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Art. V -THE LAND OF BLESSEDNESS. *
In what relation does the Christian dogmatic of the present time stand to the scientific survey of the universe, which we are enabled to make by the aid of late astronomical discoveries ? The question is important; for it is necessary that there should be a harmony here, so that the Christian faith, on the one hand, and true astronomical science, on the other, should suffer no disparagement. True, it might be objected that Christian faith and astronomy have nothing to do with each other, and even that Christian faith, in its scientific conception, as dogmatic knowledge, could ignore at once all astronomical revelations, which seem to come in its way; but this view is not reasonable. The results of astronomical researches have already become popular, and have mingled themselves with the thoughts of the learned when they take a survey of the world, hence they meet with the doctrines of faith in the minds of the people. How can these two systems meet and live together in the spirits of men without disturbing each other, or struggling to harmonize themselves by a true reconciliation ? This would be contrary to the nature of things. Faith longs to harmonize everything with itself, and to pervade it with its spirit; it desires to make everything religiously transparent and holy, and to change all knowledge into theology. On the other hand, it lies in the nature of firm scientific conviction that it cannot tolerate a religious connection if the mind is not consciously assured of an inward harmony between the two. As long as the spiritualistic tendency in theology predominates, according to which, for instance, men will know only an inward heaven and an inward hell, without considering that the inward must ever have an outward too—so long will the above mentioned necessity of a complete harmony between Christian faith and astronomical science, not come to a full accomplishment. This tendency, however, will be annulled by the power of a great and prevailing axiom. There is nothing hid that shall not be revealed; so says this axiom. Or in other words: The Word became flesh. Even the human spirit is manifested through a bodily form ; the promises of the Gospel realize themselves in the holy sacraments; the immortality of the soul has its completion in the resurrection of the body; and so too the inward heaven of the blest, and the inward hell of the lost, must complete themselves by becoming manifest in an outward heaven and an outward hell. Thus we see in this world a thievish nature manifests itself in the robber, the robber comes to a complete manifestation in the robber's den, and in the band to which he belongs. We have, however, only considered the half of this axiom; the other half implies, that in, under, and with that which is manifest, the spiritual is always and everywhere to be sought. Thus the earth itself will be seen not to lie outside of spiritual operations, of divine presence and of heavenly space,* and that heaven, as our Father's house in the heavens, does not only begin beyond the region of the stars, even if it does extend far beyond the farthest star that the telescope can discover. In the presence and power of this twin axiom, materialism, on the one had, and false spiritualism on the other, must pass away.
* Translated from the German of Dr. J. P. Lange.
There must, therefore, a harmony be found between the Christian and astronomical modes of surveying the heavens. This harmony Dr. Bretschneider has attempted to effect in the sense of the vulgar rationalism. He contended that natural
*We have no objection to the assertion that earth is included in the heavenly space, if it is only considered so in the way of a preparatory platform in due time to be removed ; but could not agree to it, if it is intended to teach that it shall always exist as part of heaven proper. This we conceive to be an anti-scriptural idea. We would, therefore, only endorse this sentiment of the author so far as it means to represent this world as a pre-stage, or typical shadow, which is to find its true substance and completion hereafter in the higher manifestations of the heavenly world.-[THE TRANSLATOR.
science had come to stand in opposition to Christian faith, and that now all that stood opposed to the result of modern researches must be dropped from our faith as the fancies of the world's ignorant ages. Heaven and hell—so exclaimed the good Doctor-heaven and hell have vanished in the light of modern discoveries. Under the earth where hell was supposed to lie, there live our beloved antipodes, the Americans ; thus we must seek for the under-world of the damned where the New World smiles in the light of its own joy and prosperity; unless indeed we should be content to find, in the deep caves of the earth, the prisons of lost spirits, which as the laboratories of nature, are ill suited to such a purpose. And where heaven was supposed to lie, above the blue canopy, we see the infinity of worlds stretch themselves out over the blue sea of ether, an infinity of which we can form no adequate conception. This was about the substance and sense of Bretschneider's argument, which we cannot give in his own words. According to his conceptions, the deep and sacred contents of the Holy Scripture, as they are embalmed, preserved and presented in a religious survey of the universe, were identical with the crass, and common representations, which the Christian mind had conceived, in this respect, in earlier ages. When Christ speaks of the flames of hell, and of the pains which the rich man suffered in it, it is known that we have higher, more ideal and sensible conceptions than when a collier of Saxony, in these orthodox days, speaks of hell fire. Even if now we do not, according to the popular fancies, seek hell in smoking caves, or in deep chasms of the earth, but in dungeons in the storm-swept solitudes and outer darkness of creation, we may find such dungeons in the craters of the moon, such solitudes in Jupiter, and such outer darkness in Uranus. We would be very reluctant to contend that hell is to be found in the depth of our planet-system from the sun away, in the distant stormy and dark regions of those planets which revolve farthest from the sun. We do not, however, go beyond the sphere of scientific knowledge when we point to such dark and mysterious realms, and say, Behold in our Father's house are many mansions, and among them are also abodes of gloomy and horrible appearance, and it betrays, to say the least, great ignorance, to doubt, when we see such an abundance of dark planets and comets sweeping through the gloomy outskirts of space, that it is possible for an outward hell to exist. The same is true of the reality of an outward heaven. It is known that the white glistening peaks of the mountains are no olympic habitation of the gods, as the heathen dreamed, but this does not trouble us. It is known that heaven is not a single, near us, and extensive hall, resting upon the canopy above which covers us, as simple people and children have supposed; but yet it would be worse than senseless, if we should, on this account, doubt the existence of an external heaven, when we see the light of many calm and high habitations in our Father's house. Hence, the Christian faith need sacrifice none of its biblical purity, or of its dogmatic treasures, in order to effect a harmony with a scientific survey of the universe. On the other hand, scientific astronomy must not be made to sacrifice any of its truths in seeking after this harmony. That the Roman Church for some time considered it necessary to combat the Copernican system and oppose it even to the persecution of Galileo, to subserve the interests of religion, need only be mentioned here. More remarkable is the fact that this opposition to the doctrine of Copernicus, and a holding fast to the old geocentrical system has been continued in some branches of the Protestant Church. These ideas exist because those who hold them honor, in a cabalistic manner, the letter of certain passages of Scripture and hang in slavish adherence to old theosophical systems that evidently rest on the ptolemaic astronomy. The same is true with regard to those systems, according to which, for instance, much account is made of the seven planets then only known ; for since more have been discovered these calculations no more harmonize, and all falls to ruins, like an old weather-beaten skeleton, when it is attempted to remove it from its place. Christianity itself is free from this false positiveness which constructs systems only to crumble to ruins under the living force of scientific progress. Its dogmas are taken out of the fountains of truth and life; hence it reigns over all scientific advancement, like a finished word which the reader has in his mouth over the word in formation, which he who spells slowly is constructing out of letters: and it is its mission to give a religious direction to all investigations, and to the progress of science in all its stages. Those systems, therefore, which harden themselves against well established deductions of scientific astronomy, have no promise for the future, and Christian doctrine will give them no thanks for their well-meant opposition to the discoveries of science.
The Hegelian system, too, seems to have some interest in contracting the new astronomy, at least in its nearest and most direct consequences; or at least to rob it of its Christian and religious animation. Inasmuch as the system attempts to elevate the human spirit to be throne prince of the universe, we can easily see why it should have an interest in giving this turn to astronomical science. Just as we see at the funeral processions of great ones, that a number of empty carriages follow along behind the hearse ;—so here, the stars of heaven are made a retinue to parade round the earth while it bears away the great human spirit to the place of skulls, where it is buried in the old generations to rise again in the new, and celebrates, in this process, its own apotheosis or deification. The universe dare not be supposed to be inhabited, or too dangerous concurrences would be experienced in the attempt to ascribe the excellence of spiritual consciousness, or of divine selfconsciousness separate and alone to the human spirit. The spiritual hosts of heaven, the angels of the Lord, the strong princes of the upper world are also, accordingly, in this system, vast figures which it seeks to set aside as personifications of the figurative style of Scripture. It is almost simple to think that attempts are mode to sacrifice biblical Christianity to the interests of philosophy, when we consider that its object is to depopulate the world of its spirits and its angels, thereby to save the interests of human excellence. We must, however, earnestly protest against making the Bible speak such a language. It is not at all surprising that Richter, going out from