The present work is a revision and enlargement of my ?Systematic Theology,? first published in 1836. Of the original work there have been printed seven editions, each edition embodying successive corrections and supposed improvements. During the twenty years which have intervened since its first publication I have accumulated much new material, Which I now offer to the reader. My philosophical and critical point of view meantime has also somewhat changed. While I still hold to the old doctrines, I interpret them differently and expound them more clearly, because I seem to myself to have reached a fundamental truth which throws new light upon them all. This truth I have tried to set forth in my book entitled ?Christ in Creation? and to that book I refer the reader for further information.
That Christ is the one and only Revealer of God, in nature, in humanity, in history, in science, in Scripture, is in my judgment the key to theology. This view implies a monistic and idealistic conception of the world, together with an evolutionary idea as to its origin and progress. But it is the very antidote to pantheism, in that it recognizes evolution as only the method of the transcendent and personal Christ, who fills all in all, and who makes the universe teleological and moral from its center to its circumference and from its beginning until now.
Neither evolution nor the higher criticism has any terrors to one who regards them as parts of Christ?s creating and educating process. The Christ in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge himself furnishes all the needed safeguards and limitations. It is only because Christ has been forgotten that nature and law have been personified, that history has been regarded as unpurposed development, that Judaism has been referred to a merely human origin, that Paul has been thought to have switched the church off from its proper track even before it had gotten fairly started on its course, that superstition and illusion have come to seem the only foundation for the sacrifices of the martyrs and the triumphs of modern missions. I believe in no such irrational and atheistic evolution as this. I believe rather in him in whom all things consist, who is with his people even to the end of the world, and who has promised to lead them into all the truth.
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