Immagini della pagina


URS is an apologetic age. Two views of the world stand opposed one to the other,

and contend together for the sway of the modern mind. It is, then, the task of the advocates of the Christian view to show, in the presence of modern thought, and by the resources of modern intellectual culture, that it, and it alone, is the satisfactory solution of the problem of all existence, of human life and its enigmas, of the human heart and its inquiries, to prove that Christianity is truth, truth ever young and always fresh, universal truth, and therefore equally adapted and equally satisfying to all ages and all degrees of civilisation. A similar thought was the theme of Pascal in his Pensées. What he sketched in broad outline and left unfinished, should be carried out by us, his successors, with the resources and according to the necessities of our days. It will be easily recognised that the following Lectures have grown out of Pascal's Pensées.

My vocation as well as my inclination has for a long period occupied me with apologetic subjects; and whether in my lectures or studies, I have never left this point of view out of sight. Academical lectures on such matters gave rise to public ones for a wider circle of hearers, which excited an unexpected interest, and led to a request for publication, entailing the obligation of allowing them to appear. The evening hours which were devoted to these Lectures will ever be a grateful remembrance to me. They are here presented almost as they were delivered. The only difference which will be found is, that being now not limited by time, I have in some instances divided them more according to their subjects, and in others have here and there enlarged them. In the Notes which follow I have added illustrations and literary references, which, being partly calulated for a narrower circle of readers, may serve either to justify or explain what has been said, or lead to further inquiry.

It is not the office of a Lecturer to give merely his own thoughts. His lectures should furnish not so much fresh scientific researches, as state the authentication afforded by those already extant. The Notes will show to what authors I have been most indebted. The unity of the course lies in the fundamental thought which prevails throughout; and this fundamental thought is the thought of my life. Much as

may have borrowed materials from others, I have given in this a portion, perhaps the best portion, of what is my very own, for God will have personal organs of truth.

To Him, then, I commend, in this form also, that which was spoken. May His blessing accompany it upon the path it is about to take, upon which may it find acceptance from old, and gain new friends to Christian truth.

LEIPSIC, 25th April 1864.


The extremely favourable reception which my Apologetic Lectures" have found in widely extended circles—even beyond the limits of Germany they have been, to my knowledge, already translated into five languages-has entailed upon me the duty of carefully revising this new edition, and of correcting it where this seemed necessary. The arrangement of the book, being the necessary result of its fundamental idea, remains the same. Its details, however, I have considerably enlarged and improved. The section on Man, especially, has received additions which seemed to be required by the discussions of the day, and the description of Heathenism has been re-written, as I found it insufficient. It is upon the notes, however, that I have bestowed especial labour, and have particularly sought to make the view therein taken of modern apologetic literature more complete.

The present time is happily rich in apologetic works, and in this department of labour the Roman Catholic vies with the Protestant Church. Among the productions of Protestant theologians, besides the

« IndietroContinua »