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just as sometimes in mid-winter we find on the earth and in the air messengers of spring awakened by special force in the sun's warming rays. But the receptiveness, to which the activity of Nature is to be limited in miracle, is of course to be regarded as living in character, and therein lies the possibility of unison between what has been called the higher and lower orders. Here only do we decisively break with such theories as see in miracle merely a suspension of the world-system and a contrariety to Nature. The lower and higher orders must in turn be regarded as an organized unity; and we must reject all attempts not merely to reduce the higher to the lower, but just as much to allow the lower to vanish in a higher, without preserving its separate existence, as a mistaken mystic natural philosophy would do, or as they are compelled to assume, for whom Nature resolves itself into acts of divine volition. On the contrary, the notion of miracle, as shown, points back by its own nature to a natural order, and would have its own distinctive character found in the very fact of deviation from this order, which is therefore acknowledged in its own place. This being so, the lower and higher orders can only combine to form the world-unity by the circumstance that in the lower is a side which as it were offers itself to or even longs after the higher order; and miracle joining on to this side, the lower is directly affirmed and corroborated under this aspect. It is quite consistent therewith, that miracle is worked out through conflict, whose office it is to do away with the abnormal. This is not in contrariety to true Nature. On the contrary, the miracles of healing, for example, stand in complete unison with the world of conservation, and as it were in covenant-relationship with healthy Nature. If it is only through miracle that Nature becomes what it is designed to be, an apt instrument of spirit, it possesses therein its true dignity; for the consummation of Nature cannot lie in its mere separate existence, in its isolation from spirit, but in its unity with spirit. It cannot be the author of its own consummation, but spirit is given it to be its perfecter and deliverer, even as God is the perfecter and deliverer of spirit.? And thus, indeed, the miracles of the N. T. may be regarded as prophetic foreshadowings 1 Cf. Rom. viii. 19-21.
: Rom. viii. 11 ff.
of the future condition of Nature, even as the miracles of the 0. T. are momentary, prophetic outbursts of powers, which can only have their proper place in the region of completed revelation. Sickness, corruption, and death in corporeal life, to which the scriptural miracles mostly refer, as well as every instance of the predominance of Nature over spirit, belong not to true Nature, or to the perfection of spirit or of the world. On the contrary, the spirit's authority and freedom as to Nature are thereby partially abolished. Nature in this case is at least in a condition not positively harmonizing with the teleological relation between the two ($ 39, 4). So far, accordingly, as in miracle that freedom of the spirit is revealed by which Nature is to be emancipated, miracle has high significance and much to attract. Hence the delight in miracles belonging to every unsophisticated nature. It belongs to prose to understand miracle, to poetry to love it, and indeed to that true poetry which, instead of creating idle pictures of the imagination, takes pleasure in realizing to itself the actual ideal, the higher, more perfect, and therefore poetic, stage of spirit-freedom, of unison with Nature. But while in miracle we see the prophecy of a higher condition of things,—the spirit's state of freedom in its unison with Nature,—the meaning cannot be that miracles, such as appear in the N. T. on occasion of time and circumstances or need, will in the final consummation of things be daily matters; but the chief point is, that in the final consummation of things abnormities and restraints and powerlessness of spirit will give place to the continuous government or animation of Nature by the spirit that has become united with God. What at present we call miracle, will, carried out on a vast scale, only serve to conduct the world to a state of existence in conformity with its original, eternal idea.
But as relates to the receptiveness of the human will for powers, expressing themselves in Nature in miracles, no doubt as long as the human will remains subject to abnormal or capricious action, the order of Nature stands opposed to it in the character of a barrier withstanding disorder and checking caprice. But when the spirit possesses in union with God the principle of true freedom, this freedom, because one with God's will, will by no means through miracle prove DORNER.-CHRIST. Doct. II.
fatal to the order of Nature, but in its working we may see the morning-glow of a true order of things free from everything abnormal. What makes miracle miracle indeed, the human will cannot accomplish of itself, but through divine power it
be enabled thereto. As created after the divine image, man is intended to partake in the divine freedom and dominion; but this he has not so long as Nature is able to offer successful resistance to his designs. For as long as this is the case, Nature not merely shares the dominion with him, but holds him partially in its dominion and in subjection to itself. Accordingly Steffens (Religionsphilosophie, I. 479) says rightly: “Christ could not be bound by any condition of nature, His entire significance consisting in this, that He proclaimed to us the unconditional freedom of spirit.” But are not diabolical miracles inconsistent with this derivation of miracles from will united with God?! These need not perplex us; for whatever they are, they are not miracles in the full sense of the word. They are no doubt represented as signs of the last days, but not as beginnings of a higher condition of things. Nor are they duvápers in the sense of a higher freedom of the creaturely will through union with God; but they are and are called lying wonders, not only because they subserve lies, but also because they merely assume the semblance of real miracles, of higher freedom of spirit. They are tépata, awaken astonishment, but are effects, the possibility of which must lie in the creature as such, whether they are to be regarded as purely blind works, or, as John Gerhard, Trench, Hengstenberg, Rothe, suppose, originate in a profound contrariety to Nature, by which man surrenders himself to spirit-opposing, alien powers, either physical or diabolical. In any case they originate not in enhanced freedom and energy of spirit, but in a debasement of the same. Nor are they creative in nature, for only to God belong creatively quickening powers, but are merely negative. At the same time they are cognizable by believers 4 in their true
1 2 Thess. ii. 9; Matt. xxiv. 24; Rev. xiii. 13, xvi. 14; cf. Acts xüi. 8 (Elymas); Ex. vii. 11, 22 (the Egyptian sorcerers).
2 Thess. ii. 9. feúdous is also to be applied to duvé gesi and onpesías ; cf. ver. 11. As held by Augustine, De Civ. Dei, xv. 19, and also by Chrysostom and Thomas v. Aq. Summa, P. I. Qu. 114, Art. 4.
* Matt. xxiv. 24.
character, especially when regard is had to their relation to religion.
$ 56.—Conclusion.—Teleology and Cognizableness of Miracle. Little as the miraculous acts performed by men are exhausted
in ends lying outside themselves, since as moral acts they rather carry their end within themselves, they still certainly dovetail in a teleological relation into the history
of revelation as cognizable and beneficent facts. 1. That the man who is spiritually elevated by internal divine communication will also be set free from Nature, is readily understood, and that not merely in a negative sense, but in the sense of enhanced power over Nature. Thus it may be quite natural for him to produce effects with his powers,
which for others and for Nature outside him are miraculous. But what peculiar significance has such spontaneous manifestation of higher power for the purposes of revelation ? Is miracle the visible exhibition of revelation as such? Certainly the new element must needs exhibit itself, and only thus can it effectually dovetail into the world. But such spontaneous exhibition may, nay must, also be carried into effect by words and moral action in the usual way; by both means may its spiritual import be expressed. What, then, is the office of miraculous acts? The aspect exhibited in miracle is the energy of the new spiritual truth which revelation would communicate. Nature is made a witness on behalf of the bearer of the revelation by means of what he does to it, and so long as no body of spiritual testimony as yet exists, and the spiritual world is not as yet transformed, miracle represents that essential aspect of the truth. Only what is marked by energy has a claim to confidence; truth without force were no truth. Therefore, while the truth has not as yet attained objective reality in the kingdom of spirit, it displays its energy in Nature, in the supremacy of spirit over Nature; from which it is evident that subsequently such demonstrations of new spiritual power may be dispensed with, at least for the secure establishing of revelation. But the way in which the truth especially displays its claim to confidence in such exercise of energy is by suggesting to the thoughtful observer the association of the bearer of the revelation with God Himself. In God the Creator alone is primarily found the unity of Nature and spirit in an absolutely perfect manner. In the worker of miracles is typically displayed this unity of Nature and spirit, which has its foundation in God, who also originates this union in the human will in the form of power over the natural. Thus, the communication of miraculous power is verified on teleological grounds.
2. The revelation of such higher spiritual freedom, the application of miraculous power in a particular case, stands perpetually under ethical laws, because it is the human will that has to perform the miracles. For this reason they must all have ethical significance in themselves, and cannot be mere means in order to something else, e.g. merely suggest the divine origin of revelation. If miracles, instead of being required by definite moral circumstances, e.g. suffering and need, instead of being the natural, moral exercise of existing spiritual power, did nothing more than exhibit the power of spirit over Nature, or if their purpose lay altogether outside the action itself, they would be merely epideiktic in character. Mere show-miracles are not found in Scripture; Christ expressly repudiates them. Thus, miraculous powers stand in the catalogue of the gifts, with which, in accordance with ethical law, profit has to be made ; and miraculous acts accordingly, like other acts, have to be judged by a moral standard. But it is quite consistent therewith, that in them, when they are understood as to their cause, something divine becomes apparent, namely, the vital bond between God and the spirit, which, in harmony with the fundamental relation between God and Nature, displays its supremacy in them. Such phenomena acquire all the more significance, when, as in the days of systems of natural religion, the spirit of mankind generally is held captive by the powers of Nature and disposed to deify them, is without moral energy, nay, without faith in the spiritual world and its transcendent importance. For just as in miracle the native supremacy of spirit over Nature is revealed in requiring ethical actions, so also through it God-consciousness is more definitely distinguished from world-consciousness. In miracle is exhibited a higher might springing from God, which, pointing back