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holiness, and freedom, as also in the sense of the enhanced value of life or blessedness.

3. But this, again, cannot be limited to the narrow circle of the individual person. A revelation not having a universal design would be incompatible with God's Essence. In revealing Himself to an individual, God has in view the race, and with this universal divine purpose the generic consciousness agrees. Thus it is only in the form of the community that God's final purpose in His revelation is accomplished. Still its primitive form of existence is that of a revelation to the individual. In the community the purely divine, relatively creative causality of God passes over into conserving causality, makes use of secondary causalities with a view to the origination of a collective life informed by one spirit, and that one member may exist for another, one race of organs of revelation for another. Revelation thereby becomes a living common possession appertaining to the being of the world while constantly reproducing itself-tradition in the good sense of the word.

4. Little as we are able to describe a priori the method of the progress of revelation in its details on account of the possible influence of sin), still we may go so far as to say that the first stage of religion, which must be consciousness of God's omnipotence and consciousness of involuntary, absolute dependence which has to grow into humility, is incapable of receiving a complete revelation all at once, but can only do it through the medium of an intermediate stage, whether its continuance be short or long. Even apart from the question of a sinful development, there must intervene the consciousness of a divinely-imposed moral and religious vocation, in order that there may be scope for man's own exertion and the personal appropriation of that which God has designed for man. The illumination already belonging to the knowledge of divine omnipotence must also become illumination respecting the divine will. This will includes on one side moral duties for man; on the other side it is the will to perfect the revelation; and both must be made known to man in order that he may continue in the normal course to the end. Therewith is established, even apart from sin, the necessity of the revelation of law, as well as of divine promise

Gen. xii. 3, xviii. 18, xxii. 18; Isa. xlix. 6.

(prophecy). Law has not its origin in sin, as little as sin has its origin in law. An “ought" must precede volition and being, in order to the commencement of a moral and religious process. But neither can the promise of divine action be absent, that the law, which appeals to man's freedom and awakens his consciousness of freedom, may not in the effort to fulfil the law isolate itself from God, and abandon the ground of lowly faith.

And not merely will a promise be given to the effect, that God will be with those who sincerely obey His will, but God will also impart glimpses of insight into the purpose to consummate religion and revelation, that man may both be cognizant of his own still remaining imperfection and that of the general condition of the community, and by the deepening of aspiration after consummation be prepared for the latter. Only in the third and last place will the consummation of revelation itself take place, the effect of which is that the divine element, which at the second stage took up its abode in knowledge and aspiration, now fills and inspires feeling and will with its active presence."

§ 61.

Revelation with reference to Possible Sin.

If, as the reality shows, the development of man has taken a come in love by the opposing positive forces of wisdom, blessedness, and freedom. Accordingly, redemption or remedial grace leads on to perfective grace, which, even apart from sin, was the goal from the first.

sinful course, revelation is only made the more necessary. It is not made impossible, but simply modified as to its contents, to the extent that before it can be perfective it must first of all be remedial. Since the corruption of religion, in accordance with its nature and in virtue of the unity of spirit, will, on the appearance of sin, assume a threefold form, the task to be accomplished is threefold, -the remedying of error, the remedying of the consciousness of guilt (or atonement), finally, the remedying of sin itself, or purification of the heart and sanctification of the will. But error, guilt, and sin can only be over

1 Cf. 1 Cor. xv. 45 ff. ; SS 37, 41.

Observation.—These three primal functions of divine revelation in relation to sin shape themselves, within the circle of Christianity, into the three offices of Christ.

1. Development through a state of sin, indeed, does not exclude all progress, which must have taken place even apart from sin, e.g. a development of world-, self-, and race-consciousness by human effort, even including a certain degree of Godconsciousness. But when sin has entered, revelation cannot advance to completion in a direct path simply by the further development of powers already in active existence, for this would be a development of sin. What is needed is a reversal (otpépeolau'), a conversion of the entire tendency from the abnormal to the normal path. First of all, the contradiction must be removed in which man has involved himself with his idea as well as with God. Supposing, moreover, that the abnormal state not merely affects particular elements of particular persons in our race, but that its subversive influences permeate the entire personality, nay the entire life of humanity, then these powers of evil must first of all be broken by the redemptive energies with which revelation must needs be endowed. These redemptive energies will have their fountainhead in divine love (as zápis). This love, as the supreme point in the idea of God, that by which God possesses absolutely free power over Himself, must needs be able to impart truth corrective of all error. In it lies the power to atone or cancel inner unhappiness,—in it, finally, the power to inspire and fill the will with itself, i.e. with responsive love.

2. If then, apart from sin, the law of progress in revelation is that step by step it holds in abeyance the possibility of sin and summons forth higher energies (gratia sanitatis), after the entrance of sin the divine working is that of gratia medicinalis. In the latter case, before the concluding revelation, a still more abundant preparation for or introduction to remedial action will take place. The aim wiil be to * Matt. xviii. 3.

2 John i. 17, iii. 16.

establish securely consciousness of God, in order thereby to obtain a right point of departure for the religious progress of humanity. In the next place, for the purpose of preparing the way for remedial measures as well as for consummation, revelation will introduce what is apparently opposed thereto. First of all, it will curb evil by ordinances, by external positivity of right and laws, that human life may not be utterly dissolved in a state of anarchy, but continue and be faithful to its destiny in spite of sin, as well as that in the continuance of a moral order of life susceptibility for higher things may be evolved. This law includes, secondly, institutions which provide for the objective manifestation of already existing evil, that it may be compelled to publish and clearly reveal its inner nature before the eyes of all. Thirdly, revelation combines both elements to the extent that it employs the growing power of knowledge of the law as well as of God in His character of holiness and the growing power of sin as a means for promoting growth in self-knowledge, i.e. the knowledge of sin and the need of salvation, and thus implants susceptibility for salvation. This susceptibility, fourthly, receives its most powerful aliment and stimulus from fore-announcements of the revelation of salvation and consummation. All these divine acts, even after humanity has fallen away from God, maintain a bond of connection with Him at least on the divine side. But in any case, the goal of the preparation, whatever may be the nature of the details, can be nothing but the evolution of pure susceptibility for the redemptive and perfective revelation, or of the believing child-like spirit which in its own way comprehends knowledge, will, and feeling. i Gal. iii. 24.

2 Gal. iii. 23, 24; 2 Thess. ii. 7; Rom. xiii. 1-3. 3 Rom. vii. 11, v. 20; 1 Cor. Ir. 56.

* Rom. iii. 20. Matt. xviii. 3 ; John iii. 5.

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The form and contents of Revelation only attain their consumma

tion in the divine Incarnation, and in such a way that the consummation of divine revelation in itself becomes also the consummation of religion, and therewith of humanity. This perfective process is carried into effect first of all in One who, as absolute God-man, is both the Revealer in the absolute sense and the Man embodying God's perfect image, while at the same time bringing about the consummation of the world.

Observation.—The intention in what follows is not to put a logical or physical necessity for the divine Incarnation in the place of spontaneous divine love, but rather to seek to understand the intrinsic wisdom of the divine thoughts and counsels, and their coherence with each other and with the nature of God in His character of love, neither caprice nor chance having any place in those thoughts. Just as little can the knowledge of the ethical necessity of the incarnation desire to usurp the place of the historic knowledge of the God-man coming through the evangelical announcement of the faith in Him which follows in consequence. The knowledge of Christianity in its eternal verifiableness or divine reasonableness (copia) grows naturally, not from pure thought as from vacancy, but from the living faith in which the historic truth has come to be internally appropriated. In faith is reflected the bond of union between the ideal, eternal, and the historically real. The Christian lives in the truth as in a power tending towards historic reality, nay, in history 11 Cor. ii. 7.

2 SS 11, 12

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