligible language depends on the unity of the intelligible, and the fact that men are one in that unity, or live in immediate relation with it.    As the human race in the beginning were one in that unity, they could have, and in fact had, intelligible language. If they lose this unity, if they become divided, if they cease to be  one in the intelligible, and able to behold it only obscurely, indistinctly, to apprehend it only partially, and to obtain only broken and detached glimpses of it, the diversity ot meaning the author asserts will, no doubt, be a consequence ; their language will then, certainly, be confounded, and they will no longer be able to converse intelligibly together, as happened, we know, at  the building of the  Tower of  Babel. Thus far we do not dispute, but in some sense agree with, Dr. Bushnell.                                                         

But Dr. Bushnell pushes his theory too far, and even fails to perceive that the loss of unity in the intelligible is, a fortiori, a loss of unity in the sensible.    The world of the sense is manifold and various, and  its language has  unity or common significance only in the intelligible ; and consequently the denial of intelligible speech  is the  denial of all speech.     Ihe formative principle of language, whether it makes use solely ot sensible images or not, is in the intelligible, not in the sensible as is  evident from the fact, that the advocates of sensism, or sensualism, in philosophy have never been able to conform any ang age to their system, and from the further fact, that every known language is more philosophical, contains a truer system of philosophy, than can be  found  in  the speculations of any modern philosopher.    Understand thoroughly any known   an-Lee, ancient or modern, and you have a sound philosophy ; and whoever finds it necessary to create a new   anguage, or ¦   to distort an old one, in order to state his philosophical principles and conclusions, proves by that very fact that his philosophy is false, and worthy of no consideration.    Philology is the true and only safe introduction to philosophy.

Modern philosophers greatly mistake in supposing, that, either logically or chronologically, the sensible in human life precedes the intelligible. The dictum of even the ancients, that nihil est in intellectu, quod non fuerit in sensu, cannot be received without Leibnitz's famous exception, nisi ipse intel-lectus,  nor even then, unless we take note that the intellect or understanding itself is not constituted without the idea or intelligible world, which is objective, above the human intellect, and independent of it. The sensible depends on the intelligible as its condition, and always presupposes it, as sensation presupposes intellection, since not the organ perceives or senses, but the intelligent agent himself, and the perception of an external object by means of the organ of sight, smell, touch, taste, or hearing is as much an act of intellect as the perception of a non-sensible truth, and also the sensation of pain or pleasure ; for it would not be a sensation, if not intellectually apprehended. Hence the patient, whose consciousness is suspended by ether or chloroform, receives no sensation from the knife of the surgeon. A non-intelligent agent cannot be conceived as a sensitive agent, although we may conceive agents intelligent no farther than is requisite to be sentient,  that is to say, agents capable of perceiving, but not capable of noting or distinguishing beyond the sensitive perception ; that is to say, again, agents that are simply percipient, and not reflective. Nevertheless, as there can be no intelligence without the intelligible, we must suppose all percipient beings to be, in their respective degrees, in relation with it as the formative principle of all intelligence.

Language, if admitted at all, then, must be admitted as primarily adapted to the intelligible, otherwise it would not be adapted to the constitution of the human mind, and could serve no purpose even in the sphere of the sensible. It would also be a gross reflection on the Divine wisdom to maintain the contrary ; for God has evidently placed the intelligible above the sensible, and our great, concernment in life is chiefly with truths which pertain to the supersensible order, that is, moral, political, and religious truths. It is these truths, that, in the commerce of life, it is chiefly necessary to communicate from one to another, and around which all serious conversation does and must turn. To suppose that God has given us a language for sensibles, and not for these, is to suppose that he has taken
care of what is comparatively trifling, and neglected to provide for matters of grave importance, which would be to suppose him to act from folly, not from wisdom.

That  the difficulty   Dr.  Bushnell suggests  does  to   some extent exist,  though not to  the extent   he supposes,  and   is attended by grave consequences, we do not deny ; but it does not lie precisely where he supposes, nor does it depend on the causes he assigns.     The difficulty does not lie in language  as such, whether the signs used are primarily symbolical ol sensible objects or not,for the signs are, in fact, as adequate lor signifying spiritual or intelligible truths as sensible facts, as we know from universal experience ; but it lies in the fact, that the natural human race, the race deriving from Adam, has through transgression lost its unity, and is no longer one in the idea or the intelligible, has no longer in its full strength a common reason, on which the unity of language or its common significance depends.    The same signs do not signify the same truths to all minds.    Men's  speech is confused, and they cease to understand, clearly, distinctly, and adequately, one another, because they are themselves no longer one in the objective reason, idea, or ideal truth, in which alone the unity of the race consists. This is an evil, a great evil, we admit; and, though incurable out of the elected  human race deriving from Abraham, the lather of the faithful,  the chosen people of God, yet not an evil for which there is no remedy.    Reintegrate men in the ideal truth, restore them to their pristine unity in the intelligible, as they are restored  through  grace   in that chosen or elected society, and unity of language is recovered, and spiritual conversation is once more practicable.    In that society men are ol one mind and heart, and therefore of one speech, and the same words have the same meaning for all its members, as they would have had for all men in the natural human race, had they not lost primitive unity by transgression.                                       

But Dr. Bushnell  overlooking the fact that the natural human race has lost its original unity, and making no account of the stupendous intervention of Divine Mercy for its restoration through grace, in an elected humanity, a chosen people, into which all men may enter if they will, and be reintegrated in the unity of the intelligible, as Christianity teaches us proceeds on the assumption, whether consciously or unconsciously we pretend not to decide, that the diversity he finds in regard to the intelligible is original and fundamental in the intellectual nature or constitution of man, and therefore  concludes that unity of spiritual or intelligible language is absolutely impossible, and never to be sought.*(footnote: * Dr. Bushnell rarely takes the trouble to be consistent with himself, and through his whole Dissertation there runs a double train of thought, which makes an exact statement of his views exceedingly difficult. According to our view, he certainly supposes the diversity of intellect, or the want of unity in understanding, to originate in the infirmity of language, in its unsuitableness to express spiritual truth; and his general doctrine as to the union of Christian sects seems evidently to imply that the diversity is mainly in the expression, not in the thought vainly attempted lo be symbolized. This supposes a real unity of the race in the intelligible, and affirms only diversity in the verbal statements. But, on the other hand, he makes language a human creation, and therefore the exponent of the interior state of the human race ; consequently, he must ascribe its want of unity to the diversity of the human mind or constitution itself. Moreover, as he makes the significance of words of thought or spirit depend on the spiritual understanding and experience of those addressed, he seems to us obliged to make the diverse meaning of language the effect, and not the cause, of the diversity of the human understanding. We are inclined to believe that this is his real doctrine, and the unity which he evidently assumes as coexisting in the human race with intellectual diversity he supposes, no doubt, to consist, not in the intellect, by virtue of the unity of the intelligible, but in some deeper and more ultimate element than intellect, which he imagines there is in the human constitution.

We cannot help remarking here, that Gioberti (Introduzionc olio Studio delta Filosojia, Cap. III., Brusselle, 1844) ascribes the loss of unity in the order perpetuated by natural generation from Adam to the confusion of language. That the confusion of tongues, as recorded in Genesis, operated and operates to prevent the recovery of unity in the intelligible in the order so perpetuated, we do not doubt; but we are inclined to believe the confusion of speech is the consequence rather than the cause of the loss of unity. The unity of the idea or the intelligible is lost by pride, which is, when fully developed, pure, unmitigated egotism, which asserts the sufficiency of the subjective, and denies both the need and the reality of the objective, and is the very principle of diversity and separation. Pride, undoubtedly, led to the building of the Tower of Babel, and therefore the race must have virtually lost their unity before God confounded their language, which he did in mercy, to prevent the mischief they would do, if, following their pride, they could for a while maintain commerce with one another. In order to compel them to break of]'from their mad and impious undertaking, God confounded their language, and dispersed them abroad over the earth, which was after all only the external accomplishment of what pride had already commenced and virtually effected in the interior of man.-end of footnote)
 "Words of thought or spirit," he says (p. 48), " are not only inexact in their significance, never measuring the truth or giving its precise equivalent, but they always affirm something which is false, or contrary to the truth intended. They impute form to that which is really out of form.    They are related to the truth only as form to spirit-earthen vessels in which the truth is home, yet always offering their mere pottery as being truth itself." As falsehood is unintelligible in itself, and stands opposed to the intelligible, or, to speak more accurately, is the negation of the intelligible, it follows, since words of thought and spirit always affirm what is false, that there really is and can be no intelligible language, and  no true statement, in words, of intellectual or spiritual
truth can ever be made !     
That the mass of men do not always clearly and distinctly apprehend the truths they seek to express, and do really express, in consequence of their confused perceptions and intuitions, more or less of error along with the truth,  is  no doubt the fact ; and that many whose perceptions are clear and distinct express them in words which may retain traces of a meaning incompatible with the one they intend, nobody disputes ; but that unintended meaning, though possibly implied by the word used, does not necessarily constitute an element oi the afiirma-tion itself, either, in the mind of him who makes it, or in the mind of him to whom it is made.    When we say of some one, lie attends to what we say, we use a word which conceals the figure of a body bending to or towards some one ; but not, therefore, do we affirm, or are we understood to affirm, that he stands bent forward towards us.    The figure is eliminated both in our mind and in the mind we address, and the word stands in both minds as the sign of a purely intellectual or menta act ot listening.    The word has a spiritual as well as a material sense, and is as precise, as definite, as exact, in the former as in the latter ; nay, the material sense, or the figure, serves to intensity the spiritual meaning, for bending to a thing indicates resolution and earnestness.    It is no objection to a word, that it has many senses, or senses incompatible with the one intended, il the particular sense intended is sufficiently marked and determined, as it may be, and always is, by careful speakers and writers. Men who do not think, who pay no attention to what a speaker or writer intends, may, no doubt, mistake the " pottery    o words for the truth they are used to express ; but that is not the fault of the words, but of the men themselves.

But assuming the incapacity of language, denying its adequacy to express truth in the intelligible or spiritual order, Dr. Bushnell concludes against all formal or dogmatic statements of doctrine :  " Dogmatical propositions, such as are commonly woven into creeds and catechisms ot doctrine, have not the certainty they are commonly supposed to have,    They only give us the seeing of the authors at the precise stand-point occupied by them at the time, and they are true only as seen from that point, not even there, save in a proximate sense. Passing on, descending the current of time, we will say two centuries, we are brought to a different point, as when we change positions in a landscape, and then we are doomed to see things in a different light, in spite of ourselves.     It is not that the truth changes, but we change.    Our eye changes color, and then the color of the  eye affects our seeing."  (pp. 79, 80.) Evidently the author holds   that all dogmatical  statements of spiritual doctrine are Miore or less inadequate, and, indeed, at best, only proximately true.     But, after all, they are so, not only because language never does, and never can, tell the truth, but because the formula of doctrine embodies only our partial views of truth, which are variable and varying, not truth itself, or views which in all times and places are true views.   This last reason, which shows that the author makes the difficulty consist in the mind as well as in language, would be a good one if we had no Divine revelation, if we were abandoned to the order of nature, compelled to draw up our own creeds and catechisms, without Divine instruction or assistance, and able to embody in them only our own variable and ever-varying views.    But Dr. Bushnell's idea of a formula of doctrine is not exactly that of the Christian.    The Christian supposes the formula embodies, not our views, but, so to speak, God's views, which do not vary with time, place, or position, and is drawn up, not by us to express our views of truth,' but by God himself, as a statement for the human intellect of the views we ought always and everywhere to take, or of the truth which we must in all times and places apprehend and believe, on pain of error and the Divine displeasure.    Dr. Bushnell's idea is the reverse of this. Having assumed that " language is rather the instrument of suggestion than of absolute conveyance for thought," he concludes that to teach, that is, to impart knowledge, or present truth to the minds of others, is impossible.    We can tell no man anything whereof he is ignorant.     Hence the truth, for us human beings, is never anything but the view we actually take of it ; that is, for us human beings, there is no truth but our variable and ever-varying notions of truth.    The creed or catechism can express only those notions as held at the time and from the point of view it is drawn up ; and as these are constantly varying with time, and as we shift our point of sight, the creed or catechism, in order to express or embody the truth, must constantly vary with them. The principle the « Orthodox" doctor adopts is, that the formula, to he true, must conform to human belief, not that human belief, in order to be true beliel, must conform to the formula !
That men out of unity, out of the reintegrated humanity, persisting in the diversity and variety of the natural human race in its fallen state, developing pride as its principle, do  suit, with record to spiritual truth, their positions, and change their views accordingly,- that for them the creed or catechism loses, with time and change, its original significance, and tails to embody their ever-varying notions of truth,that their eye changes color, and sheds its own hues over the objects they contemplate,is, no doubt, very true ; but is this a proof that the formula loses its truth, becomes false, or is it a proof that they lose skirt of the truth, or perceive it, if at all, only through a colored or distorting medium ?    If, in process of time, there arises a discrepancy between the original formula of doctrine and men's views, is it the formula that needs changing, or men s views that need rectifying ?    Is   it certain that men's notions are always the standard of truth, and that every statement ot doctrine not conformable to them is therefore to be rejected, either as false or as inadequate ?    If the « Orthodox'   doctor were pleading the cause of error instead of truth, or it he were laboring   to   prove   that there is  no  real difference  between truth and error, what else, or what more, could he say, than he does.
But as language is never a medium of truth, and as its sole office is to direct the mind to the truth intuitively apprehensible, already in it or before it, every statement of doctrine it is possible  to  make  in  words,  in itself considered,  is   erroneous. Thus, the Orthodox statements of the  sacred  mysteries, the Trinity,  the   Incarnation,  and  the   Atonement,  regarded as statements for the intellect, or logical understanding, are made-nuate and erroneous.    Indeed, the truth, in itself formless, can never be truly stated, because the statement gives it a form, and every form falsifies it.    Here is the grand iac* that has been overlooked.    It has been supposed that Christian truth could be drawn out in formal propositions, and stated in formulas fully expressing it, and having the same meaning for all men ; but this is a mistake.    Christian truth spurns all forms, defies all formal statements, and the more  adequately we conceive  it, the  more  paradoxical  and  contradictory shall we be in our speech, and the less shall we submit to the restraints of logic.

" There is no book in the world that contains so many repugnances, or antagonistic forms of assertion, as the Bible. Therefore, if any man choose to play off his constructive logic upon it, he can easily show it up as the absurdest book in the world." (p. (J9.) " We find little, therefore, in the Scriptures, to encourage the hope of a complete and sufficient Christian dogmatism, or of a satisfactory and truly adequate system of scientific theology. Language, under the laws of logic or speculation, does not seem to be adequate to any such use or purpose." (pp. 76, 77.) "Considering the infirmities of language, all formulas of doctrine should be held in a certain spirit, of accommodation. They cannot be pressed to the letter, for the letter is never true. They can be regarded only as proximate representations, and should, therefore, be accepted, not as laws of our belief, or opinion, but more as badges of consent and good understanding." (p. 81.) " Unquestionably, the view of language here presented must produce, if received, a decided mitigation of our dogmatic tendencies in religion. It throws a heavy shade of discouragement on our efforts in that direction. It shows that language is, probably, incapable of any such definite and determinate use as we have supposed it to be in our theological speculations ; that, for this reason, dogma has failed hitherto, and about as certainly will [fail] hereafter." (pp. 91, 92.)

Our readers must not suppose that Dr. Bushnell means merely to reject scholastic theology, for he objects to creeds and catechisms themselves, unless taken in a loose, accommodating sense, as each one chooses to interpret them for himself, and therefore means to assert that language is inadequate to the distinct, formal, and exact statement of Christian doctrine, or the Divine revelata. According to him, all spiritual truth is formless, and every formula is contrary to its nature, and falsifies it. Our study should be, not to give it a form for the understanding, but to be moved and excited by it as an interior and all-pervading force or principle of life. He does not propose at once to abolish u all platforms and articles," for to that men will not as yet hear (p. 341). But it is clear that he proposes to do it ultimately, and to get rid of all credenda, all dogmas or articles of faith, and to have no truth for the understanding insisted upon. In other words, he holds that Christianity is a life, not a dogma ; an interior principle, a living force that is felt, loved, obeyed in the conduct of life, but not a collection of articles or a system of doctrines to be intellectually apprehended and believed. Unity of language or of mind is not to be looked for or desired ; the only possible unity is the unity of love, the unity of sentiment, and all who have the sentiment
have the unity of the spirit, and really and truly worship God, whether they conceive of him as " Jehovah, Jove, or Lord," or manifest it outwardly in the forms approved by the Protestant, the Catholic, the Gentoo, the Chinese, the Thibetian, or by the ancient Phoenicians, Greeks, or Romans.    This is clear enough from an article of his which appeared some time since in  The New Englander, entitled Comprehensive Christianity, that is, a Christianity which comprehends all forms, and is itself without form ; which accepts all the mutually contradictory and repugnant doctrines extant,  with all their contradictions   and repugnances, and avails itself of all their partial and one-sided views and statements as so many various and useful modes of duly infusing  the spirit  of love  into the human   heart,  and effecting the concord of affection and harmony of life.

But this conception of Christianity, while it makes them of little value,  allows the author to retain all creeds, formulas, and statements, not as expressive of the whole truth, truth in its purity, integrity, and completeness, nor of truth for the intellect, but of truth for the affections, sentiments, feelings, conscience. The Orthodox statements of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Atonement are, indeed, inadequate and false for the logical intellect; yet, in a large class of persons, they produce the true affections, quicken Christian sentiments, and aid m conforming the life to the spiritual reality.    In another class they produce contrary effects, and these, therefore, should not be required to accept them, but suffered to modify them, or to substitute other statements for them,  better adapted to their peculiar modes of thought and feeling.    The statements preferred by Unitarians, in Unitarian minds and hearts, produce the same affections^that Orthodox statements do in Orthodox minds and hearts.    The truth for the affections, the only truth in the case to be considered, suggested by the two   sets of statements, though one contradicts the other, is the same truth in each, and both sets should be suffered to  stand ; both are as true as statements can be for those they suit, and as false as false can be for those they do not suit ; let the Orthodox have his statements,  and the Unitarian have his, and both will be suited, and Christian affection promoted.    Hence the » Orthodox" doctor protests against no creed.    « So far," he says (p. 82), « from suffering even the least consciousness of constraint or oppression under any creed, I have been readier to accept as great a number as fell in my way ; for when they are subjected to the deepest alchemy of thought, that which descends to the relation between the form of truth and its interior formless nature, they become, thereupon, so elastic, and run so freely into each other, that one seldom need have any difficulty in accepting as many as are offered him. He may regard them only as a kind of battle-dooring of words, blow answering to blow, while the reality of the play, namely, exercise, is the same, whichever side of the room is taken, and whether the stroke is given by the right hand or the left." The Doctor's notion of what accepting a creed means appears to be somewhat peculiar, but very liberal, withal.

Such, briefly, are the principal characteristics of Bushnellism. It must be apparent to the most careless student, that our "Orthodox" doctor cannot, without contradicting his whole theory, admit the possibility of a Divine revelation, made to mankind through the medium of inspired prophets and apostles, as the Christian world has hitherto held, because such revelation can be communicated by the inspired to the uninspired only through the medium of language. But language is not a medium of thought from mind to mind, and can only by its symbols suggest to the mind addressed the truth it already possesses, or that lies intuitively perceptible or apprehensible before it. Since the revealed truths, the revelata, at least as revelata, pertain to the supernatural, lie in a sphere above the naturally intelligible, are, in regard to our natural cognitive faculty, super-intelligible, they are not intuitively apprehensible or perceptible by the uninspired, and therefore cannot be communicated to them even by the inspired. Revelation, therefore, is possible only to those whom God directly and immediately inspires ; and only those whom he does so inspire have, or can be believers in, a Divine revelation. To all others, in the language of Thomas Paine, u revelation is mere hearsay." This is, substantially, Quakerism, and is a conclusion the author appears not only to accept, but even to contend for. He holds to a present, immediate, personal inspiration (pp. 350, 351),  probably claims it for himself ; but we shall so far adopt his doctrine as to hold ourselves excused from accepting what he says as Divine revelation, till we find it either confirmed by an authority we respect, or are ourselves personally inspired to believe it.
The doctrine of the author also denies that God himself can make a revelation to the human mind, even immediately, without supernaturally enlarging, not merely its creditive, but its cognitive power,  so as to enable it by its own inherent vis intuitiva, or intuitive energy, to behold or perceive the supernatural truth he would reveal ; for it denies that truth is communicable, or that it can be mediately apprehended.    Consequently the doctrine denies the possibility of belief m anything which is not an object of immediate intuition ; for no one can believe what he does not apprehend.    Hence faith is possible only in so far as it is intuition, sight, knowledge, or science> ; that is, it is possible only in so far as it is not faith ; lor taith is to believe what we do not see,is, it we may believe bt. Paul,   "the substance of things hoped  for, the evidence ot things not  seen."    Est autem fides sperandarum substantia rerun, armmentum non apparentium.   Whether Dr. Busbnell is right or wrong in this, it is pretty evident that his doctrine is irreconcilable with the faith of the Christian world  and the common sense of mankind.                                 

The intelligent reader of Dr. Bunnell's work is everywheie struck with the tendency he manifests to confound faith and science, dogma and speculation.    He is offended by the theological speculations  of theologers, as he contemptuously calls them, and therefore condemns Christian dogmata, as it Christian dogmata were mere speculations !    Does he need to be told that the dogma is the revelatum, the revealed  tiuth, and essentially non-speculative, preceding theological speculation as its postulate ?    The dogma is enjoined or imposed by au hoi ity, and demands simple assent; speculation is an operation oi the discursive reason, assuming the dogmas as its postulates or axiom.s, and its results are conclusions depending on the authoi.ty ot the logical process which demonstrates them ; the  dogma  is accepted on the veracity of God, whose word it is, immediately or Mediately spoken or transmitted to us. We do not suppose that Dr. Bushnell is ignorant of this  distinction;  butdoes he act wisely to treat it with contempt, and to reason on and about dogma  and   speculation,   as   if  both   belonged   to   the   same category.

The same tendency, which leads the author to confound the dogmas of faith with the speculations of theologians, leads him toTonfound faith with science. By confounding faith with science, or resolving it into science, denying it to be iaith it not scTence,he denies the possibility of faith in mysteries, and holds that all that is believed in the mysteries of rehgion i simply what the mind of the believer not only apprehends, but comprehends. This compels him either to deny, with Mr. Al-?en7rmy.teries,-thatlGod has revealed or reveals anything above the natural understanding,or else to assert a direct, immediate, and personal revelation from God to each man, what he calls Mysticism,  which enables us to perceive intuitively their intrinsic truth. " Christian character itself," he says (p. 1351), " and all its,graces, are forms of inspiration. It requires understand or really come into the truth of Christ at all." " No man," he had said (p. 331), "really knows Christ, or can know or be taught the Christian truth, who is not in the spirit of Christ." " Words cannot bring it  the Christian plan  into his heart ; dogma cannot give it in the dry light of reason." And again (p. 332), " We can know the things which are freely given us of God only as Paul knew them, by the spirit that is of God."

The author first asserts Rationalism as the condition of rejecting the mysteries, and then Mysticism as the condition of accepting them, not as mysteries, but as things intrinsically apprehended ; that is, he is alternately a Rationalist and an enthusiast, as suits his purpose. It is very true that we cannot believe with divine faith the things which God has revealed, without the grace of faith ; but the author abuses the word inspiration, if by inspiration he means this grace. The grace by which we believe the Divine revelata is not inspiration, is not a grace of science, but simply a grace of faith, and elevates not necessarily the vis cognoscitiva, but the vis creditiva, gives us, not the power of seeing the intrinsic truth of the revelata, but of holding them in our belief with a supernatural firmness. This grace does not reveal to us the truth, as does inspiration ; it simply enables us to believe it with divine faith. The truth itself, as proposed to our belief, is, when proposed, apprehensible by the natural or unelevated human intellect. The propositions of faith, as to their intrinsic truth, for the most part transcend the reach of the human intellect, and therefore must be taken, if at all, on the authority proposing them ; but as propositions to be believed on authority, that is, as simple propositions of faith, they do not transcend that intellect, and can be apprehended by it without difficulty, even in the simple and unlettered, and ordinary reason can also apprehend the competency of the authority. The error of the author is in confounding inspiration with the donum fidei of the theologians.

The Gospel was preached by the Apostles, and is every day preached by missionaries, to men not incorporated into the mystic body of Christ, not one in him, nor living his life. But this would be absurd, if no man could learn, or be taught, while out of Christ, Christian truth, which must he believed as the condition of becoming one with him, of being in him, or having him in them.    Certainly no man can live Christian truth out of the mystic body of Christ ; but not therefore does it follow that no man out of that body can know intellectually what the Christian faith requires him to believe, the authority on which it is to be believed,  whether the Church or the Scriptures, or, even with human faith, believe them.     1 he devils certainly have not the spirit of Christ, are not in Christ, have not him in them, are not Divinely inspired, and yet bt. James tells us they « believe and tremble."    If the truth cannot be taught to unbelievers, to men who are not yet Christians, how are they to be converted ?    Moreover, will the author name to us a single proposition of Christian doctrine which, as a proposition of faith, not of science, is unintelligible to the natural   human  understanding,   supposing   that   understanding really exerted to  apprehend it ?    God is one Divine Being subsisting in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy bhost ; in Christ are two  distinct natures subsisting in one person ; in the blessed Eucharist, when the priest pronounces the words of consecration, the elements are changed into the substance ol the body of our Lord ; we cannot elect to concur  with  grace without the aid of grace, and yet grace does not aid us without our concurrence.    We know nothing in Christian faith more difficult to understand than these propositions ; but who dares say that the assertions contained in them are not apprehensible even by a child old enough to begin his catechism ?     I he explanation of them, the answer to the question how they can be true, and all that, is no doubt difficult ; but nothing of all that is proposed as an object of faith, or is required to be understood by the believer in order to believe what is proposed.   We know that a spire of grass grows, but how it grows we know not.    By faith we know that the world was framed by the word ot God, vet how God framed it is no object of our knowledge, or ot our faith     Shall we therefore say that we cannot believe that he framed it by his word ?   It will never do to say that we apprehend nothing because we do not comprehend all things, or that what is not comprehensible is not believable.    If the good Doctor had distinguished between apprehending and comprehending,  and between  the simple apprehension  of ^ Christian truth as the intellectual object of faith,  and the spiritual appropriation   of   that  truth   in   Christian   life   and   character, he would have escaped  the  blunder  of asserting that "no man can be taught Christian truth who is not in the spirit of Christ," or learn it otherwise than by immediate, personal inspiration."

That the end we are to aim at is not the intellectual apprehension of the objects or propositions of faith, the human or even the supernatural assent to them, is of course true.    The end to be sought is never the intellectual apprehension of the truth, for that the devils have, but obedience to the truth, or life conformable to its teachings.    There must not only be the perception of the intellect, but the consent of the will ; and without the latter, the former, instead of being meritorious, only augments our guiltiness.    Faith without works, the fides informis of the Schoolmen, is dead ; and to be living, meritorious, it must be conjoined with love, be fides formata.    Everybody knows, or ought to know, this.    The Christian life, Christian truth as the inward principle of life, the vivifying or formative principle of character,  is the main thing, without which nothing is of any value.     So far as Dr. Bushnell means simply to insist on this commonplace truth, commonplace truth with all except those sectaries who preach justification by faith alone,we have no quarrel with him ; but when he  goes farther, and tells us that Christian truth is not addressed primarily to the human intellect, and seeks to exclude the intellect from all share in the formation   of the Christian character,  we   recognize  in him neither the Christian nor the philosopher.    We must apprehend the truth, or we cannot obey it, or voluntarily submit to it ; and the intellect is our only faculty for the apprehension of truth. It is our only cognitive faculty.    It is the light or the sight of the will, which, considered in itself as  a distinct faculty, is blind.    The will acts only for an end, and cannot act for an end which is not apprehended.    Suppress the intellect, and you suppress the will ; suppress the will, and you suppress all voluntary obedience, all virtue, all human acts.    Impossible, therefore, is it to have the Christian character, to live the Christian life, without intellectual apprehension of Christian truth.    The first step is always intellectual apprehension, and it is by faith that we are incorporated into the elected human race, where only we can live in unity, and complete the Christian life.    Is it not a little too bad that we should be called upon to defend intellect against a modern enlightened reformer, and to maintain against him that intellect is not a useless appendage to the human constitution ?

But truth to the human intellect must always be presented in some  form  more   or less distinct, more  or less  definite. Doubtless, it is not necessary for every mind that it should be drawn out in detail, in all the minuteness we find in scientific theology; yet the more clearly,  distinctly,  and definitely its several propositions are drawn out and stated, the more periect will be our apprehension of it, and the less likely shall we be to mistake it, or fall into errors opposed to it.    Even the Apostles' Creed, with which the author closes his volume, and which he professes to believe, is a formula of faith, a formal statement of Christian truth, to the intellect.    And how will you teach Christian truth, except by means of formal statements ? < What else is every sermon that is preached, every book that is written, with a view to induce men to believe and practise the Christian religion ?    No teaching, no instruction, is possible, without formal statements to the understanding.    Do you propose to abolish all teaching, all science, all intercommunion ot thought, and leave every man to the solitary workings of his own mind ?    What  will you do with children ?    Will  you abolish all primary and secondary schools, all academies, colleges, seminaries, and universities,  all preaching,   all catechizing, all talking, all reading, all literature ?   If not, you must and will have teaching of some sort, and then formal statements, formulas of doctrine, addressed to the intellect.    Or do you propose to follow the cant of the day, to declaim against a 1 intellectual education, and say you will have only moral education, the education of the feelings, of the moral and religious affections and sentiments ?    But how will you contrive, without addressing the intellect, to impart this education ?    Will you do it in perfect silence, or will you now and then open your mouth ?    If you open your mouth, you must say something, make some formal statement, true or false.    You cannot speak to the feelings, you cannot even move them, except through the intellect.    Then, in what will your moral education consist ?    Is it to be conformable or not conformable to the truth ?    How, without the exercise of intellect, will you know which is truth, which is falsehood, and determine what is the education conformable to the one or the other ?    A moral act is the act of a free agent, done for the sake of the end which the law of God commands us to seek.    How, without teaching your pupils this end, the means and conditions of fulfilling it, will you give them a moral education ?    Is that a moral education that leaves the pupil ignorant of the precepts of morality ? Were you to reduce your system to practice, how long would you be in reducing your community below the condition of the most degraded savage tribe ?

Then, again, does the Doctor act wisely in sneering at logic, and making himself merry with what he calls  'logicking " ? Does it never happen that the truth is assailed, and needs to be defended ? that falsehood is promulgated, and needs to be refuted ? How is one or the other to be done without logic, logicking, if the author pleases ? The author requires us to live Christian truth ; he, then, must hold that there is a difference between truth and falsehood, that the former is good, and the latter is bad. Will he, then, deny that it is necessary to distinguish between them, to defend the truth if assailed, and repel the falsehood if it attempts to usurp the throne of truth ? Nay, is not the author himself " logicking" against logic, from the beginning of his book to the end ? Does he not bring out views of his own, and seek to give us logical reasons for accepting them ? and does he not point out what he holds to be errors, and endeavour to show us why they are errors ? Has he, then, the face to turn round and deny the very instrument he has used, the very authority to which he appeals ? Does he persuade himself that it is a sufficient answer to say, that he admits his inconsistency, but then all deep thinkers, all profound minds, are inconsistent in their statements, and cannot, owing to the imperfection of language, state the truths they behold, without violating the logical understanding ?

But we have exhausted our space, and can proceed no farther. We did intend to consider the application which Dr. Bushnell makes of his principles to the explanation of the sacred mysteries of our religion, but it is not necessary. What we have said is sufficient for the full understanding of his theory, and how he applies it is a matter of little importance. We do not suppose that Dr. Bushnell is naturally a very weak man, nor, compared with the common run of Protestant ministers, a very bad man ; but he is, undoubtedly, a very ignorant man, and unacquainted with the theology of his own denomination. He has, doubtless, read some, thought a little, felt much, and imagined more ; but he lacks mental discipline and scientific culture. He appears to have lighted, in the course of his experience, upon certain speculations, to have caught up certain half or quarter ideas, which, being novelties to him, he has presumed to be novelties to all the world. These he appears to have dwelt upon till his head has become a little turned, and he fancies that he is, as it were, a seer and a prophet.    To those who have passed through a state similar to that he is now in, and have late in life done what they could to supply the defect of early discipline, he is an object of tender interest, and they pity him at the same time that they laugh at the antics he plays, and the capers he cuts.    He may, perhaps, some day, grow sober, lower his estimate of his own supereminent greatness, blush at his folly, and marvel at his delusions.    He seems to us, after all, a man on whom the truth will not always fall powerless.    He shows the marks of his Calvinistic breeding, it is true, but he has comparatively little of that cold, dry, hard, wiry, sly,  crafty disposition, so characteristic of Calvinistic ministers ; and seems to retain at bottom even something of the simplicity of the child, and the frankness of the youth.   He seems really to have a little earnestness, which is not precisely fanaticism ; and we shall not be surprised if we hear, one of these days, that he has abandoned system-making, has given up his trade of reformer, has bowed in sorrow and humility at the foot of the cross, and been received into the society of those whose glory it is to glory only in a crucified Redeemer.    He is now mentally and morally in a chaotic state ; who knows but the spirit of God may yet breathe over the chaos, and cause order to spring out of confusion, and light to arise out of darkness ?    Our brethren should pray for his conversion.

We have said less of Mr. Allen's book than we intended. We shall be obliged to make it the subject of some remarks hereafter. Mr. Allen is a less hopeful subject than Dr. Bushnell ; but he is young, and we will not as yet despair of him.