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tinguish between revelation itself and the Bible, this latter being really the record of a progressive revelation, as it passed through its successive stages, but not the revelation itself, another and a larger thing: revelation we now conceive as being of a Person, not of propositions—as divine self-revelation, whereby we come to know God and understand His mind : it is now viewed as something which is given through life, through the presence of God in human history informing man's personality of His divine nature, and unfolding, not a part, but the whole nature of man; and such revelation of God, in the manifestations of His oneness with man, secures sure foothold in a real use of reason and a cordial indorsement of the heart, becomes thereby centre and soul and basis and support of the real life of man, and so finds growing actualisation in the life of the world. Modern Christian theology has progressively felt that revelation as historical works in accordance with the law of personality which is so characteristic of all historic movement, and wears an aspect real, not formal, consisting not merely in communications about God, but in God's communication of Himself, His mind and spirit. It has felt how truly the Revelation Record given us in the Bible did not spring, Minerva-like, into full-formed existence, but was, as that which presents us with the drama of the development of the divine purpose of Redemption could only be, a thing of very gradual growth.
Besides this keener appreciation of the progressive character of the method employed in revelation, which is to it no afterthought but the gradual realisation of a divine eternal purpose, it has more clearly apprehended, with Maurice, that in its nature it is simply a giving of light, the unveiling of a Person–a view that makes revelation the reverse of difficult of acceptance. It has ceased to confine revelation to truth conveyed by supernatural communication : it sees all our knowledge of God to be one in its primary or ultimate source. Beholding this constant tendency of revelation to become nature, as Christlieb phrased it, it has discarded the old sharp contrast between revealed and natural religion. It accepts revelation as at once natural and supernatural, retaining the supernatural element necessarily involved in revelation, but rendering more clear the naturalness of its work
ing. It indorses the position 1 that Lotze's view of revelation as “either contained in some divine act of historic occurrence or continually repeated in men's hearts" does not present us with a real alternative, since revelation is, in the Christian system, perpetually renewed in the churchly consciousness while the historic basis is preserved. It exhibits more clearly the necessity that revelation, still objective, become subjective in every man; expounds more perfectly the accordance of reason with revelation, which latter it regards as come, not to thrust down or destroy man's use of reason, but to supplement the suggestions and confirm the deductions of reason; sets forth more lucidly the function of reason in its searchings into the grounds on which revelation is accepted, and displays a decided advance on the old mechanically imposed authority of revelation as something statutory and complete, when it regards the reason of man as, in its response to revelation, receptive and reproductive of reason in God, Whose revelation it verifies, for ever investigating and stating its truths anew, and no longer accepting them merely as authenticated
1 Cf. Lux Mundi, p. 338.
by miracle. It no longer demands, in presenting revelation to reason, an irrational submission to authority, but rather stirs up the gift that is in reason into wise use of the revelation so ministered unto it, because, as it appears to us, it is more keenly percipient of the fact that the question is not one merely of reason and revelation, but of reason in revelation. It defends with greater effectiveness the reality of revelation against the pantheistic objections that would resolve it into a mere symbolism, its firmer grip of the personality of God enabling it to present revelation as a true communication to the finite mind of man and a real reflection of the divine, while from the human side revelation appears as a real organism undergoing evolution supernatural and slow—as incorporated, in Rothe's words,“ organically into the existence and life of the race.” 1
The nineteenth century has witnessed a signal advance in the attitude of the theological mind towards miracle, as compared with the position assumed by the apologists of the eighteenth century, who so placed the evidence of miracles in
1 Vide Zur Dogmatik, S. 121: "Sie muss sich also dem geschichtlichen Dasein und Leben unseres Geschlechts organisch einverleiben.”
the foreground as to make religion rest on miracles rather than miracles on the religion. The deistic character of their argument for miracles has disappeared, and miracles are no longer violations of the laws of nature, but are consonant with the Absolute Reason of modern theistic thought as any uniformities of physical sequence. The too external view of miracles prevalent even in the early part of our own century has vanished: miracles have fallen into the background, though still retained as complementary to the internal evidences: the self-evidencing truth of Christianity, and the influence of the Christian faith on the world, have been more called into prominence. Schleiermacher and Rothe, of whom the latter declared against miracles and prophecy being considered mere "adjuncts” of revelation, have, in particular, contributed to this result by emphasising the non- essentialness of faith in miracles, unphilosophical or destructive as they might here hold unfaith to be; and faith's approach is now to the miracles through Christ, in Whose revelation they are still retained as a rational and credible element, rather than to Christ through the miracles,