§ 67. What is here to be understood by Principium
When theology abandoned its proper and original character, it also ceased to speak of a principium of its own; and gradually we have become so estranged from the earlier theological life, that it is scarcely any longer understood what our old theologians meant by the principium theologiae. This principium of theology is not infrequently taken as synonymous with fons theologiae, i.e. with the fountain from which the science of theology draws its knowledge. Why is this wrong? When I speak of the fountains of a science, I understand thereby a certain group out of the sum of phenomena, from which a separate whole of science is distilled by me. For the Zoologist these fountains lie in the animal world, for the Botanist in the world of plants, for the Historian in many-sided tradition, etc. But however much in each of these domains of science the fountains may differ, the principium of knowing (cognoscendi), from which knowledge comes to us with these several groups of phenomena, is ever one and the same. It is, in a word, the natural man who by his reason draws this knowledge from his object, and that object is subjected to him as the thinking subject. If now I proceed in like manner on theological ground, formaliter at least, then my principium of knowing remains here entirely the same that it is for the botanist or zoologist, and the difference consists only in the difference of the object. Whether I seek that object in God Himself, or in the Christian religion, or in religious phenomena makes no fundamental difference. With all these it is still the thinking man who subjects these objects to himself, and by virtue of his general principium of knowing draws knowledge from them. For, and I speak reverently, even when I posit God Himself as the object of theology, this God is then placed on trial by the theologian, and it is the theologian who does not cast himself down in worship before Him, saying, "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth," but of his own right (suo jure) investigates Him. The result, indeed, has shown that he who has taken this attitude, has either entirely revolutionary reversed the order of things and placed himself as critic above his God, or has falsified the object of theology and substituted for it religious phenomena; a method which seemed more innocent, but which actually led to a like result, since from this standpoint "knowledge of God" remained wanting, and want of knowledge of God is little else than intellectual atheism.
The propounding of a special principium in the theological sphere (even though we grant that this was not always done correctly), viewed in itself, was little else than the necessary result of the peculiar character of theology. If the object of theology had stood coordinate with the objects of the other sciences, then together with those sciences theology would have been obliged to employ a common principium of knowing. Since, on the other hand, the object of theology excluded every idea of coordination, and thinking man, who asked after the knowledge of God, stood in a radically different relation to that God than to the several kingdoms of created things, there had to be a difference in the principium of knowing. With every other object it was the thinking subject that took knowledge; here it was the object itself that gave knowledge. And this antithesis is least of all set aside by the remark, that the flower also provides the botanist with knowledge concerning itself. This replaces a real manner of speech by a metaphorical one. The flower indeed does nothing, and the whole plant, on which the flower blooms, is passive. Even though it is maintained that the flower exhibits color and form, this is by no means yet the knowledge of the flower, but merely so many data, from which this knowledge is gathered by the botanist. Hence our speaking, with reference to theology, of a special principium of knowing of its own, is the result of the entirely peculiar position, in which here the knowing subject stands over against God as the object to be known. Theology, taken in its original and only real meaning, as "knowledge of God," or as "the science of the knowledge of God," cannot go to work like the other sciences, but must take a way of its own; which not merely in its bends and turns, but in its entire extent, is to be distinguished from the ordinary way of obtaining knowledge (via cognitionis), and therefore assumes a principium of knowing of its own as its point of departure.
Even if the fact of sin were left out of account, and the special revelation were not considered, formaliter a principium of its own must still be claimed for theology. This claim may be more sharply accentuated by these two facts, but it may never be represented as though the necessity of a source of its own were only born formaliter from sin. This necessity does not merely lie in the abnormal, but in the normal as well, and must ever find its ground in this fact, that God is God, and that consequently the Eternal Being cannot become the object of creaturely knowledge, as coordinate with the creature. Let it be supposed that the development of our race had taken place without sin; man would nevertheless have known the things that may be known of God, from the world of his heart and the world round about him, but not as the fruit of empiricism and the conclusions based thereon. From the finite no conclusion can be drawn to the infinite, neither can a Divine reality be known from external or internal phenomena, unless that real God reveals Himself in my consciousness to my ego; reveals Himself as God; and thereby moves and impels me to see in these finite phenomena a brightness of His glory. Formaliter, neither observation nor reasoning would ever have rendered service here as the principium of knowing. Without sin, this self-revelation of the Divine Ego to my personal ego would never have been, even in part, the fruit of Theophany, or of incarnation, but would have taken place normally in my personal being, and in such a way that even then the way by which knowledge is obtained would have divided itself into two, one leading to the knowledge of those objects which, being passive, I subject to myself, the other leading to the knowledge of that one Object, to which I myself am passively subjected. That "faith" assumes its peculiar office here, and that, as belonging to our human nature, it may turn into unfaith, but can never fall away, has been remarked before. In this place it is enough to note the distinction, that formaliter the thinking subject can obtain his knowledge from a twofold principium: either from himself, by going to work actively, or, if he must remain passive, not from himself but from a principium, the impulse of which proceeds from the object, in casu from God, and only thus operates in him.
From this it already appears that the proposition of the old theology, — Principium theologiae est Sacra Scriptura, i.e. the Sacred Scripture is the Principium of Theology,— has nothing in common with the representation of a few remaining supranaturalists, who still grant that the Scripture spreads light upon much that otherwise would be dark to us. The very word principium indeed, which may never be mistaken for fons or phenomenon, claims, that by nature this principium stands in organic connection with the real nature of theology. But, as was observed above, the peculiar character of theology, and therefore also the special nature of its principium, is accentuated still more by sin. Under its power it continued not merely a fact that the thinking subject stood passively over against God as object; but in addition to this, the normal means, for receiving in the passive sense this knowledge of God, could no longer operate accurately, and therefore failed of the desired effect. By nature man could not take knowledge of God actively, and as sinner he could no longer let himself even passively be given this knowledge of God by God. This modification in man and in his relation to God could issue only in one or the other result, viz. that either the sinner should live on without "knowledge of God," or that from the side of God there should proceed an activity to impart this knowledge to sinful man, in keeping with his need as sinner. The latter then, however, took place outside of the life that sprang of itself from the creation principium and the knowledge connected with it; it was a special principle (proprium quid), which only stepped in between provisionally, and was destined to disappear again, as soon as the normal development of our race had reached its final end. In this way this self-revelation of God to the sinner was also materialiter an action from a special principium in God; from this principium in God this action went out to the world and to the sinner; and as soon as man thus operated upon began to give an account to himself of the common phenomena of, and of this abnormal process in, hi.s life, from the nature of the case the principium of all the rest would lie in creation, while the principium of this entirely special action is found in a re-creative act of God. It made no difference that, along with this action, existing elements from creation were employed. Such elements were then assimilated by the active principium and rendered serviceable to it, just like the chisel in the hands of the sculptor, or as a board sawn from a tree, which serves for the hull of a ship. If in theology, therefore, as such formaliter, there lay the claim that it springs out of a principium of knowing of its own, this principium of Theology is distinguished, by and in consequence of sin, from the principium of knowing in the domain of the other sciences materialiter also, and hence concerns both the formal and the material principium.
In part it may even be maintained, that the principium of being (essendi) is also included here. That self-revelation of God to the sinner is possible even without a preceding regeneration, is shown in the case of Balaam; but this exception does not make the rule; the general rule is, that regeneration precedes spiritual illumination. The "enlightened" of Heb. vi. 4 do not stand in the same line with the "enlightened" of Eph. i. 18. The latter only are "spiritual" and "have received the things of the Spirit of God." This regeneration is not an element in knowing (cognoscere), but in being (esse), and if account is taken of the fact that the whole revelation of God, though directed by the Logos, nevertheless proceeds through an entire series of events and wonders, and finally culminates in the essential incarnation and all it carries with it, then it is evident that the distinction between theology and the other sciences not only formally touches the principium of faith, and materially the "good word of God" (KaXbv Oeov pfjfia), but also penetrates into our real being (esse). This exjilains the fact that the Theosophists, and in part the Mystics in the tracks of the former, have sought to obtain the knowledge of God along this way of being (via essendi). And this difference in the real being (esse) must indeed be taken into account, at least so far as it concerns its modality. He who neglects to do this, annuls regeneration, and thereby undermines all faith in miracles. Meanwhile it must not be lost from sight that the distinction in the essential forms no fundamental antithesis. Sin is no essence (esse), but a modality of it (td esse); and consequently regeneration, which annuls and conquers sin, can create no other essence, but can merely reestablish from its perverted modality the original real being (esse) into its ideal modality. He who deems that this touches the essentia itself, and not its modus simply, becomes a Maniclnean. And if it be said that we must take account of "the powers of the world to come," etc., we answer, that from the beginning there has been an organic connection between the creature in his present and eternal condition. Even with the most radical metamorphosis there could never be a change of the essence. If, then, it is beyond doubt, that, on account of regeneration and miracles, real being (esse) must also be considered, no two principles of being stand over against each other; in the realm of nature, as well as in the realm of grace, it is and remains the original principium of being, even though this principium operates in the two in different ways. Very properly, therefore, Theosophy has been dismissed, and the full emphasis has been put on Theology as such.
This has made it customary to seek the proper principium of theology immediately in the Holy Scripture, by which was meant of course simply the material principium of knowing (principium cognoscendi materiale). The knowledge of God, which God Himself had communicated by numerous facts and revelations, and which under his guidance was embodied in the Holy Scripture, was the gold which theology was to delve from the mine of the Holy Scripture. Meanwhile this could not be intended otherwise than as an abbreviated manner of speech. A principium is a living agent, hence a principium of knowledge must be an agent from which of necessity knowledge flows. And this of course the Bible as such is not. The principium of knowledge existed before knowledge had emerged from this principium, and consequently before the first page of Scripture was written. When, nevertheless, the Sacred Scripture is called the sole principium of theology (principium unicum theologiae), then the Scripture here is taken as a plant, whose germ has sprouted and budded, and has unfolded those buds. It is not, therefore, the naked principium, but the principium together with what it has brought forth. Speaking more accurately, we should say that the material principium is the self-revelation of God to the sinner, from which principium the data have come forth in the Holy Scriptures, from which theology must be built up. Since, however, theology can only begin when Revelation is completed, we may readily proceed from the ultimate cause (principium remotum) to the proximate (proximum), and say that theology sprang from the completed revelation, i.e. from the Scriptures, as the proximate cause, while that revelation itself originated from the ultimate cause of the self-revelation of God.
It is unfortunate, however, that in olden time so little attention was paid to the formal principium. For now it seemed altogether as though the still darkened understanding was to investigate the Scripture as its object, in an entirely similar way to that in which this same understanding threw itself on plant and animal as its object. At first this compelled the understanding to adapt and accommodate itself to the authority of the Holy Scripture, which then still maintained a high position. But, in the long run, roles were to be exchanged, and the neglect of the formal principium was to bring about a revision of the Scripture in the sense of our darkened understanding, as has now actually taken place. For if faith was considered under Soteriology, and in connection with faith the "illumination," what help was this, as long as theology itself was abandoned to the rational subject, in which rational subject, from the hour of his creation, no proper and separate principium of knowing God had been allowed to assert itself?
§ 68. Different Representations concerning the Operation of this Principium
In the first section of this chapter, it has been shown that the possession of a special principium of knowing is indispensable to theology, for the reason that God is never a passive phenomenon, so that all knowledge of God must ever be the fruit of self-revelation on His side. Hence it is the distinct nature of the object of theology which renders a special principium of knowing necessary. This is essentially agreed upon, without distinction, by all who still hold fast to theology in its original sense. Not by those who, though they have adopted an entirely different object for their science, still call themselves theologians; but by the theologians of all churches and tendencies, who, in whatever else they may differ from each other, are still agreed in this, that theology is bent upon the knowledge of the living God, and that from God Himself alone this knowledge can come to us. Among all these, there is no difference of view concerning this ultimate cause (principium remotum).
It is different, on the other hand, when it is further investigated in what ivay this principium of God's selfrevelation has operated or still operates. The confession is still almost uersal that this self-revelation lies at our disposal in the Holy Scripture; but while one group affirms: In the Holy Scripture and nothing else, another group asserts that the apocryphal books as well, and tradition, yea, the papal inspiration also, claim our attention; those who are mystically inclined tend to supersede the Scriptures by personal inspiration; and minds that wander off yet farther point you to a Word of God in nature, in history, in the conscience, or in the ideal disposition of your heart. Two things must be carefully distinguished. There is, on the one hand, the question whether by sin the self-revelation of God is compelled to take a temporary side-road, in order, when sin shall have been entirely overcome, to resume again its original way, or whether in the sinner, also, the internal address of God is still heard in sufficiently clear accents. This touches the relation of natural theology to specially revealed theology, and can pass into the question whether natural theology is not sufficient for the sinner; a matter which in turn is connected with the doctrine of sin. If the reality of sin is finally denied, by dissolving its antithetic character and by viewing it as a stage in a continuous process of development, then it is evident that there is no longer any question of the darkening of our knowledge of God by sin. This, however, is not the point that is in order in this section. Here we assume, therefore, that the reality of sin is acknowledged, that the darkening of our knowledge of God by sin is confessed, so that without a special revelation no sufficient knowledge of God for the sinner is deemed obtainable. If this is accepted, then we come to face an entirely different question: viz. how this special revelation is to be conceived.
The most general conception under which these representations can be grasped is that of inspiration, i.e. of an inworking of the Spirit of God upon the mind and heart of the sinner, by which God makes Himself known to him, and communicates His will or His thoughts. For the present we pass by the quantitive element in this inspiration; we take it now only qualitatively; in which case it is clear that fundamentally it is one and the same conception, whether I speak of theopneusty in the prophets and apostles, of an internal light in the mysticism of the emotions, or of a papal infallibility. The prophet, the mystic, and the bishop of Rome are all sinners, and of each of these three it is affirmed, not that they conceive or imagine something concerning God of themselves, but that there has gone out or goes out upon them an operation of the Holy Spirit, which eo ipso, as wrought by God, bears the divine mark of genuineness. In the application only do these inspiration, internal light and infallibility differ. The most general conception of this inspiration is that of the mysticus. He is the individualist; takes, therefore, every sinner by himself; and now thinks that God, being desirous to reveal Himself to sinners, could scarcely do this in any other way than by communicating Himself separately to every sinner, and thus make Himself known by each. This representation is both the most primitive and simple. Entirely aphoristically God makes Himself known first to A and then to B. That they should know of each other is not necessary. Every one spiritually sick sits as it were in a cell of his own, and in this separated cell receives the visit of the heavenly Physician. Thus it goes on from year to year, and from age to age. This inspiration repeats itself in land upon land. In the main it is always the same, and can only vary according to age, sex, nationality, needs of the soul, etc. With all these variations the type of this inspiration remains unchangeable. It is ever God Almighty turning Himself to the individual sinner, and making Himself known in His eternal mercies. The truth of this mysticism lies naturally in the high estimate of the personal element in religion, and in preaching that not only every individual person must come to his God, but also, that God must reveal Himself to every individual, so that the secret walk with God may be found by every one for his own soul. As a fundamental principle of theology (principium theologicum), on the other hand, this representation of the internal light (lumen internum) is of no use whatever, simply because it rests on fiction. If it were true, if the Lord our God did give to each one personally not merely a disposition, an emotion, a perception, but a real knowledge of God, then he who has been thus mystically inspired should be able to speak just like the prophets of old, and the witness of one should confirm the witness of another. Such, however, is not the case. You never receive from these mystics a clear communication of what has been revealed in this way to enrich our knowledge of God. For the most part they even avoid clear language, and hide themselves behind indefinite expressions of feeling and sounds without rational sense. And where they go a little further and come to the communication of definite representations, you always notice one of two things: either they borrow the content of their communications from the Holy Scriptures, or fall back entirely into natural theology, and treat you to philosophemes well known from other quarters. From this it appears that the pretended communication of knowledge of God, which they claim to receive, is the fruit of selfdeception. The Holy Spirit simply does not work along this individual way, at least not now, after the Scriptures are completed. 'What the Holy Spirit personally does, is to direct faith to the revealed knowledge of God, to explain and apply this revealed knowledge of God to the heart according to its particular need, and also to quicken in the soul a lively sense of truth; but along this individual way He does not impart an increase of content.
With a clear understanding of this, the best known mystics have modified this monotonous-individual conception of inspiration. This conception was not interesting enough, therefore they have inclined to perpetuate the prophets' mantle. Not every child of God has received such an inspiration, but only a few. As in former times among the twelve tribes there were no twelve prophets of influence at once, but generally a single "man of God" appeared in a given period, so the work of God is carried on now. Hence there are present-day prophets; not many, but a few; now here, then there. These men of God receive special inspirations, which do not tend so much to enrich our knowledge of God, but rather serve to make prophecies concerning coming disasters, to establish the claim that all God's people shall subject themselves to such a mystical prophet, and to regulate life and religion according to his orders. This, then, is no longer the theory of an individual, internal light in every child of God, but the representation that prophetic inspiration, as an extraordinary instrument, was not merely temporal and local, but is ever continuous. With this conception the Holy Scriptures are always assumed as existent; from those Scriptures material is drawn; and only the temporal and local application of what was revealed in those Scriptures is vindicated for the mystical fanatic. The tendency reveals itself indeed again and again to soar paracletically above the revelation of the Scriptures, and Montanistically to wander off; but this is almost always the sure sign of approaching dissolution. As soon as the break with the Scripture is entire, the spiritual authority of what was mystically inspired is ended.
They who seek the proximate cause (principium proximum) exclusively in the Holy Scriptures, do not deny the mystical inworkings of the Holy Spirit upon individuals, but maintain that this mystical inworking as such never leads to knowledge of God, and therefore can only be added by way of explanation and application to the knowledge of God obtained elsewhere. With this they do not deny, that an inspiration which brings knowledge of God is possible, but they assert that this is not general but exceptional, and is not primarily for the benefit of individuals but organically for the good of the whole. It remains to them therefore an open question, whether God the Lord could have followed the mystic individual way of communicating the knowledge of Himself; but it is certain that God did not take this way, and that His not taking this atomistic way is in close harmony with the entire method of knowledge in our human race. Our race does not know by adding together what is known by A + B + C, but knows organically. There is a process in this knowledge. This knowledge developing itself in process is the common property of all, and each one takes part in this treasure according to the measure of his susceptibility. This organic conception of our human knowledge lies, therefore, in the very creation of our race, and it does not surprise us that God the Lord has also revealed His divine knowledge for the sinner in an organic way. Hence inspiration is no inshining of God's Spirit in the human spirit that endlessly repeats itself, but an action from the side of God which is limited to a definite period and bound to definite conditions. That which is revealed of the knowledge of God within this given period of time and in connection with those conditions forms one whole; not by the addition of one revelation to the other, but in virtue of the fact that the one rich thought of God develops itself ever more richly from one germ. And since now this process has been ended, so that this revealed knowledge of God has been brought within the reach of our race, there can of course be no more real inspiration, and the individual and organic working of the Holy Spirit which follows after, can have no other tendency than to lead and to enlighten the Church in the spiritual labor which it must expend upon this revelation. This organic interpretation, then, brings with it that whatever you confess concerning the Holy Scriptures is only valid when they are completed, so that during the ages which intervened between Paradise and Patmos, the self-revelation of God to His people bore in part a different character. From this point of view distinction is made between the first period in which the tree begins its growth, and that other period, when }rear by year the tree casts its fruit into your lap. Thus inspiration appears as a temporal activity, which effects a result, organic in nature, and of an organic significance for our entire race. It has had a beginning, and also an ending; and the benefit we derive is no longer a continuous inspiration, but the fruit of the finished inspiration. Not as though this fruit is simply cast at the sinner's feet, for him to do with as he pleases. On the contrary, there are operations of the Holy Spirit, by which He renders the use of this fruit possible for the sinner. Illumination, the witness of the Hoty Spirit, the sacred office, the leadership of the Church, etc., all exert an influence on this. In the sphere of the new life all these operations of the Holy Spirit are no longer abnormal, but normal, and therefore may never be placed in a line with the ever abnormal inspiration. Inspiration, therefore, is here taken in connection with all sorts of other operations of the Holy Spirit, as an abnormal, temporal, organic process, the fruit of which lies before us in the Holy Scripture. The desire to draw the boundary lines sharply here between the normal and the abnormal, expressed itself most clearly in the rejection of the apocrypha.
The third point of view, that of the Romish Church, does not differ essentially from this. Rome also rejects the mystic-atomistic character of inspiration, and interprets it organically. Rome also affirms a difference, though in a weaker form, between the first growth and the later life of this plant. The abnormal character of inspiration is equally certain to Rome as to us. About the authority, therefore, of the Holy Scripture, you will not readily come in controversy with Rome. But the point of view held by Rome differs entirely from ours, when Rome does not bring special inspiration to a close with Patmos, but continues it till the present day in the Church, even in the bishop of Rome e cathedra loquente. This exerts a twofold influence. First, as far as it adds to the content of the Holy Scriptures, and again, in so much as the Church absolutely interprets the Scripture. Since the prophets and apostles are no more among the living, but the Church always is, it is evident that neither prophets nor apostles can exercise any compulsory authority in the Church, while by its official interpretation the Church has it always in her power to interpret the utterances of prophets and apostles as she likes. It should be observed, not only that from this view-point inspiration is always continuous, but also that the inspiration of the past becomes of secondary significance, compared to the inspiration of later times. And this is what Rome has come to, by weakening the difference between the normal and the abnormal. The operations of the Holy Spirit in the sphere of the new life through the ordained ministry and the councils of ecclesiastics are placed on one line with the inspiration of Moses, David or Isaiah; the apocrypha share the authority of the canonical books; and on the other side, the applying and expository operations of the Holy Spirit are withdrawn from the individual life and concentrated in that which is official.
We pass by the small differences from each of these three points of view which occur in Greek, Lutheran, and Baptist Theology. In this section it was our only purpose, where the ultimate cause (principium remotum) is fixed, to distinguish the conceptions which had been formed of the manner in which the Divine energy, in revealing itself to sinners, had reached its result. This process has been represented either as mystic-atomistic or as organic. The first has been done by all fanatics, the latter by all churches. But though all the churches have agreed in the organic interpretation of Revelation, they have separated in this: namely, one group has conceived inspiration not merely as organic, but temporal as well, and consequently as completed; while Rome still thinks that inspiration is continuous in the organism of the Church.
§ 69. The Relation between this Principium and our Consciousness
For the present, we leave the further study of the different conceptions that are formed of the working of this principium, in order to go back to the more weighty question of the connection between this principium and our consciousness — a question the answer to which lies for us in the qualification of this connection as immediate. There is no third something, that guarantees to our consciousness the reality of this principium. The working of this principium upon our consciousness is direct. This is really self-evident, since every principium finds its peculiar character in this, that it is itself ground, and therefore allows no ground under itself; but in the case of the principium of theology ideas have been so confused, that a separate study of it cannot be omitted. For the sake of clearness we start from the ultimate cause, i.e. from special inspiration. God from His own mind breathes (inspirat) into the mind of man, more particularly into the mind of sinful man, and that, too, in a special manner. This, and nothing else, is the principium, from which knowledge of God comes to us sinners, and from which also theology as a science draws its vital power. That besides this inspiration there is also manifestation, and that both inspiration and manifestation are related to what, thanks to common grace, has remained in and about us of natural theology, is neither denied by this nor lost from sight, and will appear later on. To prevent misunderstanding, however, the principium must here be taken as simply as possible; and then this principium lies in God, in so far as He from his Divine consciousness inspires something into the consciousness of the sinner. Imagine this act of God away; say that it does not exist; deny this agency, which goes out from God; and no theology remains. All that remains is poetry, conjecture, supposition; but you have no more theology. It will not do to say "est Deus in nobis, agitante calescimus illo," for this is nothing but an emotion in your feelings, a vibration of a Divine power in your inner life, a something that can very well take place, repeat itself and continue, without effecting any knowledge of God in you. For this very reason this inspiration of God into the human mind, as often as it takes place, is sufficient unto itself. Who on earth can know what takes place between God and my heart, but myself; and how can I know that that which works in me goes out from God to me, except God Himself gives me the certainty of conviction concerning this? The sense of this stands entirely in line with every other primordial sense, such as with the sense of our ego, of our existence, of our life, of our calling, of our continuance, of our laws of thought, etc. All that God gives me in the natural way, to constitute my sense as a human being, I not merely receive from Him, but by Him alone is it guaranteed to me. When this sense of certainty becomes weak, I become sceptical, I lose my higher energy of life, and end in madness, and no human reasoning can restore to me the lost certainty of my human starting-point. The only difference here is, that the general principles of my consciousness are common to me with almost all men, while with the inspiration of God into the mind of the sinner, one has it and the other has it not, so that these two stand over against each other. He who has it not, must deny it; and he who has it, is often shocked by the contradiction of him who has it not. This, however, is not the case with inspiration only. In many other domains one knows an inner impulse, which is foreign to another. Think of the poet, the virtuoso, the hero, and the adventurer. The want of general consent is no proof of want of foundation, and often works the effect, that conviction becomes the more firmly founded. Contradiction can weaken, but it can also strengthen. The question only is, whether there is sufficient ground for the fact of its being present in one and absent in the other. Therefore, the Reformed theologians have ever considered theology also to rest upon the election. If one reasons that all men are entitled to the same thing, and that every sinner has the right to equal gifts of grace, then the fact "that all men have not faith" (2 Thess. iii. 2) is an "offence " to us; and this weakens our sense of what God works upon and in our soul. Hence there is nothing to be done about it, that one man is more deeply sensible of this than another, and that even this sense of God's inspiration appears much more clearly in one age than in another. Human supports avail nothing here. When the fogs are too dense, the sun cannot penetrate to us in its full splendor; as soon as they lift or lessen, the light of itself shines again more brightly in oureyes; and the law remains intact: in thy light shall we see light. The conflict concerning the reality of inspiration may safely, therefore, be ended. Because it is primordial, it cannot be demonstrated; and because it is sufficient unto itself and admits of no proof, it cannot be harmed by counterproof. And it was seen by our fathers entirely correctly, in so far as they founded their confession of the Scripture ultimately upon no other testimony than the witness of the Holy Spirit. All that you add to this may serve as a support to the side-wall, but is never, either wholly or in part, the foundation for the building. If, therefore, our knowledge of God is only derived from the self-communication of God, i.e. is the fruit of inspiration, then God as inspirer (Deus inspirans) must be the principium, the first agent in our knowledge of God; and the finding of a something back of this principium, from which it should follow or flow, is simply inconceivable.
The objection, indeed, may be raised, that in this way two principles, entirely separated from each other, operate in our consciousness: on one side God as Creator (Deus creans), and on the other God as inspirer (Deus inspirans), and more particularly in a special manner (modo speciali). And this we readily grant. This is, indeed, unnatural, and, in a sense, does violence to our consciousness. A twofold source of knowledge in our consciousness is not in accord with the original demand of our consciousness; and he who lives and thinks strongly, can never cease from the effort to make those two one, or to cause one of those two to disappear. Indeed, this duality of principium is no slight obstacle in the way of the assurance of faith, with reference to the special principium. Almost all doubt arises from this dualism. Furthermore, the result must be, that finally this duality shall fall away again, and that the unity of principium shall be restored in our consciousness. Such, indeed, it shall be in the state of glory. In the status gloriae there shall be "no more temple in the city," but also no more Bible in the oratory. A Bible in the oratory is a sign that you yourself are still a sinner in a sinful world. Sinner or no sinner, therefore, is the question which here, too, is decisive; in him who is still sinless or who is no longer a sinner, no conflict, no duality in his consciousness can operate from the side of his God; and in him, therefore, no second principium of Divine knowledge can be added to the original natural principium. But if you reckon with sin, then, of course, it is not sufficient that you recognize the incompleteness of our human conditions; or acknowledge that a great distance still separates your ideal of love and holiness from your actual nature; neither is it sufficient that you heap all sorts of reproaches upon yourself, and whet the sword against sin. All this does not touch the principium of the knowledge of God. This is only touched, when you yourself know that a breach has taken place; and that sin has so broken you, that the channels, through which the knowledge of God flowed to you in virtue of your creation, have been stopped up and otherwise injured, and that thus it is an assured fact to you, that from this natural principium, however good in itself, because once broken and injured, no real knowledge of God can any more come to you. Then only will your consciousness be disposed to look upon a second, a different, a temporarily auxiliary, principium as natural; and with this disposition only will your consciousness be able to grasp the guarantee of the Divine witness in this witness itself. On the other hand, it is equally true that this deep sense of sin, by which you learn to know your state as broken before God, does not come to you from the natural principium, but only from this special principium. There is an interaction here. The more powerful your conviction of sin is, the more readily you grasp the special principium, as suited to your condition; and also, the more decided you are in your acceptance of the knowledge of God from this special principium, the deeper the sense of being a sinner before God will strike root in you. Later on it will be shown, how this witness of the Holy Spirit in its structure is also ethical in its nature. Here, however, let it be said, that this witness of the Holy Spirit always roots in the conviction of sin, and in degree of certainty runs parallel with the certainty of your sense of guilt.
What is said above would not lightly rouse contradiction, if this inspiration of God into the mind of the sinner took place individually. Even those who stand outside of this inspiration would then acknowledge that they can deny the reality of it for themselves, but not for others. But, and this is the difficulty, this principium does not work in this way. To speak plainly, there is no inspiration which goes out directly from God to the soul's consciousness of every one of the elect separately, and offers the same content to all, one by one; on the contrary, there is one central revelation given for all, and it is from this central revelation that every elect one is to draw for himself his knowledge of God. Public charity may provide each poor man a sum of money with which to buy provisions for himself, or may spread in a hall a common table from which all poor people may be fed. And thus it might be conceived that God should give to every sinner whom He chose a special light in the soul, an individual inspiration in his consciousness, and that every one should have enough of this for himself. This is what the mystics of every sort affirm. But such has not been the will of God. God the Lord has spread one table for His entire Church, has given one organically connected revelation for all, and it is from this one revelation designed for all, and which neither repeats nor continues itself, that the churches of all places and times, and in those churches every child of God, has to draw his knowledge of the Eternal Being. And the witness of this one central revelation which neither repeats nor continues itself, lies for us in the Holy Scripture. Not, of course, as though that Bible, by itself, were sufficient to give, to every one who reads it, the true knowledge of God. We positively reject such a mechanical explanation; and by their teaching of the witness of the Holy Spirit as absolutely indispensable for all conviction concerning the Scripture, by their requirement of illumination for the right understanding of the Scripture, and by their high esteem of the ministry of the Word for the application of the Scripture, our fathers have sufficiently shown that such a mechanical explanation cannot be ascribed to them. That they nevertheless took the Holy Scripture, and nothing else, as principium of the knowledge of God, yea, as the sole principium, had its ground in the circumstance that in the witness of the Holy Spirit, in the enlightening and in the application by the ministry of the Word, there is a recognition of what happens to or in the subject, in order that what has been revealed may be appropriated by him; but by these the knowledge of God itself is not increased nor changed. That knowledge of God as such does not come to the sinner from a mystical inworking of the Holy Spirit, neither from the illumination of the regenerate, nor from what the preacher adds to the Scripture, but simply from what he takes from the Scripture. Viewed from whatever point, the Holy Scripture always remains the real principium which brings about the knowledge of God. How this expression principium, applied to the Holy Scripture, is to be understood, can only be explained later on; it is enough that here we translate the individualistic-mystical conception of inspiration into the organically general one. When we viewed inspiration in relation to individual man, we said: In the sinner, so far as pertains to the knowledge of God, the natural principium has been maimed, so that no more new or sufficient knowledge of God comes to man through this channel. This is remedied by a second principium which as principium speciale is provisionally added to the first. This principium also is, if you please, God Himself, or goes out from God. He it is who inspires knowledge of Himself in a special manner into the mind of the sinner (in mentem hominis peccatoris modo speciali sui cognitionem inspirat); and consequently He alone can give assurance concerning His revelation. It concerns here a principium in the proper sense under or back of which therefore there can lie none other. Applying this to the central Revelation, we now say: Our human race, once fallen in sin, can have no more supply of pure or sufficient knowledge of God from the natural principium. Consequently God effects an auxiliary revelation for our human race, which, from a special principium of its own and under the necessary conditions, places a knowledge of God within the reach of the sinner which is suited to his condition. It took many centuries to accomplish this central Revelation, until it reached its completion. The description of this action of God, i.e. the providing of this central Revelation for our human race, is contained in the Holy Scripture. He who would know this central Revelation, must seek it therefore in the Holy Scripture. And in that sense the question, where the special principium with the central Revelation to our race as its fruit is now to be found, must be answered without hesitation as follows: In the Holy Scripture and in the Holy Scripture alone.
If, however, this is taken as if the knowledge of God hidden in the Bible, but not the Bible itself, has come to the sinner from God, then a link in the chain is cracked, and the chain breaks. For then indeed the Bible as such is nothing but an accidental, human annotation, and we have first to decide which parts of it do or do not hold firm. As criterium for this we have no individual inspiration; if we had, the whole conception of a central-organic revelation would again fall away. Hence we have no other criterium at our disposal than our natural principium. And thus the outcome of it must be, that from this untenable view-point you not only ravel out the Scripture by historic criticism, but also annul the content of the central Revelation and reduce it to the natural principium, in order finally to deny every special principium, and after the completed round of the circle to return to the nothing with which you began. Thus indeed it has actually taken place. Having stripped the whole Scripture of its leaves, having peeled and shelled it, we come back, after a struggle of eighteen centuries, by way of Origen, to the Greek philosophers, and the choice remains: Aristotle or Plato. This could not be otherwise, as soon as once the Scripture was placed outside the Revelation, and it was for the sake of protection against this that our fathers emphasized so strongly the Divine authorship of the Scripture as such. Even as your person, by an optical process, photographs itself and produces its own image upon the collodion plate, so it is likewise the Revelation itself which has given its own image in the Holy Scripture. The Scripture as the document of the central Revelation is therefore organically connected with that Revelation itself. The ice in which, in summer, cold is condensed and conserved for you, is organically one with the cold which it brings you. It was cold which caused the water to congeal, and from the ice the cool breath is refreshingly wafted to you. Therefore in olden times it was ever emphasized that the content and form of the Holy Scripture were most intimately and organically connected, and that not merely its content but also its form sprang from the principium speciale, i.e. from that special action which has gone out from God to our sinful race, in order to discover Himself to the sinner. The distinction of course between these two actions of the Holy Spirit must ever be kept in view; even more sharply than our fathers were accustomed to do this. For by their summary exposition they gave some occasion for the idea, that it were almost indifferent whether in earlier ages a real revelation had ever taken place, so long as we but had the Scripture. With a too high estimate of the chart which was drawn of the country, the country itself at times seemed a superfluity. In this way spiritual intellectualism was fed, and oftentimes the reality of history was sacrificed to a barren abstraction. The representation of a Bible dictated word for word did not originate from it, but was materially advanced by it: an error which of course cannot be overcome, except first the inspiration that operated in the revelation itself be separately considered, and then a proper representation be given of the inspiration that operated in and with the compilation of the canon of the Holy Scripture. But however strongly we emphasize that the real inspiration of the Scripture must be carefully distinguished from the inspiration of the revelation as entirely dissimilar, yet this may never be taken as though the one action of the Spirit stood in no organic relation to the other. Both, indeed, are expressions of the one will of God, to grant to our race, lost in sin, a central Revelation, and to bring this central Revelation within the reach of all ages and people.
For the simple believer it is, therefore, by no means necessary to consider this distinction, provided he makes no dogma of his own thoughtless representation, and with this dogma, formulated on his own authority, resists the accurate representation. How the central Revelation has come, concerns the believer only in so far as it must be to him the fruit of the grace of God — of God, and of that God in His grace. It is quite enough if the Holy Scripture is but the Word of God's grace, by which he may live and die. The Heidelberg Catechism requires, therefore, no theory concerning the Scripture, but merely asks that one believe, and believe in such a way, "that one hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in his word" (answer 21). The Scripture, and all the historic content of which that Scripture bears witness, is therefore not something by itself, which inserts itself with a certain independence between our consciousness and God, as the principium of revelation; but is as the wave of ether, upon which the beam of light from the source of light moves itself directly to our eye. To him who does not feel that, at the moment when he opens the Holy Scripture, God comes by and in it and touches his very soul, the Scripture is not yet the Word of God, or has ceased to be this; or it is this in his spiritual moments, but not at other times, as when the veil lies again on his heart, while again it is truly such when the veil is taken away. With the Holy Scripture it can never be a God afar off, and the Scripture a something God sends from afar. The telephone rather supplies an illustration that interprets this reality. God is, indeed, a God afar off; but He approaches you by and in the Scripture; unveils His presence to you; and speaks to you as though you were standing right by Him, and He drew you close beneath His wings. The action on God's side is not ended when the Scripture is completed for all nations. The revealing activity is then, indeed, completed and decided to the end, in so far as the central instrument is concerned, and nothing will ever be added to it; but this is not all. This central instrument of revelation is not placed in the midst of the world, in order that God may now look on and see what man will do with it. On the contrary, now follows that entirely distinct action of preserving the Scripture, of interpreting and of applying the Scripture, and — still more specially — of bringing the Scripture to individual souls, of preparing those souls for its reception, and bringing them in contact with it, and thus finally, by what our Reformed Theologians called providentia specialissima, of rendering this Scripture a special revelation for this and that given person. The confession of all those who have possessed the Scripture most fully and enjoyed it most richly, has ever been that it was God who brought them to the Scripture and the Scripture to them; that He opened their eyes, so that they might understand the Scripture; and that only by the light which shone on them from the Scripture, light has appeared in their own person and the life round about them.
At no single point of the way is there place, therefore, for a support derived from demonstration or reasoning. There is no man that seeks, and seeking finds the Scripture, and with its help turns himself to his God. But rather from beginning to end it is one ceaselessly continued action which goes out from God to man, and operates upon him, even as the light of the sun operates upon the grain of corn that lies hidden in the ground, and draws it to the surface, and causes it to grow into a stalk. In God, therefore, is the principium from which this entire action proceeds. This principium of grace in God brings it to pass that a central Revelation is established in and for our sinful race. That same principium is the agent by which the image of that Revelation is reflected in the Scripture. And it is again that same principium of grace, the motive power of which goes out to the soul of the sinner, that by the Scripture it may bind him personally to that Revelation, and by that Revelation back again to his God. From this it follows of itself that with each one personally you must distinguish between his experimental (netto) and purely intellectual (bruto) faith in the Scripture, i.e. between that in the Scripture which has been personally assured to his heart by the living God, and all the rest, which still lies outside of the life of his soul, and only bears a holy character for the sake of its connection with the first, though it is as yet unknown to him. The proportions of these experimental and intellectual faiths will be different with every individual according to the depth of his inner life and the flight of his wings. It will be constantly modified with each person whose life of faith advances, so that the experimental and intellectual faith will proportionately decrease and increase. But however this purely intellectual (bruto) faith may diminish, it is not conceivable that there has ever been one single believer to whom the entire Scripture has been the possession of his heart. This may even be maintained of those who have literally covered the entire Bible, and have served the Church of God with an exposition of its entire contents. Just because the Divine character of the Scripture rests for us exclusively on faith, the richest exposition can never constitute anything for us a Word of God. The distinction must clearly be maintained. What God Himself does not bear witness to in your soul personally (not mystic-absolutely, but through the Scriptures) can never be known and con. fessed by you as Divine. Finite reasoning can never obtain the infinite as its result. If God then withdraws Himself, if in the soul of men He bear no more witness to the truth of His Word, men can no longer believe, and no apologetics, however brilliant, will ever be able to restore the blessing of faith in the Scripture. Faith, quickened by God Himself, is invincible ; pseudo-faith, which rests merely upon reasoning, is devoid of all spiritual reality, so that it bursts like a soapbubble as soon as the thread of your reasoning breaks.
The relation between the principium of Theology and our consciousness can therefore be nothing else than immediate. Not immediate in the sense that God could not be pleased to make use of all kinds of transmissions, arrangements and processes, by which to reach man's inmost soul; but such that at no single point of the line the natural principium can come in between to fill up the void, which might remain open in the going out of the principium of grace to our heart. The principium gratiae operates from the side of God right through the periods of Revelation, the Scripture, the mystical union, etc., till our heart has been reached and touched; and our heart gives itself captive, not because critically it allows and approves the approach of God; but because it can offer no resistance, and must give itself captive to the operation which goes out from God.
All faith in the Scripture quickened by God, and in God quickened by the Scripture, which does not bear this immediate character, and would borrow its assurance from any course of reasoning, is therefore absurd. For you must accept one of two things, either that each one personally must reason this out for himself, or that only a few are able to do this, so that the others must depend upon these few. The first is impossible, for the simple reason that not one-tenth per cent. of the children of men are capable of entering upon the required investigation; and the second is equally impossible, since then you would substitute faith on human authority in the place of faith in God. Moreover, faith is not a demand that belongs to the more advanced periods of life, but it must be exercised from youth up; how, then, would you have faith be born as the result of a study, of which the best are not capable until the years of mid-life? It should also be observed, how in this way the faith of one would continually be shocked by the mistakes in the investigation of another. What would it profit you, if you had reached a sufficient and satisfactory result for yourself? Tomorrow a book appears with new objections, and then everything with you must remain unsettled, so long as you cannot successfully unnerve all those new objections. Scarcely, however, has this been accomplished, when still another advances new difficulties, and thus you are engulfed in an endless whirl between doubt and faith. Worse still: after a study of more than twelve centuries spent on the Scriptures, there is yet no faintest outlook that these studies will ever lead to a satisfactory result. The conflict concerning the Holy Scriptures will most likely be continued till the final return of the Lord. How, then, can faith ever rest on the result of these studies as foundation, when its presence has been a necessity from the beginning, and when in those early times, in which there was no question of these studies, faith was most vital and powerful? For no single moment, therefore, may we entertain the admission that argument may be the ground of conviction. This would be a "passing into another kind," which is logically condemned. Faith gives highest assurance, where in our own consciousness it rests immediately on the testimony of God; but without this support, everything that announces itself as faith is merely a weaker form of opinion based on probability, which capitulates the moment a surer knowledge supersedes your defective evidence.
And as regards the objection, that all this is very excellent, provided it does not include the Scriptures, and no other thought is entertained than of the mystical communion with the eternal Being, simple reference to what was explained in § 46 sq. would suffice; but even without this reference, we might say that, as a matter of fact, such faith has only shown itself where it concerned the Holy Scriptures. In other circles many different emotions have likewise been experienced, brilliant exhibitions of ethical heroism been seen, and many sorts of religious expressions observed, both aesthetic and otherwise; but here we treat of the "Knowledge of God " (Cognitio Dei) and of the principia from which this knowledge of God flows. And that faith, which leads individuals and whole circles to conscious worship, not of the "Unknown God" at Athens, but of the known Father who is in heaven, is not found, except where the Scriptures have been the Divine instrument, in God's hand, of that knowledge.
§ 70. Relation between this Principium and the Natural Principium
The acknowledgment of the Holy Scriptures as the principium of theology gives rise to an antithesis between this principium and the common principium of our knowledge. From this antithesis a certain relation between the two is born, and this relation also must be investigated. We speak here only of theology in the narrower sense as knowledge of God (cognitio Dei), and in so far we might limit ourselves to the relation between natural and revealed theology (theologia naturalis and revelata), which is virtually the contents of this section. But this we will not do. First, because the formal action of our thinking is also involved, and secondly, because with natural theology one thinks more of the content, while here we are interested almost exclusively with the principium from which this content flows.
As stated above, the natural principium not only may not be ignored, but is even permanent and lasting, while the special principium falls away as soon as its task is ended. Only with this reservation can we speak of a twofold principium. A twofold principium of knowledge is thinkable with reference to different objects, as, for instance, God and the cosmos; but not, as in this case, with reference to God alone. In both cases indeed, in natural and in revealed theology, we speak of knowledge of God, of knowledge, therefore, of the same God, and of knowledge of the same God to be obtained by the same subject, i.e. man, or more correctly, humanity. No doubt a temporary inability in man may render the knowledge of God no more sufficiently possible for him in the normal way, and thus it must be supplied in an abnormal way; but this does not modify the fundamental plan, and the outcome must ever be, that the knowledge of God is imparted to humanity in the normal, and hence in only one way. At present nature stands temporarily over against grace; but in the end, in glorified nature, there will be no more question of grace. All that the Holy Scripture teaches concerning the knowledge of God in its consummation, aims, indeed, at a condition in which the abnormality of the ordinance of redemption falls entirely away, and whatever was grounded in creation returns, but carried up to its end (WXo?). In part it even seems as though Christ then effaces Himself, in order that it may be "God all in all." Even as Christ before His death pointed His disciples away from Himself to the Father, saying: "I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you; for the Father himself loveth you."
This implies at the same time, that the eternally enduring knowledge of God, possessed by the redeemed, shall not be after the nature of the special, but according to the nature of the natural principium. However rich the dispensation of grace may be, it ever remains a bandage applied to the injured part of the body, and is never that vital part itself. When a wound of the throat prevents the taking of food in the common way, it may be brought into the stomach artificially. The purpose of this, however, is always to save life, by the vitality thus saved to bring on healing, so that finally food may again enter the stomach in the normal way through the throat. The scaffolding placed before a dilapidated gable may be the only enclosure about the house for a long time, and may render it quite invisible, but the purpose in view is, that presently the scaffold shall disappear, and the house itself be seen again, and remain in its normal condition. In a similar sense it must be confessed of the original principium of knowledge, that by sin it has become temporarily insufficient and has been rendered incapable; that consequently the temporary aid of another principium has become indispensable; but that the tendency of this can be no other than to restore the natural principium, i.e. the principium grounded in our nature to its normal activity; and as soon as this has been realized, to dismiss the special principium, which renders merely a temporary service. Let no misunderstanding, however, enter here. We by no means assert that the purpose of extraordinary revelation is to restore us to the knowledge of God which Adam had. All knowledge we possess in this earthly dispensation shall pass away, and in place of this defective knowledge there is to come the "seeing face to face." Even now the form of our consciousness differs by day and by night; ecstasy and vision affect us differently from common fancy and sober reasoning. But this effects no change in our psychic constitution. Even if you imagine sin never to have entered, so that no ruin of our nature had taken place, and there would consequently have been no question of a special revelation, the knowledge, nevertheless, which Adam had as connate, would sometime have passed into the "seeing face to face." The butterfly exhibits an entirely different form from the caterpillar, and yet that butterfly came forth from the natural conditions of the caterpillar, without any assistance in the transition from an abnormal something. Call the knowledge which Adam had in paradise the caterpillar, and the "knowing face to face" the beautiful butterfly, and you perceive how this higher and to be completed knowledge belongs, nevertheless, to the sphere of the natural and not to the sphere of the special principium.
This, however, has been heretofore too much overlooked by orthodox theology. Losing itself almost entirely in the content of the special revelation, it has taken this too much for the essential one, and has scarcely been able to represent it otherwise than that this special revelation is to be permanent. The insight, that of course the Scripture ceases its use to us with our dying, that after death no sacrament is any more conceivable, and that in the realm of glory the Christological period, if we may so express it, shall disappear, in order that the triune God may again be "all in all " has not been given its place even dogmatically. Rome, by the action of the church on earth in behalf of the dead, had concentrated eschatology entirely into the period preceding the Judgment-day; the Reformation neglected eschatology sorely; what from the side of modern orthodoxy has been supplied in our times to make us think of a church with a soteriologic ministry beyond the grave, has occasioned mere confusion; when the state of the blest was considered, it was more a mystical fanaticism than the sober putting of the question of the consciousness of the redeemed: it is not strange, therefore, that the question, from what "principium of knowledge" the redeemed will think, was not even formulated. Light on the subject, however, was not wanting. "Prophecies, tongues, knowledge," everything that constitutes our riches here, will disappear, according to the word of the apostle. Special revelation is called a "glass," which renders temporary aid, to receive for us the image and reflect it back again; but that glass also shall sometime belong to the past. And then there comes an entirely different knowing, even as we are known, which includes of itself, that this knowledge will come to us entirely by the data provided in creation. Not of course so as to lose anything of what was revealed in the rich revelation of the mercy of God in an uncommon way, but, and herein lies the mystery, in order to take up this rich gain into our normal existence; which mystery finds its explanation in the dogma de Christo. It is revealed to us, that the Mediator shall make surrender of the kingdom to God, even the Father, but in such a way, that He Himself remains eternally the Head of His mystical body (corpus mysticum). The Christ will not disappear, in order that Adam may again take his place as head of our race. On the contrary, Adam never resumes the place of honor lost by sin ; but the mystery is this,—that Christ shall sometime be no longer the interposed Mediator, but the natural Head of the human race in glory. This, however, may not detain us now. But the suggestion of the dogmatic relation between the question in hand in this section, and the questions of eschatology and Christology, was necessary. And provisionally our purpose is accomplished, if it is clear, why the whole dispensation of special grace passes away, and how in consequence the special principium of knowledge, from which theology draws its life, is destined sometime to disappear into the natural principium.
This, however, does not explain the mutual relation of the two, though this indeed is most necessary, if we hope to escape the false representations abroad, especially concerning natural theology (theologia naturalis). If at first the Reformation fostered more accurate ideas, soon the temptation appeared too strong, to place natural theology as a separate theology alongside of special theology (theologia specialis). The two were then placed mechanically side by side. To natural theology we owed the knowledge of God's Being, of the Divine attributes, of His works, providence, moral law, the last judgment, etc., and although special theology made us know a great deal of sin and grace, in fact it enriched the real knowledge of God only with the knowledge of His "Grace" and of His "Threefold Being "; at least, in so far as real clearness is concerned; for the fundamental feature of this mystery too was soon thought to be also found among the Heathen. With this division it became apparent, that the real Theology as knowledge of God gave the lion's share to natural theology, and that the theology of grace, while it occupied itself with many and exalted mys-\ teries, in reality abandoned the foundation of all knowledge
of God, and therefore the heart of the matter, to its twin sister. This furnished natural theology the occasion to unfold its wings ever more broadly; to expand itself and lessen the importance of special theology; until finally it has succeeded in stepping forth as a monarch and in contesting all right of utterance to special theology. And this could not be otherwise, and will repeat itself again and again, so long as the error is committed of representing special theology as sufficient in itself, and of making natural theology do service as Martha by the side of Mary. It is, therefore, of the greatest importance, to see clearly, that special theology may not be considered a moment without natural theology, and that on the other hand natural theology of itself is unable to supply any pure knowledge of God.
That special revelation (revelatio specialis) is not conceivable without the hypothesis of natural theology, is simply because grace never creates one single new reality. This does not even take place in miracles. In no miracle does anything originate which is to be added as a new element to the existing cosmos. The very possibility of this is inconceivable and would destroy the organic character of the cosmos. In regeneration no new component part, which in creation lay outside of our being, is added to man. And even in the incarnation it is no new " Divine-human nature," which as something new (novum quid) is added to what exists, but our own human nature that becomes the revelation of that same God, who stood over against Adam in the creation. That in heaven no new reality has originated, needs no assertion. But since neither in heaven nor on earth any new reality is created by grace, how can special revelation stand on a root of its own? If you go outside of reality, then, it is a fiction with which you cannot deal. If, on the other hand, as the Church confesses, it lays hold upon the reality of heaven and earth, then it can be no other than the existing reality, and in order to be true, it cannot borrow its strength from any but that existing reality. All that the Scriptures teach, therefore, concerning "the making of all things new," the "new creature" and the works in Christ," views at no time anything but new relations, new methods of existence, new forms, and never puts us face to face with a newly originated element. As far as the substance is concerned, God remains unchangeable, the being of man is now what it was before the fall, and the cosmos is indeed impaired, but always the identical world of Gen. i. 1. In man also no new capacities are created, for even faith (as was shown above) roots in our nature, as created by God in Paradise. In what domain then can the reality be found, in which a special grace, outside of natural life, could soar on wings of its own? Where would be the spot to offer it a resting-place for the sole of its foot? This entire representation, therefore, as though grace had produced a knowledge of God of its own, which as competitor runs by the side of natural theology, must be most decidedly rejected. There can be no such special theology; it is simply unthinkable. When Calvin, therefore, speaks of the "seed of religion" which is present in every sinner, and our Confessio JBelgica teaches in Art. 2, "that we know God by two means, Nature and the Scriptures," this may not be taken in the sense of the later rationalistic supranaturalists, for there lies in it only the simple confession, that without the basis of natural theology there is no special theology. "God has given to all," says Calvin, " some apprehension of his existence, the memory of which he frequently and insensibly renews" (Inst. Mel. Chr. I. 3. i.). "So that the sense of the Divinity can never be entirely lost" (Ibidem). And it is upon the canvas of this natural knowledge of God itself that the special revelation is embroidered. He expresses it so accurately and beautifully: "the Scripture, collecting in our minds the otherwise confused notions of Deity, dispels the darkness, and gives us a clear view of the true God" (Inst. I. 6. i.). It is, therefore, beside the truth when the separate mention of Nature and the Scripture in the Reformed confessions is taken as an indication of our principium of knowledge, by way of juxtaposition or coordination. Later dogmatici may have taught this, but it is not in accord with the spirit of Calvin or of the Reformed type of doctrine. His metaphor, that the Bible is a pair of spectacles which enables us to read the Divine writing in nature, may be insufficient as an explanation of the problem in hand; in any case it cuts off absolutely every representation that the idea of natural and special theology as two concurrent magnitudes is derived from Calvin.
If we might choose another metaphor to explain the relation between the two, entirely in the spirit of Calvin but more fully, the figure of the grafted tree pleases us most. He who grafts, plants no new tree, but applies himself to one that exists. That tree is alive, it draws its sap from the roots, but this vital sap is wild, in consequence of which the tree can bear no fruit that is desired. And now the grafter comes, and inserts a nobler graft, and thereby brings it to pass that this vital sap of the wild tree is changed, so that the desired fruit now ripens on the branches. This new graft does not stand by the side of the wild tree, but is in it; and if the grafting is a success, it may equally well be said that the true graft lives by the old tree, as that the uncultivated tree is of use solely because of the new graft. And such, indeed, is the case here. The wild tree is the sinner, in whose nature works the natural principium of the knowledge of God as an inborn impelling power. If you leave this natural principium to itself, you will never have anything else than wild wood, and the fruit of knowledge does not come. But when the Lord our God introduces from without, and thus from another principium, a shoot of a true plant, even the principle of a pure knowledge into this wild tree, i.e. into this natural man, then there is not a man by the side of a man, no knowledge by the side of a knowledge, but the wild energy remains active in this human nature, i.e. incomplete knowledge; while the ingrafted new principium brings it to pass, that this impelling power is changed and produces the fruit of true knowledge. The special knowledge is, indeed, a new and proper principium, but this principium joins itself to the vital powers of our nature with its natural principium; compels this principium to let its life-sap flow through another channel; and in this way cultivates ripe fruit of knowledge from what otherwise would have produced only wood fit for fire.
If now we investigate the meaning of this figure, entirely clear by itself, it appears at once that the grafting of true upon wild wood is only possible because both, however different in quality, are one, nevertheless, in disposition of nature. Grafting succeeds the better in proportion to the closeness of correspondence between the two kinds of wood, and if all relationship were wanting between wild and true wood, grafting would simply be impossible. For the subject in hand, this means that natural and special theology possess a higher unity, are allied to one another, and, by virtue of this unity and relationship, are capable of affecting each other. This higher unity lies (1) in God, (2) in man, and (3) in the purpose for which the life of grace, and consequently the special knowledge, comes forward. In God, because the principium of natural, as well as of special, knowledge lies in Him; because He remains the object of both kinds of knowledge; and because the revelation of His grace is revelation of grace in Him who created natural life for the glory of His name. Secondly, in man, since it is the same ego that draws knowledge from both principia; since in this ego it is one and the same consciousness in which this knowledge of God is taken up; and since it is no other kind of man, but the very man who fell, who as sinner needs the knowledge of this grace. And, finally, in the purpose of the special knowledge, which consists not in a cutting off of our natural life, but in the restoration of that same life, which is ours by nature, into a normal state guaranteed against a new fall. Special revelation does not begin, therefore, by ignoring what has already been effected by natural revelation, but unites itself to this in so positive a sense, that without these sparks (scintillae) or remnants (rudera) it were itself unthinkable; and for this reason Reformed Theology has ever resisted the Lutheran representation as though the sinner were merely "a stock or block." If the "seed of religion" did not operate in the sinner, he would not be susceptible to special revelation. Whatever still remains in the sinner of this seed of religion and the knowledge of God connected with this, is, therefore, adopted by special revelation, as the indispensable instrument by which it operates. Without this, it neither reaches nor touches man, remains an abstraction, and misses its form of existence. How can there be a sense of sin without the sense of God, or susceptibility for grace without the consciousness of guilt? The Holy Bible is, therefore, neither a law-book nor a catechism, but the documentation of a part of human life, and in that human life of a divine process. Of the Apocalyptic vision only, it can be said that it misses this quality in part; but because of this very antithesis with the Apocalypse, one perceives at once the real human character of all the other parts of the revelationlife. Nowhere in the Scriptures do you find, therefore, an attempt to divide into certain compartments what is severally supplied by natural and special knowledge; but, throughout, you find the special revelation grafted upon the natural. Natural knowledge is not only assumed by the special, but only in this does it fully assert itself. Knowledge is the pinnacle which is not placed on the ground alongside of the steeple, but is supported by the body of the steeple and is lifted up on high. You may not say, therefore: This is my natural revelation, in addition to which comes the special. For as a result, you obtain but one "knowledge of God," the content of which has flowed to you from both sources, whose waters have mingled themselves.
And if for this reason an exhibition of the special knowledge without the natural is inconceivable, the representation is equally absurd that the natural knowledge of God, without enrichment by the special, could ever effect a satisfying result. The outcome has shown that this natural knowledge, as soon as it threw off the bridle of paradise tradition, led the masses to idolatry and brutalization, and the finer minds to false philosophies and equally false morals. Paul indicates one of these two phases by the remark, that there was first a condition in which the natural knowledge of God allowed "that which may be known of God" (Rom. i. 19) to be manifest, but that this was followed by the period in which God gave the sinner up (irapeBa>Ke). Not to speak now of that first period, it is clear that at least after that the natural knowledge of God could lead to no result; not even in philosophy, of which the same apostle testifies that the "wisdom of the world is made foolish" (1 Cor. i. 20). Hence it is only by the special knowledge that the natural knowledge becomes serviceable. By the light of the Scripture the sinner becomes able to give himself an account of the "seed of religion" in his heart and of the " divine things" visible in the cosmos; but, where this light hides itself even upon the Areopagus I advance no farther than to the Unknown God.
If therefore this entire juxtaposition, as though a special knowledge of God stood side by side with a natural knowledge of God, falls away, the way is cleared thereby to view more accurately the relation between the two principia of this knowledge thus distinguished. Both principia are one in God, and the beam of this light is only broken when the soundness of our human heart is broken by sin. The knowledge-bringing impulse goes out from God to us; the active element, the first mover (primum movens), as the ultimate cause (principium remotissimum), lies in the Divine Being. This impulse of self-communication to man attains its end completely in creation by the whole instrumentation for the natural knowledge. And where, after sin, this Divine impulse encounters an evil cataract, which prevents the entrance of light, this impulse seeks and finds another and more sure way by special revelation. Hence it is the same God, and in that God the same impulse, by which both principia appear in action. That in the origin of all things, or, more particularly, in God's eternal counsel, both these stood in this unity before God, cannot detain us here, since this belongs to the domain of dogmatics; but here it must be indicated that the natural principium lays the foundation of all knowledge, and that the special principium either fails of its purpose or must adapt itself entirely to the provisions that are original in the creation. Even the miracles, whose character cannot be considered closely here, link no new element into the sum of things, but, so far as their origin is concerned, they are entirely identical with the wondrous power which became manifest in the creation itself. The same is true of the several means, which God has employed, to introduce the special revelation into our human consciousness. In the interests of this also you see no new or other capacities appear in man; but merely the application in a peculiar manner of what was given in the creation. Before the fall God speaks with Adam, God causes a deep sleep to come upon Adam, and, by an encroaching act of God, Eve enters upon existence. God has entrance to our heart by nature, and not first by grace; He is able to rule the human spirit by His Spirit; and able to communicate to man what He will. The communication of the test-commandment is an immediate communication of a conscious thought, which could not rise from Adam's own consciousness. Actually, therefore, in special revelation no single means is used which was not already present by nature in or about man. No new structure is provided for human consciousness. All that has taken place is, that God the Lord has restored a few broken strings of the instrument, tuned these restored strings in a different way, and by this immediate modification He has evoked such a tone from the instrument as, being without significance to sinless man, had become indispensable to the sinner. Hence there would have been no question of a second principium, if there were not this act of God, by which He has accommodated Himself to the sinner. It is with this, as it is with you, when for the sake of making yourself understood by a member of the family who has become deaf, you no longer choose his ear as a vehicle for your thoughts, but make him read with his eyes the words from your lips. Thus, when we became deaf to God, He has employed a different means by which to make Himself knowable to us; and in so far as with a deaf person the hearing of sound and the reading of lips might be called a different "principium of knowledge," there is here also the mention of such different principles, but only in so far. There has gone out an act from God to reveal Himself to the sinner, however deaf this one had become; for this God has availed Himself of the means that were present in the creation, but which were now applied in a different way; and it is by this abnormal act of God, brought about by the modified application of present means, that special revelation was established; and in this, i.e. in this abnormal act of God, brought about by means applied in a different way, lies the special principium for the knowledge of God as All-Merciful to sinners. When croup prevents the breathing in of air, the heroic operation in the throat is sometimes undertaken, in order in this way to obtain a new opening for the supply of fresh air; but they are still the same lungs for which the air is intended, and it is the same atmosphere from which the air is drawn; only another entrance has been unlocked temporarily, and in so far a different principium of respiration has been established. In this sense it can be said, that the normal entrance, which in creation God had unlocked for Himself to our heart, had become inaccessible by sin, and that for this reason, by an act of heroic grace, God has temporarily opened for Himself another entrance to our heart, to reveal Himself as the same God to the same creature, only now with the aid of a different principium of revelation.
In God, who is and always will be Himself the principium of all being (essentia) and all knowing (cognitio), nothing else is conceivable than the unity of principium. But when from His eternal being our becoming is born, there is majesty in this eternal being to maintain His divine identity over against every abnormal process in our becoming; and this takes place by the appearance of the special principium. which actually is nothing else but the maintenance of God's holiness over against our sin, of God's truth over against our falsehood, and of God's counsel over against the demoniacal design of Satan.
§ 71. Is the Natural Principium able to summon the Special Principium before its Tribunal?
Having freed ourselves, in the preceding section, of all dualism, which is so often inserted between the two principia of Divine knowledge, we now face the no less important question, whether the natural principium, either formally or materially, is to sit in judgment upon the special principium. This is the frequent claim. They who oppose us, and do not recognize another principium alongside of the natural data, continually demand, that we demonstrate the reality and the reliability of the special principium at the bar of human reason. And to a certain extent this demand is fair, at least over against Methodism, and, in fact, over against every dualistic tendency, which, in the sense we disapprove, places special revelation as a new unit alongside of the natural principium, as though the latter were under sentence of death, and the special principium could furnish the guarantee of eternal permanency. Over against every representation of this character our conviction remains dominant that our life, as originally given in the Creation, is the substratum of our real existence ; that as such it is and remains for us the real; and that, therefore, whatever special revelation may supply, must be taken up into this and, for us personally, can only thus obtain its reality. From this, however, it does not follow that the natural principium should be qualified to judge the special revelation. If special revelation assumes that in consequence of sin the normal activity of the natural principium is disturbed, this implies of itself that the natural principium has lost its competency to judge. He who considers it possessed of this competency declares thereby eo ipso that it is still normal, and thus removes all sufficient reason for a special revelation. You must either deny it the right of judgment, or, if you grant it this right, the object disappears upon which judgment shall be passed. The psychiater, who treats the maniac, cannot render his method of treatment dependent upon the judgment of his patient. Equally little can you attribute this right of judgment over the special principium to the natural principium, if you consider the character of a principium. As soon as you grant that special revelation falls under the judgment of your natural principium, it is hereby denied eo ipso that it has proceeded from a principium of its own. No other judgment except death unqualified ("la mort sans phrase") is here possible for the special principium, simply because a judgment, derived from the natural principium deeming itself normal, cannot posit a second principium. A principium in its own sphere is exclusive. In order to subject the principium of theology to the judgment of another principium, you must first confess that it is no real principium. For a thing is either no principium, or it must be autonomous and sufficient unto itself.
This is of the more force, in this instance, insomuch as the natural principium, taking its stand in judgment over against us, presents itself as unimpaired, and pretends to be normal. If it recognized the reality of another principium, it would at the same time imply the confession, that it itself has become disabled, and is consequently in need of the corrective or of the supplement of another principium. Hence this question also has a moral side. If self-knowledge, quickened by the inshining of a higher light, leads to the recognition that the natural principium has become imperfect, then it is most natural (1) to grant the necessity of a corrective principium, and at the same time (2) to recognize that our darkened natural principium is incompetent to pass judgment. If, on the other hand, I stand in the high-spirited conviction that the natural principium is in good order, that nothing is wanting in it, and that consequently it has the right of supremacy, then it follows that every corrective must seem insulting, upon all of which alike I must pass the sentence of death, and that I cannot rest until each corrective lies executed under the dissecting knife of criticism. The outcome, indeed, has shown that this standpoint has never been taken and maintained with any degree of consistency, without the whole of special revelation being always and inexorably declared to be the product of delusion or of self-deception. Grace has been granted only to those component parts of this revelation which allowed themselves to be brought over to the natural principium. Every effort to defend the good right of your position is therefore entirely vain, over against a man of thought, who holds the natural principium to be unimpaired, and who has not himself come under the overwhelming power of the special principium. Being as he is, he can do nothing else than dispute your special revelation every right of existence; to move him to a different judgment you should not reason with him, but change him in his consciousness; and since this is the fruit of regeneration, it does not lie with you, but with God.
From this, again, it does not follow that you may now accept everything that comes into your mind, and that thus you may be unreasonable with yourself. Reformed Theology has always antagonized this caprice, and in imitation of the Cur Deus homo? of Anselm it has, with reference also to special revelation, first of all instituted an investigation into the necessitous Sacrae Scripturae. He who, thanks to the inshining of higher light, has perceived the darkening of the natural principium, and has given himself captive to the special principium, cannot on this account abandon his reason, but is bound to try to understand these two facts in their mutual relation and in relation to the reality in which he finds himself. This is both demanded and rendered possible by what we found in the last section concerning the relation of the special principium to our creaturely capacities; even in the sense, that one is able to see for himself the reasonableness of his conviction and confession; is able to prove this to those who start out from similar premises; and can place them before the opponent in such a light that, with the assumption of our premises, he can accept our conclusions.
The argument may even then be continued concerning those premises themselves, more particularly with reference to the question, whether our reason is in a condition of soundness or of darkening; but suppose that the unsoundness or abnormality of our reason be granted on both sides, this would by no means compel the opponent to accept the special principium which we defend. From the coincidence of the facts, that one of your children is lost and that I have found a lost child, it does not in the least follow, that the child I have found is your child. Even though it were frankly granted that something is lacking in our reason, that our reason by itself is insufficient, — yes, that it calls for a complement, — the conclusion can never be logically drawn from this that the Sacra Scriptura, or, better still, the special principium lying back of this, either is or offers this complement. Even though you compel the opponent to recognize, that your special principium fits into the imperfection of your natural principium as a piece of china into a broken dish, this would not prove the reality of this natural principium. For it could still be answered, that the defect would surely be supplemented, if indeed a revelation, such as you pretend, were at our disposal; but that this is the very thing in which you are mistaken; that your special principium, with its supposed fruit in the Sacra Scriptura, is nothing but the shadow cast upon the wall by the existing defect; is the product of your own imagination; the minus balance of your account changed into plus. In a word, there would always be defence ready against the proof that this special principium is real, and this proof is not possible of any principium. Could this be furnished, it would eo ipso cease to be a principium.
But this will not be reached. For though you succeed in showing that your reason founders upon antinomies, that it finds itself shut up within limits which cannot be made to agree with the impulse after knowledge that works in it, and that it leaves the higher aspirations of our nature unsatisfied, this has no compelling force with him who has an interest in not accepting your special principium. For he can make good his escape by the way of agnosticism, which accepts the incomplete character of our knowledge as an iron necessity; or make the side-leap to the pantheistic process, which calculates that from the incomplete the complete of itself will gradually come forth. Moreover, though he evade you in this manner, you may not question the honesty of your opponent. From your own point of view you acknowledge that he who stands outside of spiritual illumination does not perceive, and cannot perceive, the real condition of his own being, nor of his reason. In a religiousethical sense you may indeed say, that the impulse of his opposition is enmity against God; but this does not make him dishonest as a man of science, within the domain of logic. He takes his premises, as they actually present themselves to him, and so far acknowledges with you, that in the natural principium there is something that does not satisfy us; but he disputes that, for the present at least, it needs to satisfy us, and more still, that the satisfaction, of which you boast, is anything more than appearance.
Hence the dispute can advance no farther than the acknowledgment of antinomies in our consciousness and the insufficiency of our reason to satisfy entirely our thirst after knowledge. But where the recognition of this leads you to the conclusion of the necessity of the Sacred Scripture, the rationalist either stops with the recognition of this disharmony, or glides over into other theories, which allow him to limit himself to the natural principium. And rather than call in the aid of another principium with you, he will cast himself into the arms of materialism, which releases him at once from the search after an infinite world, which then does not exist. All the trouble, therefore, that men have given themselves to make advance, by logical argument, from the acknowledgment of the insufficiency of our reason as a starting-point, has been a vain expenditure of strength. The so-called Doctrine of Principles (Principienlehre) may have served to strengthen in his conviction one who has confessed the special principium; and to shield prevailing tradition from passing too rapidly into oblivion; it has never provided force of proof against the opponent. He who is not born of water and the Spirit, cannot see the kingdom of God, and the human mind is sufficiently inventive so to modify its tactics, whenever you imagine that you have gained your point, that your proof is bound to lose its force. It is a little different, of course, when you touch the strings of the emotions, or appeal to the "seed of religion"; but then you enter upon another domain, and cease to draw conclusions from logical premises.
The same is true in part of the apologetic attempt to refute objections raised against the content of our Christian confession, and more particularly against the Holy Scripture as the principium of theology. Polemics will never be able to attain satisfactory results with reference to these points, simply because the spheres of conceptions and convictions, from which the argument proceeds on the two sides, are too widely apart: the result of which is that scarcely a single concrete point can be broached, which does not involve the whole subject of anthropology and the entire "Erkenntnisstheorie." In order, therefore, to make any gain, the general data that present themselves with such a concrete point should first be settled, one by one, before the real point in question can be handled. This makes every debate of that sort constrained. Scarcely has a single step been ventured in the way of such a controversy before it is felt on both sides that the acknowledgment of a different opinion on this one point would unsettle one's entire life- and worldview. If the naturalist grants the break of the chain of natural causes in one point, by acknowledging that a psychic or physical miracle has taken place, his entire system is overthrown; and, in like manner, if the Christian theologian acknowledges in one cardinal point the assertions of historical criticism with reference to the Holy Scripture, he thereby loses his grasp upon the whole principium by which his theology lives. By this we do not assert that, with reference to the Holy Scripture, there are not many remarks that have been made on logical incongruities, either in the economy of the Scripture itself, or between it and cosmic and historic reality outside of it, which, unless our confession is to lose its reasonable character, claim an answer from our side; but though these remarks might compel us to make confession in our turn of a partial agnosticism, or to subject the dogma of inspiration to revision, to us the special principium will never lose thereby its characteristic supremacy; just as on the other hand the most triumphant solution of the objections raised against it never could, and never can move him, who does not confess this principium, to accept it. The acceptance of this principium in the end cannot rest upon anything save the witness of the Holy Spirit, even as the acceptance of the natural principium has never rested upon anything save the witness of our spirit, i.e. of our self-consciousness. If this testimonium of our self-consciousness fails us, then we become sceptics or insane; and, in like manner, if the witness of the Holy Spirit is not present in us, or is at least inactive in us, we cannot reckon with a special principium.
The effort, therefore, put forth by theology in the days of the Reformation to derive from the Scripture itself proofs for its divine character, is devoid of all force with the opponent. Not because of the objection, that you reason in a circle, by seeking from the Scripture itself what the Scripture is. Our earlier theologians answered this correctly by saying, that this argument was not meant authoritative, but ratiocinative; that the glitter of the sapphire could only be proven by the sapphire; and that in like manner the divine majesty of the Holy Scripture could only shine out from that Scripture. But however accurate this statement was, what avail is it, if you show the most beautiful sapphire to one blind, or to one of "that worst kind of blind people who refuse to see "? One needs, therefore, but examine the series of these proofs for a moment, and it is at once perceived how utterly devoid of force they are over against him who merely accepts the natural principium. The miracles and the fulfilment of prophecy, indeed, have been pointed to, as if these had some power of proof for him who denies the very possibility of miracle and emasculates all concretely fulfilled prophecy as being "prophecy after the event" (vaticinium ex eventu). The divine character of the Doctrina Scripturae was cited, as though criticism had not already then been exercised against it, and, as it was claimed, its insufficiency been shown. The majestic style of the Scriptures was referred to, the consensus of its books, the effectiveness of its entire content, as though even then the arms were not already being welded by which each of these attributes of the Scripture would be disputed, or attributed to it only in common with other writings. And when outside of the Scripture the blood of the martyrs was mentioned, the consensus of the Church, and the "natural and human character (conditio) of the writers themselves," arguments were produced which were so easily applied to other sacred books that all their force evaporated. Whatever may be the worth of these arguments for those who are within the walls (intra muros) to combat doubt, outside of these walls (ad extra) they are of no value. Our acutest dialectici, such as Maccovius for instance, have clearly seen this in their day. His reference to Hagar in the wilderness shows this. "Hagar," he writes, "at first did not see the well near by; but after her eyes were opened, then at last she saw the well" (antea non vidit puteum in proximo; sed postquam oculi ipsi adaperti sunt, turn demum vidit puteum) (Joh. Maccov. II., Theologic. quaestionum, p. 4 in Mace. redivivu8, Franeq, 1654), — an analogy by which he tries to show, that the marks of its divine origin are truly in the Scripture; but that no one can see them as long as the veil still hangs before his eyes. This is only taken away by the "enlightening" "by which the Holy Spirit discovers to us those inner relations of the Scripture, which had hitherto been concealed" (quo ostendit Spiritus Sanctus eas rationes Scripturae insitas, quae antea ei occultae erant) (Ibideni).
Hence our conclusion can be no other, than that whosoever confesses the Holy Scripture to be the principium of theology, both for himself and his fellow-confessors must certainly be able to give an account of the way in which this auxiliary principium is related to the permanent natural principium, in order that his confession may remain rational; but that this ratiocination can neither for himself be the ground on which his confession stands, nor ever compel the opponent to come to this confession. The witness of the Holy Spirit is and ever will be the only power which can carry into our consciousness the certainty concerning the special principium. Moreover, in the footsteps of our old theologians, it must be observed that it is also the witness of God as Creator (Testimonium Dei Creatoris) that can alone give us certainty for the natural principium. When God refrains from giving this certainty to our self-consciousness, we lapse into insanity, generally after the course has been run of the several stadii of scepticism. It is indeed true, that with respect to this natural principium, as a rule, we make no mention of the "witness of God as Creator," but this is explained from the fact, that it coincides with our self-consciousness, and that further account of the origin of this self-consciousness is rarely taken. It is simply the first truth from which departure is made. The special principium, on the other hand, enters into this self-consciousness as a sense of a different kind, and is thereby of itself reduced to its deeper origin in God. But however strongly thus may appear with men of higher development, who, after they have lived for a long time by the natural principium only, now perceive the light in their consciousness from that other source as well, this is much less the case, and sometimes not at all, with common believers, who, regenerated in their youth, have never experienced this transition in their consciousness. In the case of such, immediate faith has been given equally naturally and as fully with their self-consciousness, as immediate knowledge for the natural principium is given with the awakening of our natural self-consciousness. For man as creature there can never be any other principium of knowledge but his Creator, naturaliter, as well as by the way of grace. What the Psalmist declares, only "in thy light shall we see light," remains the absolute ground of explanation for all human knowledge.
§ 72. Uersality of this Principium
One who, himself of a sound mind, should have to live on some isolated island among insane people, would run a great risk of becoming himself insane; and in such a condition a very strong mind only could maintain the reality of its consciousness. Just because we do not exist atomically, but are bound together with others organically, also in our consciousness, in order to remain firm our own sense cannot afford to lose the support of a similar sense in others. The same applies to the special principium. With this also, as a rule, the communion in our own consciousness can be strong and permanent only when this communion finds a support in the similar conviction of others. This rule, however, does not always hold. As one sane person, because of a strong mind, might be able in entire isolation to maintain his self-consciousness, it is possible for one person to experience the inworking of the special principium, and live by it, even though in his entire surroundings there should operate nothing but the natural principium. At first, indeed, this had to be so, in order that the working of this special principium might become manifest. It could not begin its work except in single persons. As a rule those individuals were men of strong minds, and to support their isolated faith the Lord gave them signs, mostly in the material world, which kept them from falling away from the power which had taken hold of them. Heroism of spirit is here called into play. When Christ, forsaken of all, even of His disciples, battled alone in Gethsemane, this struggle in loneliness became so fearful, that angels came to break His isolation, in order to support Him. So long, then, as revelation is still in process of completion, we see again and again the manifestation of extraordinary powers, by which the maintenance of faith is rendered possible, and these signs only disappear when Revelation has reached its completion, and the special principium finds a circle, in which faith can assume such a communal character, that the conviction of one supports that of the other.
If thus, like the natural principium, the working of the special principium requires a broad circle in which to exert itself organically, this circle becomes still more indispensable when a scientific account is given of what this special principium is and offers. Science demands uersality. Not in the sense, of course, that nothing is established scientifically in the natural world until every individual has agreed to it, but in the sense that all men of sound understanding can readily be brought to perceive the truth of it. The same applies to the special principium. The law of uersality must prevail here also, and must always be well understood by those who live by this principium. These only are taken into account, just as in natural science we reckon with those alone who are men of sound sense, i.e. who live by the natural principium. All these, then, must be able, if they follow your demonstration, to perceive the correctness of it. This accounts for the fact that in later ages only the question arose of a science of theology. Before that time there was theology as knowledge of God; even measurably in a dogmatic sense; but as yet no theological science. This could only originate when the Revelation was completed, and liberated from the restrictions peculiar to Israel. Then there arose that uersal circle among all nations, that circle of confessors in their general human character, who live by this special principium.
This communal character, which, along with every other principium, is common to the special principium, received no sufficient recognition in the conflict of the Reformation. From our side, the line of personal faith was ever drawn too tightly; while Rome, from her side, substituted the institutional Church too largely for the organic communion. Each of the two parties defended thereby an element of truth, but it was done by both in an insufficient and one-sided manner. Very properly did our Reformers maintain the personal character of faith, which does not reach its full unfolding, until it places our inner life in direct communion with the Eternal Being; but they lost sight of the fact that this is the fullest development of the faith, not its beginning, and that in its maturity it cannot flourish as it should, except in the communion of saints. Rome, on the other hand, defended very rightly the common feature, which marks faith, but committed a double mistake, — first, that it did not allow the personal character of faith to assert itself, and made it amount to nothing more than communion with God through the intermediation of the Church, and secondly, that it substituted the ecclesiastical institution for organic communion. This might, perhaps, have been more clearly seen if in their dogmatic exposition our Reformers had added, at once, to their distinction between the Church as a visible body and at the same time invisible, the more careful distinction between the visible Church as composed of believers (ecclesia visibilis in fidelibus) and the visible church as an institution (ecclesia visibilis in institute). They did this, indeed, in their ecclesiastical law; observing thereby that the Church of Christ may be visible in a city or village, because of the believers who live there, even while no Church organization is established by these believers, and that the ecclesia institute only originates by this organization. But in their dogmatics they referred almost exclusively to the general antithesis between visible and invisible, and thereby could not fail to convey the impression, that by visible Church they merely understood the Church as an institution. Since Rome outdid this, and wholly identified the visible Church with the Church as an institution, the problem could not be solved; since the Church as an institution was certainly subjected to the rule of the Word of God; and therefore our Reformers observed correctly, that the institute must borrow its guarantee from the Scripture, and not the Scripture its proof from the institute. Transfer this difference to the life of the world, and it will at once be understood. In societ}- at large the natural principium is in force and the institute is the government, which, to be sure, is in the community, but is ever sharply distinguished from it. Can the assertion now be made that the truth of this natural principium is to be determined by the State? Of course not; simply because the State, so far as it is constituted by man, is an outcome of the natural principium. Undoubtedly, therefore, this natural principium can support the State, but not lean upon the State. On the other hand, by general conceptions, and public opinion derived from these, this natural principium finds its point of support in human society. And this is the case here. The Church is to the special principium what the State is to the natural principium. The Church as an institute, founded by man, is built after the rule of the special principium, as this speaks to us from the Holy Scripture. Hence the churchly institute can borrow support from the special principium, but not the special principium from the churchly institute. But what is true on the other hand — and this is the position which we defend—is, that faith in this special principium is supported and maintained by the churchly community, i.e. by the non-instituted but organically present communion mutual among believers.
It is unhistorical, therefore, to imagine that every person, taking the Bible in hand from his own impulse, should formulate the truth from it for himself. This is simply absurd, for actual experience shows that one either grows up in, or in later life enters, a circle in which confessions of the truth already exist; and that, in vital communion with this circle, clearness is reached in his consciousness of what was potentially given in regeneration, but which only from this communion can draw the life-sap needed for its development. As one tree of the forest protects another against the violence of the storm, so in the communion of saints does one protect the other against the storm-wind of doubt.
This fellowship of believers, carefully distinguished from instituted Churches, exhibits its uersal human character in the fact that it continues its life in successive generations and extends itself to all peoples and nations. So far as the first is concerned, it has a history back of it which extends across many centuries, and by its confession it ever preserves communion with the past. Not merely in the sense in which a nation holds its ancestors in sacred memory, for in national life the dead are gone. He who dies loses his nationality, and belongs no more to his people. This fellowship of believers, on the other hand, knows that its departed ancestors still live and always stand in organic connection with it. Moreover, while a people changes its public opinion from age to age, in this ecclesiastical fellowship the same world of thought remains constant for all time. Hence the tie to the special principium is not maintained by those alone who are now alive with us and subscribe to the same confession as ourselves, but much more by those millions upon millions who now rejoice before the throne. And so far as the second is concerned, the outcome shows that the Christian religion, originating in Asia, passed over from the Semitic to the Indo-Germanic race, presently conquered the Northern Coast of Africa and the entire south of Europe, and never allowed itself to be nationalized. Christ had humanized his confession, by breaking down every partition wall (/ieo-oVot^of); and this uersal human character stands in immediate connection with the possession of a special principium of knowledge. That which is national may give tradition, but cannot provide a special principium for our consciousness. It is seen, therefore, that every effort, applied outside of this principium, has merely led to national forms of religion; and even Buddhism — which, by the chameleon character of its pantheism, lent itself to stealthy invasions among many nations — remains in principle, nevertheless, an Indian world of thought. Islam alone — and this is worthy of notice — still exhibits, to a certain extent, an oecumenic character, which is attributable to the fact that Mohammedanism is grafted upon the special principium, such as it flourished, thanks to the Scripture, in the Christian life-circle. Even thus Islam has never taken root in the finer branches of the human tree. Islam is and remains Arabic, and outside of Arabia has gained an entrance only among those nations, which either have taken no part in the general human development, or have stood at a much lower level. Even the accession of Persia to Islam is attended with the disappearance of this nation, once so great, from the world stage.
If thus we leave out of account for a moment the working of this special principium before Golgotha, we face the fact that for almost twenty centuries a separate human life has developed itself in our human race; principally in the nobler branches of the human tree and among the more finely organized nations; and that the development of this separate life has not taken place with isolated nations such as China and India, but even now in five parts of the world, and chiefly in that current of our human life which has carried the hegemony, and caused the development of our human race to ascend to its present heights. We see that this separate life has been characterized everywhere hy the action, in addition to that of the natural principium, of another principium of knowledge, and that wherever the Christian religion has withdrawn, as in West-Asia and North-Africa, all human life has sunk back again to a much lower level. We see that in this broad life-circle, which has extended itself across many ages and among many people, there has arisen a special world of thought; modified uersal conceptions have begun to prevail; and in this genuinely human circle the human consciousness has assumed an entirely peculiar form. In this way have originated that uersal life and that uersal thought, which have certainly clashed with the other circle, that rejected the special principium, but which have possessed, nevertheless, entirely sufficient consistency to invite and to render possible scientific construction upon the foundation of that principle which, in this circle, is uersal. It will not do, therefore, to represent this special principium as an idiosyncrasy of a few enthusiasts. The melancholy decline of all mystic fanaticism shows what the profound difference is between the parasite, that springs from fanatic imagination, and the cedar, that has struck its roots in the fertile soil of this real principle. This special principium is as uersally human as the natural principium, with this difference only, that it is not given to each individual, but is organically grafted upon the tree of humanity. The lifecircle, indeed, which finds its centrum in Christ as the bearer of the new life-principle, is not a branch of our race that is set apart; but this body of Christ is the real trunk of our human race, and what is not incorporated into this body, falls away from that trunk as a useless branch. He is, and remains, the second Adam.
Moreover, the peoples and nations that have stood or still stand outside of this life-circle, involuntarily bear witness to the insufficiency of the natural principium in its present working. When in Deut. xviii. inspiration is announced by God as the peculiar working of the special principium, He says: "I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, bike unto thee; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him." An important thought, however, precedes the announcement of this rich inspiration, which in all its fullness is given in Christ as " Prophet." In the tenth verse, reference is made to divination and necromancy, which were common among the nations, and toward which Israel betrayed strong tendencies; and now they are told that the satisfaction of the need which spoke in this desire was not to be sought in the way of this enchantment, but that God alone is able to grant them the aspirations of their hearts. This impulse after necromancy, taken in its deepest significance, can be no other than the desire to find, in addition to the natural principium, another principium of knowledge for all those profound questions of life upon which the natural principium can cast no light. From this it appears, that the insufficiency of the natural principium declares itself in the uersal human sense, so long as this still expresses itself in an unconstrained and natural way. The appearance, therefore, of another principium of knowledge in the Christian religion does not enter the present state of things as something foreign, but fits on it as a new spire upon a steeple, the former spire of which has fallen into ruin. We grant that afterwards, in philosophy, the natural principium has tried to show the superfluousness of such an auxiliary-principium. However, we must not fail to observe that these efforts of the philosophic spirit, so long as they were religiously colored, never occasioned in the religious world anything but endless confusion of speech; that they have never resulted in the founding of a religious life-circle of uersal significance; and that these systems, drawn from the natural principium, have more and more abandoned eternal concerns in order in materialism to deny their existence, or in agnosticism to postulate the special principium. It is noteworthy, therefore, that since the apostasy, which began in the latter part of the last century, a broad life-circle has been formed in Europe and America, which has abandoned the special principium, in order, in Spiritualism, to revive the ancient effort after necromancy. This Spiritualism now counts its followers by the millions, and its main desire is to obtain an answer to the questions which force themselves upon our human mind, in another way than that which comes from the natural principium. While in other circles, where this Spiritualism has gained no entrance, the effort is certainly manifest, to obtain knowledge from the mysticism of the emotions, of what "common sense" has left uncertain. Every philosophical tendency, which, for the sake of defending itself against intellectualism, seeks another source of knowledge, pleads at heart for the necessity of a special principium. Pure intellectualists alone maintain to this day the sufficiency of the principium of rational knowledge; and this is even in opposition to Kant, who, in his "practische Vernunft," placed a second something dualistically over against the "reine Vernunft." But the barrenness of such intellectualism is sufficiently evident.
We refuse, therefore, to allow the charge, that the special principium, as an invention of fanaticism, floats like a drop of oil upon the waters of our human life, and we maintain, on the contrary, that the need of such an auxiliary principium is uersally human; that in its organic working this principium bears an uersally human character; and that in the final result towards which it directs itself, it has an uersally human significance.
§ 73. This Principium and the Holy Scripture
That the sphere of the special principium is wider than the compass of the Holy Scripture, needs no separate demonstration. Even though you firmly maintain that here you deal with a principium of knowing, it is here as impossible as elsewhere to ignore the principium of being (essendi). It is for this reason that in special revelation also fact and word run parallel and stand in connection with each other. There is not simply an inspiration that kindles light in our consciousness, but there is also a manifestation in miracles which operates upon the reality of being; and both flow naturally from that same principium in God, by which He works re-creatively in His deranged creation. The representation as though a way of life could have been disclosed for us by a book descended from heaven or by a Bible dictated from heaven, rests upon an intellectualistic abstraction, which interprets altogether incorrectly the relation between being and thought, between fact and word. If it is entirely true, that God created by speaking, so that the creatural being originated by the word, it must not be forgotten that this word went out from Him who carries the To esse in Himself. In the creation therefore there is no question of an abstract word, but of a word that carries in itself the full reality of life; and that the Scripture-word does not meet this requirement, appears from the fact, that without concomitants it is inert, even as the most glittering diamond without inshining light and admiring eyes differs in no particular from a dull piece of carbon. Protest therefore has ever been entered from the side of the Reformed against Luther's effort to place Word and Sacrament on a line, as though an active power lay concealed in the Scripture as such. Even though Luther's representation of an "eingepredigter" Christ allows defence to a certain extent, the Bible, as book, may never be accredited with a kind of sacramental power. By itself the Bible is nothing but a carrier and vehicle, or, if you please, the instrument prepared by God, by which to attain His spiritual purpose, but always through the ever-present working of the Holy Spirit.
If thus we take the sphere of action which belongs to this special principium in its entire compass, we find that it embraces everything that has taken place from the side of God, either immediately or mediately, and that has not proceeded from the natural principium, i.e. the whole plan of redemption; everything that has tended to realize this plan; all the special leadings, signs, and wonders; and in this connection the entire inspiration and the formation of the Scripture; and also all palingenesis, all illumination, all revelation of the Church of Christ; while from this same principium there shall yet come forth the palingenesis of heaven and earth, until the kingdom of glory is begun. The Bible, therefore, instead of being identical with this principium so far as its activity is concerned, is itself a product of this activity. Neither can it be said, that the Bible at least is identical with the fruit of the principium of knowledge, as such, for this also invites two objections: First, that many histories are contained in the Bible, so that it resembles in nothing a text- or law-book; and secondly, that this principium of knowing (cognoscendi) has produced by no means the Scripture only, but from it proceeds even now the working of the Holy Ghost, which maintains, applies and vitalizes the knowledge of God, partly by illumination in the consciousness of individuals, and partly by the work of the sacred ministry.
To understand the just relation between this special principium in God and the Holy Scripture, a more accurate definition is demanded, and this is only obtained by a double distinction. First, by the distinction between that which concerns our race as an organic unit and the knowledge of God in the single individual; and secondly, by the distinction between the content of the material of our knowledge and the way in which our knowledge takes this material up into itself. Both these distinctions demand a brief explanation. The Romish dogmaticians very properly observed, that the Holy Scripture could not be the instrument of salvation in the absolute sense, for the reason that many centuries elapsed before it was completed, and that there were nevertheless not a few who in the meantime, and without Scripture, were saved. This admits no rejoinder. It is simply true. But this objection loses its force at once, when we consider the great mystery. In Rom. xvi. 25; in Ephes. i. 9, iii. 9; Col. i. 26; 1 Tim. iii. 9; Tit. i. 2; and 1 Pet. i. 20, this mystery is referred to again and again as the key which unlocks for us insight into the course of revelation. This involves no secondary point, but a main point, and this main point, as we read in Col. i. 26, amounts to this: that there is the "mystery which hath been hid from all ages and generations," which eighteen centuries ago has been revealed to the saints of God, "to whom God was pleased to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of gloiy." By this falls away every conception as though revelation after the fall had progressed aphoristically or atomistically; and we get the conception of a revelation which goes through its definite stages, and thus moves along towards its final goal; which goal has been reached only when the whole earth unlocks itself for the reception of this revelation, and this directs itself, not to single persons, nor yet to a single nation, but to our human race as a whole. If thus lesser or greater parts of the Holy Scripture, and finally even the whole Old Testament, may have rendered provisional service in Israel, the Holy Scripture as such obtains its full significance only when special grace directs itself to our race as an organic whole and causes the Catholic Church to appear in humanity. The holy apostle Paul expresses this most pertinently, when of the Old Testament he declares in Rom. xv. 4, "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning"; a thought which he repeats in 1 Cor. ix. 10 and in 1 Cor. x. 11, and in the latter especially emphasizes very strongly. There he does not only say that "all these things are written for our admonition," but even prefaces this by saying that all these things happened unto Israel, "by way of example." Entirely apart therefore from the question, how God saved individual persons in the times when the revelation had not yet been placed in the centrum of our human race, the fact must be held fast, that the Holy Scripture was intended to discharge its full task from that moment only when our race, taken as a whole, in its heart and centre, was apprehended with a view to salvation. Only when the saving hand was extended to the cosmos, and God "so loved the ioorld that He gave His only begotten Son," had the moment come, when the Holy Scripture also would attain its entirely exceptional significance. All that lies back of this is merely preparation, and now for the first time, when in Christ the divine esse has been brought into our race, in the Holy Scripture also the divine word goes out not to one nation, but to all nations, and to those nations as an organic unity, as cosmos. All true understanding of the significance of the Holy Scripture is lost, therefore, when this important incision in the course of revelation is lost from view. He who does not understand, that even as the Christ, the Holy Scripture also is given to the world, cannot tolerate it. It is the one Logos which in Christ by incarnation, and in the Scripture by inscripturation goes out to humanity at large, as it is being saved by God and shall hereafter shine in glory. If thus the question is put what goes out to our human race as such from the special principium as matter of Divine knowledge, the answer reads: The Scripture and nothing but the Scripture; and in this sense the Scripture is identical in its working with the principium.
The second distinction, referred to above, between the material of the knowledge of God which is imparted to us and the way in which that material becomes our own, is no less important. After the unveiling of the mystery, indicated by the former distinction, it lies in the nature of the case that the individual obtains no part in this salvation except as member of the organic whole. Noah, Moses and Samuel received separate revelations, simply because humanity as such did not yet possess its revelation. But when once humanity as a whole had received its revelation, and this was completed, the need for all separate revelation fell away; and all mysticism, which eveu after this still pretends to receive separate personal revelation, frustrates thereby the organic ministration of the Lord. He who has lived, lives, or shall live, after our race in its unity has received its Christ and its Scripture, has no other way at his disposal, by which to come to the knowledge of God, except in union with this central revelation; and in so far as the life-stream of the Christ propels itself in the Church, and the Scripture is borne by her as "the pillar and ground of the truth," the Church of Christ (provided it be not taken as institute) is the only means of salvation. There is no salvation outside of her. But however firmly the organic relation both of our race and of revelation must be maintained, it is not asserted that the Holy Scripture by itself is enough for the individual. This is not the case at all, and he who thinks that the HolySpirit really gave the Scripture, but now leaves its appropriation to our natural reason, is wofully mistaken. On the contrary, the Holy Spirit, who gave the Scriptures, is Himself the perpetual author (auctor perpetuus) of all appropriation of their contents by and of all application to the individual. It is the Holy Spirit who, by illumination, enables the human consciousness to take up into itself the substance of the Scripture; in the course of ages leads our human consciousness to ever richer insights into its content; and who, while this process continues, imparts to the elect of God, as they reach the years of discretion, that personal application of the Word, which, after the Divine counsel, is both intended and indispensable for them. Only, however many-sided and incisive this constant working of the Holy Spirit may be, it brings no new content (and herein lies the nerve of this second distinction), no increased supply of material, no enlargement of the substance of the knowledge of God. A believer of the nineteenth century knows much more than a believer of the tenth or third century could know, but that additional knowledge is ever dug from the selfsame gold mine; and that former generations stood behind in wealth of knowledge, can only be explained by the fact, that in those times the working of the mine was not so far advanced. This, of course, does not imply that the former generations fell short in knowledge of God, but simply, that the development of the human consciousness in those times did not make such demands on our knowledge of God. A child can be equally rich in his God as the full-grown man, but because the consciousness of the adult is more richly unfolded, he holds the knowledge of God likewise in a more richly unfolded form. With the fuller development of the consciousness of humanity the increase of insight into the contents of the Scriptures keeps equal step. But however far this increase of knowledge may proceed in the future, it will never be able to draw its material from any other source than from the Holy Scripture. And it is for this reason, that for the several nations also, and for the individuals among these nations, the rule remains valid that the substance of the knowledge of God, which comes to us from the special principium, is identical with the Holy Scripture.
This would not be so if the Holy Scripture were merely a collection of inspired utterances concerning the Being of God, His attributes, His will and counsel of grace. Then, indeed, by the side of the realm of the Scripture there would also lie the realm of facts, both of the leadings of the Lord and of His miracles, and the knowledge of these facts could only come to us by tradition. But this is not the character of the Holy Scripture; and it is to be deplored that the Methodistic tendency in particular has degraded it so much to such a volume of inspired utterances. The Holy Scripture offers us a photograph of the entire sphere of life, in which the action of God from the special principium has appeared, with His activity out of the natural principium as its natural and indispensable background. The logical revelation, which directs itself immediately to our consciousness, does not stand independently by the side of this photograph, neither is it woven through it, but belongs to it, and constitutes a part of it. More than or anything else than this photograph could not be offered us, simply because facts that lie in the past cannot be alive except in the memory or in the imagination. For though there is also a real after-effect of past events in the actual conditions in which we live, which is, moreover, the no less real activity which uninterruptedly goes forth from Christ out of heaven upon His Church, yet the presentation of this double, real activity and correct insight into it is possible only by a thorough study of the photograph offered us in the Holy Scripture. Not as though we would deny that the rich past, which lies back of the completion of the Holy Scriptures, does contain an innumerable multitude of facts which you do not find in this photograph, but for this the answer from John xx. 30 is ever conclusive: that many other signs therefore did Jesus, but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in His name. Not a hundredth part of course is told us of what happened or was spoken in former times, but here also there was light and shadow, there was perspective, and even as you take the fruit from the tree, but not the leaves which presently wither, so also the ripened fruit of Revelation is offered us in the Holy Scripture, while all that aided that fruit to ripen has disappeared in the shade and sunk away in forgetfulness. This is incomprehensible to him who thinks that the Scripture originated by way of accident, but agrees entirely with the nature of the case for him who believes that the origin of the Scripture was determined and foreseen in the counsel of God, and that the distinction between the fruit that was to be plucked and the leaf that was to wither was given in the facts themselves in keeping with this purpose of the Holy Scripture. Hence the reason that we reject tradition. in which Rome seeks a complement for the Holy Scripture, is not because we deny that there is an abundance of material for a very interesting tradition, nor yet alone because we foster a just doubt concerning the reliability of this tradition, but rather because such a complement by tradition is antagonistic to the entire conception of the Scripture. In that case the Holy Scripture would attain no higher value than of being itself a part of tradition. Then it no longer would form a completed whole, an organic unity. Suppose that after a while letters were to be found of Thomas or of Philip, or a gospel according to Andrew, you would be bound to let these parts be added to your Bible. The Bible would then become an incomplete, contingent fragment of a whole, and would need to postulate its complement from elsewhere; and so the theologic, and therefore the organic and teleologic, view of the Holy Scripture would pass away in the historicaccidental. Since this view is in direct conflict with the view given concerning the Old Testament in Rom. xv. 4, etc., upon Scriptural ground this preposterous view of the Holy Scripture may not be tolerated for a single moment, but the confession must be maintained that so far as the substance of the knowledge of God is concerned, which is given to humanity as such, the Holy Bible itself is the proximate and sole cause (principium proximum et unicum) for our knowledge of God.
§ 74. The Special Principium and the Written Word
The indispensableness of the Holy Scripture, therefore, rests: (1) upon the necessity that a special principium should be actively introduced, inasmuch as the working of the natural principium is weakened or broken; and (2) upon the necessity that this special principium should not direct itself atomistically to the individual, but organically to the human race. From these two considerations it follows that an auxiliary-principium is needed, and that a revelation must be given to humanity as such (i.e. rip Koafi<p); but it does not follow directly from this that "this special Word of God to the world" should assume the form of the written word. It is necessary, therefore, that we inquire into the peculiar character of the written word, and ask ourselves why the special Revelation of God to the world needed this form.
To this we reply with emphasis, that in comparison with the spoken word the written word is entitled to claim the four characteristics of durability, catholicity, fixedness and purity, — four attributes, the first two of which impart something of the Divine stamp to our human word, and the last two of which form a corrective against the imperfection of our sinful condition.
Writing by itself is nothing but an auxiliary. If the power of our memory were not limited, and if our capacity for communication were uersal, the need of writing would never have been known. The sense of shortness of memory and our limited ability of communicating our thoughts personally, strengthened by the need of guarding that which has been spoken or agreed upon from being misrepresented, has, through a series of gradations, called into life, first, pictographic writing, then idiographic writing, then phonographic writing, after that syllabic writing, and finally, alphabetic writing. Hence writing bears almost entirely a conventional and arbitrary character. Only as pure idiographs did it escape from the conventional, and then only upon the condition of being delineation instead of writing. Writing, in the real sense of the word, tries to photograph the somatic part of our human language, in order that by seeing these photographed signs one person may understand psychically what has gone on psychically in another person, or has gone out from his lips. Writing tries to do the same thing that the phonograph does, but by attaching a meaning, not to sound, but to root-forms. When we have our picture taken, it is our own face that, with the aid of the light, draws its counterfeit upon the collodion plate. If, now, it were possible for our human voice to delineate itself immediately in all its inflexions upon paper, we should have absolute and organic writing. Since, however, thus far this is not possible, we must content ourselves with conventional writing, which is not produced by the voice itself, but by our thinking mind. It is our thinking mind which watches the sound and the inflexion of the voice in connection with the movement of the visible organs of speech, and now indicates either the voice-action itself or the content of that voice-action, by signs, in such a way that when another person sees these signs he is able to reproduce that same inflexion of voice and impart to it the same content. The question whether, with a sinless development, writing would have run the same course cannot possibly be answered; but it is evident that then also something similar would have taken its place. For then also memory would have been limited in its power, and the need of communication would have originated with the sense of distance. Only for the realm of glory the question can arise whether, in that exalted state of the life of our spirits, and with its finer organisms, all such auxiliaries will not fall away. By itself, therefore, it cannot be said that writing is a need which has only come as a consequence of sin; even though it is certain, as will appear from the last two of the four characteristics mentioned above, that the need of writing has been intensified in everyway by sin.
With reference to the first of these characteristics, it is readily seen, that writing first of all relieves the spoken word of its transitoriness. "The word that is heard passes away, the letter that is written remains." (Verba volant, littera scripta manet.) Our voice creates words, but lacks the ability to hold them fast. One word drives the other on. The spoken word, therefore, bears the character of the transitory and the changeable, which are the marks of our mortality. It comes in order to go, and lacks the ability to maintain itself. It is a trdvra pel xal ov&ev fievei (everything flows and nothing remains) in the most mournful sense. And even when, by the phonograph, it is secured that the flowing word congeals and is presently liquefied, it gives us at most a repetition of what was spoken or sung, and no more. But this very imperfection is met by the mighty invention of human writing. By writing, in its present state of perfection, the word or thought spoken is lifted above transitoriness. It is taken out of the stream of time and cast upon the shore, there to take on a stable form, and after many ages to do the same service still which it performed immediately upon its first appearing. The correspondence, which is discovered by a fellah in a forgotten nook of Egypt and presents us with the interchange of thought between the then Eastern princes and the court of Egypt, speaks now as accurately as three thousand years ago; and if, after the fall into sin, the bitter emotions of his soul could have been written down by Adam, our hearts could sympathize to the last minutiae with what went on in Adam so many thousand years ago. Writing, indeed, is human thought set free from the process of time. By writing, human thought approaches the eternal, the enduring, and, to a certain extent, impresses upon itself a Divine stamp. It is noteworthy, therefore, how in the Holy Scripture the durability and permanence of the thoughts of God are expressed by the figure of the Book of Life, the Book of the Seven Seals, etc. Nor is this all. Not only, thanks to writing, does human thought approach in a measure the eternal, but also by writing only, on the other hand, does it meet the demand raised by the unity of our human race. The whole human race does not live upon the earth at once. It appears on earth in a succession of generations, one of which comes and the other passes away. If the means, therefore, are wanting to perpetuate the thought of one generation for the others, then thinking becomes aphoristic, and the unity of the human consciousness in our whole race is not established. Tradition might lend some aid so long as those thoughts are few and bear a littlecomplicated character, and the restricted form of poetry might offer assistance so long as those thoughts preferred the form of images; but in the course of centuries no question of unity for our human consciousness could have been permanent, if Aristotle had had to entrust his word to memory, or Plato his thesaurus of ideas to memoriter poetry. Thus, writing alone has created the possibility of collecting human thought, of congealing it, of handing it down from age to age, and of maintaining the unity of our human consciousness in the continuity of the generations. If, now, the special revelation from God is not destined for the one generation to which a certain part of the revelation was given, but for the world, and hence for the generations of all ages until the end is come, it is evident that it was necessary for this special revelation to take the form of writing. Only by this written form could it be a revelation to our race as a whole.
In connection with this stands the second characteristic which we mentioned; viz. writing is catholic, i.e. uersal, in the sense that, bound by neither place nor nation it overcomes the limitation of the local. Even the most stentorian voice does not carry a single spoken word beyond the distance of one kilometer, and a more extended expression of thought cannot reach across one-tenth part of this; but so soon as the word has been committed to writing, no distance can resist or break its power. The written word travels around the world. He who speaks, may communicate his thoughts to ten thousand persons at most; he who writes, to ten millions and more. In the mystery of writing lies, thus, the wonderful power of overcoming at the same time the two mighty limitations of our human existence, those of time and place. An important statement by Gladstone, spoken in the English Parliament after sundown, is printed before the sun rises again, and in a million copies spread among the masses, in Europe and America. Dislocation, no less than time, is a mighty factor that resists the unit-life of our race. In olden times, when this dislocation was not modified in its fatal effects by quicker means of communication, the sense of the sodality of the nations, and in connection with this the idea of a common humanity, were in consequence very little alive; and it is only by these quickened means of communication, which greatly augment the effect of the written word, that now a feeling of international communion has mastered the nations, and a sense of organic unity permeates all the articulations of our human race. If now, as was shown before, the mystery of Revelation consists in this: that our race, even as it was created of one blood, shall sometime shine in the realm of glory as one body under Christ as its head, then it needs no further proof that this catholic characteristic of writing agrees entirely with the catholic character of the whole Revelation and the catholic character of the Church. As writing sets thought free from every local restriction, special Revelation in like manner, released from all local and national restrictions, seeks the human race in the whole world as one organic whole. God has loved not individuals nor nations, but the world. Only by writing, therefore, can special Revelation attain its end; and in proportion as the development of human consciousness has made higher demands, printing and afterward more rapid communication have augmented this dispersing power of writing. Writing, therefore, is the means of perpetuating thought and at the same time of dispersing it, i.e. of making it uersal in the highest sense, and of bringing it within the reach of all. Writing lends wings to thought. It neutralizes distance of time and place, and thereby puts upon thought the stamp of the eternity and of omnipresence. So far as human thought can formally approach the divine, it owes to writing alone this higher nobility. For this reason, therefore, when divine thoughts take pleasure in the garment of human words, the Scripture is the only form in which they can rest.
But this does not exhibit in full the excellency of the Scripture as such, and therefore we mentioned the two other characteristics of fixedness and purity, which protect the word of thought against the dangers that threaten from the results of sin. With respect to tradition we have to contend not merely with the limitation of the human memory, by which so much becomes lost, broken, and impaired, but almost more still with its multiformity and untrustworthiness; and it is against these two dangers that the spoken word is shielded in the fixedness and accuracy of the written or printed word.
Every religious sense from its very nature is in need of fixedness. As long as the divine reflects itself only in the changing stream of the human, it fails to take hold of us, simply because this trait of changeableness and movability is in conflict with the idea of the divinely majestic. The quod ubique, quod semper may have been pushed too far by Rome, on the ground of hierarchical by-views, but in the realm of religion antiquity is of so much more value than the new and constantly changing idea, simply because the old makes the impression of fixedness and of being grounded in itself. So far now as the sinful mind of man chafes against the divine revelation, he will always be bound to break this fixedness. Hence the injurious multiformity in tradition. A little liberty, which each successive transmitter allows himself, brings it to pass that in the course of two or three centuries tradition is wrenched entirely away from the grooves of its fixedness. This may occur unconsciously or without ill intent, but in every case it breaks the working power of the transmitted revelation. This is seen in the unwritten tradition, which from paradise spread among all nations, becoming almost irrecognizable; this is seen in the traditions committed to writing at a later date in the apocryphal gospels; this is seen in the different authority of tradition in the Eastern and Western churches. It is this same infatuation against the fixedness of the truth, which now appears again in the opposition against every confessional tie, and no less in the loud protest against the written character of revelation, and this in a time which otherwise emphasizes so strongly the written for the entire Cultur. On the other hand, it is seen in the hol}' books, which every more highly developed form of religion has created for itself, in India, China, among the Persians and Islam, etc., how the pious sense which, from the ever changing, seeks after a basis of fixedness, applies writing, as soon as found, as a means of resistance against the destructive power of what is individual and multiform in tradition. What Paul wrote to the church at Phil. iii. 16, "whereunto we have already attained, by that same rule let us walk," is unchangeably the fundamental trait of all religion, which does not end in individual wisdom or fanaticism, but organically works in upon our human life as such. And since writing only, and in a more telling sense, the press, is able to guarantee to the Divine thoughts which are revealed to us that fixed form, it is not by chance, but of necessity, that special Revelation did not come to us by way of oral tradition, but in the form of the Scripture.
This brings with it the purity, which likewise can be guaranteed by writing only, among sinful men, and this only in a limited sense. Since Divine revelation directs itself against the mind and inclination of the sinner, sinful tendency could not be wanting, to represent that revelation differently from what it was given. Not merely did forgetfulness and individualism threaten the purity of tradition, but the direct effort also wilfully to modify what was revealed according to one's own idea and need; which psychologically is done the sooner, if one knows the revelation only from tradition, and thus thinks himself entitled to mistrust its certainty. One begins by asking whether the revelation might not have been different, and ends in the belief that it was different. If printing in its present completeness had been in existence from the times of the beginning of revelation, it would have been the surest safeguard against such falsification. If what was spoken at the time had been taken down by stenography and been circulated at once in thousands of copies by the press, we would have been so much more certain than now of the authenticity of what is handed down. Since, however, printing, as a strengthened form of writing, did not exist at that time, handwriting alone could guard against falsification. And though we must grant that this safeguard is far from being absolute, yet it is certain that the written tradition has a preference above the oral, which defies all comparison. and thus, in order to come down to us in the least possibly falsified form, the Divine revelation had to be written.
To him who thinks that the Revelation came from God, but that the writing was invented by man, the relation between that Revelation and its written form is of course purely accidental. He, on the other hand, who understands and confesses that writing indeed is a human invention, but one which God has thought out for us and in His own time has caused us to find, will arrive at the same conclusion with ourselves, that also in His high counsel the Divine revelation is adapted to writing, and writing to the revelation. We do not hesitate to assert that human writing has reached its highest destiny in the Scripture, even as the art of printing can attain no higher end than to spread the Word of God among all peoples and nations, and among those nations to put it within the reach of every individual. To this still another and no less important spiritual benefit attaches itself, in so far as printing (and writing in part) liberates men from men and binds them to God. So long as the revelation is handed down by oral tradition only, the great multitude was and ever remained dependent upon a priestly order or hierarchy to impart to them the knowledge of this revelation. Hence there ever stood a man between us and God. For which reason it is entirely natural that the Roman hierarchy opposes rather than favors the spread of the printed Bible. And it behooves us, in the very opposite sense, to confess, that the Divine revelation, in order to reach immediately those who were called to life, had to assume the form of writing, and that only by printed writing could it enter upon its fullest mission of power.
§ 75. Inspiration. Its Relation to the Principium Essendi If we have not failed entirely in our endeavor to apprehend the special principium in its full significance, and if thereby we intend to maintain the confession of the theology of the sixteenth century, that the only principium of theology is the Holy Scripture, the question now arises, — by what action the Holy Scripture came forth from this principium in such a way that at length the principium and the product of this principium (i.e. the Holy Scripture) could be interchanged. Theologically taken, this action lies in inspiration, and therefore in this section we proceed to the study of this majestic act of God, to which we owe the Holy Scripture. It is not enough for Encyclopedia to declare apodictically that the Holy Bible is the principium of theology. Such a declaration is sufficient, when one writes an Encyclopedia of a science whose principium is self-evident. A medical Encyclopedia does not need to give an account in the first place of the fact that pathological conditions appear in the human body, nor of the fact that in nature there are reagents against these conditions. But for theological Encyclopedia the matter stands differently. It has to investigate a matter as its object, whose principium is not given normally in the creation, but has abnormally entered into what was created. The right understanding, therefore, of this science demands an explanation of this principium, its action and its product, in their mutual connection. This principium is the energy in God by which, notwithstanding the ruin worked in the cosmos by sin, He carries out His will with reference to that cosmos; and more properly as a principium of knowledge it is that energy in God, by which He introduces His theodicy into the human consciousness of the sinner. The product of this principium, which is placed objectively before the human consciousness, is the Holy Scripture. And finally the action by which this product comes forth from this Divine energy is inspiration. Hence this inspiration also must be explained.
It should, however, not be lost from view, that this inspiration is no isolated fact, which stands by itself. He who takes it in this sense arrives at some sort of Koran, but not at the Holy Scripture. In that case the principium of knowing (cognoscendi) is taken entirely apart from the principium of being (essendi), and causes the appearance of an exclusively intellectual product which is outside of reality. We then would have an inspiration which dictated intellectually, and could not communicate to us anything but a doctrine and a law. Entirely different, on the other hand, is the action of this Divine energy, which, in spite of sin, carries out the plan of the Lord in and by the cosmos. Since indeed sin is not merely intellectual in its character, but has corrupted the whole nature of man and brought the curse and disorder even upon nature outside of man, this Divine energy could not overcome the opposition of sin, except it directed itself to the whole reality of our human existence, including nature round about us. Hence this Divine energy constitutes in part (see § 67) the principium essendi, and from it comes miracle, — not miracle taken as an isolated phenomenon, which appears without causal connection with the existing world; but miracle, as the overcoming, penetrating working of the Divine energy, by which God breaks all opposition, and in the face of disorder brings His cosmos to realize that end which was determined upon in His counsel. It is from the deeper basis of God's will, on which the whole cosmos rests, that this mysterious power works in the cosmos; breaks the bands of sin and disorder, which hold the cosmos in their embrace; and centrally from man so influences the entire life of the cosmos, that at length it must realize the glory intended for it by God, in order in that glory to render unto God what was the end of the entire creation of the cosmos. Every interpretation of the miracle as a magical incident without connection with the palingenesis of the whole cosmos, which Jesus refers to in Matt. xix. 28, and therefore without relation to the entire metamorphosis which awaits the cosmos after the last judgment, does not enhance the glory of God, but debases the Recreator of heaven and earth to a juggler (y07;?). This entire recreative action of the Divine energy is one continuous miracle, which shows itself in the radical renewal of the life of man by regeneration, in the radical renewal of the life of humanity by the new Head which it receives in Christ, and which finally shall bring to pass a similar radical renewal of life in nature. And because these three do not run loosely side by side, but are bound together organically, so that the mystery of regeneration, incarnation and of the final restitution forms one whole, this wondrous energy of re-creation exhibits itself in a broad history, in which what used to be interpreted as incidental miracles, could not be wanting. Because our soul is organically connected with our body, and this body unites us organically to nature, a palingenesis, which should limit itself to the psychic domain, without at the same time working an effect upon the body and upon the cosmos, is simply unthinkable. The fuller explanation of this belongs from the nature of the case to dogmatics. Here it is sufficient that the attention is directed to the significance, which the recreative Divine energy, also in so far as it appears as the principium of being (essendi), has for the life of our consciousness, and therefore for the principium of knowing (cognoscendi). The tie that binds thought to being and being to thought operates also here. There is not a revelation by the dictation of a doctrine and law, and by its side a revelation by what is called miracle; but the revelation in the world of reality and the revelation in the world of thought are interwoven. The thought explains the reality (as, for instance, prophecy the Messiah), and again from the reality the thought receives its content (for instance, in the gospels). The preparation of the consciousness for the thought (illuminatio) proceeds from the reality of the palingenesis, and again in faith (as the act of the consciousness) the reality of the new life finds its utterance. In a like sense inspiration does not lie isolated by the side of the Divine energy in history, but is organically united to it and forms a part of it. If in the meantime it is demanded, that theology as science indicate its principium, it has to deal from the nature of the case as such with the principium of knowing only, and cannot reckon with the reality, and therefore with the principium of being, except so far as the facts and events have been transformed beforehand into a thought, i.e. have become a narrative. It is in the glass ot our human consciousness that reality reflects its image ; by the human word this image becomes fixed; and it is from this word that the image of the reality is called up in the individual consciousness of him who hears or reads this word. A reality, such as the recreative Divine energy has woven through the past as a golden thread, was not intended only for the few persons who were then alive, and whom it affected by an immediate impression, but was of central and permanent significance to humanity. It could not be satisfied with simply having happened; it only effected its purpose when, transformed into an idea, it obtained permanence, and even as the Divine word, that accompanied it, and in the unity which joined this word to the facts of history, it could be extended from generation to generation. If now our human consciousness had stood above these facts and these Divine utterances, the common communication by human tradition would have been enough. But since our human consciousness stood beneath them, and, left to itself, was bound to misunderstand them, and was thus incapable of interpreting the correct sense of them, it was necessary for the Divine'energy to provide not only these facts and utterances, but also the image of this reality so as to insure re-creation likewise in the world of our consciousness. This provision was brought about by the Divine energy from the special principium in inspiration in a twofold way: (1) by means of the word in the past transforming the Divine doing into thought, and thus introducing it into the consciousness of those who were then alive; and (2) by bringing to us this entire past, together with these Divine utterances, as one rich idea, in the Holy Scripture.
Thus inspiration is not added to this wondrous working of the Divine energy, but flows, and is inseparable, from it. It does not come from the principium of creation, but from that of re-creation. Though, indeed, it finds an analogy in the communion of paradisiacal man with his Creator, and its connecting-point in the capacity of paradisiacal man for that communion, inspiration, in the narrower sense, may never be confounded with this communion. Inspiration, as it here appears, is not the working of the general "consciousness of the divinity" (Gottesbewusstsein). It does not rise from the seed of religion. It may not be confounded with the utterance of the mystically disposed mind. Neither may it be placed on a line of equality with the way in which God will reveal Himself to the blessed in the realm of glory. Appearing as an abnormal factor in the work of re-creation, it bears a specific character, belongs to the category of the miraculous, and is consequently of a transient nature. As soon as the object for which it appears has been attained, it loses its reason for being, and ceases to exist. Though it must be granted that the illumination, and very much more, was indispensable, in order that the fruit of inspiration might ripen to the full; yea, though from everything it appears that the Holy Spirit ever continues to this day more fully to explain the rich content of the fruit of inspiration in the confession of believers and in the development of theology; yet in principle all these operations of the Spirit are to be distinguished from inspiration in its proper sense. In the counsel of God before the creation of the world, there was a provision for the carrying out of His plan concerning the cosmos, in spite of the outbreak of sin. In that counsel of God, all things were predestined in organic relation, which to this end were to be done by the Divine energy, and this, indeed, severally: on the one hand, what was to be done centrally in and for our entire race, and, on the other hand, what was to be done in order that this central means might realize its purpose with the individual elect. Inspiration directs itself to this central means; the individual is left to illumination. This central means is to be taken in this threefold way: First, as an idea in Divine completeness, lying predestined in the counsel of God; secondly, as from that counsel it entered into the reality of this cosmos and was ever more fully executed; and thirdly, as it was offered to the human consciousness, as tradition under the Divine guarantee, and by inspiration as the human idea.
Hence the thought, that it comes to an end, is not foreign, but lies in the nature of inspiration. This is not arbitrary, but flows from the fact that our human race forms an organism, and that, therefore, here, as with all organisms, distinction must be made between that which centrally directs itself to all and that which individually limits itself to single persons. And if this distinction is noted, then it follows from this with equal force, that that which centrally goes out to all must appear in that objective form in which it could continue from age to age and spread from nation to nation. That which is individual in its character may remain subjectivemystic in its form, but not that which is intended to be centrally of force for all times and nations. In order to exist objectively for all, this revelation of necessity had to be completed. As long as it was not finished, it missed its objective character, since it still remained attached to the persons and the life-sphere in which it had its rise. Only when it is completed, does it become independent of those persons and of that special life-circle, and obtain its absolute character. An ever-continuous inspiration is therefore only conceivable, when one mistakenly understands by it mystical inworking upon the individual, and thus takes the work of re-creation atomistically. Then, however, inspiration fails of all specific character and loses itself in the general " est Deus in nobis, agitante calescimus illo (Lo, God is in our soul, we kindle when He stirs us);" while re-creation is then imagined as coming from phantasy, and is no longer suitable for humanity, which only exists organically. In all organic development there are two periods, — the first, which brings the organism to its measure or limit, and the second, which allows it, once come to its measure, to do its functional work. The plant, animal and man first grow, till the state of maturity has been reached, and then that growth ceases. An organic action which restlessly continues in the same way, is a contradiction in terms. Considered, therefore, from this point of view, it lies entirely in the organic character of revelation, that it passes through two periods, the first of which brings it to its complete measure, and the second of which allows it, having reached its measure, to perform its work. And this is what we face in the difference between inspiration and illumination. Inspiration completed the revelation, and, appearing in this completed form, the Revelation now performs its work.
This first period (that in which Revelation attained its measure by inspiration, and which lasted so many centuries) does not flow by itself from the principium of knowledge. If you think that revelation consisted merely in a communication by inspiration of doctrine and law, nothing would have prevented its being finished in a short time. Since, on the other hand, revelation did not merely make its appearance intellectually, but in life itself, and therefore dramatically, the inspiration, which only at the end of this drama could complete its action, was eo ipso linked to that process of time which was necessary for this drama. This would not have been so if the special principium had merely been a principium of knowing, but must be so since simultaneously it took in life. The long duration of the first period of Revelation has nothing, therefore, to surprise us; but this long duration should never tempt us to allow that first period to pass unmarked into the second. However many the ages were that passed by before the incarnation, that incarnation came at one moment of time. The new drama which began with this incarnation is relatively of short duration; and when this drama with its apostolic postlude is ended, the Revelation acquires at once its oecumenic working, and thereby shows, that its first period of its becoming, is now completed. Thus inspiration obtains a sphere of its own, in which it appears; a definite course which it has to run; a boundary of its own, which it cannot stride across. As the fruit of its completion, a new condition enters in, which shows itself in the oecumenic appearance of the Church, and this condition not only does not demand the continuance of inspiration, but excludes it. Not, of course, as if a sudden transition took place which may be indicated to the very day and hour. Such transitions are not known in spiritual things. But if the exact moment escapes our observation in which a child ceases its growth and begins its life as an adult, there is, nevertheless, a moment, known to God, in which that growth performed its last act. In like manner, we may assert that these two periods of revelation lie, indeed, separated from each other by a point of transition known to God, even though we can only approximately indicate the beginning of the second period.
§ 76. Inspiration in Connection with Miracles
So far as the special principium in God directs itself as principium of knowledge to the consciousness of the sinner, it brings about inspiration (with its concomitant illumination); on the other hand, as principium of being (essendi), the spiritual and material acts of re-creation commonly called miracles (Thubtfi and ripara}. Since, however, the world of thought and the world of being do not lie side by side as two separate existences, but are organically connected, inspiration formally has in common with the wonderful (K^S) that which to us constitutes the characteristic of the miracle. Consequently the formal side of the miracle need not be considered here.
Very unjustly at the mention of miracles one thinks almost exclusively of those in the material domain, and almost without a thought passes by the spiritual miracles. This of course is absurd. The creation (if we may so call it) of a mind, such as shone forth in the holy apostle John, or such as in the secular world sparkled in a Plato, is, if we make comparison, far more majestic than even the creation of a comet in the heavens; and in the same way the re-creation of a person inimical to God into a child of God is a profounder work of art than the healing of a leper or the feeding of the five thousand. That nevertheless the material miracle captivates us more, is exclusively accounted for by the fact, that the spiritual miracle is gradually observed after it is ended, and only in its effects, while the material miracle, as a phenomenon, is immediately visible to the spectator. In order not to be misled by this one-sided appearing in the foreground of the material miracle, it is necessary that we first explain the connection between the spiritual and the material miracle. The undeniable fact, which in this connection appears most prominently, is, that from the days of paradise till now the spiritual miracle of palingenesis is ever unceasingly continued, and occurs in every land and among all people, while the sphere of the material miracle is limited and confined to time and place. The question of psychico-physical processes, which are often spoken of as miracles, is here passed by. Whether the study of hypnotism will succeed in lifting the veil which still withholds from our sight the working of soul upon soul, and of the soul upon the body, time will tell; but in any case it appears that in this domain, under definite circumstances, there are forces at work which find their causa causans in our nature, and therefore do not belong to the category of the miracle. With reference to the real miracle, on the other hand, the Holy Scripture reveals to us that there is a palingenesis, not only of things invisible but also of things seen. The Scripture nowhere separates the soul from the body, nor the body from the cosmos. Psyche, body and world form together one organic whole. The body belongs to the real existence of man as truly as his psyche, and for human existence the cosmos is an inseparable postulate. To the state of innocence, i.e. to that existence of man, which was the immediate product of creation, there belonged not only a holy soul, but also a sound body and a glorious paradise. In the state of sin the unholiness of the psyche entails therefore the corruption of the body, and likewise brings the curse upon the cosmos. Even as this organic connection of these three elements appears both in the original creation and in the state of sin, it continues to work its effect also in the re-creation. Here also the effect begins with the psyche in regeneration, but will continue to operate to the end in the palingenesis of the body, and this body will see itself placed in a re-created cosmos delivered from the curse. If now regeneration consisted in a sudden cutting loose of our psyche from every connection with sin, so that it were transformed at once into an absolutely holy psyche, not merely potentially, but actually, the palingenesis of the body would enter in at once, and if this took place simultaneously in all respects, the palingenesis of the cosmos would immediately follow. This, however, is not so. Since our race does not enter life at one moment, but in the course of many centuries, and exists, not individualistically as an aggregate of atoms, but in organic unity, the transition from potentia to actus cannot take place except gradually and in the course of many centuries; and since each man has no cosmos of his own, but all men together have only one and the same cosmos, our ancestors (see Heb. xi. 40) could not be perfect without us, i.e. without us they could not attain unto the end of their palingenesis, and therefore the apostle Paul does by no means expect his crown at present, nor yet immediately after his death, but only at the last day, and then simultaneously with all them also that love the appearing of Christ (2 Tim. iv. 8).
The very order, which is founded in the nature of our race, brings it to pass, that the re-creation of the body and of the cosmos tarries till the end. If thus the miracle as such, in that special sense in which we here consider it, had not appeared until the parousia, the saving power would have brought about none other but a spiritual effect. There would have been regeneration, i.e. palingenesis of the psyche; but no more. A power would have become manifest capable of breaking psychically the dominion of sin; but that the same power would be able to abolish the misery, which is the result of sin, would have been promised in the word, but would never have been manifested in the deed, and as an unknown x would have been a stone of offence upon which faith would have stumbled. The entire domain of the Christian hope would have remained lying outside of us as incapable of assimilation. This is only prevented by the fact, that already in this present dispensation, by way of model or sample, the power of palingenesis is shown within the domain of matter. In that sense they are called "signs." As such we are shown that there is a power able to check every result of sin in the material world. Hence the rebuke of the elements, the feeding without labor, the healing of the sick, the raising of the dead, etc.; altogether manifestations of power, which were not exhausted in the effort at that given moment to save those individuals, for this all ratio sufficiens was wanting; but which once having taken place, were perpetuated by the tradition of the Scripture for all people and every generation, in order to furnish a permanent foundation to the hope of all generations. For this purpose they could not create a new reality (Lazarus indeed dies again), but tended merely to prove the possibility of redemption in facts; and this they had to do under two conditions: (1) that successively they should overcome every effect of sin in our human misery; and (2) that they should be a model, a proof, a arj)ielov, and therefore be limited to one period of time and to one circle. Otherwise it would have become a real palingenesis, and they would have forfeited their character of signs. There were hundreds in and about Jerusalem whom Jesus might have raised from the dead. That Lazarus should be raised is no peculiar favor to him; for after once having died in peace, who would ever wish to return to this life in sin? but it was to glorify God, i.e. to exhibit that power of God which is also able to abolish death. This is what must be shown in order that both psychically and physically salvation shall be fully revealed. Thus only does hope receive its indispensable support. And in this way also by these signs is regeneration immediately bound into one whole with the palingenesis of the body and of the cosmos as object of faith. What Paul writes of the experiences in the wilderness: "All these things happened unto them by way of example; and they were written for our admonition" (1 Cor. x. 11), is true of all this kind of miracles, of which with equal authority we may say: "Now all these things happened by way of example; and they were written for our admonition."
The destructive and rebuking miracles are entirely in line with this. With the parousia belongs the judgment. The misery, which as the result of sin now weighs us down, is yet by no means the consummation of the ruin. If now that same power of God, by which the palingenesis of soul, body and of cosmos shall hereafter be established, will simultaneously, and as result of the judgment, bring about the destruction as well of soul, body and cosmos in hell, then it follows that the signs of salvation must run parallel with the signs of the destruction, which merely form the shadow alongside of the light.
If both these kinds of miracles, however strongly contrasted with each other, bear one and the same character at heart, it is entirely different with the real miracles, which do not take place as ensamples (rmriKoK), but invade the world of reality. Only think of the birth of Isaac, of the birth of Christ, of his resurrection, of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, etc. The motive of these miracles, which form an entire class by themselves, lies elsewhere, even in this, that the re-creation of our race could not be wrought simply by the individual regeneration and illumination of the several elect, but must take place in the centrum of the organism of humanity. And since this organism in its centrum also does not exist psychically only, but at the same time physically, the re-creation of this centrum could not be effected, except by the working being both psychical and physical, which is most vividly felt in the mystery of the incarnation. The incarnation is the centrum of this entire central action, and all miracles which belong to this category tend to inaugurate this incarnation, or are immediate results of it, like the resurrection. All clearness in our view of the miracles must be lost, if one neglects to distinguish between this category of the real-central miracles and the category of the typical miracles in the periphery; or if it be lost from sight, that both these real as well as these typical miracles stand in immediate connection with the all-embracing miracle that shall sometime make an end of this existing order of things.
If, now, it is asked to what category inspiration belongs, it is evident at once that inspiration bears no typical, but a real, character, and belongs not to the periphery but to the centrum. Itself psychical by nature, it must, meanwhile, reveal its working in the physical domain as well: (1) because the persons whom it chose as its instruments existed physically also; (2) because it sought its physical crystallization in the Scripture ; and (3) because its content embraced the physical also, and, therefore, often could not do without the manifestation. Nevertheless the psychical remains its fundamental tone, and as the incarnation brought life into the centrum of human being, inspiration brings the knowledge of God into human knowledge, i.e. into the central consciousness of our human race. From this special principium in God the saving power is extended centrally to our race, both by the ways of being and of thought, by incarnation and inspiration.
From this it appears that formally the miracle bears the characteristic of proceeding forth from the special, and not from the natural principium, in God. The miracle is no isolated fact, but a mighty movement of life, which, whether really or typically or, perhaps, in the parousia teleologically, goes out from God into this cosmos, groaning under sin and the curse; and that centrally as well as peripherally, in order organically to recreate that cosmos and to lead it upward to its final consummation. Are we now justified in saying that miracle antagonizes nature, violates natural law, or transcends nature? We take it, that all these representations are deistic and take no account of the ethical element. If you take the cosmos as a product wrought by God, which henceforth stands outside of Him, has become disordered, and now is being restored by Him from without, with such a mechanical-deistical representation you must make mention of something that is against or above nature; but at the penalty of never understanding miracle. This is the way the watchmaker does, who makes the watch and winds it, and, when it is out of order, repairs it with his instruments; but such is not the method pursued in the re-creation. God does not stand deistically over against the world, but by immanent power He bears and holds it in existence. That which you call natural power or natural law is nothing but the immanent power of God and the will of God immanently upholding this power, while both of these depend upon His transcendent counsel. It will not do, therefore, to represent it as though the world once created miscarried against the expectation of God, and as though, after that, God were bent upon the invention of means by which to make good the loss He had suffered. He who reasons like this is no theologian; i.e. he does not go to work theologically, but starts out from the human representation, viz. that as we are accustomed to manufacture something, and after we see it fail try to repair it, so he carries this representation over upon God. And so you derive the archetype from man and make God's doing ectypal; and this is not justifiable in any circumstance, since thereby you deny the creatorship in God. Our Reformed theologians, therefore, have always placed the counsel of God in the foreground, and from the same counsel from which the re-creation was to dawn they have explained the issue of creation itself. Even the infra-lapsarian Reformed theologians readily acknowledged that the re-creation existed ideally, i.e. already completely in the counsel of God, before the creation itself took place. What they called the appointment of a Mediator (constitutio mediatoris) preceded the first actual revelation of sin. Hence there is no twofold counsel, so that on the one hand the decree of creation stands by itself, to which, at a later period, the decree of salvation is mechanically added; but in the deepest root of the consciousness of God both are one. Interpreted to our human consciousness, this means to say, that the creation took place in such a way, that in itself it carried the possibility of re-creation; or, to state it more concretely still, man is not first created as a unity that cannot be broken, then by sin and death disjointed into parts of soul and corpse, and now, by an act of power mechanically applied from without, restored to unity; but in the creation of man itself lay both the possibility of this break and the possibility of the reunion of our nature. Without sin, soul and body would never have been disjoined by death; yet in the creation of man in two parts (dichotomy) lay the possibility of this breach. But, in like manner, if our body had merely a mechanical use in actuality, and did not develop organically from a potentia or germ, reunion of what was once torn apart would have been impossible. Just because, in the creation, this potential-organical was characteristic of our body, the redemption also of the body is possible and its reunion with the separated soul.
Thus one needs merely to return to the counsel of God, which lies back of creation and re-creation, and embraces both in unity, in order once for all to escape from the mechanical representation of a Divine interference in an independently existing nature. Sin and misery will, without doubt, continue to bear the character of a disturbance, and consequently all re-creation the character of providence and restoration, but both creation and re-creation flow forth from the selfsame counsel of God. This is most clearly apparent from the fact, that re-creation is by no means merely the healing of the breach or the repairing of what was broken and disturbed. Spiritually, regeneration does by no means restore the sinner to the state of original righteousness (justitia originalis). He who has been regenerated stands both lower, so far as he still carries the tendrils of sin inwoven in his heart, and higher, so far as potentially he can no more fall. Likewise physically, the resurrection of our body does by no means return to us an Adamic body, but a glorified body. Neither will the parousia bring back to us the old paradise, but a new earth under a new heaven. Hence the matter stands thus, that in the counsel of God there were two ways marked out, by which to lead soul, body and world to their organic consummation in the state of glory: one apart from sin, by gradual development, and the other, through sin, by a potentially absolute re-creation; and that, furthermore, in creation everything was disposed to both these possibilities. If nature is taken in its concrete appearance, it is no longer what it was in the creation, but its ordinance is disturbed; and if this disturbed ordinance is accepted as its real and permanent one, then indeed, its re-creation, in us as well as about us, must appear to us as a violence brought upon it, for the sake of destroying the violence which we inflicted upon it by sin. If, on the other hand, you take nature as it appears in creation itself, and with its foundations lies in the counsel of God, then its original ordinance demands that this disturbance be reacted against, and it be brought to realize its end (VeX-o?); and for this purpose the action goes out from the selfsame counsel of God, from which its ordinance came forth. In God and in His counsel there is but one principium, and if we distinguish between a special principium or one of grace, which presently works in upon the natural principium, we only do this in view of the twofold providence, which must have been given, in the one decree of creation, just because the cosmos was ethically founded. That the working of these two principia form a twofold sphere for our consciousness, cannot be avoided, because the higher consciousness, which reduces both to unity, will only be our portion in the state of glory. This antithesis, however, is not present with God for a moment. He indeed works all miracles from the deeper lying powers, which were fundamental to the creation itself, without at a single point placing a second creation by the side of the first. Wherever the Scripture speaks of a renewal, it is never meant that a new power should originate, or a new state of being should arise, but simply that a new shoot springs from the root of creation itself, that of this new shoot a graft is entered upon the old tree, and that in this way the entire plant is renewed and completed. Creation and re-creation, nature and grace, separate, so far as the concrete appearance in the practical application is concerned, but both in the counsel of God and in the potentialities of being they have one root. The miracle, therefore, in its concrete form is not from nature, but from the root from which nature sprang. It is not mechanically added to nature, but is organically united to it. This is the reason why, after the parousia, all action of the principium of grace flows back into the natural principium, brings this to its consummation, and thus, as such, itself disappears.
§ 77. Inspiration according to the Self-Testimony of the
The naive catechetical method of proving the inspiration of the Holy Scripture from 2 Tim. iii. 16 or 2 Pet. i. 21, cannot be laid to the charge of our Reformed theologians. They did not hesitate to expose the inconclusiveness of such circle-reasoning. They appeal indeed to this and similar utterances, when it concerned the question, what interpretation of inspiration the Holy Scripture itself gives us. And that was right. As the botanist cannot learn to know the nature of the life of the plant except from the plant itself, the theologian also has no other way at command, by which to learn to understand the nature of inspiration, except the interrogating of the Scripture itself. Meanwhile, there is this difference between a plant and the Scripture, that the plant does not speak concerning itself, and the Scripture does. In the Scripture dominates a conscious life. In the Scripture the Scripture itself is spoken about. Hence, two ways present themselves to us by which to obtain an insight into the matter: (1) that we, as with every other object which one investigates, watch for ourselves, where in the Scripture the track of inspiration becomes visible; but likewise (2) that we interrogate those, who in the Scripture declare themselves concerning the Scripture. And, of course, we must begin with the latter. Inspiration is a specific phenomenon, strange to us, but which was not strange to those holy persons, called of God, who were themselves its organs. From them, in the first place, we must learn what they taught concerning inspiration. In them the spirit, which animates the entire Scripture, consciously expresses itself. Not with equal clearness in all. Here also we find a gradual difference. In the absolute sense it can be said of the Christ only, that the self-consciousness of the Scripture expressed itself completely in Him. When Christ was on earth the entire Scripture of the Old Testament was already in existence; which renders it of the utmost importance to us to know what character Jesus attributed to the inspiration of the Old Covenant. If it appears that Christ attributed absolute authority to the Old Covenant, as an organic whole, then the matter is settled for every one who worships Him as his Lord and his God, and confesses that He can not err. This proof, however, from the nature of the case, is without force to him who does not thus believe in his Saviour, and for him there is no demonstration possible. He who stands outside of the palingenesis cannot entertain any other demonstration but that which is derived from nature and reason in their actual form; and how would you ever be able from these to reach your conclusions concerning the reality of that which does not pretend to spring either from nature or from reason? Hence they only, who stand in conscious life-contact with the life-sphere of Christ can accept the force of demonstration, which lies in the testimony concerning the Scripture by Jesus, as its highest organ. Even then, however, it must be clearly held in view, that the reports of the Gospels concerning what Jesus said about the Old Testament, appear at this point of our argument as reports only, and not as testimony already authenticated. The value to be attached to this tradition concerning the utterances of Jesus, springs (while taken as yet outside of faith in inspiration) not from the bare communication of these utterances, but (1) from their multiformity; (2) from the stamp of originality which these utterances bear; (3) from their being interwoven with the events described; and (4) from their agreement with the utterances of Jesus' disciples, whose epistles have come to us. If such reports of Jesus' ideas about the Scripture were very rare, if they appeared for their own purposes only, or if it was their aim to formulate a certain theory of inspiration, then (always reckoning without faith in the Scriptures) they would not possess Buch a historic value to us; but since there is no trace of such a design, and no insertion of a system is thought of, and only the use is shown which Jesus made of the Scripture amid the most varied circumstances and with all sorts of applications, from these reports it is historically certain, for him also who does not reckon with inspiration, that Jesus judged the Scripture thus, and not otherwise.
This value, moreover, rises in importance by the fact, that that which Jesus appears to have thought about the Old Testament, agrees with the conception which, before his appearing, was prevalent concerning the Old Covenant. He introduces no new way of viewing it, but seals the conception that was current, and characterizes himself only by the original, i.e. not borrowed, application of the dominant manner of view. It was but natural, therefore, that the theory of accommodation became current a century ago, and that on the ground of these accommodations all value was disputed to these utterances of Jesus. But by accepting the possibility of accommodation with Christ, He eo ipso is already forsaken as the Christ; which is the more apparent, when one hears how the inspiration-theory, which was current at the time and which still forms an essential part of the confession in all Christian Churches, was execrated as being unworthy of God, antagonistic to the character of the spiritual, and as barren and mechanical. At present, therefore, the opponents of this theory themselves acknowledge that they would do violence to their consciences and commit sin, if for the sake of the masses they carried themselves as though they put faith in this theory. This they deem themselves not warranted in doing. How, then, will you accept such a sinful accommodation of what is unworthy of God and in conflict with the character of spiritual life, in Him whom you worship as the incarnate Word? The accommodationtheory, still tenable in days when the diverging theologians themselves accommodated, and considered it no evil but duty, became untenable with the Christ from the moment when all such accommodation was rejected as moral weakness. He who perseveres, nevertheless, in his application of this theory to what Jesus said concerning the Scripture, attacks not the Scripture, but the Deity of Jesus and even His moral character. Even the pretence that Jesus accommodated in good faith, while this would be bad faith for us, does not help matters. If Jesus did not know that the conception which He accepted was untrue, there was no accommodation; if Jesus did know this, then all such accommodation, in spite of better knowledge, was sin also in Him.
To come to the point, we emphasize in the first place, that Jesus looked upon the several writings of the Old Testament as forming one organic whole. To Him they did not constitute a collection of products of Hebrew literature, but He valued them as a holy unity of a peculiar sort.
For this we refer in the first place to John x. 34, 35: the Scripture cannot be broken. This utterance is of threefold importance. First, the whole Old Testament, from which Psalm lxxxii. 6 is here quoted, is entitled by the singular ypa<f>rj, by the article f) is indicated as a whole of a peculiar sort, and to this whole an absolute character is attributed by the "cannot be broken." Secondly, it is out of the question that by J} ypa<pr j can have been meant not Scripture, but spiritual revelation, because the "word of God" in what immediately precedes is clearly distinguished from the <ypa<prj. And thirdly, it is impossible that ypa<f>rj should indicate the quotation in hand, and not the Old Testament, since a conclusion agenerali adparticulare follows, and just in this form: The Scripture cannot be broken; this saying from Psalm lxxxii. 6 occurs in the Scripture; hence Psalm lxxxii. 6 also cannot be broken. Which, moreover, is confirmed by the expression "in your Law." He who quotes from the Psalms, and then declares that it is found in the Law, shows that he uses the name Law for the entire Old Testament, and thus views this Testament as one organic whole.
This unity appears likewise from Matt. xxi. 42, where Jesus asks: "Did ye never read in the Scriptures?" and then quotes Psalm cxviii. 22, 23. No citation, therefore, from two different books, but a citation from one book, that of the Psalms, even two verses from the same Psalm. This shows that "the Scriptures" here does not refer to the Psalms, but to the whole Old Testament, in which the Psalms occur, and likewise that Jesus comprehends this Old Testament under the name of ypafai as a unity, and by the article at isolates it from all other ypa<pai. The same we find in Matt. xxii. 29, in the words: "Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God." Here, also, at ypa<f>ai appears absolutely as the designation of the entire Holy Scripture then in existence. Keeping no count with those Scriptures is indicated as the cause of their erring, and the Scripture, i.e. the Old Testament, is here coordinated with "the power of God." In like manner we read in Matt. xxvi. 54: "How then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?" Here also the Scriptures of the Old Testament appear as one whole, which is called at ypa<f>ai, and it is a Scripture, such as offers the program of what was to come, and gives that program with such authority, that the fulfilment of it could not fail. This program was not contained in this word or that, but in the whole Scripture, which here appears as organically one. Compare with this the similar utterance in Mark xiv. 49: "But this is done that the Scriptures might be fulfilled." That at another time Jesus indicated the same unity by the law, appears from John x. 34, and appears likewise from John xv. 25, where the Lord quotes from Psalms xxxv. and lxix., and declares concerning this, that that is written "in their law." And if proof is called for, that Jesus viewed this unit not only as organically one, but represented to Himself the groups also in this unit as organically related, then look in John vi. 45, where He quotes from Isaiah liv. and from Jeremiah xxxi., and affirms, not that this occurs as such in Isaiah and Jeremiah, but in the prophets. This subdivision also of the Scripture, which is called "the prophets," is thus indicated by the article as one organic whole, which as such offers us the program of the future.
In the second place, it appears that Jesus recognized of the Scriptures of the Old Testament in the sense of a single whole of authoritative writing, that a word, or a fragment of it was authoritative, and that as ypa<prj, or yeypafifievov, or yiypainai it possessed that high condition, that men could make their appeal to it. The use of these expressions does not point to a citation but to an authority in the sense in which Pilate exclaimed: "What I have written I have written," which he did not say as author but as governor, clothed with discretionary authority. Neither the yeypairrai nor the yeypapifiivov can be thought without a subject from whom it goes forth, and this subject must have authority to determine something, simply because he writes. If now yeypairrai, as in this instance, is used in an entirely absolute sense, and without the least indication of this subject, it implies that this subject is the absolute subject in that circle. In the state yeypairrai expresses that something is law; and in the spiritual domain y&ypainai indicates that here God speaks, prophesies, or commands. Since in this sense Jesus again and again uses all sorts of utterances from the Old Testament as decisive arguments in His reasoning, it appears that Jesus viewed the Old Testament as having gone forth from this absolute subject, and therefore as being of imperial authority. That Jesus really uses the Scripture of the Old Testament in this way, as "judge of the cause" (iudex litis) appears, for instance, from Mark xii. 10: "And have ye not read even this Scripture?" and then there follows a citation from Psalm cxviii. By Scripture here the Old Testament is not meant; but to this definite utterance from Psalm cxviii. 23 the character is attributed of being a Scripture. Likewise in Luke iv. 21, where, after having read a portion from Isaiah lxi., He said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth, "To-day hath this Scripture been fulfilled in your ears," by Scripture He does not refer to the Book, but to this particular utterance, and honors this utterance itself as ypa<f)ij. Whether, in John vii. 38, ypa$r\ refers to the entire Scripture or to a given text, cannot be determined; but we meet with a similar use of Scripture in John xiii. 18, where, in view of the coming betrayal by Judas, Jesus says : "That the Scripture may be fulfilled," and then adds: "He that eateth my bread lifted up his heel against me." Even though it does not read here J; ypa<pt) avrtj, it is very clear that here again the utterance itself is called ypa<f>rj, otherwise it would need to read, 17 ypa<f>y ^tk X6yei. Then ypa<f>rj would refer to the Scripture ; but not now; now it must refer to the text quoted. Of yeypairrai or of yeypafifievov this needs no separate proof, since these expressions admit of no doubt. When, in Matt. iv. 4 and the following verses, Jesus places each time His "it is written" over against the temptation, it implies of itself that Jesus not merely quotes, but appeals to an authority which puts an end to all contradiction. Without this supposition the appeal to Deut. viii. 3, etc., has no meaning. When such an appeal is introduced, not by saying: Thus spake Moses, but by the formula "It is written" it admits no other interpretation than that, according to the judgment of Jesus, this word derived its Divine authority from the fact that it is written; in the same way in which an article of law has authority among us, because it is in the law. To attribute a weaker significance to this is simply iflogical and subverts the truth. Even though one may refuse to attribute such an authority to the Old Testament Scripture, it may never be asserted that Jesus did not attribute this to them; at least so long as it is not affirmed that none of these utterances of Jesus are original with Him; which even the most stringent criticism has not as yet asserted.
But Jesus goes farther. It is not simply that He attributes such an authority to this and other utterances of the Old Testament, but in these utterances He attributes tbat authority even to single words. This we learn from His argument with the Sadducees concerning the resurrection from the dead, Matt. xxii. 32. From the fact that God, centuries after the death of the patriarchs, still reveals Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Jesus concludes that these three patriarchs were still in existence, since God could not call Himself their O-od if they were no more alive. This demonstration would have no ground if by a little addition or modification in the construction, "I am the God of thy father," were intended in the preterite. Then God would have been their God. This expression, in its very form, is nevertheless so authoritative for Jesus, that from this form of the saying He concludes the resurrection of the dead. Jesus extends this authority even to a letter, when, in Luke xvi. 17, He says that it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one tittle of the law to fail; which, as appears from the preceding verse, does not refer to the ten commandments, nor even to the laws adduced, but to the law and the prophets, i.e. to the entire Scripture. This tittle, which referred to the apostrophized iod, was the smallest letter in the apographa, and the saying that even no tittle shall fail, vindicates the authority even to the letter. In Matt. xxii. 41, the strength of Jesus' argument hangs on the single word Lord. '. The Lord said unto my Lord;" yea, even more precisely, on the single iod. The emphasis falls on the "my Lord." In John x. 35 the entire argument falls to the ground, except the one word "gods" have absolute authority. In the same way it can be shown, in a number of Jesus' arguments from the Scripture, that in the main they do not rest upon the general contents, but often upon a single word or a single letter. The theory therefore of a general tendency in the spiritual domain, which in the Old Testament should merely have an advisory authority, finds no support in Jesus.
The same result is reached when notice is taken of Jesus' judgment concerning the contents of Old Testament Scripture. Without the spur of any necessity, entirely voluntarily, in Luke xvi. 29 Jesus puts the words upon Abraham's lips to the rich man: "They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them." This is said in answer to the prayer that some one might be sent to earth in the name of God to proclaim the will of God. This is denied by the remark, that in the earth they already are in possession of a Divine authority, even the Old Testament. The "hear them" here has the same significance as the "hear him" at the baptism of Jesus; it means, to subject oneself to Divine authority. Jesus appears to attribute entirely the same character to the content of the Old Testament as often as He refers to the fact that the Scripture "must be fulfilled," and " cannot be broken." All that men have thought out or invented can be corrected by the result, can be seen from the outcome to have been mistakenly surmised, and is therefore susceptible to being broken. The only thing not susceptible to this is the program God Himself has given, and given in a definite form. The need, the must, which Jesus again and again applies to His passion, and applies to particulars, is only in place with the supposition of such a program for His passion given by God. Not to see this is to be unwise, and shows that one is "slow of heart to believe," Luke xxiv. 25. It needs scarcely a reminder that this need of fulfilment is by no means exhausted in a general sense, as though there were merely a certain necessity and, in a certain sense, a typical parallelism between that which befell the faithful of the past and of the present, but that Jesus applies His rule with equal decision to that which is apparently accidental. Thus in Luke xxii. 37, when He says: "I say unto you, that this which is written must be fulfilled in me, And he was reckoned with transgressors: for that which concerneth me hath fulfilment," here, indeed, Jesus points to a concrete and very special yeypafin&ov, which except in a very rare instance did not intensify the bitterness of the martyr's death. The simultaneous crucifixion with Jesus of two malefactors lacks, therefore, all inward necessity. And yet of this very definite yeypafififrov Jesus purposely declares that it must be fulfilled in Him, and as a motive of thought He adds, that what has been prophesied concerning Him cannot rest before it has accomplished its end.i In Matt. xxvi. 54 Jesus declares that He does not exercise His omnipotence, nor invoke the legions of angels to save Him from His passion, since the prophecy of the Old Testament forbids Him doing this. Beyond all doubt it is certain that the prophetic program must be carried out, and in case He were to oppose it, "how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?" Thus Jesus acknowledges that in prophecy there lies before us a copy of the counsel of God concerning Him, and for this reason the realization of this program could not remain wanting. Jesus expresses this same thought even more strongly in John xiii. 18, where He characterizes the betrayal by Judas not only as unavoidable that the Scripture may be fulfilled, that he who ate bread with Him should lift up his heel against Him, but even adds: "From henceforth I tell you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he," and thus imposed upon them His insight, that this prophecy referred to Him, as Divine authority.
i The exegesis: For my affairs have come to an end, which Meyer too defends, is justly rejected; (1) because it loses from view the reference of the Taos to rtXtirSrjvcu; (2) because such a saying would have had sense in the general announcement of His death, not in the special indication of something that would accompany His death; and (3) because it should have had to read: that the end was near or at hand. That all things have an end is an argument all too weak to claim support.
This, however, may not be taken as though in the Old Testament Jesus had merely seen a mosaic from which He took a separate Scripture according to the occasion. On the contrary, the Old Testament is one whole to Him, which as a whole refers to Him. "Ye search the Scriptures," said He (John 5: 39) to the Scribes, "because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and they are they which bear witness of me." As a whole the Scripture points thus concentrically to Him. Hence His citation of two utterances of the Old Testament in one dictum, as for instance in Matt. ix. 13, from Hosea vi. 6 and from Micah vi. 8; which is only explicable from the point of view that back of the secondary authors (auctores secundarii) of each book you recognize one first author (auctor primarius), in whose plan and utterance of thought lies the organic unity of the several Scriptures. The secondary author is sometimes named, but only with the quotations of those utterances which did not come forth from them, but which were directed to them, as for instance in Matt. xiii. 14, where we read: "And unto them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah," and then follows Isaiah vi. 9, "concerning those who seeing do not perceive," which was spoken by God to Isaiah in the vision of his call. We find the same in Matt. xv. 7, 8, where Jesus says: "Ye hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying: This people honoreth me with their lips, etc.," in which the "Me" itself indicates that Isaiah did not speak these words, but God. That this conception embraced not merely the prophetical, but likewise the historical, books appears from the constant reference to what occurs in the Old Testament concerning Noah, Abel, Abraham, Sodom, Lot, the queen of Sheba, Solomon, Jonah, etc., all of which are historic references which show that the reality of these events was a certainty to Jesus, even as they were a certainty to those to whom He spake. If it be true, therefore, that in no given instance Jesus utters an express declaration concerning inspiration, it appears sufficiently clearly, that He considered the Scriptures of the Old Covenant to be the result of a Divine act of revelation, the original and real subject of which was "God" or "the Spirit."
But there is more; it can be shown that Jesus Himself has given utterance to the idea of inspiration, and, on the other hand, that He, by no single word, has opposed the ideas which at that time existed concerning inspiration. The idea of inspiration is, that God by His Spirit enters into the spirit of man, and introduces into his spirit, i.e. into his consciousness, a concrete thought, which this man could not derive from himself nor from other men. This very idea we find even put antithetically, in Matt. xvi. 17, where Jesus says to Peter that his confession of Him as the Christ, the Son of the living God, is no product of what he himself has thought or other people had whispered in his ear; flesh and blood taken here as the human, in antithesis to God, have not imparted this knowledge to him; it has come to him by revelation, even from the Father who is in heaven. That this idea of inspiration did not limit itself to the quickening of a certain disposition or perception, but in the conception of Jesus implied also the inspiration of conscious thoughts, appears sufficiently clearly from Luke xii. 12, where Jesus says: "For the Holy Spirit shall teach you in that very hour what ye ought to say." This does not prove that Jesus explains the Old Testament to have originated in this same way, but it shows that there was nothing strange to Jesus in the idea of such an inspiration, that He considered it by no means unworthy of God, and that He raised its reality above all doubt. And if we connect with this the fact, that the contemporaries of Jesus explained the Scriptures of the Old Covenant from such an inspiration, and that Jesus nowhere contradicted this representation, but rather confirmed it by His use of the Old Testament, then no one has the right to combat, by an appeal to Jesus, such an inspiration of the Old Testament as one less worthy of God. From the above it rather appears that Jesus viewed the Old Testament in the same way as His contemporaries and as the Christian Church has done throughout all ages in all its official confessions, and views it to this day. By which we do not mean to say that the later outworking of this conception may not become open to severe criticism, but from it, nevertheless, the result may and must be drawn that to appeal to the Old Testament as to a decisive Divine authority, as is still done this day by those who hold fast to the Scripture, finds not merely a support in the example of Jesus, but became prevalent in the Christian Churches by His example and upon the authority of His name, and by His example is ever yet maintained in the face of all dissolving criticism; not as the result of scientific investigation, but as the fruit of a higher inworking in the spiritual consciousness.
The objection to this, derived from Matt. v. 21-45, scarcely needs a refutation. In this pericope, the Lord declares very emphatically that the ancients have said thus and so, and that He puts His sayings over against these. But this does not form an antithesis between Jesus and the Old Testament; on the contrary by His accurate exegesis He but maintains the Old Testament over against the false exegeses of the Sanhedrin of His day. In this connection Jesus speaks nowhere of a Scripture, but of an oral tradition, and of sayings; and in this oral tradition of the ancients the commandment had either been limited to its letter, or weakened by addition, or falsified by an incorrect antithesis, and what was a Divine dispensation had been made to be a fixed rule. Against this Jesus ranges Himself with the spiritual interpretation of the law. That a man must not look upon a woman to desire her was the simple application of the tenth commandment to the seventh, in connection with Job xxxi. 1 and Psalm cxix. 37. Likewise, the love of an enemy is not put by Jesus as something new above or against the Old Testament, but the narrow and pregnant meaning given by the Sanhedrin to the expression neighbor is combated by Jesus in the spirit of Proverbs xxv. 21. It is, indeed, entirely inconceivable how the absurd idea that Jesus here placed Himself in opposition to the Old Testament, could be entertained for a single moment, by those who have studied the connection. Just before this pericope, in this same address of our Lord, it is said that he who had broken one of these least commandments stood guilty; and that He was come, not to destroy the Scripture of the Old Covenant, but to fulfil these by "His doctrines, life and passion." The warning, not to think that Jesus draws the sword against the Old Testament, is expressly added here.
In closing let it be noted, that for three years Jesus had been most narrowly watched by the Sanhedrin, and every word He spoke had been carefully sifted. At that time there were two holy things in Israel: their Scripture and their temple. Of these two Jesus gave up the temple, of which He said that not one stone would be left upon the other; while, on the contrary, of the Scripture He declared, that no jot or tittle of it shall pass till all shall be fulfiled. Concerning His speech against the temple, complaint was made against Him, though the form of the charge was unjust. If He had uttered a single word against the Scripture of the Old Testament, He would certainly have been similarly accused. With reference to this, however, you observe no charge, not even a weak reproach, and from this it may be inferred, that in this matter of the Scripture His enemies had no fault to find with Him.
§ 78. The Testimony of the Apostles
The self-testimony of the Scripture lies so much concentrically in Jesus, that only in connection with His judgment has the testimony of the apostles any real value. His disciples were His followers. If with reference to the Old Testament Jesus had paid homage to a method of viewing it which diverged from the then current one, the disciples would not have followed the common conception, but the diverging conception of Jesus. If, from their ministry, it appears that they themselves adhered to the current conception, it may be inferred from this that they were at no time warned against it by Jesus, that He had rather confirmed it, and Himself had not departed from it. The testimony of the apostles, therefore, has this value, that it throws further light upon Jesus' own conception, and confirms the result of the former section.
Of the apostles, also, it is not difficult to show that they were familiar with the idea of inspiration and that they held it. This appears most strongly from Acts ii. 4: "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." Now airo<f>Oeyyeadai is to utter an audible sound. Without solving the question whether by "other tongues" languages of other peoples are to be understood, or sounds of an entirely peculiar sort, in either case the apostles brought forth sounds which were not produced from their own consciousness, but were the product of an action which went out upon them from the Holy Ghost. This is inspiration in the fullest sense of the word. Thus we read in Acts viii. 29: "And the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot." It does not say that this thought arose in him, but that a speaking took place; and where it is our point to know the conception which was current in the apostolic circle, we must, of course, be careful to note their way of expressing themselves. Of the Jews, it is said in Rom. iii. 2, " That they were entrusted with the oracles of God." HiaTevOrjvai implies that to you, as ruler, or manager, or steward, something is committed which does not belong to you, has not been produced by you, but is the property of another subject, and over which you are placed in a position of responsibility. Of the grain which he himself has raised, the farmer cannot say that it is committed to him; this is only true of the grain which was raised by another, and is stored in his barn. Hence, the apostolic representation is not that thoughts, but that "utterances " (\6yia) were given to them for safe-keeping and care, which were not original with themselves, but had another as subject, author and owner. And that other subject is named, for they are called "the oracles of God." In 1 Cor. vii. 40, after having given a rule for matrimony, the apostle says, " and I think that I also have the Spirit of God." There is, therefore, no question here of a moral excellence, nor yet of more holiness, but of an insight into the will of God. God alone can decide the question of marriage; the only question for us is to know the will of God, and, by his statement, Paul claims to possess that knowledge, on the ground that he, as well as the writers of the Old Testament and other apostles, had received the Holy Ghost. That this exegesis is correct, appears from 1 Thess. iv. 9; cf. verse 2. In verse 2, he had said: "For ye know what charges we gave you," and after an instruction in the principles of these charges, he follows it up with these words, in verse 8: "Therefore he that rejecteth, rejecteth not man, but God, who giveth his Holy Spirit unto you." Thus he assumes that his ordinances are the clear expression of God's will; that for this reason they are divinely authoritative; and he explains this from the fact that a work of the Holy Spirit has taken place in them or on behalf of the church. Of Moses, it is written in Heb. viii. 5, that he was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: "See that thou make all things according to the pattern that was shewed thee in the mount." To him, therefore, had come an utterance from the oracle, for such is the meaning of KexfyqixarKTrai, according to the conception which was then current in the apostolic circle; something that did not come up from himself, but was given him from without; it referred to a very concrete affair, to wit: that the plan for the tabernacle was not to be designed by himself, but had been brought to him from outside. In James v. 10, we read that the prophets " spake in the name of the Lord," which implies that what was spoken by them was not binding in virtue of the authority of their own person or insight, but was spoken by them in the name of Christ Himself; which either assumes a fanatical presumption, or, since the apostle does not mean this, can only be explained by the idea of inspiration. In Rev. xxii. 17-20,. it is said that Christ bears witness to that which, by exclusively Divine authority, is written in the Apocalypse (to th& words of the prophecy of this book), so that adding to or taking away from the things written in this book involves the penalty of eternal loss. According to 1 Pet. i. 12, the preaching of the apostles is done "by the Holy Ghost sent forth from heaven "; even as it was "the Spirit of Christ" who in the prophets did signify beforehand (jrpofiaprvp6pyevov). Even though the iv irvevfiari point to a different modality from the irpofjiaprvpofievov, both expressions, nevertheless, in their connection refer to one and the same idea of inspiration, which receives its more general description in 2 Pet. i. 21, by the authentic declaration that prophecy did not find its origin in the "will" of the prophets themselves, but in the fact, that they, as "men of God" spoke that which entered into their consciousness while "they were being moved by the Holy Ghost;" a representation which was evidently applied by them, even though in modified form, to the entire Scripture of the Old Testament, as appears from the "all Scripture is theopneustic," in 2 Tim. iii. 16. The fact, therefore, that the apostles held the idea of inspiration, and applied it to the Old Testament, admits of no difference of opinion.
In the second place, it must also be noted that the apostles, also, did not look upon the Old Testament as a collection of literary documents, but as one codex, which was organically constructed and clothed with Divine authority. That unity lies already expressed in the iraaa ypa<pr j of 2 Tim. iii. 16, which does not mean the whole Scripture but every Scripture, and hence does not emphasize the unity only, but simultaneously the organic unity. The same thought lies in 1 Pet. i. 12: "To whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto you, did they minister these things." First, all the prophets are here taken under one head, and to their collective labor the character is attributed, not of its being a work of their own, over which they have the right of disposal, but of its being a labor which they have performed with another purpose, which lay outside of them, and which was determined by God. According to Heb. i. 1, it is not human insight, but God Himself, which spake to the fathers when they were spoken to by the prophets, and however much this took place "by divers portions and in divers manners," it all belonged together, formed one whole, and together constituted God's testimony to the fathers. The apostolic manner of quoting confirms this. They also do not quote by the name of the author, but as ypa<f>rj and yeypairrai. In Rom. iv. 17, proof is furnished by "as it is written "; in Rom. x. 11, the phrase, " for the Scripture says," is conclusive. By the words, "according as it is written," in Rom. xi. 8, all contradiction is cut off. This shows, indeed, that according to the apostolic representation, the entire Old Testament forms one whole, which is organically connected, and the content of which is authoritative, because it appears in this codex. Even the prayer of Elijah is quoted in Rom. xi. 2, as "What the Scripture saith," after which the answer of God to his prayer is mentioned as 6 xPrjfiariafi°^ (the Divine response), and thus distinguished from the excitement of his own spirit. Especially characteristic in this respect is the extensive quotation in Rom. iii. 10-18, which is referred to as one continuous argument, and yet is constructed from no less than six different chapters; viz. Ps. xiv. 1-3, Ps. v. 9, Ps. cxl. 3, Ps. x. 7, Isaiah lix. 7, and Ps. xxxvi. 1. These parts are introduced by a y^ypairrai, " it is written," and explained by the "what things soever the law saith, it speaketh to them that are under the law." Teypairrai as the perfect tense, especially in a quotation composed of so many parts, is even stronger than ypa<prj, because it is equivalent to what we call a law: "law enacted is sacred" (lex lata, lex sancta est). Teypairrai implies not only that it occurs or is found in the Scripture, but that as an expression of truth it bears the Divine seal. In the same way, after a quotation from the Psalms and Isaiah, the "what things soever the law saith" convincingly indicates that no importance is attached to Isaiah nor to David, but simply to the fact that it occurs in the holy codex. In these quotations the apostles do not confine themselves for support to the authority of pericopes or extended passages, but base their argument equally well upon a single word from the Old Testament; one may almost say upon a single letter. In Gal. iii. 16, the entire argument rests upon the singular "seed "; if in the original one letter had been written differently, and the plural had appeared, the entire apostolic argument would have lost its force. The same you find in 1 Pet. iii. 5, 6, where the exhortation rests upon the fact that Sarah called her husband "lord." In the apostolic circle, no such quotations could have been made, if the conviction had not been prevalent that inspiration extended even to the word and to the form of the word; which connection between form and content, Paul also confirms for himself, when in 1 Cor. ii. 13, he declares: "Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Spirit teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual." In this statement, indeed, the "human" and the "pneumatic" cannot stand over against each other as the intellectual and the mystical. He also bears witness instrumentally through hia mind; his speaking, also, is the expression of intelligence, mostly calculated to address the understanding rather than the emotions. The "pneumatica," therefore, cannot intend anything else but the fountain from which the impulse for his utterances proceeds, and that fountain, he says, does not lie in man, but in the Spirit, and thus in a power which affects him from without.
In the third place it must be conceded, that in the apostolic circle also the Old Testament was considered as the predestined transcript of God's counsel, of which the instrumental author has, often unconsciously, produced the record, and which, as being of a higher origin, has Divine authority. This appears clearly in Acts ii. 24, 25, where Peter says: "It was not possible that He should be holden of death." And why does he deem this impossible? Because Jesus was the Son of God? Undoubtedly for this also; of this, however, Peter makes no mention, but states as the only reason that it was thus written in Ps. xvi.: "Neither wilt thou give thy Holy One to see corruption." Hence the "impossibility" rests upon the fact that the opposite to this was written in the Old Testament; an argument which suits only with the supposition that the Old Testament furnishes us with the program of what must happen according to God's counsel and will. To that counsel and to that foreknowledge of God he refers us definitely in what immediately precedes: "Him being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God." Of a similar tendency is what we read in Acts i. 16, where Peter says: "It was needful that the Scripture should be fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost spake before by the mouth of David." The thought here quoted is not from David, but from the Holy Ghost, even though the Holy Ghost made use of the mouth of David by which to utter it, and because the Holy Ghost took this thought from the counsel of God, it had to be fulfilled. In Matt. xiii. 34, 35, the apostle Matthew inserts the observation, that Jesus had to speak in parables, "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet." In a similar way the apostle John inserts his "that the Scripture might be fulfilled" in John xix. 24, and elsewhere. And all these expressions of "must needs be," "it is necessary," "was not possible," "that the Scripture might be fulfilled," etc., have no meaning unless it was believed in the apostolic circle as an undoubted fact, that the Old Testament presents us the Divine program of things to come, with such certainty as to render it entirely trustworthy. Hence there is no hesitancy in announcing God the Holy Spirit as the speaking subject in the Old Testament. Acts vii. 6, "And God spake on this wise"; Rom. ii. 4, "But what saith the answer of God unto him?" Heb. i. 6," When he bringeth in the firstborn into the world, he saith"; Heb. i. 13," But of which of the angels hath he said at any time"; Acts i. 16, "the Scripture . . . which the Holy Ghost spake before by the mouth of David"; Heb. x. 15, "And the Holy Ghost also beareth witness to us; for after he hath said . . . saith the Lord ": expressions which are used not only when it concerns a saying of God (dictum Dei), but also when God is spoken of in the third person, as for instance Heb. iii. 7, "Wherefore, even as the Holy Ghost saith, To-day if ye shall hear his voice," or with the mention of facts, as in Heb. ix. 8, "the Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holy place hath not yet been made manifest."
The stringing together of quotations from different books, such as appears in Acts i. 20, Rom. xi. 8, 26, xv. 9, 1 Tim. v. 18, etc., shows equally clearly, that in the estimation of the apostles the human authors fall entirely in the background. Such quoting is only conceivable and warranted by the supposition that all these sayings, however truly they have come to us by several writers, are actually from one and the same author; exactly in the same way in which one quotes from the works of the same writer or from the articles of the same lawgiver. That this was indeed the apostolic apprehension appears more clearly still from the fact, which they state: that the words of the Old Testament often contain more than the writers themselves understood. In Rom. iv. 23 it is said of the words from Gen. xv. 6, that "it was reckoned unto him for righteousness," did not refer to Abraham only, as the writer must have intended, but also to us. In Rom. xv. 3, Ps. lxix. 9 is quoted, and what David exclaimed in a Psalm, which cannot stand before the ethical judgment of many, is cited as coming from the Messianic subject; and yet this quotation furnishes the apostle the occasion for the general statement, "that whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that through patience and through comfort of the Scriptures we might have hope." This, of course, could not have been the intention of the instrumental authors. David sang when his heart was full, Jeremiah prophesied when the fire burned in his bones. Thus this intention is thought of as in the "mind of the first author," and it is only by divine direction, that the Scriptures are thus predestined to realize their given purpose in the Church of all the ages. This is applied not only to moral and doctrinal dicta, but also to the historical parts. "Do ye not hear the Old Testament (rbv v6fiov)?" Paul asks in Gal. iv. 22; "For it is written, that Abraham had two sons"; and of this he says: "Which things contain an allegory," i.e. a meaning was hidden in all this, which was neither foreseen nor intended by him who wrote these words. The same appears in Heb. v. 11, 12, where the exposition of the priesthood after the order of Melchizedek is introduced, an exposition in which numerous deductions are made from the common historic narrative, which were not intended by the writer of Genesis. The understanding of this deeper sense is called in verse 11 "hard of interpretation"; it does not lie at hand, and deeper insight only discovers it. And yet, this deeper insight is no play of magic with the word. One may readily acquire it if only one is not dull of hearing. If one is but mature, he is able of himself to enjoy this strong meat, for they "by reason of use have their senses exercised." It is therefore a mysterious meaning not included in it by the writer, but by the Holy Spirit, which now from behind is revealed by that same Holy Spirit to those who are perfect. A no less broadly prepared example of this is given in 1 Cor. x. 1-18, where a spiritual-typical significance is attached to the crossing of the Red Sea and to the events in the wilderness, which could not have been intended by the writer of the narrative. That meaning was beyond him, and directed itself from the mind of the primary author to us "upon whom the ends of the ages are come." Now only, because the antitypical has come, can the typical be understood.
It can scarcely be denied, therefore, that in the apostolic circle, the conviction was prevalent that, without controversy, the Old Testament had come into existence as a sacred codex by Divine inspiration, and must be viewed as clothed with Divine authority. This shows that Jesus, who knew this conviction, did not contradict it, but put His seal upon it in His intercourse with His disciples. The apostolic use of the Old Testament tends to give us a better knowledge of Jesus' judgment concerning this codex, and, so far as in Jesus the self-testimony of the Scripture expresses itself most clearly and correctly, to make us know how the Scripture itself desires us to esteem it. The different objections that have been raised against this apostolic use of the Old Testament, particularly upon the ground of Gal. iv. 2124 and 1 Cor. x. 1-13, cannot here be examined. The question, indeed, what use the apostles have made of the Old Testament, is not critical but historic. The critical examination, therefore, of these objections is not in place in Encyclopedia, but in the disciplina canonica. One objection, however, may be considered here, because it really sheds light upon the use made by the apostles of the Holy Scripture of the Old Testament. Their quotations are by no means always a literal translation of the original. This would create no surprise if they had not understood Hebrew, but it does with a man like Paul, who was well versed in the original text. The fact that they wrote in Greek to Greek-speaking churches is, from the nature of the case, no sufficient explanation. This, no doubt, explains why as a rule they followed the Greek translation which they knew was in use among their readers, but states no ground for their own departure from the original, nor yet for their following of that translation in places where it was incorrect. They who think that the writers of the apostolic circle wrote without assistance (suo Marte), can scarcely come to any other conclusion than that this mode of procedure was faulty and rested upon mistake, either voluntary or involuntary, but in no case pardonable. The matter assumes an entirely different aspect, however, when one starts out from the position that these writers themselves were inspired in a way analogous to the writers whose text they quoted. He who cites the language of another must quote literally, but a writer who quotes himself is bound to the actual content only, and not to the form of what he wrote, except in the face of a third party. If, therefore, it is the same Holy Spirit who spoke through the prophets and inspired the apostles, it is the same primary author (auctor primarius) who, by the apostles, quotes himself, and is therefore entirely justified in repeating his original meaning in application to the case for which the quotation is made, in a somewhat modified form, agreeably to the current translation. Suppose an oration you have delivered has been translated into English, and that you appear before an American audience which knows your position only from that English translation, will it not be natural, in so far as your original meaning comports with that translation, to quote from what your audience knows? Any one would; and to do so is logical. And, therefore, from this point of view, there is nothing strange in it that in the apostolic circle the auctor primarius quotes from his own words agreeably to the accepted translated text. No one else could do this but the author himself, since he is both authorized and competent to guard against false interpretations of his original meaning.
The citation from Psalm xl. 6 in Heb. x. 5 may still further explain this. The translation which is here given is undoubtedly borrowed from the LXX., and it is equally certain that the translation of the LXX. is faulty and corrupted in the copies, either by the change of &ria, or, as others assert, by that of oro/xa into a<ofia. D^IN is not a&fia, but Wrt'a or cora. Must it be said, that the reading aa>fia indicates another thought? Most assuredly, if one translates "h Jt*q D'OIK as given in the Dutch version: "Mine ears hast thou pierced," in the sense in which the willing slave was pinned through the ear to the doorpost of his lord. This translation, however, is absolutely untenable, simply because this never could or can be said of the D'JIK (ears) in the dual. The only correct translation is: Mine ears hast thou digged, in the sense of opened, i.e. Thou hast prepared me for the service of obedience. For this thought the expression "a body hast thou prepared me" would do just as well, after the rule of the "whole for the part." If my thumb is hurt, I can use three forms of expression: my thumb is wounded, my finger is wounded, or my hand is hurt. For the preparation of the ear can be put: the preparation of the body; provided both are taken in the sense that this, physicosymbolically, points to spiritual obedience, which is also to be accomplished in outward things. That in Heb. x. 5, body is taken in this sense appears from verse 9, where the exegesis from Ps. xl. 7 is used: "Lo, I come to do thy will," i.e. to obey. And that it is intended as the actual explanation of the "a body hast thou prepared me," appears from the additional words: "He taketh away the first (the burnt offerings and offerings for sin) that He may establish the second (the complete sacrifice of obedience)." The atoning act of Christ's sacrifice lay not in the crucifixion of His body by itself, but in His will to obey; as it is expressly stated in verse 10: by which will (not by which body) we have been sanctified. The question whether the following, "through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ," does not refer back to the body in verse 5, can never be answered with certainty. Even if this inference is accepted, it can never follow from this that in verse 5 the incarnation, i.e. the providing of the body for His self-sacrifice, is meant. Rather the contrary; for the exegesis which, as we saw, makes verse 9 follow immediately upon verse 8, affirms the opposite. The undeniable fault in the translation, or at least in the copies, lent itself easily to express, nevertheless, the original meaning of the first author in Ps. xl. 6, and this accounts for the fact that in a Greek copy this Greek reading does not need to be changed necessarily to the letter according to the Hebrew requirement, but can be taken as being equal in sense and thought to the original. This would have been indeed unlawful in common quotation by another, but offers not the least difficulty since the auctor primarius of Ps. xl. and Heb. x. is one and the same. An observation, from which at the same time it appears how, in the apostolic circle, they did not represent to themselves the authority of the Scripture as a petrified power, but as a power flowing forth from an evervital authority, carrying and ever accompanying the entire Scripture. It presented itself differently to them than to us. For us this inspiration belongs to the past; it is an ended matter; we ourselves stand outside of it. In the same way the Sanhedrin were under the impression that inspiration had died out for as many as four centuries. In the apostolic circle, on the other hand, by Jesus' promise that the Holy Ghost would resume his working, they were prepared to entertain a different view, and after the day of Pentecost they actually lived in another reality. They perceived that this same wondrous power, which had worked in former times and the product of which was the Scripture, had resumed its action, even though in a different way. By this the apostolic circle lived in the Scripture as in a part of its own life. This broke the barrenness of the mechanical contact, and caused the organic contact to resume its liberating process; and it is in this way that subjectively, from the side of the apostles, their liberty in the use of Scripture is explained, as we explained it objectively from the identity of the author in the quotation and in what was quoted.
§ 79. Significance of this Result for the Old Testament
The period in which the opponents of the Christian confession exegetically misrepresented the Scriptures, in such a way that at length they were said to contain their opinions, is irrevocably past. In controversies of a sectarian character, such dogmatic exegesis may still be resorted to; in the conflict for or against the Christ as the Son of God, this weapon is worn out. Negation has destroyed the gain of this untrue position, and now feels itself sufficiently strong to continue the undermining of orthodox Christendom without the assist-' ance of the authority of the Scripture. This we consider no loss, since it has rendered the position clear and free. The first result is, that one begins by granting that orthodoxy is correct in a most important point, which formerly was combated and derided. Only remember what material was gathered by the waning rationalistic-supranaturalistic period, by which to prove, in an amusingly learned way, that in the Holy Scripture Christ appeared nowhere as a Divine person, and that there was as little mention in the Scripture of a vicarious sacrifice made for sinners. This was altogether a churchly dogma, but no representation of Scripture; and thus the hopeless task was undertaken to exegete all such mysteries out of the Scripture. The authority of Christ or of the apostles stood too high at the time, in public estimation, to be put aside or to be defied. In order to obtain a hearing for one's "free" ideas, it was necessary, at the time, to press the argument that the churchly representation was forced upon Christ and His apostles, but that, on a more accurate exegesis, it appeared to be foreign to the Scripture. Whatever of protest was entered against this, from the side of the orthodox, was commonly said to have neither rhyme nor reason. It was soon treated with ridicule; and in some inconceivable way the opinion became prevalent that, in all honesty, Jesus and His apostles had fostered those very same ideas, which eighteen centuries later, in a jaded period of enervated theological thought, were sold off as the newest sample of religious wisdom. If you pass from the period of negation of that time to view its present phase, you observe that this breastwork, cast up with so much exertion, is entirely deserted, and that literally no one defends any longer the representation which was then generally accepted. On the contrary, opponents and supporters of orthodoxy are now fairly well agreed that, in that earlier conflict, upon exegetical ground, the orthodox exegetes were right, and that the Scripture, as it lies before us, really preaches those mysteries then so sharply antagonized.
This has not been granted, of course, with the purpose of accepting those mysteries. This recognition was arrived at only after men had become well assured that nothing was to be derived from it in the interest of the truth of those mysteries. Now it was said that the Scripture itself must be abandoned, and that these mysteries had not been promulgated by the Christ, but were attributed to Him by Scripture documents of later composition. A da capo, indeed, of the ancient assertion; only with this difference, that in the earlier period battle was given in the domain of the Scripture, and now it was turned against that Scripture itself. And when this failed of providing a conception of the Christ which divested him of all supernatural elements, they have now even wrested themselves sufficiently free from his moral authority, boldly to declare that a certain circle of conceptions belonged indeed to Jesus, which nevertheless have ceased to be true to us. But even this implies for us a twofold gain. First, the gain that, now we may see what the tendency of the earlier exegetical attack on Christendom was, and that in the main the exegesis of the orthodox was correct. And secondly, there is the gain that it is no longer denied that Jesus and His apostles entertained conceptions concerning several mysteries, which exhibit a clear relationship to the orthodox confession — a fact which is particularly granted with respect to the conception of Jesus and His apostles concerning the Old Covenant. Aside from the question whether the further development of the dogma of inspiration does not diverge from that conception in more than one particular, and in so far stands in need of correction, no one at present will deny that in the circle of Jesus and His apostles there was a current conception, gainsaid by none, which assigned to the Old Testament, as a Holy Book, a normative authority. Even those who think that the portrait of Jesus, as the New Testament delineates it, allows us only with difficulty to form an idea of the figure of the Rabbi of Nazareth which lurks behind it, confess that Jesus cannot be represented in any other way than as having adopted at this point the current opinion of pious Israelites of His times. Even the accommodation theory has long since been abandoned. But after the frank confession that Jesus shared that conception, this fact is emptied of its significance by the simple statement that Jesus' opinion on this point has no value, — that He Himself, no less than His contemporaries, has simply been mistaken. Hence the confession of the fact has only become possible at the price of respect for Jesus' person. As long as this respect was retained, the fact could not be granted. Since this respect has been lost, the confession is freely made.
This reveals at the same time the weighty consideration which this confession puts in the scale for him who finds this respect for Christ as the Son of God in the depths of his soul, and to whom, therefore, Jesus shines in the full glory of the divine mystery. Can He have been — mistaken, mistaken — with respect to holiest things, in what must be to us the ground and source of our faith! Mistaken also, therefore, in assigning, on the basis of the Scripture, a high Messianic character to Himself! But the very idea is incompatible with the confession of Jesus' Divine nature. Erring in what is holy is no mere failure in intellect, but betrays a state of ruin of one's whole inner being. In the sinner, therefore, a mistake is natural, but not in one who is holy. Hence, here you face a dilemma, from the stress of which there is no escape. One of two things must follow: either, if in the centrum of what is holy Jesus took His stand upon a lying conception, then He Himself had no instinct for the truth, was not God manifest in the flesh, and could not even have been the purely sinless man; or, if He was "the Christ, the Son of the living God," in all things like ourselves, sin excepted, then whatever He sealed as true in the centrum of what was holy must also be true to him who thus believes in his Saviour. Nothing can here be put in between. As long as the effort was prosecuted to prove that Jesus shared the view of the Scripture of the Old Testament held by the more liberal tendency at the beginning of this century, inspiration could be abandoned without the loss of one's Christ. Since, on the other hand, this effort has suffered total shipwreck, and since it is, and must be, historically acknowledged that Christ viewed the Scripture in about the same way in which the Church of all ages has done this in her symbols, the conflict against this view of the Scripture has become directly a conflict against the Christ Himself. He who breaks in principle with that ancient view of the Scripture cuts the cord of faith, which bound him to that Christ as his Lord and his God. And he who cannot refrain from kneeling low before his Saviour cannot break with the ground of faith in the Scripture, as Jesus Himself has sealed it.
The tendency, which becomes more and more manifest, to withdraw oneself from the Scripture into an individualistic mysticism and from the Christ to go back to the Holy Spirit, cannot be maintained for one moment by a worshipper of Christ in the face of the fact that Jesus acknowledged the Scripture. For, even though we take them as historical witnesses merely, the Scriptures of the New Testament afford abundant proof that Christ knew this mysticism of the Holy Spirit and honored it, but even in the Gospel of John, in which this mysticism is most often mentioned, almost more strongly than in the Synoptics, you find the conviction of Jesus expressed that He is bound to the Scriptures; bound not only for His conceptions, but bound for His person, for the program of His life and passion, and for the future of glory which awaits Him. Hence the desire to remain orthodox in one's Christology, and so far as the way of knowledge is concerned to withdraw oneself into mystical territory, in order to be able to make concessions in the domain of the Scripture-question, is the fruit of lack of thought, a measuring with two measures, and self-contradiction. The question is more serious than is surmised by this well-meaning orthodoxy. The conflict, which is begun in order to rob us of the Scripture as Holy Scripture, can have no other tendency than to rob us of the Christ. If the Holy Scripture qua talis falls, then Jesus was a man and nothing more, who was mistaken in the centrum of what was holy, and who consequently can neither escape from the fellowship of sin, nor yet in what is holiest and tenderest be your absolute guide.
It is not true that on this point there could be error in Jesus, without detriment to His person and His character as authority in what is holy. In history entirely innocent inaccuracies are certainly possible, which, so far from doing harm, rather bring to light the free utterance of life above notarial mannerism. But of this character, Jesus' error could have been least of all. For three reasons. In the first place, because, if the historical-critical school is right, there is not merely a dispute about the author and the origin of several books, but in the Old Testament you frequently encounter deceit and falsehood. There are not only several representations of facts and events which are fictitious, but many pretensions, also, to Divine revelation which are feigned, and the intrusion of writings under other names which are nothing but "prophecies after the event," but which nevertheless present themselves as authentic prophecy. Whether this deceit and this falsehood is the personal work of one individual or the result of tradition, makes no difference; falsehood does not cease to be falsehood if it is generated gradually in the course of time. And however much one may talk of "pious fraud," even that can only be represented as free from deceit when the rule is adopted that the end sanctifies the means. Grant that you may make no scientific claims on Jesus, which fall outside of the scope of His person and time, may this ever authorize one to deny Him also the instinct for truth? And yet He must have been entirel}devoid of this instinct, if He could have taken such a structure of fictitious and designedly untrue representations as the ground of that truth, which He confessed and for which He died.
In the second place, such error could not have been innocently made for the reason stated above, viz. that Jesus accepted the entire program of His life at the hand of the Scripture. The Old Testament Scripture had a meaning for Jesus which it could have had for no other, either before or after Him. From the fatal standpoint of an error no other conclusion can be formed than that in the program of the 'Ebed Jahvah, of the Messiah, and of the man of sorrows Jesus wrongly saw the plan of His own existence, public appearance, passion and glory, and that He labored under an illusion when, on the ground of the Scripture, He conformed Himself to this. His great life-work, then, is no result of a Divine impulse, but a role in a drama which He found projected by some one else, and of which He imagined Himself to be the chief actor. Thus if this error is granted, it entails with it a condemnation of Jesus' whole interpretation of His task. Not only His interpretation of the Scripture, but His entire position in history has then been one mistake. He then has walked in a dream. A beautiful dream wrought into His phantasy by the Old Testament. By this, however, His life and sacrifice forfeit the serious character of being a moral reality sprung from God.
And the third reason, why the idea of an innocent mistake cannot be entertained, is evident from the very conflict of our times. At first the Old Testament was antagonized by means of the New, in order on ethical grounds to exhibit the lower standard of the Old. The religious and ethical representations of the Old Testament must be repelled, in order that Christ and the New Testament might find an entrance as the principium of what was higher and holier. Now one does not hesitate on the ground of his own religious and moral sense to apply his criticism to Christ and the New Testament. But even if we pass this second suggestion by, it is alleged that in the centrum of the religious and moral life there yawns an abyss between the Old Testament and the Christ. Notwithstanding all this the attempt is being made to make it appear as though it had merely been an innocent mistake in Christ that for eighteen centuries by precept and example He has bound His followers and confessors to the authority of that Old Testament. But is it not absurd to qualify in the Founder of your religion, as Jesus is called, as of no importance a mistake which for ages has led millions upon millions astray, and still continues to do this? We may safely prophesy that after not many days the stress of the dilemma, which we here face, will be realized and generally acknowledged. Either Jesus' view of the Scripture is the true one, and then we should kneel in His presence; or Jesus' view of the Scripture is one enormous mistake, in which case the Rabbi of Nazareth can no longer be the absolute guide along the way of faith.
We accept this dilemma the sooner since it determines most definitely our point of departure. There are two kinds of people, thus we wrote, in or outside of the circle of palingenesis, and connected therewith there are two kinds of consciousness, subjectively with or without illumination, and objectively with or without Holy Scripture. Applied to the above-named dilemma, this affirms: That if by palingenesis you stand vitally related to the Christ as "the head of the body," the relation between your consciousness and the Holy Scripture is born from this of itself. But if that relation of the palingenesis does not bind you to the Christ of God as head of the body of the new humanity, you cannot kneel before Him in worship, neither can the Scripture be to you a Holy Scripture. The scientific form, in which your confession of the Scripture will cast itself, we do not consider here. No one, able to think and to ponder, has ever come either to palingenesis, to faith in the Christ as the Son of God, or to the acceptance of the Scripture, as the result of scientific investigation. Faith is of a different kind, and can never be plucked as fruit from the branches of science. Faith in, as well as the rejection of, the Christ and the Scripture, i.e. of a Logos embodied in the flesh and embodied in writing (JvaapKa>fievo<; and <?yypa$o?), springs from the root of our spiritual existence. Hence it cannot be that by nature every one accepts the Christ and the Holy Scripture. The antithesis cannot remain wanting between those who believe and reject. It lies in the very nature of every intervenient process, which does not find its rise in the natural principium of the creation, but in a special principium that is bent upon recreation. The very nature of special grace brings with it that by one it must be accepted, but also by another be rejected. Faith cannot belong to all. As soon as rejection stands no longer over against faith, special grace has reached its end, and by the parousia passes over into the then glorified natural principium. This was not felt for many years, because faith on the Scripture floated on tradition only, and became thereby unspiritual. The apostasy from the Christ and from the Scripture is therefore nothing else than the falling away from this traditional position, which for a long time had no more spiritual root. Now only, thanks to the simultaneous conflict against Christ and the Scripture, the great dictum, that Christ is set for the rising up but also for the falling of many (Luke ii. 34), also for those who are outside of Israel, begins to be realized as truth.
§ 80. The Inspiration of the New Testament
The Scripture of the New Testament is not so directly covered by the authority of Christ and His apostles as that of the Old Covenant. The Law and the Prophets formed a Scripture which already existed, and concerning which, therefore, Jesus' verdict and use can give a final explanation; but the New Testament did not yet exist, and therefore could not be subjected to judgment in the circle of Jesus. The absolute and immediate authority which the Bishop of Rome claims as vicar of Christ and head of the Church lacks the Divine seal, which it needs in order to impress the Divine stamp upon the Scripture of the New Testament. The absolute authority necessary for such a sealing, outside of us, is here wanting. Our fixed point of departure, therefore, does not lie in the New, but in the Old, Testament. The Old Testament is to us the fixed point of support, and the New cannot legitimate itself other than as the complement and crown of the Old, postulated by the Old, assumed and prophesied by Christ, actually come, and by the continuity of faith accepted in the Church of Christ. A certain parallel with the standing of the authority of the Old Testament before Jesus' appearance is here not to be denied. Even though Jesus' decisive witness concerning the Scripture then in existence lays for us the firmest objective foundation on which its authority rests, it may nevertheless not be lost from sight that respect for this authority did not originate first by means of Jesus' coming, but was already prevalent before He was manifest in the flesh. Christ had merely to connect Himself with what existed, and put His seal to an authority that was uersally recognized. The authority of the Scripture of the Old Covenant arose of itself even as that of the New Testament. It was, as Jesus found it, the result of organic factors which had worked in upon the people of God in the Old Dispensation; an authority which only gradually had been firmly established, and did not maintain itself in an absolute sense, except through conflict and strife, over against the pretension of the Apocrypha and other influential writings, but at length prevailed uersally within a sharply bounded domain. As a parallel to the rise of the authority of the New Testament this is of value to us, because it shows that such an authority can establish itself gradually by psychical factors and in organic connection with the life of the people of God, and in such a way that the Christ ratifies it afterwards as an entirely lawful and valid authority. From this the possibility also is evident that in a proper way, without outward legitimation, such an authority may be imposed as of itself, and that afterwards it can appear to have been entirely lawfully established. Thus there is nothing strange in it, that in a similarly unmarked way the Scripture of the New Testament gradually acquired the authority which it has since exercised. From the psychological point of view the process of the rise of this authority, both with the New and with the Old Testament, is one. The description of this process is the task of the science of Canonics, and therefore lies outside of our scope. But the inner necessity needs to be indicated with which the Old called for the New Testament, and how this necessity has been uersally realized.
We begin with the latter. Consider then how difficult it must have been at first for the pious mind, to add to the Holy Scripture, consisting as it then did of the Old Testament, a new part, with the claim of equal authority. An absolute boundary line separated the Old Testament from every other writing. Even the conflict with the Apocrypha had ceased. And now the idea arises, of placing all sorts of other writings, which lack every mark of antiquity, and are of very recent date, on a line with this Holy Scripture, even with respect to authority, and yet this idea meets with no opposition, but enters as of itself; and while at the same time all sorts of other writings are circulated, one sees in the main very soon a boundary line drawn between what commends itself as clothed with that authority, and what does not. What are one hundred years in such a process of spiritual development? And not much more than one century has passed after Jesus' ascension, before a complement for the Old Testament has formed itself, begins to run by its side, finds recognition, and comes into sacred use. And this went on so unobservedly and of itself, that although all sorts of controversies arose concerning the question, whether this or that book should be adopted, yet of a fundamental controversy against the idea itself, of adding a New Testament to the Old, there is absolutely no trace discoverable. Reaction against this idea as such proceeded, and very reasonably, from the side of the Jews alone, but was not even suggested in the circle of the Christians. They were as controversial then as we are now, and there is no difference, however small, dogmatic, ethic, or ecclesiastic, but has been fought for and against from the beginning. But no trace of any significance appears anywhere of opposition to the idea itself, that a new Scripture should be added to the Old. Hyperspiritualism may have reacted against all Scripture, New as well as Old; but that cannot claim our attention here: we speak simply of those, who, while loyally subject to the authority of the Old Testament, faced the question whether or no a second Scripture, clothed with equal authority, should be added to the accepted canon. Psychologically one would have expected a negative answer to this question from more than one side. Imagine what it would mean to you if to your Bible, as it now consists of Old and New Testaments, a third volume was to be added, clothed with equal authority and of later origin, and you perceive at once that reaction against this effort, yea, fierce opposition almost, could not be wanting. And yet such was the case faced by the church at large at that time. Both what was to be added to the Old Testament, and that anything should be added, was entirely new to them. That, nevertheless, all opposition of any essential character and significant influence against this idea as such remained wanting, shows indeed that the minds and hearts must have been predisposed to the reception of a second Scripture; that the enlightening, when this Scripture arose, bound the minds and hearts to it; and that the appearance of the New Testament, so far from sowing unrest in the mind, rather produced that natural rest which is enjoyed when what was incomplete in itself obtains its natural complement. And this sense was so general that not only the orthodox but also the heterodox tendency, as far as it moved in the bed of the Christian Church, supported the rise of this new Scripture. Even though many efforts went out from the side of the heterodox to exclude this or that writing, to modify or replace it by another, yet in this very effort the general consciousness voiced itself, that an authoritative Scripture of the New Testament was a necessity. Even though the authority was questioned of certain books, or of a part of it, the heretic and the orthodox confessor were unanimous in the conviction that the Old Scripture called for a New.
There was indeed some reaction, but this was aimed exclusively against the manner how, and not against the matter itself. By that reaction against the manner of execution, the matter itself was rather strengthened. The adoption of the avriXeyofieva was reacted against; reaction took place for the sake of introducing other writings, which did not belong to the canon; to modify the text of uersally acknowledged writings, agreeably to all sorts of heterodoxy: but this threefold reaction is but a proof that the conflict was waged with reference to certain products of the first Christian literature, but very definitely not with reference to the acceptance of a new Holy Scripture. That such a man as Paul alone wrote perhaps ten times as much as is contained from his hand in the New Testament, lies in the very nature of the case. Is it reasonable to suppose that one of the apostles never wrote anything? How large, then, the literary product must have been about one hundred years after Jesus' birth. But no proposal was made to add the whole of this literary inheritance, not even all the apostolic writings, as the complement to the Old Testament. There was room for choice, there was room for sifting. This will do; that, not. And in this lies the recognition of the distinction between what should and what should not be received as authoritative. This certainly was not effected mechanically nor conventionally nor scholastically. Whatever in the end compiled this Scripture canonicall}-, it was not simply human sharp-sightedness, but rather Divine providence. Even so, however, it appears from the threefold reaction, mentioned above, that with clear consciousness a second Holy Scripture as such was in view, and that the assignment of such high authority to this or that book was contested, but not the reality of such an authority as such. It is evident that this occasioned a period of uncertainty; but let it be observed that this uncertainty concerned the whole New Testament only for a ver\short time, and, sooner than could be expected, reduced itself to a very small part of it. In that limited sense, however, this uncertainty could not remain wanting, for the very reason that such a canonical authority could only be the outflow of the finally unanimous and ever spontaneous recognition of the churches. A recognition which was greatly impeded by the distances between the farthest outlying churches in the West and in the East; which experienced still more impediment from the absence of a regular communication; and which, in the midst of the confusion brought about by persecution and by heterodoxy, could only be established as by miracle. And yet the result is that persecution had scarcely ceased, and the ecclesiastical bond been regulated, and heterodoxy been repressed, when on every hand you find the churches in the possession of a second Holy Scripture, and the authority of the New Testament standing in nothing behind that of the Old.
This would be inexplicable, if the Old Testament had announced itself as exclusive and in itself complete, and had not, rather, itself called for a New Testament as its complement. The prophetic character of the Old Covenant bars out this exclusive point of view. Everything in the Old Testament will be nothing but anticipatory, and calls for the "age to come" (XDH D^IS). In the estimation of all who revered its authority, the entire Old Scripture postulated a reality which was to come, the shadow of which alone was given in the old dispensation. The glimmerings were there, the light itself still tarried. One read the prologue; the drama itself was to follow. The pedestal was finished for the monument about to be erected, but the figure itself was still to be placed upon it. There was a protasis, but the apodosis of fulfilment was yet to come. When this end, this complementing reality, came, the same problem arose as of old. This apodosis, this plerosis, came not in one moment of time, immediately to be ended and closed by the parousia, but this manifestation was also to be perpetuated, as has been the case now nearly twenty centuries. The same necessity of the Scripture, which existed for the manifestation of the prophetic dispensation, was here repeated. What took place only once, and was to project its energy for centuries together and to all the ends of the earth, must pass over into tradition, and this tradition must clothe itself in the only conceivable form of human trustworthiness, viz. that of the Scriptura. This necessity would have fallen away if the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the mystical body of Christ had worked actual holiness and infallibility at once. Then, indeed, oral tradition would have been guaranteed against involuntary and wilful falsification. Since, however, this is not so, and they who are regenerated must struggle till their death with the after-throes of sin, and since in the Church of Christ many hypocrites are continually numbered with the children of palingenesis, the oral tradition was in imminent danger of being falsified. The necessitas scripturae, therefore, to perpetuate the manifestation which took place eighteen centuries ago was undeniable. Thus, the content of the Old Testament called for the complementing manifestation in Christ, and the Scripture of the Old Testament for its written complement in the New.
This holds the more because the manifestation, however much it may be plerosis with respect to the prophetical dispensation of the Old Testament, bears in itself, in its turn, an incomplete and therefore a prophetical character. Potentially the Divine reality is seen in the manifestation of Christ, but this will find its actual consummation only in the parousia, when the palingenesis shall have worked its effect in the uersal cosmical sense. Hence, the second manifestation in Christ calls for a third manifestation in the parousia. Of this, Paul says, 1 Cor. xv. 24: "Then cometh the end, when he shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father." In the new dispensation, therefore, there is not only the manifestation of what was prophesied in Israel, but the prophecy, as well, of a manifestation which only comes after this. An ethical " It is finished" has been heard from Golgotha, but the final "It is come to pass" (Rev. xxi. 6) will only be proclaimed after the Parousia. There is also a program, therefore, of what lies between the first coming of Christ and His return, and an apocalypse of what shall be the end; and as the tradition of what had taken place called for the support of writing, from the nature of the case this support was much more necessary for the tradition of what was program-like.
Agreeably to this, we find that Christ Himself postulates such a second Holy Scripture. This already appears from the charge given by Christ to John on Patmos: "What thou seest, write (ypd-tyov) in a book, and send it unto the Seven Churches" (Rev. i. 11), in connection with the strong sense in which the meaning of yeypafifi^vov appears in the entire Apocalypse. But since this ypdyfrov comes in too abruptlymechanically, occurs in an avriXeyofievov, and refers merely to one single book, we point rather to the position to which Jesus exalts the apostolate. With respect to this, we see that Christ indeed took measures to assure the durability of His work, by which to realize the end of His mission. No trace is found with Jesus of a spiritualistic-mystical laisseraller. He institutes the apostolate, attaches to it a definite authority, and commissions this apostolate with a definite task. With respect to our present subject, this task is twofold: (1) the appearing as witnesses of the manifestation which they had seen; and (2) the proclaiming of things to come. This double task was imposed upon them, not merely with respect to those who were then alive, before whom they should stand and preach by word of mouth, but with reference to "all nations," in those nations to all believers, and for those believers "to the end of the world." Now put this together, and how could the apostles bring this witness to all nations and through all ages, except either by not dying, or, since they died even very early, by the instrumentality of writing?
That Christ gave a call to the apostolate not merely to bring the Gospel to those who were then alive, but to be until the end his authoritative witnesses to all believers, is already observable from John xvii. 20, where Jesus prays, not only for the apostles themselves, "but for them also that believe on him through their word." That this refers to all believers among all nations and of all ages lies in the nature of the case, since the intercession of Christ applies to all his people; but it appears, moreover, very clearly from the connection. There follows, indeed, a double "that" (?m): (1) that they may all be one, and (2) that the world may believe that thou didst send me. It is self-evident that the unity of believers cannot refer merely to the immediate converts of that time, and in the same way that the cosmos of all ages must receive this witness. Now look at verse 14, where Jesus declares that He has given this Logos as a word of God first to the apostles, and that it is that Logos which, by the apostolate, is to be brought within the reach of the world of all ages, and it follows from this that in the mind of Jesus this apostolic witness must remain available in a fixed form after their death. Entirely in the same sense, therefore, in which in Matt, xxviii. 19 he extends the significance of the apostolate to all the nations and till the end of the world. That the apostles themselves saw the exceptional significance of the apostolate is shown among other things by John in his First Epistle, i. 1-3, in which he declares of himself and of his fellow-apostles: (1) that they received the manifestation so realistically that he even says: "and our hands have handled;" and (2) that they were called to preach this manifestation; and (3) that the fruit of this preaching must be the adoption of converts into the fellowship of the apostolate, because by this fellowship only could they enter into the mystical union with God and His Christ. We even see Paul taking measures, as long as the Scriptura still tarries, to fill in the gap, when to Timothy he writes: "And the things which thou hast heard from me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also" (2 Tim. ii. 2). The conception lies expressed very clearly in this that the apostolate brings something to the world that is to remain for all time the fixed and reliable tradition.
This significance of the apostolate extends itself even farther, when notice is taken of those utterances of Jesus contained in John xiv. 25, 26; xv. 26, 27; xvi. 12, etc. In John xvi. 12-15, the difference is clearly anticipated, which later on was to assert itself between the gospel (to evayyeXiov) and the apostolate (6 airoaroXo<;). The task of the apostles was to be twofold: (1) as witnesses of what they had seen and heard, they were to embody the record of the life and work of Jesus upon the earth in a wellguaranteed tradition; but (2) also, to reveal to the world what, after His ascension, Jesus would testify and make known unto them. Not as though this revelation after Jesus' ascension should advance, in a Montanistic sense, beyond Jesus, for of this Jesus Himself declares, "I have yet many things to say unto you," and the only reason why as yet He did not reveal them was "that the apostles were not yet able to bear it." This later revelation, indeed, will proceed in a different way, and come to them by the Holy Ghost, i.e. by way of inspiration, but this will not render the character of this later revelation different in kind; for the Lord declares emphatically that the Holy Ghost will take from the things that are His, "What things soever he shall hear, these shall he speak," and thus only be able "to declare unto you the things that are to come." This excludes, therefore, the representation that this working of the Holy Spirit should consist in mystical leadings. Definite material is here spoken of, which is present in the consciousness of the Mediator; which purposely He does not as yet impart to His apostles; and which, after His ascension, the Holy Ghost will borrow as content from the Mediator-consciousness (He shall take of mine), in order by inspiration to communicate it to the apostles. This is so strongly emphasized that Jesus repeats the selfsame thought three times: (1) in the thirteenth verse, "He shall not speak from himself, but what things soever he shall hear, these shall he speak"; (2) in the fourteenth verse, "He shall glorify me: for he shall take of mine"; and (3) in the fifteenth verse, "therefore said I, that he taketh of mine, and shall declare it unto you." Evidently no mystical sensations are here spoken of which were to be quickened by the Holy Spirit, but thoughts and purposes are referred to which were present in the consciousness of the Mediator, and which are indicated by the "of mine." Of these thoughts, it is said, "He will guide you into all the truth "; and of these purposes, "He will declare unto you the things that are to come." And in both cases it applies to a definite content, which is obtained by hearing, and after that is transmitted by declaring. From which it likewise follows that no reference is made here to what Jesus spake after His resurrection, but exclusively to that which only later on should enter into their consciousness by inspiration. On the other hand, John xiv. 25, 26, views what we call the gospel (to evayyeXiov). Here is mention, not of what was still to be revealed, but of what had been revealed unto them, and by a failing memory might escape them. Against this the Holy Spirit shall watch, since "He shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I [Christ] said unto you," a process of inspiration, as will be seen later, of an entirely different character, referring to the past, even as the inspiration of John xvi. 12, to the things that are to come. And if the question is raised how this double tradition, which the apostolate was to bequeath to the Church of all ages, would find an entrance and belief, John xv. 26, 27 gives answer; for their witness would be accompanied and supported by the witness of the Holy Spirit in the heart of believers.
With the holy apostle Paul, however, an exception took place. With him there could be no remembrance by the Holy Ghost, because he had not followed Jesus. Therefore, Paul declares that the exalted Mediator had also revealed the Gospel to him. This, indeed, is the only meaning that can be attached to his statement in 1 Cor. xi. 23, "For I received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you," which testimony he repeats in 1 Cor. xv. 3 almost literally, where he treats of the resurrection of the Lord. This is likewise referred to by what he says in 1 Cor. vii. 12, "But to the rest say I, not the Lord," which, from the nature of the case, may not be taken as though his advice following should possess no Divine authority, but as indicating that in His revelation of His earthly appearance the Christ had given him no direction concerning this, so that with reference to this the apostle speaks, not from the remembrance, but from the revelation of the Holy Ghost; which representation, with the apostolic Scripture before one's eyes, may not be dismissed as being far-fetched. With so many words, indeed, Paul testifies in Gal. i. 11,12," For I make known to you, brethren, as touching the gospel which was preached by me, that it is not after man. For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ." For the matter in hand, however, this makes no difference. With Paul, also, there is a difference between what is revealed to him of the past, and what is given him by inspiration concerning the thoughts and events, the knowledge of which was given by Jesus to His Church after His ascension, through the Holy Spirit.
The inspiration itself of the apostles will be considered in a separate paragraph. For the purpose in hand it is sufficient to have shown: (1) that the Old Testament postulated a second revelation, which could only come later; (2) that this second revelation also was destined for all nations and every age, and on this ground called for documentation; (3) that up to the time of Jesus' ascension a fart only of this second revelation had come, while another part still tarried, and that the end can only come with the parousia; (4) that Jesus instituted His apostolate as a definite company (jcoiva>via), and imposed upon this apostolate the task of being His witnesses until the end of the world; (5) that Jesus, in order that they might accomplish this task, promised and granted them a double inspiration of the Holy Ghost; first that of remembrance (yrr6fivrjai<;), and secondly that of guidance (087/y770-4?) and of declaring (iivayyeXta); and (6) that since Christ honored the Old Testament as an authoritative Scripture for the confirmation and documentation of the revelation which preceded His advent, the idea was given of itself to have a similar Scripture do service for the confirmation and documentation of this second revelation.
The result, indeed, puts the seal upon this. Such a second Scripture did arise of itself. This second Scripture legitimized itself as a New Testament to supplement the Old Testament within a relatively short time, and has fused with it into one whole in the consciousness of the Church. There is no question here of a mechanical compulsion. The apostles had no thought of preparing a book which, under the seal of their name and common authority, was to be handed down to posterity. The tie braided itself entirely organically between this new Scripture and the ever broader circle of believers. It was the Holy Spirit Himself who on one side caused the component parts of this Scripture to originate, and on the other side secured the choice of these documents in the churches. The hesitancy, which arose with reference to a number of these documents, shows with what unanimity the others obtained an immediate entrance, and how conscientiously the work was undertaken. The idea that such a second Scripture must come encountered no opposition, but was alive in the heart as an idea and a presumption, before it showed itself above the horizon. Orthodox and heterodox united in this Scripture-idea, and the result was, that in proportion to the measure in which the oral tradition changed color and the spread of the church threatened its unity, the significance of this second Scripture was more and more felt, until at length there was a complete documentation, not only of the shadows (<r/«ai) but also ofthe fulfilment (vx^/hoo-t?), which was acknowledged by the churches in all parts of the earth as clothed with Divine authority. This acknowledgment implied that the authority assigned to the New Testament was understood in the same sense as the authority attached by Christ to the Old Testament. To the sense of faith both soon formed one organic whole. Whatever dominion the Old Testament had, that was the dominion that was attributed to the New Testament. And though it is entirely true, in the strict sense, that 2 Tim. iii. 16, and similar utterances, were written with exclusive reference to the Old Testament, yet the Church was entirely right when it applied this as a matter of fact to the New Testament as well, since indeed, after the organic fusion of both, one and the same life flowed through both parts of the Scripture, and in both the Divine Word was communicated unto us. No mistake was made even when they went farther; and in the treatment of the organic life of the Scripture, utterances from the Psalms were also applied to the New Testament. It was indeed well known that originally such utterances could refer merely to what was then written; but it was understood that the same physiological law for one and the same life is valid in all its stages, and that for this reason the explanation of what had already appeared on this plant of the Scripture applied also to the branches which sprang from it at a later period.
This physiological unity of the organic life of the Scripture demands that attention shall likewise be paid to the instrumental diversity by which it came into being. The unity lies in the auctor primarius, but this can only be fully known when the needed light is thrown upon the rich multiformity in the auctores secundarii. Let attention, therefore, now be centred upon that instrumental side of inspiration.
§ 81. Unity and Multiplicity
The Holy Scripture offers itself to faith as a unity, and it is that unity which our old theologians called its essentia, i.e. that which makes it Scripture. This unity becomes apparent when Jesus simply quotes it with an "It is written," and when, by His authority likewise, the Holy Scripture becomes the name by which it is called. In this sense the Scripture is the Word of God, and every distinction, by which we have only a Word of God in the Scripture, is a denial of its essentia or being.
This representation of its unity is not only right but of highest right for faith, and if it did not give rise to such terrible abuse, it might serve, if necessary, as the sole sufficient one in the realm of faith. Since, however, this representation tempts one so readily to quote every sentence which occurs in the Scripture, in whatever place, as forming by itself a Divine saying, and thus to destroy the organic character of revelation, it is the mission of the church to keep alive also the sense of the multiformity of the Holy Scripture. Even though it is entirely true that Jesus briefly quotes with an " It is written," and does this also when a word is quoted which in the Old Testament does not occur immediately as a saying of the Lord, yet with Jesus such an " It is written" betrays always a spiritual significance. A word of Satan is not an "It is written," neither is every saying of men, nor even every utterance of God's ambassadors. Hence, in order to be able to quote Scripture authoritatively, the guidance of the Holy Spirit is necessary, to impart the spiritual tact of distinguishing the gold from the ore. One needs only to turn to the book of Job in order to perceive how much spiritual maturity is required to know what may or may not be quoted from among the numerous utterances of Satan, of Job, of his three friends and of Elihu, with an " It is written." Everything that grows on and in the stalk is by no means wheat, and especially with finer plants it always takes the eye of the connoisseur to distinguish fruit from what is no fruit. Upon the multiplicity, therefore, in the case of the Holy Scripture, emphasis must also be put, not from the desire to exalt the human factor, but to keep the gold vein of the Divine factor pure; and this will do no harm, provided its organic unity, and not its multiformity, is chosen as the starting-point from which to arrive at its unity. In all organic life unity in the germ is first, from which multiplicity spreads itself. By fastening leaf, blossom and branch to each other you never form a living plant. He who, in the case of the Scripture, thus begins with the multiplicity of the human factor, and tries in this way to reach out after its unity will never find it, simply because he began with its denial in principle.
It was not mistakenly, therefore, that a predestined Bible was spoken of in Reformed circles, by which was understood that the preconceived form of the Holy Scripture had been given already from eternity in the counsel of God, in which at the same time all events, means and persons, by which that preconceived form would be realized in our actual life. were predestined. Hence in the course of ages all sorts of events take place, and persons appear who do not know of each other, and in the midst of these events these several persons are induced, without the knowledge of a higher purpose, to commit to writing certain facts, thoughts and perceptions. These persons also write other documents, and other persons among their contemporaries write as well as they. But, nevertheless, all those other writings are lost, or are put aside, while those special documents, which were destined and ordered of God to compose His Holy Scripture, are not merely saved, but are made honorable, are compiled, and gradually attain that authority which He had ordained for these Scriptures. Thus, according to a plan, known to God alone, a structure is gradually raised on which in the course of many ages different persons have labored without agreement, and without ever having seen the whole. No one of the children of men had conceived the plan, to compile such a Scripture; not one had added his contribution with premeditation, nor exhorted others to supplement his contribution with theirs. Thus the plan of the Holy Scripture was hidden, back of human consciousness, in the consciousness of God, and He it is, who in His time has so created each of these writers, so endowed, led and impelled them, that they have contributed what He wanted, and what after His plan and direction was to constitute His Scripture. The conception, therefore, has not gone out of men, but out of God; and it was in connection with this conception, that in every document and by every writer in the course of the ages there should be contributed that very thing, of such a content and in such a form, as had been aimed at and willed by God. There is no chance, and hence this composition and compilation of human writings are not accidental, but predetermined. And this whole has thus been ordained, and in virtue of this fore-ordination has thus been executed, as it had to be, in order to respond to the spiritual needs and wants of the Church of God in every age and among every nation. For, of course, in the strict sense it may be said that every writing is predestined, and this we readily grant; but when our Reformed circles spoke of a "predestined Bible " they intended to convey thereby the idea of a medium of grace, which was taken up as a link in the counsel of God for the salvation of His elect. In the accomplishment of this purpose lay the justification of tha Scripture, and the result has fully shown that this wondrous book contains within itself the mystery of being suited to every nation, new to every age, profound for the scholar and rich in comforts for the meek. By this Scripture the world has been changed, and thanks to its power a moral authority has been established among the nations, of which it was correctly prophesied by Kant, that though it might be destroyed in part, it can never be superseded by another equally immutable authority. In this uersality this Scripture works an effect which is beyond calculation, and its influence is not capable of analysis. There it lies in the midst of the Church and of the nations. A certain mystical tie unites the life of the soul to it, as a phenomenon. It makes thereby an impression, and by that impression it fashions spirits. It does this in very different ways, and no theory is able to trace or to interpret the working of that impression. Its light and its glow radiate solemnly, and the result is that the coldness of human hearts retreats and the darkness is driven back. Such is its majesty, and it is by that majesty, that as one mighty yeypairrai, as one overpowering word of God, it masters our sense of self. In that unity it shines as ihe Holy Scripture.
He who believes in God cannot represent it otherwise than that there must be a Word of God, one coherent utterance of His Divine thought. Not in that anthropomorphic sense in which we men string word to word, but, in such a sense as becomes the Eternal One, who is not subject to a succession of moments, in the rich and full unity of the conception. And in that sense the Holy Scripture speaks of the Logos of God, which is something entirely different from his spoken words (pyfiara), and which in itself indicates merely the psyche of the thought, independent of its somatic clothing in language and sound. If man is created after the Image of God, and thus disposed to communion with the Eternal, then this Word of God also must be able to be grasped by man; and even after his fall into sin, this Word of God must go out to him, though now in a way suited to his condition. This takes place now. since man has received being and consciousness, in two ways. In the way of the esse by the incarnation of the Logos, and in the way of consciousness as this selfsame Logos becomes embodied in the Scripture. Both are the spoken Word (A0y0S irpo^opiKo<;); but in the one case it is the Word "become flesh" (adp^ .yevofievos:), in the other "written" (eyy/ja<^o?), and these two cover each other. Christ is the whole Scripture, and the Scripture brings the T6 esse of the Christ to our consciousness. Care, however, must be taken to guard against the mistake, that our consciousness can only be wrought upon by the spoken word. Very certainly this takes place with spoken words, and the Holy Scripture emphasizes the fact that God the Lord, who gave us language and in language our human word, Himself made use of those words by which directly to address us. Sinai bears witness to this. But besides through the ear, our consciousness is also affected through the eye, both by real revelation in events and by symbolical shadow and manifestation; and it is by these three means, first, the spoken word, secondly, the common or extraordinary inworking in the real world, and third, the shadows, types and figures, that God the Lord has brought to pass, that His thought Logos, His divine Word, has been conveyed to sinners. Only when in this wise these spoken words, signs and shadows are taken together and joined in their organic relation, can the rich revelation of the Word of God be viewed in its unity. Not merely the spoken words, but also the signs, and not merely these two, but likewise the shadows, in the relation in which God Himself has revealed them, together give us the Word of God. He only who places himself under the full impression of this majestic whole, can and may say, that the Word of God has been revealed to him. For this reason the Logos of God is both violated and maimed, when it is sought in the spoken words only, and when consequently one speaks of the words of God in the Scripture. The Scripture as a whole, as it lies before us as a unit, offers us the organic whole of this threefold revelation of God, and he only who takes up in himself that whole, has in himself the image of the full revelation of God, and consequently possesses the Word of God. That God's Word is not in the Scripture, but that the Scripture itself is the photograph of God's Word, does not refer therefore to its formal inspiration, but simply states, that you cannot miss any part of that Scripture without marring the picture, the photograph, the etching, the copy, which holds before our eyes the full image of God's word. To this unity faith stretches forth its hands. From this unity of conception flows the Divine authority, to which the child of God gives itself captive. How this unity hides in that wondrous book remains a mystery which refuses all explanation. Only when you stand before it, at the proper distance, and with the faith-eye of the connoisseur you gaze upon its multiplicity of tints and lines, the full image discovers itself stereoscopically to you. Then you see it. Then you can no longer not see it. The eye of your soul has caught it. In all its glory it speaks to you.
But, of course, the multiplicity of that appearance does not cease to exist on account of that unity. The Holy Scripture is not abstractly transcendent. It is this in some apocalyptical parts, but by no means when taken as a whole. And as a protest must be entered against every effort to take the revelation of God's consciousness to man as being simply immanent, as though it consisted merely of the unnoticed influences upon our inner being, equally strong must our protest be against the effort to interpret the Holy Scripture as a transcendent phenomenon standing outside of our human reality. Here, also, the parallel maintains itself between the incarnate and the written Logos. As in the Mediator the Divine nature weds itself to the human, and appears before us in its form and figure, so also the Divine factor of the Holy Scripture clothes itself in the garment of our form of thought, and holds itself to our human reality. This is what our old theologians meant by their combination of the first and secondary authors, but it is something that goes yet farther; for even when, on Sinai, God with His own finger engraves in human words His law upon the tables of stone, the revelation remains not absolutely transcendent, but makes use here, also, of the human as instrument. All the shadows and types bear the same mixed character. All of sacred history rests upon the same entwining of both factors. And even in miracles, the Divine factor remains never purely transcendent, but in order to reveal Himself, ever enters into human reality. Hence, in all parts of the rich scenery interpreted to you by the Word of God, it is ever the transcendent, Divine factor, which exhibits itself to your eye in a human form or in a human reality. If, now, in order to be the bearer of the Divine factor, that human form or that human reality were carried up to its perfection, no contradiction would be born from this in the appearance; but this is not so. As the Logos has not appeared in the form of glory, but in the form of a servant, joining Himself to the reality of our nature, as this had come to be through the results of sin, so also, for the revelation of His Logos, God the Lord accepts our consciousness, our human life as it is. The drama He enacts is a tragedy, quickening a higher tendency in the midst of our human misery. The forms, or types, are marred by want and sin. The " shadows " remain humanly imperfect, far beneath their ideal content. The "spoken words," however much aglow with the Holy Ghost, remain bound to the limitation of our language, disturbed as it is by anomalies. As a product of writing, the Holy Scripture also bears on its forehead the mark of the form of a servant. This, then, deceives our vision. This produces a result like what occurs in the case of many paintings of the latest French school, in which, at first sight, one sees, indeed, bubbles and daubs of paint, and even tints and lines, but not the image; and only after repeated attempts a view is finally obtained, so that those daubs and bubbles disappear, the tints and lines become active, and the image stands out before us. This was the case with Christ Himself. How many an intelligent Jew has seen the Christ, but has failed to discover in Him the Son of God. Somatically, by merely gazing upon the multiplicity of the features of the phenomenon, this was not possible. No chemical investigation, however accurate, could have discovered any difference between the flesh and blood of Christ and ours. He had a face like our face, an eye like our eye; and he only who took his stand at the proper distance, and who himself had received light in the eye of his soul, was able at length to see the shining out of the Divine nature in that Rabbi of Nazareth. Hence, from the attention bestowed upon the human phenomenal in the Holy Scripture, you must never promise yourself the impression of faith. This rather leads many away from the unity, and as such it stands in the way of faith. And however much it is your duty to study that multiplicity and particularity in the Scripture (both materially and formally), yet from that multiplicity you must ever come back to the view of the unity of the conception, if there is, indeed, to be such a thing for you as a Holy Scripture. The Scripture does not exist otherwise than after the "divers portions and divers manners " of Heb. i. 1, but in this diversity the principal thing is ever the word of God.
So far, therefore, as the representation of the secondar}authors (auctores secundarii) as amanuenses of the Holy Spirit, or also as an instrument played upon by the Holy Ghost, exclusively tended to point to that unity of conception, there is nothing to be said against it. In that sense, one can even say that the Holy Scripture has been given us from heaven. If, on the other hand, one goes farther, and for the sake of maintaining that unity of conception closes the eye to the many-sidedness and multiformity of the Scripture, and the organic way in which it gradually came into existence as a sum-total of many factors, then nothing remains but a mechanical lifelessness, which destroys the vital, organic unity. This was certainly not intended by our older theologians. They, indeed, pointed, and sometimes even with much detail, to the differing origin of the books, to the difference of style and content, to the difference of character of the authors and of the vicissitudes of their lives, and also to the different tendency of the parts of the Scripture. But yet it can scarcely be denied that they had established themselves too firmly in the idea of a logical theory of inspiration, to allow the animated organism of the Scripture to fully assert itself. This obliges us, just because we join ourselves as closely as possible to the historic Theology of the Reformation, in order to prevent misunderstanding to explain in some detail this very different and multiform character of the multiplicity in the Scripture, first, as it concerns the instruments of inspiration, and then as it concerns inspiration itself.
§ 82. The Instruments of Inspiration
Every revelation, which is not involuntary but voluntary and intended, assumes a consciousness in God from which it goes out, and a consciousness in man toward which it directs itself. It assumes, in the second place, a content which can take on the form of the conscious. And finally it assumes an instrument or vehicle by which it is brought from the consciousness of him who will reveal himself, into the consciousness of him for whom the revelation is intended. All revelation, therefore, falls away if the consciousness in God be not taken as its starting-point, and becomes weakened when, though not entirely pantheistically but in a pantheistic manner, one grants that perceptions arise in us, but denies that the fruit of those revelations in our consciousness was beforehand known and intended by God. In the second place, the essential character of revelation is undermined when, in a mystical sense, it is left to be choked in the world of our emotions, rather than made to come to its sublimate in our consciousness. And, thirdly, aevelation becomes darkened and clouded when one studies exclusively its jpoifif of departure in God and its point of arrival in man, without a due consideration also of the conducting wire or line along which it directed itself to us. By our creation after God's image, we are authorized to take, with reference to this matter, the transmission from the consciousness of one man to that of another as an analogy, and in that case it is certainly true that this transmission is accomplished most readily and most often by the vehicle of language; but by no means by this alone. In all sorts of ways also are we able, without ever speaking a word, to convey something from our consciousness to the consciousness of others. First, there is that entire series of communications which is calculated upon the eye as the vehicle; all object lessons, pictures, the look of the eye, the changes of the facial expression, the movements of the body, the pointing to something, the doing of a symbolical or illustrative act, etc. To this is added, in the second place, the strong impression of a deed, of a repeated action, of the example. And, finally, in the third place, there enters here for our consideration, that varied hypnotizing influence by which one is able to subject the psychic life of the other to his will. But however broad our repertory may be for this purpose, it nevertheless remains a limited one, because we have no power over the person himself; neither have we the disposition of his lot. With God, on the other hand, there is no such limitation. He can influence man by all the means that are present in his human composition and in his surrounding world. Hence, for the communication of His revelation, first of all He has the disposal of all the means that are at our service; but also, in the second place, the human body and mind, and all increated capacities and powers, and the conditions in which one may be placed. None of these means may be taken as standing dualistically outside of God and over against Him. God Himself formed our consciousness, and preserves it in existence from moment to moment. All our nervous life is in His hand and is His creature. Our imagination is a capacity quickened in us by Him. Our language is language wrought in us by Him. He gave us the susceptibility for impressions by our sense of sight. The mystical influence, which is shown by biology or hypnosis, of soul upon soul, has been thought out by Him and realized in us. To which is added, moreover, that as our Creator He formed our personality and our disposition, approaches us in the root and centrum of our inner being, and can involve our life in all those events and experiences whose impression in us He will use for His ends. Thus, in the fullest sense of the word, He has the whole of man at His disposal and the world in which He has placed man. This leads of itself to the distinction between the subjective and objective instruments of inspiration, and to the distinction between those means which of themselves are present in man or in the world round about him, and those which He purposely causes to originate or institutes for this end.
Among these subjective and present means of inspiration, we name internal address, external address and the impulse.
By internal address we understand that God speaks to man, without making use of his organ of hearing, in the same way in which, outside of our organs of speech and of hearing, we hold a dialogue with ourselves. This is an eirof XaXetf (a speaking within), by which God the Lord inworks directly upon our psychic consciousness, and there causes such thoughts or perceptions to arise as He wills. As a rule we are not able to do this immediately from man to man. We generally employ in this an action which goes out from our own consciousness to our nerves, thence to our organs of speech, thence to the air, by the repercussion of the air upon the auditory nerves of the other, and only along this way enters into his consciousness. But already in magnetic sleep we have an example of a transmission from consciousness to consciousness, which does not stand in need of this middle-link of speech and hearing; and in the dialogue which we hold with ourselves from moment to moment, we perceive again and again that our organs of speech do not operate, neither, indeed, our organs of hearing, and that nevertheless successive changes of thought take place in us. And since God has access to our consciousness, not simply from without, but also from within, He cannot be bound to organs of speech and hearing; hence by this internal address we must understand that He brings thoughts directly into our consciousness, as coming to us from Him, which we understand as a dialogue of God and our soul. In this sense Jesus constantly affirms, "As I hear, I judge" (John v. 30), which cannot be interpreted otherwise than as a constant internal address of God in His inner being. With Adam, also, such internal address must be assumed before the fall, so that only after the fall we read that he heard God, as though His voice walked in the garden upon the wind of the day; an entirely natural description of the perception of God's voice, now no longer within him, but outside of him; not as internal address, but as external address. It is self-evident that by sin the susceptibility for this internal address was blunted, but this does not take it away, that also after sin, in still the same way, but now from the special principium, the Lord was able to reveal His thoughts and thus also His words in man, viz. in the prophets. This internal address takes account, of course, of the observation of conceptions that are present in our memory, and of the language in which we express these thoughts and conceptions. There is something in this that offends, if one takes it that the forming of our conceptions and of our words is arbitrary and the fruit of conclusions (0«rt?); but it has nothing strange in it, when one perceives that the forming of conceptions and of words is the fruit of our natural disposition (<£wn?) and is thus necessary, and has been appointed, therefore, for us by God Himself. Moreover, we leave it entirely undecided whether, in this internal address, God forms these thoughts and words in our consciousness, or whether He merely occasions such an urgency in our consciousness as interprets itself to our conception in those given words and thoughts. We read, to be sure, in Deut. xviii. 18, "I will put my words in his mouth," an expression which, in comparison with Exod. iv. 15 (where it is said to Moses: "Thou shalt speak unto him and put the words in his mouth," i.e. of Aaron), makes one almost think of a whispering in the ear, even as Christ promises His apostles that " it shall be given you in that hour what ye shall speak" (Matt. x. 19); but by no means prevents our accepting with this figure of speech also that the inworking has taken place in the centrum itself of the human consciousness, and from thence extended itself to the organs of speech. This, however, by no means excludes the speaking through the organ of speech of a human being without having the action go out to his organ of speech. It is well known how, in magnetic sleep, one person is able to accomplish this with the other. With those who were possessed similar phenomena occur. In our dreams also our organs of speech sometimes utter words which at least do not rise from our normal consciousness. And the strongest proof for this lies in the speaking with the glossolaly, by which the mouth uttered words which were entirely foreign to the thought-sphere of the speaker. Analogous to this is the speaking that has sometimes been taught to birds, and which from the side of God occurs in the significant speaking of the ass of Balaam. All these analogies show that the organs of speech of one can enter the service of the consciousness of another; as, for instance, when one who knows no Latin and has no understanding of medicine has been magnetized, and dictates a prescription which not he but his magnetizer has thought out.
The external address bears another character, and is even said to be (Num. xii. 8) "mouth to mouth," or also (Exod. xxxiii. 11) to take place "face to face." Here the emphasis falls not upon what man speaks after the suggestion of God, but upon what he hears, even in such a way that the bystanders also can hear it. This is most clearly seen in Exod. xix. 9, where the Lord says to Moses: "That the people may hear when I speak with thee." This direct address appears equally clearly in the speaking from Sinai to the people, of which we read in Deut. v. 26: "For who is there of all flesh that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have?" An entirely unique fact, spoken of with emphasis no less than four times. With the call of Samuel the selfsame phenomenon appears. Samuel heard the sound of a voice, which he first took to be Eli's voice, and which only afterwards by the direction of Eli was recognized by him as the voice of the Lord (1 Sam. iii. 8, 9). What we likewise read of the voice of the Lord at the baptism of Jesus, and from the cloud at His transfiguration, falls under the same category even as the speaking of God to Adam after the fall, when he heard the voice of the Lord walking in the garden upon the wind of the day. With respect to this external address Num. vii. 89 is especially noteworthy, where the very place is indicated from which the voice went forth. There we read: "Then he (Moses) heard the Voice speaking unto him from above the mercy-seat that was upon the ark of the testimony,/rom between the two cherubim; and he spake unto him." The distinction between this external address and the internal address allied to it, exists principally in this, that with the internal address the voice of the Lord is observed as coming up from within, while with the external address a perception arises that the sounds come from without. At the foot of Sinai the people hear the voice coming down to them from above. Moses hears the voice come to him from between the cherubim. Samuel observes the voice from the side of Eli's chamber. At the baptism of Jesus the bystanders heard the voice from heaven. According to 2 Pet. i. 17, Peter heard the voice on Tabor "from the excellent glory," etc. Of course the addresses of Jesus on the way to Damascus and on the Island of Patmos do not lie in the same line. After His ascension, Jesus bears somatically, also, our human nature. The question with regard to His speaking from heaven, therefore, is simply whether Jesus descended in order to speak with Paul from the ordinary distance, or whether this speaking took place in a way similar to what is indicated to us by the telephone. With the speaking of God in the address, on the other hand, the somatic remains wanting; hence, also, the organs of speech by which to form the words. The question, therefore, here remains whether indeed this sound of a voice was produced by the vibration of the air-waves, or whether in the tympanum of the hearer a sensation was occasioned similar to what we occasion by the inflection of our voice. "He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? He that formed the eye, shall he not see?" (Ps. xciv. 9). In like manner, is not God, who has established for us so wondrous a relation of voice, organs of speech, waves of air, tympanum, auditory nerve and consciousness, Himself able to use each of these, His creatures, and apply them in like manner as He appointed and maintains them for us from moment to moment by His omnipresent omnipotence? There is no room here for choice, since the more subjective interpretation is equally intricate, or, if you please, equally divinely-natural, as the more objective. Neither does the occurrence on the way to Damascus, when the bystanders about Paul did not hear what he heard, offer any explanation; simply because the speaking of the glorified Christ rests upon the somatic basis, which is not present with God, and the telephone even now shows how one can hear what the other does not observe. Whether, therefore, the address was accomplished by God's working on the air-waves, or merely upon the tympanum, the same effect wrought by us when we use our organs of speech, cannot be decided; if only we hold fast to the fact that the person addressed heard words in his own language, in the same way as though he were spoken to by his neighbor.
Merely for the sake of completeness we add in the third place the impulse. By itself the impulse is nothing else than the "being moved" (^epeaOai) of 2 Pet. i. 21, in entire agreement with the "moving" D£fi of Judg. xiii. 25. This " moving" indicates merely that the one moved has received a push, a touch which has driven him out from his repose, in the full sense "an impulse urging the mind." "And the spirit of God came upon Saul" (nS^ril), in 1 Sam. xi. 6, has precisely the same meaning. The most forcible example of this impulse, however, occurs in Jer. vi. 11 and Jer. xx. 9, collato 7; in both of which Jeremiah testifies that he experienced in his heart an impulse so overpowering that, try as he might, he was not able to offer resistance to it until it became to him "as a burning fire shut up in his bones." This impulse we number among the subjectively present means, for the reason that the poet and artist in general speak of similar experiences. In the "Deus est in nobis, agitante calescimus illo," an allied sensation announces itself, which is even experienced b)- the writer of prose, when, as the French call it, he moves en veine. Such an impulse also forms the background of heroism. The hero feels in himself an impulse to action which he cannot explain, either from the world about him or from his world within. To him as well as to the artist this impulse is a mystery. The question whether such an impulse from the world of mysteries is not connected with the basis of genius in such select spirits, need not detain us here. Nothing prevents us from allowing that such a basis was also present in the whole personality of Jeremiah. He even knew himself to be prepared for his calling from his mother's womb. But even if this impulse in connection with inspiration is nothing else than the use of what is present in the subject, and the application of that for which he had the susceptibility, this impulse here bears nevertheless a peculiar stamp, insomuch as it always occurs as an impulse of the Holy Ghost. This is a closer definition, which certainly concedes the fact that God the Lord can cause such an impulse to come to us in the centrum of our psychical life; but now employs it for a definite purpose, limits it to the sphere of the holy, and places it in connection with the entire plan of Revelation, which He is in the act of giving. The "clothing" (i&zfo), however closely allied to the "moving" (DSB), may not be placed on a line with the impulse. The former indicates the sensation, by which he who was apprehended feels himself enveloped and overcome as by an unknown power. It refers to a sensation, which, far from being an incitement to action, rather impedes and paralyzes. The KJ2 makes active, the ft?1? passive.
The second class of subjective means of inspiration includes the tardemah, " sleep " (HttTiri), the chalom, " dream" (DlSri), and the chazon, "vision" (j'ltPl).
The Tardemah, which occurs with Adam in Gen. ii. 21, Abraham in Gen. xv. 12, and Saul in 1 Sam. xxvi. 12, is mentioned as a deep sleep, which falls upon a person from without. "Fall" is the constant word with which this "sleep" is construed, and while at one time it says that the Lord caused such a sleep to fall, at another time it says (1 Sam. xxvi. 12) that this deep sleep from the Lord had fallen upon them. The same word occurs in Job iv. 13 and xxxiii. 15 to indicate a very deep sleep, which falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed, but as shown by the connection in both cases, as a prelude to a Divine revelation; while in Isaiah xxix. 10 such sleep is mentioned in an unfavorable sense, by way of a figure, to express a spirit of entire dulness and insensibility which should be poured out upon the people. This last, therefore, is a sleep in a metaphorical sense, for which reason it reads "the spirit of deep sleep," and consequently "pour" ("pi), and not "fall" (^S3), is used as verb. In all other places, on the other hand, the Tardemah is taken in its real sense, and occurs again and again as an absolute anasthesis, which is effected by God upon the person, in order in this entirely passive state to cause an entirely other world to reveal itself to his inner consciousness, or as was the case with Adam, to operate upon him in a violent way. The narcotic sleep offers itself as analogy to this, and especially in the case of the violent operation which Adam underwent, one thinks naturally of the condition produced by chloroform or of the first effects of strychnine. But though it appears from these analogies that human nature is susceptible to such a state of absolute insensibility, the action which took place remains nevertheless an effect of what God directly wrought, and so far as the nature of the psychical life during this sleep is concerned, it is an action of a different sort. It makes the impression of an entire liberation of the psyche from the connection which through the body it has with its surrounding world: a leading back of the psychic life into its centrum, and in that centrum a disclosure to the psyche of a mysterious world, in which God comes to it and speaks to it. A form of revelation particularly noteworthy, because evidently this Tardemah does not enter into this life, but isolates the person, to whom the revelation comes, from this life, and then deals with him according to the law which applies to another than this earthly existence.
The "dream" bears a different stamp. In the first place, here sleep or slumber maintains its common character; and, secondly, revelation-dreams exhibit almost always the form of our common dreams, in so far as in these dreams also an isolated drama is seen by the ego of the dreamer. The world of dreams is still a mystery to us. No one can tell whether in sleep one dreams only when on awakening one remembers it, or whether one always dreams when asleep but that as a rule in awaking one has no remembrance of it. Our dreams bear very different characters. In the common dream all connection is wanting with the actual condition, consisting in the fact that we lie in bed; but with the nightmare one dreams mostly of exciting experiences which overtake us while we lie there. In what is more slumber than sleep we dream that we lie awake and are not able to get asleep. He who saw us slumber knows that we slept, but to us no transition took place from our day into our night consciousness. The content of our dreams generally is made up from images and remembrances which lie in orderly arrangement in our mind, but now appear ofttimes before us in entirely different combinations. Generally the outlines of the images in our dreams are vague, but often they are so sharply drawn, especially in the nightmare, that what we see we could readily reproduce in a drawing. There are dreams which as mere play of the imagination pass away; but there are also dreams which work lasting effects, which discover one to himself, and dreams which are not free from guilt. Holy and demoniacal influences often work side by side in our dreams. Whether indeed this wondrous world of our dreams simply shows the aimless movement of the images in us, or whether these dreams are the result of the activity of our spirits in our sleep, and constitute a component part of the spirit's activity, remains an absolute secret to us. This, however, may be said, that our dreams cannot be verified by us, that they are not consciously produced by us, but that they leave the impression of a drama shown to us by some one outside of ourselves, in which we ourselves are concerned, without knowing how, and by which an outside power leads us involuntarily into scenes which arise without our aid.
It must not be said, however, that the dream in revelation is nothing else than a common dream, in which, simply, other images appear. Not in the ordinary sense, but undoubtedly in a pregnant sense (sensu praegnanti), it is said in 1 Sam. xxviii. 6: "And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets." Three distinct revelation-forms are here mentioned in which Saul might have received an answer, and of these three the dream is one. And it is noteworthy that next to false prophets the pseudo-dreamers also are separately mentioned as "the dreamers of dreams" in Deut. xiii. 1, 3. Hence he who dreamed such a dream did by no means at his awakening entertain the opinion that it had been a common dream, which he could safely pass by and forget; but he lived under the impression that something had been shown or told him which was possessed of symbolic or actual reality. The difference, therefore, between these two kinds of dreams was clearly perceived. This much, indeed, may be said, that in the scale of the means of revelation "the dream" does not stand high. The "dream" is, indeed, the common means of revelation for those who stand outside of the sacred precincts, such as Abimelech, Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar. The false prophets imitated nothing so easily as the dream (see Jer. xxiii. 32); and according as the revelation becomes richer and clearer, the dream becomes rarer. Neither with Moses, nor with the Christ, nor with the apostles do we find the dream mentioned as a revelationform. When this dream was real, it consisted in this, that in the dream God appeared and gave His charge. When it was half-symbolic, as at Bethel, then the appearance of God took place in a given surrounding. And if it was purely symbolical, as with Pharaoh, then it needed the interpretation (piriS), and was in itself unintelligible and incomplete. Revelation, therefore, by the symbolical dream consists of two parts: the dream itself and its interpretation, both of which bear a supernatural character. Every effort to explain the interpretation as a simple application of the rules of symbolism is vain, from the fact that in the case of both Joseph and Daniel the interpretation of the dream is not given by those who were versed in symbolism, but they were unable to do this, and it is given only by men who stood outside of this peculiar science, and who frankly declared that this interpretation was no fruit of their ingenuity, but of Divine suggestion. The peculiar character of the revelation-dream, therefore, consisted in this, that the person to whom it came saw, indeed, the scene or drama in a similar way as with so-called common dreams, in his night-consciousness; but what he saw and heard was no product of the hidden workings in his own psychical life, but of an act of God in him. That, nevertheless, the drama in these dreams was generally formed from remembrances and images that were present in the memory and in the imagination of the dreamer, does not conflict with this in the least. As with internal address and external address the conceptions and words maintain the connection with the subjective nature of the person addressed, it is self-evident that a similar connection existed in the dream between what was present in the subjective imagination as constitutive element, and what God showed him. Only thus was it rational.
The vision bears almost the same character as the dream, with this difference, however, that the dream occurs when one sleeps, while the vision appears on the horizon of our inner consciousness when one is awake. As little as the dream, however, is vision a phenomenon foreign to our nature, which occurs exclusively in the economy of revelation. What is exceptional, therefore, by no means lies in the vision, but in this, that God the Lord makes use of the visionary capacity of our psyche, by which to introduce something into our consciousness. It must be granted that the dream is more common than the vision, but this is no proof that the visionary does not belong to our nature. No one, indeed, will exclude from our human nature a thirst and talent for art, even though this aesthetic power, with most people, never passes the potential stage; and such is the case with the visionary capacity. Whether or not it will discover its existence depends upon the inner and outward disposition of the person. In the East the chance for this is better than in the West. The Semitic race developed this capacity more strongly than the IndoGermanic. By one temperament its development is favored; by another weakened. In times of excitement and general commotion, it is more usual than in days of quiet and rest. He who is aesthetically disposed becomes more readily visionary than the intellectualist. Sensitive nerves court the vision more than what have been called nerves of iron. Psychically diseased conditions are more favorable to the visionary than the healthy and normal; and often before dying a peculiar visionary condition appears to set in, which is exceedingly worthy of note. Vivid imagination forms the transition between the common wakeful consciousness and real vision, which operates in a threefold form. It is strongest when one becomes agitated by a phantom, especially when this is occasioned by an evil conscience. Macbeth sees everywhere the image of Duncan, the king he murdered, and in his inquiry whether that image is real, he is unable to distinguish appearance from reality. Of an entirely different nature is what is called "absent-mindedness," i.e. a life in another world than the real, either as the result of much study and thought, or of the reading of history or novels. This is carried so far by some people, that the very members of their family affect them strangely at times, and they imagine themselves to be in the company of their novel heroes. Finally the third form is the vision of the artist, in whose spirit looms the image, which from his spiritual view he will paint on the canvas or chisel in marble. But these are not visions in the real sense, since the horizon of our inner view here still remains subject to the verification of our consciousness. And this is the very thing lost with vision. Images and forms then rise before us, which force themselves upon us as an outside power, repress the autonomous activity of our imagination, and bring us outside of ourselves. Then one is awake, and sits, stands, walks, or rides, and meanwhile loses himself, and sees sometimes close at hand sharply outlined images in colors and in forms, which, even when the vision departs, leave him a sharp and clear impression, so startlingly vivid that he can scarcely make himself believe it was not reality. Hyperesthesis can introduce such illusory conditions, and can even assume the form of monomania and be a precursor of insanity. In the "Fixed Idea" (Zwangvorstellung), also, a visionary image may obtrude itself upon us against our will. And finally we observe, that vision occurs in rest, in action, in dialogue, and even with the adoption of the person in the drama of the vision. But in whatever form it occurs, it is always characteristic of the vision that the person who sees it ceases to be master in his own consciousness and in his own imagination, and is nothing but a spectator, while another power is active within him.
With this general discrimination of that which is visual, it is not in the least surprising that in the Holy Scripture the vision is also attributed to false prophets (Is. xxviii. 7, Jer. xiv. 14, Ezek. xii. 24, etc.), and that outside of Scripture even, in history, the visionary plays such an important role. When, therefore, in the Holy Scripture the vision (pin and HtHtt, Gen. xv. 1) appears as a fixed form, especially of prophetical revelation, it must not be taken as though there were anything uncommon in this vision; but it should be understood in the sense that God the Lord made use of the capacity for visions in man in order to reveal to us His will and His counsel. At best it may still be remarked that the revelation vision often appears with a certain connexity and continuity. Not some strange vision now, and again one some years after, but the vision is constantly repeated in a definite series, even introduced by a vision of a call, by which all the visions become together the successive acts of one mighty drama. Thus construed, the visionary phenomena are certainly subjected to a governing power, while the visions themselves have nothing uncommon about them. That which is uncommon consists exclusively in this, that God the Lord announces Himself in the vision, that it is He that shows what is seen, and that the visionary person knows that he is dealing with God.
Of the content of the vision, it may be said that the same remarks apply to it as apply to that of the " dream." The content is generally composed from the data which were present in the imagination or in the memory of the visionary person; but from these data a new drama is composed, and in this way all sorts of mysteries of the counsel of God are shown. The difference, however, between the prophetic and apocalyptic vision is apparent. In the first the vision joins itself to the historic reality, in the midst of which the prophet lives, while in the Apocalypse the drama arises from the hidden world and moves towards him. For which reason the forms and images in the prophetic vision are mostly known and common, while in the apocalyptic vision the images are monstrous, or appear in a wondrous manner, and sternly set themselves against every effort to reduce them to a figure intelligible to us. Recall, for instance, the cherubim in Ezekiel, or the appearance of Christ to John on Patmos, as sketched in Rev. i. 13-16. The content, however, of such a vision is not always dramatically realistic, so that it contains both speech and action. There are also visions that are purely symbolical (such as the well-known visions of the olive tree, the flying scroll, etc., of Zechariah), which, just like the symbolical dream, miss their aim unless an interpretation accompanies them. Wherefore, both in Zechariah and in the Apocalypse of John we find this symbolic vision constantly followed by its interpretation.
The ecstasy needs no separate treatment here; later, in connection with prophetical inspiration, it will come in its own order. Ecstasy is distinguished from vision in degree of intensity, but not in kind. As soon as the action of the visionary power communicates itself to the motory nerves, and consequently withdraws the muscular action from the will of the person, ecstatic conditions follow, which according to the intensity of the action exerted, are weak in impulse or overwhelming in their pressure. A single word is needed here concerning !"ll<n& (Mar'ah, vision), which does not stand on a line with !"ITnS3 (Mach'zeh, vision). The mar'ah is to be distinguished from the chazon, in so far that the mar'ah seldom plays any part in the sphere of psychic-visions, and rather indicates the seeing of a reality which reveals itself. Chazah is a gazing at something that requires effort, and in so far indicates the psychical weariness which the seeing of visions occasioned, while Jta'ah of itself indicates nothing more than the perception of what passes before us. When a Mar'eh appears, the seeing of this form or image is called the Mar'ah. Special mention of this Mar'ah occurs with Moses. After him no prophet arose (Deut. xxxiv. 10) "whom the Lord knew face to face"; and since this "face to face" is chosen by the holy apostle, by which to express the immediate knowledge of the blessed, with Moses also it must be taken to mean a seeing of the reality of heavenly things. In Numbers xii. 6-8 it is said in so many words, that the Lord reveals Himself to other prophets in a vision or in a dream, but "my servant Moses is not so." With him the Lord speaks "mouth to mouth, even apparently (HHHiM), and not in dark speeches; and the similitude (HJIttri) of the Lord shall he behold."l We need not enter here upon a study of the character of this appearing of Jehovah, but we may say that this is no seeing in the visionary condition, but rather the falling away of the curtain behind which heavenly realities withdraw themselves from our gaze. This was a temporary return of the relation in which sinless man in paradise saw his God. Not continuously, but only in those moments in which it pleased the Lord to reveal Himself to Moses "with open face." A form of revelation which, of course, had nothing in common with the Christophany or Angelophany.
i It is noteworthy that ntno is here used for common vision. A deviation, which comes under the general rule, that a sharply drawn distinction of conceptions and a consequent constant usage of words is foreign to the Scripture.
In this pregnant sense the Vision forms of itself the transition from the subjective to the objective means of revelation. Distinction can here again be made to a certain extent between such mediums of revelation (media revelationis) as were present in the ordinary course of life, and those others which in a supernatural way proceed from the special principium; even though it is self-evident that it is by no means always possible for us to draw the boundary-line sharply between the two. In itself, the birth of a person is a common event; but when such a person is set apart and anointed from the womb to a holy calling, in this very birth already mingles the working of the special principium. These objective means of revelation must claim our attention here, because they also were made ancillary to inspiration. This appears most forcibly in the case of the Christophany and Angelophany, which is never silent, but always tends at the same time to reveal to man what was hidden in God. This applies also to the signs (fVlfiiK) in the widest sense, because all these, the ordinary as well as the extraordinary, the permanent as well as the transient, uttered audible speech, or tended to support a given revelation, to explain or to confirm it. The field for this should therefore be taken as broadly as possible. The whole appearing of Israel and its historic experiences must here be brought to mind: all the difficulties between Israel and its neighbors; the national conditions which the Lord called into life in and about Israel; the covenant with His people; the persons which the Lord raised up in Israel and put in the foreground; the natural phenomena which Israel observed; the diseases that were plagues to the people; the tabernacle and temple-service, — in short, everything comprised in the rich, full life that developed itself in Israel. To this is added as a second factor, but woven into the first, that series of extraordinary actions, appearances and events which we are mistakenly wont to view exclusively as miracles. It was under the broad and overwhelming impression of this past, of this nation as a whole, and of these events, that he grew up who was called to extend the revelation, and was trained for that revelation; which education was still more definitely accentuated by personal surroundings and experiences.
But besides this general service which the objective phenomena rendered, both the ordinary and the extraordinary, they tended at the same time, by inspiration, to reveal the thoughts of God to the agents of His revelation. This applies especially to the whole utterance of nature, in so far as the veil, which by sin was put upon nature and upon our eyes, was largely lifted in that higher life-circle of Israel, so that the language of nature concerning "the glory of the Lord, which filleth the whole earth," was again both seen and heard. It will not do to view the revelation of the power of God in nature as an outcome of mechanical inspiration. It was established organically, in connection with what the messengers of God both saw and observed in nature. This revelation assumes a different character, when the "rainbow," the "starry heavens," and the "sand of the seashore" are employed, not as natural phenomena, but in their symbolical significance with respect to a definite thought of God. Only then does that which is common in itself become a sign; as, for instance, when Jesus points His disciples to the golden cornfields, and speaks of "the fields, that are white for the harvest." The speech, which in this sense goes forth from the common phenomena of nature, can thus be strengthened by the extraordinary intensity of their manifestations; as, for instance, the thunder in Ps. xxix. has become the voice of the Lord — the lightning-bolt, more intensively violent in Ps. xviii., the mighty storm-wind of Habakkuk iii., or these three together upon Horeb. This significance can also be emphasized by their strikingly noticeable succession, as in 1 Kings xix. 10-12. Striking events, like that meeting with Melchizedek upon Abraham's return from war with the mountainous tribes, may give, as here appears, an entire series of thoughts from the revelation of God. What is common in itself can become a sign, simply because prophesied beforehand (for instance, 1 Sam. x. 7). And, finally, all sorts of things that were common in themselves can obtain a significance by their combinations or positions, such as the tabernacle, together with all the things that belonged to the sacred cultus; the memorial stones in Jordan; the boards which Isaiah put up in the market-place; the scrolls of the law and Tephilloth, and even the iron pan of Ezekiel. With all these things and phenomena, common in themselves, the "sign" originates; either because God attaches a definite significance to them, or because they derive that significance from history or from attending circumstances. And it is not so much these things themselves, but much more the significance, original or given to them, which, understood by faith or indicated by a special inworking of the Holy Spirit, rendered service as an instrument to reveal and to inspire the thought of God.
This applied in still stronger measure to those extraordinary phenomena and events which are called "wonders" (flSitt), or, in narrower sense, are spoken of as wonderful works (Niphleoth). The root from which these spring has been spoken of in connection with our study of the special principium, and the effort to explain them subjectively may be said to have been abandoned. If it is entirely true that they mostly fell to the share of believers, and that unbelievers sometimes did not see what believers saw very clearly, this affords not the least ground to subjectivize the miracles as such, after the intention of the Holy Scripture. Together with those single wonders, which one observed and another not, there are a number of others, which revealed themselves with an overwhelming impression to all that were present. Just remember the exodus from Egypt and the miracles in the wilderness. Again, it may not be forgotten that the simple presence of a fact is not enough to cause it to be perceived. As often as our mind is abstracted, and our attention refuses its action, it occurs that something is said or done in our presence which escapes our notice. Of this, therefore, nothing more need be said. All these meditation-theories have had their day, and nothing remains except the absolute denial of the miracle on one hand, and on the other hand the frank confession of its reality. Meanwhile, in the matter of inspiration, we are less concerned about the reality of the miracle, or the general revelation of God-s power, which it reveals, than about the sense, thought, or significance which hides in these "wonderful works." In those miracles and signs there also lies a language, and in the matter of inspiration that language claims our attention. This peculiar language lies in all the phenomena and events which are extraordinary; and therefore no distinction need here be made between the Theophanies, the miracles in nature, the miracles of healing and of destruction, etc. In all these miracles a thought of God lies expressed, and in the matter of inspiration that thought of God is the principal interest. For this reason, however, the reality should not be looked upon for a moment as accidental or indifferent. Without that reality even thought misses its ground in God. and it is by this very union and combination of To 6V with the mind that thought receives its ratification, and comes to us, not as an idea suggested by ourselves, but as a communication from God to us. The principal thought in all miracles now is the thought of redemption. When the existing order of things distresses us, and turns us pessimistic, and places nature with its curse over against us and above us, as a power against which all resistance is vain, the miracle proclaims that that power is not the highest, that the heavens of brass above us can be opened, and that there is still another reality, entirely different from this order of things, which does not clash with our moral aspirations, but is in harmony with them. The world, such as it became by the curse, and now is, under the tempering of that curse by common grace, offends the only fixed point which the sinner retains in his moral consciousness, viz. his sense of right. Wrong triumphs again and again, while innocence suffers. Between the hidden life and outward conditions there is no harmony, such as our sense of right postulates. It is this problem which presented itself with great force in Israel, and for which no solution is given except in the miracles. The miracles voice a palingenesis which, first in the psychical and after that in the physical world, shall hereafter dissolve all dissonance in entire harmony. Every miracle is a real prophecy of the parousia and of the restitution of all things which it introduces. The miracle is the basis of the hope, in that entirely peculiar significance which in Scripture it has along with faith and love. It shows that something different is possible, and prophesies that such it shall sometime be. It is an utterance of that free, divine art, by which the supreme artist, whose work of creation is broken, announces the entire restoration of his original work of art, even in its ideal completion. Hence there can be no question of a "violation of the order of nature." This assumes that this order of nature has obtained an independent existence outside of God, and that at times God interferes with this independent order of things. Every such representation is deistic at heart, and in fact denies the immanent and omnipresent omnipotence by which God supports the whole cosmos from moment to moment, and every order in that cosmos. The miracle, therefore, may not be interpreted as being anything else than an utterance of the special principium, taken as principium essendi. An utterance which, preformative and preparative, and thereby at the same time annunciatory, views and ends in the parousia. The Niphleoth, therefore, include the spiritual as well as the material miracles. They react savingly against sin as well as against the misery which flows from sin.
Hence the miracles are no disconnected phenomena, but stand in connection with each other, and, as was shown above, they form one organic whole, the centre of which is Christ as the "Wonderful" and its circumference His people. The great central miracle, therefore, is the Incarnation, which in turn lies foreshadowed in the Christophanies. With those ■ Christophanies the manifestation consisted in this, that, as in paradise God had created the body of Adam, He likewise here provided a human body, which presently returned to nothing, and merely served to render the appearance as of a man possible. In the plains of Mamre Abraham does not perceive at first that he is dealing with anything else than a common human occurrence. Even where angel appearances are spoken of, we may not represent angels as winged beings. Angels have no bodies; they are spirits; and they appear with wings only in the symbolic representation of the vision. In real appearances they always stand before us in the form of a man. All this, however, was altogether outside our nature. It gave us to see what was like unto our nature, not what was of our nature. Thus Christ is the "Wonderful" (Is. ix. 6), and in connection with this there arranges itself about His person the whole miracle-cyclus of His baptism, the temptation in the wilderness, the transfiguration upon Tabor, the voice in the temple, the angel in Gethsemane, the signs at the cross, the resurrection and the ascension, in order to be succeeded by the second miracle-cyclus of the parousia. In like manner we see that entire series of Niphleoth, or mighty works, going out from Christ and becoming established by Him in the sphere of the elements, in the vegetable kingdom, in the animal kingdom, and among men — a series of miracles, the afterglow of which still gleams in the miracles of the apostles. Peter, indeed, testifies (Acts iii. 16) that the authorship of the healing of the cripple lay in Christ.
In this organic connection the one group of miracles appears before us which is immediately connected with Christ. To this is joined a second group of miracles which does not point to the Christ, but to the appearance and the maintenance of His people. The fixed point in this group is the miraculous birth of Isaac, placed in the foreground as the great "wonder" by Paul in Rom. iv. 17 sq. What lies behind this merely serves to prepare the ground, and render the appearance of God's people possible. Only by the calling of Abraham and the birth of Isaac, when he and Sarah had become physically incapable of procreation, is this people born upon this prepared ground, and come to its incarnation. This was the great mystery. After this follows in the second place the miracle-cyclus of Egypt, of the wilderness, and of the taking of Canaan. Then the miracles which group themselves about Elijah and Elisha in conflict with the worship of Baal. And finally the group of miracles which, outside of Canaan, is seen in the midst of the heathen, when the great conflict between Israel and the nations was temporarily ended with the apparent destruction of Israel, as with its Golgotha.
Of course it extends beyond the lines of our task to work out more fully this concentric exposition of miracles. We merely wanted to show that in this entire phenomenon of miracles there lies one continuous manifestation of the great predominant thought of Redemption. This manifestation by itself was not enough to cause the thought that expressed itself in it to be understood and to be transmitted. To the "handling with hands" (jrvXa<$>av) of 1 John i. 1 is added the "seeing" (0ecupetv), and it is only by that seeing that insight is obtained into the meaning and significance of the miracle. So much, however, is evident that the sight of these several miracles, or the reading of the narrative, counts among the means used by God in the revelation of Himself to the holy men of old. This is true in a twofold way: First, in so far as the miracles occasioned a deep impression of God's presence and of His overwhelming omnipotence, by which the ban, put upon believers by the superior power of the cosmos, was broken, and they were set free and faith was wakened. And secondly, because in each miracle by itself and in the mutual connection of all these wonderful works one grand, ever-varied thought of God expressed itself, the language of which only needed to be understood in order to have one's spiritual consciousness enriched. It should be noted, however, that the holy men of God separated that God who manifests Himself in His miracles, so little from the God who created and maintains the cosmos, that in their perception the glory of the Lord in creation and in nature constantly identified itself with that other glory which He revealed to and in His people. The last four Psalms show this most plainly: First, in Ps. cxlvii. 1-11 the glory of God in nature is sung, in verses 12-14 the glory of God's people appears, in verses 15-18 the power of God over nature is again exalted, and finally we read, "He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation." Thus to the singer the Niphleoth of the natural and special principium form one grand whole, while the antithesis is not lost for a moment. In the same way, in Ps. cxlviii. all that lives not only, but every creature that exists, is poetically called upon to praise Jehovah, while the manifestation of the special principium asserts itself in the end, when it reads: "And he hath lifted up the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Hallelujah." And comparing Ps. cxlix. with cl. it is seen that in Ps. cxlix. the glory of the Lord among His people is the theme of the Hallelujah, while in Ps. cl. it is His greatness as creator and preserver of everything. Doubtless the singers and prophets of Israel owed this majestic conception of nature, which is entirely peculiar to Israel, to the prayer (Ps. cxix. 18), Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold, etc.; only by the working of the special principium were they enabled to see the greatness of the Lord in the utterances of the natural principium; but with this result that they by no means viewed the miracles as standing isolated by themselves, but always with the Niphleoth in the realm of nature for their background.
Thus we see that apart from real inspiration itself, all sorts of subjective as well as objective mediums of inspiration were employed by God, by which either to prepare His servants for inspiration, to impart it unto them, or to enrich, ratify, or explain its content.
§ 83. The Factors of Inspiration
In the study of the factors of inspiration proper we begin with a sharp distinction between inspiration as a means of revelation and inspiration of the Holy Scripture. If, for instance, I take the fiftieth Psalm, the questions may be asked how, in what way, and on what occasion the singer was inspired with the content of this song, and what the relation is between what he himself sang and what God sang in and through him; but these are entirely different from the question by what action of the Holy Spirit this ancient song, in just this form, was adopted into the holy codex, by which it became a word of God to His whole church. For the present, however, this latter question as to the special inspiration of the Holy Scripture may be passed by. It can only be considered when the inspiration of revelation has been explained more fully. The thought cannot be entertained that a prophet like Amos, as an inspired person, may never have spoken or written anything more than those nine chapters we now have as oracles of God in his name. In length these nine chapters are scarcely equal to one short sermon. The assertion, therefore, is none too strong, that he spoke under prophetic inspiration at least twenty times as much, while whatever has been lost has nothing to do with the inspiration of the Holy Scripture. With these nine short chapters only can there be a question of this. The two kinds of inspiration, therefore, must be kept apart, and we must consider first what came first, viz. inspiration as the means employed of God, by which to cause His revelation-organs to speak, sing, or write what He desired and purposed. It cannot be denied that in the Holy Scripture, even for the greater part, utterances occur from the revelation-organs which make the impression of being the utterance of their subjective consciousness, but back of which a higher motive appears to have been active, flowing from another consciousness standing above them. In Psalm xxii., for instance, a speaker is evidently present who moans from the depths of his own sorrows, but before the song is ended the impression is received that an altogether different "man of sorrows" addresses you. Nothing derogatory is here implied to the more objective medium of inspiration treated in the former section, by which foreign words and scenes affected the ear and eye of the men of God. But in the Holy Scripture these objective means of revelation are not the rule, and the greater part of the content of the Scripture presents itself as having come forth subjectively from the human author, while nevertheless in his subjective utterance there worked a higher inspiring irvevfjui; and it is properly this action of the Holy Spirit which here introduces inspiration as means of revelation in its narrowest sense. For this reason inspiration bears one character in lyric poetry, and another with the prophets, and still another with the Chokma, with Christ and with the apostles, so that each of these kinds of inspiration must separately be considered. But these lyrical, prophetical, chokmatic inspirations, etc., have something in common, and this must first be explained.
Inspiration rests upon the antithesis between the Spirit of God and the spirit of man, and indicates that the Spirit of God enlists into His service the spirit of man, disposes of it, and uses it as His conscious or unconscious organ. In this the human spirit is either more active or passive, in proportion as it has greater or lesser affinity to what God will reveal by it. If that affinity is entire, as is the case in some apostolic epistles, the action of the human spirit will seem to be the sole factor, and inspiration will scarcely be observed; while, on the other hand, where this affinity is very limited, as is the case with the most of Ezekiel's visions, the human spirit appears as little more than a phonograph, which serves to catch the action of the Spirit of God. This inspiration lies grounded in the nature of our human spirit. This is no isolated potency, but one that is pervasive. Our spirit can be affected by other spirits, and this can be done in two ways: either by entering in by the periphery, in order thence to approach the centrum of our spirit; or by entering into that centrum, in order thence to extend itself to the periphery. A great orator approaches his hearers in the periphery of their consciousness, and thence penetrates to the roots of their sense of self; while, on the other hand, the biologist or hypnotizer finds a means in the nervous system by which to penetrate at once to the centrum of the human spirit, and is able from thence to reach the periphery in such a way that the mesmerized subjects think and speak as he wills. Such a central inworking upon the human spirit goes out from the Spirit of God, and by inversion from Satan. Our spirit in our innermost being is not independent, but dependent, and, even without inspiration (taken in its narrower sense of means of revelation as Theopneustic), workings and inspirations from the spiritual world go out to the centrum of the life of our soul, which affect us for good or for evil. The poetical impulse, the inner promptings in every department of art, heroism, enthusiasm, animation in speech and writing, the stimulus of genius, premonition, and in connection with this the entire chapter of divination and all that it entails, show incontestably that our consciousness is not a boat propelled solely by the oar-stroke of our own exertions, but that it may likewise carry a sail which may be filled by winds over which we have no control.
Passing by Satanic inspiration, which will be discussed later in connection with the energumens, this general inspiration finds its ground first of all in the omnipresent immanence of God. (" In him we live and move and have our being.") There is not merely an "of him " and a "through him," but also an "in him." He is the fountain of all good, not in the sense that now and then we fill our life-jar with waters from that fountain, and afterward live of ourselves, but in the sense that, like plants, we flourish by the side of that fountain, because the root of our life is constantly refreshed by waters from that fountain. This relation of God is defined, in the second place, more closely by our creation after the image of God. If one may say so, there is a general inspiration of God in all nature. It is lasting and limited in animal instinct, and in a measure even in wine and in the stimulating agents of several medicines. When a dog jumps in the water to save a child, there is an inspiration of God in that animal; and when thunder distresses us, and fresh mountain air makes breathing an exhilaration, there is inspiration of a higher power. But with man, this inspiration assumes a special form by virtue of theaffinity between God's Spirit and ours. God is Spirit. This is, according to Christ, To 6w<d? 6v of His being, and consequently with us also the deepest point of our human life lies in our pneumatical existence. In so far as our nature is created after the image of God in original righteousness, this excellency could be lost and our nature become depraved; but not our creation after God's image so far as it pertains to its essence (quod ad substantiam). Our human nature is unassailable. The capability of having consciousness, which is the distinguishing mark of the pneumatical, has not been lost, and in this lies man's openness to inspiration (Inspirationsfahigkeit). Hence, inspiration can work in the unconverted as well, as was the case with Balaam and Caiaphas, and though it generally occurs in connection with conversion, it is by no means dependent upon this. The creation of man as a pneumatic being opens the possibility of communion between his spirit and the Spirit of God, by which the thoughts of God can be carried into his thoughts. To which is to be added, in the third place, that man is created, not as one who is always the same, but as a self-developing being, and that it is his end (reXo?) that God shall be in him and he in God, so that God shall be his temple (Rev. xxi. 22), and he a temple of God (Eph. ii. 21). This, likewise, offers the means by which the influence of the Spirit of God upon his spirit can be supremely dominant.
Care, however, should be taken against a confusion of terms, lest by an exchange with its metonymy inspiration itself escape from our grasp. Inspiration is not the same as communion. This, indeed, places the ego of man over against the ego of God, and makes them wed or enter into covenant, but ever in such a way that the ego of man accepts the communion, enters upon it, and lives in accordance with it, — a unity, but one which rests upon a duality. Neither may we confuse the ideas of inspiration and mystical union. This, indeed, rests upon the necessary and natural union between the head and members of one organism and the body of Christ, and is not grounded in the consciousness, but in the essentia. The mystical union makes us one plant with Christ. Neither, again, may inspiration be confused with regeneration and with its consequent enlightening. To illustrate: inspiration is the use of the telephone, in order to communicate a thought, while regeneration is the act which repairs the telephone when out of order. With such a man as Isaiah, regeneration was the means to save him unto life eternal, and inspiration to make him of service to the Church of God. Every effort, therefore, to interpret inspiration from an ethical basis, and to understand it as a natural fruit of sanctification, must be resisted. The possibility of inspiration does not depend upon the normal or abnormal condition of the nature of man, but lies in his nature as a pneumatic being, which as such is open to the central inworking of the Spirit of God.
Hence, with inspiration we deal with three factors: (1) with the spirit that inspires (spiritus inspirans), (2) with the spirit of man that is inspired (spiritus hominis cui inspiratur), and (3) with the content of what is inspired.
In God who inspires, inspiration assumes thought and will. He who pantheistically denies consciousness in God or merely darkens it, abandons every idea of inspiration. For this very reason God is ever revealed unto us in the Holy Scripture as the light, and this light in God is pictured as the brightness from which the light of self-consciousness is ignited in our spirit. "In thy light shall we see light." Nothing, therefore, can be present in our consciousness but God knows it. "For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether." That this does not refer to our words merely, appears sufficiently clearly from the statement, that "the righteous God trieth the heart and reins " (Ps. vii. 9); for by that word "reins" the deepest root is indicated in the subsoil of our conscious soul-life. The most complete transparency of pure, clear consciousness is like. wise a characteristic of the being of God, by which His theistic existence stands or falls. The ethical representation must, therefore, be dismissed, that inspiration gives rise to certain perceptions in us, which only afterwards produce thoughts in our human consciousness. At heart, this is nothing but the pantheistic representation of a deep (#u0d?) out of which the thought separates itself in us only. If it is asked whether consciousness in God is anthropomorphic, and whether our world of thought is not limited by and bound to the finite, we readily reply: that the question contains some truth. The apostle himself acknowledges that our knowledge is a knowledge "in part," and that all our gnosis will sometime pass away, in order to make room for a higher "seeing." He, however, who infers from this, that for this reason there is no consciousness in God, contradicts the apostle's assertion that even to us a still higher form of consciousness is coming. If consciousness could assume one form only, even the finite form of our consciousness by day, the conclusion would certainly be correct. But this is not true, since consciousness has many forms, one by day and one by night, one without and one in ecstasy, one now and one in the realm of glory, which proves it to be entirely natural that consciousness in God has its own Divine form. Neither does this end the question. That Divine consciousness has affinity to our human consciousness. "We shall know, even as we are known." If it is self-evident, that our future consciousness must stand in the genetic connection of identity with our present consciousness, this of itself provides the bridge which connects the divine consciousness with ours. Even among men, the consciousness of a child differs from the consciousness of a man, and yet the greater can enter the consciousness of the child. Consciousness differs with each and all, but true love is able to place itself in another's place; yea, in another's consciousness. With reference to its formal side, susceptibility for learning foreign languages sufficiently shows that consciousness is possessed of very great pliability, and is by no means frozen solidly in its form. If these are features in us of the image of God, we may safely conclude, that in the consciousness of God (1) there is affinity to our consciousness; and (2) the possibility is found of entering into the form of the consciousness of another. This becomes a certainty, when you remember, that God Himself has fixed the form of our consciousness, and has first thought it in this way before He created it. Our form of consciousness, therefore, is not a strange something to God, for He knew it before He enriched us with it. And though we grant unconditionally that the thoughts of God may not be assumed as clothed in our forms, we maintain that God is able to cast them into our consciousness-form, and hence is also able to think them in our form.
Next to this clear consciousness of thought, inspiration assumes in God who inspires the will to inspire this or that thought. This element of the will was neglected in former times, but in the face of the pantheistic representation of involuntary communication it now deserves a special emphasis. A twofold inspiration goes out from us: one is voluntary, the other involuntary. Voluntary when purposely we try to exert a certain influence; involuntary when our act or person exerts an influence independently of our will. This is so, because our self-consciousness is exceedingly limited, so that we observe a very small part only of the working that goes out from us. With God, however, this is not so. He is not like the star that sparkles without knowing it, but is transparent to Himself to the deepest depths of His Being and the utmost circumference of His action. Here, therefore, is no door that stands open for every passer-by to look in at will, but a door which on each occasion is opened. Inspiration of itself, therefore, presupposes in God the will and the purpose, from His Divine consciousness, to introduce into the consciousness of man this or that thought, transposed and interpreted into our form of thought, and thus to reveal it among men.
The second factor that claims our attention is the spirit that is inspired; viz. the spirit of man. The nature of this human consciousness may differ materially, and this difference may arise from its disposition as well as from its content. With reference to the disposition there can be affinity, neutrality, or opposition. In the case of the venerable Simeon in the Temple, there was a strong affinity of mind and inclination to the inspiration that was given him. The disposition of Jeremiah in Chapter xx. of his oracles bears witness to a strong opposition against inspiration; while in Chokmatic poetry the disposition of the singer does not appear, and thus remains neutral. Of course, with affinity and sympathy the subjective expression is far more strongly apparent; with an antipathetic disposition more violence must be done to the man of God; and with a neutral disposition neither the subject nor the feelings of the subject come to light. With a sympathetic disposition and a neutral mind both, it is possible that the revelation-organ itself should not observe that inspiration takes place, as is seen in many a Psalm and in the prophecy of Caiaphas, John xi. 50 and 52. The strongest possible expression for inspiration is the "Now this he said not of himself." Connected with this appears also the difference between aphoristic, more continuous, and altogether continuous inspiration. We catch inspired words from the lips of Zechariah and Simeon, with whom it is restricted to one single inspiration; we read of prophets and apostles, with whom repeated inspiration frequently bore an official character; and in Christ, of whom it is written that the Spirit not merely descended upon Him, but also remained upon Him, we see an inspiration in His human consciousness, which ever continues, — " As I hear, I judge" (John v. 30). capable of doing with those images. Even outside of inspiration, with writers of note, you will see that series of images in the foreground which are in harmony with their inner nature; and in proportion as the writer lives either by apprehension or by conception, the images will lie loosely among his words or they will dominate his style. The many-sided content of the consciousness must not be estimated by what lies ready for use at a given moment, but also by its almost forgotten treasures. All that has ever gone through our memory has left its impression behind, and we often discover that there has been stored in our consciousness the memory of conditions, persons, names and conceptions, which, except for some impulse from without, would never have recurred again to our mind. And finally, to this content of our consciousness must be added all that which, outside of us, has been chronicled and committed to writing or image, and thus lies in reach to enrich our consciousness. The significance of this ready material in the consciousness, or of whatever else our consciousness has at its disposal, becomes plain at once, if we but recognize the organ of revelation to be a messenger who has something to communicate, on the part of God and in His name, to His Church. If, for instance, a superior officer in the army has to employ a captured farm-hand to send tidings to an inferior officer who has command in some distant town, the entire communication must be committed to writing, or, if the man is clever, be explained to him clearly and in detail. If, on the other hand, the officer sends an adjutant who saw the battle from beginning to end, and knows the position of the entire army, a hasty word in passing whispered in his ear is sufficient, and quick as lightning the adjutant rides to obey the given order.
But the content at hand in their consciousness must likewise be taken into account. By consciousness in this connection we do not merely understand the action of thinking, but also, sensation, perception, and observation in the general sense. With a man of genius from the upper strata of society, like an Isaiah, the content of this consciousness was, of course, much richer than with Amos, who had lived in the country among herdsmen; and, on the contrary, poorer with James, who originally was a fisherman, than with Paul, who had attended the schools of learning. If, in such a consciousness, the conceptions and representations are already present which are necessary for the oracle as its component elements, the oracle needs merely to effect the new combination. If, on the other hand, they are wanting, the material of imagery for the symbolical manifestation must be borrowed from the content of the imagination. Though, thus, the so-called aw~ rijprjai< ; (i.e. our memory, our store of things) is in the first place the all-important factor, the imagination is needful as well, and not merely for the images in its portfolio, if we may so express ourselves, as for what, perhaps, the imagination is
It must not be imagined, however, that in the case of inspiration God the Lord is limited by this affinity of disposition, or by this content of the consciousness. Most of the apocalyptical visions rather prove the contrary. We have simply intended to indicate that, as a rule, that affinity and that content of the consciousness are employed by God as elements in inspiration. This is true even theologically; not as if God, for the sake of the success of Revelation, selected the most suitable persons from among those who were accessible, but rather that He Himself caused these men to be born for this purpose, predestined them for it, and caused them to spend their youth amid such circumstances and surroundings, that in His own time they stood in readiness as suitable instruments. As Jeremiah declares that to him it was said: "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee: and before thou earnest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee. I have appointed thee a prophet unto the nations" (Jer. i. 5). This constitutes the fundamental thought which dominates the appearance of the revelationorgans from first to last. The words, "I know thee by name," in Ex. xxxiii. 12, indicate the same thing. And what is said of the ideal prophet in Isa. xlix. 1, 2, 5, by virtue of the comprehensive character of predestination, applies to all. This predestination cannot be limited to these men personally, for it embraces the whole sphere of life from which they sprang and in which they appeared. Such inspiration would simply have been inconceivable in England or among any of our Western nations. Our consciousness stands too greatly in need of sharp conceptions, visible outlines and rigid analysis. Since the world of thought that discovers itself to us in inspiration lies at first concentrated in its centrum, from whence it only gradually proceeds, there could be no question here of sharply drawn lines as the result of rigid analysis. The lines of the acanthus leaf cannot be admired so long as this leaf still hides in the bud. Inspiration, therefore, demanded a human consciousness that was more concentrically constituted, and this you find in the East, where dialectic analysis is scarcely known, while intuition is so much more penetrative, for which reason it describes its content rather in images than in conceptions. Moreover, intuitive consciousness lends itself more easily to that passiveness which, in a measure, is needful with all inspiration. The Western mind reacts more strongly and quickly against impressions received; the Oriental has that passive receptivity by which he surrenders himself to perceptions and drifts along with their current. He is more deeply inspired by natme, and therefore more susceptible to the Divine influence (^vda-^eiv wrb rov Oeov) which is the characteristic of all inspiration. While we are more ready to speak, the Oriental is more inclined to listen; he does not know what conversation is, in our sense of the word, and that very inclination to listen aids his predisposition to inspiration. To this we may add, that among the nations of the East, Israel possessed these peculiarities in that modified form which prevented one-sidedness. It was Eastern, but formed the frontier against the West. The intuitiveness of the Israelitish consciousness, therefore, did not easily turn into an extravagant fancifulness, neither was it lost in a deep revery. The Jew possesses all needful qualities to secure a position of influence for himself in the Western world. Within himself he carried two worlds, and this rendered Israel more capable than any other people of receiving inspiration and of reproducing it intelligibly to the Western world. Paul, the dialectician, and Zachariah, the seer of visions, were both from Israel. In connection with this, the Jew in the East had that peculiarity, which still marks the French of to-day, of being inflamed by an idea, which is no result of logical thought, but springs from national life. The promise given to Abraham in Ur of the Chaldees becomes the pole-star to Israel's life as a nation. That one animating thought elevates Abraham above Lot, and presently Jacob above Esau, maintains Israel's independence in Egypt, appears again and again during the period of the Judges, finds at length its embodiment in the idea of the King, finds its acme in the expectation of the Messiah, and preserves Israel in Babylon under Antiochus Epiphanes, under Herod, and in its periods of deformation. From the nature of the case, such an idea animating an entire people is a valuable preparation for inspiration. It accustoms the whole nation to live under a higher inspiration. It has its disadvantages; life in an imaginary world may tempt to sin, as it did Tamar, and feeds falsehood especially, which is one of Israel's characteristic sins, but this is the defect of its quality, and does not affect its excellence in the least.
If such was the general soil prepared in Israel for inspiration, there was added to this in the second place that particular factor, which intensified and specialized this predisposition in individual persons. This took place in their creation.. this creation being taken in connection with their genealogical origin, and going back, therefore, into the generations. But with all the emphasis this genealogical connection deserves, there is, nevertheless, the individual creation of the person, the moulding of his disposition, the tuning of the harpstrings of his heart, the endowment of him with charismata and talents, and the quickening in him of what in lesser measure was common to all his people. An election, if you please, not to salvation, but to service, to the task of an holy vocation, together with the fitting out of the elect one with every requisite for that service. The bow is provided, and also the arrows in the quiver. What lies hidden in the natural disposition is brought out by the leadings of Providence in education and surroundings, — Moses at Pharaoh's court, David as the shepherd lad, Peter and John the fishermen on the waters of Gennesareth. The casting of the net, the watching of the water's ripple, the quiet waiting of an almost inexhaustible patience for higher power to send fish into the net, and the constant readiness with fresh courage and hope of blessing to begin anew, constitute a choice preparation of the spirit for that restful and soulful abiding for the work of grace, in which it is known that God alone brings souls into His nets. To these leadings of Providence is added, as a rule, the leadings of grace, which God the Lord imparted to His chosen organs of revelation. By this grace most of them were personally regenerated, and thus themselves established in the salvation, the inspiration of which fell to their share. In an uncommon way this increased the affinity between their own spirit and the Spirit of God, as well as between the content of their consciousness and the content of their inspiration. Not in the sense, as stated above, that inspiration itself might be explained from this ethical affinity. He who affirms this virtually places the inspiration of prophets and apostles in line with the animation of poets and preachers. A virtuoso on the organ will work charms, if need be, from a poor instrument; but only when the organ is worthy of him will his talent be shown in all its power: but who will say that for this reason his playing proceeds from the excellence of the organ? No, the excellence is his who plays, and the organ merely serves as instrument. In the same way, the ethical excellence of the organs of revelation must certainly be taken into account, but it may not be said that this ethical excellence gave birth to inspiration. God alone is He who inspires, and even Isaiah or John are never anything but choice instruments, animated and tuned by God, who plays on them His inspiration. The difference of disposition in these instruments, however, determines the difference of intensity of inspiration. As 1 a virtuoso on the violin" can only exhibit a part of his art on a violin of two strings, and only on the full-stringed instrument can bring all his powers into play, so the holy playing of inspiration that sounds in our ears, is entirely different, far richer, and infinitely more intensive, when God makes use of a David or a Paul than when Nahum comes from the woods or James' epistle is unrolled before us. There are certainly degrees of inspiration. Habakkuk affects one more mightily than Haggai. And with the same organs of revelation inspiration is at one time much richer and fuller than at another time, which undoubtedly depends again upon the mood of the singer or writer. But however necessary the close study of these degrees may be, and however often we may be permitted to connect them with the subjective disposition of the instrument used, nevertheless, to derive inspiration itself from this, can never be allowed. All these differences may modify, specialize, and graduate the effect of inspiration, but inspiration itself does not proceed from the consciousness of man, but always from the consciousness and the will of God. All efforts to explain inspiration ethically is a passing into another genus, and is a leap from the ethical into the abstract life of our consciousness.
Finally, there may be added the ready help which every later inspiration found in that which had gone before, as well as in the progress of the revelation of salvation, to which it ran parallel. The content of inspiration is not aphoristic. The one rather builds upon the other. In its beginnings, therefore, inspiration is mostly concentric and deep, and only gradually passes over into detail and moves upon the surface. As a rule, at least, the person to be inspired knew what had formerly been inspired to others, and with these earlier inspirations his own inspiration formed a concatenation of ideas. It connected itself with these. It found in them a thread which it spun to greater length. It is no inspiration now in China, then again in Rome, presently in India or in Elam, but an inspiration which uses men from one and the same milieu of life, and which historically exhibits a certain continuity. For which reason the very images perpetuate themselves with a certain continuity, and certain forms and ways of speech pass on from one to the other. Just bring to mind the Root, the Shepherd and the "sheep of his pasture." If on account of this, numerous factors were present in the consciousness of the person about to be inspired for the use of Him who inspires, the same applies to the actual dispensation of grace in Israel. There is not merely a disclosing of the holy world above to the consciousness, but the creation as well of a reality in Israel, which bears a holy character. This has its beginning already in the wondrous birth of Isaac. This reality establishes itself in the people, accentuates itself in the tribe of Judah and in the house of David; in its usages and institutions; in its holy ceremonials, and in the types which point to the full reality to be realized by the Incarnation. From the nature of the case, this reality also exerted an influence, moulded and fashioned the more finely disposed spirits in Israel, and enriched the consciousness of those who were to be inspired with those ideas and representations and images, which were fit in every way to do service in inspiration. It made the language, in which Jehovah was to interpret His Divine thoughts, altogether a richer vehicle for inspiration.
The third factor which claims our attention in inspiration is that which is inspired: — Id quod inspiratur. This content of inspiration is not accidental. It does not consist of magic sentences, nor yet of enigmatical communications concerning secret powers or incidental events. The whole content of what is inspired is taken from the counsel of God, and is dominated by the supreme thought of how the profaned majesty of God, both in man and in the cosmos, may again come to its theodicy. We have purposely taken pains to state the case in these definite terms, because the limitation of that content to the salvation of man's psychical life both is irrational and is contradicted by the Holy Scripture. The latter needs no explanation, and so far as the first is concerned, it would be irrational to intend exclusively the salvation of our psychical life, since the conditions of our somatical life are equally disabled. Irrational, to fix the eye upon the salvation of man alone, since man is an organic part of the cosmos. And it would be equally irrational to find the end of inspiration in man, since either the confession of God must be abandoned, or all things must find their end in Him. At this very point the effort falls away to seek the content of what was inspired exclusively in what is ethical-religious. This ethical-religious does not exist in isolation. In the case of the individual person it touches his body and circumstances as well; in the case of a people, its earthly existence, its history, and its future. Separation, therefore, is here impossible. Even as you cannot find a man except in his body, you cannot expect to find what is inspired except it is alike psychical, somatical and cosmical. However, it may and must be granted that the content of what is inspired does not lend itself to this cosmical, except in so far as it stands in central connection with the work of the Holy Spirit. Not because the rest is indifferent, but because inspiration has a purpose of its own; viz. to introduce into the consciousness of the Church of God that world of thought which belongs to palingenesis. What lies outside of this is not received by the Church as such, but by the members of the Church, as "men and citizens," in a natural way. And the question, whether the nature of this content joins itself to what God who inspires finds on hand in the person whom He inspires is answered as follows: that the restoration of what was profaned of necessity joins itself to the condition of the profaned, and that the organs of revelation, whose own condition was that of depravity, and who themselves lived in this desecrated cosmos, found, both in themselves and in that cosmos, the canvas stretched on which the floral designs of grace were to be embroidered.
§ 84. The Forms of Inspiration
Man received in his creation more than one string to the harp of his soul, and according to the nature of the objects that hold his attention his mood changes, he strikes a different key, and his mental action assumes new phases. The lyrical world differs in principle from the epical; the dramatic impulse far exceeds both in creative power; while, on the other hand, poetical inspiration accentuates itself least in didactic poetry. Thus the human mind is disposed by nature to a multiformity of expression, which sustains connection with the multiformity of material that engages our attention. And since there is a wide difference in the material that constitutes the content of Revelation, it is entirely natural that the inspiration of the Holy Spirit has made use of that multiformity of our spiritual expression, and thus assumes at one time a lyric character, at another time an epical, sometimes even a dramatic, but especially also one that is didactic. To some extent one may even say that in these aesthetic variegations certain fundamental forms are given for inspiration, and if need be the entire content of the Scripture might be divided after these four fundamental types. Since, however, outside of the Scripture also these four fundamental types continually overlap each other and give rise to mixed forms, it is more advisable to borrow the division of these types from the content of the Scripture itself. This we do when we distinguish between lyric, chokmatic, prophetic and apostolic inspiration, among which the inspiration of the Christ stands as uocal, and to which is added the later graphic inspiration in the narrower sense.
Let each of these types be separately considered.
Lyric inspiration comes first, because lyric itself, to some extent, bears an inspired character, and so offers us the most beautiful analogy to holy inspiration, and really supplies the only trustworthy key for the correct interpretation of the lyrical parts of the Scripture. Real lyric, worthy of the name, is not the passionate cry which describes in song the concrete, personal experience of sorrow or of joy, but appears only when, in the recital of concrete and personal experience, the note is heard of that which stirs the deeper depths of the hidden life of the uersal human emotions, and for this reason is able to evoke a response from other hearts. In his Aesthetik, ii., p. 568 (3d Ausg. Lpz. 1885), Carriere states it thus: "That which is entirely individual in lyric poetry obtains the consecration of art only by being represented as it answers to the nature of man, and by striking the chord of something uersally human, whereby it is reechoed in the hearts of others." Even this statement is not sufficiently full; for when, by his personal emotions, the lyric poet has descended to the depths where his own life mingles with the waters of human experience, he has not reached the deepest bottom of this ocean. That which is common in the emotional life of humanity is not grounded in itself, but derives its powers of life from the immanence of God, whose Divine heart is the source of the vital breath that stirs and beats this ocean. Von Hartmann (Philosophic des SchSnen, ii., p. 736) very properly observes that there is "a mode of feeling which transcends the purely anthropological," which, from his Pantheistic point of view, he explains more closely as "an extension of self-feeling (Selbstgefiihl) unto a form of uersal sympathy (Allgefiihl), the outreach of this sympathy (Weltschmerz) toward the world-ground, i.e. its expansion into the intuition of the Divine (Gottesschmerz)." Reverse this, and say that his concrete feeling is governed by the uersal human feeling, and that, so far as it affects him, this uersal human feeling is governed by the vital emotions in God, and the pathway of lyric inspiration is cleared. In every lyric poet you find first a considerable commotion of feeling, occasioned by his own joy or sorrow, or by the weal or woe of that which he loves. Secondly, that sense of solidarity, by which in his personal emotions he discerns the wave-beat of the human heart. And finally, there works in him a dominant power, which, in this uersal human emotion-life, effects order, reconciliation, or victory. However subjective the lyric may be, it always loses the personal subject in the general subject, and in this general subject the Divine subject appears dominant. Since we may speak to this extent of a certain Divine inspiration in the case of all higher lyric, it is readily seen how naturally lyric lent itself as a vehicle for holy inspiration, and required but the employment in a special way of the Holy Spirit, to effect the lyric inspiration of the Psalmist.
The lyric poet does not merely sing for the sake of singing, but from the thirst for deliverance. Under the weight of unspeakable joy or of consuming sorrow he is near being overcome. And now the spirit arouses itself within him, not to shake himself free from this feeling of sorrow or joy, but, luctor et emergo, to raise the head above those waves of the ocean of his feeling, and either pour oil upon the seething waters, that shall quiet their violence, or bring those waves into harmony with the wave-beat of his own life, and thus effect reconciliation, or, finally, with power from on high to break that wave-beat. This is always done in two stages. First, by his descent from the personal into the solidaryhuman. He aptly remarks: I am not alone in these sorrows; there are "companions in misery" (consortes doloris); hence that sorrow must have deeper causes. And secondly, from this "companionship in misery" he reaches out after the living God, who does not stand as a personified Fate over against this necessity, but with Sovereign Authority bears rule over it. It is evident, that God the Lord has led His lyric singers personally into bitter sorrows, and again has made them leap for joy with personal gladness. But it also appears, in the second place, that these experiences of deep sorrow and high-strung gladness almost never came to them in concrete-individual, and, therefore, to a certain extent, accidental circumstances, but that almost always their lot in life was interwoven with the lot of their people, and thus from the start bore a solidary character. David views even his sicknesses as standing in connection with the combat he wages for God and His people. However, you observe, in the third place, that in and through the utterance of personal feeling, once and again a higher and a more general subject, and, if you please, another ego, supplants the ego of the singer, and often ends by God Himself in the Messiah testifying through the mouth of the singer. This makes a confusing impression on him who does not understand lyric, and is the cause of many an error in exegesis. But this phenomenon, which at first sight seems somewhat strange, becomes entirely clear when in this instance also you allow the antithesis to be duly emphasized between sinful and sanctified humanity, between humanity in its state of depravity and humanity in the palingenesis. The lyric poet who stands outside of the palingenesis cannot descend deeper than the emotional life of fallen humanity, and if from thence he presses on to God, he can do nothing more than was done by Von Hartmann, who, being depressed by sorrow, through the world-sorrow (Weltschmerz) reached the supposed God-sorrow (Gottesschmerz), and thus falsified the entire world of the emotions. Such, however, was not the case with the singers of Israel. From their personal joy and grief, they did not descend to the general human feeling, but to the emotion-life of humanity in the palingenesis, i.e. of God's people. And when in God they sought the reconciliation between this higher life of the palingenesis and actual conditions, their God appeared to them in the form of the Messiah, that other subject, who sang and spake through them, and caused them simultaneously to experience the reconciliation and the victory over sorrow and sin. In the imprecatory Psalms, especially, this is most strongly apparent. Applied to our human relations in general, the imprecatory Psalm is, of course, a most grievous offence to our feelings, and entirely beneath the nobility of lyric. If, on the other hand, you place the lyric singer of the imprecatory Psalms under the absolute antithesis between that which chooses for and against God; if you separate him from his temporal-concrete surroundings, and transfer him to the absolute-eternal, in which everything that sides with God lives and has our love, and everything that chooses eternally against God bears the mark of death and rouses our hatred, then the rule, " Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee?" becomes the only applicable standard, and whatever departs from this rule falls short of love for God. When Jesus speaks of the man who should have a millstone hanged about his neck, that he may be drowned in the depths of the sea, the same fundamental tone which sounds in all the imprecatory Psalms is sounded also by Him. As unholy and repulsive as the imprecatory Psalms are in the lips of those who apply them to our relative uersal human life, they are solemnly true and holy when you take your stand in the absolute palingenesis, where God's honor is the keynote of the harmony of the human heart. This is naturally denied by all those who refuse to believe in an eternal condemnation of those who continue in their enmity against the Almighty; but he who in unison with the Scripture speaks of "a going into everlasting pain," from this absolute point of view cannot resent the imprecatory Psalm, provided it is taken as a lyric.
(2) Chokmatic inspiration certainly belongs to didactic poetry, but forms, nevertheless, a class by itself, which, outside of the domain of poetry, can make its appearance in prose. Under Chokmatic inspiration, the parables, too, are classed, and other sayings of Christ which are not handed down to us at least in a fixed form. When the question is asked in what particular didactic poetry distinguishes itself from non-didactic, aesthetici say that the didacticus first thinks, and then looks for the image in which to clothe his thoughts, while the non-didactic lyricist, epicist, or dramatist feels the initiative arise from phantasy, and only derives the form from the ideal image. In itself, inspiration is much less strong with the didacticus, and there are didactic poets with whom poetical inspiration is altogether wanting. With this kind of poetry, inspiration is not in the feeling, neither in the imagination, or in the heroic impulse, but exclusively in the sway of the consciousness. Not as a result of his discursive thought, but by an impulse of his perception, the real didacticus is impelled to song. By his immediate perception he understands what he sees the other does not understand, and this he communicates to him in song. Subsidiarily to this, is added that the didacticus, since he does not speak as one who is learned, but sings as one who is wise, is, at the same time, in sympathy with symbolism which unites the spiritual with the material world, and therefore expresses himself in the form of nature-illustrations and parables. In the Chokmah, this uersal human phenomenon obtained a character of its own. Even as the prophet, the "wise man" was an isolated phenomenon in Israel. Similarly to didactic poetry, this Chokmah confines itself mostly to the domain of the life of nature and to the natural relationships of life. That life of nature and of man, in its rich unfolding, is the realization of a thought of God. It is not accidental, but develops itself after the Divine ordinances, which, even as the existence of life, are the outflow of a Chokmah in God. Nature does not observe this, but man perceives it because, created after God's image, he is himself an embodiment of that thought of God, and is therefore himself a microcosmos. In his perception lies a reflected image of this Chokmah, which by nature is Wisdom, and not science, but which only by analysis and synthesis can become science. The purer and clearer that glass of his perception is, the purer and clearer will the image of that Chokmah reflect itself in him. For this reason, Adam was created, not merely in justice and holiness, but also in original wisdom. By sin, however, this perception became clouded. There was a twofold cause for this. First, it reacts no longer accurately, and again, because nature itself and man's life in nature have become entangled in muoh conflict and confusion. For this reason, this natural Chokmah does no longer give what it ought to give; it works most effectively with simple folk, to whom only separate problems present themselves, but it refuses its service to the more richly developed mind, which faces all problems at once, and thus necessitates it by way of analysis to seek refuge in close thought. Palingenesis meanwhile presents the possibility of resuscitating again this original wisdom in fallen man, and, at the same time, of giving him an insight into the order and harmony which hide behind the conflicts of our sinful life, and are active to provide the cleansing of them. This does not happen to everybody, not even though the enlightening has entered in, but it takes place with those individuals whom God has chosen and inspired for this purpose, and these are the real, specific, wise men, and what they produce is called the Chokmah. In this, therefore, we deal with an activity of the Holy Spmt, which directs itself to this original sense-of-life, to this practical consciousness of nature and life, and clarifies this, so that the wise man discerns again the wisdom which is apparent in God's creation and in life, is affected by it, and proclaims it in parable or song. This Chokmah, however, does not appear to him as arising from his subjective consciousness, but as addressing him from another subject, such as Wisdom, which must not be taken as a personification, but as the pure word in God (see 1 Cor. i. 30), that to him coincides with the image of the Messiah. This does not imply that for this reason the solution of all problems, as for instance the problem of the incongruity in the suffering servant of God, stands clear and plain before his eyes. On the contrary, there are conflicts, which cannot be explained on chokmatic ground, but the impression of the Chokmah is, nevertheless, so overwhelming that the interrogation mark after these problems bears in itself the prophecy that it shall sometime disappear. Hence the "wise man " stands over against the "scorner," the "fool," and the "ungodly," who think after their fashion to have found a solution in cynicism, but have abandoned God and faith in his wisdom. To the wise man, on the other hand, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. God must not be wiped out for the reason that we are not able to indicate harmony between Him and the world; but from Him every departure must be made, even though by doing this we should lose the world. This assertion may not methodistically be applied to discursive thought. It only applies to that Wisdom of which it is asked in Job xxxviii. 36, "Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the mind?" The entire action, by which this wisdom is quickened, follows along the inward way, and does not come from without. For which very reason it could become a vehicle of inspiration. This also applies to its form, which is almost always symbolical, entirely apart from the question whether it is more commonly lyrical, epic, or dramatic. Its form is and remains that of the Proverb (bttto), the utterance of a thought in its material analogy. In the "riddle" (HTTP) and "enigma" (HSr^a), which words indicate entwining and intertwisting, the symbolical character may be less clearly apparent; in both forms, however, lies the same symbolical tendency. The phenomena are significant of something, they are reminders of a thought, which comes from God, and can be understood by us; not by these phenomena themselves, but by the affinity of our spirit to Him who speaks in them. And since this Wisdom does not consist of thoughts loosely strung together, but forms one organic whole, and needs the light of grace, by which to solve the problems of sorrow and of sin, this Wisdom at length concentrates itself in Christ Jesus, whom finally the apostle places over against the foolishness (fuopia) of the world as the incarnated Wisdom (Chokmah or a-o<£ia).
(3) So far as its result is concerned, Prophetic inspiration is distinguished from the lyric and chokmatic chiefly by the fact that in general it exhibits a conscious dualism of subject, whereby the subject of the prophet has merely an instrumental significance, while the higher subject speaks the word. That other higher subject appears sometimes in lyrics (Ps. ii. et al.~) and in the Chokmah (Prov. viii. et aZ.), but where it does this appearance bears no dualistic character, and at least never becomes antithetic as in prophecy (Jer. xx., Ezek. iii., et al.~). In the lyric and in the Chokmah there is "Konsonanz" of subjects, never "Dissonanz." In prophecy, on the other hand, duality of subject is the starting-point for the understanding of its working, and is even present where it is not expressly announced. Nothing can be inferred concerning this from the word N'OJ. The etymology of the word is too uncertain for this. Who indeed will prove whether we must go back to ^33, S3J, K3, which would be identical with <f>a-, in <f>t)fii, or to 1^33? Or also whether the form K13 is a passive or intransitive katil-form, and whether, if effundere, to pour out, is the primary meaning of this root, we must think of a poured-out person, or of a person who causes his words to flow out like water across the fields? One can offer conjectures, but to infer anything from the etymology as to the meaning of the word is at present simply impossible. The synonyms also, and Hfn, merely indicate that the prophet is some one who is given to seeing visions. From the description of some of these visions, as for instance the vision of the calls, from the phenomena that accompanied them, and from the form in which the prophet usually expressed himself, it can be very definitely shown, on the other hand, that, as subject, he felt himself taken hold of by a higher subject, and was compelled to speak not his own thoughts, but the thoughts of this higher subject. The frequent repetition of the "Thus saith" (113 IDljt) proves this. In Jeremiah's spiritual struggle (Jer. xx. 7 sq.} this antithesis reaches its climax. In 2 Sam. vii. 3 Nathan first declares as his own feeling that David will build the temple, while in verses 4, 5 he receives the prophetical charge to announce to David the very opposite. In Isa. xxxviii. 1-6 we read the twofold " Thus saith," first, that Hezekiah will succumb to his sickness, and then that he will again be restored. The fundamental type is given in Deut. xviii. 18 as follows: "I, Jehovah, will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him." We find this all-prevailing fundamental thought still more sharply brought out by Ezekiel in Chap. ii. 8: "But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee." And in Chap. iii. 1, 2: "Son of man, eat that thou findest, eat this roll, and go and speak. So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll." To eat is to take up and assimilate in my blood a material or food which originated outside of me. This, therefore, is a most definite indication that the subject from whose consciousness the prophecy originated is not the subject of the prophet, but the subject Jehovah. Whichever way this is turned, the chief distinction in prophecy is always that the subject of the prophet merely serves as instrument.
From this, however, it must not be inferred that the character or disposition of this instrumental subject was a matter of indifference. The same musician who at one time plays the flute, the other time a cornet, and at still another time a trumpet, produces each time entirely different tones. This depends altogether upon the instrument he plays and the condition of the instrument. In the same way this personal character and present disposition of the prophet will give tone to his prophecy to such an extent that with Isaiah the result is entirely different from what it is with Hosea, and with Jeremiah from what it is with Micah. Only do not lose from sight that this noticeable difference in prophecy, which is the result of the great difference between prophet and prophet, was also determined by the higher subject. As the player chooses his instrument according to the composition he wants to be heard, Jehovah chose His prophetical instrument. God the Lord, moreover, did what the player cannot do: He prepared His instrument Himself, and tuned it to the prophecy which by this instrument He was to give to Israel, and by Israel to the Church of all ages. If thus without reservation we must recognize the personal stamp which a prophet puts upon his prophecy, it may never be inferred that the fons prophetiae is to be sought in him, and that the primoprimae issues of thought should not come from the consciousness of God. We may even enter more fully into this, and confess that it was the preparation, education, and further development of a prophet and his lot in life generally that brought it about that in his consciousness all those elements were available which God the Lord should need for His prophecy. It may indeed be assumed that the ethnological and political knowledge of the kingdoms with whom Israel came in contact, and from which so many judgments proceeded, was present in the synteresis of the prophets. The capacity to gather thoughts and unite them into an opinion may likewise have been active in the instrumental subject. This much, however, remains fact, that so far as the ego of the prophet was active in this, it did not go to work from its own spontaneity, but was passively directed by another subject, in whose service it was employed.
Even this does not end our study of the anthropological basis of prophecy. Ecstasy, which is so strongly apparent on the heights of prophecy, is no uncommon phenomenon. We know as yet so very little of the nature and working of psychical powers. Biology, magnetic sleep, clairvoyance, hypnotism, trance, insanity, telepathy, as Stead called his invention, are altogether phenomena which have appeared from of old in all sorts of forms, and which science has too grossly neglected. Evidently these workings are less common in quiet, peaceful times, and show themselves with more intensity when public restlessness destroys the equilibrium. This accounts for the fact that at present they are prominently coming again to the front. This at least is evident, that our psyche, over against its consciousness, as well as with reference to its body, can become so strongly excited that common relations give place to those that are entirely uncommon. Whole series of stations lie between common enthusiasm and wild insanity, by which in its course this action assumes a more or less concrete, but ever modified, form. And so far as insanity has no directly physical causes, it carries wholly the impression of being a tension between the psyche and its consciousness, which is not merely acute, but becomes chronic, or even permanent. Ecstasy is commonly represented as being the outcome of the mastery of an idea, a thought, or a phantom over the psyche, and by means of the sensibilities over the body, to such an extent that for the moment the common working of the senses and of the other spiritual powers is suspended, and psyche and soma are used entirely as instruments of this mania, idea, or visionary image. If we combine these ecstatic phenomena with the biological, i.e. with the power which the psyche of one can obtain over the psyche of another, and grant that the power which other men can exert upon us can be exerted upon us much more strongly by God, we must conclude that in prophecy also God the Lord made use of factors which He Himself had prepared in our human nature. With this difference, however, that in this instance He makes use Himself of what at other times He places at the disposal of biologians. A complete analogy to prophecy would be given in this, especially if Stead's ideas about his so-called thought, which rests upon the system of telepathy, were found to be true. He asserts to have reached this result telepathically, — that at a distance of ten or twenty miles, without any means of communication whatsoever, one man wrote down literally what the other man thought. This may lack excitement and passion, but by no means excludes ecstasy; it is well known that besides a passionate, there is also an entirely restful, ecstasy, which, for the time being, petrifies a man, or causes him to lie motionless as in deep sleep.
If we inquire what the prophets themselves relate concerning their experience in such prophetic periods, a real difference may be observed. At one time the seizure is violent, at another time one scarcely receives the impression that a seizure has taken place. When that seizure comes they receive the impression of a i.e. as though they are put into a strait-jacket by the Spirit. This admits of no other explanation, except that they lost the normal working of their senses and the common use of their limbs. There is an lad IaKicah which takes hold of them; which indicates that the pressure came not gradually, but suddenly, upon them. Sometimes a "fall" is the result of this; they fell forward, not because they wanted to kneel down, but because their muscles were paralyzed, and, filled with terror, they fell to the ground. Meanwhile they perceived a glow from within which put them as on fire, as Jeremiah declares that it became a fire in his bones which he could not resist. Ezekiel testifies (iii. 14), "I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit, and the hand of the Lord was strong upon me." At the close of the ecstasy the prophet felt himself worn-out and faint, and pathologically affected to such a degree that he said he was ill. In that condition he saw visions, heard speaking and saw whole dramas played; and when presently he is again so far restored to himself that he can speak, the continuity of his consciousness is by no means broken. He knows what happened with him, and tells what he saw and heard. By itself there is nothing strange in all this. That which is distinctively prophetic does not consist of these psychical phenomena. These were common with pseudo-prophets. But these phenomena, which were commonly produced by pathological psychical conditions, or by superior powers of other persons, by the influence of mighty events, or by demoniacal influences, in prophecy were worked by God that He might use them for His revelation.
This dualistic character of prophecy, coupled with the repression of the human subject, prompts us to explain prophecy as being epical, even if at times this epical utterance receives a lyrical tint. In the epos the ego of the singer recedes to the background, and the powerful development of events, by which he is overwhelmed, is put wholly to the front. An epos teaches almost nothing about the poet himself. To such an extent is his personality repressed in the epos. The second characteristic of the epos is, that the singer not merely communicates what he has seen and heard, but also pushes aside the veil, and makes you see what mysterious powers from the unseen world were active back of all this, and that the things seen are in reality but the effect worked by these mysterious factors. To this extent the epos corresponds entirely to the content of prophecy, and only in the third point does the epos differ from prophecy. In the epos the poet deals merely with tradition, subjects it to his own mind, lifts himself above it, and exhibits his sovereign power by pouring over into the word, i.e. in the epos, what has happened, but at the same time, and this is the triumph of the epos, explains it and makes it understood. And the epical poet differs from the prophet in this very thing; the epicus rules as artist, while passively the prophet undergoes inspiration from a higher subject. We may grant that the epical poet also invokes a higher inspiration, as is shown in the "Jerusalem Delivered ;" and the " breathe into my bosom " (tu spira al petto mio) is certainly a strong expression, but with Tasso it is followed immediately by the statement: "and forgive if I mingle fiction with truth — if I adorn my pages in part with other thoughts than your own," which were inconceivable with the passivity of the prophet.
If it is asked, where lies the mighty fact, which appears epically in the epos or Word of prophecy, we answer, that prophecy takes this drama from the counsel of God. While Chokmatic inspiration discovers the ordinances of God that lie hidden in creation, and lyric interprets to us the world of our human heart, in prophecy there is epically proclaimed the ordinance of God with reference to history, the problem of the world's development. This history, this development, must follow the course marked out by God in His counsel, and to some extent it amounts to the same thing, whether this course is seen in the facts or is read from God's counsel. The program lies in the counsel of God, in history the performance of the exalted drama. Meanwhile there is this noteworthy difference between the two, that in the days of the prophets especially, the drama had been worked out only in a very small part, while in God's counsel the complete program lay in readiness. And secondly, even so far as it realized God's counsel, history could never be understood in its mystical meaning without the knowledge of God's counsel. It is noteworthy that the compilers of the books of the Canon classed Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings with the prophets as the former prophets, and that the later prophets join themselves to these, as the later. If dioramatically we transfer the Oracles of what we call the prophets to beyond the last judgment in the realm of glory, and add Joshua to Kings inclusive, these together give us both parts of the drama, viz. (1) what was already performed, and (2) what was to follow; while the comparison, for instance, of Kings with Chronicles makes the epical excellence of the former to appear clearly above the latter. The drama then begins from the moment God's people are settled in the Holy Land. What lies behind this is not history, but preparation. The Thorah gives the Toledoth. With Israel in Canaan the starting-point is given for the all-governing drama. What lies back of that is a description of the situation by way of prologue. With Joshua the drama begins, and ends only when the new humanity shall enter upon the possession of the new earth, under the new heaven. In this drama the prophet stands midway. As a Semite he knew but two tenses, the factum and fiens, a perfect and an imperfect. The prophetical narrative presents that part of the programme which is performed. It does this epically, i.e. with the disclosure of the Divine agencies employed; while that which is to come is not seen by the prophet in reality, but in vision. Always in such a way, however, that to him a review of the whole is possible. He therefore is not outside of it, but stands himself in its midst. In his own heart he has passed through the struggle between this Divine drama of redemption and the roar of the nations, whose history must end in self-dissolution. He is conscious of the fact that that spirit of the world combats the Spirit of God, not only outside of, but also within, the boundaries of Israel. Thus by virtue of his own impulse he pronounces the Holy Spirit's criticism upon the unholy spirit of the world, and is filled with holy enthusiasm in seeing in vision, that that Spirit of God and His counsel shall sometime gloriously triumph. Thus there is an organic connection between what was, and is and is to come; a connection between one prophet and another; a connection also with the same prophet between the series of visions that fall to his share; and this states the need of the vision of the call, in which God revealed to him, that he himself was called to cooperate in the realizing of the Divine counsel and in the further unveiling of the drama. It is as foolish therefore to deny the element of prediction in prophecy, as it is irrational to make real prophecy consist of single aphoristical predictions. Undoubtedly in the main prophecy offers the unveiling of that which is to come provided it is viewed from the point where the prophet stood and lived, so that very often he himself is active in the process which reflects itself in his Oracle.
The apocalyptic vision only forms an exception to this, which exception, however, accentuates the more sharply the indicated character of common prophecy. The Apocalypse does not move from the prophet to the horizon, but leaves between him and the horizon nothing but a vacuum, in order suddenly to cause a vision to appear on that horizon, which is to him surprising and strange. A veil is pushed aside, which mostly consists of this, that "the heavens were opened," and when the veil is lifted, a scene reveals itself to the eyes of the seer which moves from the heavens toward him. Hence, the Apocalypse unveils the end, and is by its very nature eschatological, even when its meaning is merely symbolic. It rests upon the assumption that the end is not born from the means, but that, on the contrary, the end is first determined, and that this end postulates the means by which to realize it. Hence, it is far more severely theological than common prophecy, since it takes no pains to join itself to human history, but abruptly shows itself on the horizon. God's counsel is what is really essential. From that counsel God shows immediately this or the other part, and for this reason the forms and images of apocalyptic vision are described with so great difficulty. The purpose in hand is to show the seer a different reality from that in which he actually lives, a reality which surely is analogous to his own life, but as under the antithesis of the butterfly and the caterpillar. How could the form of the butterfly be made more or less clear in outlines borrowed from the caterpillar, to one who knows a caterpillar but not a butterfly? This is the problem which every apocalyptical vision faces. The forms and images, therefore, are composed of what the prophet knows, but are arranged in such different combinations and connections as to produce a drama that is entirely abnormal. The appearance of Christ in His glory on Patmos is truly the brilliancy of the butterfly, but sketched in forms borrowed from the caterpillar. From this, however, the apocalyptic vision derives its artistic composition. This does not imply that the aesthetic element is wanting in common prophecy; but in this no tableaux are exhibited which, in order to be exhibited, must first be arranged. With the apocalyptic vision, however, this is indispensable. On the prophetic horizon, which at first is vacant, it must show its form or drama in such a way that, however strange it may be to him, the prophet, nevertheless, is able to receive and communicate it. It is Divine art, therefore, which makes the composition correspond to its purpose, and this accounts for the fact that the artistic Unity, in the symmetry and proportion of parts, in symbolism, and in numbers, is seen so vividly in the Apocalypse. This is not artificial, but spontaneous art. By counting it over, the fact has been revealed that the allegro in Mozart's Jupiter Symphony is divided into two parts of 120 and 193 bars; that the adagio of Beethoven's B-major symphony separates itself into two parts of 40 and 64 bars. Naumann has found similar results in the master-productions by Bach. The proportion of the golden division always prevails in highest productions of art. No one, however, will assert that Bach, Mozart, or Beethoven computed this division of bars. This artistic proportion sprang spontaneously from their artistic genius. In the same way the unity of plan (Gliederung) in the Apocalypse must be understood, just because in vision the action of the seer is least and the action on the part of God is greatest.
The exhibition and announcement of things to come, i.e. the predictive character, belongs not merely to the Apocalypse, but to common prophecy as well. "Before it came to pass I shewed it thee: lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them." "I have declared the former things from of old; yea, they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; suddenly I did them, and they came to pass" (Isa. xlviii. 3-5, passim). Entirely in the same sense in which Jesus said to His disciples, "And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe " (John xiv. 29; comp. xiii. 19 and xvi. 4). However strongly it must be emphasized, therefore, that in the person of the prophet, in his disposition, education, surroundings, position in life, and in his preparation in the school of the prophets, a number of data are present which claim our notice in connection with his prophecies, all this, however, is no more than the preparation of the soil, and the seed from which presently the fruit ripens comes always from above. Even when seemingly he merely exhorts or reproves, this preaching of repentance or reproof is always the coming into our reality of what is ideal and higher, as the root from which a holier future is to bloom.
(4) The Inspiration of Christ. — Since inspiration has been interpreted too exclusively as Scripture-inspiration, too little attention has ever been paid to the inspiration of the Christ. The representation, however, that the Christ knew all things without inspiration spontaneously (sponte sua), is virtually the denial of the incarnation of the Word. The consciousness of God and the Mediatorial consciousness of the Christ are not one, but two, and the transfer of Divine thoughts from the consciousness of God into the consciousness of the Christ is not merely inspiration, but inspiration in its highest form. The old theologians indicated this by saying, that even the Christ possessed no archetypal, but ectypal theology, and he obtained this via unionis, i.e. in virtue of the union of the Divine and human nature. In this there is merely systematized what Christ Himself said: (John xiv. 10) "The words that I say unto you, I speak not of myself"; (John vii. 16) "My teaching is not mine, but his that sent me"; (John xiv. 24) "The word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's who sent me"; (John v. 30) "As I hear, I judge "; (John viii. 26) "The things which I have heard from him these speak I unto the world "; and (John xii. 49) " The Father which sent me, he hath given me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak." This in itself is the natural outcome of His real adoption of human nature; but the necessity for this, moreover, was the greater, on account of His assuming that nature in all its weakness, with the single exception of sin (Heb. iv. 15), which at this stage indicates that in Jesus no falsehood was arrayed against the truth, which, as with the common prophets, had first to be repressed. But in Christ there was an increase in wisdom, a gradual becoming enriched more and more with the world that lived in the consciousness of God. This was effected by the reading of the Scriptures, by the seeing of things visible in creation, by His life in Israel, as well as by prophetical inspiration. In that sense, the Holy Spirit to Him also was given. In connection with His preaching we are told, "For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for he giveth not the Spirit by measure" (John iii. 34), an utterance which, as seen from the connection, may not be interpreted ethically, which would have no sense, but refers to inspiration. This "not by measure " is also evident in this, that all kinds of inspiration, the lyric, chokmatic and epical-prophetical, unite themselves in Jesus, while everything that is connected with the suppression of vital energy, the will, or mistaken thoughts in the case of the prophets, in the case of Jesus falls away. Even in inspiration, He could never be passive without becoming active at the same time. That the form of vision never takes place with Jesus, but all inspiration in Him comes in clear concept (notione clara), has a different cause. Before His incarnation, the Christ has seen the heavenly reality which to prophecy had to be shown in visions: "I speak the things which I have seen with my Father" (John viii. 38); "and bear witness of that we have seen" (John iii. 11). One may even say that the sight of this heavenly reality was also granted Him after His incarnation: "And no man hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended out of heaven, even the Son of Man, which is in heaven'" (John iii. 13). This very absence, in the case of the Christ, of all instrumental means, which were indispensable with the prophets because of sin, together with the absence of all individual limitation (" for he had not taken on man, but man's nature," non hominem sed naturam humanam assumpserat), gives that absolute character of the teaching "as one having authority " to what He spake as the fruit of the inspiration, in virtue of the Divine union, the impression of which to this day, in the reading of His Word, takes hold of one so overwhelmingly. Entirely in harmony with this, the Scripture indicates that inspiration had in Him its centrum. He is the prophet; who spake in the Old Covenant by the prophets; after His ascension bears witness by His apostles; and who is still our prophet through the Word. (See Deut. xviii. 18; 1 Pet. i. 11, "The spirit of Christ which was in them testified beforehand "; John xvi. 13).
(5) The Inspiration of the Apostles. — He who derives his conception of inspiration exclusively from the inspiration of the prophets, is bound to conclude that there is no question of inspiration in the case of the apostles. In the case of the apostles, indeed, inspiration bears an entirely different character from that of the lyric, chokmatic, or prophetical organs of the Old Covenant. This difference sprang from a threefold cause. First from the fact that the Holy Spirit had now been poured out and had taken up His abode in the Church of God. This difference is most succinctly stated by the antithesis of inshining (irradiatio) and indwelling (inhabitatio). Secondly, from the fact that with the apostles inspiration adapted itself to their official function. And thirdly, from the fact that they came after the Incarnation, which the seers of the Old Covenant anticipated. As soon therefore as, on Patmos, inspiration deals no longer with the reality which appeared in the Christ, but refers to things to come, inspiration resumes with them its prophetical character, viz. in its apocalyptical form. The revelation that came to Peter was equally visionlike. And so far as Paul had not belonged to the circle of Jesus' disciples, an entirely separate calling, tradition and ecstasy were given him, which were needful to him and adapted to his isolated position. With these exceptions, there is nothing that suggests inspiration in the oral and written preaching of the apostles, as given in the Acts and in their Epistles. They speak as though they speak of themselves, they write as though they write of themselves. In all probability the same phenomenon showed itself in the hundred or more of their addresses and epistles, of which no reports have come to us. The "cloke and the parchments left at Troas," as an incident, stands by no means by itself. Almost the entire contents of apostolic literature bears the same ordinary character. If from outside sources nothing were known of the inspiration of the prophets, the simple phrase "Thus saith the Lord" already shows that there is at least the pretence of inspiration. With apostolic literature, on the other hand, the suggestion of inspiration scarcely presents itself. In 1 Cor. vii. 10, coll. 12, we even read of an antithesis between "I give charge," and "Yea, not I, but the Lord," but this refers to the difference between what Paul knew from the special revelation given to himself (1 Cor. xi. 23, "For I received of the Lord"), and by apostolic inspiration, as he expressly adds at the close of this same chapter: "And I think that I also have the Spirit of God" (1 Cor. vii. 40). That inspiration, however, took place with the apostles, appears meanwhile from Matt. x. 19, 20; John xvi. 12-14, 14-26, etc.; from Acts xv. 28, "For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us"; from 1 Cor. ii. 10-12, "But unto us God revealed them through the Spirit," and this Holy Spirit alone could reveal to them the deep things of God. Paul, as well as the other apostles, had not received the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God, and the effect of this is that he knew the things that were freely given by God. The same appears from 2 Cor. iii. 3, where on the tables of the heart an epistle of Christ is said to be written, not with ink, but "with the spirit of the living God," and instrumentally this was effected by the apostles: "ministered by us." In Eph. iii. 5 it is stated that the mystery, which had been hidden from former generations, " hath now been revealed unto his holy apostles in the Spirit." In Rev. i. 10 John declares even, " I was in the Spirit." Paul does not hesitate to say that what they had heard of him is not a "word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God" (1 Thess. ii. 13).
Evidently with them this inspiration was the working of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, and this indwelling demands full emphasis. In the first place they had received inworkings of the Holy Spirit before the Day of Pentecost, and, in breathing on them, Jesus had officially communicated to them the gift of the Holy Ghost. Before Pentecost moreover they had been regenerated, for Jesus had prayed, not that Peter might have faith, but that the faith which he had might not fail. Nevertheless Jesus repeatedly declares that only when the Holy Spirit shall have been sent them from the Father, shall real apostolical inspiration begin, as it did on Pentecost in the sermon of Peter. In the Old Covenant the Holy Spirit stands truly "in the midst of them" (Isa. lxiii. 2); but He is not yet the formative principle (principium formans) for the circle. That circle was still national, and not yet oecumenical. It only became such on the Pentecostal Day, when the Church appeared, liberated from the wrappings of Israel's national life, as an independent organism, having the Holy Spirit as its irvev^a. Neither this mystery nor this difference can be more fully explained here. For our purpose it is enough, if the difference is made clear, that after Pentecost there was the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, while before that day there were merely radiations and inworkings as from without. From the nature of the case this was bound to give to inspiration an entirely modified form. Now it came no more as from without, but from within, and that same Holy Spirit, who, in us, prays for us with unutterable groanings, was able in like manner to use, guide, and enlighten the consciousness of the apostles, without any break taking place in them as of a duality; yea, without their own perception of it. To this is added, as we observed, in the second place, that the impulse for the working of this inspiration lay in their official function itself. Dualistic action of the Holy Spirit is thereby not excluded with them, as when, for instance, the Spirit says to Peter: "Behold, three men seek thee" (Acts x. 19), or when the Holy Spirit did not suffer Paul to go into Bithynia (Acts xvi. 7), etc. As a rule, however, such a break did not occur, and their official calling itself formed the basis on which inspiration took place. The prophets' appearance was also official, but in a different sense. Their prophecy itself was their office, hence this office was very aphoristic and without a cosmical basis. But the apostles had to discharge the regular duties of a. fixed office, which found its bed in life itself. This office was continued until death, and inspiration was merely given them, to direct their service in this office. They do not speak or write because the Spirit stimulates them to speak, or impels them irresistibly to write, but because this was demanded of them by their office. Thus inspiration flowed into their everyday activity. This involves in the third place the different point of view, occupied by prophets and apostles, with reference to the centrum of all revelation; viz. the Christ and His truth. It is the antithesis of imagination and memory, poetry and remembrance. With the prophets, who came before the incarnation, the centrum of revelation could assume no other form than the dioramatic figures of their representation, while the apostles, who came after the Christ, testified of what they had heard and seen and handled of the Word of life. What was vague with the prophets, with them was concrete. Not the poetical, but the remembering spirit strikes with them the keynote. Since the inspiration of the Holy Spirit ever joins itself to what is present in its organ and adapts itself to this, it is evident that the inspiration, which with the prophet worked upon the poetical side of his consciousness, was with the apostle first of all a "remembrance" (John xiv. 26). Their spiritual activity, however, did not limit itself to this. They had to proclaim the message, and for this they were endowed with the remembrance. In the second place they were to announce things to come, and for this they were given the apocalyptic vision. But in the third place they had to give the apostolic reflection concerning the "word of life "; and for this the Holy Spirit led them into the deep things of God (1 Cor. ii. 10-12). And here we do not speak of any apostolic dogmatics, or of a Pauline Theology. He who does this destroys the essential difference between the apostle as "the first teacher of the whole Church" and the common ministers of the Word. The apostolate may not be thought to be continued either in the papistical or Irvingite sense, nor can it be made common in an ethical way with the ministry of the Word. According to John xvii. 20, 1 John i. 3, etc., the apostolate is uoca. Only by their preaching does the Christ appear to the consciousness of humanity, in order successively to be assimilated and reproduced by this human consciousness in dogma and theology. The apostles have dug the gold from the mine, and from this gold the Church has forged the artistic ornaments.
Every effort, therefore, to make the inspiration of the apostles identical with their enlightening must be resisted. For this places them virtually on a plane with every regenerated child of God, that shares the enlightening with them. This would be proper, if the enlightening were already absolute in the earth. This, however, it is not. No less than sanctification enlightenment remains in fact most imperfect till our death, however potentially it may be complete. The apostles never claimed that they had outgrown sin. Romans vii., which describes Paul's spiritual state as an apostle, sufficiently proves the contrary. Galatians ii. also shows an entirely different state of things. With so much of unholiness still present in them, how could their enlightening have been complete? Their partial enlightening would never have been a sufficient cause for the absolute authority of their claims. This is only covered by the inspiration, which ever accompanied them, both in the remembrance and in the revelation of the mystery.
A single remark should be added concerning the charismata, and more particularly about the "speaking with tongues," since the apostles themselves thus spoke. It is evident at once that this speaking of tongues was essentially different from the apostolic inspiration, in so far as it made a break in the consciousness, and repressed the activity of the consciousness of the apostles, and caused a mightier spirit to control their spirit and organ of speech. This speaking in tongues falls under the category of inspiration only in so far as it establishes the fact, that an inspiring mind (auctor mentalis) outside of them gave direction to what was heard from them. Our space does not allow a closer study of this speaking with tongues, neither does it lie in our way to consider here the charismata in general. Be it simply stated, however, that they belong to the ecstatic phenomena. According to 1 Cor. xiv., the content of the glossolaly could be interpreted, but he who spake did not understand it himself. In so far, therefore, it must be judged by the analogy of the mesmerizer who causes his medium, who knows no Latin, to write Latin words, provided, however, this phenomenon be not taken as being brought about by causing the spirit to sleep, but, on the contrary, as wrought by high exaltation.
§ 85. Graphical Inspiration
All that has thus far been said of inspiration does not refer at all to the Holy Scriptures as canonical writings. Suppose, indeed, that you knew that from the consciousness of God, by the Holy Spirit, inspiration had taken place in the consciousness of psalmists, teachers of wisdom, prophets and apostles, what warrant would this be, that what the Holy Scripture offers you, was really taken from the sphere of this inspiration, and had come to you in a sufficiently trust' worthy form? What has been said thus far of the means and forms of inspiration refers to the prophetic, psalmodic, chokmatic and apostolic appearance among the people, in the gate, at the temple and in the first Christian circles. The field which this inspiration covered was incomparably larger than that which bounds the domain of the Scripture. Think how much must have been spoken by a man like Isaiah during all the years of his prophetic ministry. Compare with this his small book in our Hebrew Bible, of a little more than four quires, and you will be readily convinced that Isaiah spoke at least ten or twenty times as much again. How little is known to us of the preaching of most of the apostles, even of Peter and Paul, who for many years discharged their apostolic mission. What are thirteen epistles for a man like Paul, whose life was so active, and whose connections were so widely ramified? How much of controversy has been raised about his epistle to the Laodiceans, as though, indeed, that were the only one that was not included in the Scripture? On the other hand, what a large part of Scripture is left uncovered by inspiration, as thus far viewed. Even though you count Samuel and Kings among the prophets, the books of Chronicles, Ezra, Esther and Nehemiah, etc., are still left over. And, in the third place, even if there were not this difference of compass, still what has been thus far treated of could never result in anything more than that such an inspiration had taken place in a whole series of ambassadors of God, while the compilation of what they sang or spake under this inspiration had received no supervision.
With this in mind, we purposely distinguish graphic inspiration from the other forms of inspiration; so that by graphic inspiration we understand that guidance given by the Spirit of God to the minds of the writers, compilers and editors of the Holy Scriptures, by which these sacred writings have assumed such a form as was, in the counsel of salvation, predestined by God among the means of grace for His Church. To prevent any misunderstanding, we observe at once that in an epistle like that to the Galatians, this graphical inspiration coincides almost entirely with the apostolic inspiration, for in an epistle that was sent, the apostolic inspiration itself bore a graphic character. Nevertheless, the one conception is here not entirely covered by the other; so far, indeed, as there was a choice between several epistles, or between several copies of the same epistle, another factor came into play. Moreover, we grant that it would be more logical, to class that which is not indicated as graphic inspiration as a subdivision under the activity of God with respect to the canon (actio Dei circa Canonem), which in turn belongs under the works of God pertaining to providence (opera Dei, quoad providentiam), and more particularly to special providence (quoad providentiam specialem). For instance, the fact that the Epistle to the Colossians is, and the epistle to the Laodiceans is not, included, may have been caused by the preservation of the one and the loss of the other. There is, then, no question of a choice by men, nor of any inspiration to guide that human choice. It was simply the providence of God which allowed one to be lost and the other to be kept. To us it would be even preferable to treat this whole matter under the science of canonics, disciplinei canonica (which follows later), and much confusion would have been prevented, if this Divine activity in behalf of the Canon had always been distinguished in principle from the real inspiration. Now, indeed, there is a confusion of ideas, which to many renders a clear insight almost impossible. A content like that of the second Psalm was certainly inspired to David, when this song loomed before his spirit and shaped itself in a poetical form. This, however, did not assign it a place in the Scripture, neither did this sanction it as an inspired part of the Holy Scripture. Since we have been accustomed to pay almost no attention to the original inspiration, and for centuries have applied inspiration indiscriminately to all parts of Scripture, according to their content and form, ecclesiastical parlance does not permit the conception of inspiration to be entirely ignored in the compiling and editing of the books of the Holy Scripture. This is the less necessary, since in this compiling and editing an activity from the side of God was exerted upon the spirit of man, which, to some extent, is of one kind with real inspiration. Let it never be lost from sight, however, that this graphic inspiration was merely one of several factors used by God in the "divine activity in behalf of the Canon."
This graphic inspiration is least of all of a uniform character, but it differs according to the nature of the several parts of the Holy Scripture. It is least evident, as observed before, in the apostolic epistles, since these were prepared in writing. Neither can graphic inspiration have been greatly significant in purely lyrical poetic-productions, which were bound to their poetic form, and committed to writing by the poet himself. This simply required such a formulation of the content of his memory, that nothing was changed in it, or, if anything was changed, that this change also took place under the leading of God's Spirit. Then follow those productions of chokmatic, prophetic, or lyric-didactic content, which were digests of longer recitations. As in the case of more than one prophet, the oral author superintended this digest himself, or some other person compiled the content of their Divine charge or teaching and committed it to book-form. With the latter especially graphic inspiration must have been more active, to direct the spirit of the writer or compiler. The working of graphic inspiration must have been still more effective in the description of the apocalyptic vision, especially when this assumed such proportions as the vision of John on Patmos. To obey the order of the "write these things" and in calmer moments to commit to writing what had been seen in ecstasy on the broad expanse of the visionary horizon, required a special sharpening of the memory. And at the same time it was necessary that in the choice of language and expression the writer should be elevated to the heights of his subject. But even this was not the department in which the activity of this graphic inspiration reached its highest point. This took place only in the writing of those books, for which no inspired content presented itself, but which the writer had to compose himself; that is, the historical books. With these writings also, as shown by their contents, there was no elimination of those natural data implanted in man for this kind of authorship, and made permanent by common grace; on the contrary, graphic inspiration adapts itself wholly to these natural data. The same methods pursued in our times, for the writing of any part of history, were pursued by the historiographers of the Old as well as of the New Testament. Oral traditions are consulted, old chronicles and documents are collected, inquiry is made of those who may have knowledge of the particulars involved, and in this way a representation is formed of what actually took place. Thus Luke (i. 1) himself tells us, (1) that "many have taken in hand to draw up a narrative," (2) that he makes distinction between the things of which he had entire and partial certainty, (3) that he has carefully investigated once more all things from the beginning, (4) that he is particularly guided by the tradition of ear- and eye-witnesses, and (5) that then only he deemed himself competent to write a narrative of these things in good order (/ca0e^T/?). This excludes every idea of a mechanical instillation of the contents of his gospel, and may be accepted as the rule followed by each of the historiographers. Of course the question of the origin of the narrative of the creation cannot be included or classed under this rule. No man was present at the creation. Hence no one but God Himself, who has been present ever since He brought it to pass, can be the author of what we know concerning it. And this is taken entirely apart from the closer distinction, whether the first man had received that insight into the origin of the paradise, of sun, moon and stars, or whether this was granted to the Church at a later period, after the separation from the Heathen. For all those things, on the other hand, which happened to or by man, which were matters of human experience, seen and heard, transmitted by oral tradition, and committed to writing in whatever way, the sacred historiographer followed the ordinary method, and discovered at every turn the still imperfect standpoint at which the historiography of the times stood. In their writings it is seen that they consulted tradition, inserted sections from existing works, examined genealogies and other documents, and collected their material in this entirely natural way. This was the first task of their mind. Then came the second task, of making choice between different traditions and diverging documents. In the third place was added the more important task of understanding the invisible motive of this history, and of observing in it the doings of God. And finally their latest task consisted in committing to writing the representation of the past which in this way had formed itself in their minds. And this brings to light what we mean by graphic inspiration. Even where providentially good tradition and trustworthy documents were within reach, their attention had to be directed to them. They needed guidance in their choice between several, ofttimes contradictory, representations. In the study of the mystical background of this history their mind had to be enabled to perceive the Divine motives. And finally in the writing of what had matured in their mind, their mind and their mind's utterance had to be shaped after the mould of the Divine purpose that was to be realized by the Scripture in His Church. To some extent it can be said that none but natural factors were here at work. It often happens in our times that an author gets hold of a correct tradition, consults trustworthy documents, writes as he ought to write, obtains a just insight into the mysticism that hides in history, thus forms for himself a true representation, and commits this faithfully to writing. But in this case these factors were subject to higher leadings, and upon choice, inventiveness, study of conditions, forming of representations, insight into the mysticism of history, and upon the final writing, the Holy Spirit worked effectively as a leading, directing and determining power; but the subjectivity was not lost. No one single subject could receive in himself the full impression of a mighty event. To see an image from all sides, one must place himself at several points and distances. Hence we find in the Holy Scripture not infrequently more than one narrative of the same group of events, as for instance in the four Gospels; these are no repetitions, but rise from the fact that in the consciousness of one subject the interpretation, and hence also the reproduction, of the incident was necessarily different from those of his fellow-laborer. This is the life of history. It gives no notarial acts, but reproduces what has been received in the consciousness, and does this not with that precision of outline which belongs to architecture, but with the impressionistic certainty of life. This excludes by no means the possibility that the writings thus prepared were afterward reviewed by second or third editors; and here and there enriched by insertions and additions. From their content this very fact is evident. Graphic inspiration must then have been extended to these editors, since they indeed delivered the writings, in the form in which they were to be possessed by the Church. This gives rise to the difficulty, that after the Church had entered upon the possession of such writings, unauthorized editors still tried to introduce modifications, which did not belong to them, and these of course must be excluded. This indeed is related to the general position occupied by the Church over against the Scripture, which tends at no time to allow the certainty of faith to be supplanted by the certainty of intellect. As soon as it is thought that the holy ore of the Scripture can be weighed in the balance with mathematical accuracy, the eye of faith becomes clouded, and the gold is less clearly seen.
The answer to the question as to our right to accept such a graphic inspiration is given in §§ 77 and 78. It is the selfwitness (avrofiaprvpiov) of the Scripture, which it gives of itself in the central revelation of the Christ. Christ indeed gives us no theory of graphic inspiration, but the nature of the authority, which He and His apostles after Him attributed to the Scripture of His times, admits of no other solution. The "all Scripture is theopneustic " is not said of the inspiration of the psalmists, wise men, and prophets, but of the products of the writers. This certainly declares that they remained writers in the strictest sense, even as compilers and examiners of their material, as compositors and in artistic grouping of the contents, but that in all these functions the Holy Spirit worked so effectively upon the action of their human minds, that thereby their product obtained Divine authority. Of course not in the sense that the content of what they rehearsed obtained thereby a Divine character. When they relate what Shiraei said, it does not make his demoniacal language Divine, but it certifies that Shimei spake these evil words; always impressionistically, however, the same as in the New Testament. When in the four Gospels Jesus, on the same occasion, is made to say words that are different in form of expression, it is impossible that He should have used these four forms at once. The Holy Spirit, however, merely intends to make an impression upon the Church which wholly corresponds to what Jesus said. The same is the case with what is written in the Old Testament. The composition of this had taken place under one continuous authority, which justifies citation with an "it is written," such as was done by Jesus, but which modified itself in nature and character according to the claims of the content.
For him who has been brought to the Christ, and who on his knees worships Him as his Lord and his God, the end of all contradiction is hereby reached. When the Christ, whose spirit witnessed beforehand in the prophets, attributes such authority to the Scripture of the Old Covenant, and by His apostles indicates the ground for that authority in the Theopneusty, there is no power that can prevent the recognition of that authority by him who believes in Jesus. Not to recognize it would avenge itself in the representation that in the very holiest things Christ had wholly mistaken Himself. This would imply the loss of his Saviour. The objection will not do, that one learns to know the Christ from the Scripture, so that faith in the Saviour can follow only upon a preceding faith on the Scripture. The reading of the Scripture as such, without more, will never be able to bring one single soul from death unto life. The Scripture by itself is as dull as a diamond in the dark; and as the diamond glistens only when entered by a ray of light, the Scripture has power to charm the eye of the soul only when seen in the light of the Holy Spirit. Christ lives, and by His Holy Spirit He still works upon the heart and in the consciousness of God's elect. Sometimes palingenesis takes place in very infancy. If this were not so, all children dying young should have to be considered as lost. During the period of early bringing up, many children show that the enmity against God was broken in their youthful hearts, before they came to read the Scripture. In fact, it is incorrect to say, that we come to the Scripture first, and by the Scripture to Christ. Even when, after having learned to read the Scripture, in later years one comes to Christ as his Saviour, the Scripture may cooperate instrumentally, but in principle the act of regeneration ever proceeds from heaven, from God, by His Christ; while, on the other hand, without this ava>Oev (from above) the most careful study of the Scripture can never lead to regeneration, nor to a "being planted together " with Christ. Tradition, supported and verified by the Scripture, is surely the ground of a purely historic faith in Christ, but this faith at large fails, as soon as another interpretation of the Scripture gains the day. The outcome shows, that where, on the other hand, the revelation of power from heaven (av<oOev^ really has taken place, and transformed the mode of the soul's life and consciousness, even in times of spiritual barrenness, the worship of Christ has again and again revived; and amid general negation, the most learned individuals have bowed again to the authority of the Scripture, in the same way in which Jesus recognized it. The words once spoken by Jesus in the temple at Jerusalem (John vii. 17), "If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it be of God," is truly the canon here. In Christ we only see and handle the Divine, when transformed in our inner being and life, and without this preceding change of heart and our acceptance with Christ, even though an angel were to come down from heaven in visible form, no one would ever subject himself to the word of God. The starting-point must ever lie in our inner ego, and without this starting-point in sympathy with the revelation of the Scripture, everything in us tends to disown the authority of the Scripture, and to resist it with all our powers.
That our human ego, nevertheless, can be brought to accept and appropriate to itself the special revelation, is a result of the fact that of all the ways and means of inspiration, the self-revealing God has never employed any but those which were present in man by virtue of creation. The whole question of inspiration virtually amounts to this: whether God shall be denied or granted the sovereign right of employing, if so needed and desired, the factors which He Himself created in man, by which to communicate to man what He purposed to reveal respecting the maintenance of His own majesty, the execution of His world-plan, and the salvation of His elect.
§ 86. Testimonium Spiritus Sancti, or The Witness of the
The point of view held by our Reformers is (1) that true faith is a gift of God, the fruit of an operation of the Holy Spirit; and (2) that true faith, as the Heidelberg Catechism teaches, first of all consists of this, "that I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in His Word." This agrees entirely with what was said at the close of the former section. Not merely historical, but true faith is unthinkable in the sinner, except he embrace "the Christ and all His benefits.'' This, however, by no means exhausts the meaning of what is understood by the "witness of the Holy Spirit," or the testimonium Spiritus Sancti. This goes far deeper. Although it is entirely logical, that he who believes on Christ as God manifest in the flesh, cannot simultaneously reject the positive and definite witness borne by that Christ concerning the Scriptures of the Old Covenant, this proof for graphic inspiration is, and always remains, a proof obtained by inference, and not by one's own apprehension. The two grounds for faith in graphic inspiration must be carefully distinguished, for, though the faith that rests upon the testimony of Christ is more absolute in character, the "witness of the Holy Spirit," though it matures more slowly, is clearer and more in keeping with the freedom of the child of God. It is with this as it was with the people of Sychar, who first believed because of the sayings of the woman, and later believed on the ground of their own sight. The link between these two is the authority of the Church (auctoritas ecclesiae). Although the Reformers rightly contested the auctoritas imperii, as they called it, viz. the imperial authority, which Rome attributes to the utterance of the ecclesiastical institutions, they never denied the authority of dignity (auctoritas dignitatis) of the Church as an organism, nor of the Church as an institution. From the ethical side it has been made to appear, in recent times, that our faith in the Scripture floats on the faith of the believers, in distinction from the authority of the Church, and this refers to an important element which was originally too much neglected. An unpardonable mistake, however, was committed, from the ethical side, when this was indicated as the starting-point (So? fiot irov O-tw), and, worse still, when it was left to this so-called "faith of the believers" to decide what should be accepted from the Scripture, and what was to be rejected from its content. To be able to furnish such a testimony, the believers must have an authoritative organ, i.e. it must appear as an instituted body. Thus we would have come back to Rome's shibboleth, "the Church teaches," Ecclesia docet. Since, on the other hand, "the faith of the believers" was taken, as it voices itself without this organ, all certainty, of course, was wanting, and in the stead of "the faith of the believers," there now appeared the interpretation of "the faith of the believers," as given by A or B. And this resulted in the free use of this pleasing title for all that was held true by individual ministers and their private circles. What thus presented itself as an objective, solid basis, appears to have been nothing but a subjective soil of sand. Moreover, in this wise "the believers " as such were exalted above the Christ. For where Christ had testified in the strictest sense to a graphic inspiration of the Old Testament, "the believers" contradicted Him, declared that this interpretation was erroneous, and consequently faith was to be pinned to what was claimed by "the believing circle," and not to what was confessed by Him.
The element of truth in this representation is, that the Church forms a link in a twofold way between faith in the inspiration of the Scripture upon the authority of Christ, and faith in this inspiration on the ground of the testimony of the Holy Spirit. In the first place, it cannot be denied that the Church is one of the factors by which he who formerly stood out of Christ is brought to Christ. "How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Rom. x. 14). However much regeneration may be an act of God in the heart of the sinner, immediately effected, independently of all instrumental help, no conscious faith on Christ can develop itself from this "seed of God " (airepi*a 6eov) without preaching, which introduces the image of Christ and His work into the human consciousness. Preaching is here taken in the broadest possible sense, not merely as catechization and as preaching of the Word, but as including all communication of man to man, orally or in writing, by which the form of Christ is brought in relief before the seeking eye of faith. So far, therefore, the link of the Church claims our notice, and in proportion as this appearance of the Church is purer or less pure, faith in Christ will be richer or poorer. Augustine's saying, "Evangelio non crederem nisi ecclesiae me moveret autoritas" (i.e. "I could not have believed the Gospel, except as moved by the authority of the Church"), contains something more still. In this saying, the Church appears not merely as the preacher of truth, but as an imposing phenomenon in life which exerts a moral power, and which, itself being a work of Christ, bears witness to the "founder of the Church" (auctor ecclesiae). It is the revelation of the spiritual power of Christ in His Church, which as a spiritual reality takes hold of the soul. For this very reason the interpretation of this word of Augustine by the Romish dogmaticians, as an auctoritas imperii, or imperial authority, to be attributed to the instituted Church, is wrong, and it was equally wrong to interpret the Gospel Evangelium as the "Inspired Sacred Scripture," for then Augustine should have begun by subjecting himself to this official authority of the Church. Suppose, indeed, that such an arbitrary subjection would have been conceivable, the word moveret would have been put to an impossible use. An imperial authority does not move (movet), but commands (iubet) and compels (cogit). What remains of this, therefore, is no other than what we, too, confess; viz. that as a herald of the Gospel (praedicatrix Evangelii) and as an imposing spiritual phenomenon, the Church is one of the factors used by the Holy Spirit in bringing the regenerate to a conscious faith in Christ.
To this is added, in the second place, the very important significance of "the communion of saints." Even though it is not impossible in the absolute sense that faith can be maintained in isolation, isolation, nevertheless, goes against the nature of faith; and it remains a question whether any one but Christ Himself, in that absolute sense, has stood alone in his faith. This is the very profound meaning of Gethsemane. Sin, and hence unbelief, scatters, individualizes, and pulverizes; but grace, and hence faith, restores life in organic connection, viz. the life of each member in the body. And what applies to being applies also to the consciousness; here it is also an "apprehending with all the saints" (Eph. iii. 18). The power of public opinion shows how mightily this factor inworks upon our own conviction; and as there is a public opinion in the things of the world, there is also a certain fides communis, or, if you please, a public opinion in the communion of saints. And in so far the ethical school maintains correctly that "the faith of the believers " supports the faith of the individual, and exercises a certain authority over it. This factor works in a threefold way: (1) in an historical sense, in so far as the testimony of the ages comes to us in tradition and writings; (2) in a catholic sense, insomuch as the general appearance of the uersal Church always includes a certain confession of faith; and (3) in an empirical sense, if we ourselves personally come in contact with confessors of Christ, move in the circles of the children of God, and thus experience immediately the influence of the communion of the saints. In this we are not dealing with the Church as an institution, but with the Church as an organism. And though it must be granted that the influence of this public opinion, if untrue, can inwork disastrously upon our conviction, so that spiritual criticism only keeps us in the right path, it is nevertheless entirely true that this communis fides, this public opinion among the children of God, this "faith of the believers" as it may be called, imprints in our consciousness the image of Christ as the Saviour of the world, and supports in us faith in the Holy Scripture.
This, of course, cannot be the last point of support, and therefore the Reformers wisely appealed on principle to the "witness of the Holy Spirit." By this they understood a testimony that went out directly from the Holy Spirit, as author of the Scripture, to our personal ego. They did not call it an internal (internum) but an external proof (argumentum externum), for the reason that it did not rise from our ego, but from without us, from God, it moved itself toward our ego. It has often, however, been wrongly represented that by this witness was meant in a magic sense a certain "ecstasy" or "enthusiasm," and that it consisted of a supernatural communication from the side of God, in which it was said to us, "This Scripture is my Word." Thus it has been represented by some who were less well informed, but never by our theologians. On the contrary, they have always protested against this representation; the more since experience taught that all such interpretation led at once to a false mysticism, and thereby undermined the authority of the Scripture. For then, indeed, the revelation of God, which one imagines and declares himself to have received, is placed above the Scripture, and in the end the Scripture is rejected. No, the representation of the Reformers was this, that this witness is to be taken as "light so irradiating the mind as to affect it gently, and display to it the inner relations of the truth that had hitherto been concealed." Hence it was a subdivision of the enlightening, but in this instance directed immediately upon the Holy Scripture, and not upon its inspiration, but its Divine quality. First one stood before the Holy Scripture as before a foreign object which did not suit his world of conceptions, and over against which, in his worldconsciousness, one assumed essentially not merely a doubtful, but a hostile attitude. If meanwhile the change of our inner being has taken place by palingenesis, from which there has gradually sprung in our sense and in our consciousness a modified view of ourselves, of the things of this world, and of the unseen world, which withdraws itself from our natural eye, this enlightening of the Holy Spirit creates discord between our deepest life-consciousness and the consciousness of the world, which formerly ruled and still presses itself upon us. And in this struggle the Holy Spirit opens our eyes, that in the Holy Scripture we may see a representation of our ego, of the world and of the eternal things, which agrees with what we seek to defend in the combat against the naturalistic consciousness of the world. Hence a process is here involved. The more deeply we are led by the Holy Spirit into the knowledge of ourselves as sinners, of the unreality of the world, and of the reality of the Divine, the more intense becomes this struggle, and the more evident grows the affinity between the work of the Holy Spirit in us and in that Holy Scripture. Thus the veil is gradually being pushed aside, the eye turns toward the Divine light that radiates from the Scripture, and now our inner ego sees its imposing superiority. We see it as one born blind, who being healed, sees the beauty of colors, or as one deaf, whose hearing being restored, catches the melodies from the world of sounds, and with his whole soul delights himself in them.
In this connection the so-called internal proof for the Divine character of the Holy Scripture must also be understood. In a later period it has been made to appear that the "heavenly majesty of the doctrines, the marvellous completeness of the prophecies, the wonderful miracles, the consent of all its parts, the divineness of the discourse," and so much more, formed a system of outward proofs able to convince the reason without enlightenment; but our first theologians, at least, did not attach such a meaning to them. They taught that these inner relations of the Scripture were understood, and thus were able to serve their real purpose only when, by enlightening, the spiritual understanding had been clarified and purified. He only, who in palingenesis had experienced a miracle in his own person, ceased to react against miracles, but rather invoked them himself. He who had observed the fulfilment of several prophecies in his own spiritual life, understood the relation between prophecy and its fulfilment. He who heard the music of the Divine melody of redemption in his own soul was rapt in wonder (rapiebatur in admirationem), as they expressed it, in listening to the Oratorio of Salvation proceeding from the heavenly majesty of doctrine in the Holy Scripture. As the ConfessTM Belgica states in Art. 9, that we even believe the mystery of the Trinity "from their operations, and chiefly by those we feel in ourselves," our faith in the Divine character of the Scripture rests upon the experience of spiritual life that addresses us from that Scripture. That similarity of personal experience fosters affinity, quickens sympathy and opens eye and ear. In by far the greater number of cases this testimo- ^ nium Spiritus Sancti works gradually and unobserved. The "enlightening" increases gradually in intensity, and in proportion as it grows stronger we see more, and see with more certainty, and stand the more firmly. Sometimes, however, this witness of the Holy Spirit becomes more incisive in character. This is especially noticeable in days of general apostasy, and then the child of God is fully conscious of this incisive inworking. Living in a society of high intellectual development, and taking notice of what is contributed by reason without enlightening to enervate the Divine character of the Holy Scripture, inwardly most painful discord is born. Doubt is contagious. When with firm tread you walk along your well-chosen way, and without hesitancy at the cross-road turn to the right, you are involuntarily brought to a standstill, and shocked for a moment in your feeling of assurance, when three or four persons call out after you that you should turn to the left. As in sanctification you are made to err in this way from time to time with respect to the Holy Scripture, you may be led to doubt, and even for a while pursue wrong paths. But this will not be permanent. The work of grace is not left to yourself, but with a firm hand is guided by the Holy Spirit, who in no mechanical way, but by a richer spiritual experience, at length restores you to seeing again what is truly Divine. And when the Holy Spirit enters accusation against us in our own soul that we kick against the pricks, and depend more on our own and Satan's word than on His Word, and moves and implores us with groanings unspeakable that for the sake of the glory of God and our salvation we attach again a greater significance to His Word than to any other, then there comes that incisive, and therefore decisive, moment when the child of God lays the hand on his mouth, and with shame and confusion turns his back upon doubt, in
order that in contrition and sorrow he may hearken again to the Holy Spirit as the speaker in His Word. As said before, however, this incisive character is not borne by the witness of the Holy Spirit in every person, nor at all times. As the conversion of many people has taken place almost without observation, which often happens in the quieter walks of Christian life, and the conversion of a few only, who at first wandered far off, is incisive like that of an Augustine, such also is the case here. For the most part this witness works gradually and unobserved, and only in exceptional cases is it as lightning that suddenly flames through the skies.
From the nature of this witness of the Holy Spirit, it follows at the same time, that it begins with binding us simply to the Holy Scripture in its centrum. It is the central truth concerning our ego, concerning the world about us, and of the true reality which is with God, that takes hold of us, convinces and follows after us, until we give ourselves captive to it. This central truth will take hold of one by this, and of another by that utterance, in proportion as our inner life is tuned to it; but the first impressions will always cause us to descend into the depths of misery and ascend to the heights of redemption. How far the authority, which from this spiritual centrum obtains its hold on us, extends itself later to those things in the Scripture that lie on the periphery, is a question devoid at first of all spiritual significance. Conditions are conceivable in which, after one is captured centrally by the Scripture, the clashing is continued for many years between our thinking and acting on the one hand, and that which the Scripture lays upon us in the name of the Lord as faith and practice (credenda and agenda). Gradually, however, an ever more vitally organic relation begins to reveal itself between the centrum of the Scripture and its periphery, between its fundamental and its derivative thoughts, and between its utterances and the facts it communicates. That authority which at first addressed us from that centrum only, now begins to appear to us from what has proceeded from that centrum. We feel ourselves more and more captivated by a power, whose centrum cannot be accepted without demanding and then compelling all unobservedly an ever more general consent for its entire appearance, and all its utterances. Thus it ends as Scripture by imposing sacred obligations upon us, as Holy Book by exercising over us moral compulsion and spiritual power. And in the end the connection between its form and content appears so inseparable, that even the exceptional parts of its form appeal to us, and, in form and content both, the Scripture comes to stand before us as an authority from God.
But this process of conviction worked in us by the Spirit, is always a spiritual work, which has nothing in common with the learning of the schools; it is moreover incapable of maintaining itself theoretically and of continuing itself according to a definable system. By itself it tends no further than to bear spiritual testimony to our personal, regenerated ego concerning the Divine character of everything the Holy Scripture teaches and reveals; and without more, the truth, for instance, of graphic inspiration can never be derived from it. If, however, an absolute certainty concerning this Divine character of the content of the Scripture has been sealed in the personal consciousness of man by this witness of the Holy Spirit, the effect of this goes back to the two former stages of the public opinion (communis fides), and the cleaving to Christ. With this conviction, which is now his own for good and always, he, who has been set free from the veil that darkly hung between, does not stand alone, but feels himself assimilated by the illuminated consciousness which in the communion of the saints is distinguished from the natural consciousness of the world. This assimilation becomes the stronger, according to the greater vitality of the child of God in him, by which he is evermore being changed into the image of the Son of God. Thus there originates a communion of consciousness not merely with those round about us, but also with the generation of saints of former ages, affinity of life with the saints that have gone before, unity of soulconceptions with the martyrs, with the fathers of the Church, with the apostles, and so at length with Christ Himself and with the faithful of the Old Covenant. In the life-consciousness of that sacred circle the positive conviction prevails, that we have a graphically inspired Scripture, on which we lean and by which we live; and that this is not contingent, nor accidental, but necessary. This faith in the Scripture is found as an indispensable and an entirely natural component part in the life-consciousness of this circle. And when in experience the riches of the Scripture contents become ever more precious to the heart, resistance is no longer possible. The power of assimilation is too strong, the general unsanctified human consciousness loses all its power, and at length the believer must accept the equally general, but now sanctified, human consciousness, including this component part of its content. If then, finally, the believer goes back to the first stage in his Christian life, i.e. to his personal faith in his Saviour, and realizes that Christ himself has presented the Holy Scripture — which the common opinion in the communion of saints has adopted in its world of thought as theopneustic, and of the Divine troth of which, thanks to the "Witness of the Holy Spirit," he is himself firmly convinced— as the product of the Holy Spirit, the assurance of his faith on this point is immovably established, and to him the Scripture itself is the principium, i.e., the startingpoint, from which proceeds all knowledge of God, i.e. all theology.
In this sense the Holy Scripture was the principium of Theology to our fathers, and in the same sense it is this to us. Hence this principium, as such, can be no conclusion from other premises, but is itself the premise, from which all other conclusions are drawn. Of course this does not dismiss the fact, that objections, derived from the common norma of our thought, can still be entered against the Holy Scripture and its alleged character; in this, indeed, every one should be left free, and these objections it is the task of Theology squarely to face. This, however, can be considered only in the science of the canon (disciplina canonicae) and the science of the text (ars textualis). We merely observe that on the one hand this critical task should not be impeded in the least, provided it is clearly understood on the other hand that the failure of your first efforts to solve such critical objections can rob you of the certainty of your principium, as little as success can strengthen it. Assurance of faith and demonstration are two entirely heterogeneous things. And he who, in whatever department, still seeks to demonstrate his principium, simply shows that he does not know what is to be understood by a principium.