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LECTURE IV NOTE I.—P. 152.

SCHLEIERMACHER AND IMMORTALITY.

In his earlier writings Schleiermacher undoubtedly speaks slightingly of personal immortality, and Dr. Martineau enlarges on this as if it were his whole view.—Study of Religion, ii. pp. 355–360. But in his Der christliche Glaube he takes much more positive ground. In sec. 157 he distinguishes between “propositions of faith” and “propositions received on testimony,” which, though their truth is not directly deducible from the contents of the Christian consciousness, are yet so intimately bound up with the credit of Christ and His witnesses, that we cannot refuse to accept them. Such, e.g., is the Resurrection of Christ Himself, which, as shown in an earlier section (sec. 99), is not directly involved in faith, but yet is to be received on testimony. It is not otherwise, in Schleiermacher’s view, with immortality. Here also he takes the ground that personal immortality is not a doctrine so bound up with faith that a man cannot conceivably be a Christian, and yet deny it. For if there is an irreligious denial of personal immortality, there may also, he holds, be a denial of it springing from a worthy and indeed a religious motive. “If, therefore,” he says, “any one in good faith should maintain that Christ’s words, on this subject are to be taken figuratively, and not in their strict sense, and on this account should not attribute personal immortality to himself, faith in Christ, as such an one conceives of Him, certainly remains possible”; though, Q 434as he proceeds to explain, it would involve a complete transformation of Christianity if such a mode of interpretation should ever be established in the Church, or should be laid at the foundation of Christian faith (sec. 157, 2). But this is purely a hypothetical case. For in these consequences to Christianity, says Schleiermacher,” it is already implied that we do not presuppose that such an interpretation can be made in good faith.” It can be maintained “ that faith in the continuance of our personality is bound up with faith m the Redeemer” (ibid.). He rejects all the natural arguments for immortality (sec. 158, 1), but he thinks it indubitable that Christ Himself taught His own immortality, and that of believers as united with Him in fellowship of life; and this conviction is therefore given to us as part of our faith in Christ (sec. 158, 2). It must, however, be admitted that this is an exceedingly weak ground on which to rest so weighty an article of faith; for assuredly faith will not long retain a doctrine for which it experiences no religious need, and which finds no support in the facts of human nature.

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