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and constantly increasing, and there are not a few who go there even for elementary education. The frequent " Ph. D.," joined to the names on college catalogues, no longer exclusively marks some educated German exile.
This change has undoubtedly been brought about in large measure by the German emigration of the last twenty years. That element now forms an important part of American nationality, and in some States is able even to control politics and to dictate social customs. Milwaukee is more a German than an American city, and St. Louis has the customs of the Rhineland more than the customs of New England. The influence of the German language in the schools of the West has not come chiefly from interest in German literature, but from intercourse with the German people, who are omnipresent in that region. In the East, on the other hand, the new honor of the German language has come mainly from the revelation of its literary and scientific value, from the discovery of its treasures of knowledge and genius, and of its various beauties and capacities. The ample experience of its charm and its use has refuted all the objections that were urged against it, and has proved it as one of the fullest sources of spiritual strength and wisdom. The largest claim of the lovers of German studies is now freely admitted, and no one has to pursue them by stealth, or apologize for his folly. It is impossible to set aside the facts which vindicate this study, even in those departments where it was once most underrated. Whatever the opinion on the relative value of the ancient and modern languages may be, no one now denies actual value, and high value, to the German language; placing it next to the classics, at any rate, if not above them. There are instances, not rare, of men who have undertaken in middle life to make good this defect in their early training, and who have learned from their children the language which was unknown in their own classical course. The German language had in the beginning a hard struggle against the ridicule and against the prejudice which barred it out from the school and college; but it has won the day by its real merit and the persistence of its claim, and it now has firm foothold every
where. The transcendental fancy, that it is the only language fit for philosophy and mystic rapture, has been sobered down; and the equal mistake, that gave it rank above the English language, has been rectified. But there can be no doubt, that for practical purposes, for information on all subjects, for ideas, for intellectual excitement and pleasure, for all that makes a language valuable, the German is next to the English to-day in the study and the home of educated Americans. Even classical scholars, who vehemently defend the theory of their mediæval tradition, read, in most cases, ten pages of German daily where they read one page of Greek or Latin, and are indebted to German sources for their very defence of the classics which they glory in. The classic temple stands to-day only as it is buttressed by German scholarship.
The German language, as we have said, has fairly silenced the objections that were urged against it. These objections were of several kinds, and they had warrant in first impressions and in superficial study. The most important and influential of them was undoubtedly the theological objection. The "danger to faith" was set in the way, and many timid souls were frightened off from a study which seemed to be full of peril to the believing soul. Germany was the home of all fatal heresies, and the vice of these heretical ideas seemed to be fixed in the very structure of the language. There was a vague notion that this tongue was chiefly employed in denying all things which had come down from the early time as venerable in association or sound in doctrine; in discrediting and denouncing every thing sacred, the Word of God, the miracles of the Saviour, the existence of the soul, even the Divine Being; that there was nothing too daring or too blasphemous to be attempted in a German book or a German lecture. If a theological student ventured upon this forbidden ground, he was solemnly warned of the probable consequence, and his spiritual ruin was predicted. To study German was to take the first step in unbelief. This idea was given out in the lucubrations of the religious press, in the fulminations of the orthodox pulpit, and even
from the professor's chair; the professors and the preachers and the editors honestly thought what they said, for they knew no better. A good deal of the startling heresy that broke in upon the churches did come from Germany. A good deal that sounded like infidelity, and that was infidelity from the former stand-point, had unquestionable German parentage. It was natural to infer from these waves in the advance, what a deluge of heresy would roll in, if the floodgates were opened. Those dreadful names, Eichhorn, Paulus, Gesenius, and Strauss, the Beelzebub of the host, seemed to present an infernal array against the Lord and his Anointed. "German theology," as many of us remember, was in the community and in the schools the synonyme of infidelity, if not of blasphemy. To be expert in this was a stigma, rather than an honor; a crime of which one might be called to give account; a disgraceful charge, which only the most positive confession of orthodoxy could fairly purge away. In some denominations, the confession of a love for German theology made the soundness of a candidate for the ministry doubtful, and hindered his settlement. "Is he tinctured with Germanism?" was a question preliminary to all farther negotiation, when parish committees were inquiring about a pastor. This objection to German studies had more weight in the orthodox, than in the liberal sects; but there were not a few Unitarians ready to take it up, and to be frightened by it.
How completely now the tables are turned! How preposterous seems the charge which would make the heresies of a few writers the sentence of the literature of a whole people, or would allow the heresies of these writers to hide the truth which they themselves taught! How childish and unaccountable seems that fear which made of a theology so rich and large and satisfying such a bugbear! Now that the fright has passed, each denomination is eager to get all that it can out of this dreadful jungle of lions and tigers. The theological schools hasten to buy "in mass" the libraries of deceased German professors. Lücke's library is in one American school, Neander's library in another, and the Cornell University begins its grand collection for the great
university of Young America with the library of Bopp, whose work was chiefly in the sacred legends of Hindoo heathenism. The first books now commended to theological students, — in history, in commentary, in dogma, in all that relates to the customs or the thought of the Church, or the explanation and origin of the Bible, are German books. There is not only no danger in these, but they are indispensable in any well-furnished library. All the theological reviews now have their quarterly notices of German theological works, and the most orthodox take pride in the fulness of their report in this department. The best thing in the Methodist Quarterly is its German summary. Without shame, the evangelical doctors confess that they get their latest and most accurate knowledge from the infidel land, where men are so careless of the Sabbath, and where the saving gospel is dispensed to such scanty audiences. There are compiled the great cyclopædias of the Bible and of theology, of which the English and American works are little more than diluted and garbled translations. There are found condensed, arranged, and judged, the latest results of investigation, discovery, travel, and conjecture, in all departments of religious knowledge. One who ridicules German theology now, in the face of the regeneration that it has wrought in this province of inquiry, — making science of what was only tradition; giving life to the dry bones, and clothing them with flesh and blood; changing the book of God from a dull fetish to a living tree, shapely in its proportions, and bright with various beauty, with blossom and fruit; tracing the development of religion in the human soul, as a natural growth, and not as a parasite fastened to the soul from without, who ridicules German theology in the face of all these testimonies from every quarter, Catholic and Calvinist, as well as Unitarian and Rationalist, only shows his own ignorance or his own fatuity. In theology, the stone which the builders rejected has become the head-stone of the corner, as German authority is now the standard authority and the last appeal.
For it is the praise of German theology that it is so com
prehensive and many-sided, so catholic and impartial. Every sect finds the latest word of its own theology in this tongue. The ancient Church is better represented in the great Cyclopædia of Wetzer and Welte than in any treatise that Rome has sent forth in the present age. Not the Vatican, but the Catholic professors of Germany, tell the faithful the lore of the Catholic Church. German theology is homogeneous in nothing but its exhaustive learning, and its freedom from cant. And one of the best services it has rendered to the religious writing of England and America is in clearing away so much of the cant, so many of the pious phrases, which were once mistaken for solid Christian teaching. One who has become familiar with this copious "real" theology, becomes impatient of mere verbiage, mere repetition of the formulas and commonplaces of the conference-room. It is instructive to compare the style of articles in the religious newspapers and reviews, as we have them now, with the style of the same articles thirty years ago, and to see how the phrases which gave color and consistency to the washing flow of religious rhetoric have been mostly filtered out; how men write now on religious themes in a dialect as simple and natural as if these were secular, and have forgotten the holy tones of the Fathers. This change is in large measure due to the study of German theology, in which there is so little of this holy tone. In Germany, the evangelical faith has no more a dialect of its own than the rationalistic denial. Each and both of them speak of religious things as they would of any other things; and they have taught our American revivalists to speak of the Holy Spirit and his work, of the way of the Lord, and of the salvation of men, as if these were actual things, and not processes aside from the actual life of men. A German scholar, in any sect, would be ashamed to tell his service and his experience in that style which was once so popular, not to say so necessary, in most of the evangelical churches.
German theology, too, gives something, and the best thing in every kind. Its cyclopædias are not only the most complete, but its monographs on special subjects on minute