« PredošláPokračovať »
acknowledgment, while the knowledge of the distinction, nay, what is more, of the antithesis between God and man, has in it capacity to awaken the need of reconciliation and longing after real unity.-In simple monotheism as such this distinction is not involved, even pantheistic and emanationist systems claiming to be monotheistic. It is the force of the pure consciousness of absolute dependence that first goes beyond the point of conceiving God merely as a supreme being homogeneous with the finite, and grasps the idea of the absolute being existing through Himself, whereas nothing else exists through itself. Thereby the idea of creation becomes possible, which is wanting to the whole of heathenism, and already implies that God possesses majesty of a unique order, while at the same time He is gracious and ready to communicate, showing favour especially to man. If then upon this basis the definite knowledge of God as holy in the positive sense is added, this confirms on one side monotheism and the distinction between God and the world, while also adding the consciousness of a new bond of union, i.e. to the bond of physical dependence adding the moral bond of unconditional obligation and of destination to the divine likeness. On the contrary, where the pure sense of dependence on God-humility-is not the basis, there any pure and vigorous elevation even of the moral consciousness is out of the question; for there a false sense of freedom is an obstruction to religion, and separates from the Supreme Good. This is seen even in the nobler forms of heathenism and in the fact of their decay. Not all extra-biblical religions are eudæmonistic, not all make God a mere instrument of human wellbeing. Even among the Persians the Divine forms the primitive element, man is God's minister and co-worker. But in the earlier ages the consciousness of dependence on Ormuzd is corrupted by the idea of his only being the Worldframer, the highest among spirits, in the later ages, when a strictly dualistic form prevailed, by the idea of his being fettered by a hostile, divine principle. In this way reverence and trust lose their unconditional character, while wider scope is given to a false consciousness of dependence as well as to the laying of guilt on powers outside man. On the other hand, the dualism of evil, baneful and good powers, always assumed 1 Gen. i. 26-31.
* Lev. xi. 44, 45; cf. with Gen. i. 26 f.
by ethical religions either in the world only or in God, while kept at a distance from man's inmost nature, thus giving rise to an insoluble enigma, finds its spontaneous explanation on the soil of the Hebrew religion. Here—the heroes of the Hebrew nation avow it—the dualism is adopted into the individual's own spirit. Here it is recognized as a truth, that man is at variance with himself and the world, because separated from God by sin, which must also be the root of evil." But the humbling process implied in this is the step to a new advance. The upright soul, its glance sharpened by the law, recognizes at once its own abasement and lofty destiny, and is sustained and rewarded by an undeceptive hope of the consummation of all things through reconciliation and redemption. 2. The stages in the Hebrew religion are three.
First, the Patriarchal one, where the idea of God as the Almighty One (Elohim, Eleljon, El-Shaddai) is present, to which the feeling of absolute dependence, humility, and readiness for all obedience correspond subjectively.* Man stands in God's presence with childlike devotion, and rejoices in His nearness, A developed consciousness of sin as little exists as a concrete system of law. But man has no desire arbitrarily to make his own law, but is ready to obey and adapt himself to God's will in proportion as this is revealed, and faithfully to judge himself thereby. At no stage is law altogether absent. Even among the heathen conscience is not silent. But in the ethnic religions conscience in its legislative capacity is fettered and restricted in many ways.
Like an unsteady, flickering light, it shines but uncertainly. In Israel, on the contrary, in the second place, through the revelation of God as the Holy One to Moses, conscience emerges to light in objective, although national, definite form, and in this divine law the innermost and best ideal life of the nation is reflected. God's holy personality, recognized by Moses the bearer of a new revelation, becomes the archetype or law of the nation, which is to reflect His holiness in its conduct. “ Be ye holy, for I am holy,” 1—this sentence is the ground-tone, nay, the principle and epitome of the entire law in relation to worship (holy persons, acts, places, and times), to national regulations and private life. The nation's vocation is to reflect the divine holiness in a holy State—the theocracy, with promise of prosperity and blessing even in outward life. Under David, the foundation of the theocracy was firmly laid. Under Solomon, joy in what has been gained applies itself to contemplation, to study and admiration of the divine Wisdom. The natural revelation in the creation of the world, and the second in the law, are brought into relation to each other, studied in their mutual connection, and referred to one principle—the divine wisdom. By the recognition of the intrinsic excellence and wisdom of the law the Hebrew spirit begins to advance beyond the mere external authority and positivity of the law. It is seen that the law finds and must find an echo in the hearts of the good, and in the Psalms are heard clear notes of pleasure and delight in the law. The revelation in Nature and that in the law are recognized as mutually related. The view of their relation is, that Nature is a ready, willing instrument for realizing what is good, for rewarding the just and punishing the evil But observation then finds crying contradictions to the just government of the world. Nature remains obedient to its law, to God's will, but man not. Nay more: the world's course seems to contradict the revelation of the law and its promises; the righteous man suffers, the unrighteous prospers. Observant wisdom, as it leads to the knowledge of the ideal interconnection of the law and nature with their benefits, so also does it lead to the knowledge of the still existing dissonance in the present, to the perception that God's works cannot yet be regarded as complete, and that therefore the solution of the enigma is reserved to God's wise, almighty working. Especially does retributive righteousness point to a future, when the harmony between the two revelations shall be perfect. Such is the process among those Hebrews, in whom the instinct of knowledge predominates. Others, in whom the moral and religious consciousness is more vigorous, fix attention on the contradiction still existing between the law and the sinful actuality of the nation itself. But the law being God's will, which keeps unconditionally in view the realization which it finds not, the honour of the law, so to speak, nay of God Himself, is concerned in this condition. To this is to be added, that the farther believers penetrate into the nature of the law, the more their gaze is directed to the requirement of inner holiness instead of mere legality. A broken heart is more than the slaying of sacrifices; ceasing from evil is the true fasting. Moreover, growth in this respect is paralleled by growth in the knowledge of unholiness, of the power of sin, nay the weakness of the merely preceptive law over against this power. The legal means of expiation-sacrifices, Levitical purifyings, and the like—fail to satisfy the awaking need of a deeperreaching reconciliation; and thus the most enlightened spirits under the influence of the law begin to hope for the advent of another than the legal covenant,a new one endowed with power to give the conscience permanent relief, to purify and dispose the heart to good. This leads to the third stage. This stage must include progress in relation to the idea of God, who is seen to be holy not merely in His character as Legislator and Judge, but also as One who wills the good purely and absolutely, who therefore plants it in the world, and in doing so is also righteous, inasmuch as at the same time He remains true to himself (see vol. i. p. 322).
1 The epitome of evil, according to the 0. T., is death, which springs from sin, Gen. iii. ? Gen. iii. 15, ix. 12, xii. 3, xxi. 12, xlix. 10, 18.
3 Cf. § 61. 4 Gen. xvii. 1 ; cf. xvii. 10, xxii. 5 Pure, but not consuming, Ex. iii. 1-5, xix. 6 Deut. xxx, 12; Ps. xix., ciii., cxix.
* Ex. xix. 6; Lev. xi. 44 ; Isa. vi. 13.
? Prov. viii. ; Ps. xix. 3 Ps. xix., ciii., cxix.
• Ps. xix. 12; cf. Deut. xxviii. 30. * Ps. xlix., lxxiii. ; the Book of Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes.
Through the history and prophecy of Israel, the Hebrew
religion grew into one great prediction of the consum
mation of revelation and religion. LITERATURE.—Hengstenberg, ut supra, IV. Appendix. Tholuck, Die Propheten und ihre Weissagungen. Riehm, Messianic Prophecy (T. & T. Clark). Bertheau, Jahrbücher f. d. Theologie, V. 1860: Die alttest. Weissagung von Israels Reichsherrlichkeit.
* To the certainty of God as the righteous Judge joins on subsequently the announcement of the great judgment-day of Jehovah.
* Isa. i. ; Joel ii. 13; Ps. l., li. 16, 17.
Observation. We must distinguish substantive prediction through facts and persons (type), and prediction through language (prophecy in the narrow sense). The first must be taken into account for the very reason that the latter arises on the basis of the history and guidance of the Jewish nation, draws a large portion of its best strength from that history considered as an earnest of the future, keeps it faithfully in remembrance, and by assiduous meditation on it is able to perceive and declare to what point God's further leadings tend. Even the form in which the verbal predictions are announced joins on to the previous fortunes of the nation. Involved in this is a fundamental assumption, pervading the entire 0. T., and only to be explained by the consciousness of a perpetual living relation between God and the Israelites, to the effect that God will, so to speak, keep as little as possible to Himself, cannot hide from His friends what He intends to do, and therefore makes known His secret wisdom to privileged men, and imparts to them a divine-human knowledge of truths and things bearing upon the realization of God's kingdom, while at the same time desirous to see this higher knowledge diffused for the benefit of a wider circle.
1. Whereas the name
Seer » 2 refers to finite matters, and still remains allied with sorcery, the leading name for the Prophets is 'a. A foreknowledge referring to anything besides religion, were it ever so correct, may still be based on natural powers of divination, instead of on God's Spirit. Into such matters, therefore, error may creep. But although, no doubt, prediction in the Hebrew nation has a reference to the fortunes of this particular nation, in its particularity a universal reference is involved, and for example in Joel, Micah, Isaiah, the vision becomes less and less limited. And as the selection of this race was the announcement beforehand of a universal purpose, so the subsequent history confirms this with richer and richer evidence. Moreover, in the loftiest productions of prophecy we find the clearest self-possession, a pure elevation and enhancement of the higher self-consciousness, by means of which the prophets are qualified for communications re
1 Gen. xviii. 17; Ps. li. 8, xl. 6 ff. ; Isa. xli. 22–26, xliii. 9, xlv. 19-21. 2 1 Sam. ix, 10.
Tholuck, ut supra, 105 ff., 138 ff.