An Outline of the History of Christian Thought Since Kant eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 317 pages of information about An Outline of the History of Christian Thought Since Kant.
Channing’s character and convictions is found in his sense of the inherent greatness of man.  Of this feeling his entire system is but the unfolding.  It was early and deliberately adopted by him as a fundamental faith.  It remained the immovable centre of his reverence and trust amid all the inroads of doubt and sorrow.  Political interest was as natural to Channing’s earlier manhood as it had been to Fichte in the emergency of the Fatherland.  Similarly, in the later years of his life, when evils connected with slavery had made themselves felt, his participation in the abolitionist agitation showed the same enthusiasm and practical bent.  He had his dream of communism, his perception of the evils of our industrial system, his contempt for charity in place of economic remedy.  All was for man, all rested upon supreme faith in man.  That man is endowed with knowledge of the right and with the power to realise it, was a fundamental maxim.  Hence arose Channing’s assertion of free-will.  The denial of free-will renders the sentiment of duty but illusory.  In the conscience there is both a revelation and a type of God.  Its suggestions, by the very authority they carry with them, declare themselves to be God’s law.  God, concurring with our highest nature, present in its action, can be thought of only after the pattern which he gives us in ourselves.  Whatever revelation God makes of himself, he must deal with us as with free beings living under natural laws.  Revelation must be merely supplementary to those laws.  Everything arbitrary and magical, everything which despairs of us or insults us as moral agents, everything which does not address itself to us through reason and conscience, must be excluded from the intercourse between God and man.  What the doctrines of salvation and atonement, of the person of Christ and of the influence of the Holy Spirit, as construed from this centre would be, may without difficulty be surmised.  The whole of Channing’s teaching is bathed in an atmosphere of the reverent love of God which is the very source of his enthusiasm for man.


A very different man was Horace Bushnell, born in the year of Channing’s licensure, 1802.  He was not bred under the influence of the strict Calvinism of his day.  His father was an Arminian.  Edwards had made Arminians detested in New England.  His mother had been reared in the Episcopal Church.  She was of Huguenot origin.  When about seventeen, while tending a carding-machine, he wrote a paper in which he endeavoured to bring Calvinism into logical coherence and, in the interest of sound reason, to correct St. Paul’s willingness to be accursed for the sake of his brethren.  He graduated from Yale College in 1827.  He taught there while studying law after 1829.  He describes himself at this period as sound in ethics and sceptical in religion, the soundness of his morals being due to nature and training, the scepticism, to the theology in which

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An Outline of the History of Christian Thought Since Kant from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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