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forms of the lower animals. On the contrary, the type of every animal appears to be fixed in the embryo from the very first, and to regulate the whole course of development."-Fragments relating to Philosophical Zoology, selected from the Works of K. E. Von Baer. Scientific Memoirs, 1853, vol. i., part i., p. 209.
"We therefore say, not merely of birds, but more generally, that the embryo of the vertebrate animal is from the very first a vertebrate animal, and at no time agrees with an invertebrate animal."—Ibid., p. 210.
"In the condition of the actual germ, however, it is probable that all embryos which are developed from true ova agree. This is a strong reason for considering the germ as the animal itself. When in the germ of the bird the primitive streak is developed, we are really inclined to say, Now commences the embryo. But in reality this is only the instant in which the vertebrate type appears in the germ.”Ibid., P. 212.
"For the simple reason that the embryo never passes from one principal type to another, it is impossible that it can pass successively through the whole animal kingdom.”—Ibid., p. 219.
In all this we have, not the timid suggestion of a man doubtful of his ground, but the bold and confident enunciation of principles which Von Baer amply illustrates in the remainder of his writings. He thus recognises the low organization of the primary germ,-the infusorial monad of Owen; the four types of organization, which he specially identifies with Cuvier's four primary classes of animals, and which are also identical with Owen's four primary divisions above quoted; and, lastly, the fact that, when the germ leaves its primary condition, in which it is characterized by low organization and imperfect definition, it at once assumes the lowest condition compatible with the type to which it belongs, and not the lowest of existing animal forms.
It must not, for a moment, be supposed that in these remarks we wish to detract from the deservedly high reputation of Professor Owen. We have no sympathy with that invidious spirit that delights in pulling down the truly great from their eminence, and tries to reduce them to the level of smaller men. But the reviewer is bound by his mission to promulgate truth, without reference to personal feelings; and where truth is in danger of being violated, or individuals improperly thrust under the shade of a great name in order that the sunlit giant may stand out in bolder relief, the press must come in as the minister of literary justice. It matters not whether the evil has been done by the master's own hand, or by that of injudicious eulogists: if not publicly repudiated by the former, he lays himself open to a charge which gives envious spirits a hold upon his reputation, and produces results mischievous to science. We regard the fair fame of such men as Owen, Mantell, and Carpenter, as national property; and we know
The Principle of Religious Intolerance.
of no greater compliment that can be paid to any of them than is involved in the recognition of this national claim : but this only makes it the more necessary that each should receive even-handed justice, especially those lamented ones whose earthly strife is ended, and who can no longer vindicate their own philosophic rights.
In contemplating the future prospects of these sciences, we think we see some dangers before us, which it is desirable to shun. There exists a feeling in some circles, that a few highlygifted individuals, because of their pre-eminence, should have intrusted to them the elucidation of all important matters which are in their line, as being part of their own peculiar manor. This may be a very pleasant doctrine for the men who occupy the favoured positions; and there are, doubtless, instances in which science would be benefited by such an arrangement. But in the long run the effects would be mischievous. Niebuhr reminds us that some nations, as well as individuals, are like buds still folded up in their petals; liable to die away, or open imperfectly, from influences which check their development. Such would be the case here. The budding scientific talent of the nation, out of which the future Owens must arise, would be repressed in its young and earnest aspirations by this system of scientific centralization; whilst the opposite plan, though often leading to the promulgation of individual errors, will finally, by the multiplication of observers, prove more favourable to the development of truth. Apart from this danger, nothing can be more encouraging than the present state of the scientific world. Though great men are continually passing away, others are stepping into their places. Many of these new investigators are aiming at high game, and casting their plumblines into parts of the ocean of truth hitherto unfathomed, with singular success. Never were inquirers more numerous, or more earnest; and we have no doubt that, in the arduous struggle with obscurity in which men are so actively engaged, the anatomists and more philosophic zoologists will be found worthy to wear the mantles of their predecessors.
ART. IV.-1. A Letter to Dr. Merle D'Aubigné on the Principle of Religious Liberty as it is understood in Germany. (La Liberté Religieuse telle qu'on l'entend en Allemagne.) By a Member of the Deputation to Tuscany. Neuchatel, 1854. 2. Religious Liberty from Christian Points of View. (Die Religiöse Freiheit vom Christlichen Standpunkte.) A Letter to M. de Bethmann Hollweg. By DR. MERLE D'AUBIGNÉ. Frankfort-on-the-Mayne, 1854.
3. Letter from M. DE BETHMANN HOLLWEG, Privy Councillor of the King, Vice-President of the Second Chamber of the Prussian Parliament, and President of the Kirchentag, to Dr. Merle D'Aubigné. (“Evangelical Christendom," February, 1855.)
OUR readers may remember that at a Conference held at Homburg towards the end of August, 1853, a Provisional Committee for the Vindication and Promotion of Religious Liberty was formed, having for its President Lord Shaftesbury. At the same time, a Deputation was requested to attend the then forthcoming Kirchentag at Berlin, in the name of the Conference, in order to explain and defend the great object it had in view. The Kirchentag was held at Berlin in the latter half of September; the members of the Homburg Deputation were introduced to the Assembly by its President, M. de Bethmann Hollweg; and Dr. Merle D'Aubigné, on whom they had devolved the duty, addressed it in their name, asking two practical questions: First. Would the Kirchentag co-operate with the Conference in the defence of those brethren who suffered for the confession of Christ in Roman Catholic countries? Secondly. Would they use their influence with the Protestant Governments of Germany in behalf of their Baptist brethen,-one with them in the great evangelical truths of the word of God,—that they might enjoy freedom of worship equally with themselves? The Kirchentay gave an affirmative answer to the first of those two questions: the second was eluded by a somewhat Jesuitical vote, that they no doubt would sympathize with all children of God; but that they must stand upon their own Confessions. As if the expression of a wish for the toleration of a persecuted sect would imply adhesion to its doctrines!
The friends of religious liberty were, of course, but partially satisfied with the reception their overtures had met with, though the general tone of the speakers at the Kirchentag was decidedly better than those who knew Germany had expected. One voice only, Dr. Stahl's, was raised in favour of the principle of persecution; and that with so much reserve, with such multiplied precautions, that it was evident he felt himself unsupported in the meeting. It would seem that some of the more eminent and enlightened of the Christian men, from whom the Homburg Association might have expected unqualified sympathy and support, felt that they ought to explain to their brethren why they drew back; and the first Letter on our list was written for this purpose shortly after the Kirchentag. Though it is anonymous, the author cannot have intended to remain unknown. Count Albert de Pourtales, son-in-law of M. de Bethmann, and late Prussian Ambassador at Constantinople, is the only member of the Tuscan Deputation from whose pen it can have proceeded; and there is no indiscretion in making free use of his
Count de Pourtales and Dr. Merle D'Aubigné.
name, since M. de Bethmann himself, in his Letter of last February, speaks of him as the writer. This Letter may be taken as a sort of manifesto of the views of the moderate Church party in Germany,-men who do not anticipate any good for their country or for the world, except through the agency of national, official, and historical Churches,-who would never themselves persecute, but make no earnest effort to hinder others from persecuting,-who sincerely disapprove of the fines, the imprisonments, the poverty and vexations inflicted on the Baptists, but are still more scandalized at the proselyting spirit of those sectaries, and at the hard words they utter.
Count de Pourtales complains that the principle of religious liberty, as put forth by the Homburg Conference, is highly contestable in itself, and bears an abstract character, political and philosophical, rather than strictly evangelical. A society addressing itself to Christians essentially, and claiming their co-operation, should, he says, have confined itself to seeking the realization of the apostolic prayer, "That the word of God may have free course;" it should have contented itself with seeking liberty for evangelical Christians of all nations and denominations, instead of setting up this abstract principle, which pleads for the exercise of Pagan idolatry as well as for the liberty of the sectarian conventicle, and which can never be realized in its absolute shape; the limits of the right of proselytism, and the determination of what are the acts which are to be tolerated as public worship, being necessarily arbitrary. He finally accuses the Conference of disuniting evangelical Christians, instead of drawing them together, by taking its stand upon a principle which the majority of religious men in Germany cannot countenance.
Dr. Merle D'Aubigné was requested by the Homburg Committee to reply to this Letter, which he did in March, 1854, addressing himself directly to M. de Bethmann, since he was the President of the Kirchentag, and since the Letter supposed to represent his views was not signed by the writer. Dr. Merle D'Aubigné contends that respect for the liberty of conscience, though recognised by worldly politicians and philosophers on lower grounds, is strictly a religious principle, founded upon the sovereign and exclusive rights of God over the conscience of man; so that every attempt to place the conscience in any degree under the dependence of a finite being, is an act of usurpation of the place of Him who has said, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Of course the Prince has a right to interfere when political elements are concealed under the appearance of religion; or when, as in the case of the Church of Rome, they are inseparably connected with religion; but he has no authority to intrude upon sincere religious convictions. It is not in a few special passages, but throughout the New
Testament, that the assertion of the exclusive submission of consciences to the authority of God, and the obligation to remove all constraint from the domain of faith, are to be found. Jesus Christ says, "My kingdom is not of this world." He exclaims to His disciples who wanted to punish the unbelieving, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of." He commands Peter to put his sword into its sheath. He declares that He would not pray the Father for legions of angels to help Him: how much less would He now ask for legions of police agents and gendarmes? Every passage in the New Testament that forbids the individual Christian's judging his brother, even in his thoughts, is an à fortiori condemnation of the more positive and palpable judgment of the Magistrate. Dr. Merle D'Aubigné quotes the well-known passage of Luther, in which the great Reformer protests against the idea of opposing heresy by force: "It is God's word that must fight here. If this word does not succeed, the secular power will lead to nothing, even though it should water the whole earth with blood. Heresy is a spiritual thing; there is no steel that can cut it, no fire that can burn or water that can quench it. The word of God can alone affect it; as St. Paul says to the Corinthians, 'The weapons of our warfare are not carnal.'" Scripture has committed the judgment of offences against society to the Magistrate, and of certain offences of doctrine and morals to the Church: but in Germany the law is reversed; there is no ecclesiastical discipline, and there is civil persecution; the Church habitually leaves undone what she ought to do, and the State often does what it ought not.
M. de Bethmann Hollweg's answer, which is dated November 4th, 1854, and appeared in the February Number of the "Evangelical Christendom," is more like the production of a conscientious mind, consulting a friend privately upon a subject full of difficulties, than a document intended for publication. He says he can subscribe to most of the propositions contained in Merle D'Aubigné's Letter, but that there are some great difficulties which have not been treated in it. The Old Testament must be taken into consideration as well as the New. Now, with the extermination of the Canaanites and the capital punishment of every Israelite who forsook Jehovah, what becomes of the doctrine that religious liberty is the common right of humanity? Nothing ordained or permitted by the law of Moses can be supposed absolutely contradictory to the will of God. Since the Church has been intrusted with the charge of preaching the message of reconciliation, M. de Bethmann is disposed, on the whole, to admit that the charge of maintaining the first table of the law, regarding the relations of man with God, has been taken from the Magistrate; but then it is impossible in practice to make an absolute separation between the two tables, religion and morality being essentially connected: