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conceived. It is specially to be observed, that Originality or Novelty on one side, and Continuity on the other, express more precisely the truth meant to be expressed on one side by Supranaturalism in the notions of supernaturalness and immediateness, on the other by Rationalism in those of naturalness and mediateness.

That Revelation must needs bear the character of Originality is implied in what has been just advanced ($ 50, 2). The word is meant to denote an antithesis to what has been already previously established, that the latter is insufficient to explain what is established by revelation. If every individual in the circle of mankind implies an original creative cause ($ 43, 4), if every act of genuine worship implies an operation of a present God, how much more for a new stage of development in religion must we go back to such an original act of God! The controversy between Rationalism and Supranaturalism, as is well known, circles round the ideas of the natural and supernatural, the mediate and immediate, as its crucial points. But these ideas are involved in great ambiguity. For if the supranaturalistic idea of immediateness is to be strictly taken, all mediation is denied, even that of a later through a former revelation, which would imply an abrupt relation of things; and still more, all human action in matters of Revelation is abolished, even vital receptiveness, and nothing but pure passivity is left. And then if Revelation is supposed still to exert an elevating influence, it can only take place in a magical way. But in this case the act of Revelation stands altogether isolated, and all continuity is

And in so far as historical progress is only possible through the vital interaction of diverse forces, even of natural with divine, progress also is abolished. Then would the absolutely immediate be also the absolutely supernatural, and on the supposition of such an absolute miracle another more remarkable miracle would be, why Revelation assumes the form of gradual progress, when in the presence of such complete passivity on man's part there was nothing to prevent God introducing the completed Revelation into the course of history at the very beginning. But we must go farther. How is Revelation possible at all on the supposition of mere passivity on man's part ? How is it to be recognised as Revelation without a vital point of connection in man, whereas Revelation, like everything objective, can only exist for the spirit through the medium of its perceiving and thinking powers, and a certainty of the truth of revelation can only be his by his rational nature having a vital destination for the truth? From all this it follows that by absolute Supranaturalism revelation and religion itself, as well as all certainty of the divinity of revelation, would be swept away.

broken up.

All this certainly Supranaturalism does not intend ; but on this very account the words Immediateness and Supernaturalness do not aptly describe its true meaning.

To this extent, therefore, its antithesis-Rationalism-had a right to protest. But in doing so, it would hear only of mediate or natural revelation. Nor indeed does it advance beyond this point, but equally abolishes the notion of revelation and religion. Although it does not expressly say what is suggested, that nature alone is the revealer,—as the naturalistic form of the opposition to Supranaturalism holds,—still its meaning implies that no effect can transpire in the domain of religion and revelation, the adequate cause of which does not lie exclusively in the already existing and realized worldorder. If the former theory, by its notion of God's sole operation, breaks up all continuity, here we have nothing but continuity and, in substance, identity. The emphasizing of such identity abolishes all novelty, all real advance in revelation, and therefore again historical progress. There is nothing left but the eternal monotony of the already existing, the self-unfolding. For really new contents, for new potentialities not already implanted in previous stages, for divine acts, no place remains. Rationalism, in repudiating God's living and continuously creative government, professes indeed to enhance the dignity and independence of human nature, while reducing the human spirit to impoverishment and destitution.

Schleiermacher has the merit of having led theology by an inner path beyond the antithesis of Supranaturalism and Rationalism, by combining the elements of truth in both in a higher unity, which is now the fundamental postulate of modern theology. According to him, Revelation is both, supernatural or immediate as well as natural and mediate. More precisely: it is new or original, because not explicable from the concatenation of finite causes and effects alone, but on the other hand it is eternally involved in the divine world-idea in process of realization, and in so far not new; and its entrance into actual history is effected by means of the real world, at least by means of its preliminary receptiveness. Accordingly, the aspect of revelation, in which it is not a product of the hitherto existing world-system, is its originality or novelty, while the other aspect is its permanence and continuity, its unity with itself and with the world-system, both the actual system and that of the eternal world-idea; and because it has reference to the world-system, its design is universal. Even the new element in the field of revelation, e.g. Christianity, has been conceived and willed from the beginning, just as it is comprehended in the realization of revelation and carried into effect by means of its early stages, at least of its preliminary receptiveness. In this sense it is the old, nay the oldest element, pertaining to the very foundations of the world. As no revelation infringes upon continuity, it proves that it is not something isolated. Rather is revelation in each one of its elements involved in the worldidea. Thus is Revelation, while dealing out different matter at different stages, not merely at one with itself, but also in harmony with history backwards as well as forwards. Thus also in the world-organization, rightly viewed, does the apparent antinomy in Scripture between the originality or novelty and the continuity of revelation resolve itself.1

2. The second pair is Positivity and Gradual Development. In the last century positivity was among the notions most scouted. It was looked on as antithetic to the intrinsically true, as the statutory, law-made, arbitrary, only gaining currency by force or external authority. To the positive the natural was opposed. Natural religion, natural law, and the like, were the topics discussed. For us natural religion has no meaning, though we concede the fact of a religious philosophy, which yet is not religion. If, as shown, religion is in no sense the


Novelty, 2 Cor. v. 17; 1 Tim. iii. 16. Stages in the 0.T., Gen. xii. ; Ex. vi.; 1 Kings xix. Continuity, cf. Gen. i. 26 f. with Ex. xix., Gen. xii. with Ex. vi. (connection with the patriarchal religion); the Law and the primitive conscience, Deut. xxx. 14. In the N. T. the Baptist and Christ, Gal. ii. 24; John v. 38.

fruit of mere subjective action, requiring the mutual vital relation between God and man which constitutes religion, requiring also God's action to which the initiative belongs, then have we in the fact of God's action originating something the commencement of the positive. Mere capacity for religion is an insignificant matter in comparison with that which will be the issue of historical facts or God's acts of institution. And out of the historically evolved revelation and the new system of ideas given by it grows a new order of life in worship, morals, doctrine, a sacred tradition, a corporation, in which the new principle may display its power. This tradition may no doubt acquire for its adherents a position of authority, which may also result in a merely legal position. But there it must on no account remain. On the contrary, Revelation demands to be received into the heart, not merely into the understanding and memory, and in the truly divine lies an emancipating force. The divine import of revelation corresponds to the true nature of man. Accordingly, not merely does Mosaism claim to be positive, the N. T. also requires únakon niotews and is mediated by law and conscience, but for that very reason as a universal human obligation.'

The law of gradual development follows from the preceding. Religion and revelation cannot be completed at once, revelation gives not everything at one time. Gradual progress carries with it advance to new stages. But looked at in this light, development seems to come into collision with positivity. The former represents Revelation as in ceaseless flow until the stage of consummation is reached. Positivity asks that Revelation be accepted, received with unfaltering confidence, whereas development and progress interfere with such confidence, introducing movement and change into the fixed and positive. This gives rise to two faults, accordingly as we adhere to one or other of the two. Judaism is ruled by a mistaken conservatism, which passes into literalism and mechanism. Then the soul of religion, which cannot exist without progress and movement, takes its flight, and professed fidelity to the past retains only what is material. Others, again, attach themselves only to movement, speak of eternal advance, perfectibility even in Christianity, and in a state of restless disquiet are incapable of collected surrender to the already existing, which is the requisite condition of further communications. Unique and sublime in this respect is the attitude of the Hebrew religion. In it the antinomy is perfectly reconciled. By the faithful use of previous gifts there is evolved receptiveness for new communications, which are never wanting (Matt. xiii. 12). The higher preserves the acquisitions of the former stage, e.g. Prophecy the Law, while the lower presses on to the higher and bids it welcome. Receptiveness, when grown to maturity, withdraws its cause from the external forms and traditions, which the earlier principle created for itself, and longs after something better. But this longing is nothing but the spirit turning to the innermost, as it were prophetic, essence of the previous stages. Thereupon, the form of positivity, after doing its part, loses its power, and is no longer able to stand in the way of advance. Rather it serves as the intense, eager antithesis to further development, and prevents the latter leaving behind anything of value in the former stages, which it does not preserve within itself. No doubt, where complete experience of the former stages in the true sense is wanting, in one case impatience and precipitancy, in another sluggishness will beget a sinful antithesis between positivity and development; but unceasing progress in revelation can be as little hindered by sin as by an earlier form of Revelation,

* Positivity, Ex. xix. ; Matt. v. 17, xxiv. 35; Rom. i. 5. Gradual development, Gal. iv, 4; Heb. i. 1 ; John i. 17 ; Gal. iii. 24; 1 Cor. xv. 45.

Observation.—The notes of Revelation specified relate partly to its form, partly to its contents. Both will be more closely investigated in the two following subdivisions.



§ 52.

Revelation as regards its form is of necessity partly external,

partly internal, one co-operating with the other. External Revelation or Manifestation, intervening in the system of

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