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and presenting his own views as a further development or modification of the same. It is true, he was also deeply interested in the antagonistic speculative theology of the Hegelian school, mainly, however, only as opposing it. Though by no means satisfied with the results of Schleiermacher, Nitzsch saw and showed clearly, that the seemingly much more positive results of the Hegelian " Theo-logic" rested upon an entirely delusive foundation ; whereas the principle of Schleiermacher positively safeguarded the interests of the Christian faith. While Schleiermacher found the roots of religion in the sphere of the immediate consciousness, in feeling, the speculative school regarded feeling only as the imperfect embryo stage of the idea. Nitzsch took up his position in the midst of this antithesis, though much nearer to Schleiermacher than to Hegel, and this position formed the starting-point of that entire and peculiar theoretical theology which called forth from Schleiermacher as early as 1830 the flattering utterance that Nitzsch was the theologian by whom he most preferred to be either praised or blamed. Nitzsch opposed, with telling effect, to the speculative Hegelian school, that while the " pious feeling" embraces the spiritual life in its totality, the boasted " idea " which presumed to absorb or do away with this feeling is but one phase of the spiritual life, and a phase which by no means comprehends the full contents of religious feeling; in other words, that the " idea" is capable of becoming neither will nor experience, and hence can neither sanctify nor happify. By this course, the mere intellectualism of the speculative Hegelian school, which saw in religious faith only a "notion" of divine things which required to be clarified into an "idea," but not a life-relation to God, and which thus gave occasion to the astounding deception that to have absolute knowledge and to have eternal life is simply one and the same thing, was assailed in its fountain-head, and a religion theory definitively condemned, " which left it in doubt whether a lauding seraph does not occupy a—because less scientific, hence—lower stage than a speculative Satan." While, therefore, Nitzsch held with Schleiermacher that feeling is not merely the preliminary form, but the essential contents of the religious spirit-life, yet he was by no means satisfied with Schleiermacher's limiting of this feeling as relating to the spheres of thought and volition. On the contrary, he emphat
ically insisted that feeling, as the immediate unity and totality of the spirit-life, essentially involves in itself both reason and will, idea and conscience, so that consequently there springs up in religious feeling both an immediate knowledge and a corresponding will-impulse.
From this stand-point Nitzsch was enabled to develop essentially further the Schleiermacherian theology without at all sacrificing its underlying principles. He repeatedly blames in this theology the absence of the idea of the divine Word and the exclusion of the "gnostic" elements of the Christian faith, (the Trinity, etc.) These defects his own stand-point enabled him to remedy. It being essential to the religious feeling to involve in itself religious ideas, religious ground-truths, hence Christian religiosity could not rest merely upon the life-stream that went out from Christ, but it must be based upon a Word of God that witnesses of Christ, aud which is hence the objective norm for the subjective faith-knowledge.
This same fundamental view which gave to Nitzsch's theology its Biblico-speculative character, was also the source of another not less important peculiarity of the same, namely, its erfAico-dogroatical tendency. The religious feeling being not only idea and immediate knowledge, but also proto-will or conscience, henee his system recognized scientifically and in its psychological roots the inseparable connection between religion and morality, as given both in the Christian consciousness and in the Holy Scriptures. Thus his ground-principle promised the greatest clarification and fertilization of the two sciences, in that each was to be studied in the light of the other,—in that dogmatics and ethics were to be considered in their fountain-unity and mutual conditionment, and in that thus only would it clearly appear that nothing t;an belong to the Christian faith which is not a motive to moral purification and perfection, and that nothing can be truly moral which is not a fruit of Christian faith; In thus treating of dogmatics ethically and of ethics dogmatically, Nitzsch overcame, irom a more positive and more biblical stand-point than Schleiermacher, the one-sidedness of the old dogmatistic and moralistic stand-point in both sciences.
It is well known that from this thought of a mutual interpenetration of dogmatics and ethics sprang Nitzsch's chief work in the field of theoretical theology, his System of Christian Doctrine."* This work appeared first in 1829 as a slender outline, then in an enlarged form in 1833, and between then and 1851 in four further editions, constantly growing in completeness and richness. Christian doctrine is here presented from the central idea of salvation in Christ in its dogmatico-ethical unity, in that it is argued from the fact of salvation to the necessary pre suppositions thereof, namely, original good and actual evil. And thus is developed from ground-principles which are equally ethical and dogmatical the doctrine of God and man, of sin and death, and of the foundation, the appropriation, the communion and the consummation of salvation. The constant aim of the work is to present Christian doctrine in its prototypal Biblical- form as a normative basis for a criticism and clarification of the creed of the Church. Of great significance is the speculative basis of the work as presenting the author's peculiar religion-conception, in that he here presents in a clear light the essential difference between natural and revealed religion, and thus has occasion to present his conception of prophecy and of miracles, of the Word of God and of the Holy Scriptures—an outline of the science of religion in which is presented very distinctly, though unfortunately too laconically, the important improvements made by the author upon the ground-principle of Schleiermacher.
This essential inseparableness of dogmatics and ethics isaprime characteristic of-the entire theological activity of Nitzsch. And he was rejoiced to see in later years, in the " Ethics" of Itothe and in the "Dogmatics" of Liebner, evidence that his labors in this direction had not been fruitless.
It is a peculiarity of Nitzsch's theoretical theology that, unlike his practical theology, it does not presume to present strictly definitive results but rather that it throws open, both on the side of exegesis and on that of speculation, broad paths that may be followed out almost infinitely. The scanty statement of his systematic dogmatics is, however, happily complemented by a large series of special essays on particular points of doctrine, which he abuadantly scattered in the theological journals of the day, but more especially in the Studie?t, und Kritiken, in the founding of which, in 1828, he lent a helping hand to Ullraann, * System der Cbristtichen Lebre, 6 Auf., 1851.
and Umbreit. In this journal he repeatedly appeared as the interpreter and apologist of Schleiermacher, and some of theessays thus contributed are of an epoch-making character. Worthy of separate mention are : His celebrated paper on the Immanent Trinity (1841), in which the peculiar Biblico-specujative position which distinguished Nitzsch both from the Schleiermacherian and from the Hegelian school, is strikingly manifest; also, his celebrated " Protestant Reply to the Symbolik of Mohler," and his "Theological Criticism of the Dogmatics of Strauss." The answer to Mohler was a scientific feat of great brilliancy. It reduced the ingeniously distorted antithesis of Catholicism and Protestantism, as presented by Mohler, to the simple antithesis of a legallydistorted and evangelically-purified Christianity, and thus furnished a very significant norm for the new science of symbolics. With the same calm masterliness of manner, he showed the utter superficiality and baselessness of the criticism of Strauss, and contrasted therewith the impregnability of the bases of Christianity, especially of the idea of miracles and of revelation.
Important, however, as were these literary labors, they were of but minor significancy when compared with his gigantic labors in oral instruction. Though lecturing only on the main branches of theology, his auditors yet felt that he dominated the whole field with almost equal masterliness. Important among his lectures was that on the theological encyclopedia, in which he distinguished theology into fundamental, historical, systematic, and practical, and then sketched each branch with equal virtuosity. His great strength, however, was displayed in the special field of dogmatics and ethics, in the treatment of which he traversed almost the entire field of theology. Though holding no exegetical lectures proper, his biblical-theology constituted, for this very reason, an all the greater and more systematic introduction into the Scriptures. He took pride in having first introduced this favorite subject into the circle of university lectures. He treated it as a sort of history of dogmas inside of the Bible, distributing its subject-matter into a patriarchial, a Mosaic, a prophetic, a Judaistic, a Messianic, and an apostolic stage. By taking into account, under the guidance of a sound criticism, the course of history as an essential condition of the development of doctrine, he strengthened his pupils against the seductions of an overpresuming criticism, and taught them to honor and appreciate the Old Testament as well as the New. His systematic theology, however, was based not. less upon exegetical than upon historical studies; of this, his lectures on the history of dogmas and on the symbolical books gave abundant evidence. A special course of lectures on the history of recent dogmatics gave him occasion to introduce his hearers into the wide sea of modern conflicting elements. In all of these lectures the hearer knew not which most to admire, the erudition or the keen penetration of the man, his comprehensive philological, historical, philosophical culture, or the mystico-speculative energy wherewith he transformed the entire subject-matter into spirit and life. The greatest magic, however, lay neither in the one nor in the other, but in the personality of the teacher himself, in his winning earnestness, in his spontaneously outbeaming inner nobleness, in the vital impression of a character sanctified by the truth, which was irresistibly felt by whoever came into his presence.
Dr. Beyschlag, who studied under Nitzsch several years (after 1840) when he was in the meridian of his glory, gives some interesting items of his personal experience at the time. The faculty at Bonn enjoyed then its greatest popularity. Theological students, from eighty to a hundred, flocked to Bonn from all parts of Germany. Fully one half of them were from distant parts, especially from Holstein and from Switzerland, and had come expressly to hear Nitzsch, for he was in fact not only the pearl of his faculty, but also of the whole university. A student of medicine poiuted him out to Beyschlag, in a crowded street, as the object of universal respect. In his lecture-room, however, it was hardly possible for the beginner to feel comfortably at first; whoever came to a lecture of Nitzsch without a preliminary theological training was apt to feel somewhat as a little child when vacantly staring at a convex sation of earnest men. It was only gradually, after having grown accustomed to his peculiar form of expression, and attained to some familiarity with theological literature, especially with Schleiermacher, that the student rose to a more than verbal understanding of him. This period once passed, however, a rich stream of the highest spiritual enjoyment broke in upon him. Nitzsch's* delivery was animated and free, devoid