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History of Rationalism Embracing a Survey of the Present State of Protestant Theology   By: (1834-1903)

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[TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Greek words in this text have been transliterated and placed between marks. A complete list of changes follows the text.]







With Appendix of Literature.



Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1865, by CHARLES SCRIBNER & CO., In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.

The Rationalists are like the spiders, they spin all out of their own bowels. But give me a philosopher who, like the bee, hath a middle faculty, gathering from abroad, but digesting that which is gathered by its own virtue. LORD BACON.

The Bible, I say the Bible only, is the religion of Protestants.... There is no safe certaintie but of Scripture only, for any considering man to build upon. This therefore, and this only I have reason to beleeve; this I will professe; according to this I will live, and for this I will not only willingly, but even gladly loose my life, though I should be sorry that Christians should take it from me. Propose me anything out of this book, and require whether I believe it or no, and secure it never so incomprehensible to humane reason, I will subscribe it hand and heart, as knowing no demonstration can be stronger than this, God hath said so, therefore it is true. In other things I will take no man's libertie of judgment from him; neither shall any man take mine from me. I will think no man the worse man nor the worse Christian. I will love no man the lesse for differing in opinion with me. And what measure I meet to others I expect from them againe. I am fully assured that God does not, and therefore that men out not to require any more of any man, than this: to believe the Scripture to be God's word, to endeavor to finde the true sense of it, and to live according to it. CHILLINGWORTH.

Are those enthusiasts who profess to follow reason? Yes, undoubtedly, if by reason they mean only conceits. Therefore such persons are now commonly called Reasonists or Rationalists to distinguish them from true reasoners or rational inquirers. WATERLAND.


There were no prefatory remarks to the first and second editions of the following work. It was thought, when the printer made his final call for copy, that a preface might be written with more propriety if the public should indicate sufficient interest in the book to make its improvement and enlargement necessary. That interest, owing to the theme rather than the treatment, has not been withheld. The investigation of the subject was pursued in the midst of varied and pressing pastoral duties, with a pleasure which no reader of the result of the labor can enjoy; for, first, the author felt that Rationalism was soon to be the chief topic of theological inquiry in the Anglo Saxon lands; and, second, he regarded the doubt, not less than the faith, of his fellow men as entitled to far more respect and patient investigation than it had usually received at the hands of orthodox inquirers.

The author would probably never have studied the genetic development of Rationalism in Germany, and its varied forms in other countries, if he had not been a personal witness to the ruin it had wrought in the land of Luther, Spener, and Zinzendorf. In compliance with the instruction of a trusted medical adviser, he sailed for Germany in the summer of 1856, as a final resort for relief from serious pulmonary disease. But, through the mercy of God, he regained health so rapidly that he was enabled to matriculate in the University of Halle in the following autumn, and to be a daily attendant upon the lectures of such men as Tholuck, Julius Müller, Jacobi, and Roediger... Continue reading book >>

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