Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Theology
The word theology in the classics; THE The word theology comes from a heathen source—from the Greek classics. In the Republic of Plato and the Metaphysics of Aristotle it occurs, and in its etymological meaning of " discourse or doctrine con cerning Deity and Divine things" Xo yos irept TOV Oeov Kal Trfpl TOOV Ofiwv. Men who wrote about the gods and their doings, or who speculated about the Divine in the origination and operations of nature men like Homer, Hesiod, Pherecydes, and Thales, were called tfeoAo yot. But there could, of course, be no theological science based on the popular religion of Greece. Theology was only to be found among the Greeks in the form of philosophical speculation. Through St Augustine we know that Varro, "the most learned of the Romans," distinguished three kinds of theology, the first mythical or fabulous, the second physical or natural, and the third civil or popular. The mythical theology he censured as containing many things contrary to the dignity and nature of immortal beings; the natural theology he described as that which is true but beyond the capacity of the vulgar; the civil theology he considered to be that which it was good for the citizens to believe the received religion of Rome. The general attitude of the Greek and Roman mind to religion was unfavourable to the cultivation of theology. Religion being dissociated in thought from truth could not give rise to science.
in the fathers;The words theology and theologian do not occur in Scripture, but it was inevitable that they should be trans planted into Christian soil. e6Xoyo<s is found, as a V.R. in the inscription of the Apocalypse the Revelation of John "the Divine," "the theologian," and almost certainly refers to his maintaining the Divinity of the Logos -rijv TOV Adyou OCOTTJTO., that the Xoyos is 0eds. In the 3d and 4th centuries a theologian usually meant one who distin guished himself in defending the personality and Divinity of the Logos. It was on this ground that Athanasius and Gregory Nazianzen were honoured with the distinctive appellation of " theologians." The term theology has not yet lost its early signification of "doctrine concerning God," although a much wider meaning is more common. Theology in its ordinary general acceptation includes, as one of its divisions, theology understood as the treatment of the problems which directly refer to the being, attributes, and works of God. in the Middle Ages;The Introductio ad Theologiam, and a later form of it, the Theologia Christiana, composed by Abelard in the 12th century, first gave currency to an acceptation of the word inclusive of all religious truth or belief. Among later scholastics the common designation for a general compendium of religious doctrine was Summa Theologies. Of such Summse among the most celebrated and characteristic are those of Alexander Hales, Albertus Magnus, and Thomas Aquinas. The mediaeval mystics deemed the essence of theology to be the immediate intuition of God, who, being once in contact with the soul, reveals to it the truth of all the principles of faith, and gives it at the same time spiritual peace and happiness. at and after the Reformation.This view led to a use of the word which was prevalent among the Reformers and their immediate successors, a subjective application which identified it with what was characteristic of the mind of a true theologian, an enlight ened and experienced homo renatus. In this sense it was a living practical acquaintance with the revelation of grace and truth made by God to man, a "habitus practicus," a "sapientia eminens practica," as it was called. With it, however, these earlier Protestant divines generally con joined that objective application of the term which was current in later scholasticism, and this at length wholly displaced the subjective acceptation; in other words, theology came to signify, not knowledge of a certain kind as inherent in the mind and operative in the life of the individual, but knowledge in itself, a body of systematized truth, a science. Theology, thus understood, may be viewed, discussed, and applied in a variety of ways, so as to give rise to certain kinds or species of theology. In the 17th century the necessity for specialization of this sort began, from the operation of several causes, to be widely and strongly felt, and it became usual for divines to indicate by the titles of their theological systems the point of view and mode of treatment adopted. An adjec tive added to the term "theologia" served their purpose. Of adjectives thus employed in the 17th and early part of the 18th century, the following may be mentioned as either frequently used or of some intrinsic interest: theoretica, practica, didactica, elenctica, polemica, irenica, pacifica, positiva, comparativa, dogmatica, theoretico-practica, didactico-elenctica, &c.
The extension given to the signification of the term theology was for a very lengthened period almost univer sally restricted to the knowledge derivable from the Scrip tures, the systematic exhibition of revealed truth, the science of Christian faith and life. It is still thus, per haps, that the word is most commonly understood. Two things, however, have naturally suggested the employment of it in a wider manner. Natural theology.First, there was the rise and development of a theology not based on revelation,—the rise and development of what is called natural theology. The Greeks and Romans could not distinguish between nature and revelation, reason and faith, because ignorant of revelation and faith in their distinctive Christian sense. In the patristic and scholastic ages of the church, and for some time after the Reformation, men were not in general prepared to admit that there was a knowledge of God and of His attributes and of His relations to the world which might be the object of a science distinct from and inde pendent of revelation. Yet the most learned and thought ful even of the scholastic divines recognized in some measure that such was the case, and could hardly, indeed, do otherwise after they had become acquainted with the contributions which Greek, Jewish, and Arabian philo sophers had made to the defence and elaboration of the doctrine concerning God. The separation of natural and revealed theology was virtually the work of the scholastics. The Theologia Naturalis sive Liber Creaturarum of the Spanish physician, Raymond de Sebonde, who taught theology in the university of Toulouse during the earlier part of the 15th century, was, perhaps, the first work which, proceeding on the principle that God has given us two books, the book of nature and the book of Scripture, confined itself to the interpretation of the former, merely indicating the mutual relations of natural and revealed religion. A conviction of the truth of the distinction which he so clearly apprehended gradually spread; more and more importance came to be attached to it. The deists proceeded on it, and tried to exalt natural theology at the expense of all theology professedly based on revela tion, by representing the former as the truth of which the latter was the perversion. The wisest of their opponents, and thoughtful Christian writers in general the adhe rents of the moderate and rational theology of the 17th and 18th centuries strove, on the other hand, to show that natural theology was presupposed by revelation and should carry the mind onwards to the acceptance of reve lation. Thus natural theology came into reputation, not withstanding the opposition of those who have denied its existence and contended that the reason of itself can teach us absolutely nothing about God or our duties towards Him. Comparative theology.The recognition of natural theology contributed to awaken an interest in the various religions of the world, and thus led to the second circumstance referred to, namely, the rise of what may be called comparative theology, although it has hitherto been more generally designated the science of religions. It can be shown to have originated in the attempts made to prove that the principles of natural theology were to be found in all religions. In Bishop Steuco of Kisami's De Perenni Philosophia, published in 1540, and in Lord Herbert of Cherbury's De Religione Gentilium, published in 1663, we have two of the earliest and most characteristic attempts of the kind. From that time to the present the study of religions has proceeded at varying rates of progress, but without interruption. Important results have been ob tained, and especially this result, the ascertainment, to the satisfaction of all competent judges, of a right method of investigation, the establishment, as the true mode of study, of the comparative method. As we have a right to speak of comparative anatomy and comparative philology, so have we a right to speak of comparative theology. The inference from the preceding remarks is obvious. If there be a natural theology and a comparative theology, it is a mistake to identify theology per se with Christian theology. The word Christian is, in this case, a real and great restriction of the signification of the word theology, and Christian theology is not the only kind of theology. The proper procedure is to give to theology a general and comprehensive meaning, which can be limited and specialized, when requisite, by adjectives like "natural" or "Christian." Is theoology the science of religion or the doctrine of God?What, then, is the general signification which we should give to the term? There is room for difference of opinion, and especially as to whether God or religion should be regarded as the object of the science. Is theology the science which treats of God? or is it the science which treats of religion? The latter view is now, perhaps, the more current. In addition to intrinsic reasons, the critical and sceptical spirit of the time is in its favour. Many speak of theology as a science of religion because they disbelieve that there is any knowledge of God to be at tained. Dr Martineau, in his lecture on Ideal Substitutes for God, protests against this tendency, and contends that the older view of theology, as the doctrine or rational apprehension of God, ought not to be abandoned, seeing that the new "science of religions," i.e., "the systematic knowledge of what men have believed and felt on things sacred to them," can be no proper substitute for the old "theology." We may admit, however, that the protest is essentially true, that a knowledge of man's religious opinions, emotions, and actions can never supply the place of a knowledge of God, that, when from religion its objec tive basis, the reality and apprehensibility of God, is taken away, the study of it can have merely the psychological interest which belongs to mental disease and illusions, and yet prefer the definition of theology as "the science of religion" to its definition as "the doctrine of God." The latter seems much too narrow. Even Christian dogmatics is about as much occupied with man as with God. The doctrines of sin and of the church, for example, are not doctrines regarding God. Then, although the new "science of religions" is not a substitute for the old "theology," it is still a science, or at least a very interest ing and important branch of knowledge, which yet cannot be brought under the definition of theology approved by Dr Martineau, the definition immediately yielded by the etymology of the term. The science of religion is a very different thing from the "science of religions." It is far more comprehensive. The "science of religions" is but one of the latest offshoots of the science of religion; the old theology is its main trunk or stem. Theology, when viewed as the science of religion, has not to do merely with the religious consciousness and its states. It must aim at the complete comprehension of religion, and, unless religion be a delusion and disease, this can never be attained by treating religion merely as a subjective or psychological process to which there are no corresponding objective realities manifested either through nature or revelation. We have no right to assume that it is thus without a real and rational foundation in fact; on the contrary, we are bound to inquire whether it has external grounds and real objects or not, and, if it have them, what they are. We must endeavour to ascertain and expound its objective grounds as well as its subjective contents. Thus the definition of theology as the science of religion in no way excludes what is implied in the definition of it as the science conversant about God and Divine things. It includes more than the latter definition, but does not exclude anything contained therein.
Objections to the former definition metThe definition of theology as the science of religion has been objected to by Dr Charles Hodge on two grounds:— first, that the word religion is ambiguous, having both an objective sense and a subjective sense, and that its etymology is doubtful; and, second, that to define theology as the science of religion "makes theology entirely independent of the Bible. For, as moral philosophy is the analysis of our moral nature and the conclusions to which that analysis leads, so theology becomes the analysis of our religious consciousness together with the truths which that analysis evolves." As to the first objection, the word religion has, it is true, more significations than one, and consequently may be ambiguously used, but in point of fact it is not so used in the definition in question, in which religion is understood in its generic meaning, and as inclusive both of subjective and of objective religion. Theology has to treat of both, and if it treat of them aright it will not confound them. "The etymology of the word religion is doubtful." Very true. But is no word to be employed in a definition if its etymology be doubtful 1 That would be an extremely hard law. In definition we have only to do with the actual meaning of terms; we have nothing to do with their origin or history. As to the second objection, it has to be remarked that the definition does not make theology entirely independent of the Bible. It does not make Biblical theology in any degree independent of the Bible. It does not imply that the Bible is not the sole perfect standard by which truth and error, health and disease, are to be separated in the religious consciousness of individuals and the religious history of the race. It only implies that all religious phenomena whatever are to be studied by the theologian, just as moral philosophy cannot leave any moral pheno mena unstudied. Moral philosophy, in treating of vice as well as of virtue, does not thereby equalize vice and virtue; and no more does comparative theology, when it treats both of Christianity and heathendom, assume that the former has no superiority over the latter. It is merely a part of the task of moral philosophy to analyse the moral consciousness; it is an equally essential "part thereof to inquire into the foundation of rectitude, and to determine objective moral distinctions and relations. In like manner theology has much more to do than merely to analyse the religious consciousness; it has also to treat of the grounds and objects of religion. If some reduce it to a mere analysis of the religious consciousness, and overlook or deny that there is an objective religious revelation in nature and Scripture as well as a religious susceptibility in the mind of man, this is no logical consequence of the statement that theology is the science of religion. There needs, perhaps, no other proof that the definition to which Dr Hodge objects is of some use than to consider for a moment his own definition. "Theology is the science concerned with the facts and the principles of the Bible." Is theology, then, not concerned with the facts and prin ciples of the physical world, the human mind, and history, so far as these are disclosures of God's nature and ways? How can theology start from the Bible when it needs to be proved that there is a revelation from God in the Bible 1 And how can this be proved unless it is known from other sources than the Bible that there is a God? If there be such sources, theology must have to do with them; it can have no right to neglect anything by which God may be known or by which light may be thrown on the relations between God and man. It is a service to theology so to define it as to leave no room for asserting that it is only conversant with the Bible.
Relation of theology to religion.Theology, then, is the science of religion. What does this definition imply as to the relation of theology to religion? It implies, first, that theology presupposes and is preceded by religion. This is but an instance of the general truth that experience must precede science, and that science must be founded on experience. The implicit use of principles is always prior to their explicit development. Speech is a great deal older than gram mar; men reasoned long before Aristotle taught them how they reasoned; and just as there must be speech before grammar, and reasoning before logic, so must there be religion before theology. Secondly, that theology is the science of religion implies that theology must not only succeed religion, but must evolve out of it a system of truths entitled to be called a science. Science is knowledge in its completest, highest, and purest form. Theology, therefore, by claiming to be the science of religion, professes to be the exhibition of religious facts and principles in their most general and precise shape, in their internal relationship to one another, in their organic unity and systematic independence. The principles of causality and of unity in the human mind impel it to seek law and order, explanation and connexion, as regards the phenomena of religion no less than any other species of phenomena; they impel it, in other words, to perfect its knowledge of these phenomena, and can allow it no rest until it has attained to the system and science of them. Theology is the scientific system of them, and as such is a necessity to the thoughtful religious mind. It is no accident that in every age and nation thoughtful men have reflected on their religious convictions, and sought to trace them to their grounds, and to harmonize and systematize them, or that the Christian church has anxiously studied and debated for centuries problems concerning God, Christ, sin, salvation, &c.,—no accident, but the necessary consequence of those fixed laws of human nature by which man ever seeks, once that his intellect has been truly awakened, to define and complete his knowledge. Conscious that his religious experience, however vivid, involves much which requires to be cleared up; perceiving that the religious history of his race presents many apparently contradictory facts, many perplexing problems; aware that the Bible is no more a system of theology than nature is a system of mechanics or chemistry,—man cannot, as a rational being, do otherwise than endeavour by the investigation of the whole phenomena of the case to verify, analyse, combine, and co-ordinate his notions as to spiritual things, so as to work them up into a comprehensive, consistent, firmly established, adequately certified, naturally organized whole, a scientific system.
But how may man hope to succeed in his efforts to arrive at a scientific understanding of his religious beliefs, feelings, and practices? How may he educe and elaborate from the phenomena of religion a system of theology entitled to be called science? Only, it is obvious, by following a truly scientific method. What then is a truly scientific method in theology? And what is implied in following it? To these questions a comprehensive, although necessarily brief, answer must now be given.
Scientific method in theology.A right method in theology, as in all other sciences, is such a use of reason on appropriate facts as will best attain truth. It implies, therefore, as an essential condition, a right relation of reason to religious truth or fact, and to the evidence for it. What the right relation is may, perhaps, be defined with substantial accuracy in the following propositions. Religious truth not above reason.(1) Religious truth, like all other truth, is "above reason" in the sense of being not created by but manifested to reason, but is not "above reason" in any special sense which withdraws it from the cognizance of reason. The truths of all science are the discoveries but not the creations of science, and they have been discovered because they existed, because they are the equivalents of a reality which is independent of science. In regard alike to mathematical, physical, mental, and religious truth, reason has only power to seek it, and to find or to miss it; it has no power to make it or right over it, but must accept it as something presented or given to it, and to which it is bound to do homage and yield submission. In this sense all truth is above reason and revealed to reason. In this sense reason stands to religious truth in the same relation as to physical truth, and to Christian truth in the same relation as to the truth in natural religion. Reason is simply the instrument or faculty of apprehending the truth manifested or revealed to it, and it can in no case apprehend truth without the aid of the appropriate manifestation or revelation. Unless Christ had lived and taught, reason could never have known His character and doctrine; but no more could it have known Dante and his Divina Commedia, Shakespeare and his creations, Napoleon and his achievements, unless these men had appeared in the world and accomplished in it their work. Without Christ the truth in Christ could not be known, but, Christ being given, that truth comes under the cognizance of reason, ceases to be in any special sense above reason, and affords to reason material for science. By truths above reason are sometimes meant truths which cannot be fully apprehended by reason. Such truths are, however, in no way peculiar to religion. In all regions and directions reason finds that its range of vision is limited, and that its knowledge and science are bounded by nescience and mystery. Truths of special revelation are sometimes represented as above reason in the sense that reason can have no other evidence for them than that of testimony and external authority. But what truths of Scripture have thus been revealed to reveal no thing, and are thus devoid of intrinsic light, of natural affinity to reason, of self-evidencing power? If there be any such, it must be admitted that they cannot in themselves fall within the province of science, although the testimony and assent to them may. Where reason stops science must end. Reason must be free.(2) Reason in its investigation of religion must be completely free, i.e., subject to no other laws than those which are inherent in its own constitution. In regard to most sciences there is no need to insist that the method of science is one in which reason is free, because all who occupy themselves with these sciences acknowledge it. But in regard to theology it is otherwise. All who call themselves theologians are by no means disposed to admit that reason, in its search for religious truth and in its efforts to construct theological science, must be absolutely free; on the contrary, many of them hold that the church or the Bible, tradition or the common sense of humanity, must be allowed to have a co-ordinate or even superior jurisdiction. The proposition laid down implies that, if any view of this kind be true, theology is essentially different from science, and it is vain to speak of scientific method in theology. It implies that all claims to religious authority must be based on and conformed to reason, and that all the deliverances of every professedly religious authority must be submitted without reserve or restriction to the reason of the theologian before he can make a scientific use of them. This leads us to another proposition. Reason limited by its own laws.(3) The only ascertainable limits of reason in the investigation of religious truth, as of other truth, are those which are inherent in its own constitution; and in the search of religious truth, as of all other truth, reason ought to go as far as it can go without violation of the laws of its own constitution. Reason has its limits in its own laws. It is the business of psychology and logic to discover what these laws are. When they are known the powers of reason are known, because reason can never claim to be irrational. It is useless, however, to attempt to mark off the external or objective boundaries of rational research. Human inquiry has, no doubt, external boundaries beyond which it will never pass, but all apparent boundaries of this kind recede as they are approached. There is even absurdity, self-contradiction, in the very attempt to draw any line separating the knowable from the unknowable. To know it one must have already done what we affirm to be impossible, known the unknowable. We cannot draw a boundary unless we see over it. Reason cannot investigate too deeply any matter whatever, cannot possibly go too far, so long as it remains reason. Its own laws, the laws of evidence and of inference, are the only discoverable expression of its lawgiver's "thus far." When it violates any of these laws it has gone too far, but only then, and then simply because it has ceased to be rational. As long as it conforms to them the farther it goes the better. All this holds good not less in regard to religion than to any other object of investigation, and is an essential condition of the possibility of religious science. Reason deals with evidence.(4) In the study of religion, as in every other department of study, reason should admit nothing as true without sufficient evidence, while rejecting nothing sufficiently proved by evidence of any kind although it cannot be proved by evidence of another kind, or although it may be imperfectly understood or have unsolved difficulties connected with it. Theology is sometimes said to be a doctrine or science of belief or faith (a "Glaubenslehre"). Not a few, however, of those who say so regard belief or faith as essentially inclusive of reason, in the form of an immediate apprehension of primary truth or self-evident fact; in which case theology is only a Glaubenslehre in common with other sciences, and belief or faith is in no special mode or measure its foundation. But, whenever by belief or faith is meant mere belief or faith, a belief or faith independent of and unconformed to reason, the apprehension and appreciation of truth,—to affirm that theology is based on such belief or faith is to represent it as so unlike every other science that it clearly cannot be a science at all. For all belief or faith we are bound to have real evidence, and enough of it. But we have no right to reject any real evidence because there is not more or because there is not evidence of some other kind,—no right to neglect to follow any light there is because it may be dim, and much around it may be dark,—no more right to refuse to accept any well-established conclusion as to God and religion because there is great uncertainty as to the essence of religion, and because God in His absoluteness and infinity immeasurably transcends our highest thoughts, than we have to ignore or contest the conclusions of physical science because we cannot tell what matter is, and because we find that every hypothesis as to its nature brings with it many doubts and difficulties.
Sources of religious truth.The foregoing conditions are perhaps the most general and fundamental of those to which reason must conform if it would originate and follow a scientific method in theology. The next question which demands an answer is, Whence are the data to be derived on which reason must operate in religious apprehension and theological investigation? What are the sources of religious truth? Reason has not the truth in itself, but in order to possess it must find it. As the eye has not physical light within itself, but merely so corresponds to it as to apprehend it, not otherwise is it with reason and intellectual light. By sources of religious truth can only be meant the media through which God manifests Himself,—the ways by which He makes himself known; and the physical world, finite minds, human history, Scripture, and the testimonium Spiritus Sancti may all be maintained to be such sources. The atheist and the agnostic will not allow that there are any sources of religious truth; the deist and the rationalist will only admit the claims of general revelation, the exclusive Biblicist only of Scripture; and the mystic will trust chiefly to special spiritual illumination; while the theologian of broader view will hold that all the ways indicated are sources, seeing that in and through them all knowledge and experience as to God and religion may be acquired, and must contend that in the study of theology none of them is to be ignored or excluded, underestimated or overestimated, but all are to be duly considered, and the information supplied by each to be taken in connexion with that supplied by the rest. The sources are distinct, but not isolated. The light from each combines and harmonizes with the light from all the others. The revelation of God in nature is presupposed by that in Scripture, and Scripture contributes to unveil the spiritual significance of nature. Without the light which the human mind supplies there can be no illumination from any other source, and yet all the light of the human mind is gained in connexion with the light from external sources. History gradually evolves the significance of nature, mind, and Scripture, yet cannot be understood if dissevered from the creation in which it is placed, from the mind of man in the principles and faculties of which it is rooted, or from Scripture as the record of the development of a plan of redemption which gives unity and meaning to the whole historical movement. However deep and full a source of religious truth the Bible may be, it is neither independent of other sources nor a substitute for them; on the contrary, while casting light on them all it likewise receives light from them all. The living apprehension of spiritual realities presupposes a discernment which the Divine Spirit alone can give; yet that Spirit, according to the testimony of Scripture, speaks not of Himself, but only in conformity with what has already been uttered by the Father and the Son. It would obviously neither be consistent with the scope nor possible within the limits of an article like the present to determine the distinctive features, natural spheres, and various relationships of the media of revelation or sources of religious truth, but a sufficiently thorough investigation having this aim may safely be pronounced to be one of the chief desiderata of theological science.
Process of theological method.The process of theological method itself has next to be considered. Its first step is the ascertainment of the relevant facts. But these are all the facts of nature and history, all the truths of Scripture, and all the phases of religion. The various departments of theology are based on and inclusive of various orders of these facts, and each order of facts must be ascertained and dealt with in appropriate special ways. The facts of natural theology.Thus the relevant data of natural theology are all the works of God in nature and providence, all the phenomena and laws of matter, mind, and history,—and these can only be thoroughly ascertained by the special sciences. The surest and most adequate knowledge of them is knowledge in the form called scientific, and therefore in this form the theologian must seek to know them. The sciences which deal with nature, mind, and history hold the same position towards natural theology which the disciplines that treat of the composition, genuineness, authenticity, text, development, &c., of the Scriptures do towards Biblical theology. They inform us, as it were, what is the true text and literal interpretation of the book of creation. Their conclusions are the premisses, or at least the data, of the scientific natural theologian. All reasonings of his which disregard these data are ipso facto condemned. A conflict between the results of these sciences and the findings of natural theology is inconceivable. It would be a conflict between the data and conclusions of natural theology, and so equivalent for natural theology to self-contradiction. of Biblical theology;Then, the data of Biblical theology are all the words contained in the Bible, viewed in their appropriate positions and historical connexions, and what these are and signify can only be ascertained by the processes of historical criticism and of hermeneutics. Biblical theology is the delineation of a section of the history of religious ideas, that section of which the traces and records remain in the Bible. But the Bible comprehends many strata of writing, deposited at different times, and collocated and connected in various ways, and the history of its composition, the age and succession of its parts, must be ascertained before we can exhibit the history of its contents, the course of the evolution of its ideas. If the theories of recent critics as to the formation and relationship of the component portions of the Old Testament be true, the view taken of the development of Old Testament theology must be very different from that formed on the supposition that the traditional theory is correct. And which theory is correct is a question of fact which can only be decided by dispassionate and thorough critico-historical investigation. So false readings must be distinguished from true, erroneous translations from correct, and appropriate from inappropriate interpretations, which presupposes an adequate measure of linguistic, grammatical, and exegetical knowledge and skill. The religion of the Bible, however, is but one of a multitude of religions which have left traces of themselves in documents, monuments, rites, creeds, customs, institutions, individual lives, social changes, &c.; of comparative theology.and there is a theological discipline—comparative theology—which undertakes to disclose the spirit, delineate the character, trace the development, and exhibit the relations of all religions with the utmost attainable exactitude. Obviously the mass of data which this science has to collect, sift, and interpret is enormous. They can only be brought to light and set in their natural relationships by the labours of hosts of specialists of all kinds. That hypotheses in this domain will for long arise and vanish with disappointing rapidity is only what is to be expected from its vast extent, the amount of its buried wealth, the gradual and fragmentary way in which its contents must be disinterred, the losses and changes which have occurred in the course of time, and the constant suggestion of fresh interpretations of ancient texts and new solutions of old problems which must come from unceasing discovery. Some theological disciplines, it must also be observed, presuppose others, and have consequently among their data the conclusions of those other disciplines. All doctrine, for example, founded on special revelation presupposes doctrine founded on general revelation; all Christian theology must imply and incorporate natural theology. Christian dogmatics has to make use of the results of natural theology, Biblical theology, and comparative theology, and to raise them to a higher stage by a comprehensive synthesis which connects them with the person and work of Christ, as of Him in whom all spiritual truth is comprehended and all spiritual wants supplied. The conception of it prevalent until lately, as a system formed of generalizations and inferences from texts of Scripture, answers properly to no theological science, but much more nearly to Biblical theology than to Christian dogmatics.
Appropriate methods of dealing with these data.When religious data have been ascertained, the materials of theological science have been obtained, but the scientific edifice itself has still to be constructed. The general truths involved in particular disclosures have to be evolved; the laws of the development of phenomena have to be discovered; elements have to be reached by analysis and comprehensive views by synthesis; laws and facts, fundamental and derivative principles, have to be exhibited in their natural organic connexion. This can only be done aright by right methods, and only by a variety of methods. No one-sided process can be appropriate or sufficient. The method must conform to the nature of the matter dealt with and to the end that has to be attained. Theology includes a variety of sciences or disciplines, and these differ so greatly in character that they plainly cannot be studied aright if studied precisely in the same way. Some of them are more allied to criticism, others to history, and others again to philosophy. In some deduction can manifestly have little place, while in others there is no obvious reason why it should not be largely used. There is no kind of science which, with its special processes, may not be called on to contribute to some department of theology. There must be, therefore, in theology need and scope for a great variety of applications of method.
Practical investigation essential.It is easy, however, to exaggerate the importance of acquaintance with the formal rules of method laid down by logicians. The theory of method must be preceded by practice—true theory by successful practice; and the ablest practitioners are always only to a small extent guided in their practice by conscious reference to the rules of method prescribed by logicians. In theology, as in all other departments of science, a man can only become an investigator by investigating. And whether he will become, through the practice of investigation, a successful investigator or not will depend far more on his general intellectual character, his ingenuity, originality, tact, and sensibility, his familiarity with the relevant facts and with the researches which are really bringing new truths in his department to light, his perseverance and diligence, than on his knowledge of what the theorists on method have taught as to its nature and requirements. Yet, of course, such instruction as logical theory can give is not to be despised, but to be received and acted on with all due appreciation.
Method must be largely inductive.When the data of the theologian are before him as particular facts, it is obvious that he must so enumerate and classify, so analyse and generalize, so correlate and combine them, as to elicit from them the principles which they imply, before either his procedure or results can be properly characterized as scientific. In other words, a method which starts from particulars must, in order to be scientific, be largely inductive. But in theology, as in all other departments of knowledge, the only induction which is of any value is more than any mere summation or combination of facts. This is not the place for a discussion of the nature of a true induction; but on any view it must hold good that to understand aright what induction in theology is we must know what is implied in all that is comprehended in it,—the ascertainment and collocation of facts, the discrimination of their characteristics, the classification of them, the analysis of what is complex, the synthesis of what is partial, the tracing of uniform relations, the inferential act, &c. Much which would not be without interest or use, or even some degree of novelty, might be said on all these points. Numerous as have been treatises on theology, there has not as yet appeared a single earnest attempt to expound the nature of method in theology; even the many works professedly dealing not only with the encyclopædia but with the methodology have, in reality, quite ignored theological method proper. The present writer can only here note the desideratum; to supply it would require a special and lengthened discussion. The so-called methods of induction—the methods of agreement, of difference, and of concomitant variations—are as applicable in theology as in physical or mental science. They are not, properly speaking, processes of induction; they are merely rules for testing inductions. Their value, of course, is not thereby lessened.
Number of data required varies with nature of the questions considered.The theologian, not less than the physicist, must be on his guard against fancying that the validity or certainty of his inductions is to be estimated by the number of his instances. Many who have undertaken to prove the Divine existence by the cosmological and teleological arguments have made the fatal mistake of supposing that all that was needed was an accumulation of what they deemed examples or illustrations of Divine wisdom. They have overlooked that what is, above all, necessary is to show the truth of the principles of causality and finality, and the legitimacy of those applications of them, which are involved in the cosmological and teleological arguments. They have spent their strength on what is easy, superficial, and indecisive, and had none left to deal with what is difficult, deep, and of vital moment. They have failed to 266 THEOLOGY apprehend that the essential question at issue is not, What or how many appearances of order and of adaptation may be traced in the various provinces of nature 1 but, Do such appearances in any case warrant an inference to a super natural intelligence and purpose ? In like manner many dogmatic theologians have seemed to think that in order to establish a doctrine it was enough to cite a number of texts in its favour. Often their doctrines would be more easily believed if their texts were fewer. Often in the Westminster Confession, for example, where the doctrine causes no difficulty, the texts cited in connexion therewith are quite inadmissible as proofs. Induction requires the strictest regard to relevancy. Whether the data for the proof of general truths in theology must be many or may be few "will largely depend, as in physical and mental science, on the nature of the truths. When Newton had made out that the law of gravitation explained a single fact, applied to the moon, no person who fully compre hended his demonstration could seriously doubt either of the certainty or of the universality of the law. It was a case of a vast intellectual conquest achieved by one decisive victory. What remained was merely to take possession of what had been won, and to explain certain apparent anomalies. On the other hand, when Mr Darwin published his Origin of Species, he had already accumu lated, with amazing industry and ingenuity, and through the uninterrupted investigations of many years, a multi tude of observations and considerations in support of the general propositions therein enunciated as laws of bio logical evolution. Of similar observations and considera tions there has since been an enormous increase. Yet the so-called Darwinian laws are still under discussion. Why has their proof or disproof been so different a process from that of the establishment of the law of gravitation ? Largely because they are in themselves so different in nature. Laws of evolution can only be reached through the minute investigation of a far greater number of changes and appearances than laws of persistence. The discovery of truths of becoming may not be a more difficult but it is certainly a more delicate and complex process than the discovery of truths of being. Now this distinction not only emerges in theology but pervades it. In some de partments of theology the laws to be discovered are laws of evolution, while in others they are laws of existence. Hence the method to be followed in the former must be predominantly chronological and genetic, in the latter predominantly analytic and synthetic. For example, in Biblical theology and comparative theology the inductive process must be of the kind appropriate in historical inves tigation, whereas in natural theology and Christian dog matics it must be of the kind appropriate in systematic investigations into which considerations of time, place, and circumstance do not enter. The faculties of mind and processes of method implied in the complete comprehension of religion as a concrete manifestation of spirit are those which are of prime moment in the historical disciplines of theology ; the faculties of mind and processes of method involved in the clear apprehension of the truths and laws of religion in its abstract or essential nature are those chiefly requisite in the theoretical disciplines of theology ; and, speaking generally, complete comprehension of the concrete presupposes a more minute and exhaustive ac quaintance with particulars than does a clear apprehension of the abstract. To determine with scientific precision and thoroughness, for example, what were the stages of the development of doctrine in the Bible, or even to trace with such accuracy and completeness as the data supplied by the Bible and auxiliary sources permit the growth of single important ideas, as, e.g., election, holiness, atone ment, and kingdom of God, demands laborious critical investigation and comprehensive and minute historical knowledge. Given, on the other hand, the Christian ideas of God and of man, and the fundamental relation between God and man cannot be otherwise conceived by enlightened reason and conscience than as one of salvation through faith and not by works. True, as all physical nature obeys the law of gravitation, so all Scripture and spiritual experience testify to the power of the principle of faith ; but then, also, as the decisive proof of the former lies in the thorough elucidation of any phenomenon which ex emplifies it, not in the collection of numerous illustrative phenomena, so the decisive proof of the latter lies in an adequate analysis of any portion or form of the life of genuine faith, not in the accumulation of examples of faith drawn from the Scriptures or other records. The two methods of induction to which reference has Histo- just been made the historical and the thetical are to rical an( be carefully distinguished but not absolutely separated, * h !|tical and still less exhibited as antagonistic. Both have specific t i ons and appropriate functions ; neither is exclusively legiti mate or can alone accomplish the work of science. The historical method by itself can only yield history. It has done all that can in any circumstances be reasonably expected from it, when it has enabled us accurately to realize the course of the history studied, or, in other words, when it has given us a correct reflexion of the history. If, not content therewith, we would further ascertain the nature and laws of the factors which formed the history we must supplement the historical with the thetical method. The historical method leads only to history, and in no form or province is history science. Science even of history, or of any department of history, cannot be reached simply by the historical method, but further requires recourse to the processes of positive science. Comparative theology, Biblical theology, and the history of Christian doctrines are most valuable theological dis ciplines, but, inasmuch as their methods are purely histor ical, their results are also purely historical, and they are not, rigidly speaking, sciences, but only sections of the history of religion. The tendency to substitute history for science, and the historical method for the scientific method, is prevalent in the present day in theology, as well as in ethics and jurisprudence, social philosophy and political economy. Obviously, however, it rests on ex aggeration and illusion, and confounds things which ought to be distinguished. Neither history of the objects of a science, nor history of the ideas or doctrines of a science, is science, and the historical method of itself can only give us in connexion with science either or both of these forms of history. It is, therefore, inherently absurd to suppose that the historical method can be sufficient in such theological disciplines as natural theology and Christian dogmatics. In reality, it is not directly or immediately available in the study of these disciplines at all, and that just because it does not directly or immediately yield theory, doctrine, science. Only he who knows both the history of the objects and the history of the ideas of a science, and especially of a psychological, social, or religious science, can be expected to advance the science. In the sphere of religion, as in every other sphere, to confound history with science is to eliminate and destroy science ; but in no sphere is knowledge of history more a condition of the attainment of science, and historical research, properly conducted, more serviceable to scientific investigation, than in that of religion. To the historical method we owe, not only the historical disciplines of theology, but also in a considerable measure the recent progress of its positive or theoretical disciplines. It can never, however, be, as some fanatical disciples of the historical school would have us to suppose, the method of these last. THEOLOGY 267 Complex problems demand compre hensive induc tions. The de ductive element indis pensable. The inductions of theology, even in its systematic or non-historical departments, often require to be very careful and comprehensive in order to be conclusive. Theories or doctrines like the Christian dogmas of the Trinity, incar nation, and atonement were only arrived at through the labours and controversies of many generations of theolo gians. It could not be otherwise. These dogmas, simple as they may seem to a superficial glance and untrained eye, are in reality very complex organisms of thought, only capable of being formed by a long process of evolution. They are theories inclusive of many theorems. They com prehend a number of directly constitutive propositions and a still greater number of propositions subordinate and subsidiary to these. Every proposition which they involve should be the expression of real and relevant facts. As wholes they ought to combine a multitude of particulars of different kinds, and even of kinds the harmony of which is far from obvious and needs confirmation. Whoever intelligently accepts any one of these dogmas must, by necessary implication, reject a host of hypotheses regarding its subject, as either inadequate or positively erroneous. Inasmuch as they are not consistent with or are contrary to the dogma, he is logically bound to repudiate them, and yet he is only logically entitled to do so if his proof of the dogma have been so comprehensive and complete as to include their separate and collective refutation. The establishment of the whole truth is only possible through the disproof of all the opposing errors. How the inductive method is applied in theology, however, will be better understood by the examination of a particular exemplifica tion of it than by a general description ; and, perhaps, as regards at least form, a more careful or elaborate exempli fication could hardly be pointed out than that exhibited in Dr Crawford s treatise on the atonement. An examination of it will show how very complex in reality may be a doctrine which is very simple in appearance, and how com prehensive, therefore, must be the inductive procedure necessary to establish it and to warrant the rejection of the hypotheses which must seem to one who accepts it to err by excess or defect or to be absolutely false. The inductions of theology, like those of other sciences, are seldom or never mere or pure inductions. They would be useless if they were. The examples of pure induction given in treatises on logic may serve their purpose, the illustration of the nature of ratiocination, but they are not reasonings of a kind which can increase positive know ledge. The abstraction of induction from deduction may be needed to exhibit its distinctive formal character, but it is fatal to its practical efficiency. In all reasoning meant to increase our knowledge of objects, induction must receive from deduction some measure of assistance and guidance. This certainly holds true in theology. In regard to the doctrine of the Trinity, for example, the most difficult questions involved turn largely on the signi fication and application of the terms employed in its ex pression. These terms must be somehow defined, and definitions once introduced cannot fail to be used to some extent as principles of deduction. They are often largely so used by those who are quite unconscious of making any use of them, and who have no suspicion that the course and character of their reasonings are modified by them. Definitions often secretly introduce a great amount of hypothesis and deduction into reasonings imagined to be exclusively inductive. Further, principles of deduction are directly and explicitly introduced. The truth of the catholic doctrine, or indeed of any doctrine, of the atone ment, for example, cannot be proved purely by induction. It is necessary to start with some assumption as to the authority of the Scriptures, or at least as to the authority of those whose teaching is contained in the Scriptures. That assumption itself should, it is true, be proved by a process of apologetical and critical reasoning which is in the main inductive. It cannot, however, any more than the doctrine of atonement, be proved by a purely or ex clusively inductive process, i.e., without some co-operation or participation of deduction ; and, once proved, it becomes a principle of which a deductive use is made. Every parti cular statement of Scripture is read and interpreted in the light of it. So far as this is the case, deduction underlies all the inductions of doctrine based on the statements of Scripture. Of course, the dogmatic theologian, in so far as he founds on Scripture, is bound not to presuppose more than he is prepared to prove as a Christian apologist or Biblical critic and interpreter. The assumptions made in systematic theology ought to be the firmly ascertained results of its subsidiary sciences. And the less assumed the better, as the relevancy of the reasoning employed will be so much the more widely acknowledged. Every addi tional assumption diminishes the number of persons who will grant the principles on which the argumentation pro ceeds. When, for instance, a doctrine like plenary inspira tion is assumed as the basis of an argument for the atone ment, the number of persons who can be benefited by the argument must be few. Those who will grant plenary inspiration are not likely to require to be convinced of the truth of the ordinary doctrine of the atonement ; they are almost certain to be already convinced. On the other hand, a man may have loose or vague views of inspiration, and yet it may be possible to satisfy him that the doctrine of the atonement is well founded. The proof of the doctrine of the atonement may receive support and con firmation from the proof of the doctrine of plenary inspira tion, but ought not to be made dependent on it. Scientific method has not only to ascertain the facts and Systema- data of science, and to discover its laws, but also to dis- tization. tribute and co-ordinate its contents. And this last is like wise an important function. Science is system. To exclude system from science is to suppress and destroy science. The spirit of system is in itself nothing more than the spirit of order and unity. Without unity and order that is, without system there is no science ; instead of it there can be only confused ideas, isolated opinions. It is absurd to condemn either system or the spirit of system in theology or any other science. To systematize is an intellectual necessity; to systematize aright is a happy achievement and an immense boon ; it is merely systematizing erroneously which is evil. Theology, by professing to be a science, pledges itself to systematize in a scientific manner. By claiming to be the science of religion it undertakes to exhibit the truths of religion in their proper relationship to one another, in their organic unity and essential interdependence. Thus to proceed is necessary to it, not only as a consequence, but also as a means of the development of its constituent dogmas, for no doctrine can be truly and fully evolved in isolation, but only in connexion with kindred doctrines and through the general growth of the science or system to which it belongs. Increase of insight into any one truth brings with it clearer views of all contiguous and related truths, and the collec tive light thus gained illumines each particular to which it extends. To apprehend more distinctly the relations between either facts or theories is to understand better the facts or theories themselves. To comprehend any single doctrine aright we must study, not merely its special data, but those of allied doctrines, trace its connexions with those doctrines, and view both it and them as parts of an organic and harmonious whole. Hence the endeavour to systematize the contents of science should not merely follow the formation of its separate doctrines, but likewise accompany and participate in the process of their forma268 THEOLOGY tion. Wisely conducted systematization is entitled to be deemed an aid to discovery. It reveals where exploration is needed, and indicates the directions in which research will be successful. It is the highest form and effort of synthetic thought, and synthesis is a not less necessary and fruitful operation in scientific method than analysis. Abuse of Unfortunately it cannot be denied that there has been system, a vast amount of erroneous systematizing in theology, and that it has done a vast amount of harm. Doubtless much of the aversion felt and expressed to system in theology is to be traced to the imperfect, artificial, false character of many theological systems. Instead of exhibiting religious truths in their real significance and interdependence, theo logical systems have often disguised and disfigured, cramped and contorted these truths, or even ignored and rejected them. How, then, is a true and appropriate system to be distinguished from one which is false and imperfect ? In various respects, which can here be merely mentioned. Requi- Thus, first, a true system is natural and not artificial. In sites of equivalent terms, it is directly derived from the character the 6 ^ ^e ma ^ ter f which it treats, and not arbitrarily im- logical posed on that matter from without. Every system of system, thought, whether true or false, must, of course, be the product of intellect, but no true system is a mere inven tion of intellect, a mere subjective creation interposed between the mind and things ; it is, on the contrary, a representation of the real natures and relations of things. The human intellect can only construct a true system by finding in and among facts the connexions and harmonies which are actually there. But to do this may require more labour than is agreeable, or may contravene some cherished prejudice, or may not be recognized to be the sole legiti mate procedure, and so it may devise, instead, a formula or scheme of thought suggested by some idea drawn from an extraneous source, force that scheme or formula upon things to which it is inappropriate, and so construct a sys tem which is artificial and erroneous. Most sciences have suffered from artificial systematization of this kind, but probably none nearly so much as theology. Metaphysical philosophy has always sought to shape and modify religious and even distinctively Scriptural truths according to its own ideas, methods, and dogmas. Paul and John have often been merely the masks through which Plato and Aristotle have taught. Hegelian divines have passed all religious beliefs, all Scriptural doctrines, through the dia lectic devised by their master, and, whatever those beliefs and doctrines may have been before subjection to the operation of that wonder-working machine, they have always come out ground into Hegelian notions. Juris prudence exerted a similar influence, owing to its having been the only science which was studied with zeal and success in the Latin world when theology began to be independently cultivated by the Latin Church. The Latin mind was so possessed by juristic or forensic ideas that the Latin fathers could not avoid looking at the gospel through them. This way of viewing it is still familiar. The so- called federal school of theology, long and widely influen tial, exhibited the whole system of religious truth accord ing to the analogy of a covenant, a succession of cove nants between God and man, in other words, according to a conception which is essentially juristic and political, not intrinsically and properly religious. The making of a metaphor in this manner the basis of an entire system of theology is far from uncommon. Thus, because sin may be likened to disease or to darkness or to death, and holi ness to health or light or life, not a few would conceive of all religious truth according to these similitudes, and do violence to the reality when it does not easily adapt itself to the moulds which they have chosen for it. Dr Chalmers, for instance, distributed all systematic theology into a study of the disease and a study of the remedy, and treated the doctrine of the Trinity merely as an appendix. At present, owing to the dominancy of physical science, there is a strong temptation to work upon spiritual facts with physical categories, and even to identify, i.e., to con found, the spiritual with the physical. Hence we hear of natural law, in the sense of mechanical or biological law, in the spiritual world. Secondly, in a true system of theology the material and formal constituents of knowledge will be duly combined, but not in a false system. No true system of theology can be constructed simply by logical deduction from abstract conceptions, from a priori assumptions, from self-evident axioms. Mere reasoning from data so insufficient as these may be made plausible and imposing by being thrown, into syllogistic, dialectic, or mathematical shapes, but it cannot be made truly profitable and productive. When the Wolfians had presented theology in the semblance of geometry, they had merely succeeded in dressing it in masquerade and binding it with fetters. Reason can only work effectively in theology when it is in possession of a large and close acquaintance with Divine things and acts harmoniously with the whole spiritual nature. On the other hand, without the application of logical reflexion to the truth implicitly contained in the sources of religious knowledge, without the help of definition, induction, deduction, and all the processes involved in analysis, generalization, judgment, and reasoning, we never could reach a scientific system at all. Such a -system is not simply an aggregation or accumulation of the data and con stituents of religion, but the product of all the activities and forms of thought which give to the contents of re ligious experience the order and organization which theo logy, as science, demands. Thirdly, a true system is one in which unity is the result of the conciliation of all relevant principles, even although they may be apparently antagonistic, while a false system is one which bases itself on some particular principle or idea to the exclusion of others, also legitimate. In a true system unity is produced by harmonizing differ ences ; in a false system it is produced by ignoring differ ences. A true system of theology is one which grows out of the struggle of opposing elements and recognizes the validity and significance of all religious truth. It is not, for example, so based on Divine sovereignty that injustice is done to human liberty, or so based on free will that God s agency is largely ignored, but it assigns to both Divine efficiency and human action their proper place, and does so, not merely by maintaining the truth of both, but also by exhibiting their relationship and harmony. Fourthly, in a true system all the members are not merely included, connected, and classified, they are also unified through reference to a centre. A true system must be a unity of members pervaded by a common life. In its remotest members must be traceable the pulsations of its heart. Only of late have theologians begun clearly to recognize that this characteristic of a true organic system must be taken into account in the formation of their science. Long after they were fully alive to the importance of treating of each head of doctrine or article of faith, each separate theological locus, they felt hardly any interest as to how the various doctrines, articles, or loci were to be connected. They were often content to take the order of arrangement from some external source, some creed, confession, or catechism. It was a step in advance when, although still arranging the dogmas merely in a series, they endeavoured to give each dogma its place, on the ground of its natural and intrinsic relationship to other dogmas. Theologians have, indeed, differed much as to what is the proper seriatim order. One, for example, THEOLOGY 269 has begun with the nature and state of man, a second with the being and character of God, a third with the Divine authority of the Scriptures, and a fourth has followed the order of the Divine dispensations. Yet there need be no doubt that there is such an order, one in which every dogma is exactly where it ought to be. This order, it may also be safely affirmed, can only be one of advance from the simpler to the more complex. An order in which each dogma has before it only its natural antecedents, and after it only its natural consequents, must be one of con tinuously increasing complexity. The spirit of order and of system cannot rest, however, in the series. It must classify as well as connect the doctrines. This also may be accomplished in various ways, and even when there is general agreement as to what are the natural groups, there may be considerable difference of opinion as to their delim itation. But the most perfect distribution by classifica tion, if unsupplemented, must be unsatisfactory. A still higher kind of unity has to be attained. It is that of the only unity which is truly organic. It is that of co-ordina tion and correlation through a single central principle. An intellectual system, a system of science or doctrine, can only have this unity, and be in consequence a true system, when all its particular truths and various departments or divisions of truth are connected with one another and combined into a whole by reference to a common and central truth. The necessity of conforming to this condi tion of systematizing has now begun to be felt among theologians, and hence in several modern systems of Christian dogmatics the doctrines are not merely distri buted into groups, but an attempt is also made to find a centre for the whole system in a single pervasive idea. Such a centre Rothe, for example, finds in the religious consciousness, a consciousness of sin and of grace ; Kahnis in the doctrine of the Trinity; and Thomasius and H. B. Smith in Christ Himself, His person and work. So far as Christian theology is concerned, the last of these views is doubtless correct. Christian theology, like Christianity itself, must be Christocentric. All its doctrines either directly and immediately relate to Christ s manifestation of God and redemption of man, or are the antecedents and consequents of those which do. To Christ the entire system owes its distinctive character. For general theo logy, on the other hand, the central and vital idea can be no other than that of religion itself. It must obviously be one derived from the domain of the science itself, and indeed from the essential nature of the object of the science. As it would be an error to seek the principles of biology elsewhere than in " life," or of psychology else where than in " mind," so must it be to seek the principles of theology elsewhere than in " religion." Theology is the science of religion, and in the true idea of religion should be found the central and constitutive principle of the general system of theology. That it can be found therein will appear as we proceed. Must the work of method in theology end, however, even with the formation of a system which answers to the requirements just indicated? Is there no still higher procedure or application of theological method legitimate ? This is to ask if there be any place for a speculative method in theology, and if speculative theology rest on any solid basis. Specu- The history of theology might, perhaps, suffice of itself lative t show, on the one hand, that speculation has a large and legitimate place in the sphere of theology, and, on the logy. other hand, that its place is one the limits of which are difficult to fix or keep within. Christian theology was initiated by Gnostic speculation, grandly reasonable in aiming at the exhibition of Christianity as the absolute truth and absolute religion, but otherwise wildly extra vagant. An Origen and an Augustine owed largely to speculativeness both their successes and their failures. The defects of scholasticism were due more to misdirection of the reflective understanding than of the speculative reason, and it was especially the speculative and the mystic divines of the Middle Age who opened up the way to modern thought and modern theology. Men like Nicholas of Cusa, Bruno. Telesio, and Campanella, looking from the heights of speculation, saw some aspects of religious truth which the Reformers, standing on lower if safer and less cloudy ground, overlooked. A Descartes and a Spinoza, into whatever errors they may have fallen, certainly did much, and in a directly speculative manner, to enlarge and advance the philosophy of religion. Kant supposed that, by his critical researches into the nature and limits of knowledge, he had made an end of speculative theology and done what would effectually deter reason from specu lative adventures. It soon became apparent that his expectations had been doomed to disappointment, that in reality he had excited speculative reason to extraordinary activity and even audacity, and inaugurated an era of theology far more speculative than any which had preceded it. The great speculative movement in philosophy headed by Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Baader, Krause, and others passed on immediately into the sphere of theology, its leaders themselves proceeding to apply their principles and methods to the explanation of the doctrines and phases of religion. Theologians by profession soon followed in their footsteps. Daub and Marheinecke constructed systems of Protestant dogmatics by means of Hegel s dialectic. Strauss, Baur, and their followers reached by the same method negative and antichristian results, bringing out the contradictions between the doctrines of the church and the speculative truths to which it was held that they should give place. Many theological systems of an almost exclusively speculative character have since appeared in Germany. Weisse s Philosophische Dogmatik and Rothe s Theologische Elhik are good typical instances. And, while not so predominant, the speculative use of reason is yet conspicuous in the treatises on Christian dogmatics of Dorner, Martensen, Schoberlein, Hofmann, Liebner, Biedermann, and others. In the department of philo sophy of religion a speculative procedure is not less fre quently followed, either as alone appropriate or as a necessary supplement to the genetic and historic method. Rosmini, Gioberti, and Mamiani inaugurated in Italy a speculative theology second only to that of Germany. Contemporary French theological literature can boast of at least one work displaying real speculative power, the Philosophic de la Liberte of M. Secretan. In America Hickok, Bushnell, and Mulford may be named as having shown confidence in the competency of speculative reason in the spiritual sphere. In Britain Principal Caird has argued in favour of a speculative procedure in theology with rare skill in his Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion. On the whole, however, both in America and Britain, the speculative method has received little recogni tion from theologians. But this, of course, may be held to be partly cause and partly effect of the want of life and originality, of thoroughness and truthfulness, of ordinary American and British systematic theology. Is there, then, room and need in theology for the speculative method? The answer must depend on what is meant by speculative method. There are kinds of so- called speculation which are plainly illegitimate and in applicable. Thus, some have represented speculative theo logy as part of a philosophy of which the whole system is deduced in a purely and strictly logical manner from an a priori principle, idea, or datum. On this view the specu lative thinker somehow apprehends an absolute first of 270 THEOLOGY Ethics of Kothe. thought or being, or both, and then from this primary and necessary datum evolves syllogistically or dialectically a whole philosophy, which includes a whole theology. Such speculation may be safely pronounced futile and delusive. It can never reasonably vindicate its choice of a starting- point, for the absolute first of existence and thought can only be that to which the worlds of fact and experience, of matter and of mind, refer us as their ultimate explana tion. It ascribes an extravagant power to mere formal thinking. It is only consistent with exclusive idealism and exclusive rationalism, both justly discredited species of philosophy. It makes theology wholly dependent on a philosophy which must be false, since pure reason cannot, as it assumes, spin out of its own essence or out of any single datum the whole system of truth. The There is, however, a theology which claims to be at once Theo- speculative and independent of philosophy. Such was the logical theology which Rothe sought to elaborate in his Theological n * Ethics. In the " Introduction " to that work he has fully explained his method. It is, as there represented, the very same method with that of speculative philosophy, but it starts from a different point, not from pure self -conscious ness, but from the religious self-consciousness or God-con sciousness. Its primary datum is, according to Rothe, as immediately certain as that of speculative philosophy, the pious man being just as directly sure of God as the natural man is of his own self. Out of this datum it must evolve all its conclusions by an inward logical necessity, and construct an entire theological system of such a nature that every single thought implicitly supposes the whole. Speculative theology thus conceived of needs but a single fact, the datum from which it starts, and that fact must be a self-evident one, given immediately in and by con sciousness ; all the rest is a succession of inferences de ductively obtained. The facts of religion presented in nature, history, and Scripture not only need not but ought not to be taken into account by it, although at the close of its labours its success must be tested by the con formity or nonconformity of its results with those facts. "This system of a priori thought," says Rothe, "to be success ful as a speculation, must be an absolutely corresponding and constant image of the reality ; but the speculative process itself takes no thought whether there be such a reality existing, or how the ideas which it constructs are related to it ; but, without looking either to the right hand or to the left, it follows only the course of logical necessity, until it has accomplished the whole circle of its ideas, and constructs a complete system. Then first the specu lative thinker looks out of himself, in order to compare the system of thought which he has independently constructed with the objective reality, and to assure himself of his correctness by such a comparison; but in so doing he is slipping out of the region of speculative into that of reflective thinking. The necessity of such a verification, indeed, he acknowledges unconditionally, but he dis tinguishes clearly between the speculation itself and that reflective critical process by which alone such a verification can be realized. "With reference to the empirical reality around him, he acknowledges that his speculation is incorrect if his system of thought is not there reproduced, but he still persists that he has to complete his speculative labour without any direct reference to it. He concludes rather, from a clear want of correspondency, that he has speculated incorrectly, and can look for his error in nothing else than in his departure from. a strict adherence to the laws of logic. Forthwith, then, he destroys his laboriously constructed system; but if he again proceed to construct another, he must proceed in the very same manner as before, i.e., by looking solely into his own thoughts, as though there were no world around him. " Rothe, it will be observed, cannot be charged with hav ing made theology dependent on philosophy. He repre sented theological speculation and philosophical speculation as starting from different data, as running parallel to each other, and so as throughout distinct. But this was to avoid one extreme by falling into another. It was virtu ally to deny the unity of thought, and to assume an in credible dualism in the universe of speculation. A theo logy absolutely separated from philosophy must be even more unsatisfactory than one wholly dependent on it. Then, the method itself proceeds on assumptions unsup ported by evidence, yet far from self-evident. It assumes, for instance, that a system of ideas generated a priori will be a counterpart of reality, although it is neither incon ceivable nor improbable that the characteristics of real existence may be incapable of being determined by the mere logic of necessary thought. Reason should not thus be credited with the extraordinary power of comprehend ing reality without requiring to apprehend and study it. Another assumption is, that a complete and self-consistent system can only be reached by an exclusively a priori procedure, whereas it is far more likely that such a system will only be attained by a combination of different pro cesses. Again, the primary datum of theological specula tion as understood by Rothe the idea of God is assumed to be immediately given and immediately certain. But the idea of God is not immediately given or immediately certain. The piety which chooses to affirm so is a piety capricious in its affirmations ; the speculation which starts from such a foundation starts from an assumption easily shown by psychology and history to be erroneous. Rothe went even farther astray. He represented not only the bare consciousness of God but the Christian, yea, the evangelical God-consciousness, as a simple and primary datum of consciousness. This was utterly arbitrary. It was to treat as an original apprehension what is indubit ably an acquired experience. No a priori system no properly deductive system can be reasonably imagined to have such a starting-point. For these and other reasons, theological speculation of the kind advocated by Rothe may be rejected. Still another species of theological speculation, however, The has been attempted and commended, one which seems Schrift- more modest, and claims to be more distinctively Christian, It is the method advocated and exemplified in the Schrift- beweis of Von Hofmann. He, instead of starting like Rothe with the religious consciousness, chose to start from a real concrete fact, what he calls the Christianity of the Christian, a Christianity which he supposes to have acquired in the Christian a separate standing of its own, in virtue of which, and independently even of Scripture, it is self-evident certain truth sustained and authenticated by the Spirit of God. From this fact or experience, expressed in its simplest and most general form, as a personal re lationship or fellowship between God and man through Jesus Christ, Hofmann would deduce the whole theological system by a process of " thinking within " the central fact, so as logically to evolve from it its manifold wealth of contents, and would refrain on principle from looking out wards, and taking into account the religious facts presented by history, experience, or Scripture. Now, in this system also, speculation is in excess. Such a speculative deduc tion of facts from facts as is contended for is impossible. Facts are not so involved in one another that they can be evolved from one another by mere thinking, and still less so that from one fact a whole system of facts can be thus evolved. From a single bone, indeed, of an animal which he has never seen or heard of a naturalist may in thought correctly construct the whole skeleton, but not by think ing within or from the one fact before him, but by making use of all the knowledge he has acquired of the structure of animals, of the relations of bones to bones. Dr Hofmann himself was quite unable to carry out the method he contended for. His so : called speculative argu ments are mere semblances of what they profess to be. Instead of the contents of his system being really "de rived " from the simplest expression of the fact of Chris tianity, new propositions are constantly borrowed from the known contents of Christianity, and added from without THEOLOGY 271 to the simplest expression, in order to help out the unfold ing of the system. Further, in Hofmann s system of speculation, as in that of Kothe, we are asked to start from an assumption which is not, and cannot be, justi fied the assumption that Christianity in the Christian is independent of its objective grounds. Surely every ex perience may reasonably be called upon to produce evi dence of its legitimacy and validity; and, if so called upon, how can it avoid referring to its grounds 1 It is only by an examination of the grounds of an experience that we can know whether it is an experience of reality or a form or effect of illusion. The fact from which we are told by Hofmann that we must deduce all other facts is only itself intelligible in the light of many of these facts, and even of the Christian system as a whole ; it is a fact which has many conditions, and the right understanding of it requires its being viewed under its various conditions, not as ab stracted from and independent of them. Specu- In the forms indicated, then, speculation has failed to lation make good its claim to participate in the formation and Qeces " development of theology. Does it follow that its claim is true sys- wholly unfounded 1 By no means. Speculation in the tematiz- forms described pretends to an independence of reality and ation ; a creative power for which there is no warrant in reason or confirmation in fact. Hence the futility of such specula tion is no disproof of the utility of a speculation which will fully recognize reality and directly endeavour to elucidate it. Speculation of this latter kind seems to be a necessary condition of true systematization and a neces sary supplement to induction and to all the special methods of particular sciences. In a true philosophy, for instance, science and speculation must necessarily be combined. So far from claiming independence of the sciences, a true philosophy will base itself upon them, and seek to rise above them by means of them. It is only thus that it can hope to reach the ultimate universal and real principle of knowledge and being, without which there can be no rest for reason or unity in the universe. But, having ascended by an analytic and inductive course to the unity of an all-comprehensive ultimate principle, philosophy must en deavour to descend from it in a synthetic and deductive manner, so as to exhibit the whole organism of existence, or to determine how the many laws of science and the many facts of experience are connected with the absolute in being and causation, and through it with one another. It is conceivable that the descent should be accomplished in various ways, and Plato and Plotinus, Descartes and Spinoza, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Krause, Gioberti, and others have attempted it each in a way of his own; but two things are obvious, namely, that philosophy cannot consistently decline the task, and that any method it may adopt in trying to perform it must be one essentially speculative. An inductive and analytic method is clearly inapplicable, for the highest and last results of induction and analysis are just what are to be elucidated through being viewed in relation to the one supreme truth or fact. And among the data with which philosophy must thus synthetically or speculatively deal are those of religion. It requires to show how what theology teaches as to God s nature and operations comports with what itself affirms as to the absolute source and ground of existence, and this necessarily commits it to have recourse to a theologico- speculative use of reason. And to a very large use of it if, for example, theism be true ; since, in this case, the absolute principle of philosophy can be no other than God Himself, and its highest task no other than to show Him to be the essence of all existence, the light of all knowledge. In this case philosophy must inevitably become in the highest stage of its development a speculative theology. Nor can positive theology dispense with speculation. It cannot, indeed, begin with it or confine itself to it, cannot and as a start with some single immediately certain religious fact, supple- and then by mere force of logic evolve therefrom a whole j theological system. Its data are all real facts of religion, and these it must deal with, in the first place, mainly by observation and induction. But observation and induction will not always alone lead to a satisfactory result. Obser vation is confined to experience, which gives only the par ticular. Induction, in so far as it effects a transition from the particular to the general, already involves the activity of speculative reason ; it makes discoveries only when guided by theory; it can never of itself reach ultimate truth ; and it is manifestly not its function to raise coherent comprehensive systems on their proper construc tive principles. Then, the theologian who renounces speculation must deal most inefficiently with the chief ideas and doctrines of his science. Consider the greatest idea of all the idea of God. Mere observation and in duction do not yield the idea. Exclusively applied, they cannot take us beyond the contingent and conditioned, cannot take us beyond atheism and secularism. Waive, however, this objection, and grant that the idea of God may be given, say, through revelation. What sort of idea must it be in the mind of the theologian who refuses to speculate 1 Merely that of a complex of the attributes predicated of God in the Bible. Surely that is unworthy to be accounted an idea of God at all. The theologian who is in earnest with the idea of God, who would find order and light in the idea, who would think of Him as He is, Absolute Being, Harmonious Life, Infinite Personality, Perfect Spirit, Ultimate and only Complete Explanation of the Universe, must assuredly speculate, and speculate freely and largely, although he ought also to do so humbly and reverently. Even if he would maintain that we cannot have a knowledge of God as He is that we must renounce the hope of a speculative knowledge of Him, and be con tent with a merely regulative knowledge, he will find that he needs, as Kant, Hamilton, Mansel, and Spencer have practically so fully acknowledged, speculation, and much speculation, to support his thesis. The mind is not necessarily relieved from the duty of exercising specula tive thought on the nature of God by receiving a special revelation regarding God. Christianity is a proof that such revelation may only increase obligation in this re spect. It brought with it a wondrous idea of God, one of marvellous practical efficacy, but one also which forced Christian reason into paths of speculation, which could only be formulated after lengthened and severe speculative labour, and which no intellectually or spiritually quickened soul can accept otherwise than with speculative exertion. And this may show that speculation is as legitimate and applicable within the sphere of Christianity as within that of general theology. The comprehension of Christianity requires that we penetrate to its distinctive and central principle, and view all its contents in the light of that principle. It is only so that we can hope to accomplish either a true systematization or a true elucidation of its contents. The procedure by which this is effected cannot be one of mere formal logic, of pure deduction, or strict demonstration ; it must be one which implies a constant reference to facts and inductive results ; but still it must be one which is essentially synthetic and speculative. Theology is a unity, a whole, but a very complex unity, a whole Relations of many dissimilar parts. It may be spoken of in a broad and of the general way as a science, but not less correctly as a department of theo- sciences. It includes many studies or disciplines which may be logical cultivated in a scientific spirit and according to scientific methods, sciences, and these studies or disciplines, while closely connected, are also clearly distinct. They are by no means mere divisions of a special science. Natural theology and Christian dogmatics are as distinct from each other as physics is from chemistry or anatomy from physiology. Comparative theology and Biblical theology are as 272 THEOLOGY distinct from each other as the study of the general history of mankind is from the study of the history of England. Hence arise a number of problems. How are the theological sciences related to the non-theological sciences and to one another? How are they located in the vast organism of science as a whole ? and how are they connected with one another so as to form a smaller organic whole in themselves? What principles have they in common, and what tasks are proper to each ? Wherein do they agree and wherein do they differ in their methods of research? These are very important questions. There cannot be an earnest and scientific study of theology where they are overlooked. It is Encyclo- the special task of the theological discipline called "encyclopaedia psedia of of theology" to discuss and answer them, or, in other words, to theology, determine the boundaries of theology, to exhibit and explain its inner organization, to indicate its component parts, and to trace their relations both to one another and to the theological system as a whole. This discipline is, therefore, the appropriate scientific approach and introduction to theology and to the various theological sciences. It is of comparatively little importance whether or not it be itself called a theological science. Strictly speaking, perhaps, it is rather a section or prolongation of that division of general philosophy which treats of the relations of the sciences. One of the tasks of philosophy is to define and distribute, classify and co-ordinate, the sciences, so as to exhibit them as parts of an har monious cosmos or members of a well-proportioned corpus. But philosophy, when in the pursuit of its merely general ends, cannot be expected to go into details and to concern itself with all the subdivisions and ramifications of science. It will be content to trace main lines, to appreciate leading principles, processes, and results, and, in a word, to exhibit the organic unity and variety of science as a whole. It will leave the exact and exhaustive dis tribution and survey of any particular kind or group of sciences to those who are extensively and minutely acquainted with that kind or group of sciences. The comprehensive philosophic survey of any order or department of studies is the encyclopaedia thereof. Hence there is encyclopaedia of mathematics, of physics, of philo logy, and of jurisprudence, as well as of theology. Encyclopaedia of philosophy, however, comprehends all the departmental encyclo paedias of science. And this for the simple reason that philosophy is inclusive and unitive of all science. As scientia scientiarum philosophy is, as Hegel has aptly said, " wesentlich Encyclopaedic." Hence theological encyclopaedia the encyclopaedia of the sciences conversant with religion may reasonably be held to be essentially a prolongation, a direct continuation, of philosophy. Theological encyclopaedia has had its course determined by the general movement of theology. The various theological disciplines required to be evolved before they could be co-ordinated. The designation " theological encyclopaedia" first occurs in its current technical sense in Mursinna s Primw Linex EiicyclopsedisB Theologicss (1764). It was only with the publication of Schleiermacher s Kurze Darstellung des theologischen Studiums in 1811 that the full scientific importance of the discipline was made evident. It has since been diligently cultivated in Germany, and is at length find ing recognition in other countries. There are, however, serious defects even in the latest and best expositions of it. Two of these may be noted as being so serious that, owing to their prevalence, theological encyclopaedia can hardly be said to have even yet entered a truly scientific stage. One is the virtual or express identification of theology with Christian theology. All the chief theological encyclopaedists of Germany Hagenbach, Lange, Rabiger, Rothe, Von Hofmann follow Schleiermacher in this amazingly absurd procedure. Logically the Brahmanist, Buddhist, and Mohammedan might with equal justice identify all theology with their own. The superiority of Christianity to other religions, the uniqueness of Christianity among religions, does not alter the nature or lessen the magnitude of the error. Every ency clopaedia of theology which confounds the general with the special so completely as to identify theology with Christian theology for feits its title to recognition as scientific ; and almost all, even of the latest and best theological encyclopaedias, do so. The other fault referred to is that, even in the latest and best of theological ency clopaedias, the constituent sciences of theology are not so co ordinated with reference to a centre as to render apparent their organic connexions. The German encyclopaedists since Schleier macher claim, indeed, that they so distribute the various disciplines of theology as to exhibit its natural organization. But the claim is not well founded. In reality, their schemes of distribution have no real unity. They are simply arrangements of the various theo logical disciplines in a fourfold, threefold, or twofold manner, i.e., for example, as exegetical, historical, systematic, and practical, or as historical, systematic, and practical, or as didactic and practical. But this is merely external classification. It may be faultless of its kind, but it cannot of itself yield more than a superficial and mechanical arrangement of the theological sciences. Theology, to be scientifically surveyed and distributed, must be viewed as a unity, and all its parts must be shown to be included in it, and to have a definite place in it from its very nature and definition, as the science or philosophy of religion. Their relationship to one another must be determined by their relationship to the whole of which they are parts, to that science or rather philosophy which treats of religion as a whole. They can only be unified and co ordinated in a truly organic manner by their due reference to religion, and consequently proper inclusion and location in the philosophy of religion. This necessity has as yet been only verbally acknowledged by theological encyclopaedists. l There is an all-comprehensive science of religion, one which Philo- treats of religion in its unity and entirety. It alone completely sophy of answers to the idea and definition of theology. It is the one religion, general theological science, comprehends and dominates the special theological sciences, so as to be the science of these sciences, and hence, in accordance with the true distinction between philosophy and science, is properly called philosophy rather than science the philosophy of religion. All philosophy is science, but all science is not philosophy. Philosophy, as distinguished from science, is general or universal as distinguished from particular or special science. This distinction is, of course, not an absolute one, but of degree of more or less ; every other distinction between them, however, is positively erroneous. The one general theological science is appropriately, therefore, termed philosophy. It is the philosophy of religion as there is a philosophy of nature and a philosophy of mind, each inclusive of various sciences. It is of the very nature of philosophy to be both before and after the sciences to which it relates, to be at once their root and result, and at the same time their bond of union and source of life. And the general theology which may justly be identified with philosophy of reli gion has undoubtedly held this relation to the special theological sciences. It preceded them, being the germ from which they evolved, the root from which they have sprung ; it has grown up along with them, permeating them as their common life ; and it also succeeds and transcends them, basing itself on them and per fecting itself by means of them. It is the one generic science of the object with which it deals, and vast enough to comprehend a whole group of sciences, because its object religion is so rich, complex, and varied. The primary task of a philosophy of religion is to ascertain and exhibit the nature of religion. Now, a general theory of religion is the natural introduction to all special religious studies and theo logical sciences, and yet can itself only be brought to perfection through the advancement of these studies and sciences. For example, we can only adequately understand the nature of religion through study of the history of religion, and yet we cannot trace the history of religion at all unless we know generally what religion is. Again, in such works on Christian dogmatics as those of Schenkel, Kahnis, Biedermann, and Lipsius, we find a consider able place assigned to an investigation into the general nature of religion. The investigation is manifestly not there strictly appro priate ; its true position can only be in another and wider science. At the same time, it is undoubtedly a necessary antecedent to the investigations of Christian dogmatics, from the very fact that Christianity is a religion. On the other hand, Christianity is not only a religion, but a religion which claims to be the perfect or absolute religion ; and, clearly, if the claim be well founded, the complete nature of religion can only be understood through that full knowledge of Christianity which Christian science may be expected to give. From the very nature of religion the science or philosophy which treats of it as a whole must obviously be roost comprehensive. Religion is a relation between a worshipping subject and a wor shipped object. It implies both distinction and unity. Were there no distinction between the subject and the object there would be no religion, whether the self-identical unity were named God or man. Were there only distinction between them were God and man absolutely separate from and indifferent to each other, religion must be in this case also impossible. Religion thus supposes two factors, which are different yet related, so far distinct and so far akin ; and our views of religion must depend on our views of these two factors. It involves still more. God does not 1 The best account of the history of theological encyclopaedia is that given by Rabiger in liis Theologik oder Encyclopadie der Theologie (1880), of which there is an English translation, with notes which considerably increase the value of the work, by the Rev. J. Macpherson (2 vols., 1884). The account in Zb ckler s Handbuch der theol. Wissenschaften, i. 87-111 (1885), is also good. The fullest account of the history of attempts to classify the sciences is that of the present writer in Presby. Rev. for July 1885 and July 1886. The following may be specified as among the most useful of theological encyclopaedias : Schleiermacher s Kurze Darstellung des theol. Studiums, 1st ed., 1810, 2d ed., 1830; Staudenmaier s Encyclopadie der theol. Wissenschaften, &c., 1834; Hagenbach s Encyclopadie u. Methodologie der theol. Wissenschaften, 10th ed., 180; Crooks and Hurst s Encyclopedia and Methodology, on the Basis of Hagenbach, New York, 1884; Doede s Encyclopedie der Christelijke Theologie, 2d ed., 1883; Lange s Grundriss der theol. Encyclopadie, 1877; Von Hofmann s Encyclopadie der Theologie, 179; Rothe s Theologische Encyclopadie, 1880 ; Drummond s Introduction to the Study of Theology; and Cave s Introduction to Theology, 1886. See also the article of Willibald Grimm, " Zur theol. Encyclopadie," in Ztschr. f. u-issensch. Theol., 1882, i.; and Gretillat s Expose de Theologie Syttematique, vol. i., " Prope"deutique;" 1885. THEOLOGY 273 act on man by the direct manifestation of His absolute essence, nor does man know God by immediate vision. Take away the physical and moral worlds and the written word and the Incarnate Word of God suppose, that is to say, both general and special revelation removed and an impassable chasm will separate man from God and all religion be destroyed. The revelation in nature and the reve lation through particular inspiration and intervention, however, bridge over this chasm, and consequently religion is everywhere found existing in some form. But even revelation would be useless if man had not faculties to apprehend it and to avail him self of it. The communion of man with God supposes powers of communion in man as well as in God. It can only be realized through religious faculties and processes which can be analysed and which have laws of exercise and evolution that can be traced. Further, religion has a history which shows how man has interpreted or misinterpreted the revelations made to him, what forms religion has assumed in various lands and ages, and how these forms the religions of the world have arisen and spread, developed and decayed, influenced one another and affected morality, civilization, and general history. Thus religion, from its very nature or idea, requires us to treat (1) of the object of religion (God), (2) of the subject in religion (man), and (3) of the media and process of religion, or, in other words, (a) of the modes of Divine manifestation, (6) of the powers of human apprehension of the Divine, and (c) of religion itself as a kind of psychical life. All the special theological sciences deal with some of these themes, or some portion or portions of some of these themes, in certain aspects, but the philosophy or general science of religion deals with them all in their entirety and organic connectedness, the form appropriate to philosophy to science which comprehends and thereby transcends special sciences. For the philosophy of religion, as the highest discipline of theo logy, the most natural order to be followed in the treatment of its themes is probably that which has been indicated. It is the order which has been most commonly adopted in treatises that aimed at sys tematic completeness. God, man, God s manifestation of Himself to man, man s experience of God, and the development of religions, these are the topics, and such is, in the main, the order of their discussion, usually found in philosophies of religion properly so called. This is, however, because the philosophy of religion as a distinct discipline presupposes the results of the several special theological sciences. Theology ends as it begins, in unity ; but the unity in which it ends is very different from that in which it begins. It begins with the confused unity of common knowledge, the complex and undifferentiated germ of the theological sciences ; it ends with the unity of the clearest and deepest insight, in which all distinctions are at once recognized and reconciled. This last is the unity of that ultimate stage of theological knowledge which can alone claim to be philosophical as distinguished from scientific ; and it can only be reached by those who have attained to an adequate mastery of all the sciences conversant with religion. The philo sophical student of the whole must have studied scientifically its parts, know what is to be known about them, and make use of his knowledge in his own proper labours. The student of the parts needs to know only in a general way what religion is, and must follow in his studies an order of procedure determined by his lack or limitation of knowledge. The course by which the mind traverses the partial and special sciences of religion and rises to a philosophy of religion cannot be the same as that through which it unfolds a philosophy of religion itself, exhibits and confirms a religious theory of the universe, and harmonizes and elucidates all results of theo logical research and all varieties of religious phenomena. The philosophy of religion is itself, of course, special in relation to philosophy, of which it is only a department. And there may even be a special kind or form of the philosophy of religion, if that kind or form be general enough to include a natural group of theo logical sciences and to have regard to their collective effects. A special religion may be so significant, so important, and the subject of so many theological disciplines as to render indispensable the division alike of the philosophy and of the sciences of religion into general and special. Christianity, as the most perfect form of religion, the fullest revelation of spiritual truth, the source and theme of a large group of sciences, is such a religion. Hence there may be, and should be, not only a philosophy of religion but a philosophy of Christianity, not only a generically religious but a specifically Christian theory of the universe. If the claims of Christianity be warranted, if in it religion and revelation were consummated, the philosophy of religion can only reach a satis factory conclusion when it has passed into a philosophy of Christi anity, or, in other words, attained such a comprehension of existence and life in relation to the person and work of Christ as is possible to the human spirit. The philosophy of Christianity must obviously be connected with all Christian disciplines in the same manner as the philosophy of religion is with all other theological disciplines. History The history of the philosophy of religion has, of course, been of philo- closely conjoined with the histories both of theology and of sophy of philosophy, and influenced by all the causes which have affected religion, them. In the wide sense of religious reflexion it is as old as either philosophy or theology. As a distinct department of philosophy, and the highest and most comprehensive theological science, it is of comparatively recent origin, and, indeed, younger than many a living individual ; but even in this latter sense the whole histories both of philosophy and of theology have been needed as the preparation and foundation for it. It could only appear in its alone adequate form when both philosophy and theology were highly developed, when both had freed themselves from the yoke of all authority save that of truth and reason, when both had discovered their appropriate methods, when they could so combine as to do no violence to the proper nature of either a kind of combination most difficult to accomplish. But this, as might easily be shown, was not before philosophy and theology became at once critical and speculative, or, in other words, before that great revolution of thought with which the names of Kant, Hegel, and Schleiermacher are so gloriously associated. Only in the present century have philosophy and theology reached the stage in which they can unite and produce a philosophy of religion. And within the century many philosophies of religion have made their appear ance, especially in Germany. Indeed, all the more eminent philo sophers of Germany have fully recognized that a philosophy of religion is a most essential department of philosophy. That not a few of the so-called philosophies of religion produced have been very defective and erroneous is only what was to be expected. The worth of a man s philosophy of religion cannot be greater than the worth of his philosophy and theology in general. It is impossible that the philosophy of religion of an Hegelian and a Neokantist can accord, very possible that both may be far remote from the truth. If empiricism, positivism, or materialism be true philosophy, or if authority be the foundation of religion and the standard of theo logy, a philosophy of religion must be illegitimate and superfluous. When religion is assumed to consist merely of beliefs, emotions, and actions which have no objective grounds, no real and rational basis, its development can only be an object of history and of psychological analysis, and there can be no philosophy of religion, but simply a science of religions, which, seeing that it deals entirely with certain forms of mental disease and delusion, must be deemed merely a department of mental pathology. A philo sophy essentially religious must combine with a theology essentially rational in order to yield what deserves to be called a philosophy of religion. If religion be the living apprehension and enjoyment of the truth which philosophy has for its mission to seek to com prehend, then, but only then, must a philosophy of religion be necessary alike to philosophy and religion. 1 We now pass to special theological disciplines which can at the Special utmost merely become sciences as distinguished from philosophy, theo- They all deal with religion, each of them treating of some particular logical portion or aspect of it ; and the order and mode in which they do sciences: so determines their relations to one another and the order of their succession. If we would rise, for example, through study of the parts or phases of religion in a sure and natural manner to a knowledge of it as a whole, we must necessarily begin with what of it is nearest and most accessible to us. But what is so is its history. In its historical manifestation it is a phenomenon which Historical; no one can refuse to acknowledge. The history itself, however, is not only a most extensive but a very complex phenomenon. It is external and internal, corporeal and spiritual, a history of outward events and actions, institutions and rites, and also of ideas, con victions, and affections. What is external is nearer and more accessible to us than what is internal, and it is through the former that we must penetrate into the latter. They cannot be quite separated, for the external is only intelligible through the inter nal, and the internal only attainable and verifiable through the external ; but they can be so far differentiated, and there is a history mainly of what is external in religion and another mainly of what is internal. The ordinary history of religion is mainly concerned with tracing the growth of religion in its most apparent form and institutional character. It may be divided into three great sections the ethnic, Biblical, and ecclesiastical, the history of the heathen religions, the history of the Jewish religion and of the rise of Christianity, and the history of the Christian church. i There is a laborious and impartial history of the philosophy of religion by Bernhard Piinjer, Geschichte der c/irist lichen Religionsphilosophie, 2 vols., 1880- 83. Of this valuable work an English translation is soon to appear. Some chapters of the history have been ably written by 0. Pfleiderer in his Religions- philosophie auf geschichtl icher Grundlage, 1884, a first volume of a translation of which has been published. For a list of works on the philosophy of religion the last edition of Hagenbach may be consnlted. Here the following only can be mentioned : Hegel, Philosophic der Religion, 2 vols., 1832 ; Krause, Die absolute Religionsphilosophie, 2 vols., 1835 ; Ohlert, Religionsphilosophie in ihrer Ueberein- stimmung mit Vernunft, Geschichte, und Offenbarung, 1835 ; Billroth, Vorlesungen iiber Religionsphilosophie, 1837 ; Steffens, Christliche Religionsphilosophie, 2 vols., 1839 ; Taute, Religionsphilosophie, com Standpunkte der Philosophie Herbarts, 2 parts, 1840-S2 ; Rothe. Theologische Ethik, 3 vols., 1845 ; AVeisse, Philosophische Dogmatik oder Philosophie des Christmthums, 3 vols., 1855-62 ; Apelt, Religions philosophie, 1860; Stb ckl, Lehrbuch der Religionsphilosophie, 2ded., 1878 ; Lotze, Grundztige der Religionsphilosophie, 1882; Von Hartmann, Religion des Geistes, 1883; Teichmuller, Religionsphilosophie, 1886; llorell, Philosophy of Religion, 1849 ; Caird, Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion, 1876; Morris, Philosophy and Christianity. 1883. XXHL 35 274 THEOLOGY Whether history in this form, even when studied _ in the most accurate and thorough manner, should be called science may be doubted, as it is simply occupied with the discovery and description of the particular and concrete. It is not usual so to designate it in any of its sections. The history of religious beliefs and ideas may be as purely and properly history as that of external institu tions and transactions. It deals, however, not only with what is internal and spiritual but also with what is abstract and general, and hence it is at least more akin to science than is common history, and its sections are often called sciences. These sections are three in number, and correspond to the sections of the ordi nary history. They are known as comparative theology, Biblical theology, and the history of Christian doctrine. To the last of these, symbolics may fairly claim to be a necessary supplement. They are quite distinct from a conceivably attainable knowledge of the laws of religious history, such as might be with strict propriety designated science of religious history, a department of science of history. Of historical science in this last sense there is as yet extremely little. Psycho- Religion is a spiritual process, and its history continuously logical ; implies the affections and operations of mind. The historical treatment of religion, therefore, necessarily leads to its psycholog ical treatment. The history alike of religious events and actions and of religious ideas and beliefs can only be explained through a knowledge of the religious powers and processes, i.e., of the psychological factors and states which condition and determiue its development. The psychological study of religion, although it has been greatly neglected, should reach over a very large depart ment of theology. The department may be distributed into three disciplines the general, comparative, and special psychology of religion. The first should treat of the general religious nature of man ; the second should discover and compare the psychical peculi arities to be found in the various religions ; and the third should exhibit elaborately the psychology of a particular religion, as, e.g., Biblical and Christian psychology. Apolo- The historical and psychological sciences of religion deal with getie; religion merely as an historical and psychological phenomenon. They do not imply its truth, and can be cultivated by those who regard it as a delusion equally with those who acknowledge it to be a certainty. It is the office of apologetics to determine whether or not it is true and how far it is true. If it end not in a negative result, in agnosticism or atheism, it must prove that God reveals himself to man, and that man apprehends God. In other words, apologetics treats of the media of revelation alike the objective and subjective, Divine and human media and so is the science, on the one hand, of revelation, and, on the other hand, of religious certitude. It is divisible into general and special, or, in equivalent terms, into theological and Christian apologetics, the former being the scientific exhibition of the grounds of natural religion, and the latter of the grounds of the Christian religion. They are some times combined, inasmuch as both are needed in order to establish the truth of Christianity. In Germany it has become not uncom mon to fuse them into one under the name of fundamental theology, described as the science which treats of the foundation of Chris tianity. And, undoubtedly, it is not only expedient but even necessary to treat of both as introductory and preparatory to the construction of Christian science. But the distinction between them must not, therefore, be forgotten or ignored. Theological apologetics might be irresistible although Christian apologetics were futile. Theological apologetics derives its validity from its relation to natural theology, which has an absolute value of its own, wholly independent of any other science, of Christianity, or of anything else. The alliance of theological and of Christian apologetics is perfectly legitimate ; the attempt to combine them into a single science, into a single homogeneous discipline, is decidedly the reverse. System- The highest stage of theological science is the methodical educa- atic. tion and exhibition of the truth involved in religion, either as con tents of faith or elements of life. When conversant with the faith it is dogmatics, when with the life ethics; but, of course, here again distinction is not to be confounded with separation. True faith is living faith, and true life is the life of faith. Dogmatics and ethics are so intimately related that it is not surprising that they should have been long left undifferentiated, or that a few eminent theologians should still deny that they can be properly treated apart. Theology at this stage is commonly designated systematic, although the term is not a good one, and others, little if any better perhaps, as didactic, theoretical, positive, thetic, &c., have been suggested as substitutes. Systematic theology, like historical, psychological, and apologetic theology, is divisible into general and special, the former including natural theology and theological ethics, and the latter Christian dogmatics and Christian ethics. The identification, so common in Britain, of systematic theology with Christian dogmatics is, of course, solely due to the survival among us of prescientific thought and language in theology. The historical and psychological sciences of religion may be con joined under the designation of empirical, or phenomenological, or historical (in the widest sense); the apologetic and systematic sciences under that of didactic, thetic, speculative, or systematic (in a loose sense). This twofold division of them is the one gene rally adopted. And as it rests on an obvious and important dis tinction it is fully entitled to acceptance, provided it be so received as not to hide or extrude the fourfold division founded on the real moments or stages of the process of theological investigation. There are a considerable number of disciplines not included in the divisions indicated, yet for which the theological encyclopaedist is bound to find appropriate places. The best classification of these Exegeti- is into exegetical and practical. So-called exegetical theology, cal and however, is in all its departments simply instrumental and intro- practical ductory to historical theology ; and practical theology is in all its theology. departments concerned with the use and application of religious knowledge, not with its acquisition and advancement. The former is not directly occupied with religion but with the records and documents from which its history must be ascertained ; the latter is art and not science. Considering theology, then, only as science directly engaged on religion, the following are the sciences which belong to general theology: (1) the history of religions; (2) comparative theology; (3) psychology of religion ; (4) theological apologetics ; (5) natural theology ; and (6) theological ethics. Those of Christian theology are (1) Biblical history; (2) ecclesiastical history; (3) Biblical theology; (4) history of Christian doctrine; (5) symbolics; (6) Biblical and Christian psychology ; (7) Christian apologetics ; (8) Christian dogmatics ; and (9) Christian ethics. The remainder of this article will be devoted to a brief indication of the nature of such of the above studies as have not already been treated of in separate articles. The history of religions and comparative theology differ from History of each other as sacred history and Biblical theology or ecclesiastical religions history and the history of Christian doctrines differ. That they and corn- should rarely be distinguished proves only that the ethnic sacred parative books have not yet been so closely studied as the Bible, and that theology. the histories of the great ethnic religions are not yet so well known as the history of Christianity. As regards both the history of religions and comparative theology, see RELIGIONS. The general psychology of religion should analyse the religious Psycho- nature of man and trace the laws of its development. It has to logy of ascertain the principles which guide reason in the search after God; religion. to determine what subjective religion is, what elements it involves, and through what stages it may pass ; and to show how the under standing and imagination, the emotions and affections, the qualities and energies of will, operate in religion and influence its character. While general psychology of religion thus treats man as framed and fitted for religion, the comparative psychology of religion treats of the psychological composition and peculiarities of the various concrete and collective manifestations of religion. It is related to the general psychology of religion as comparative psychology to general psychology. It must concern itself with the religions of the rudest peoples. It has to explain what is psycho logically distinctive of fetichism, animal worship, naturalistic religions like the Vedic, anthropomorphic polytheisms like those of Greece and Rome, and pantheisms like Brahmanism and Bud dhism. For example, in each of these forms of religion imagination works differently, and the comparative psychology of religion should give a complete view of the operations of imagination in the formation of the religions of humanity. So as regards all the chief intellectual principles and all the chief sentiments. The psychological study of religion was not, as is often said, be gun by Kant. Hume in virtue of his Natural History of tieligion, with its clear recognition of the distinction between the causes and the reasons of religion is much more entitled to be considered initiator in this department, but even his claim may be contested. The department is one of which there is as yet no general survey, and of which many portions have been entirely overlooked. What the ordinary psychologists e.g., Bain, Sully, Thompson, Rabier, Fortlage, Striimpell, Volkmann, Wundt say regarding it is very vague and meagre. The only two points which have been closely investigated are those as to the nature of religious cognition and the essence of religion, and as to both speculation has been fre quently allowed to disturb and pervert psychological analysis. For some of the later literature on these points, see notes on article THEISM. Neither the general nor the comparative psychology of religion as yet exists in a separate and appropriate form. What religious psychology there is will be found chiefly in the writings of anthropologists like Bastian and Tylor, of comparative philo logists like Max Miiller and Steinthal, of philosophers like Spencer and Renouvier, of theologians of the school of Schleiermacher, and, above all, in the histories of religions and the philosophies of religion. 1 Theological apologetics is not to be confounded with natural B Ul gion Alliott s Psychology and Theology, Newman Smyth s Religious Reeling, THEOLOGY 275 theology, from which it is as distinct as Christian apologetics is from Christian xlogmatics. It lays a foundation for natural theology, inasmuch as it vindicates religion by showing that it rests on objective spiritual truth. It presupposes a knowledge of religion as an historical and psychological phenomenon, but none of natural theology, which it, of course, leaves as a science to establish its own doctrines. It has the following tasks to perform. (1) To show that man is capable of apprehending the divine. This requires the refutation of agnosticism and the vindication of the principles implied in religious knowledge and certitude. 1 (2) To prove the reality of a revelation of the Divine in physical nature, mind, and history. The results of the various sciences will thereby be shown to be data of theology. It requires the refutation of atheism, mate rialism, positivism, and secularism, and of all principles which logically involve these systems. (3) To exhibit the reasons for the true conception of the Divine, and to expose the arguments em ployed in favour of false conceptions. The defence of theism, for example, must be accompanied by proof of the erroneousness and insufficiency of the polytheistic, dualistic, deistic, and pantheistic hypotheses. (4) To adduce whatever evidence may be contained in general revelation for the immortality of the soul and a future state of rewards and punishments. Natural Natural theology is the systematic exposition of the truths in theology, natural or general revelation. Its data are the facts and laws of nature, as ascertained by physical, mental, and historical science. Its inductions and inferences relate to God, men, and their rela tionship. Its appearance as a distinct science may be dated from the publication of Raymond de Sebonde s Theologia Naturalis in 1436, although portions of it had been admirably presented by ancient philosophers, e.g., Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, arid Cicero. It flourished with extraordinary vigour in the latter half of the 17th and throughout the 18th century. It should endeavour to perform the following tasks. (1) To describe the nature, character, and attributes of God, so far as they are disclosed by the material world, mind, and history. (2) To treat of God in relation to the world and man, and of the world and man in relation to God, under which head all questions as to creation, pro vidence, theodicee, optimism and pessimism, education of the human race, &c. , will fall to be discussed from the standpoint of general revelation. (3) To determine, so far as can be done from general revelation, what man may reasonably hope for as to deliver ance from sin and its consequences, and what he may reasonably believe as to the conditions of existence in a future world. As to this third point the view is prevalent that the light of nature dis closes nothing regarding man s salvation or future destiny. But does this view not arise from overlooking that the kingdom of God is within, and from falsely supposing that salvation is entrance into an external, non-spiritual heaven on conditions which, being in themselves non-natural, cannot be naturally known ? The heathen nations have certainly not supposed nature to be wholly silent and dark on the subject. In every developed ethnic religion there is a soteriology and eschatology as well as a theology. Man is no where necessarily without hope any more than without God in the world. 2 Theo- Theological ethics differs from natural theology in that it seeks logical in nature, viewed as a Divine revelation, laws of spiritual life, not ethics. merely religious doctrines. Its place is between moral philosophy and Christian ethics. It is unmistakably distinct from both, and may be more plausibly included in natural theology than in either. It should endeavour (1) to determine how religion and morality are distinct and how connected ; (2) to ascertain how morality has been affected and modified by the various positive ethnic religions and the various religious but non-Christian philosophies ; (3) to exhibit how the character of God, as delineated by natural theology, stands related to the moral law, the moral life, and the chief ethical end or supreme good of man ; (4) to describe the duties which the light of nature shows that man owes directly to God ; and (5) to trace how piety to God must influence personal and social virtue. Unlike moral philosophy and Christian ethics, it can hardly be said to have been yet treated as a separate discipline and presented as a whole. Daub and Marheineke have, indeed, written works nominally on Theological Morals, and I^othe and Von Hofmann on Theological Ethics, but in all these works it is really Christian ethics which is exhibited to us under certain speculative lights. There is, however, a very extensive literature relating to particular 1 For the literature on agnosticism, see above, p. 246 note 2. 2 For the literature of apologetics (theological and Christian), see Redford s Christian Plea against Modern Unbelief, pp. 497-533. For a list of the best works on theological apologetics and natural theology, see Cave s Introduction to Theology, pp. 149-161. Indications as to the history and literature of many particular questions and portions of both disciplines are given in the notes to Flint s Theism and Antitheistic Theories. One of the best sketches of the history of natural theology is that in Zockler s Theologia Naturalis. Here it may be sufficient to mention the following works: Butler s Analogy; Paley s Natural Theology; Chalmers s Natural Theology; the Bridgewater Treatises ; Thompson s Theism; Tulloch s Theism ; M Cosh s Method of the Divine Government ; Ulrici s Gott und die Natur ; Jules Simon s Natural Religion (Eng. tr.) ; Janet s Final Causes (Eng. tr.) ; Caro s Idee de Dieu, 5th ed. ; Gratry s Connaissance de Dieu, 7th ed. ; and Margerie s Theodicee, 3d ed. problems and portions of theological ethics. Thus what has been just indicated as problem first that as to the relation of religion and morality has been long much discussed. 3 The second problem demands wide and close historical research ; it has been touched at a multitude of points, but only touched. With the third problem, or rather group of problems, almost all systems of Christian ethics have to some extent dealt ; and with the fourth and fifth problems almost all systems of moral philosophy. We now pass to Christian theology. Its historical section in- Biblical eludes, besides the histories of Israel and the church (as to which and see ISRAEL and CHURCH HISTORY), Biblical theology, the history church of Christian doctrine, and Christian "symbolics. history. All hermeneutical studies are auxiliary to exegesis, and all Biblical Biblical exegesis leads up to that comprehensive and connected theology, view of the development of Biblical ideas which it is the aim of Biblical theology to set forth. Biblical theology is not to be under stood as meaning a theology founded on the Bible Christian dogmatics under another name. It does not assume that the Bible is either a source or standard of truth. It does not set forth the ideas which it exhibits as true in themselves, but only as truly in the Bible. It seeks no other truth than truth of exposition. It aims at doing no more than giving a true account of what are the religious ideas in the Bible, of how they are related as set forth in the Bible, and of what their history has been throughout the Biblical period. Its sole business is critically to ascertain and truthfully to exhibit what Scripture teaches, what each writer, even, of Scripture teaches, in a purely objective, organic, historical manner. It cannot possibly be confounded with Christian dog matics by any one who has the slightest notion of what it is, although the latter must in great part rest on it and derive most of its materials from it. It is the ultimate direct result and the most comprehensive and perfect product of Biblical exegesis, and related to the history of religious ideas as a part to the whole in which it is included, comparative theology preceding and the history of Christian doctrine following it. It divides into theology of the Old Testament and theology of the New Testament ; and its method is one appropriate to an historical discipline, and, there fore, chronological, genetic, analytic, and synthetic. It is a com paratively recently constituted department of theological science, both Catholic and Protestant divines having made for ages the enormous mistake of studying Scripture so far as their interest therein was theoretical and not practical primarily in order to find proof of the doctrines contained in their creeds and confessions. They failed to apprehend and appreciate the seemingly very simple thought that Scripture should be studied in the first instance with a single eye to find out what was really in it, and that to this end the study of it should be strictly and purely exegetical and his torical. J. Ph. Gabler, in his thesis De Justo Discrimine Theologix Biblicsz et Dogmatical, published in 1787, was the first clearly to show the true character of Biblical theology as an essentially historical study. Since then it has been cultivated with great zeal by a host of able labourers. 4 The history of Christian doctrine only began to be treated as History c a separate theological discipline in the latter part of the 18th Christian century. Previously it was dealt with as an appendix to dog- doctrine, matics or as a part of church history. It is not an appendix to dogmatics, but it includes its history and contributes to lay a foundation for it. No doctrine can be either correctly understood or rightly developed where there is ignorance of its history. The history of Christian doctrine is a part of the history of Christianity, namely, the history of Christian beliefs, as distinguished, on ,- the one hand, from the history of Christian life and practice, and, on the other hand, from the outward history of the church. It is a part also of the history of religious thought, and of the history of thought in general, and therefore closely connected with the history of philosophy. Its development must be admitted to be ruled by the general laws of the intellectual history of man. It may be taken, however, in a wider or narrower sense, in the former being the history of Christian thought and belief as such, and in the latter the history only of dogmas strictly so called, i.e., of doctrines formulated and promulgated by ecclesiastical authority, and accepted either by the whole church or by large divisions of the church. There ought perhaps to be a history of doctrines in both senses. One in the former sense has only been undertaken recently by Harnack. The method of the history of Christian doctrine must be strictly historical, and at the same time both analytic and synthetic, seeing that both the history of the separate doctrines and the general and connected evolution of the doctrines require to be traced. Its periods will coincide with those of church history, but they ought to be determined from direct examination 3 The following references may be given : the last chapter of Janet s La Morale ; the first three chapters in Caro s Morale Sociale ; many articles and reviews in Renouvier s Critique Philosophique ; Martensen s Christian Ethics, 5-14; Pfleiderer s Moral und Religion ; Bradley s Ethical Studies, pp. 279- 305; and Caird s Introd. to Phil, of Rel., ch. ix.
- For the history of Biblical theology, see Briggs s Biblical Study ; for the
literature Cave, Hagenbach, Rabiger, or Zockler ; for a reference to some of the best works, see THEISM, supra, p. 239 notes 2 and 3. of the development of the doctrines. It is incorrect, therefore, to represent the discipline as having its general distribution into periods given it by church history.
Symbolics.Symbolics is the historico-comparative study of the dogmatic systems of the various Christian communions, as expressed and involved in their symbolical documents. It treats of the origin, history, and contents, and relations of difference and agreement, of the various creeds and confessions of Christendom. It was preceded by "polemics" and "controversial theology" pre-scientific and anti-scientific kinds of theology. The older so-called systematic theologies and systems of divinity consisted largely of symbolical matter treated in an unscientific and ungenerous spirit. Christian dogmatics will never be properly purified until Christian symbolics receives intelligent and due recognition, and has relegated to it the subjects which properly belong to it. Christian symbolics may be said to have made its appearance as a separate scientific discipline with Marheineke's Symbolik, published in 1810. The chief reason why it appeared thus late was the difficulty of exercising in this sphere the impartiality of the true historical spirit. The arrangement of its material is determined partly by the order of succession in which the churches appeared in history and partly by the historical importance of the different churches. " In some treatises on symbolics the symbolical system of doctrine of each church is treated separately, while in others the several doctrines of the various churches are compared together. Each of these methods has its advantages and disadvantages. Their combination is requisite."
Biblical psychology.The psychology of Christianity may be held to include Biblical psychology and the psychology of the Christian life. It must be admitted, however, that the right of the former to a place among psychological sciences is doubtful. It is universally admitted that it ought to present what is taught in the Bible as to the origin, nature, faculties, states, processes, and future development of the human spirit, and also elicit the conceptions implied and pre-supposed in the Biblical statements on these points. But if it do this in a merely historical manner, and do nothing beyond this, it must manifestly be regarded as simply a section of Biblical theology. To be entitled to be considered a separate psychologico-theological discipline it must at least also discuss the questions as to the truth of the ideas relative to the human spirit expressed and implied in Scripture, as to their accordance with the facts of mind, and their relationship to the conclusions of ordinary scientific psychology; and even then it may be held to be rather the result of a peculiar combination of history, apologetics, and psychology than a properly psychological discipline. However this may be, the study is an exceedingly interesting one. It has had a lengthened history, for in almost every generation since the 2d century treatises on some of its subjects have appeared. It was inaugurated by Melito and Tertullian, obtained in the 17th and 18th centuries distinct re cognition under the designation of " psychologia sacra" or " psychologia e sacris literis collecta," and acquired fresh life and scientific form from the publication of Beck's Umriss der biblischen Seelenlehre in 1843.
The psychology of the Christian life is a much more comprehensive discipline than Biblical psychology, and one as to the precise place and scope of which no dubiety need be felt. Christian psychologyIts work is to elucidate all the distinctively Christian phenomena both of the individual and of the collective life. As to the former it should evolve a theory of personal Christian experience, normal and abnormal, in its purity and in its perversions. As to the latter, it should explain the spiritual experience of Christian society—the development of Christian piety—in different ages, countries, and churches. For the accomplishment of the former task it will find help and material in religious poetry, religious biography and autobiography, and all other expressions and records of personal Christian experience; and for the accomplishment of the latter in all the sources and contents of church history, although these must be used in accordance with the psychological purpose in view. Christian psychology thus understood is a department of theology still to form. And the difficulties in the way of its formation must be allowed to be very great. They will only be overcome by men in whom profound psychological science and insight are combined with a rare susceptibility and richness of spiritual life.
For Christian apologetics, see Apologetics. For Christian dogmatics, see Dogmatic.
Christian ethics.Christian dogmatics and Christian ethics are the two disciplines included in Christian systematic theology. They ought to be separated and cultivated apart, and yet must be recognized to be closely connected, and each the necessary complement of the other. The former sees in Christ the truth and the way thereto; the latter sees in Him the life and the way thereto. Christian ethics is much the more recent discipline of the two, and it has not yet attained the same definiteness and homogeneousness. Alike as to method and distribution there is greater indecision and confusion. Among its earlier cultivators were Daneeus, Calixtus, Perkins, Ames, Colville, Mosheim, Crusius, Staudliu, and Von Ammou. Schleiermacher may justly be regarded as the founder of modern Christian ethics. His superiority to his predecessors was due chiefly to his profounder apprehension of the nature of the problems of philosophical ethics, and to his comprehensive and spiritual conception of the kingdom of God as the highest good, pervasive and regulative of every sphere of human life, industry and art, science and philosophy, family, church and state. The following may be given as a scheme of Christian ethics. I. Determination of the nature, limits, and method of the science, and of its relations to other disciplines, and especially to those which are ethical and theological. II. Presuppositions of the science: these are (1) the ethical idea of God as revealed in nature and in Christ; (2) man as a moral being and in his relation to the law and revelation of God; (3) creation and providence as ethical systems; and (4) the king dom of God in itself, in relation to creation and providence, and as the goal of moral life. III. The fundamental conceptions of the science: these are (1) the Christian ethical law; (2) the Christian conscience; (3) the Christian ethical ideal; and (4) Christian virtue. IV. The reign of sin in the individual and society viewed in the light of Christianity. V. The origin and progress of the kingdom of God in the individual soul, and its manifestation in the virtues and graces of the Christian character. VI. The realization of the kingdom of God in the various spheres of society the family, the church, the nation. (R. F.)
- ↑ Systematic Theology, vol. i. pp. 20-21.
- ↑ Among the best general histories of Christian doctrine are those of Neander, Gieseler, Hagenbach, Baur, Nitzsch, Thomasius, Harnack, Haag, Shedd, and Sheldon. There is a multitudinous literature relating to doctrine in particular periods and to particular doctrines.
- ↑ See Lumby's History of the Creeds, 1873; Schaff's Creeds of Christendom, 3 vols., 4th ed., 1884; Winer's Confessions of Christendom; and the Symbolics of Möhler, Köllner, Guericke, Oehler, Hofmann, &c.
- ↑ The following are among the most useful books for the student of Biblical psychology: Beck's Outlines of Biblical Psychology (Eng. tr.); Delitzsch's System of Biblical Psychology; Heard's Tripartite Nature of Man; Laidlaw's Bible Doctrine of Man; and Dickson's Baird Lecture for 1883.
- ↑ The history of Christian ethics has been written by Wuttke, Christian Ethics, vol. i., but much better by Gass, Gesch. der christl. Ethik, 2 vols., and by Ziegler, Gesch. d. christ. Eth., 2 vols. Bestmann has written two volumes of a Gesch. d. christl. Sitte. Among well-known treatises on Christian ethics are those of De Vette, Schleiermacher, Hirscher, Harless, Rothe, Wuttke, Sartorius, Martensen, Oettingen, Lange, Hofmann, Frank, and Dorner. Those of Wuttke, Sartorius (Doctrine of Holy Love), Harless, and Martensen have been translated into English. German literature is extremely rich, while French and English literatures are miserably poor, in this department. Wardlaw's Christian Ethics may be mentioned, but merely because it is English.