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J. S. Cushing i: Co. Berwick i Smith 
Norwood Mass. U.S.A. 

THE translation of this Theological Encyclopedia was 
undertaken by appointment of the author, with whose co 
operation also the proof-sheets have been read. In the 
original, this work consists of three volumes, the contents of 
which are stated in Dr. Warfield s "Introductory Note." 
The volume here presented contains the first fifty-three 
pages of Vol. I. of the original, and Vol. II. entire. The 
full definition of " Principium Theologiae " being given on 
page 341, the word orincipium " as a technical term has 
been retained in its Latin form throughout. Grateful thanks 
are due to Professor B. B. Warfield, D.D., LL.D., for valu 
able assistance given. And it may also be stated here, that 
profound regard for the author, and firm faith in the 
standards of Calvinism which he so masterfully defends in 
the Netherlands, are the motives that have inspired to the 
end this effort of the 


PRINCETON, N.J., June 20, 1898. 


THE original work, a part of which only is here given in 
English, consists of three volumes. These together form a 
systematic whole. The first volume contains an introduc 
tion to Theological Encyclopedia, included in pages 1-55 of 
this translation. This is followed by a history of Theologi 
cal Encyclopedia of about five hundred pages. No such 
history had ever been written before. Brief, summary re 
views are given in some encyclopedias, but no history of 
this department as such can be found. And yet the need of 
it is imperative for the sake of a broad study of the position 
which Theological Encyclopedia at present occupies in the 
domain of science. Moreover, the writer was impelled to 
undertake this task because the general history of Theology 
has for the most part been interpreted in a sense which does 
not agree with what he deems should be understood by 
Theology. In writing so extensive a history of Theologi 
cal Encyclopedia he had a twofold purpose in view : on 
the one hand of conveying a fuller knowledge of Encyclo 
pedia of Theology than had thus far been furnished, and 
on the other hand of giving a review of the entire history 
of Theology from his view-point. Upon this introductory 
volume follows Volume II., which is here given entire in 
the English translation. And then follows the third vol 
ume, almost equally large, in which the separate theological 
departments find their logical division and interpretation 
according to the author s principles. In this third volume 
the principles previously developed are brought to their 
logical sequence, showing that only in the full acceptance 
of the proper principle can a pure and correct development 
be discovered for all these departments of Theology. 


The author docs not hesitate to say frankly that in the 
writing of this work lie occupies the Calvinistic view-point, 
though this is not to be taken in an exclusively dogmatical 
sense. There are primordial principles which are funda 
mental to Calvinism, and these only he defends. He is no 
Calvinist by birth. Having received his training in a con- 
scrvative-supernaturalistic spirit, he broke with faith in 
every form Avhen a student at Leyden, and then cast himself 
into the arms of the barest radicalism. At a later period, 
perceiving the poverty of this radicalism, and shivering with 
the chilling atmosphere which it created in his heart, he 
felt attracted first to the Determinism of Professor Scholten, 
and then to the warmth of the Vermittelungs-theologie, as 
presented by Martensen and his followers. But if this 
warmed his heart, it provided no rest for his thought. In 
this Vermittelungs-theologie there is no stability of starting- 
point, no unity of principle, and no harmonious life-interpre 
tation on which a world-view, based on coherent principles, 
can be erected. In this state of mind and of heart he came 
in contact with those descendants of the ancient Calvinists, 
who in the Netherlands still honor the traditions of the 
fathers ; and it astonished him to find among these simple 
people a stability of thought, a unity of comprehensive in 
sight, in fact a world- view based on principles which needed 
but a scientific treatment and interpretation to give them a 
place of equal significance over against the dominant views 
of the age. To put forth an effort in this direction has 
from that moment on been his determined purpose, and 
toward this end he has devoted a series of studies in The 
ology, in Politics, and in ./Esthetics, part of which have 
already been published, and part of which are embodied in 
the acts of the Second Chamber of the States-General. To 
all this, however, there was still wanting that unity which 
alone can give a concentric exposition of the nature of theol 
ogy, and to supply this want he set himself the task of writ 
ing this extensive Theological Encyclopedia. Thus only 
was he able to reach the heart of the question. 

That the treatment of the principium of Theology, i.e. of 


the Holy Scripture, is given so much space could not be 
avoided. In all this controversy the Holy Scripture is the 
question at stake, and the encyclopedia that places itself un 
conditionally upon the Scriptures as its basis cannot find a 
plan until the all-embracing question of the Scriptures has 
been fundamentally solved. 

It is only natural that certain portions of this book should 
bear a severely Dutch stamp. Being an enemy to abstrac 
tions, and a lover of the concreteness of representation, the 
author could not do anything else than write from the envi 
ronment in which he lives. In one point only does this 
require an explanation. In this book he speaks of Methodism 
in a way which would have been impossible either in England 
or in America, where Methodism has achieved a Church for 
mation of its own. For this reason he begs leave to state that 
he views Methodism as a necessary reaction, born from Cal 
vinism itself, against the influences which so often threaten 
to petrify the life of the Church. As such, Methodism had 
in his opinion a high calling which it is bound to obey, and 
a real spiritual significance. And it becomes subject to seri 
ous criticism only when, and in so far as, from being a reac 
tion, it undertakes to be itself an action ; and when, not 
satisfied with imparting a new impulse to the sleeping 
Church, it seeks to exalt itself in the Church s stead. This, 
he thinks, it is not able to do, and hence falls into serious 

In closing this brief preface he begs to offer his sincere 
thanks to the Rev. J. Hendrik de Vries, who with rare 
accuracy of style and language has finished the difficult and 
laborious task of this translation. 


AMSTERDAM, June 1, 1898. 


IT gives me the greatest pleasure to respond to the request 
of my friend, the Rev. J. Hendrik de Vries, to whom a 
debt of gratitude is due from us all for putting into English 
a section of this valuable treatise, that I should in a few 
words introduce its author to his American audience. It is 
not often that an opportunity falls to one to make known a 
thinker of Dr. Kuyper s quality to a new circle of readers ; 
and I count it a high honor to have been given this privi 
lege. For many years now Dr. Kuyper has exercised a very 
remarkable influence in his own country. As leader and 
organizer of the Anti-revolutionary party, and chief editor 
of its organ, De Standaard, a newspaper which, we are told 
by good authority, occupies not only " a place of honor, but 
the place of honor among Dutch dailies " ; 1 as founder, de 
fender, and developer of the Free University of Amsterdam, 
through which the people of the Netherlands are receiving 
an object lesson of the possibility and quality of higher edu 
cation conducted on Christian and Reformed foundations, free 
from interference from the State ; as consistent advocate in 
the Church of freedom of conscience, confessional rights, and 
the principles of that Reformed religion to which the Dutch 
people owe all that has made them great, and strenuous pro 
moter of the great end of bringing all who love those princi 
ples together into one powerful communion, free to confess 
and live the religion of their hearts ; as a religious teacher 
whose instructions in his weekly journal, De Heraut, are the 

1 Jhr. Mr. A. F. de Savornin Lohman in De Nedcrlander of April 1, IR .i? 
(as extracted in the Gedenkbock, published in commemoration of the com 
pletion of the first twenty-five years of service by Dr. Kuyper as chief-editor 
of De Standaard, Amsterdam, 1897, p. 89). 



food of hundreds of hungry souls, whose prelections in the 
Free University are building up a race of theologians imbued 
with the historical no less than the systematic spirit, and to 
whose writings men of all parties look for light and inspira 
tion ; in fine, as a force in Church and State in whose arm 
those who share his fundamental principles trust with a 
well-founded hope of victory. Dr. Kuyper is probably to-day 
the most considerable figure in both political and ecclesiasti 
cal Holland. As long as thirteen years ago Dr. Johannes 
Gloel, looking in upon the Church life of Holland from 
without, thought it not too much to say that Dr. Kuyper s 
was the best known name in the land : 1 and though in the 
interval friends have been lost, yet doubtless also friends 
have been made, and assuredly the sharp conflicts which 
have marked these years have not lessened the conspicuous- 
ness of the central figure in them all. It is certainly high 
time that we should make the acquaintance of such a man in 
America. The present volume will, naturally, reveal him to 
us on one side only of his multiform activity. It is a fragment 
of his scientific theological work which it gives us ; indeed, 
to speak literally, it is only a fragment of one of his theo 
logical works, though possibly thus far his most considerable 
contribution to theological science. But the reader will not 
fail to perceive, even in this fragment, evidence of those 
qualities which have made its author the leader of men 
which he is, the depth of his insight, the breadth of his 
outlook, the thoroughness of his method, the comprehensive 
ness of his survey, the intensity of his conviction, the elo 
quence of his language, the directness of his style, the pith 
and wealth of his illustrations, the force, completeness, win- 
ningness of his presentation. 

For anything like a complete estimate of Dr. Kuyper s 
powers and performance there would be needed a tolerably 
thorough acquaintance with the whole political and religious 
life of Holland during the last third of the nineteenth cen 
tury. It would even be something of a task to undertake a 
study of his mind and work in his literary product, which 

1 Hollands kirchlichrs Leben, Wiirtemberg, 1885. 


has grown to a very considerable voluminousness, and touches 
upon nearly the whole circle of civil and ecclesiastical inter 
ests of the present-day Netherlands. All that exists is a 
rather superficial and not very correct sketch of his life and 
opinions from the pen of Jhr. Mr. Witsius H. cle Savornin 
Lohman. 1 It was written, unhappily, nearly ten years ago, 
and Dr. Kuyper has not ceased to live and move in the 
meanwhile ; and its greater part is devoted, naturally, to 
an account of Dr. Kuyper s political program as leader 
of the Anti-revolutionary party. It may be supplemented, 
however, from the theological side from the sympathetic 
and very informing account to be found in Dr. Hermann 
Bavinck s paper on Recent Dogmatic Thought in the Nether 
lands, which appeared a few years ago in the pages of The 
Presbyterian and Reformed Review? With this there may 
profitably be compared, by those who like to hear both 
sides of a question, the series of papers on The Netherland 
ish Reformed Church of the Present by Professor H. G. 
Klein of Utrecht, which are buried in the columns of a 
Reformed journal which used to be published in Austria, 3 
while Dr. Kuyper himself has lifted the veil from many 
of his earlier experiences in a delightful booklet which 
he appropriately calls Confidences.* With these references 
I may exonerate myself from attempting more here than to 
suggest the outlines of his work on the theological side. 

Dr. Kuyper was born in 1837, and received his scholastic 
training at Leyden, as a student of literature and theology. 
He obtained his theological doctorate in 1863, with a treatise 
on the idea of the Church in Calvin and a Lasco. During 
his university career, when he sat at the feet of Scholten (at 

1 It was published as one of the issues of the series entitled Mannen van 
Beteekenis in Onze Dagen, edited by Dr. E. J. Pijzel, and published at 
Haarlem by H. D. Tjeenk Willink. It is a pamphlet of 72 pages, and 
appeared in 1889. 

2 Issue of April, 1892, Vol. III. pp. 209 sq. 

3 Evanyelisch Reformirte Blaetter aus Oesterreich (Kuttelberg, Oesterr. 
Schlesien, 1891 ; Vol. I. pp. 9 seq.}. 

4 Confidence: Schrijven aan den weled. Heer J. H. van der Linden, door 
Dr. A. Kuyper (Amsterdam : Hoveker en Zoon, 1873). Additional sources 
of information are given by both Dr. Bavinck and Dr. Klein. 


that time in his more conservative period) and Kuenen, he 
had little clearness of religious insight and felt little drawing 
to theological study, and gave himself, therefore, rather to the 
cultivation of literature under the guidance of Professor de 
Vries. At its close a great change came over him, mediated 
partly by some striking experiences of providential guidance 
in connection with the preparation of a prize-paper which 
he had undertaken, partly by the continued and absorbing 
study of Calvin and a Lasco to which the preparation of that 
paper led him, and partly by the powerful impression made 
upon him by Miss Yonge s romance, The Heir of Redcliffe, 
read in this state of mind. The good work thus begun was 
completed under the influence of the example and conversa 
tion of the pious Reformed people of his first pastoral charge, 
at the little village of Beesd, where he ministered the Word 
from 1863 to 1867. Thus prepared for his work, lie entered 
upon it at once con amore, when he was called in the latter 
year to the Church at Utrecht. From that moment, at 
Utrecht and Amsterdam, in the pulpit and professor s 
chair, in the Chamber of Deputies, and the editorial page 
of his journals, he has unceasingly waged battle for the 
freedom of the Church of God to found itself on the Word 
alone, and to live and teach in accordance with its own free 

In his new enthusiasm of faith he went to Utrecht in the 
highest hope, looking upon that city, in which dwelt and 
taught the Coryphaeuses of the orthodoxy of the day, as " a 
Zion of God," and expecting to find in them leaders whom 
he would need but to follow to the reestablishment of the 
Church and of the religious life of the land on the one firm 
foundation of the Word of God. He soon discovered that 
there were limits, in reliance upon the Reformed principles, 
and even in trust in God s Word, beyond which the Apolo- 
getical School of Utrecht was not prepared to go. " I had 
thought to find them," lie says, 1 " learned brethren, for whom 
the Holy Scriptures, just as they lie, were the authority of 
their lives, who with the Word for a weapon were defend- 
1 Gedenkboek, etc., as above, p. 68. 


ing the stronghold of the Netherlandish Jerusalem with un 
daunted valor ; men who did not merely stand on the wall 
and ward off assaults, but rushed forth from the gates and 
drove off the foe. But what did I find ? Everywhere a cry 
of distressed hearts. Everybody shut up in the hold, with 
no thought of anything beyond a weak defence, watching for 
the shots to fall, and only when they came giving some poor 
reply, while bulwark after bulwark of the faith was yielded 
to the enemy." Such an attitude was intolerable to one of 
Dr. Kuyper s ardent and aggressive spirit. Nor did he find 
more comfort in the Ethical School, although he was by no 
means insensible to the attractions of its " Mediating The- 


ology." 1 The weakness and wastefulness of both apology 
and mediation as a means of establishing and advancing 
Christianity he felt, moreover, most profoundly; and, plant 
ing himself once for all squarely on the infallible Word and 
the Reformed Confessions, he consecrated all his great and 
varied powers to purifying the camp and compacting the 
forces of positive truth. The effect of the assumption of 
this bold, aggressive position was, naturally, to offend and 
alienate the adherents of the more " moderate " schools. 
The followers of Van Oosterzee and Doedes, of de la Saus- 
saye and Gunning, men who, according to their lights, 
had wrought each a good work in the defence and propaga 
tion of the principles of the Gospel, were necessarily left 
behind, where they did not even throw themselves into the 
camp of the enemy. But the result has vindicated not only 
its righteousness, but its wisdom. Not merely as over 
against the forces of more or less open unbelief, but also of 
those timid souls who would fain pitch their tents in neutral 
territory, Dr. Kuyper has raised the banner of unadulterated 

1 In the Preface to the first volume of his Encyclopaedic Dr. Kuyper says : 
"Brought up under the teaching of Scholten and Kuenen, in an entirely 
different circle of theological ideas, and later not less strongly influenced by 
the Mediating Theology, the author found rest neither for his heart nor 
for his mind until his eyes were opened to the depth, the earnestness, and 
the beauty of the Reformed Confession, which has come to us out of those 
spiritually rich days when Calvinism was still a world-power, not only in the 
theological, but also in the social and political, realm." 


Christianity, and the people of God have flocked to its lead 
ing. He cannot, indeed, be credited with the creation of 
the Reformed party in the Church, any more than of the 
Anti-revolutionary party in the State. As the year 1840, 
when Groen van Prinsterer was elected to the Lower Cham 
ber of the States General, may be accounted the formal birth 
day of the latter, so the year 1842, when the Address of 
Groen and his six companions was laid before the Synod of 
the Netherlandish Reformed Church, praying for the main 
tenance of the rights of the Reformed Confession against 
the Groningen teaching, may be thought of as the formal 
birthday of the former. But as it is he who has organized 
and compacted the Anti-revolutionary party and led it to its 
present position of power, so it is he to whom is due above 
all others the present strength of the Reformed tendency in 
the religious life and thought of Holland, and to whom are 
turned in hope to-day the eyes of all who truly love the 
Word of God and the principles of the Reformed religion. 
that "sterling silver," "fine gold," "pure nard," of Chris 
tianity, as he himself phrases it. 

In the prosecution of his self-chosen task of recovering 
for the Word of God and the principles of the Reformed 
religion their rightful place in the civil and religious life of 
the Netherlands, Dr. Kuyper has made the most vigorous 
and versatile use of every means of reaching the minds and 
hearts of the people. He edits the daily political paper, 
De Standaard, which he has made a veritable power in the 
land. lie edits the weekly religious paper, De Ileraut, and 
discusses in its columns in the most thorough way all live 
topics of theology and religion. He is serving the State as 
a member of the Lower Chamber of the States General. He 
is serving the Church as Professor of Dogmatics in the theo 
logical faculty of the Free L niversity at Amsterdam. It is a 
matter of course that he has made the freest use also of occa 
sional discussion and scientific presentation. Political pam 
phlets, devotional treatises, studies on ecclesiastical topics 
and theological themes, from his pen, have poured from the 
press in an almost unbroken stream. It is a somewhat 


remarkable literary product for a busy man to have pro 
duced when looked at from the point of view of mere 
quantity; when its quality is considered, whether from the 
point of view of richness of style, fulness of details, wide- 
ness of view, or force of presentation, it is simply a marvel. 
There have been published in our day few discussions of 
civil and social questions more wide-minded and thoughtful, 
few devotional writings more penetrating and uplifting, few 
theological treatises more profound and stimulating. Among 
the more valuable of his theological writings should certainly 
be enumerated the numerous addresses which have been 
given permanence in print, especially the Rectoral addresses 
delivered at the Free University at Amsterdam, several of 
which attain the dimension of short treatises, and are fur 
nished with an apparatus of notes, while retaining the grace 
of Dr. Kuyper s spoken style. Such, for example, are those 
on Present Day Biblical Criticism, delivered in 1881, Cal 
vinism and Art, delivered in 1888, and the tendency of Pan- 
theizing thought towards the Obliteration of the Boundary 
Lines, and the confounding of things that differ, delivered 
in 1892. Among his more considerable works in scientific 
theology there fall to be mentioned especially, his edition 
of the Opuscala Theologica of Francis Junius, published in 
1882, his copious commentary, in four volumes, on the Hei 
delberg Catechism, which bears the title of E Voto Dor- 
draceno, published 1892-95, his somewhat popular treatise 
on The Work of the Holy Spirit, in three volumes, pub 
lished in 1888-89, and, doubtless we may say above all, his 
Encyclopaedie der Heilige Grodgeleerdheid in three volumes, 
published in 1894, of which the present volume presents a 
part in English. 

This important work differs from other encyclopedias of 
theology in several particulars. It is marked by the strict 
ness of its scientific conception of its sphere and the skill 
with which its proper province is discriminated and occu 
pied. It is marked not less by the comprehensiveness of its 
grasp upon its material, and the thoroughness with which it 
is worked out in its details. It is especially marked by the 


attractiveness of the style in wliicli it is written, which is 
never dull, and often rises into real eloquence. It is marked 
above all, however, by the frankness with which it is based 
on the principles of the Reformed theology, with which 
it takes its starting-point " from what Calvin called the 
semen religionis, or the sensus divinitatis in ipsis medidlis et 
visceribus hominis infixus," so as to grant at once that it must 
seem as foolishness to him who chooses a different point of 
departure ; and with which also it builds up its structure on 
the assumption of the truth of the Reformed presuppositions, 
and allows at once that it separates itself by so much from 
the point of view of all other systems. With so substantial 
a portion of the work before the reader, however, as this 
volume supplies, it cannot be necessary to speak here of its 
method or quality. It is only needful that the reader should 
remember that he has before him, here, only a portion of the 
whole work. In its completeness it fills three volumes of 
about the size of this one. The first of these is introductory, 
and treats of the name, idea, and conception of Encyclope 
dia, and then, more specifically, of the idea, divisions, and 
(most copiously) the history of Theological Encyclopedia. 
The second volume the one here translated is the gen 
eral part, and discusses, as will be seen from its table of 
contents, all those questions which concern the place of 
theology among the sciences, and the nature of theology as 
a science with a " principium " of its own. This volume 
is notable for the extended and thorough discussion it ac 
cords to the "Principium Theologiae," -involving, to be 
sure, some slight breach of proportion in the disposition of 
the material and possibly some trenching upon the domain of 
Dogmatics, for which the author duly makes his apologies: 
but bringing so great a gain to the reader that he will 
find himself especially grateful for just this section. The 
third volume contains the treatment of the several divisions 
of theology, which is carried through in a wonderfully fresh 
and original fashion. It is to be hoped that the reception 
accorded the present volume will be such as to encourage the 
translator and publishers to go on and complete the work in 


its English form, and thus that this volume will prove to 
be, in the literal sense of the word, but the introduction of 
Dr. Kuyper to English readers. I cannot but feel assured 
from my own experience that he w r ho reads one treatise 
of Dr. Kuyper s cannot fail to have his appetite whetted for 


PRINCETON, June 16, 18<J8. 





1. Significance of the Name 1 

2. Use in the Greek Classics 2 

3. Transition among the Fathers 4 

4. Usage in the Period of the Reformation .... 6 

5. Usage of the Word after the Seventeenth Century . . 9 

6. Usage of the Word in our Century 11 

7. Conclusion 12 



8. The First Appearance of this Idea 15 

9. Development of the Organic Idea . . . . . .17 

10. Victory of the Organic Idea 19 

11. The Break in the Process 20 

12. Provisional Result 22 



13. Forming of the Conception 24 

1-1. Critical Demand 25 

15. Encyclopedic Necessity ........ 27 

10. Scientific Character 28 

17. Limitation of the Conception ...... 31 

18. Subdivision of Philosophy 32 

19. Methodology and Hodegetics 33 



20. \Yissenschaftslehre "........ :> ( > 

21. Organic Character ......... :J7 

22. Still Incomplete :j!) 

2:). A Threefold Tusk 41 

24. Method of Encyclopedia 42 

25. Purely Formal 42 

20. Result 4:> 



Two Difficulties ...... 



The First Difficulty 
The Second Difficulty ..... 
No Onesidedness ...... 

. 4 i 



View-point here taken ..... 
Compass of its Task 
Its Relation to Methodology . 
It*; Aim . . 

. 52 




SECOND I) 1 1 7-V / O N 

36. Introduction .......... 



37. Etymology and Accepted Use of the Word .... 

3b. Subject and Object ......... 

3D. Organic Relation between Subject and Object, . . . iJ7 

i; 40. Language S4 

ij 41. Fallacious Theories ........ 8!) 

12. The Spiritual Sciences ....... 02 



43. Science and the Fact of Sin . . . . . . . lot! 

$ 44. Truth . .114 



45. Wisdom 119 

46. Faith 125 

47. Religion 146 



48. Two Kinds of People 150 

49. Two Kinds of Science 155 

50. The Process of Science 17U 

51. Both Sciences Universal 181 


52. Organic Division of Scientific Study 183 

53. The Five Faculties 192 



Is there a Place for Theology in the Organism of Science? . 211 
The Influence of Palingenesis upon our View of Theology 

and its Relation to the Other Sciences . . . .219 



56. The Name 228 

57. The Theological Modality of the Conception of Theology . 235 

58. The Idea of Theology 241 

59. The Dependent Character of Theology 248 

60. Ectypal Theology the Fruit of Revelation .... 257 

61. The Conception of Theology as a Science .... 292 



62. Degenerations of Theology as " Knowledge of God " . . 300 

G3. Falsifications of the Conception of Theology . . . 306 

64. Deformations of Theology 319 

05. The Relation of Theology to its Object 327 

66. Sancta Theologia (Sacred Theology) 333 



67. What is here to be understood by Principium . . . 341 
68. Different Representations of the Workings of this Prin 
cipium .......... 348 

69. The Relation between this Principium and our Consciousness 355 
70. Relation between this Principium and the Natural Prin 
cipium .......... 368 

71. Is the Natural Principium able to summon the Special Prin 
cipium before its Tribunal ?...... 380 

72. Universality of this Principium ...... 389 

73. This Principium and the Holy Scripture .... 397 

74. The Special Principium and the Written Word . . . 405 

75. Inspiration : its Relation to the Principium Essendi . . 413 

76. Inspiration in Connection with Miracles .... 420 

77. Inspiration according to the Self-testimony of the Scripture 428 

78. The Testimony of the Apostles 441 

79. Significance of this Result for the Old Testament . . 453 

80. Inspiration of the Xew Testament 460 

81. Unity and Multiplicity 473 

82. The Instruments of Inspiration ...... 481 

83. The Factors of Inspiration ....... 504 

84. The Forms of Inspiration ....... 520 

85. Graphical Inspiration ........ 544 

86. Te-.tinionium SpiritusSaucti, or the Witness of the Holy Spirit 553 


87. What is demanded by the Nature of this Principium . . 564 

88. The Principium of Theology in Action 571 

89. Relation to the Spiritual Reality 578 

90. Spiritus Sanctus Doctor 583 

91. The Church and the Office 587 

92. The Liberty of Scientific Theology 593 




93. Part of an Organism 600 

94. In the Organism of Science Theology is an Independent 

Organ 603 

95. The Boundary of Theology in the Organism of Science . 605 

96. Self-determination of the Organism of Theology . .615 

97. Organic Articulation of Propaedeutics 617 

98. Organic Articulation to the Spiritual Reality . . . 624 

99. The Organism of Theology in its Parts . . . .627 


100. Introduction 637 

101. The Period of Naivety 639 

102. The Internal Conflict 646 

103. Triumph claimed Prematurely 652 

104. The Development of Multiformity 658 

105. The Apparent Defeat 668 

106. The Period of Resurrection 672 

INDEX 681 




1. Significance of the Name 

Since the encyclopedic, scientific and theological view 
point of this Theological Encyclopedia differs in more than 
one respect from the ideas that are most widely accepted in 
our times, even among " believing " theologians, clearness 
demands that we indicate this difference and give an account 
of it. The conception of Theological Encyclopedia" itself 
should therefore be investigated first, and this investigation 
should be preceded by the definition of the general concep 
tion of Encyclopedia. 

This definition starts out with the etymological explana 
tion of the word which is used as the name of this depart 
ment of science. Not as evidence from etymology ; this is 
excluded by our plan : but because the indication of the 
first activity in the human mind which has given rise to the 
origin of any department is frequently found in the his 
torical choice of the name. This is not always so. To 
our Western consciousness Algebra is a meaningless term, 
however capable it may be of an etymological explanation 
in its original. Metaphysics originated by mere accident. 
Anemology is an artificially fabricated term. But as a rule 
there is a history in a name, which it will not do to pass 
by. And this is the case in a special sense with the name 



Encyclopedia. To exclude arbitrariness, and to keep our 
selves from ideal subjectivity, the conservative path must 
again be discovered, at least to this extent that no defi 
nition of any conception should be admitted, which does 
not take account of what went on in the human spirit (even 
though with no very clear consciousness) when the germ 
of this conception first originated. (See Dr. Georg Runze, 
Die Bedeutung der Sprache f dr das wissenscliaftliche Er- 
kennen, Halle, 188G.) 

2. Use in the Greek Classics 

As for most scientific conceptions, the germ of the con 
ception of " Encyclopedia " also is found among the Greeks. 
They were the people who, in contrast with the intuitive 
powers of the Eastern nations on the one hand, and in dis 
tinction from the limited form of the life of the spirit in 
Rome on the other hand, were divinely endowed with the 
disposition, tendency and talent of extricating its thinking 
consciousness from the world of phenomena and of soaring 
above it on free wings. And yet, as far as w r e know, the 
word Encyclopedia in its combination was unknown to them. 
The first trace of this combination is discovered in Galen, 
the physician and philosopher, who died about two hundred 
years after the birth of Christ. 1 The Greeks left the two 
parts of the word standing side by side, and spoke of 

The sense of TraiSeia in this combination needs no further 
explanation. HaiSeta means instruction, training, educa 
tion ; that by which a Trat? becomes an avr/p. The difficulty 
lies in the definition which makes this TraiSeia, ey/cv/cXtos. 
In its simplest sense, eyfcvrcXios is all that which presents 
itself to you as being included in a KVK\O<;, i.e. a ring or 
circle. But this idea admits of all sorts of shades, accord- 

1 In his ITepi 5miT7Js 6!;{<av, i.e. dc rictus rations in morbis acutis, c. II. 
I have named Galen as the first Greek writer. It is also found already in 
Pliny, Natur. hist. 14 : iam omnia attingunt, qnae Graeei TTJS tyKVK\oTraideias 
vocant, et tamen ignota aut incerta ingeniis facta, alia vero ita multis prodita 
ut in fastidium sint adducta. 


ing as it indicates something that forms a circle by itself ; 
something that lies in a sphere or circle, or within a certain 
circumference, and is thus included in it ; or something that 
moves within such a circle. A round temple was called iepov 
jKi>K\Lov, because such a temple forms a circle. The Siicaia, 
or common civil rights, were called eyicvKXia, because they 
reside in the circle of citizens, and confine themselves 
to its limits. In Athens, the \eirovpyfcu were called ey- 
Kv/c\iai, and they spoke of e<yrcvtc\ia ava\(a/JLara, y/cvK\iai 
BciTrdvaL, eyKVK\ia ^uaKovrj^ara, etc., to indicate services in the 
interest of the state which are rendered in turn, expenses that 
returned periodically, or activities that constantly changed 
after a fixed programme of rotation. Aristotle (Polit. II., 
p. 1269 b , 35) calls even the daily, and therefore periodically, 
returning task, ra ejKVK\ia. Thus unconsciously the idea 
of that which was of a daily occurrence, and in a certain 
sense ordinary and normal, was included under eytcvfc h.ios ; 1 
and it was in this process of thought that eyxvieXios was 
added to jratBefa by which to indicate that kind and that 
measure of instruction or knowledge which was deemed 
indispensable for a normally developed Athenian citizen ; 
in part, therefore, in the same sense in which Demosthenes 
calls the legal rights that are common to all citizens, ejKVK\ia 
BiKaia (XXV. 74), 2 or, in a better sense still, Aristotle 
wrote his eytcvtcXLa (/uXocro^r^uara, i.e. popular philosophy. 
It is a mistake, therefore, to interpret eytcv/cXLos TratBeia as 
a group of sciences which in the abstract formed a circle 
or a whole, and it is equally ill-advised to understand by 
it nothing more than "everyday matters of knowledge." 
The idea of a circle or rotation must certainly be main 
tained ; only the definition of what falls within this circle 
must not be derived from the mutual connection of these 
departments of knowledge as such, but from their connec 
tion in relation to the forming of the young Greek. 

The explanation of Quintilian (I. 10) : orbis doctrinae, 

1 Isocrates describes it even as ra /card TTJV rj/j.tpa.v fKacrr^v yiyvd^tva (III. 22). 

2 $ yap ovd rCiv laCov ov5 rCiv iyKVK\iuv diKaiuv /merovcriav 5i56a<riv oi vd[j.oi, 
OVTOS TUV a.v^K^<TTwv fT^povs afrios yiyverai OVK 6p0a)s K.T,\. 


<inem (Jraeci eytcvicXiov jraiSei av vacant, is based on a mis- 
understanding, as is also that of Vitruvius I. 6, praef.. and 
1. 2, encyclios disciplina uti corpus unum ex his membris <-orn- 
positum est : in so far as both evidently argued from the 
general significance of the word ey/cu/cAto?, instead of asking 
themselves the question how it was actually used by the 
Greeks in connection with TratSeia. This use referred 
chiefly to what was normal, as Ilesychius also interprets it 
by saying, ra eyKvtc\ov/j.eva rw /3io) Kal avvijdr] ; and Strabo, 
who writes that we should not call " him who is wholly 
uneducated a statesman, but him who partakes of the all- 
round and customary training of freemen." We should 
say : the normal measure of knowledge which a civilized 
citizen has at command. But Quintilian and Vitruvius 
were correct in so far as they showed themselves im 
pressed with the fact that there was a reason why the 
Athenians did not speak of awr/dns TraiSeia, but purposely 
spoke of eyKVK\ios TraiSeia. The Greek language was not 
a crystallized one, like the Latin. A Greek understood and 
saw through the word eyKVtc\io<;, and, when he used it in the 
sense of normal, he did not abandon the original significance 
of KVK\OS. With reference to his conception of it, the use 
of this word in connection with TraiSeia plainly shows : 
(1) that from the knowledge of his times taken as a 
whole he separated certain parts ; (2) that he did not 
choose these parts arbitrarily, but that he arranged them 
after a given standard ; and (3) that he derived this stand 
ard from a circle of life, and that, in connection with this 
circle of life, he grouped his separated parts of human knowl 
edge so as to form one whole. And this threefold action of 
his mind assumed, at the same time, that he had more or less 
objectified for himself the whole of human knowledge. 

3. Transition arnon;/ the Fathers 

In every distinction lurks an antithesis. The eyKv/cXios 
TrcuSeia, which was also called ejKVK\ta ^aQi^ara, Traibev- 
/Ltara, or more simply still ra ejKi>K\ia, did not stand in 
antithesis to what was beneath it, he who had no 


K\IOS TrcuSeia was simply called aTrat Seuro?, but to the 
higher development of the philosopher and the knowledge 
necessary for a given profession or calling. This excelled 
the common u/c\o? of the life of the citizen. Thus ey/cvtcXios 
TraiSeia was the lower and ordinary in antithesis to what was 
reached by higher knowledge. 

When the higher knowledge of the Christian Religion came 
out of Israel into the Roman-Grecian world, it was but natu 
ral that Christian scholars should class the entire heathen- 
classical development with what was lower and common, in 
antithesis to the higher yvwais of the Holy Scriptures. This 
readily explains the fact that, as we are told by Suicer (see 
his Thesaurus in voce), in the Greek of ecclesiastical liter 
ature ey/cwcXto? TraiBeia gradually obtains a modified signifi 
cance and comes to mean the knowledge or science which 
covered the entire circle of the heathen-classical life ; over 
against which stood 00\oyui, Qewpta, or yvoHris as higher 
knowledge. Suicer infers this from what Eusebius writes 
in his Church History, VI. 18, concerning Origen ; viz. 
that he trained the youth in ra TT}? e&>0ez> <iXocro(/>ia? and 
instructed them in the eyrcv/cXia, showing them the subse 
quent benefit they should derive from this later on for 
sacred studies. In the same sense Hesychius would explain 
eyKVK\ia as being TO, e<o ypd/j.fjt,ara^ which means that the 
ey/cvtc\io<; TraiSeta formed a circle to the heathen Greek, in 
which he himself was included and of which he formed the 
centre ; while to the Christian Greek TO, ea-ca were the mys 
teries of the Christian religion, and the eytcvicXios 7rai8eia 
came to him e%a>6ev, i.e. from without his circle of life. 
Thus, if a closer investigation confirms us in this view, 
this transition was gradual and led to eytcvtcXios TraiBcui, 
no longer signifying the common instruction given to the 
ordinary citizen, but the whole realm of worldly science in 
distinction from Sancta Theologia. As Zonaras states it : 
" Simply every art and science." 

4. USAGE IN THE [Div. I 

4. Usage in the Period of the Reformation 

With the decline of Greek culture the use of JKV/C\LO<; 
ia in its pregnant sense fell away. In the scholastic 
and ecclesiastical use of the word, which formed itself under 
Western influence, the original conception of the JKVK\IO<; 
TraiSeia was expressed by Trivium et Quadrivium ; and the 
later conception of ra ea> ypdjAfAara either by litterae pro- 
fanae or artes liberales. We read nothing of Encyclopedia 
in the Middle Ages. In ordinary conversation, even in that 
of the " clergy," the word was lost, and only after the rise of 
Humanism in the sixteenth century does it appear again ; 
and then according to the interpretation of Quintilian, as the 
circle of sciences. Thus Elyot writes, in 1536 : u Whiche of 
some is called the ivorlde of science, of others the circle of 
doctrine, whiche is in one word of Greke : Encyclopaedia." 
(The Crouvernor, quoted in the Encyclopedia Britannica, un 
der the word Encycl.} Evidently the use of the word by 
the Greeks is here not inquired into ; the sense of the word 
is indicated by the sound ; and in the wake of Quintilian, 
Elyot also does not understand the KVK\O<; to be the circle 
of citizens, but the circle of sciences, the orbis doctrinae. 

This cleared the way for a new transition of meaning. 
In the latter part of the sixteenth and beginning of the 
seventeenth century the name Encyclopedia passed from 
the world of science to the book in which this " world of 
science " was contained. The naive assumption that the 
knowledge of the several sciences was already as good as 
complete easily accounts for the several efforts that were 
made during the Middle Ages to embody in one single 
volume the collective knowledge with which they were sat 
isfied and for which they were grateful. This sort of book 
was given the name of /Speculum, Compendium, Syntagma, or 
Systema ; and the effort to give manuals of this sort a 
methodical arrangement met with increasing success. And 
when attention was again called to the word Encyclopedia, 
and this was taken as the Orbis doctrinae, it was but natural 
that Encyclopedia should be considered a very proper name 


for such a vade-mecum. Ringelberg seems to have been the 
first to choose it as such for the title of his Lucubrationes vel 
potius absolutissima /cv/eAoTrcu&eia, published at Basle in 1541. 
After him the Hungarian, Paul Scalichius de Lika (Paulus 
de Scala), used it for the title of his work : Epistemon Ency 
clopediae s. orbis disciplinarum turn sacrarum turn profanarum 
Bas. 1559. And when it was once adopted, Encyclopedia 
seemed to meet with so much favor for manuals of this sort 
that when, in 1584, the Margarita pJdlosopldca by Reisch, 
which had been published in Freiburg in 1503, went through 
a second edition, the editor inserted also the name of Ency 
clopedia on the title-page of this work. Matthias Martinius, 
the well-known Reformed theologian of Bremen (f 1630), imi 
tated at once the example of the publishers of Basle in his 
Idea metliodicae et brevis Encyclopediae sive adumbratio uni- 
versalis (1606). And when also the Reformed theologian, 
loannes Henricus Alstedt, chose the same name for his Cursus 
philosophicus, especially for his renowned quarto of over 2000 
pages, the modified use of the word Encyclopedia became 
established. In a smaller form this work was published as 
early as 1608, but was republished on a much larger scale in 
1620, at Herborn, and received the title, Cursus philosophi- 
cae Encyclopediae ; the third volume of which also appeared 
separately under the title, Septem artes liberales. This work 
of Alstedt was for many years the standard work for the 
study of general science, which is the more evident from 
the fact that in 1649 it was reprinted, at Leyden, in four 
octavo volumes. The edition of 1620 was dedicated to the 
States-General of the United Netherlands. 

A short sketch of Alstedt s work is here given, so that 
it may be clearly seen what was understood by Encyclo 
pedia in this third significance. First we have a Compen 
dium Encyclopediae philosophicae, or a catechetical resume 
of the whole work. Then follows the first volume of 
the real work, which is a treatise on the four Praecognita 
philosophica, to wit : (1) Archeology, or the doctrine of prin 
ciples ; (2) Rexiology, or the doctrine of intellectual charac 
teristics ; (3) Technology, or the doctrine of the sciences ; and 

8 4. USAGE IN THE [Dtv. I 

(4) Didactics, or the doctrine of methods. These constitute 
the prolegomena, and then come in turn the sciences them 
selves, divided into theoretical, practical and poetical. The 
theoretical are twelve in number, to wit : Metaphi/sica, Pneu- 
matica, Plujsica, Arithmetica, Greometria, Cosmographia, Ura- 
noscopia, Geoyraphia< Optica, Musica and Architectonica. The 
practical sciences are these five : Ethica, Oeconomica (the 
doctrine of the family), Politica, Scolastica (pedagogy) 
and Historica. And finally the disciplinae poeticae, or the 
Arts, are seven in number : (1) Lexica, ("J) Grrammatica, 
(3) Rhetorica, (4) Logica, (5) Oratorica, (6) Poetica, 
(7) Mnemonica. 

From this sketch it is evident that under the name of 
Encyclopedia Alstedt virtually embraced all the sciences, 
and was bent on establishing them mutually in technical re 
lations. What he offers is no medley or hodge-podge, but 
a well-ordered whole. And yet this systematizing of the 
several disciplinae is merely accidental with him. His real 
purpose is to collect the peculiar contents of these sciences in 
a short resume, and that to such an extent that in the divi 
sion Lexica he places before you successively a Hebrew, Greek 
and Latin dictionary ; that under the rubric Historica he 
furnishes a fairly extensive universal history ; and that under 
the title of Mathematica, Musica, etc., he presents you on 
each occasion with a brief manual of these sciences. But 
being a man of systematic thought, he presents these col 
lected contents not merely in a well-ordered succession, 
but even with an introduction that throws light upon 
the character of the department and upon its relation to 
the other departments. When, for instance, he passes on 
from Ethica to Oeconomica, Politica and Scolastica, he directs 
your attention to the fact that the three last named together 
form the Symbiotica, i.e. the disciplinae of social life, and 
how they flow from the principles of Ethica. And since 
from the comprehensiveness of the book the impression of the 
relation of the several parts is of necessity somewhat lost, he 
introduced the work itself with his Compendium Encyclopediae, 
in which he treats exclusively the mutual relations of the 


whole and the parts. For which reason Alstedt s Encyclo 
pedia stands for his times really very high. It is evidently 
his purpose to exhibit before our eyes the body of the sciences 
( Corpus Scientiarum) as one whole ; and he seeks to reach 
this end on the one hand by giving us a description of the 
members of the body, but also on the other hand by direct 
ing our attention to the skeleton and the network of nerves 
and veins that unite these parts. 

But even with Alstedt the word Encyclopedia as such has not 
received a pregnant significance. In his introduction he him 
self tells us that his Encyclopedia has the same end in view 
as was held by Petrus llamus in his Professio regia, by Gre- 
gorius Tholosanus in his Syntaxis artis mirabilis, and by 
Wower in his Polymathia. To him, therefore, Encyclopedia 
is but a convenient name for what had been furnished by 
others before him. With Alstedt Encyclopedia refers rather 
to the exhaustive scope than to the organic coherence of his 
work ; what Martinius called adumbratio universitatis. This, 
however, did not prevent him from unconsciously attaching 
a double significance to the name : (1) that of a book which 
comprehended in brief the results of the most widely known 
sciences, and (2) that of a study of the mutual relations of 
the sciences. Alstedt had a systematic nature, and his 
organic interpretation of science is already evident from his 
announcement that it is his purpose to furnish a " description 
in one exhibit of the whole estate of the kingdom of phi 
losophy." To work methodically was to him an outspoken 
necessity. Thus in his introduction he writes : " That the 
foundation of all philosophy may be presented in one view 
to systematic minds eager for learning." 

5. Use of the Word after the Seventeenth Century 

In the second half of the seventeenth and in the course of 
the eighteenth century, the systematic conception in the use 
of the word Encyclopedia retires still more into the back 
ground than with Alstedt. It is still used as the title for 
more or less systematic reviews of the contents of separate 
sciences, and medical and juridical compendiums are published 


under the name of Encyclopedias, but in general Encyclopedia 
acquires more and more the stamp of a Polyhistory. Finally 
the idea of a systematic collocation of the sciences is entirely 
abandoned, and, in order to condense the ever-increasing quan 
tity of material in a convenient form, refuge is taken in the lexi 
cographical form. Somewhat in the spirit of Suidas the alpha 
bet takes the place of the organic system, and the so-called 
Alphabetical Real-Encyclopedia holds its triumphant entry. 
First came Jablonski with his Allgemeines Lexicon der 
K dnste und Wissenchaften, Lpz. 1721, and Zedler with 
his Grosses vollstdndiges Universallexicon alter Wissenchafien 
und Kiinste, 1732-1750, in 68 volumes ; followed by the 
Deutsche Encyclopaedic, oder allgemeines Worterbuch aller 
Kilnste und Wissenschaften in 23 volumes ; and, finally, the 
still unfinished work of Ersch and G-riiber begun in 1818. 
The name of Encyclopedia came especially into use for this 
kind of Real-Lexicon through the Encyclopedia of Diderot 
and d Alembert and the Encyclopaedia Britannica, or a uni 
versal dictionary of arts and sciences. Till, finally, Pierer, 
Meyer, and Brockhaus undertook to let this Real-Lexicon 
run a continuous course, and for a small price to furnish a 
Conversationslexicon or Real-Encyclopaedie, which keeps the 
people informed of the progress of scientific investigations. 
These general Real-Lexica have found favor also in the 
domain of the separate sciences, so that now there are such 
alphabetical Encyclopedias for almost all departments and 
sciences, partly for the learned and partly for the general 
public. And in this sense, the present meaning of the word 
Encyclopedia is: A work which embraces briefly, and in alpha 
betical order, the most important particulars thus far known 
of each of the subjects that belong either to a single depart 
ment of science or to the domain of science at large. The 
distinction between the non-theological and theological 
sciences is here utterly lost from view. Already, in Io59, 
this antithesis had been abandoned by Paulus de Scala. 
Martinius and Alstedt had still respected it. But when 
the Polyhistory excluded all system from Encyclopedia, of 
itself this antithesis also fell away. 


6. Usage of the Word in our Century 

The understanding of Encyclopedia, as a brief resume of 
the results of a science, was still held in our century in so 
radical a sense, that in the Introduction to his Encyclopaedie 
und Methodologie der Philologischen Wissenschaft, Lpz. 1877, 
p. 36, Boeckh writes that the conception of Encyclopedia lies 
in its being " a general presentation," and then adds : "A 
logical scheme is not necessarily involved in it, seeing that 
it might be constructed simply as an Alphabetical Encyclo 
pedia. I do not mean to say that an Encyclopedia should 
be devoid of all logical character, but only, as an Encyclo 
pedia it is not necessary." All idea of system is thus ex 
cluded from the conception attached by him to the name. 
To him it is no orbis doctrinae, as it was to Elyot, nor 
a " description of the estate of the kingdom of sciences " 
(delineatio latifundii regni scientiarum) as it was to Alstedt. 
To him no system follows from the idea of Encyclopedia. 
From its very nature it needs but to be an agglomerate ; 
and if it has any connection, that flows from its general 
character, and not from its nature as Encyclopedia. 

The use of the word Encyclopedia came, however, to 
stand in direct opposition to this under the influence of 
modern philosophy, after Hegel chose the name of Ency 
clopedia as title for his systematic review of philosophy 
(Encyclopaedia der Phil. Wissenschaft, Heidelb. 1817, 1827, 
1830, Berlin, 1840 and 1843. Scimmtl. Werke, Bd. 6, 7 a and 
76). Before Hegel, Klugel, G. F. Reuss, J. G. Buhle, K. 
Ruef, W. J. G. Krug, E. Schmid and others had used the 
name of Encyclopedia for their expositions of the relations of 
the sciences or of the departments of any one science. Mur- 
sinna and Clarisse did the same in theology, J. S. Putter in 
law and Boerhaave in medicine. But the idea of system in 
the conception of Encyclopedia came to the foreground with 
full consciousness only when Fichte took science itself to be 
an object of science, and when Hegel, in the same track, 
wedded the name of Encyclopedia to this idea. Science, as 
such, now became an object of scientific investigation ; the 

12 7. CONCLUSION [Div. I 

idea of system became the chief aim in Encyclopedia; and from 
the material of each science so much only was taken as was 
necessary for the proper understanding of its organic life. 

This idea, which answered so fully the need of our time, 
extended itself, though slowly, from science in general to 
the individual sciences. Special Encyclopedias also ceased 
to be compendia, and more and more took the form of sci 
entific investigation into the nature of these special sciences. 
There were differences in the proportionate treatment of 
what was formal and material in a science. In several 
Encyclopedias the resume of the general data of a science 
was still very extensive, while from other Encyclopedias 
it almost entirely disappeared. But, even with this by no 
means insignificant difference, the idea of system came more 
and more to be viewed by almost every one as the distin 
guishing mark of the Encyclopedical treatment. Tims, 
while with Alstedt Encyclopedia is still the name of a book, 
it has come to be more and more the name of a separate 

7. Conclusion 

This brief review of the use of the word Encyclopedia 
leads to the following result. The use of this word has 
passed through five stages. (1) Originally the Greek 
attached the significance to it of a certain group of subjects 
of knowledge whose scope was determined by the circle of 
the life of the Athenian citizen. (2) The rise of Christian 
Theology extended this significance to the entire heathen- 
classical science in distinction from Theology- (3) Reviving 
Humanism used it in the sense of Compendium, and, with a 
weak effort to furnish a systematic exposition, it embraced 
under it the entire Humanistical knowledge. (4) During 
the most flourishing period of Polyhistory, Encyclopedia 
became the name for an alphabetical agglomerate of what 
was noteworthy in every subject in general, with the exclu 
sion of almost all conception of system. And, finally (5), 
through the rise of the newer philosophy the word Encyclo 
pedia became the name of an independent science, which has 
for its object of investigation all other science. 


Thus the word Encyclopedia serves successively to indi 
cate a part of human knowledge ; then profane science ; then, 
it is used as the name of a book, taken partly as compendium 
and partly as an alphabetical agglomerate ; and, finally, as the 
name of an independent science. 

But however different these five interpretations may seem, 
the fundamental significance, that led to the formation of the 
word Encyclopedia, is not lost. By his ey/ev/eXto? TratSeta 
the Greek divided the whole of human knowledge ; i.e. he 
objectified it, analyzed it, and brought a certain order into it, 
while by his e 7/cwcXio? he bound the separated part to a given 
circle. The Christian writers did this same thing; only 
with this difference, that the part separated by them was 
larger, that it was bound to a more extended circle, and that 
this circle was determined by another principle as its centre. 
The Humanists put the content of this part of human knowl 
edge in the place of the abstract conception of it, and tried 
to fix the boundary of the circle, in which this part of 
knowledge moved, not by the persons with whom it be 
longed, but by the organic coherence of this knowledge 
itself. Polyhistory and Real-Encyclopedia in the alpha 
betical form gave, like the Compendia of the Humanists, 
the content of the knowledge itself, but under the two 
restrictions, that that only would be taken up which was 
of importance either to the circle of the learned or of the 
public at large, and that the circle in which one moved 
was not bound to the science itself, but, as with the Greek, 
to the " learned " or educated public. And finally the latest 
interpretation, which gives the name of Encyclopedia to an 
individual science that takes all the other sciences for the 
object of its investigation, turns from the content of the 
Humanists and of Polyhistory to the well-ordered concep 
tion of the Greeks, i.e. to a norma for the grouping; only 
with this difference, that it interprets this ordering, for 
mulating and grouping organically, and so on the one hand 
extends them to the whole realm of science, and on the other 
hand causes them to be governed by the principle of science 

14 7. CONCLUSION [Div. I 

The reason which has led to the repeated resumption of 
the word Encyclopedia, and which finally implanted this 
organic sense in it, lies in the conception of the KVK\OS. 
That the Greek took this word to define the TraiSeia, shows 
that there was present in his mind the idea of what belonged 
together within the realm of human knowledge and grouped 
itself about one common centre. The Polyhistor and the 
alphabetical Real-Encyclopedist weakened this conception. 
The writers of the old Compendia, and they wiio at present 
seek in Encyclopedia chiefly the idea of organic relation, 
cause this original motive of the Greeks to assert itself 
again, and also enlarge upon it. Quintilian already con 
ceived something of the rich development of which this 
motive of the KVK\OS was susceptible when he interpreted 
Encyclopedia by " orbis doctrinae." 

This motive will ever maintain the supremacy in the 
meaning of the word, even though the sense has lost for 
us something of the riches attached to the KVK\OS by the 
Greek, especially in relation to the crfyalpa (see Plato, 
de Legibus, X., p. 898 a). If it is not possible for science 
to be anything but a unit, if it has an inner impulse which 
determines its course, and if in this course it is fastened 
or bound to a fixed point, as a circle to its centre, there 
can be no reason to question the propriety of the devel 
opment of the meaning of this word " Encyclopedia," by 
which it has come to mean the investigation of the organ 
ism of science. To avoid confusion of speech, therefore, 
it would be well, if from now on the alphabetical collection 
of separate articles would call itself nothing but Lexicon, 
either Real-Lexicon in a general, or Lexicon for Arts and 
Sciences in a special, sense, so that Encyclopedia might 
be exclusively used as the name of that science which has 
science itself as its object of investigation. 



8. The First Appearance of this Idea 

The historic career of the idea of Encyclopedia is different 
from that of the name. Much of what falls under this idea 
bore a different name, while on the other hand the name 
Encyclopedia has repeatedly been used for what was entirely 
foreign to the idea of it. The idea of Encyclopedia lies in 
the conception that the several parts of human knowledge 
are related to each other, and that it is possible and neces 
sary for our mind to penetrate into this relation and to expli 
cate it. When a group of phenomena reflects itself in a 
mirror, man is compelled to investigate not merely those 
phenomena, but also the reflected image, by means of Optics. 
And what Optics effects for the image presented to sight, 
Encyclopedia designs to do for the reflection of what exists 
in our science. There lies a majesty in the human mind by 
virtue of which it cannot rest until it has acquired full domin 
ion in the world of thought. It cannot bear the suggestion 
that there should still be something in that world of thought 
that has withdrawn itself from the power of its sceptre. 
This impels it to scan not merely the whole horizon of 
phenomena with its knowledge, but the field of knowledge 
itself with its thought. An atornistical science offends the 
unity-sense of its own mind, or, by the pulverizing of the 
cosmos, robs that mind of confidence of step in its walk. 
And therefore it is bound to presume a relation between 
the parts of its knowledge also, nor can it rest until it has 
seen through that relation organically, because in this way 
only can science harmonize with the organic unity of its own 
thinking, as well as with the organic unity of the Kosmos. 



Put the human mind does not subject this field of knowl 
edge to its greatness all at once. At best it is a process of 
slow growth. A space of twenty-three centuries separates 
Plato from Fichte s Wisxenscliaftdelire and Hegel s Encyclo 
paedic, and Real-Encyclopedia still stands only at the very 
beginning of its clearer development. If Diogenes Laertius 
(IV. I, 5) can be believed, Plato already ventured upon a 
somewhat systematic classification of the several parts of our 
knowledge in a lost work, AidXoyoi TMV Trepl rr/v TrpayfiaTet av 
6fjLot (t)v. The same is said of Speusippus, Plato s kinsman, in 
his "OpoL, and of Aristotle in his Tlepl eTnarrifjiwv ; but since 
these writings have not been preserved, it is not possible to 
judge of the tendency of these studies. So much, however, 
is certain, that in those circles serious thinking was already 
begun upon the TratSeia in general and the 7ricrTf)/nai as such, 
but it took at once a more practical course. Aristotle indeed 
defined the boundary and the task of the several sciences. 
And Varro and Pliny actually put together the contents of 
different parts of knowledge. The organism itself of the 
plant was not reached ; flowers were picked and tied to 
gether as bouquets, but in such a way that the relation was 
found at first almost solely in the cord that was twined 
about the stems, and a harmonious arrangement of flowers 
after their kinds is scarcely yet suggested. Yarro s Rerum 
humanarum et divinarum antiquitates and his Disciplinarian 
libri IX have both been lost, and Pliny s Historia naturalis 
is the only treatise that enables us to form any idea of the 
defectiveness of these first efforts. 

With Hugo of St. Victor (f!141) and Vincent of Beau- 
vais (fl 264) the eye is opened to this harmony in classifica 
tion. That which Marcianus Capella (f-106) gives us in his 
Satyricon, Cassiodorus (ff)62) in his Institutio divinarum 
litterarum, Isidore of Seville (fOBG) in his Oriffines, and 
Hrabanus Maurus (f85G) in his De universo libri XXII. 
strives indeed after unity, as may be seen from Hraba- 
nus title, but succeeds only in the presentation of a dis 
tasteful and overdone bouquet. Hugo of St. Victor, on the 
other hand, seems to have an eye for the inner relation of 


the sciences when in his Eruditio didascalia he gives us a 
descriptio et partitio artium, in which he endeavors to show 
quomodo unaquaeque disciplina contineat aliam et ab alia con- 
tineatur. But even his systematic talent did not reach far. 
He divides the disciplinae into three groups: (1) the theorica 
contra ignorantiam (to wit: theology, physics and mathe 
matics); (2) the practica contra vitium (to wit: ethics, 
oeconomics and politics); and (3) the mechanica contra in- 
firmitatem (to wit: mechanica, to which the trivium is added). 
Vincent followed chiefly the division of Hugo, Avhich (with 
the exception of the change of mechanica into poetica) held 
its ground till the seventeenth century, but he gave it a more 
enduring phase by the division of his giant work into specu 
lum historiale, naturale and doctrinale, to which was added 
at a later date a speculum morale by one of his followers. 
The mutual relation of the sciences is grasped somewhat 
more firmly already by Bonaventura (f 1274) and by Thomas 
Aquinas (f!274). Excellent suggestions are given by Louis 
de Vives (f!540) in his XX books de cans, corrupt, art. 
de trad, discipl. et de ortibus ; but this relation was grasped 
for the first time as organic by Bacon of Verulam (f 1626), 
who in his work de dignitate et augmentis scientiarum (Lond. 
1624), and more yet in his organon scientiarum (1620), divided 
the sciences organically, i.e. after a principle derived from 
those sciences themselves. The development of this idea 
could follow only when the task of collecting the contents 
of ready knowledge gave place to reflection on the relations 
of what had been collected. No doubt, only those who have 
never looked into Alstedt s Encyclopedia can dispute the 
fact that this gigantic systematician had the systematizing 
talent : but the material to be collected began to be too ex 
tensive for the handling of it all and the deeper study of its 
relations to lie within the reach of a single scholar. 

9. Development of the Organic Idea 

Since from the days of Plato the human mind has been 
dimly conscious of the fact that the several parts of our 
knowledge form one body (o-w/ia) ; since it has been sought 


in every way to give expression to this consciousness by the 
actual collection of the several fragments of this one knowl 
edge in one work, or more correctly by reflecting it in one 
speculum ; and since the arrangement of this crude mass of 
itself demanded an account of the manner in which these 
members of this one body were related, the ever-increasing 
burden of ready knowledge needed to be thrown from the 
shoulder before the human mind could be sufficiently free, 
with ever more detiniteness of purpose, to choose this rela 
tion as the object of investigation. Two phenomena hastened 
this process. On the one hand, the advent of the alphabetic!, 
who, for the sake of making their books usable, purposely 
abandoned the systematic track and at an early period sought 
the Ariadne-thread for the labyrinth of their articles in the 
a b c ; and on the other hand the revival of the philosophical 
tendency that marks the second half of the eighteenth cen 
tury. When the alphabetic! cast the systematic method over 
board, it was natural for others to fish it up. And when, the 
philosophical tendency everywhere went, by way of the trunk, 
down to the root, the duty lay at hand of finding a principle 
according to which the sciences themselves might be divided. 
For a long time the remembrance of the word Encyclopedia 
was altogether lost. Used to a material encyclopedia, men 
thought that the encyclopedic domain was abandoned as soon 
as they withdrew from the bazaar for the sake of the exclu 
sive study of the invoice of the goods on hand. The real- 
lexicographers, who had abandoned the Encyclopedic idea, 
were reputed the only persons still entitled to the name of 
Encyclopedists, while the actual Encyclopedists, who gave 
themselves to the study of the organism of the sciences, did 
not dream of taking possession of their title. 

Johann August Ernesti wrote under the title of Inifia doc- 
trinae solidioris (1730), and his friend J. M. (ies.sner treated 
his subject as Primae lineae isagoyes in eruditionem univer- 
salem (1745), thus furnishing actual encyclopedia without a 
single thought about the name of Encyclopedia. In his 
Kurzer Inlegriff oiler Wissenschaften (175(>), which is fol 
lowed in the main by Reimarus, Kliigel, Biisch and Buhle, 


Sulzer and his followers no doubt furnished some system, but 
with a brief resume of the content for every department of 
science. With them formal Encyclopedia obtained no inde 
pendent position as it did with Ernesti and Gessner. Even 
Eschenburg, who in his Lehrbuch der Wissenschaftskunde, 
1792, embodied Kant s idea, as well as his followers Hefter, 
Burdach and Kraus, continued to look upon the formal as 
the frame in which the material was arranged ; and it is 
only in Erhard Schmid s G-rundriss der allgemeinen Encyclo 
paedic und Methodologie (1810), in Schaller s Encyclopaedic 
und Methodologie der Wissenschaften (1812), and partly in 
lasche s Architectonik der Wissenschaften (1816), that the 
suggestion of Ernesti and Gessner is worked out, and the 
consciousness returns that this study of science as science 
is Encyclopedia in its real sense. 

10. Victory of the Organic Idea 

And yet these men only stood in the vestibule ; Johann 
Gottlieb Fichte was the first to unlock the temple itself 
by his treatises on Die Bestimmung des G-elehrten (1794) 
and Das Wesen des Crelehrten (1806); but especially by his 
numerous monographs on the Wissenschaftslehre, which after 
1804 he prepared for his classes in Berlin and which later he 
explained and defended. This does not mean that in these 
studies Fichte gave us a true Encyclopedia. On the con 
trary, in his Wissenschaftslehre no trace of this can be found. 
But Fichte marked knowing itself as the object of an inde 
pendent science; and thus quickened the dim consciousness 
that the encyclopedic insight into the organism of the sci 
ences was not merely an auxiliary aid by which to create 
order in the chaos, nor simply tended to satisfy the sys 
tematic inclination and longing after order that is active in 
the man of science, but that the insight into the nature and 
into the organic relation of the sciences is an aim which 
must be striven after per se as an indispensable part of our 
knowledge. " Das Wissen vom Wissen" as Fichte preferred 
to call it, is the root from which all fundamental Encyclo 
pedia germinates. By this watchword the truth had come 


to light that the " knowledge " of man forms a world by 
itself ; that without unity of principle this world of our 
knowledge remains unintelligible; and that the necessary 
relation between (1) man who knoivs, (2) knowledge as such, 
and (3) the knoum, or the thus far acquired science, must be 
explained organically from this one principle. Only when this 
was perceived with some measure of clearness was the science 
of Encyclopedia born. Not that this is the only science that 
is called to solve the problem in all its parts. One only of 
these three parts is its appointed task. The Wissenschafts- 
lehre has knowledge ( Wissen) itself for its object ; Logic 
takes knowing man as its object of investigation; and Ency 
clopedia confines itself to the investigation of science as an 
independent whole. But it is only by Fichte s radical for 
mulations in the domain of the Wissemchuftslehre that the in 
dependent character of Encyclopedia entered into the sense 
of our times. Now, indeed, it was felt that the unit of 
science formed a well-rounded whole ; that an inwardly 
impelling power determined the circumference of its circle : 
and that the place for each of its parts is assigned by the 
character of its organism. From technic, which it had thus 
far been, Encyclopedia was changed into a philosophical 
conception; and when animated by this thought Schelling 
published his Vorlesunyen iiber die Metlwde des Academischen 
fitudiums, and Tittmann and Beneke in like manner dis 
placed the mechanical interpretation of the study by the 
organic, the process but awaited the intellectual powers of 
a Hegel to give us the first encyclopedia in the higher sense, 
if not of all, at least of philosophical, science. 

11. The Break in the Process 

This very advent of Encyclopedia, as a philosophical sci 
ence which has science itself for its object, rendered the 
execution of an Encyclopedia of general science provision 
ally impossible, and necessitated seeking the development of 
this new-born science first in the domain of the special sci 
ences. Here also progress was to be made from the special 
to the general. Thus the second half especially of this ceri- 


tury has witnessed the publication of a considerable number 
of special Encyclopedias, which as a rule have followed the 
division of the great field of science into a theological, 
philological, juridical, medical and physical science. Two 
factors have cooperated to further the course of this process. 
First the difficulty presented itself that he only who himself 
was well versed in a science is able to write its Encyclopedia 
with any hope of success, and that in view of the vast 
expanse of detailed knowledge and literature required for 
every special science, it becomes more and more inconceiv 
able that one man should be able to command this sufficient 
knowledge of all the departments of science. However 
much, therefore, Encyclopedia is also an undoubted part 
of philosophical science, yet it is entirely impossible that 
one philosopher should be able to manipulate all the ma 
terial for the science of Encyclopedia. No other course, 
therefore, was open but the one by which Theological 
Encyclopedia is developed by theologians, Historical by 
historians, Medical by physicians, etc., i.e. by each one for 
his own department; and only when each of these separate 
Encyclopedias has reached sufficient development can the 
man arise who may unite the results of these subdivisions 
into one philosophical whole. And on the other hand, the 
writing of an Encyclopedia has scarcely ever been under 
taken without the practical aim of introducing students 
of a given faculty into their science. A certain KVK\OS 
is necessary for every Encyclopedia, and this was given in 
the historical division of the faculties. Because of the sub 
division of its task, the Philosophical faculty alone has de 
parted from this, and has divided itself into philosophical, 
philological, historical and natural philosophy groups ; and 
where the natural philosophy and literary faculties are also 
divided as faculties, as they are in the Netherlands, distinction 
has still further been made between the philological and philo 
sophical task of the latter. This course of Enc}~clopedical 
study has an undeniable disadvantage. In the first place, a 
jurist, theologian, physician or philologian may readily fall 
short of philosophical unity and power of thought. Secondly, 


instead of the principle of science itself, the historical divi 
sion of the faculties has become the motive of the division. 
Thirdly, the practical purpose has tempted more frequently 
to the production of a convenient manual than to the writ 
ing of a scientific Encyclopedia. And fourthly (an evil indi 
cated already by Fichte and Griiber), the former custom of 
introducing the students into the imiversitas scientiarum 
too, as well as into their own department, has been more 
and more neglected. The academy has become an agglom 
erate of faculty-schools, and the university idea in its later 
interpretation has lost something of its inner truth. 

12. Provisional Result 

This review of the development of the Encyclopedic idea, 
in connection with the history of the name of Encyclopedia, 
yields the following result. The Encyclopedic idea sprang 
from the dim consciousness that the knowledge at our ser 
vice can be made the subject of thought, which study brings 
about the classification of its material into groups. This dim 
consciousness found at first only a practical expression, which 
is evident from the choice of the name e 7/cu/cXto?, and from 
the distinction that was made between a higher and lower, 
a holy or profane, group of knowledge. Then the body, 
or crco/u,a, of this knowledge was objectified in large com 
pendia, which collected all disposable knowledge and so 
presented it as a unity. The classification in these compen 
dia was at first entirely arbitrary or accidental, till gradu 
ally the need made itself felt of introducing system into this 
arrangement. This systematizing became ever more difficult 
as the material to be arranged constantly grew in volume, 
till finally the two motives parted company, and the material 
was arranged on the one hand alphabetically, exclusive of 
all system, while on the other hand the arrangement and the 
relation were studied independently. This latter study was 
provisionally almost exclusively technical, till Fichte gave 
the impetus to postulate the investigation of the organic 
system of all science itself as a necessary and independent 
science. The misunderstanding presented itself here, for a 


while, that the name of Encyclopedia was held by those who, 
in the collection of the material, sacrificed every Encyclopedic 
idea ; while the students of true Encyclopedia allowed the 
name to be lost. But during the last decennials, Encyclo 
pedia, as name also, has returned to its proper study, and the 
Real-Lexica as compendiums of the material and the Ency 
clopedias as studies of the organic relation of this material, 
separate. Provisionally these Encyclopedic studies, in the 
narrower sense, are still of a more special character ; and 
only when these special studies shall have reached a resting- 
point where they can take each other by the hand, will the 
time come in which general Encyclopedia can again be suc 
cessfully studied. 



13. Forming of the Conception 

The word, the idea, and the conception of Encyclopedia 
are genetically related. Hence in Encyclopedia also the old 
feud can be renewed, whether the conception lies at the begin 
ning or at the end of the development of the encyclopedic 
thought. To prevent misunderstanding, let it be stated that 
this paragraph takes "conception" in the last-mentioned 
sense. It is not difficult to account for this choice in the use 
of the word. The process of thought that takes place in the 
human spirit consists by no means merely in the linking 
together of those series of thoughts which you have willed 
to think, and by thinking have produced. This is but the 
labor which as an arboriculturist you have performed in the 
garden of your thoughts. But as the work of the gardener 
is only possible because of the fertility of the garden, and 
because this growth in his garden impels him to work, 
which work he himself directs, so also in the human mind 
there lives a world of thought, in which is growth and luxu 
riance of life independently of the human will and disposi 
tion ; and from this living world of thought one receives the 
impulse to think himself, and by this impulse mental effort 
is directed and defined. When this is lost from sight, we 
may have persons who think, but there is no development 
of thought in the human mind. The common element is 
then wanting from our thinking, by which alone the under 
standing of each other becomes possible. In this way all 
thought becomes aphoristical dilettantism and human lan 
guage inconceivable. If we now apply this to the " con 
ception," it follows that the conception also is no form 



of thought which we ourselves cast, but that it germinates, 
grows, and ripens independently of us, and is only plucked 
by us. As the flower was already present in the seed, and 
unfolded itself from it by a lawful development, so does 
the clear conception spring slowly from a process in our 
world of thought, which primarily at least went on alto 
gether outside our consciousness. And yet this unconscious 
working produces its effect upon our act. The infant seeks 
the mother-breast and drinks without having the least im 
pression of what the breast is, or the mother, or the milk. 
From that unconscious substrata of our life germinates first 
of all impression. This impression is first defined by the 
word by which it is expressed. The idea which impels us 
springs from it but gradually. And only when this idea 
inspires us, and has impelled us to act, does the bud set 
itself and by degrees unfold; till at length as fruit of 
empirical knowledge our insight becomes possible into the 
structure of the flower, and our conception forms itself. 

Speaking, therefore, in the organic sense, this "concep 
tion " was already present in its germ in the first impulse 
that worked in us from the unconscious world of thought ; 
this conception germinated in the impression ; it matured into 
the idea ; it directed us in our practical actions ; and finally 
objectified itself in our forming of the conception. If, on 
the other hand, you take the "conception" as you grasped 
it in its completed form, then of course it became observable 
only at the end of this process of thought, and to you it had 
its birth at that moment only in which you plucked it. 

Applying this to Encyclopedia, we find that the concep 
tion of Encyclopedia also was not cast by us arbitrarily, but 
that it germinated of necessity and defined itself. This 
conception is no product of our imagination, but it com 
pelled our thought to take it up into itself. As such the 
germ was already prepared, when the first impulse began to 
work in the human mind, from which sprang all Encyclopedic 
study. But if you take this conception, as here it must 
be taken, in distinction from the idea, the word, and the 
impression, then it only began to exist for you at that mo- 

26 14. CRITICAL DEMAND [Div. 1 

ment when with a clear insight you grasped the thought 
that impelled you. Genetically, therefore, we stand before 
this process: that originally in the human mind there 
worked the need of bringing a certain order into the chaos of 
its knowledge, not arbitrarily, but agreeably to a distin 
guishing principle that forced itself upon it. Further, that 
this need quickened the impression that there is a certain 
order in what presented itself to it as chaos, and that for this 
impression also it sought a representation in the figure and 
activity of the cyclos, and that in this way it formed the 
word Encyclopedia. That under the impulse of this impres 
sion clarified by the word, it performed Encyclopedical labor, 
That first with less and then with greater clearness the 
Encyclopedic idea led it in this work. And that only after 
this the Encyclopedical thought in turn was thought out by 
it, till at length it was able to give itself an account of what 
it accomplished and aimed at in this Encyclopedical labor. 
In this way only it grasped the Encyclopedic thought with 
entire clearness of consciousness, and thus formed its con 

14. Critical Demand 

In forming this definition of the conception we must 
work critically. Simply to construe the conception out of 
all that presents itself as Encyclopedic work is already 
impossible, because the great variety of matter exhibited 
under this label allows of no unity of conception. Just 
because Encyclopedic students were impelled for a long 
time by the impression only, led by the word, or inspired by 
the idra, but lacked the verification of the clear conception, 
it could not but happen that many things allied more or less 
distantly to Encyclopedia were ornamented with its name; 
that a good deal belonging to it was wrongly interpreted; 
and that a large share of inseparable essentials was neg 
lected. The definition of the conception of Encyclopedia 
demands, therefore, a critical discrimination of matter, and 
whiie on the one hand the idea must be grasped from 
what presents itself under this name, on the other hand also 
the historical content must be marked out agreeably to the 


demand of this idea. The lack of a pure definition of the con 
ception has created much confusion and error, and it is the 
duty of the conception-definition to restore us from these paths 
of error to the right track, and from this confusion to clear 
distinctions. For this reason our investigation began with 
the consideration of the word and its original significance, in 
order to grasp the root-idea of Encyclopedia as such; after 
this we traced the empirical use of this word under the 
guidance of the idea ; but now from this root-idea the con 
ception must be dialectically grasped and fixed. It is the 
root-idea that the human mind brings about a certain dis 
tinction and order in the chaos of our human knowledge, 
which is not done arbitrarily, but agreeably to a fixed order 
assumed to be present there. Under the lead of the general 
Encyclopedic idea this seeking after order in the chaos 
took place practically in all sorts of ways. First there was 
a classifying of this human knowledge by distinguishing 
between certain groups belonging to a fixed sphere or circle 
of life. Then order was sought by collecting the treasure of 
accessible knowledge into proper arrangement. After that 
the effort to establish order was made by placing the several 
departments of knowledge in a certain logical relation. 
And, finally, the attempt was made to penetrate to the 
organism itself, which science taken as a whole presents. 
It is not proper arbitrarily to mark one of these four mean 
ings as the conception of Encyclopedia. Hence we must 
see along which of these lines the lawful development of the 
Encyclopedic thought comes to its conception. 

15. Encyclopedic Necessity 

This investigation is governed by the antithesis of chaos 
and order. If we ourselves bring order into the chaos of 
our knowledge, after whatever manner we please, there is 
no Encyclopedic conception possible, because in that case 
every age and scholar is free to do this as he wills. But if 
we have no such liberty, then there is a something that 
binds us, and the question must be put as to what compels 
us logically to take this order in this way and not in the 


other, and with what right a succeeding- generation disap 
proves in part of the interpretation of a bygone generation 
and improves upon it. This compulsion springs in the iirst 
instance from the logical necessity which dominates in our 
thought. But this is not all. For then the question arises 
whether this logical necessity for our thinking has its ground 
in our thinking itself alone, or whether it proceeds from 
data outside of our thinking. Or, if you like to apply this 
to Encyclopedia, we face the question whether the necessity 
of bringing Encyclopedic order into this chaos of our knowl 
edge in one way and not in another, is born solely from the 
fact that by our thinking itself we arrange this knowledge 
in this order and not in the other, or whether this Encyclo 
pedic order is imposed upon that thinking by something that, 
outside of the thinker, lies in the object itself. Upon what 
ground the latter is assumed will be explained by the inves 
tigation of the conception of science. Here we merely state 
that in our bringing about of Encyclopedic order in the 
chaotic treasure of our knowledge, we are governed in t\vo 
respects by a compulsory order which is separable from our 
thinking. First, because the treasure of knowledge which 
we obtain by our thinking does not originate first by our 
thinking, but exists before we think; and, on the other hand, 
because the knowledge to be arranged in order stands in 
relation to a world of phenomena Avhich is independent of 
our thought. Since now that world of our knowledge and 
that world of phenomena are not chaotic but organic, our 
thinking cannot rest till in the treasure of our knowledge it 
has exhibited such an Encyclopedic order as will harmonize 
with the organic relation both of that world of our knowl 
edge and of that world of phenomena. Thus our human 
spirit is not to invent a certain order for our knowledge, but 
to seek out and to indicate the order which is already there. 

10. Scientific Character 

This necessity alone imparts to Encyclopedic study its 
scientific character. With every other interpretation it may 
lie a plav of tin; imagination, it may be art, but no science. 


For a hiatus remains in our scientific consciousness as long 
us the mind of man has not investigated with its thinking 
not only the whole of the rest of the /coV/io?, but also the 
processes of its own thought upon this /eo cr/uo?. If from this 
the necessity arises for man to begin a scientific investiga 
tion of himself as a thinking being and of the lairs which his 
thinking obeys, then there follows from this at the same time 
the demand that he shall make science itself an object of 
investigation and exhibit to his consciousness the organism 
of science. Man, indeed, with the first rise of the Encyclo 
pedic impulse, dealt with the mass of general knowledge, 
which was at his disposal as a chaos, but now science itself 
as object takes its place. Science is distinguished from 
general knowledge by the fact that science puts the emphasis 
upon the order in that knowledge. Science is systematic, 
i.e. it is knowledge orderly arranged. The native physician 
among the negroes in Africa deals only with flesh and bone, 
while the scientific European or American physician deals 
with a body, and his medical science is founded upon the 
organic existence of the body. In the same way the dilettant- 
Encyclopedist asks merely after the knowledge at hand, 
Avhile the Encyclopedist who is a man of science interprets 
that knowledge as a system, and understands it consequently 
as science. And this decides the question as to which one 
of the four interpretations of Encyclopedic arrangement 
mentioned in 15 is scientifically correct. 

Let a fairly complete collection of medicines be brought 
together, all of which are well known to you, and let it be 
your duty to arrange this chaos of medicines scientifically. 
How will you do it? Will you sort the medicines according 
to the several patients, one of whom will require this, the 
other that? Will you sort them according to the manner in 
which they are put up, bottles with bottles, powders with 
powders ? Or will you imitate the druggist, who gives them 
places most conveniently at hand for sale? By no means. 
The first assortment, according to the patients, is proper for 
the messenger who is to bring the medicines to the houses ; 
the second assortment is convenient for transporting medi- 


cines in large quantities ; and the third assortment is neces 
sary in part for the convenient arrangement of bottles and 
pots on the drug-store shelves. But even though with these 
three modes of sorting, the nature, effect, and use of the 
medicines are measurably considered, these assortments are 
not scientific. For a scientific arrangement of them the 
physician must enter upon the organic relations of this 
world of medicines, and from this derive a principle for 
determining the arrangement. Applying this to the treas 
ures of accessible knowledge, we find that the Greeks sorted 
originally according to the need of the patients, i.e. of those 
who were to be aided by the TraiSeia ; that the compilers of 
the great Compendia sorted according to the principle of 
bottles with bottles and powders with powders, and only 
paid attention to the necessities of packing; Alstedt and 
his followers sorted just like the druggist, according to the 
logical arrangement with regard to use in the schools ; while 
scientific Encyclopedists alone have taken into account the 
organism of science itself. Without doubt, a leading thought 
predominated in the first three assortments, but that leading 
thought was not inherent in the treasure of knowledge itself. 
It could be taken in one way as well as in another, and 
lacked the mark of necessity, while it did not take sufficient 
account of the fact that there is an inherent order in our 
knowledge itself. Just like the negro physician, they be 
held flesh and bone, but failed to discern the bod// in them, 
and therefore could give no account of the skeleton, veins, 
and systems of muscles and nerves by which the whole 
was knit together. As soon, however, as it was seen that 
we need not bring order into our knowledge, but must 
merely trace out the order which is already in it, Encyclo 
pedia became scientific. From being investigation into a 
mechanical arrangement, it now became the study of an 
organic life-relation. We now deal with a dominant prin 
ciple, which of necessity, and according to a fixed law, has 
effected the organic relation, and in this way only the effort 
has been born not merely to indicate that relation, but also 
to trace out both that principle and its working. 


17. Limitation of the Conception 

From this it follows that the compilation of the rich mass 
of our knowledge into an alphabetical or systematic manual, 
when arranged alphabetically, has nothing in common with 
Encyclopedia ; and that even if this could be done system 
atically, it would be the application of Encyclopedia to the 
exhibition of our knowledge, but could by no means be 
Encyclopedia itself. It likewise follows that a resum6 of 
the most important data of our knowledge must no doubt 
deal with the results of Encyclopedia, but is not warranted in 
a single instance in bearing the name of Encyclopedia itself. 
And it also follows that the collection of the historia literaria 
for any department, and the indication of its auxiliaries, by 
itself has nothing in common with the science of Encyclo 
pedia. Encyclopedic science is undoubtedly productive of 
fruits for such compendia and manuals, and is entitled to 
the distinction that the writers of such books deal with its 
results, but as a science it must be studied for its own sake. 
Its aim must ever be to grasp the inner organism of science 
as such. If indeed, as with other sciences, it was practical 
interests which impelled to this study, so that only after 
wards the theory was discovered by which to reach the scien 
tific method, this does by no means warrant the attempt to 
derive the conception of Encyclopedia from these first efforts. 
Here also the conception ripens only when Encyclopedia 
becomes conscious of the aim it has in view and has found 
the way by which to reach it. Whatever, therefore, in the 
several existing encyclopedias serves to provide material, or 
to indicate auxiliaries, or to simplify the review by means of 
summaries, does not belong to Encyclopedia proper. It is 
superfluous and troublesome ballast, or it is the application 
of a result of Encyclopedia, while Encyclopedia proper has 
the floor only when science itself, in its organic existence, 
is the object of investigation, the aim of which is not to 
create order in the chaos, but to show that that which at first 
made the impression upon us of existing chaotically, appears 
on closer investigation to exist cosmically or organically. 


18. Subdivision of Philosophy 

So much is gained by this fur the conception of Encyclo 
pedia, that now we understand by it that science which takes 
the organism of science itself for the object of its investiga 
tion. This decides equally the question as to what place 
this science itself occupies in the unit of sciences. From 
this it appears that Medical Encyclopedia does not belong 
to the medical sciences, that Theological Encyclopedia does 
not belong to the theological sciences, etc., but that all 
Encyclopedic study is philosophical, and forms a subdivision 
of philosophy. As long as Encyclopedia was understood to 
be a real-lexicon or a manual for early beginners, this idea 
remained nebulous. In this sort of works the special 
content of every department was the main interest, and the 
Encyclopedic thought was seen only occasionally peering 
from behind the scenes. Thus Theological Encyclopedia 
was looked upon as a theological, and Juridical Ency 
clopedia as a juridical, department, and the real nature of 
Encyclopedia was not grasped. But when it is once af 
firmed that the special material but serves to discover the 
hidden relations in it, and is cast aside as soon as this is 
found, in order to keep these relations themselves as the 
object with which to deal, the philosophical character of 
Encyclopedia is hereby defined. Encyclopedia belongs then 
to those sciences by which man as a thinking being seeks 
to give himself an account of the world of his thoughts, and 
is, as such, a subdivision of philosophy. This would have 
been at once and clearly perceived if the Encyclopedic science 
could immediately have busied itself with the whole field of 
its investigation. No one would then have given general 
Encyclopedia a place elsewhere. And only the accidental 
circumstance that the study of this science had to begin with 
the special departments obscured the outlook. It cannot be 
denied that the subdivisions of every science belong to that 
science itself, and that thus the undeniably philosophical 
character of general Encyclopedia eo ipxo asserts that all 
special Encyclopedic study belongs to philosophy. 


19. Methodology and Hodegetics 

The conception of Encyclopedia is allied to those of 
Methodology and Hodegetics, which, though often taken for 
each other, are sharply distinguishable. Hodegetics points 
out the way to him to whom the way is unknown. The 
letter-carrier, who knows every inch of his way, takes no 
notice in his daily rounds of the sign-post at the cross-road. 
And the task of Hodegetics extends no further than showing 
the way in any department to whose study a man begins to 
devote himself. It acquaints him with the general features 
of the domain, tells him of the helps he is in need of in 
order to make advances, and points out to him the direction 
in which to go. Thus there belongs to it a short resume of 
the primitive data of every department; a reference to what 
composes its chief literature ; a brief review of its history ; a 
statement of its requirements; and an indication of the 
course of study to be pursued. Hodegetics teaches the 
theory of study to him who is not yet capable of study 

Methodology, on the other hand, is something very differ 
ent. If Hodegetics serves the practical purpose of showing 
the inexperienced traveller the way that has already been 
discovered and cleared, Methodology, on the other hand, is 
the theoretical science which gives an account of the reason 
why this way was made thus and not otherwise, and decides 
the question whether there is any reason to change the way 
or its direction. This distinction is not always kept in 
sight, but it is real. Hodegetics assumes that the way is 
there, that it has been used, and points it out. Methodology, 
on the other hand, is the science which decides how the wa}- 
is to be laid, and approves or disapproves of the way that has 
been laid. By "way" two things can here be understood. 
Either the way along which runs our thinking in this 
formal sense, or the waj 7 along which our thoughts must 
run in order to arrive at truth. In the first-mentioned 
sense Methodology forms a subdivision of Logic. In the 
last-mentioned sense it is an independent science which 


places the results of Logic into relation with the ramiiica- 
tions of the several departments of science. He Avho de 
sires to use a steamboat in the exploration of an unknown 
drainage system in Africa faces two questions of method: 
(1) how to convey his steamer thither and put it together 
again ; and (2) how he will sail in the channels themselves 
of this drainage system in order to reach the mountains from 
which the stream descends. In scientific work our thinking 
is that steamer which must carry us forward, and the course 
of the drainage system indicates the method by which to 
advance with our thoughts. Every science, indeed, is suh 
a dependent drainage system, which by the course of the 
principal stream and its ramifications determines the way 
along which knowledge of it is attained. 

The idea of method, coinciding with that of /^ere/j^o/iou, 
i.e. to trace, assumes that what we seek to discover by our 
thinking was thought before it originated, and that our 
effort is to think over again this original thought. When a 
Prussian general studies the fortification system of France s 
capital, he starts out from the assumption that the French 
soldiers who have built this system of fortifications have 
first thought out this system, and have afterwards built it 
agreeably to this studied plan. His aim, therefore, is to 
discover this plan, and this is only reached when he clearly 
grasps the original thought of the French engineer before 
he began to build. Only when he understands this original 
plan in its relations, does he know the Paris fortifications. 
Hence two methods are here involved. First, the method 
by which the French engineer built the fortifications, and 
secondly, the method of the Prussian general in discover 
ing the fortifications plan. The two are different. The 
method of him who built the fortifications developed itself 
from the principal thought he conceived in the drawing 
of his plan. The method of the discoverer, on the other 
hand, begins by viewing the forts and bulwarks of the 
outer lines, from thence proceeds to the second and third 
lines, and only from the relations of these several means 
of defence does he penetrate to the plan of the fortifica- 


tions. But when the discoverer has once grasped this plan, 
he changes his method of thought to that of the engineer, 
and now takes up the proof of the sum, whether the location, 
the form, and the armament of the several bulwarks in each 
of the lines can be explained from the principal thought dis 

Mutatis mutandis, this distinction between the method that 
lies in the object of investigation and the method by which 
we seek to obtain knowledge of this object, is applicable to 
every scientific investigation. In every object we are to 
grasp scientifically there must be a realized plan. Entirely 
independently of our thought a thinking motive is active in 
every object, and this motive impels the thought that lies 
in this object to proceed in a fixed track. This is the method 
that lies in the object itself, and with the knowledge of 
which we are concerned. But inasmuch as we have yet to 
penetrate from the circumference to the centre of this object, 
we must seek a method first by which from what we see to 
reach the hidden thought; and only when this is found does 
our thinking move from the centre to the circumference and 
think indeed the thought over again which has embodied 
itself in the object to be investigated (/ierep^erai). In the 
main, therefore, we go first from without to within, and 
then from within back again to without, and both times we 
are bound to travel the way given in the object itself. 
Thus Methodology lays out for us the way along which to 
enter in upon the inner existence of the object, as well as 
the way along which we can understand the origin of this 

If, now, there were no obstacles in the way along which 
from phenomena we reach the inner existence of the object, 
this twofold task of Methodology would amount to doing 
the same thing twice, with the only difference of moving 
one time in an opposite direction from the other. Since, 
however, in the approach to the object all sorts of difficul 
ties present themselves in the way, which rise partly from 
the observer and partly from the object to be observed, it is 
the task of Methodology to indicate how we can overcome 


these difficulties; or, where they are insuperable, to show us 
a side-road by which to reach our end. These difficulties, 
which differ with the several objects, compel Methodology 
to indicate a proper method for each of the several depart 
ments of study, by which in each department the end can lie 
reached. A general Methodology of sciences, therefore, is 
not, enough. Methodology also must specialize itself, and 
since the special method for each department and each sub 
division of a department is wholly governed by the Encyclo 
pedic relation of the parts with the whole, Encyclopedia 
takes up into itself this special Methodology. It can easilv 
be separated from this connection for the entire group of 
departments, to serve as a department of general Method 
ology; but since the question of method returns with each 
subdivision of every department, a special Methodology 
would have to include the entire Encyclopedia of the depart 
ment, in order to be intelligible and to justify itself. In 
one instance it would be an encyclopedic woof with a 
methodological warp, and in the other instance Methodology 
embroidered upon encyclopedic canvas. And, however real 
the difference is between the two, this difference is too 
insignificant to justify the trouble of a separate treatment. 


Encyclopedia lias incorrectly been confused with aU<jemeine 
Wissenschaftslehre. Fichte s title accounts for this. lie 
himself describes the "Wissenschaftslehre" as a " Wissen 
vom Wissen," and consequently not "von der Wisscnschaft." 
"Allgemeine lehre vom Wissen" would have been the more 
accurate name, and would have prevented misunderstanding. 
"Knowledge and "science" are different tilings. Knowl 
edge itself is a phenomenon in the human mind. Suppose 
an entire population in a college town were massacred; there 
would be no more knowledge in that city; for all knowledge 
assumes a living, thinking person who knows. But if the 
library had been spared, there would still be science to be 
found in that massacred town, because those books contain 
a whole mass of science. It is a very different thing. 


therefore, whether I investigate the formal phenomenon of 
knowledge as such, or scan science itself, as it exists organi 
cally in all its ramifications, in its inner essence and articula 
tion. Up to this point general Encyclopedia and " allgemeine 
Wissenschaftslehre" have nothing in common. What Fichte 
aimed at was the study of a phenomenon in our consciousness ; 
what Encyclopedia aims at is an analysis and synthesis of 
all sciences together, taken as one organic whole. This, 
however, is no warrant for overlooking the relation which 
unites the two and lies in the general conception of sci 
ence that is fundamental to all special sciences. The body 
is both something different and something more than its 
members, and general Encyclopedia cannot be content with 
the investigation of the separate members of the body of 
science; it must also deal with the science which finds its 
ramifications in the several special sciences. And when 
ready to undertake this, it of necessity touches "allgemeine 
Wissenschaftslehre," since this teaches " knowledge " in its 
most universal form, and thus offers it the means by which 
to define the character of science in its universal sense. 

21. Organic Character 

If it is the task of Encyclopedia to furnish us knowledge 
of science as an organic whole, a clear insight into the voca 
tion of Encyclopedia demands a distinction between the 
threefold organic nature of science. Botany, for instance, 
is an organic science : (1) because it introduces into the 
mirror of our thoughts a group of phenomena, which as 
"the vegetable kingdom" exists organically; (2) because it 
reflects this " vegetable kingdom " in a world of thoughts, 
which in its turn also classifies organically; and (3) because 
it does not introduce this "organic vegetable kingdom 
absolutely into this organic "world of thought," but in 
organic connection with the life of man and animal. Thus 
every science has to do with a phenomenon which exists in 
itself organically and is organically related with other phe 
nomena, while at the same time it must present the knowl 
edge of this phenomenon in organic relation. If in our 


thought we place a series of departments of science side 
by side, there is again a threefold relation among them : 
(1) since the objects with whose study these departments are 
concerned (Botany, Zoology, etc.) are organically related in 
life itself; (2) since the reflections of these objects do not 
lie loosely side by side in our mind, but also in the world 
of our thinking maintain an organic relation with each 
other; and (3) since the activities which go out from these 
objects upon life, are organically involved with one another. 
If now there were no unity in this threefold organic relation, 
we should have a threefold organic interpretation of science : 
the first according to the relation of phenomena, the second 
according to the relation of our thoughts, and the third 
according to the relation of the several ends at which our 
studies aim: or, more briefly still, we should have a phe 
nomenal, a logical, and a practical interpretation. But this 
is not so. The organic inter-relations of phenomena cannot 
be grasped by us except as an outcome of an organic thought; 
the organic relation of what is known in our thoughts can 
not assert its rights until it agrees with the organic inter 
relation of the phenomena; and the workings of this 
knowledge upon our life stand in turn in relation both to 
the inter-relations of the phenomena and to our knowledge 
of those phenomena. History truly shows that the empiri 
cal division of study (the phenomenal), with which all 
science began, and the theoretical (the logical), which only 
came later on, even as that of the university (in faculties), 
which, a few particulars excepted, kept equal step with the 
last-named, have amounted mainly in the end to a similar 
division of the sciences. 

But with reference to this point also Encyclopedia should 
reach self-consciousness, and give itself a clear account of 
the question what it understands by the organism of science. 
In which case it is self-evident that it cannot allow itself 
to be governed by the practical university division of the 
faculties, but that it must rather examine critically and 
correct them. And it lies equally near at hand that the 
phenomenon by itself should not be permitted to influence 


this division, since this is the very science that exhibits for 
the first time the organic relation of the phenomena. Hence 
Encyclopedia is not at liberty to deal with anything else 
save the organic relation in which the parts of the whole of 
our knowledge stand to each other. Science, in its absolute 
sense, is the pure and complete reflection of the cosmos in the 
human consciousness. As the parts of all actually exist 
ing things lie in their relations, so must the parts of our 
knowledge be related in our consciousness. As a country 
is sketched on a chart, and we succeed ever better, as 
Cartography advances, in sketching the country upon the 
chart just as it is, so also must science convert the actually 
existing cosmos into the logical form. The further science 
advances, the easier it will be to reproduce the cosmos logi 
cally, and to make all its parts to be clearly seen, together 
with their several relations. And thus science divides itself, 
because in proportion as the logical reproduction becomes 
more accurate, it will image in a more organic way whatever 
exists organically. And so does science begin to show itself 
to us as an immeasurable field, in which all sorts of divisions 
and subdivisions must be distinguished, and upon which the 
mutual relations among these divisions and life is ever more 
clearly exhibited. It is this organic relation with which 
Encyclopedia has to deal. The field of our knowledge itself 
in its organic inter-relations appears as the object to be inves 
tigated by it. 

22. Still Incomplete 

From the fact that the object is still incomplete flows 
of necessity the incompleteness of Encyclopedia. In the 
field of knowledge some ground is not yet broken, and 
other parts are but imperfectly known. And yet Encyclo 
pedia must not wait until its object is completely ready, 
since science is in need of her assistance to get itself ready. 
Hence it must overcome its false modesty and present itself 
as it is, provided it but acknowledges its own imperfection 
and makes no pretension of being already the Encyclopedia. 
This involves the fact that every effort to furnish an Ency 
clopedia must provisionally bear an individual character. If 

40 22. STILL INCOMPLETE [Div. 1 

Encyclopedia could wait till every controversy concerning 
psychology, the way of knowledge, knowledge as such, 
were ended, and all contrasts of view in every special 
department had fallen away, an Encyclopedia might be 
spoken of which would compel every thinker to agree. 
Since, however, the field of knowledge is only known in 
part, and the psychological sciences are still at variance with 
each other, and since in every department the tendencies and 
schools are still in the heat of combat, no writer of Encyclo 
pedia can carry an argument save from the view-point which 
he himself occupies and except he start out from the hypothe 
ses upon which his general presentation is founded. There 
is no harm in this, since every other science actually goes to 
work in the same way, provided the view-point be properly 
denned and the end be held in sight of obtaining the Ency 
clopedia in its absolute form. Otherwise we may get an 
Encyclopedic fantasy, but no contribution to the science of 

As long, however, as the logical sketch of the cosmos is 
only a partial success, the organic relation traced by our 
science will differ from the organic relation actually exist 
ing in the cosmos ; wherefore Encyclopedia cannot deal with 
the latter, but is bound to turn its attention to the first. 
For the same reason it cannot justify its demand that the 
university division of faculties shall reform itself at once in 
obedience to its directions. This should certainly have to 
be done if it were already Encyclopedia in the absolute sense, 
but can not be demanded as long as it presents itself in a 
form that is so imperfect and individually colored. In life 
also lies a logic; and a logic lies equally in history; and 
from these two has sprung the university division. If 
Encyclopedia succeeds in effecting an influence upon life 
itself, by which it will gradually be persuaded to regulate 
its needs in a different way, the university division also will 
thereby be indirectly influenced and corrected. But then 
it will have stood the fire proof, and this will justify its 
demands. If, on the other hand, an attempt were made to 
influence directly by Encyclopedia the architect of the 


university and persuade him to cut the tie that binds the 
university to life, it would result either in a pseudo-victory, 
or the university would be turned into an abstract schema 
tism. This was the mistake committed by the Netherlands 
government, when, in 1878, at the suggestion of a one-sided 
Encyclopedia, it robbed the theological faculty in the State 
Universities of its historical character, and actually changed 
it into a school of the science of religion. Since from its 
very nature such a faculty is of no practical use to life, and 
as such has no susceptibility to life, the " officiousness of 
practical life " compelled a reaction against the aim of the 
lawgiver, and the demands of this one-sided Encyclopedia 
could be only apparently satisfied. It triumphed in the letter 
of the scheme, but actually and practically the right of his 
tory maintained the supremacy. 

23. A Threefold Task 

With this reservation it is the task of Encyclopedia to 
investigate the organism of science physiologically, ana 
tomically and pathologically. Physiologically, in order to 
enter into the nature of the life of every science and to trace 
out and define the function of each member in the body 
of sciences. Anatomically, in order to exhibit the exact 
boundaries, divisions and relations of the several depart 
ments and subdivisions of departments. And pathologically, 
in order to bring to light the imperfection in the functioning 
of every science, to show its lack of accuracy in the fixing of 
the several relations, and to watch lest by hypertrophy or by 
atrophy the proper proportions should be lost between the 
development of the parts. Physiologically it clarifies the 
sense that must inspire every man in his own department, 
and rectifies the universally scientific sense. Anatomically 
it brings order into every study and defines the boundaries 
between the several studies. And pathologic-medically it 
arrests every error, inaccurate connection and unnatural 
development which combats the demand of the organic 
life of a science and of each of its parts. 

42 25. PURELY FORMAL [Div. I 

24. Method of Encyclopedia 

The only practicable method of general Encyclopedia is, 
that it should begin with the study of the historical develop 
ment of the special sciences as they now are, and from this 
should endeavor to form for itself an image of the develop 
ment of science in general. Then it should examine this 
historical phenomenon in order to understand the motive of 
science as such and the special motive of its several parts, and 
when it has thus fixed the idea of science and of its separate 
parts, it should investigate historically the ways by which it 
has progressed and the causes that have retarded or corrupted 
it. Having in this way succeeded historically in discovering 
the essential nature of its object, and the law of this object s 
life, Encyclopedia should then proceed to investigate in the 
same way each of the parts and to determine the organic rela 
tion between them. And having in this way obtained a clear 
representation of what the organism of science is, how its 
functions operate and its parts cohere, with this result in 
hand it should criticise the actual study of science. Its 
point of departure must be historical. From what has been 
historically discovered it must develop its idea. And with 
this standard in hand it must prosecute its task both as critic 
and physician. 

25. Purely Formal 

This answers of itself the question to what extent En 
cyclopedia is to concern itself with the material of each 
science. It is not its task to furnish the body of science 
itseli, but to point out the organic relations in this body, to 
demonstrate them, and, in case of error, to reestablish their 
proper location. Encyclopedia does not build the body of 
science, neither does it reproduce it, but it begins by view 
ing this body of science as given; and its task is merely 
to show that it is a body, and how, as a body, it exists. 
The Physiologist does not bring the blood into the body, 
neither does he reproduce it, neither is it his calling 
to investigate the whole quantity of blood. His culling 
limits itself to the examination of blood as such, in its com- 

CHAP. Ill] 26. RESULT 43 

position, origin, function and pathological deformation. 
So far as there occur variations in this mass of blood, he is 
bound to give himself an account of each one of these varia 
tions ; but so far as the similar is concerned, he is interested 
only in the disposition of one of these similar phenomena. 
And this is the case with the Encyclopedist. He assumes 
that the material of science is known. He does not create 
nor reproduce it, neither does he add to it. But in this 
multitudinous material he looks for the network that binds 
the groups of similar parts to each other. His study extends 
all the way of this network in its length and in its breadth, 
but where this network disappears in common material his 
investigation ends. Hence no division or subdivision in all 
the material of science can be so small but that, as long as 
it forms a separate group or member in the organism, he 
must study it out. The active working only of the organism 
upon the material is to be investigated by him, and not the 
result obtained by this organic function. Thus in scientific 
Encyclopedia that shall be worthy of the name, there will be 
no room for the content itself of the separate sciences, and 
not even for a brief summary of their results. The material 
must remain entirely excluded, and only the formal part of 
each science must be exhibited. 

26. Result 

The result of our investigation is, that by Encyclopedia we 
understand that philosophical science which in the entire 
thesaurus of our scientific knowledge thus far acquired 
exhibits and interprets the organic existence of science and 
of its several parts. This conception of Encyclopedia, which 
has been arrived at historically, dialectically and by means 
of distinction from the correlated conceptions, excludes 
therefore all realistic treatment of the material, and con 
centrates Encyclopedia upon the formal side of science. 
Realistic Encyclopedia is no Encyclopedia. Formal Ency 
clopedia alone is entitled to bear this name in the scientific 
sense. In this sense this acquired conception applies as 
well to general Encyclopedia as to Encyclopedia of special 

44 2. RESULT [Div. I 

departments, even though it lies in the nature of the case 
that general Encyclopedia, because it is general, limits itself 
to the principal ramifications of the organism of science, and 
leaves the detailed ramifications of each group and its sub 
divisions to the study of special Encyclopedia. General 
Botany has nothing to do with the variations of the species 
rosa into tree roses, monthly roses, provincial roses, or tea 



27. Two Difficulties 

And now, as we come to the conception of that special 
Encyclopedia called Theological, the simple application to 
Theology of what was obtained for the conception of General 
Encyclopedia will not suffice. There would be no objection 
to this in the cases of the Encyclopedias of the Juridical or 
Philological sciences, but in the case of that of Theology 
there is. The reason of this lies in the two circumstances: 
first, that the scientific character of Theology is disputed by 
many ; and, secondly, that they who do not dispute this are 
disagreed as to what is to be understood by Theolog} r . 
Dr. Riibiger, who has referred to this difficulty in his 
Theologik oder Enc. der TheoL, Lpz. 1880, p. 94, incorrectly 
inferred from it that for this reason, before its object can 
be ready, the Encyclopedia of science must create for itself 
from these several Theologies a general conception of The 
ology, in order that it may make this general conception 
of Theology the subject of scientific study. This is not 
possible, since then Encyclopedia would have the right of 
judgment between the several Theologies ; it should have 
to furnish a complete demonstration for the sake of sup 
porting this judgment ; and thus it would have to investi 
gate independently all the formal and material questions 
which are variously solved in Theology. In this way it 
would have to treat the leading departments of Theology 
fundamentally, and, dissolving into dogmatics, apologetics, 
church history, etc., would cease to be Encyclopedia. It 
would then bring forth its own object, instead of studying a 
given object. And, worse yet, he who would write such an 



Encyclopedia would not be able to escape from his own per 
sonality nor from the view-point held by himself. His criti 
cism, therefore, would amount to this : he who agreed with 
him would be right, he who disagreed wrong, and the result 
would be that lie would award the honorary title of general 
Theology to that particular Theology to which he had com 
mitted himself. A general Theology would then be exhib 
ited, and, back of this beautiful exterior, the subjective 
view-point, which was said to be avoided, would govern the 
entire exposition. 

28. The First Difficulty 

If both difficulties that here present themselves are 
squarely looked in the face, it must at once be granted 
that before Theological Encyclopedia can devote itself to 
its real task, it must vindicate the scientific character of 
Theology. This is not the creation of an object of its own, 
but the simple demonstration of the fact that Theology is a 
proper object of Encyclopedic investigation. If all Ency 
clopedia is the investigation of the whole or of a part of the 
organism of science, no Encyclopedia of Theology can be 
suggested as long as it is still uncertain whether Theology 
forms a part of this organism. Since, now, the doubt con 
cerning the scientific character of Theology does not spring 
from the still imperfect development of this science, but 
finds its origin in the peculiar character it bears in distinc 
tion from all other sciences, it is the duty of the writer of 
an Encyclopedia of this science to show upon what grounds 
he disputes this doubt as to its right of existence. This 
demonstration must be given in two ways. First, by such 
definitions of the conception " science," and of the conception 
" Theology," that it will be evident that the second is sub 
ordinate to the first. And, secondly, by showing that the 
parts of Theology are mutually related organically, and that, 
taken as a whole, it stands in organic relation to the rest of 
the organism of science. This treatise also will venture the 
effort to furnish this double proof. 

The first only of these two proofs is demanded by the 


peculiar character of Theology. The second proof that the 
parts of a special science mutually cohere organically, and 
together are related equally organically to the whole of 
science, every special Encyclopedia of whatever science 
undertakes to show. But the first proof that the conception 
of this special science is subordinate to the conception of 
general science does not occur in other special Encyclo 
pedias, because with the other sciences this subordination 
is evident of itself and is by no one denied. 

29. The Second Difficulty 

The second difficulty should be considered somewhat more 
at length. It presents itself in the fact that all sorts of 
Theologies offer themselves as the object of investigation to 
the writer of an Encyclopedic Theology. There is a Greek 
Theology, and a Romish Theology, a Lutheran, Reformed, 
and a Modern Theology, a " Vermittelungstheologie," and, 
in an individual sense, we even hear a Schleiermachian, a 
Ritschlian, etc., Theology spoken of. Order, therefore, is 
to be introduced into this chaos. Simply to make a choice 
from among this number would be unscientific. Where 
choice is made its necessity must be shown. Even the 
Romish theologian, who looks upon every other Theology 
save that of his own church as the exposition of error, can 
not escape from the duty of scientific proof of this position. 
If it involved merely a difference between several " schools," 
it might be proper to select out of these several interpreta 
tions what is common to them all, and thus to conclude the 
existence of a general Theology. But this is not so. The 
difference here springs not from a difference of method in the 
investigation of one and the same object, but from a difference 
concerning the question of what the object of Theology is. 
One Theology investigates a different object from another. 
One Theology denies the very existence of the object which 
another Theology investigates. Even if we could agree 
upon the methods of investigation it would be of no use, for 
though the merits of your method were recognized, the 
objection would still hold good that you apply your method 


to a pseudo-object, which has no existence outside of your 
imagination. This springs from the fact that the object of 
Theology lies closely interwoven with our subjectivity, and is 
therefore incapable of being absolutely objectified. A blind 
man is no more able to furnish a scientific study of the phe 
nomenon of color, or a deaf person to develop a theory of 
music, than a scholar whose organ for the world of the 
divine has become inactive or defective is capable of furnish 
ing a theological study, simply because he has none other 
than a hearsay knowledge of the object Theology investi 
gates. Hence no escape is here possible from the refraction 
of subjectivity. This should the more seriously be taken into 
our account because this refraction springs not merely from 
the circumference of our subjective existence, but is organi 
cally related to the deepest root of our life and to the very 
foundation of our consciousness. Whether this impossibility 
of completely objectifying the object of Theology does or does 
not destroy the scientific character of Theology can only later 
on be investigated ; here we do not deal with the object of 
Theology but with Theology itself as object of Theological 
Encyclopedia ; and of this it is evident that Theology itself 
cannot be presented as an absolute and constant object, be 
cause its own object cannot escape from the refraction of 
our subjectivity. If a scientific investigator, and in casu the 
writer of an Encyclopedia, could investigate his object with 
out himself believing in the existence of his object, it might 
be possible for the Encyclopedist at least to keep himself 
outside of this difference. But this is out of the question. 
Faith in the existence of the object to be investigated is the 
conditio sine qua non of all scientific investigation. No theo 
logical Encyclopedist is conceivable except one to whom 
Theology has existence, neither can Theology have existence 
to him unless it also has an object in whose reality he equally 
believes. As an actual fact it is seen that all w r riters of 
Theological Encyclopedias take for their object of investiga 
tion that which they conceive to be Theology, and also that 
every theologian assumes something as object of Theology 
which to him has real existence. Thus one link locks into 


the other. To be able to write an Encyclopedia of Theology 
it must be fixed beforehand what you conceive to be Theol 
ogy ; and in order to know which of the several theologies 
that present themselves shall be your Theology, it must first 
be determined what the object is which you give Theology to 
investigate. It is evident therefore that the theological En 
cyclopedist cannot possibly furnish anything but an Ency 
clopedia of his Theology. For though this may be denied, 
and it be made to appear that a Theological Encyclopedia 
in the general sense is given, the outcome always shows 
that in reality the writer claims universal validity for his 

30. No One-sidedness 

This is a self-deception which nevertheless contains a germ 
of truth. If in order to be a theologian one must believe in 
the existence of the object of his Theology, the claim is of 
itself implied that what he takes to be valid must also be 
valid to every one else. This is no presumption, but only 
the immediate result of the firmness of conviction which is 
the motive for his scientific investigation. All scepticism 
causes science to wither. But from this there flows an 
obligation. Just this: to point out in the other theologies 
what is untenable and inconsequent, to appreciate what is 
relatively true, and to a certain extent to show the necessity 
of their existence. No one Theology can claim to be all-sided 
and completely developed. This is not possible, because 
every Theology has to deal with an object that is not suscep 
tible to an abstract intellectual treatment, and which can 
therefore only be known in connection with its historical 
development in life. Aberrations very certainly occur which 
furnish only negative or reactionary results for the knowl 
edge of the object of Theology, and these can only be 
refuted. But there are also elements in this object of The 
ology, which do not find an equally good soil for their devel 
opment with every individual, with every nation, or in every 
age. Every theologian, therefore, knows that neither he 
himself, nor the stream of history in which he moves, are 


able to make an all-sided and a complete exhibition of the 
object of his investigation. 

Thus to him also there are theologies which are not simply 
aberrations but merely one-sided developments, whose rela 
tive validity he appreciates and with whose results lie 
enriches himself. But even that which is relatively true 
and complementary in other theologies he is not allowed to 
leave standing loosely by the side of his own theology, but 
is bound to include it organically in his own theology, being 
ever deeply convinced of the fact that in spite of their 
relative right and complementary value these other theologies 
interpret the essence of Theology one-sidedly and understand 
it wrongly. Thus the aim is always to show in a scientific 
way that the Theology that has the love of his heart is 
entitled to the love of all hearts, wherefore he corrects and 
enriches his own Theology with whatever acquisitions he can 
borrow from the other theologies in order thereby to vindi 
cate the more effectively the universal validity of his object 
of Theology. No reduction therefore is practised of the 
several theologies to a common level, for the mere sake of 
investigating encyclopedically what is common to them all ; 
but on the contrary the start is taken from one s own con 
viction, with an open eye to one s own imperfections so as 
sincerely to appreciate the labors and efforts of others, and 
to be bent upon the assimilation of their results. 

31. View-point here taken 

This attempt to write a Theological Encyclopedia, too, 
purposely avoids therefore every appearance of neutrality, 
which is after all bound to be dishonest at heart ; and makes 
no secret of what will appear from every page, that the Re 
formed Theology is here accepted as the Theology, in its very 
purest form. By this we do not mean to imply that the Re 
formed theologians are to us the best theologians, but we 
merely state, that Reformed Theology, 1, has interpreted the 
object of Theology most accurately, and 2, has shown the way 
most clearly by which to reach knowledge of this object. Let 
no one take this statement to intend the least infringement 


upon the respect which the writer of this Encyclopedia is also 
compelled to pay to the gigantic labors of Lutheran, Romish, 
and other theologians. His declaration but intends to make 
it clearly known, that he himself cannot stand indifferently 
to his personal faith, and to his consequent confession con 
cerning the object of Theology, and therefore does not hesitate 
to state it as his conviction that the Reformed Theology with 
respect to this has grasped the truth most firmly. 

Does this put a confessional stamp upon this Encyclo 
pedia ? By no means; since " confessional " and " scientific" 
are heterogeneous conceptions. " Confessional " is the name 
that belongs to the several streams in the historical life of 
the Church, and is no distinguishing mark for your manner 
of scientific treatment of the theological material. The 
difference lies elsewhere. The fact is that until the middle 
of the last century Theology received its impulse from the 
Church, in consequence of which Theology divided itself into 
groups which maintained their relation to the groupings of 
the churches according to their confessions. Since that 
time, however, Theology has not allowed itself to be gov 
erned by the life of the Church, but by the mighty develop 
ment of philosophy, and consequently we scarcely speak in 
our days of a Lutheran, Romish, or Reformed Theology, but of 
a rationalistic, a mediating, and an orthodox Theology. With 
this custom this Encyclopedia does not sympathize, but takes 
it as a matter of course that even as the medical, juridical, 
and philological sciences, the theological science also is 
bound to its object such as this shows itself in its own circle 
in life; i.e. in casu the Church. Every other grouping of 
theological schools rests upon a philosophical abstraction 
which really ranks Theology under philosophy or under 
history and ethnology, and in that way destroys it as an 
independent science. Hence our aim is to seek the object 
of Theology again in its native soil ; to examine no piece 
of polished cedar in the wall, but the tree itself on Lebanon ; 
and in this way also to study the object of Theology in the 
history of the Church. 

But even thus the choice of the Reformed stamp is not 

52 32. COMPASS OF ITS TASK [I)iv. I 

yet scientifically justified. The Encyclopedia obtains its 
right to this only when it shows that the historical distinc 
tion between Romish, Reformed, etc., Theology flows of 
necessity from the very essence of Theology, and that the 
current distinctions of our times are foreign to its essence 
and are attached to it from without. And thus every 
Encyclopedical writer is entitled and obliged in his Ency 
clopedia to honor as Theology whatever is Theology to him 
self, but this should be done in such a way that he shows 
how with this interpretation the organic character of this 
science is best exhibited. 

32. Compass of its Task 

On this condition it is the task of Theological Encyclo 
pedia : 1, to vindicate the scientific character of Theology: 
2, to explain the relation between Theological science and 
the other sciences ; 3, in its own choice of the object of 
Theology to exhibit the error in the choice of others, and to 
appreciate what is right in the efforts of others and to appro 
priate it ; and then, 4, to do for Theology what it is the 
task of general Encyclopedia to do for science in general. 

With reference to the first point, Dr. Riibiger goes too far 
when (p. 95) he says : " The only problem of Theological En 
cyclopedia is to build up Theology as a science." It certainly 
has more to do than this. It can even be said that only 
after this task has been performed does its real Encyclopedic 
task begin. If Encyclopedia is truly the science of science, 
everything that is done to place the science as object before 
oneself is only preparatory work. Only when Theology 
lies before you as a science does your real Encyclopedic 
study begin. His proposition therefore to give the name 
of " Theologik " to Theological Encyclopedia will not do. 
"Theologik" isolates Theology from the organism of the 
sciences, and the very point in hand is to grasp the science 
of Theology as an organic member of the body of sciences. 
This is expressed by the word Encyclopedia alone, for which 
reason the name of Theological Encyclopedia can under no 
consideration be abandoned. From this follows also th.- 


second point already indicated. Theological Encyclopedia 
must insert Theology organically into the body of sciences ; 
which duty has too largely been neglected not only in the 
special Encyclopedias of Theology, but in those of almost all 
the special sciences. The third point follows of itself from 
31, and calls for no further explanation. And as regards 
the fourth, this flows directly from the subordination of the 
conception of Theological Encyclopedia to that of general 

33. Its Relation to Methodology 

This task includes of itself the scientific description of the 
method of Theology, and of its parts, and its insertion into 
organic relation with its object. No general Methodology is 
necessary, for this may be assumed to be known. But it must 
show the paths of knowledge, mapped out by general Meth 
odology, which Theology is to travel in order to reach her end. 
Then it must show what modifications are introduced into 
this general method by the peculiar character of Theology. 
And finally, what nearer method flows from this for the sub 
divisions of Theology. There is no cause for a separate 
treatment of Theological Methodology. He who places it as 
a separate study outside of his Encyclopedia, must invoke its 
help in that Encyclopedia ; neither can he furnish his Meth 
odology without repeating the larger part of the content 
of his Encyclopedia. Just because of the strongly subjec 
tive character which is inseparable from all Theology, it is 
dangerous to separate the method too widely from the object, 
neither can the object be sufficiently explained without deal 
ing at the same time with the method. Hence it should be 
preferred to treat the method of Theology taken as a whole 
in the general volume of the Encyclopedia, and then, so far 
as this is necessary with each subdivision, the modifications 
which this method undergoes for the sake of this subdivision. 

54 35. RESULT [Uiv. I 

34. Its Aim 

The aim of Theological Encyclopedia is in itself purely 
scientific. Since Theology belongs to the organism of sci 
ence, the Encyclopedic impulse itself compels the investi 
gation of this part also of the great organism of science, in 
order that we may know it in its organic coherence and rela 
tion. This is its philosophical aim. But its aim is equally 
strong to bring Theology itself to self-consciousness. No 
more than any other science did Theology begin with know 
ing what it wanted. Practical interests, necessity and un 
conscious impulse brought it to its development. But with 
this it cannot remain satisfied. For its own honor s sake, 
Theology also must advance with steady steps to know itself, 
and to give itself an account of its nature and its calling. 
This is the more necessary since in our times Theology as a 
whole is no longer studied l>y any one, and since the several 
theologians choose for themselves but a part of the great task. 
Thus every sense of relation is lost, and a writer in one 
department infringes continually upon the rights of the 
others, unless the sense of the general task of Theology 
becomes and remains quickened. In the third place, the aim 
of Encyclopedia of Theology is defensive or apologetic. 
Much presents itself as Theology with the assumption of the 
right to translate real Theology into that which is no Theol 
ogy. The conflict which arises from this may not be left to 
chance, but must be decided scientifically, and this cannot 
take place until Theology fixes its scientific standard. And 
finally its aim in the fourth place is, for the sake of non- 
theologians, who must nevertheless deal with Theology, to 
declare, in scientifically connected terms, what Theology is. 

35. Jietult 

As the result of the above it is evident that the conception 
of Theological Encyclopedia consists in the scientific investii/a- 
iion of the organic nature atnl relations of Theology in itself 
and <7.s- an integral part of the organism <>f science. As such 
it forms a subdivision of general Encyclopedia, and with it 

CHAP. IV] 35. RESULT 55 

belongs to the science of philosophy. As such it is formal, 
not in the sense that it must furnish a mere scheme of de 
partments and of names, but in the sense that it is not 
allowed to become material, as if it were its duty to collect 
the theological content in a manual. It may enter into the 
material only in so far as it is necessary for the sake of ex 
hibiting the formal nature and relations of Theology. Dis 
tinguished from Hodegetics and Historia litteraria, it is not 
called upon to furnish a manual for beginners ; though noth 
ing forbids the addition to it of a brief historia litteraria, pro 
vided that this is not presented as a part of the Encyclopedia 


36. Introduction 

It is the task of Theological Encyclopedia to investigate 
the nature of Theology for the stated purposes of under 
standing it, of passing criticism upon its progress, and of 
assisting its healthful development. It is not sufficient that 
it answer the question, What Theology is ; it must also 
critically examine the studies that have thus far been be 
stowed upon Theology, and mark out the course henceforth 
to be pursued. This investigation would bear no scientific 
character, and consequently would not be Encyclopedic, if 
Theology were merely a private pursuit of individuals. 
Now, however, it is both, because Theology presents an 
interest that engages the human mind as such. We face 
a phenomenon that extends across the ages, and has engaged 
many persons, and therefore cannot be the outcome of a 
whim or notion, nor yet of an agreement or common contract, 
but is governed by a motive of its own, which has worked 
upon these persons in all ages. This motive cannot lie 
elsewhere than in the human mind; and if a certain regu 
larity, order and perceptible development are clearly mani 
fest in these theological studies, as prosecuted in whatever 
period and by whatever persons, it follows that this motive, 
by which the human mind is impelled to theological investi 
gation, not only formally demands such an investigation, but 
is bound to govern the content and the tendency of these 
studies. Distinction therefore must be made between the 
theological study of individual theologians and the impulse 


L)iv. II] 36. INTRODUCTION 57 

of Theology which they obeyed consciously or unconsciously, 
entirely or in part. This theological impulse is the general 
phenomenon, which is certainly exhibited in special theologi 
cal studies, but never exhausts itself in them. This general 
phenomenon lies behind and above its temporal and individ 
ual revelations. It is not the excogitation of an individual 
man, but men have found it in the human mind. Neither 
was it found as an indifferent something, but as something 
definite in essence and tendency ; in virtue of which it can 
and must be included in the investigation of science as 
a whole. This very distinction, however, between the 
theological motive in general and the effect of this motive 
upon the individual theologian, presents both the danger and 
the probability that the study of Theology will encounter 
influences that are antagonistic to this motive ; which diver 
gence will of necessity cause it to become bastardized and 
the mutual relation of these studies to suffer loss. With this 
motive itself, therefore, the impulse of criticism is given, and 
the scientific investigation into the essence of Theology 
would never be finished, if it did not inquire as to how far 
this motive had been allowed to exert itself, and in what 
way it is to continue its task. 

Technically, therefore, encyclopedical investigation would 
be prosecuted most accurately if the essence of Theology 
could first be determined thetically ; if, after that, empirical 
Theology could be compared with this ; and if the means could 
be indicated therapeutically by which to make and maintain 
the healthful development of Theology. But to follow out 
this scheme would be unwise for three reasons. In the first 
place, the thetic result cannot be found except in consulta 
tion with empiricism, and this calls in the aid of the devia 
tions as antitheses for the definition of the conception. In 
the second place, with Theology in general, and afterwards 
with each of its parts, a continuous repetition of consonant 
criticism could not be avoided. And in the third place, the 
thetical, critical and therapeutical or dietetical treatment of 
each department would be torn altogether out of relation 
and come in order at three entirely different places. This 


necessitates the sacrifice of technical accuracy to the de 
mands of a practical treatment ; and the arrangement of the 
division of the investigation in the order of importance. 
Hence in this Encyclopedia also the real investigation divides 
itself into two parts, the first of which deals with Theology 
as such, while the second reviews her subdivisions. And 
the end of each aim is : to understand Theology as such, and 
her parts, organically. Encyclopedia may not rest until it 
has grasped Theology as an organic part of general science, 
and has examined the departments of exegesis, church history, 
etc., as organic parts of the science of Theology. 

If all investigators were fully agreed among themselves as 
to the nature and the conception of science, we could at once 
start out from this fixed datum and indicate what place 
Theology occupies in the sphere of science, and press the 
claims she ought to satisfy. But this is not the case. Not 
only is the conception of science very uncertain, but the very 
relation sustained by the several thinkers to Theology and 
its object exercises frequently a preponderating influence 
upon the definition of the conception of science. There can 
be no clearness, therefore, in an encyclopedical exposition 
until it is definitely stated what the writer understands by 
science and by its prosecution in general. And for this 
reason this investigation into the nature of Theology begins 
with a summary treatment of science and its prosecution. 
The organism of science itself must be clearly outlined, 
before the place which Theology occupies in it can be deter 



37. Etymology and Accepted Use of the Word 

The plan of a Theological Encyclopedia does not admit an 
exposition of the principles of the " doctrine of science " ; 
but neither will it do to describe the nature of Theology as 
a science, until the conception of " science " is determined. 
In view of the very prevalent confusion with reference to 
this conception, the writer of a Theological Encyclopedia 
should clearly define what he understands by it. 

Etymologically it is fairly certain that to know 1 as an intel 
lectual conception is derived from the sensual conception to 
see; and more particularly from seeing something one was 
looking for in the sense of finding. This may the more fully 
be emphasized, because not only the Indo-Germanic but also 
the Semitic family of languages point to this origin of the 
conception to knotv. The Sanscrit has vid, to know ; vindami, 
to find; the Greek ptS in eiSov, to see, alongside of ol&a, to 
know ; the Latin vid-ere, to see, alongside of viso, to visit ; 
the Gothic vait, to know, alongside of vit-an, to keep what 
one has found ; and the Old Slavic vid-e-ti, to see, alongside 
of ved-e-ti, to know. This development of the conception 
runs almost parallel with that of the Semitic root vada (37*11) 
which, just as in the so-called Pelasgic vid stands alongside 
of id, shows the double form of vada and iada (9T). This 
vada or iada also is the common word for to know, but with 
the root-meaning of to see. In 1 Sam. x. 11 and in Job xxviii. 

1 [That is, the Dutch weten, which runs back to a base WIT, = originally 
to see." 1 The English representatives of the root are such as wit, wot, 
witness ; and also such words as wise, guise, vision, visible, idea, 


60 o7. ETYMOLOGY AND [Div. II 

lo the LXX translated it by the word ISeiv, to see. Along 
side of SEltf (to hear) as perception through the ear, stands 
2T (to see) as perception through the eye. D lTytf HK"! in 
Gen. xxxvii. 14 and Dl^tZJ ST in Esther ii. 11 are in mean- 

T ~ T 

ing one. The entirely different meaning attributed to 3?T by 
Fiirst and others in Ezek. xxxviii. 14, as if the idea to separate, 
split or disband were prominent, might yet originally have 
coincided with the meaning of the verb to see, even as cernere 
in its connection with icpiveiv. But if on this ground the con 
nection between the conceptions to know and to see can scarcely 
be denied, the verb to know cannot be said to be of the same 
origin with all the forms of the idea to see. To see is a finely 
differentiated conception. Opav, /3\7reiv, o-fyopai, $eao/icu, 
SeSoptcevai, -spicere, ovceTr- (in ovceTrTeer&u), etc., all express a 
certain perception through the eye, but in different ways. An 
object can present itself to us in such a way, that we perceive 
it and thus see it, while our eye did not look for it. At 
another time our eyes may look without desiring to discover 
any one object. And lastly there is a looking, by which we 
employ our powers of vision in seeking and investigating a 
definite object, until we find and understand it. The con 
ception of the verb to see, included in the root of the verb to 
know, is definitely this last kind of seeing : premeditatively 
to look for something, in order to find it. Herein lies of 
itself the transition to the conceptions of investigation and 
of trying to know, as result of which we have the seeing or 
knowing. Revelation in holy Scripture throws further light 
upon this relation by placing before us the yvucris as a lower 
form of knowing, and as a /SXeVecr^at but only in part, in a 
glass darkly, and over against this making the completed 
7^&)o-f? to appear as a OeaaOai, a seeing close at hand, in full 
reality, TrpoawTrov Trpo? Trpoawn-ov (1 Cor. xiii. 8-12). 

If in the second place we consult the accepted use of the 
word, we find the conceptions of knowing and understanding 
separated from each other by a clearly perceptible boundary. 
The accepted use of the word to knoiv lias both a general 
and a limited sense. In the question, Do you know that the 
mail-boat has suffered shipwreck ? is only meant, Have you 


heard it ? Is this fact taken up into your consciousness ? If, 
on the other hand, I say, Do you know that it is so ? then to 
know is taken in a stricter sense, and means : Can you vouch 
for it ? In both cases, however, there lies in this knowing not 
so much the thought of an analysis of the content of an affair or 
fact, as the thought of the existence of it ; viz. the antithesis 
between its being and not being. Understanding, on the other 
hand, does not refer to the being or not being, but assumes it 
as a fact, and analyzes it for the sake of introducing it into 
the world of our conceptions. To have knowledge of a 
thing is almost synonymous with having certainty of it, 
which of itself implies that such a presentation of the matter 
or fact has been obtained that it can be taken up into our 
consciousness. And further it is knowledge only when be 
sides this presentation in my consciousness I also have the 
sense that this representation corresponds to existing reality ; 
which is entirely different from understanding, by which I 
investigate this representation, in order to comprehend it 
in its nature and necessity. 

If we compare this with the common acceptation of the 
word science, we encounter the apparent contradiction that 
what is commonly called " science " seems to lie almost 
exclusively in the domain of the understanding, and that 
when the question is asked whether there is a reality cor 
responding to a certain representation, it is met with the 
answer, It is not clear (non liquef) ; even with a fundamental 
non liquet, when the general relation of the phenomena to 
the noumena is in order. This, however, is only in appear 
ance. For many centuries the conception of science and its 
corresponding forms in other languages was entirely free 
from sceptical infusion, and carried no other impression 
than of studies which were able to impart real knowledge 
of all sorts of things, so that by it one knew what before 
one did not know. The " language-making people " ad 
hered, therefore, strenuously to the root-meaning of the 
verbs to see and to know, even in the derived conception of 
"science," and marked this more clearly still by the an 
tithesis between "science" and "learning." The law of 


language requires that " science " shall make us know what 
there is, that it is there, and how it is there. That the men 
of " science " themselves have adopted this name, and have 
preferred to drop all other names, especially that of Philoso 
phy, only shows that they were not so much impelled by the 
desire to investigate, as by the desire to know for them 
selves and to make real knowledge possible for others; 
and that indeed a knowledge so clear and transparent 
that the scaffoldings, which at first were indispensable, can 
at last be entirely removed, and the figure be unveiled and 
seen. However keenly it may be felt that under present 
conditions this result, in its highest significance, lies beyond 
our reach, the ideal should not be abandoned, least of all in 
common parlance. There is in us a thirst after a knowledge 
of things which shall be the outcome of immediate sight, 
even if this sight takes place without the bodily eye. And 
since we are denied this satisfaction in our present dispensa 
tion, God s word opens the outlook before us in which this 
immediate seeing of the heart of things, this 6eaa0ai, this see 
ing of face to face, shall be the characteristic of our knowl 
edge in another sphere of reality. The accepted use of the 
word which holds on to the conception of sight in knowledge 
agrees entirely with Revelation, which points us to a science 
that shall consist in siyht. 

The objection that, when interpreted in relation to its 
etymology and accepted use of the word, "science" is syn 
onymous with " truth," l stands no test. In the first place, 
the root of this word, ver-, which also occurs in ver-um, in 
ver-bum, in word, in pepelv, etc., does not point to what is 
seen or known, but to what is spoken. This derivation dis 
courages, at the same time, the growing habit of relating 
truth to a condition or to a moral disposition, and of speak 
ing of a thing or of a person as "being real." Truth, more 
over, is always an antithetical conception, which science 
never is. The thirst after knowledge has its rise in our 
desire to reflect in our consciousness everything that exists, 
while the thirst after truth originates from the desire to 
1 [That i.s H- i>irh <-( </. the Dutch word for truth. 7YansZflor.] 


banish from our consciousness whatever represents existing 
things as other than they are. In a pregnant sense, as will 
be shown more at length in another place, truth stands over 
against falsehood. Even when truth is sought in order to 
avoid or to combat an unintentional mistake, or an illusion 
arisen in good faith or an inaccuracy which is the result of 
an insufficient investigation, there always is an antithesis 
which belongs to the nature of this conception. If there 
were no falsehood conceivable, or mistake, illusion or inaccu 
racy, there would be no thirst after truth. The facts that 
science seeks after truth, and that truth is of supremest 
importance to it, do not state its fundamental thought, 
which is and always will be, the knowledge of what is, that 
it is, and how it is. And this effort assumes the form of 
"seeking after truth" only as far as, for the sake of dis 
covering what is, it has to dismiss all sorts of false repre 
sentations. In such a state of things as is pictured by Reve 
lation in the realm of glory, the desire to see and to know is 
equally active ; there, of course, through immediate percep 
tion ; while the antithesis between falsehood, mistake, illusion, 
inaccuracy and truth shall fall entirely away. 

38. Subject and Object 

In the conception of science the root-idea of to know must 
be sharply maintained. And the question arises: Who is 
the subject of this knowledge, and what is the object ? Each 
of us knows innumerable things which lie entirely outside 
of the realm of science. You know where you live and who 
your neighbors are. You know the names of your children 
and the persons in your employ. You know how much 
money you spend in a week. All this, however, as such, is 
no part of what science knows or teaches. Science is not 
the sum-total of what A knows, neither is it the aggregate 
of what A, B and C know. The subject of science cannot 
be this man or that, but must be rnan&mcZ at large, or, if 
you please, the human consciousness. And the content of 
knowledge already known by this human consciousness is 
so immeasurably great, that the most learned and the most 


richly endowed mind can never know but a very small part 
of it. Consequently you cannot attain unto a conception of 
"science in the higher sense, until you take humanity as 
an organic whole. Science does not operate atomistically, 
as if the grand aggregate of individuals commissioned a few 
persons to satisfy this general thirst after knowledge, and as 
if these commissioners went to work after a mutually agreed- 
upon plan. No, science works organically, i.e. in the sense 
that the thirst for knowledge lies in human nature ; that 
within certain bounds human nature can obtain knowledge ; 
that the impulse to devote oneself to this task, together with 
the gifts which enable one to work at it, become apparent 
of themselves ; and that in the realm of intellectual pursuits 
these coryphaei of our race, without perceiving it and almost 
unconsciously, go to work according to a plan by which hu 
manity at large advances. 

Hence there is no working here of the will of an indi 
vidual, and it is equally improbable that chance should 
produce such an organically inter-related result. A higher 
factor must here be at play, which, for all time and among 
all peoples, maintains the unity of our race in the interests of 
the life of our human consciousness ; which impels people to 
obtain knowledge ; which endows us with the faculties to 
know ; which superintends this entire work ; and as far as 
the results of this labor lead to knowledge builds them up 
into one whole after a hidden plan. If impersonation were 
in order, this higher factor, this animating and illumining 
power, itself might be called "Science." Or if this is 
called poetry which properly belongs to pagan practice 
only, we may understand by "science" thus far acquired, 
that measure of light which has arisen in the darkness of 
the human consciousness by reason of the inworking of this 
higher power, this light, of course, being interpreted not 
only as a result, but as possessed of the virtue of all light, 
viz. to rule and to ignite new light. With this interpreta 
tion only everything accidental and individual falls away, 
and science as such obtains a necessary and universal char 
acter. Taken in that sense, science makes the "mind of 


man " to have knowledge; and every one receives a share of 
it according to the measure of his disposition and station in 
life. Moreover, it is only with this interpretation that 
science obtains its divine consecration, because that higher 
factor, which was seen to be the active agent in science, 
cannot be conceived otherwise than self-conscious ; for there 
can be no science for the human consciousness as such with 
out a God to impel man to pursue science, to give it, and 
to maintain its organic relation. With the human individ 
uals, therefore, you do not advance a step, and even if the 
G-emeingeist of our human nature should be personified it 
would not do, since this higher factor must be self-conscious, 
and this Gemeingeist is brought to self-consciousness by sci 
ence alone. This higher factor, who is to lead our human 
consciousness up to science, must himself know what he will 
have us know. 

If the subject of science, i.e. the subject that wants to know 
and that acquires knowledge, lies in the consciousness of 
humanity, the object of science must be all existing things, as 
far as they have discovered their existence to our human con 
sciousness, and will hereafter discover it or leave it to be in 
ferred. This unit divides itself at once into three parts, as 
not only what lies outside of the thinking subject, but also the 
subject itself, and the consciousness of this subject, become 
the object of scientific investigation. This object, as such, 
could never constitute the material of science for man, if it 
existed purely atomistically, or if it could only be atomis- 
tically known. It is known that Peruvian bark reacts 
against a feverish excitement in the blood, and it is also 
known that catarrh may occasion this feverish excitement. 
But as long as these particulars of cold, fever, and Peruvian 
bark lie atomistically side by side, I may know them indeed, 
but I have no science yet of these data. For the idea of 
science implies, that from the manifold things I know a 
connected knowledge is born, which would not be possible if 
there were no relation among the several parts of the 
object. The necessity of organic inter-relations, which was 


found to be indispensable in the subject, repeats itself in 
the object. The apparently accidental discovery or inven 
tion is as a rule much more important to atomistic knowl 
edge than scientific investigation. But as long as something 
is merely discovered, it is taken up into our knowledge but 
not into our science. Only when the inference and the sub 
sequent insight that the parts of the object are organically 
related prove themselves correct, is that distinction born 
between the special and the general which learns to recognize 
in the general the uniting factor of the special. In this way 
we arrive at the knowledge that there is order in the object, 
and it is by this entering into this order and into this cos- 
mical character of the object that science celebrates her 

This is the more necessary because the subject of science 
is not a given individual in a given period of time, but 
thinking man in the course of centuries. If this organic 
relation were wanting in the object, thinking man in one 
age and land would have an entirely different object before 
him than in a following century and in another country. 
The object would lack all constancy of character. It would 
not be the same object, even though in varying forms, but 
each time it would be another group of objects without 
connection with the formerly considered group. Former 
knowledge would stand in no relation to our own, and the 
conception of science as a connected and as an ever-self- 
developing phenomenon in our human life would fall away. 

If to make science possible, the organic connection is in 
dispensable between the parts of the object, as far as they 
have been observed in different countries and at different 
times, the same applies to the several parts of the object 
when they are classified according to the difference of their 
content. If the observation of the starry heavens, of min 
erals, of plants and animals, of man and everything that 
belongs in and to him, leads merely to the discovery of 
entirely different objects, which as in so many compartments 
are shut off from one another and stand outside of all rela 
tion to each other, a series of sciences is possible, but no 


science, while the unity of these sciences could only lie in 
the observing subject or in the formal unity of the manner 
of observation. But our impulse after science aims higher. 
As long as there is a Chinese wall between one realm of the 
object and the other, that wall allows us no rest. We want 
it away, in order that we may know the natural boundaries 
across which to step from one realm into the other. Dar 
winism owes its uncommon success more to this impulse of 
science than to the merits of its results. Hence our ideal of 
science will in the end prove an illusion, unless the object 
is grasped as existing organically. 

39. Organic Relation between Subject and Object 

Even yet enough has not been said. It is not sufficient 
that the subject of science, i.e. the human consciousness, 
lives organically in thinking individuals, and that the 
object, about which thinking man wants to know every 
thing he can, exists organically in its parts ; but there must 
also be an organic relation between this subject and this 
object. This follows already from what was said above, 
viz. that the subject itself, as well as the thinking of the 
subject, become objects of science. If there were no organic 
relation between everything that exists outside of us and 
ourselves, our consciousness included, the relation in the 
object would be wanting. But this organic relation be 
tween our person and the object of science is much more 
necessary, in order to render the science of the object possible 
for us. 

We have purposely said that there must be an organic 
relation between the object and our person. The relation 
between the object and our thinking would not be sufficient, 
since the thinking cannot be taken apart from the thinking 
subject. Even when thinking itself is made the object of 
investigation, and generalization is made, it is separated 
from the individual subject, but it remains bound to the 
general subject of our human nature. Thus for all science 
a threefold organic relation between subject and object is 
necessary. There must be an organic relation between that 


object and our nature, between that object and our conscious 
ness, and between that object and our ivorld of thought. 

The first also lies pregnantly expressed in viewing man 
as a microcosm. The human soul stands in organic relation 
to the human bod}-, and that body stands in every way 
organically related to the several kingdoms of nature round 
about us. Chemically analyzed, the elements of our body 
appear to be the same as those of the world which surround 
us. Vegetable life finds its analogies in our body. And as 
concerns the body, we are not merely organically allied to 
the animal world, but an entire world of animalcula crowd in 
upon us in all sorts of ways and feed upon our bodies. The 
magnetic powers which are at work about us are likewise at 
work within us. Our lungs are organically adapted to our 
atmosphere, our ear to sound, and our eye to light. Indeed, 
wherever a thing presents itself to us as an object of science, 
even when for a moment we exclude the spiritual, it stands 
in organic relation to our body, and through our body to our 
soul. And as far as the spiritual objects are concerned, i.e. 
the religious, ethic, intellectual and aesthetic life, it would 
be utterly impossible for us to obtain any scientific knowl 
edge of these, if all organic relation were wanting between 
these spheres of life and our own soul. The undeniable fact 
that a blind person can form no idea for himself of the visible 
beautiful, and the deaf no idea of music, does by no means 
militate against this position. Suppose that a Raphael had 
been afflicted in his youth with blindness, or a Bach with 
deafness, this would have made us poorer by so much as one 
coryphaeus among the artists of the pencil and one virtuoso 
among the artists of sound; but the disposition of his genius 
to the world of the beautiful would have been no whit less 
either in Raphael or in Bach. The normal sense merely 
would have been wanting with them, to develop this dispo 
sition of genius. For the organic relation in which our soul 
stands to these several spheres of spiritual life does not lie 
exclusively in the organ of sense, but in the organization 
of our spiritual ego. 


Meanwhile this organic relation between our nature and 
the object is not enough. If the object is to be the object 
of our science, there must in the second place be an organic 
relation between this object and our consciousness. Though 
the elements of all known stars may not have been determined 
adequately, the heavenly bodies constitute objects of science, 
as far at least as they radiate light, exhibit certain form, and 
are computable with reference to their distance and motion. 
Even if, at some later date, similar data are discovered in or 
upon stars which thus far have not been observed, as long as 
these observations have not been taken they do not count for 
our consciousness. However close the organic relation may 
be between ourselves and the animal world, the inner nature 
of animals remains a mystery to us, as long as the organic 
relation between their inner nature and our human conscious 
ness remains a secret, and therefore cannot operate. We 
see a spider weave its web, and there is nothing in the 
spider or in the web that does not stand in numberless ways 
organically related to our own being, and yet our science 
cannot penetrate what goes on in the spider during the spin 
ning of the web, simply because our consciousness lacks 
every organic relation to its inner nature. Even in the 
opinions which we form of our fellow-men, we face insolu 
ble riddles, because we only penetrate those parts of their 
inner nature the analogies of which are present in our own 
consciousness, but we are not able to see through that par 
ticular part of their nature which is solely their own and 
which therefore excludes every organic relation with our 
consciousness. By saying that our consciousness stands in 
the desired organic relation to the object of our science, we 
simply affirm that it is possible for man to have an apprehen 
sion, a perception, and an impression of the existence and 
of the method of existence of the object. In itself it makes 
no difference whether this entering in of the object into our 
consciousness is the result of an action that goes out from 
the object, under which we remain passive, or of our active 
observation. Perception and observation are simply impos 
sible when all organic relation is wanting between any 


object and our consciousness. As soon, however, as this 
organic relation is established, for external reasons the per 
ception and the observation may be retarded or prevented, 
but the possibility is still present of having the object enter 
into our consciousness. 

This organic relation has mistakenly been sought in the so- 
called "faculty of feeling." But there is no room for this 
third faculty in coordination with the faculties of the under 
standing and the will (facultas intelligendi and volendi). 
A capacity taken in the sense of facultas is of its own nature 
always active, while in the case of the entering in of objects 
into our consciousness we may be passive. Oftentimes we 
fail entirely in withdrawing ourselves from what we do not 
want to hear or see or smell. This objection is not set 
aside by distinguishing perception and observation from 
each other as two heterogeneous facts. If I examine a thing 
purposely, or see it involuntarily, in each case the entirely 
self-same organic relation exists, with this difference 
only, that with intentional observation our intellect and 
our will cooperate in this relation. In which instance 
it is our ego which knows the possibility of the relation to 
the object; which desires this relation to exist in a given 
case ; and which realizes the relation by the exercise of the 
will. Hence there can be no question of an active faculty 
that shall operate independently of the intellect and the 
will. The fact is simply this. There are lines of com 
munication that can bring the object outside of us in relation 
to our eyo. And these lines of communication are of an 
orgar.ic nature, for the reason that with our physical growth 
they develop of themselves, and with a finer forming of our 
personality they assume of themselves a finer character. 
The nature of these organic relations depends of course 
entirely upon the nature of the object with which they are 
to bring us into communion. If this object belongs to the 
material world, these conductors must be partly material, 
such as, for instance, in sight the waves of light and our 
nerves. If the object, on the other hand, is entirely imma 
terial, these relations must exhibit a directly spiritual nature. 


This is actually the case, since the perceptions of right and 
wrong, of true and false, etc., force themselves upon our ego 
immediately from out the spiritual world. In both cases, 
however, the relations that bring us in communion with the 
object must ever be sharply distinguished from that which, 
by means of these relations, takes place in our consciousness. 
By themselves these relations do not furnish the required 
organic relation. If I am in telegraphical communication 
with Bangkok, it does me no good so long as I do not under 
stand the language in which the telegraph operator wires me. 
If I understand his language, I am equally in the dark as long 
as I do not understand the subject-matter of his message, of 
which I can form no idea because I am not acquainted with 
the circumstances or because similar affairs do not occur 
Avith us. In the same way the object must remain unknown 
to me, even though I am in contact with it by numberless 
relations, as long as in my consciousness the possibility is 
not given of apperceiving it in relation to my personal self. 
Of course we take the human consciousness here in its abso 
lute sense, and do not detain ourselves to consider those 
lower grades of development which may stand in the way of 
assimilation of a very complicated object. We merely refer 
to those fundamental forms by which the consciousness 
operates. And it is self-evident that what is signalled 
along the several lines of communication to our conscious 
ness, can only effect a result in our consciousness \vhen this 
consciousness is fitted to take up into itself what was 
signalled. He who is born color-blind is not affected one 
way or another by the most beautiful exhibition of colors. 
In the same way it would do us no good to scan the purest 
tints with keenest eye, if, before this variety of color dis 
covered itself to us, there were no ability in our conscious 
ness to distinguish color from color. There is, therefore, 
no perception or observation possible, unless there is a re 
ceptivity for the object in our human consciousness, which 
enables our consciousness to grasp it after its nature and 
form. Numberless combinations may later enrich this, but 
these combinations of themselves would be inconceivable, if 


their component parts did not appear beforehand as funda 
mental types in our consciousness. Neither can these fun 
damental types be grasped in our consciousness unless this 
consciousness is fitted to them. The figure of the mirror 
should not mislead us. Every image can truly be reflected 
in it, even though the glass itself be entirely indifferent and 
neutral. But it does not reflect anything except in relation 
to our eye. In our consciousness, on the other hand, it does 
not only depend upon the reflecting glass, but also upon the 
seeing eye. In our consciousness the two coincide. And 
no single object can be grasped by our consciousness, unless 
the receptivity for this object is already present there. Per 
ception and observation, therefore, can only be effected by this 
original relation between the object outside of us and the 
receptivity for this object, which prior to everything else is 
present in our consciousness because created in it. The 
microscopic nature of our consciousness asserts itself espe 
cially in this. And it is only when this microscopic 
peculiarity in the receptivity of our consciousness lends its 
effect to the telegraphical relation to the object, that, in 
virtue of the union of these two factors, the required organic 
relation operates which brings the object in contact with 
our consciousness. 

By this, however, this object has not yet been introduced 
into the world of our thought, and without further aid it 
would still lie outside of our "science." In the infinite 
divisibility of its parts the odor of incense finds its means 
to affect our olfactory nerves. By these nerves it is carried 
over into our consciousness, and there finds the capacity to 
distinguish this odor from the odor of roses, for instance, as 
well as the receptivity to enjoy this odor. But although in 
this way a full relation has been established between the 
incense as object and the consciousness in our subject, the 
scientific explanation of the odor of incense is still wanting, 
To the two above-named claims, therefore, we now add the 
third; viz. that the object must also enter into an organic 
relation to our ivorld of thought. For it is plain that think- 


ing is but one of the forms through which our consciousness 
operates. When an infant is pricked by a pin, there is no 
single conception, in the consciousness of the child, either 
of a pin, of pricking, or of pain, and yet the pricking has 
been carried over to its consciousness, for the child cries. 
On the other hand, we see that, with an operation under 
chloroform, all relation between our consciousness and 
a member of our own body can be cut off, so that only 
later on, by external observation, we learn that a foot 
or an arm has been amputated. Which fact took place 
in our OAVII body entirely outside of the consciousness of 
our ego. And so there are a number of emotions, im 
pressions, and perceptions which, entirely independently 
of our thinking and the world of our thought, come into 
or remain outside of our consciousness, simply in propor 
tion as the receptivity of our ego corresponding therewith 
stands or does not stand in relation to the object. All 
the emotions of pain or pleasure, of feeling well or not 
well, of color and sound, of what is exalted or low, good or 
bad, pious or godless, beautiful or ugly, tasty or sickening, 
etc., arouse something in our consciousness and enter into 
relation with our ego through our consciousness, so that it 
is we who suffer pain or joy, are delighted or indignant, 
have taste for something or are disgusted with it ; but how 
ever strong these emotions of our consciousness may be, they 
as such have nothing to do with the thought -action of our 
consciousness. If we smell the odor of a rose, the remem 
brance of the odor may recall in us the image of the rose, 
and this representation may quicken the action of thought ; 
but this takes place entirely outside of the odor. For when 
some one makes us smell the odor of a plant entirely un 
known to us, so that we can form no representation of it, 
nor do any thinking about it, the stimulus received by our 
consciousness is entirely similar, and as the odor is equally 
delicate and fragrant, our pleasure in it is equally great. The 
same phenomenon occurs when for the first time we taste 
fine wines whose vintage is unknown to us. The simple 
entrance, therefore, of something into our consciousness does 


by no means effect its adoption into our world of thought. 
Wherefore this third relation of our eyo to the object 
demands also a separate consideration. 

If the object that enters into relation with our con 
sciousness consisted exclusively of those elements which 
are perceptible to the senses; if all relation were lacking 
between these elements; if no change took place in these 
elements themselves; and if there were but one organ of 
sense at our disposal, our human consciousness would 
never have used and developed its power of thought. Xo 
capacity would have been exercised but sensation, i.e. per 
ception, and, in consequence of this, imagination and repre 
sentation. The object would have photographed itself on 
our consciousness ; this received image would have become 
a representation in us, and our imagination would have 
busied itself with these representations. But such is not the 
case, because we have received more than one organ of sense 
to bring us in contact with the selfsame object ; because the 
objects are not constant but changeable; because the several 
elements in the object are organically related to each other; 
and because there are qualities belonging to the object which 
lie beyond the reach of the organs of sense, and therefore 
refuse all representation of themselves. In many ways the 
fact has forced itself upon us, that there is also what we call 
relation in the object. The object does not appear to be 
simple, but complex, and numberless relations appear among 
its component parts. And these relations bear very dif 
ferent characters corresponding to the difference of cate 
gories ; they lead to endless variations in each part of the 
object; they exhibit themselves now between part and part, 
and again among groups of parts ; they change according as 
they are perceived by different organs of sense, and then cause 
a new relation to assert itself among these several relations. 
These relations also present themselves between us and the 
object, partly as far as we as subject observe, and partly as 
far as we ourselves belong to the object to be observed; and 
they finally, with the constant change that presents itself, 
unite what was to what is, and what is to what is to come. 


In this way there is a whole world of relations; these rela 
tions appear equally real and important as the parts of the 
object that enter into relation to each other. We frequently 
receive the impression that these relations dominate the 
component elements of the object more than those elements 
the relations ; with the simplest antithesis of these two, as, 
for instance, with that of force and matter, the impression 
of the relation becomes so overwhelming, that one is fairly 
inclined to deny the reality of matter, and accept the rela 
tion only as actually existing. Since by reason of its micro- 
cosmical character our human consciousness is also disposed 
to the observation of these relations, and since these relations 
cannot be photographed nor represented, but can only be 
thought, apart from the elements among which they exist, 
from these infinite series of organically connected relations 
the whole world of our thinking is born. If science means 
that our human consciousness shall take up into itself what 
exists as an organic whole, it goes without saying that she 
makes no progress whatever by the simple presentation of the 
elements ; and that she can achieve her purpose only when, 
in addition to a fairly complete presentation of the elements, 
she also comes to a fairly complete study of their relations. 1 
That morphine quiets pain is a component part of our 
knowledge, in so far as it has been discovered that there is a 
certain relation between this poppy-juice and our nerves. 
But this empirical knowledge will have led to a scientific 
insight only when this relation itself shall be understood in 
its workings, and when it shall be demonstrable how mor 
phine acts upon the nerves so as to neutralize the action of 

1 The distinction between elements (moments) and relations in the object 
has purposely been employed, because it is the most general one. By ele 
ment we understand neither the substantia as substratum of the phenomena, 
nor the " Ding an sich " as object minus subject. Both of these are abstrac 
tions of thought, and might therefore mislead us. It needs scarcely a re 
minder, moreover, that there can be complication and association in these 
elements as well as in our presentations of them. And also that they can be 
reproduced from memory as well as be freshly perceived. But I cannot 
detain myself with all this now. My purpose was but to indicate the two 
distinctions in the object, one of which corresponds to our capacity to form 
representations, and the other to our capacity to think. 


a certain stimulus upon them. That these relations can be 
grasped by thought alone and not by presentation lies in 
their nature. If these relations were like our nerves, that 
ramify through our body, or like telephone lines, that stretch 
across our cities, they should themselves be elements and 
not relations. But this is not so. Nerves and lines of 
communications may be the vehicles for the working of the 
relations, but they are not the relations themselves. The rela 
tions themselves are not only entirely immaterial, and there 
fore formless, but they are also void of entity in themselves. 
For this reason they can be grasped by our thoughts alone, 
and all our thinking consists of the knowledge of these rela 
tions. Whether we form a conception of a tree, lion, star, 
etc., apart from every representation of them, this conception 
can never bring us anything but the knowledge of the 
relations in which such a tree, lion, or star stand to other 
objects, or the knowledge of the relations in which the com 
ponent parts of such a tree, lion, or star stand to each other. 
To a certain extent it can be said, therefore, that the relations 
are phenomena as well as the elements which we perceive, 
and which either by our organs of sense or in some other 
way occasion a certain stimulus in our consciousness, and 
in this way place our consciousness in relation to these 
elements. Without other aids, therefore, science would 
enter into our consciousness in two ways only. First, as 
the science of the elements, and, secondly, as the science 
of the relations which appear between these elements. The 
astronomer would obtain science of the starry heavens by 
looking at the stars that reveal themselves to his eye, and 
the science of their mutual relations and of the relations 
between their parts by entering into those relations with his 
thoughts. But the activity of our consciousness with ref 
erence to the relations is not confined to this. 

Our thinking does not confine itself exclusively to play 
ing the part of the observer of relations, which is always 
more or less passive, but also carries in itself an active power. 


This active power roots in the fact, if we may put it so, that 
before we become aware of these relations outside of us, the 
setting for them is present in our own consciousness. This 
would not be so if these relations were accidental and if they 
were not organically related. But to be organically related 
is part of their very nature. It is for this reason that the 
object is no chaos, but cosmos ; that a universality prevails 
in the special; and that there appear in these relations an 
order and a regularity which warrant their continuity and 
constancy. There is system in these relations. These 
several relations also stand in relation to each other, and 
our affinity to the object proves itself by the fact that our 
capacity of thought is so constructed as to enable it to see 
through these last relations. If correctly understood, we 
may say that when human thought is completed it shall be 
like the completed organism of these relations. Our think 
ing is entirely and exclusively disposed to these relations, 
and these relations are the objectification of our thinking. 
And this carries itself so unerringly that it is easily under 
stood why some philosophers have denied the objectivity of 
these relations, and have viewed them as being merely the 
reproductions of our thinking. This question could not be 
settled, were it not for the fact that among the numerous 
relations there were also those of a regular and orderly 
transition of condition to condition. And since the result 
of these relations is also found in places where for ages nat 
ure has not been seen by human eyes, such as on the tops 
of mountains reached for the first time, or in far out-of-the- 
way corners of the world, or in newly examined layers of 
the earth-crust, this subjectivism appears untenable. This 
identity of our thinking consciousness with the world of 
relations must be emphasized, however, in so far as these rela 
tions have no existence except for an original Subject, who 
has thought them out, and is able to let this product of his 
thoughts govern the whole cosmos. Just because these 
relations have no substance of their own, they cannot work 
organically unless they are organically thought, i.e. from a 
first principle. When we study these relations, we merely 


think the thought over again, l>y which the Subject defined 
these relations when he called them into being. If there 
were no thought embedded in the object, it could not be 
digestible to our thinking. As little as our ear is able to 
perceive color, is our thinking able to form for itself a 
conception of the object. And it is this very sense, in 
separable from our consciousness, from which springs the 
invincible impulse, seen in all science, to understand the 
cosmos. Not in the sense that the cosmos exists only 
logically. This w r ould amount to a cosmos that consists 
purely of relations. And since relations are unthinkable 
unless elements are given between which these relations form 
the connection, the inexorable claim lies in the relations 
themselves, and in our thinking as such, that there must also 
be elements that do not allow themselves to be converted 
into relations, and therefore lie outside of the field of our 
thinking. All we say is, that nothing exists without rela 
tions; that these relations are never accidental, but always 
organic; and that the cosmos, as cosmos, in its collective 
elements exists logically, and in this logical existence is 
susceptible to being taken up into our world of thought. 
The result of all science, born from our observation and 
from our study of the relations of what lias been observed, 
is always certain beforehand. He who aims at anything 
but the study of the organic world of thought that lies in 
the cosmos, until his own world of thought entirely cor 
responds to it, is no man of science but a scientiiical ad 
venturer; a franc-tireur not incorporated in the hosts of 

The fact that it is possible for us to study the world of 
thought lying objectively before us, proves that there is an 
immediate relation between our consciousness and objective 
thinking by which the cosmos is cosmos. If in our con 
sciousness we had the receptivity only for empirical impres 
sions of the visible and invisible world, we could not hope 
for a logical understanding of the cosmos, i.e. of the world 
as cosmos. This, however, is not so. Aside from the sus 
ceptibility to impressions of all kinds, our consciousness is 


also able to think logically. This capacity cannot be imita 
tive only. This would be conceivable if the whole organism 
of the relations of the cosmos were discovered to us. Then 
we should be able to acquire this as we acquire a foreign 
language, that reveals no single relation to our own tongue. 
As, for instance, when a Netherlander learns the language 
of the Zulus. But this is not the case. The relations 
lie hidden in the cosmos, and they cannot be known in 
their deeper connection, unless we approach this logically 
existing cosmos as logical thinkers. The science of the 
cosmos is only possible for us upon the supposition that 
in our thinking the logical germ of a world of thought is 
lodged, which, if properly developed, will cover entirely 
the logical world of thought lodged in the cosmos. And 
this provides the possibility of our thinking showing itself 
actively. As soon as we have learned to know the universal 
relations that govern the special, or have discovered in these 
several relations the germ of a self-developing thought, the 
identity between our subjective and the objective world of 
thought enables us to perform our active part, both by call 
ing the desired relations into being, and by anticipating the 
relations which must reveal themselves, or shall afterward 
develop themselves. In this way only does human science 
attain unto that high, dominant and prophetical character 
by which it not only liberates itself from the cosmos, but 
also understands it, enables its devotees to take active part 
in it, and partially to foresee its future development. 

We have not been disappointed, therefore, in our supposi 
tion, that what was meant by "science" is genetically re 
lated to the etymological root meaning of the verb to know. 
It was seen that in the object of science, distinction must be 
made between elements and their relations because of the 
organic existence of this object. Corresponding to this, it 
was seen that our human consciousness (i.e. the subject of 
science) has a double receptivity: on the one hand a power 
of perception for the elements in the object, and on the other 


hand a power of perception for the relations in the object. 
By these two together the act of understanding (actio intel- 
ligendi, as the Romans used to call it) becomes complete. 
Jf the taking-up of the elements into our consciousness be 
called the perception (perceptio), and the taking-up of the 
relations into our consciousness the thinking (cogitatio), 
it is by these two that the object is reflected in our con 
sciousness. What has been frequently placed alongside of 
the faculties of the understanding and of the will as the fac 
ulty of feeling or the faculty of perception is only a subdivi 
sion of the faculty of the understanding. To think (cogitare) 
and to understand (intelligere) are not the same. I can 
think something that does not exist, while the understand 
ing takes place only with reference to an existing object, 
which as such never consists of pure relations, but always of 
elements as well among which these relations exist. And 
though it is a matter of regret that a mistaken parlance has 
more and more interpreted the intellect as the faculty of 
thought, and that intellectualism has come to be the accepted 
term by which to stigmatize gymnastical exercises of abstract 
thought, we should not abandon the chaste and rich expres 
sion of facultas intelliyendi, which must be interpreted as 
consisting of a double action: on the one side of the percep 
tion, and on the other side of the comprehension of what was 
perceived. This distinction in turn finds its ground in 
our dichotomic existence, we being partly somatical and 
partly psychical ; since the representation is more somatical 
and the conception more psychical. 

Of coarse it makes no difference whether the object to be 
investigated lies outside of me or in me. If I feel a pain in 
my head, my attention is directed to my head, while at the 
same time my thinking is stimulated to search out the cause 
of that pain and to discover the means by which to relieve 
it. In the same way it does not matter whether this per 
ception comes to me through the senses or the nerves, from 
a tangible and visible object, or whether this perception is 
an immediate emotion that affects my spiritual being from 
the world of justice, the beautiful, good and true. Thought 


taken by itself can be made the object of investigation, in 
which case the element always lies in the subject that 
thinks, entirely independently of the fact whether this 
subject is any A or B, or the general subject man, angel, 
or God. But in whatever way they work, the purpose 
of both actions in my consciousness, that of perception 
and of thinking, is always to make me know something, or, 
after the original meaning of f tSeti , to make me see some 
thing. The perception makes me know the element, the 
thinking makes me know the relations of this element. 
And by the united actions of these two I know what the 
object, and the manner of its existence, is. 

To prevent misunderstanding we should say, moreover, 
that this critical analysis, both of the elements and their rela 
tions, and of the perception and the thinking, is only valid 
when the object in hand is absolutely elementary. As soon 
as we proceed from entirely elementary to complicated phe 
nomena, the elements and relations are found constantly 
interwoven, in consequence of which the perception and the 
thinking work in unison. The difference between the ele 
ment and the relation is clearly indicated by an atom and 
its motion. For though I think that I clearly perceive the 
motion of the atom, I see, in fact, nothing but the same 
atom, but constantly in a different relation. If, on the other 
hand, I examine a drop of water, I deal with a very compli 
cated object, in which numberless elements and relations 
intermingle. The glitter, form and peripheral atoms can 
be perceived, but I cannot know that this morphological 
phenomenon is a drop of water until, not by my perception, 
but by my thinking (cogitatio), I obtain the knowledge of 
the relations. Through its perception a child notices some 
thing glisten and a certain form, by which it knows that 
something is near, but it does not know that it is water. 
When it sees fire, it puts out its hands towards it. But 
when, by means of thinking, the knowledge of relations de 
velops itself, the child knows by sight that the drop of water 
is wet and that fire burns. This complicated state of the 
phenomena gives rise to the morphological elements of a 


tree, an animal, etc. And because they are complicated, 
their simple observation demands the combined activity of 
our perception and thought. One reason the more for 
including both under the faculty of the understanding. 

Undoubtedly a similar consciousness is active in the more 
highly organized animals. When a tiger sees tire in the 
distance, he knows that it hurts, though he may never have 
felt it. Hence he has not on!}- the knowledge of certain ele 
ments, but also a limited knowledge of their relations, and in 
a sense much more accurate and immediate than man s. But 
it will not do to transfer the idea of understanding to ani 
mals on this ground. First, we do not know how this ele 
mentary knowledge is effected in the animal. Secondly, this 
knowledge in the animal is susceptible of only a very limited 
development. And in the third place, in the animal it bears 
mostly an instinctive character, which suggests another man 
ner of perception. A certain preformation of what operates 
in our human consciousness must be admitted in the animal. 
But if to a certain extent the activity in man and animal 
seems similar, no conclusion can be drawn from one activity 
to the other. We know absolutely nothing of the way in 
which animals perceive the forms and relations of phe 

On the other hand, we are justified in concluding that in 
our human consciousness, since the conciousness of elements 
and relations in the object must be microscopically present, 
without this consciousness the emotions received could 
never produce what we know as smell, taste, enjoyment of 
color, sound, etc. It must be granted that these emotions 
in us could simply correspond to certain sensations which 
we call smell, taste, etc. ; but in the first place this corre 
spondence would have to be constant, and thereby have a 
certain objectivity ; and, again, this objective character is 
lifted above all doubt by what we call imaf/ination and 
abstract thought. From these two activities of the human 
mind it appears that our human consciousness can be 
affected by the elements and can not only take up their re 
lations in us, but from this taking-up into itself, \\liioh is 


always passive in part, is also able to become active. As 
far as the perception is concerned, this action exerts itself 
in our imagination, and as far as the thinking is concerned 
it exerts itself in our abstract thought. By the imagina 
tion we create phenomena for our consciousness, and by 
our higher thinking we form relations. If these products 
of our imagination and of our higher thinking were without 
reality, we would have every reason to think that there is 
but one subjective process, which refuses to be more closely 
denned. But this is not so. The artist creates harmonies 
of tints, which presently are seen to be real in flowers that 
were unknown to him. And more striking than this, by 
our abstract thinking we constantly form conclusions, which 
presently are seen to agree entirely with actual relations. In 
this way object and subject stand over against each other as 
wholly allied, and the more deeply our human consciousness 
penetrates into the cosmos, the closer this alliance is seen to 
be, both as concerns the substance and morphology of the 
object, and the thoughts that lie expressed in the relations 
of the object. And since the object does not produce the 
subject, nor the subject the object, the power that binds the 
two organically together must of necessity be sought outside 
of each. And however much we may speculate and ponder, 
no explanation can ever suggest itself to our sense, of the 
all-sufficient ground for this admirable correspondence and 
affinity between object and subject, on which the possibility 
and development of science wholly rests, until at the hand 
of Holy Scripture we confess that the Author of the cosmos 
created man in the cosmos as microcosmos " after his image 
and likeness." 

Thus understood, science .presents itself to us as a neces 
sary and ever -continued impulse, in the human mind to reflect 
within itself the cosmos, plastically as to its elements, and to 
think it through logically as to its relations; always with the 
understanding that the human mind is capable of this by reason 
of its organic affinity to its object. 

84 40. LANGUAGE [Div. II 

40. Language 

If a single man could perform this gigantic task in one 
moment of time, and if there were no difficulties to encounter, 
immediate and complete knowledge would be conceivable 
without memory and without spoken language. But since this 
intellectual task laps across the ages, is divided among many 
thousands of thinkers, and amid all sorts of difficulties can 
make but very slow progress science is not conceivable with 
out memory and language. With the flight of time neither 
science by representation nor science by conception can be 
retained with any permanency, unless we have some means 
by which to retain these representations and conceptions. 
Whether this retention is accomplished immediately by what 
we call memory, or mediately by signs, pictures, or writing, 
which recall to us at any moment like representations and 
conceptions, is immaterial as far as the result is concerned. 
In either case the action goes out from our human mind. The 
fact that representations and conceptions are recognized from 
the page shows that our mind has maintained its relation to 
them, although in a different way from common " remem 
brance." If we had become estranged from them, we would 
not recognize what had been chronicled. Although then our 
mind is more active in what we call "memory," and more 
passive in the recognition of what has been recorded, it is in 
both cases the action of the same faculty of our mind which, 
either with or without the help of means, retains the represen 
tation or conception and holds it permanently as accumulated 
capital. Observe, however, that in our present state at 
least, this stored treasure is sure to corrode when kept in 
the memory without aids for retention. This is shown 
by the fact that we find it easier to retain a representation 
than a conception ; and that our memory encounters the 
greatest difficulties in retaining names and signs, which 
give neither a complete representation nor a complete con 
ception, but which in relation to each are always more or 
less arbitrarily chosen. Finally, as to the record of the 
contents of our consciousness outside of us, representations 


and conceptions follow each a way of their own. The 
representation expresses itself by art in the image, the con 
ception by language in the word. This distinction main 
tains its full force, even though by writing the word acquires 
in part the nature of the image, and by description the image 
acquires in part the nature of the word. The word is writ 
ten in figures, even if these are but signs, and the figure can 
also be pictured by the poet in words. From this inter 
mingling of the two domains it is seen once more how close 
the alliance is between representation and conception, in 
consequence of the oneness of the action by which the 
understanding (facultas intelligendi) directs itself in turn 
to the elements in the cosmos and to the relations between 
these elements. 

This, however, does not imply that language serves no 
higher purpose than to aid the memory in securing the capi 
tal once acquired by our consciousness against the destructive 
inroads of time. Much higher stands the function of lan 
guage to make the fund of our representations and concep 
tions the common property of man, and thus to raise his 
individual condition to the common possession of the gen 
eral consciousness of humanity. Without language the 
human race falls atomistically apart, and it is only by lan 
guage that the organic communion, in which the members 
of the human race, stand to each other, expresses itself. 
Language is here used in its most general sense. Though 
ordinarily we use the word language almost exclusively as 
expressing a conception conveyed by sound, we also use it 
to express communications conveyed by the eyes, by signs, 
by flowers, etc.; and even if we take language in the nar 
rower sense, as consisting of words, the imitation of sounds 
and the several series of exclamations plainly show that 
language is by no means confined to the world of concep 
tions. The consciousness of one actually imparts to the con 
sciousness of the other what it has observed and thought out ; 
of its representations therefore, as well as of its conceptions; 
and corresponding to this, language has the two fundamen 
tal forms of image and word ; it being quite immaterial 

86 40. LANGUAGE [Div. II 

whether the image is a mere indication, a rough sign or a 
finely wrought form. A motion of the hand, a sign, a look 
of the eyes, a facial expression, are parts of human language 
as well as words. Nor should it be overlooked that, at least 
in our present state, language without words has a broad 
advantage over language in words. While language in 
words serves your purpose as far as the knowledge of your 
own language extends, the language of symbol is univer 
sally intelligible, even to the deaf and dumb, with only the 
blind excepted. The old custom, which is reviving itself of 
late, of publishing books with pictures, is from this view 
point entirely justified. Since our consciousness has a two 
fold manner of existence, that of representation and of 
conception, the union of image and ivord will ever be the 
most perfect means of communication between the con 
sciousness of one and of another. And communion can 
become so complete that a given content may be perfectly 
transmitted from the consciousness of one into that of 
another. The real difficulty arises only when instead of 
being borrowed from the morphological part of the cosmos, 
the content of your communication is taken from the 
amorphic or asomatic part of the cosmos ; such as when 
you try to convey to others your impressions and percep 
tions of the world of the true, the good, and the beautiful. 
We have no proper means at command by which to reproduce 
the elements of this amorphic cosmos, so that by the aid of 
symbolism we must resort to analogies and other utterances 
of mind which are forever incomplete. This renders the 
relation .3 among these elements continually uncertain, so 
that our conceptions of these relations are never entirely 
clear, while nevertheless a tendency arises to interpret this 
amorphic cosmos as consisting purely of conceptions. As 
this, however, will be considered more fully later on, it is 
sufficient to state here that for all science, language in its 
widest sense is the indispensable means both of communica 
tion between the consciousness of one and that of another, 
and for the generalization of the human consciousness in 
which all science roots. 


But language by itself would only accomplish this task 
within the bounds of a very limited circle and for a brief 
period of time, if it had not received the means of perpetu 
ating itself in writing and in printing. Not the spoken but 
only the written and printed word surmounts the difficulty 
of distance between places and times. No doubt language 
possessed in tradition a means by which it could pass 011 
from mouth to mouth, and from age to age ; especially 
in the fixed tradition of song ; but this was ever extremely 
defective. Carving or painting on stone, wood, or canvas 
was undoubtedly a more enduring form ; but the full, rich 
content of what the human consciousness had grasped, ex 
perienced and thought out could only be made cecumenic 
and perpetual with any degree of accuracy and complete 
ness, when wondrous writing provided the means by which 
to objectify the content of the consciousness outside of self 
and to fix it. This writing naturally began with the repre 
sentation and only gradually learned to reproduce concep 
tions by the indication of sounds. Thus image and word 
were ever more sharply distinguished, till at length with 
civilized nations the hieroglyphic language of images and 
the sound-indicating language of words have become two. 
And no finer and higher development than this is con 
ceivable. The two actions of our consciousness, that of 
observing the elements and of thinking out their relations, 
which at first were commingled in their reproduction, are 
now clearly distinguished, and while art is bent upon an 
ever-completer reproduction of our representations, writing 
and printing offer us an entirely sufficient means for the 
reproduction of our conceptions. 

But even this does not exhibit the highest function of lan 
guage for human life in general and for science in particu 
lar. Language does not derive its highest significance from 
the fact that it enables us to retain and to collect the repre 
sentations and conceptions of our consciousness; nor yet 
from the fact that in this way it serves as the means of com 
munication between the consciousness of one and the con 
sciousness of another ; but much more from the fact that 

88 40. LANGUAGE [Uiv. II 

language makes the content of our consciousness our property. 
It is one thing in the first stage of development to know 
that there are all sorts of sensations, perceptions, impressions, 
and distinctions in our consciousness, which we have neither 
assimilated nor classified. And it is quite another thing 
to have entered upon that second stage of our development, 
in which we have transposed this content of our conscious 
ness into representations and conceptions. And it is by 
language only that our consciousness effects this mighty 
transformation, by which the way is paved for the real progress 
of all science ; and this is done partly already by the lan 
guage of images ; but more especially by the language of 
words ; and thus by the combined action of the imagination 
and thought. In this connection we also refer to the action 
of the imagination, for though ordinarily we attach a crea 
tive meaning to the imagination, so that it imagines some 
thing that does not exist, the figurative representation of 
something we have perceived belongs to this selfsame action 
of our mind. Representation surpasses the mere perception, 
in that it presents the image as a unit and in some external 
relation, and is in so far always in part a product also of our 
thought, but only in so far as our thought is susceptible <>f 
plastic objectification. Hence in the representation our ego 
sees a morphological something that belongs to the content 
of our consciousness. But whatever clearness may arise 
from this, and however necessary this representation may be, 
for the clearness of our consciousness, the representation by 
itself is not sufficient for our ego ; we must also logically 
understand the object ; and this is not conceivable without 
the forming of the conception. And this very forming nf 
the conceptions, and the whole work which our mind then 
undertakes with these conceptions, would be absolutely 
inconceivable, if the language of words did not offer us the 
means to objectify for ourselves what is present in our 
consciousness as the result of thought. Being used to the 
manipulation of language, we may well be able to follow up 
a series of thoughts and partly arrange them in order, with 
out whispering or writing a word, but this is merely the 


outcome of mental power acquired by the use of language. 
When the content of our logical consciousness is objectified 
in language, this objectification reflects itself in our con 
sciousness, which enables us to think without words ; but 
by itself we cannot do without the word. Since we are 
partly psychic and partly somatic, it is by virtue of our two 
fold nature that psychic thought seeks a body for itself in 
the word, and only in this finest commingling of our psychic 
and somatic being does our ego grasp with clearness the 
content of our logical consciousness. The development of 
thinking and speaking keeps equal pace with the growing 
child, and only a people with a richly developed language 
can produce deep thinkers. We readily grant that there are 
persons whose speech is both fluent and meaningless, and 
that on the other hand there are those who think deeply 
and find great difficulty in expressing themselves clearly ; 
but this phenomenon presents no objection to our assertion, 
since language is the product of the nation as a whole, and 
during the period of his educational development the in 
dividual merely grows into the language and thereby into 
the world of thought peculiar to his people. No reckon 
ings therefore can be made with what is peculiar to the few. 
The relation between language and thought bears a general 
character, and only after generalization can it be critically 

41. Fallacious Theories 

Suppose that no disturbance by sin had taken place in the 
subject or object, we should arrive by way of recapitulation 
at the following conclusion : The subject of science is the 
universal ego in the universal human consciousness ; the 
object is the cosmos. This subject and object each exists 
organically, and an organic relation exists between the two. 
Because the ego exists dichotomically, i.e. psychically as well 
as somatically, our consciousness has two fundamental forms, 
which lead to representations and to conceptions; while in 
the object we find the corresponding distinction between ele 
ments and relations. And it is in virtue of this correspond- 


ence that science leads to an understanding of the cosmos, 
both as to its elements and relations. The subject is able 
to assimilate the cosmos as object, because it bears in itself 
microcosmically both the types of these elements and the 
frame into which these relations naturally fit. And finally 
the possibility of obtaining not merely an aggregate but an 
organically connected knowledge of the cosmos, by which also 
to exercise authority over it, arises from the fact that there 
is a necessary order dominant in this cosmos, springing logi 
cally from the same principle which also works ectypically 
in our own microcosmically disposed consciousness. 

Thus, taken apart from all disturbances by sin and curse, 
our human consciousness should, of necessity, have entered 
more and more deeply into the entire cosmos, by representa 
tion as well as by conception-forming thought. The cosmos 
would have been before us as an open book. And foras 
much as we ourselves are a part of that cosmos, we should 
have, with an ever-increasing clearness of consciousness, lived 
the life of that cosmos along with it, and by our life itself 
we should have ruled it. 

In this state of things, the universality and necessity, 
which are the indispensable characteristics of our knowledge 
of the cosmos if it is to bear the scientific stamp, would 
not have clashed with our subjectivism. Though it is in 
conceivable that in a sinless development of our race all 
individuals would have been uniform repetitions of the self 
same model ; and though it must be maintained, that only 
in the multiform individualization of the members of our 
race lies the mark of its organic character ; yet in the ab 
sence of a disturbance, this multiformity would have been as 
harmonious, as now it works unharmoniously. With mutual 
supplementation there would have been no conflict. And 
there would have been no desire on the part of one indi 
vidual subject to push other subjects aside, or to trans 
form the object after itself. That this disturbance, alas, did 
occur, from which subjectivism sprang as a cancer to poison 
our science, comes under consideration later. Only let it here 
be observed how entirely natural it is for thinkers who deny 


the disturbance by sin, to represent science to this day as an 
absolute power, and are thereby forced either to limit science 
to the " sciences exactes," or to interpret it as a philosophic 
system, after whose standards reality must be distorted. 

The first tendency has prevailed in England, the second in 
Germany. The first tendency, no doubt, arose also in France, 
but the name of " sciences exactes" as appears from the added 
term exactes, lays no claim to science as a whole. In England, 
however, science, in its absolute sense, is more and more the 
exclusive name for the natural sciences ; while the honorary 
title of " scientific " is withheld from psychological inves 
tigations. Herein lies an honest intention, which deserves 
appreciation. It implies the confession that only that 
which can be weighed and measured sufficiently escapes 
the hurtful influence of subjectivism to bear an absolute, i.e. 
an universal and necessary character; even in the sense that 
the bare data obtained by such investigations, by repeated 
experiments, are raised to infallibility, and as such are com 
pulsory in their nature. And such we by no means deny 
all science ought to be. But however honestly this theory 
may be intentioned, it is nevertheless untenable. First in so 
far as even the most assiduous students of these sciences 
never confine themselves to mere weighing and measuring, 
but, for the sake of communicating their thoughts and of 
exerting an influence upon reality and common opinion, 
formulate all manner of conclusions and hypothetical propo 
sitions tainted by subjectivism, which are at heart a denial 
of their own theory. Only remember Darwinism ; the fun 
damental opposition which it meets with from men of repute 
shows that it has no compulsory character, and hence does 
not comply with the demands of the sciences. But also in 
the second place this theory is untenable, because it either 
ignores the spiritual, in order to maintain the ponderable,, 
world, and thus ends in pure materialism, or it ignores every 
organic relation between the ponderable and the spiritual 
world and thereby abandons the science of the cosmos as 

The second tendency stands much higher, and, by reason of 


the power of German thought, lias ever led the van, and vigor 
ously maintained the demand that science should lead to an 
organic knowledge of the entire cosmos, derived from one 
principle. Unfortunately, however, this theory, which with 
a sinless development would have been entirely correct, 
and is still correct in an ideal sense, no longer meets 
the actual state of things, partly because the investigating 
subjects stand inharmoniously opposed to one another, and 
partly because all sorts of anomalies have gained an entrance 
into the object. Only think of human language and of the 
conflict that has been waged about analogies and anomalies 
since the days of the Sophists and Alexandrians ! If, from 
this point of view, the disturbance of the harmony in the 
subject as well as in the object fails to be taken into ac 
count, and the effort is persisted in logically to explain the 
discord from one principle, one ends in speculation which 
does not impart an understanding of the cosmos, but either 
imagines a cosmos which does not exist, or pantheistic-ally 
destroys every boundary line, till finally the very difference 
between good and evil is made to disappear. 

Truly the entire interpretation of science, applied to tin- 
cosmos as it presents itself to us now, and is studied by the 
subject >k man * as he now exists, is in an absolute sense gov 
erned by the question whether or no a disturbance has been 
brought about by sin either in the object or in the subject of 

This all-determining point will therefore claim our atten 
tion in a special section, after the character of the spiritual 
sciences shall have been separately examined. 

42. The Spiritual Sciences 

If the cosmos, man included, consisted exclusively of pon 
derable things, the study of the cosmos would be much 
simpler than it is now, but there would be no subject to 
appropriate this knowledge. Hence science has no right to 
complain that the cosmos does not consist of mere matter. 
It is to this very fact that science owes its existence. Mean 
while we cannot overestimate the difficulty of obtaining a 


science, worthy of the name, of the spiritual side of the 
cosmos. This difficulty is threefold. 

In the first place all the psychic, taken in the ordinary 
sense, is amorphie, from which it follows that the morpho 
logic capacity of our consciousness, by which we form an 
image of the object and place it before us, must here remain 
inactive. Thus while, in the tracing of relations in all that 
is ponderable, our understanding finds a point of support 
in the representation of the elements among which these 
relations exist, here this point of support is altogether want 
ing. This does not imply that the object of these sciences 
is unreal; for even with the sciences of ponderable objects 
your understanding never penetrates to the essence. In 
your representation you see the form (jiopfyrj*) ; you follow 
the relations (avafyopat) with your thinking ; but the essence 
( OVO-LO.) lies be} ond your reach. This does not imply that 
the spiritual objects may not have something similar among 
themselves, to what in the non-spiritual we understand by 
popcbij : the forma in the world of thought rather suggests 
the contrary ; but in either case these forms are a secret to 
us. and our consciousness is not able to take them up and 
communicate them to our ego. And since as somatic-psychic 
beings we are naturally inclined to assimilate every object 
both plastically and logically, we certainly feel a want with 
respect to this in the spiritual domain. This want induces 
us all too easily to interpret this entire realm logically only, 
and so to promote a false intellectualism or a dangerous 

The second difficulty under which the spiritual sciences 
labor is the instability of their object. You can classify 
minerals, plants and animals, and though in these classi 
fications you must ever be prepared for variations and 
anomalies, nevertheless certain fixed marks can be deter 
mined to distinguish class from class. But with the 
spiritual sciences, which constantly bring you in touch 
with man. this rule evades you. Even the classification 
according to sex frequently suffers shipwreck upon effemi 
nate men and mannish women. In "man" only does there 


assert itself to its fullest extent that individuality which 
principle resists every effort to generalize, and thus obstructs 
the way to the universal and necessary character of your 
science. You find a certain number of phenomena in 
common, but even these common properties are endlessly 
modified. And the worst is that in proportion as an indi 
vidual is a richer object, and thus would offer the more 
abundant material for observation, the development of his 
individuality is the stronger, and by so much the less does 
such an individual lend himself to comparison. From a 
sharply denned character there are almost no conclusions 
to be drawn. 

And along with this amorphic and unstable characteristic a 
third difficulty is that in most of the spiritual sciences you are 
dependent upon the self-communication of your object. It 
is true, you can study man in his actions and habits. His 
face tells you something ; his eye still more. But if it is 
your desire to obtain a somewhat more accurate knowledge 
of the spiritual phenomena in him, in order to become ac 
quainted with him, there must be in him : (1) a certain 
knowledge of himself, and (2) the power and will to reveal 
himself to you. If, then, as a result of all such self-communi 
cation you desire to form some opinion on the spiritual phe 
nomenon which you investigate, especially in connection 
with what has been said above, such self-communication 
must be made by a great number of persons and amid all 
sorts of circumstances. Moreover, many difficulties arise 
in connection with this self-communication of your object. 
(1) Most people lack sufficient self-knowledge. (2) So 
many people lack the ability to impart to you their self- 
knowledge. (8) Much is told as though it were the result 
of self-knowledge, which is in reality only the repetition 
of what others have said. (4) Many do not want to 
reveal themselves, or purposely make statements that mis 
lead. (5) Self-knowledge is frequently connected with inti 
mate considerations or facts which are not communicable. 
(6) With the same individual this self-communication will 
be wholly different at one time from another. And (7) a right 


understanding of what one tells you requires generally 
such a knowledge of his past, character, and manner of life 
as is only obtained from a very few persons. It is most 
natural, therefore, that in recent times the young child has 
been taken as the object of observation, for the reason that 
with the child these difficulties are materially lessened ; but 
this is balanced, again by the fact that, because of its im 
maturity, the child expresses so little. 

Thus we find that the difficulty in the way of the spiritual 
sciences does not lie in the mystery of the essence of their 
object. With the exact sciences the essence is equally mys 
terious. Neither does the difficulty of these sciences lie 
simply in the amorphic character of their object, or, if you 
please, in the lack of tangible elements. But the knowledge 
of the relations of the object of these sciences is so difficult 
to be obtained, because these relations are so uncertain in 
their manifestation and are therefore almost always bound to 
the self-communication of the object. It is noteworthy how 
slow the progress of these sciences is, especially when com 
pared with the rapid progress of the exact sciences ; and the 
more so since the effort has been made to apply to them the 
method of the natural sciences. 

Symbolism, mythology, personification, and also poetry, 
music and almost all the fine arts render us invaluable ser 
vice as interpretations of what is enacted within the spiritual 
realm, but by themselves they offer us no scientific knowl 
edge. Symbolism is founded upon the analogy and the 
inner affinity, which exist between the visible and invisible 
creation. Hence, it is not only an imperfect help, of which 
we may avail ourselves since our forms of thought are bor 
rowed from the visible, but it represents a reality which is 
confirmed in our own human personality by the inner and 
close union of our somatic-ps}~chic existence. Without 
that analogy and that inner affinity there would be no 
unity of perception possible, nor unity of expression for 
our two-sided being as man. Your eye does not see ; your 
ego sees, but through your eye ; and this use of your eye 
could not effect the act of your seeing, if in the reflection 


of light in your eye there were no actual analogy to that 
which your c<jo does when you see something through 
your eye. And though this analogy may weaken when ap 
plied to the other parts of the cosmos, in proportion as their 
affinity to man becomes more limited, we cannot escape 
from the impression that this analogy is everywhere present. 
With the aid of this symbolical tendency mythology seeks to 
represent the spiritual powers as expressions of mysterious 
persons. And though with us the life of the imagination is 
subjected too greatly to the verification of our thinking, for 
us to appreciate such a representation, we constantly feel the 
need of finding in personification useful terms for our utter 
ances and for the interpretation of our feelings. In fact, our 
entire language for the psychic world is founded upon this 
symbolism. Although in later days, without remembrance 
of this symbolism, many words have purposely been formed 
for psychical phenomena, the ouomatopepoiemena excepted, all 
words used to express psychical perception or phenomena are 
originally derived by the way of symbolism from the visible 
world. And where poetry, music, or whatever art comes in to 
cause us to see or hear, not merely the beautiful in the form, 
but also the interpretation of the psychic, it is again on the 
ground of a similar analogy between the visible and invisible, 
that they cause us to hear something in verse or in musical 
rhythm, or to see something by means of the chisel or the 
pencil which affects our psychical life or teaches it to under 
stand itself. Indeed, in the affinity between the visible 
and invisible part of the cosmos, and in the analogy founded 
on it, there lies an invaluable means of affecting the psychi 
cal life and of bringing it to utterance ; but however richly 
and beautifully the world of sounds may be able to inter 
pret and inspire our inner life, it offers no building material 
for scientific knowledge. Moreover, with all these expressions 
of art you must always reckon with the individuality of the 
artist who enchants your eye or ear, which sometimes expresses 
itself very strongly, so that with all the products of art, inde 
pendent of sin and falsehood, which have invaded this realm 
also, the above-mentioned objection of individuality returns. 


If the empiricism of symbolism is of very limited service 
to us, the empiricism of the more general expressions of the 
psychic life is equally unhelpful. The method of tracing the 
expressions of the intellectual, ethic, social, juridic, aesthetic 
and religious life among the different nations through the 
course of time is justifiable, and it must be granted that the 
similarity and the similar process of these phenomena among 
different nations warrant certain conclusions concerning the 
character of these life-utterances ; but by itself this historic- 
comparative study offers no sufficiently scientific knowledge 
of the psychical life itself. Because you know that water 
descends upon the mountains mostly in the form of snow ; 
that there it forms glaciers ; that these glaciers melt ; and 
that first as foaming torrents, and then as a navigable 
stream, the water pushes forward to the ocean, your scien 
tific knowledge of water is not yet complete. And really 
this historic-comparative study of the moral, social and re 
ligious life of the nations teaches us not much more. Hence 
though we would not question for a single moment the rela 
tive right and usefulness of these studies, we emphatically 
deny that these studies constitute the real prosecution of the 
spiritual sciences. You may excel in all these studies, and 
not know the least thing about your own soul, which subject 
ively forms the centre of all psychic investigation. And 
what is more serious still, in this way you run a great risk 
of, unknown to yourself, falsifying the object of your sci 
ence, if not of denaturalizing it. Apply, for instance, this 
method to the science of law, and you must form the conclu 
sion that existing law only is law. Since this existing law 
constantly modifies itself according to the ideas of law 
that are commonly accepted, all antithesis between lawful 
and unlawful becomes at last a floating conception, and 
law degenerates into an official stipulation of the tempora 
rily predominating ideas concerning mutual relationships. 
Thus you deprive law of its eternal principles ; you falsify 
the sense of law, which by nature still speaks in us ; and 
your so-called study of law degenerates into a study of 
certain phenomena, which you mark with the stamp of 


law. For though it is asserted that the idea of law de 
velops itself with an inner impulse in the process of these 
phenomena; yet this may never be taken naturalistically, in 
the form of a physiological process; and you should know 
the idea of law, which is entirely different from these phe 
nomena, before you will be able critically to analyze the 
phenomenon of law. And thus we see in fact the simplest 
principles of law pass more and more into discredit, and the 
rise of two factions which, each in turn, call lawful what 
the other condemns as unlawful. This antithesis is especially 
prominent in its application to the conceptions of personal 
property and capital punishment. One wants violated law to 
be revenged on the murderer, while to the other he is simply 
an object of pity, as a victim of atavism. Every existing law 
(jus constitutum) declares, that property must be protected 
by law, but the anarchist declares that in the ideal law 
(jus constituendum) all property must be avenged as theft. 
Though, therefore, without hesitation we concede that the 
dominion of symbolism points to a strong analogy between 
things " seen " and " unseen " ; and though we readily grant 
that the naturalistic method, by historic comparative study, 
is productive of rich results also for the spiritual sciences; we 
emphatically deny that the study of the spiritual sciences 
can be entirely bound to the method of the natural sciences. 
The cause of this difference is that the science of things 
" seen " is built up (1) from the sensuous perception or ob 
servation of the elements by our senses, and (2) from the 
logical knowledge of the relations which exist among these 
elements by our thinking. This, however, is impossible 
with the spiritual sciences. In the object of this science 
the same distinction must be made between the real ele 
ments and their relations. But, fitted to bring us in con 
nection with the elements of the things " seen," our senses 
refuse to render this service with reference to the elements 
of the tilings "unseen." Moreover, it is self-evident that 
the logical knowledge of the relations, which by itself 
would 1)0 insufficient, becomes floating, while the elements 
among which they exist are not known. The plastic ca- 


pacity of our mind, which, by means of the senses, is able 
to take up into itself the elements of the things "seen," 
remains here inactive, and the logical capacity is insuf 
ficient by itself to form conceptions and judgments. If, 
nevertheless, the effort is made to treat these spiritual 
sciences after the method of things " seen," a double 
self-deception is committed : unknowingly one changes the 
object and unconsciously one chooses his point of support in 
something not included in. this method. The object is 
changed when, as in Theology for instance, not God but 
religion is made the object of investigation, and religion only 
in its expressions. And something is chosen as point of de 
parture which this method does not warrant, when the notion 
or the idea of religion is borrowed from one s own subject. 

The question therefore is, what renders the service in 
the spiritual sciences, which the representation-capacity 
in connection with the senses effects in things " seen." 
Since the object of the spiritual sciences is itself spiritual, 
and therefore amorphic, our senses not only, but the repre 
sentation-capacity as well, render here no service. If no 
other means is substituted, the spiritual object remains be 
yond the reach of our scientific research, and spiritual phe 
nomena must either be interpreted materialistically as the 
product of material causes, or remain agnostically outside of 
our science, even as the present English use of the word science 
prescribes. This result, however, would directly conflict 
with what experience teaches. Again and again it appears 
that there are all sorts of spiritual things which we know 
with far greater certainty than the facts which are brought 
us by the observation of things "seen." The sense of right, 
the sense of love, the feeling of hatred, etc., appear again and 
again to have a much more real existence in our consciousness 
than many a member of our own body. And though the 
idealism of Fichte in its own one-sidedness may have outrun 
itself, you nevertheless cease to be man when the reality of 
spiritual things is not more certain to you than what by in- 


vestigation you know of plant and animal. If we maintain 
the etymological root-idea of science, in the sense that what 
is known forms its content, you maim your science when you 
deny it access to spiritual objects. 

There is no other course therefore than to construct the 
spiritual sciences from the subject itself; provided you do not 
overlook that the subject of science is not this inquirer or 
that, but the human consciousness in general. It was seen 
that with visible things all distinguishing knowledge would 
be inconceivable, if the archetypic receptivity for these 
objects were not present, microcosmically, in the human 
consciousness. And with reference to spiritual objects it 
may in a like sense be postulated, that the presence of such 
an archetypic receptivity for right, love, etc., is also found 
in our consciousness. Otherwise, these would simply have 
no existence for us. But with this receptivity by itself the 
task is not ended. An action must be exerted by the object 
of your science upon this receptivity. It is indifferent for the 
present whether this action comes to you mediately or im 
mediately. We do not become aware of right, for instance, 
as a poetic product of our own spirit, but as a power which 
dominates us. We perceive the working of that power even 
when our feeling for right is not aroused, as in a concrete 
case by an occurrence outside of us. Entirely independently 
of the revelation, violation or application of right in given 
circumstances, we know that we must do right; and this 
sense cannot be in us, except that power of right, to which 
AVO feel ourselves subjected, moves and touches us in our 
inner being. This becomes possible since we possess the re 
ceptivity for right, but is only established when right itself, 
as a power which dominates us, works upon that receptivity, 
and by it enters into our consciousness. The question lying 
back of this, whether right itself exists as universal, or is 
simply an expression for what exists in God, need not detain 
us. It is enough as long as we but know that in the 
taking-up of the object of the spiritual sciences as well ns 
in the perception of the object of the natural sciences, we 
must distinguish in ///< i>F>) i t>f between the element and its 


relations, and in our consciousness between the correspond 
ing perception of the element and examination of its rela 
tions. Always with this difference in view, that in the 
world of matter the element works upon our consciousness 
through the senses, which provokes the action of the power 
of representation ; while with the spiritual sciences the 
element does not work upon the senses, neither through the 
representation, but in keeping with its spiritual nature 
affects our consciousness subjectively, and finds a recep 
tivity in our subject which renders this emotion possible. 
And this emotion may be constant, and thus result in a 
permanent sense, or it may be accidental, in which case it 
falls under the conception of inspiration. In the trans 
mission of the object of the spiritual sciences into our 
consciousness the same process takes place as in the dis 
covery of our consciousness to the object of the natural 
sciences. In each case we take up into ourselves the element 
and the relations differently. In each case the receptivity 
must be present in us for the elements and for the relations. 
And in each case it is our thinking that makes us know the 
relations, while the perception of the element conies to us 
from the object itself. But these two sciences differ, in that 
the element of the visible world enters into our conscious 
ness by a different way than the element of the spiritual 
world ; the elements of the visible world working upon our 
powers of representation through the senses, while in entire 
independence of our senses and of any middle link known to 
us, the elements of the spiritual world affect our subject 
spiritually, and thus to our apprehension appear to enter 
immediately into our consciousness. 

Thus the science of the spiritual object is derived from the 
subjectivity in man ; but always in such a way, that here also 
our individual subject may never be taken independently 
of its organic relation to the general subject of the human 
race. The individual investigator who seeks to construct 
the spiritual sciences exclusively from his own subjective 
perceptions, virtually destroys thereby the very conception 
of science, and he will have no place for Philology, History, 


Political and Social sciences, etc. And though it might 
seem that this would destroy the subjective character of by 
far the greater part of the investigations within the domain 
of the spiritual sciences, it is not so. All study of law, for 
instance, would be inconceivable by a scholar Avho did not 
have the sense of right, however imperfectly, in himself. The 
study of language is only possible because we know the rela 
tions between the soul, thought and sound, from our own 
subject. Statesmanship can only be studied, because by 
nature man is an active partner in all public affairs. The 
starting-point and the condition for the prosecution of these 
sciences consequently always lie in our own subjective sense. 
In the vestibule of Psychology the psychic phenomena of 
animal life receive ever greater attention, which study offers 
no mean contribution to the knowledge of simple percep 
tions ; but the leading scientists unanimously protest against 
the conclusions drawn from this for the knowledge of the 
social life of animals, such as those for instance of Sir John 
Lubbock for the world of ants. If the possibility might be 
born at any time to determine by analogy that there are 
psychological and sociological relations in the world of ani 
mals, it could not affect our position. Even then it would 
not be the world of animals that interprets to us the world of 
man, but on the contrary it would still be our own subject 
ive sense, from which by analogy a world is concluded analo 
gous to ours ; just as Theologians have set us the example 
with respect to the world of angels. 

Neither should we be misled by the fact that the objective 
character predominates in by far the larger part of the labor 
expended upon spiritual studies. If it is true that with 
Psychology for instance the physico-psychic experiment, and 
the comparative study of psychic expression and ethnological- 
historic investigations offer very considerable contributions to 
this department of science, it must not be forgotten that all 
these preliminary studies are impelled and directed by the 
psychic sense itself, and that after these preliminary studies 
the real construction of Psychology only commences. The 
more objective side of these studies has a twofold cause. 


First the relation which exists in the entire domain of this 
study between our soul and our body, and between the 
expression of our soul and the visible cosmos. And secondly 
the necessity of examining our own psychical life not by 
itself, but in organic relation to the psychical life of our 
human race. Here, however, appearance should not deceive 
us. Whatever we observe physically in this respect, or 
observe in cosmic expressions of the psychical life, does not 
really belong as such to the psychical sciences. And where 
out of our own individual subject we try to find a bridge by 
which to reach the subjective life of humanity, that bridge 
is never anything but a bridge, and it is not the bridge, 
but the psychical world which we reach by it, that claims 
our attention. 

Distinction, therefore, must be made between pure and 
mixed spiritual sciences. Language, for instance, is a mixed 
spiritual science, because everything that pertains to the 
modulation of sounds, and the influence exerted on them 
by the general build of the body, and especially by the 
organs of breathing, articulation, and of hearing, is somatic; 
and the real psychical study is only begun when in this 
body of language the logos as its psychic element is reached. 
Thus also in history the building of cities, the waging of 
war, etc., is the body of history, and its psychical study 
only begins when we seek to reach the motives of human 
action which hide behind this somatic exterior, and to in 
terpret the mysterious power which, partly by and partly 
without these motives, caused hundreds of persons, and 
whole nations, to run a course which, if marked by retro 
gression, suggests, nevertheless, the unwinding of a ball 
of yarn. And whether you trace these motives, or whether 
you study the mysterious succession of generations, your 
own subjective-psychical life is ever shown to be your 
starting-point, and empiricism leaves you in the lurch. This 
is most forcibly illustrated by Philosophy in the narrower 
sense, which, just because it tries logically to interpret, if 
not the cosmos itself, at least the image received of it by 
us, ever bears a strongly subjective character, and with 


its coryphaei, least of all, is able to escape this individual 
stamp. The philosophical premises thus obtained by indi 
vidual heroes among thinkers, according to the impulse 
of their own subjectivity, are then borrowed by the lesser 
gods (dii minores), in virtue of spiritual "elective affinity" 
(\Vahlverwandtschaft), and equally in accordance with their 
subjective predilection. And these premises will dominate 
the entire study of spiritual sciences in given circles, as far 
as these, with the empiric data as building material, devote 
themselves architecturally to the erection of the building. 
Let no one, therefore, be blinded by the appearance of 
objectivity, brought about by the exhibition of these em 
piric data. It is sheer self-deception to think that we 
can ever succeed in making the spiritual sciences fit the 
same last as the natural sciences. Even Avith the latter, 
simple empiricism can never suffice. Everything that is 
material and can consequently be counted, weighed and 
measured, no doubt offers us, at least as far as these rela 
tions are concerned, a universally compulsory certainty, 
which, if observation be correct, bears an absolutely object 
ive character. As soon, however, as you venture one step 
farther in this physical domain, and from these empiric 
data try to obtain a construction by which to discover 
among these scattered data a unity of thought, the process 
of an idea, or the progression from a first phenomenon to 
a result, you have at once crossed over from the physical 
into the psychical, the universally compulsory certainty 
leaves you, and you glide back into subjective knowledge, 
since you are already within the domain of the spiritual 
sciences. Thus to make it still appear that these philo 
sophical interpretations and constructions, such as, for in 
stance, the Descendenz-theorie, are merely logical deduc 
tions from empiric data, is deception. And this deception 
continues itself within the domain of the spiritual sciences, 
since here, also, one thinks that he starts out from empiric 
data, when these empiric data at best can only serve as 
means to enrich your investigation and verify it, but are 
never able to reveal or to interpret to you the psychic self, 


which, after all, is the real object of these sciences. The 
result of this dangerous self-deception is, that in all these 
departments detail and preliminary studies greatly flourish, 
while for the greater part the real study of these sci 
ences lies fallow. For instance, uncommon energy is spent 
in the study of the expressions and phenomena of religious 
life in different ages and among different peoples, by which 
to formulate them with utmost accuracy, while religion 
itself, which is the real object in hand, is neglected. In 
the same way the manifestations of the moral life of nations 
are studied in their several periods and localities, but cer 
tainty about the power which determines the norm of moral 
life, and knowledge of the means of causing moral life to 
flourish, are more and more lost, an atrophy, which ap 
plies as well to the study of psychology, of history, of 
law, etc., and which can only be understood from a false 
desire to materialize the psychical, as if matter could be 
treated on an equal footing with the psychic. This desire, 
in itself, is readily understood, since an outwardly compul 
sory certainty in this domain would be still more desirable 
to many people than in the domain of the natural sciences ; 
and it is even measurably just, since the empiric data, 
which with the spiritual sciences also are at our service, 
were formerly all too grossly neglected. But, as soon as 
it tries to exalt itself into a method, it meets an inex 
orable obstacle in the nature and character of the psychic ; 
on the one hand, because the psychical image assumes no 
form for us except in its subjective individualization ; and, 
on the other hand, because the psychic can never be grasped 
in any other way than by our own psychic sense. 



43. Science and Sin 

The subjective character which is inseparable from all 
spiritual science, in itself would have nothing objectionable 
in it, if it had not been given a most dangerous exponent 
by sin. If there were no sin, nor any of its results, the 
subjectivity of A would merely be a variation of the sub 
jectivity in B. In virtue of the organic affinity between 
the two, their subjectivity would not be mutually antago 
nistic, and the sense of one would harmoniously support and 
confirm the sense of the other. In the days of the Reforma 
tion, the impulse that impelled so many thousands to reform 
was preponderantly subjective. But the fact that in all 
these subjects a common conviction aimed at a common end, 
accounts for the irresistible force that was born from the 
cooperation of these many subjectivities. But, alas, such 
is not the case in the domain of science. It is all too often 
evident, that in this domain the natural harmony of subjec 
tive expression is hopelessly broken ; and for the feeding of 
scepticism this want of harmony has no equal. By an 
investigation of self and of the cosmos you have obtained a 
well-founded scientific conviction, but when you state it, it 
meets with no response from those who, in their way, have 
investigated with equally painstaking efforts ; and not only 
is the unity of science broken, but you are shaken in the 
assurance of your conviction. For when you spoke vnur con 
viction, you did not mean simply to give expression to the 
insight of your own e//o, but to the universal human insight; 
which, indeed, it ought to be, if it were wholly accurate. 

But of necessity we must accept this hard reality, and in 
every theory of knowledge which is not to deceive itself, 



the fact of sin must henceforth claim a more serious con 
sideration. Naturally the terrible phenomenon of sin in its 
entirety can have no place in these introductory sections. 
This belongs in Theology to the section on sin (locus 
de peccato). But it is in place here to state definitely 
that sin works its fatal effects also in the domain of our 
science, and is by no means restricted to what is thelematic 
(i.e. to the sphere of volition). What the Holy Scripture 
calls, in Eph. iv. 17, 18, the "vanity of the mind," the 
"having the understanding darkened, because of the igno 
rance that is in them," even precedes the being "alienated 
from the life of God because of the hardening of their heart." 
Even without entering too deeply into the theological con 
struction of this phenomenon, it may fearlessly be stated, 
(1) that falsehood in every sense and form is now in the 
world. And since more than one spiritual science hangs al 
most exclusively upon personal communications, and since in 
consequence of "falsehood" all absolute warrant for the trust 
worthiness of these data be wanting, it is sufficiently evident 
how greatly the certainty of these sciences suffers loss in con 
sequence of sin. This will be more fully shown in our study 
of the conception of "truth." For the present this single 
suggestion must suffice. (2) Alongside of this actual 
falsehood we have the unintentional mistake, in observa 
tion and in memory, as well as in the processes of thought. 
These mistakes may be reduced by manifold verifications 
to a minimum in the material sciences, but can never be 
absolutely avoided, while in the spiritual sciences they 
practise such usury that escape from their influence is 
impossible. (3) Self-delusion and self-deception are no less 
important factors in this process, which renders nothing so 
rare as a scientific self-knowledge, a knowledge of your own 
person and character in more than a hypothetical form. 
Since almost all deeper studies of the spiritual sciences start 
out from the subjective image which we reflect of ourselves 
in our own consciousness, it needs no further proof how 
injuriously with the students of these sciences this self- 
delusion and self-deception must affect their studies and 

108 4o. SCIKNCK AM) SIX [Div. II 

the final results. (4) A fourth evil resides in our 
imagination. In a normal condition the self-consciousness 
would be able at once accurately to indicate the boundary 
line between what enters into our consciousness from the 
real world without, and what is wrought in our conscious 
ness by our imagination. But this boundary line is not 
only uncertain because of sin, but in strongly impassioned 
natures it is sometimes absolutely undiscoverable, so that 
phantasy and reality frequently pass into one another. The 
difficulty does not consist merely in the uncertainty or in 
the destruction of this boundary line; the imagination itself 
is in an abnormal condition. In one it works too weakly, 
in another it is over-excited. When it is over-excited, it 
retains its imperfect images, subjects our minds to the 
dominion of these images, falsifies thereb}* our self-con 
sciousness, so that the deliverance of our inner selves is 
lost in this imagery. This imaginary world will then assert 
its dominion over us, and weaken the susceptibility in us 
for knowledge of ourselves and of the cosmos. (5) Equal ly 
injurious are the influences which this abnormal element 
in the condition of other minds exerts upon us, since this 
evil, which by itself is already enough of a hindrance, is 
thereby given a coefficient. Not only are we subject to 
these influences from infancy, but our education frequently 
tends intentionally to give them domination over us. Lan 
guage also adds its contribution. Ail kinds of untruths have 
entered into our every-day speech, and the names and words 
we use unconsciously mould our self-consciousness. The 
proverbs and common sayings (Schlag\vorter) which from 
our youth up we have adopted as a sort of axioms affect us no 
less strongly. "Truth defends itself" is what the ancients 
said, and theologians of the ethical color take up the refrain, 
but do not perceive that by this very thing our outlook upon 
history is blurred and our sense of duty weakened. Even 
in theological interests such an adage is bound to effect its 
fallacious influence, in causing the transcendence of God to 


be lost to our sense in a mere pantheistic consideration. 
Add to this the several ideas and current expressions 


approved by the spirit of the times and inculcated in us, in 
the face of the fact that they are fallacious, and it becomes 
clear that our mind, which of itself lies ensnared in all 
manner of deceptions, is threatened to be entirely misled. 
(6) The effects worked by sin through the body claim here 
an equal consideration. In consequence of sin there is 
really no one in a normal bodily condition. All sorts of 
wrong and sickly commotions bestir themselves in our body 
and work their effect in our spiritual dispositions. They 
make one to tend strongly to the material, and another too 
strongly to the acosmic. They will make A a pessimist, 
and B a light-hearted optimist. They also modify the judg 
ment upon history, for instance, according to the influences 
which we see at work upon persons. (7) Stronger still, 
perhaps, is the influence of the sin-disorganized relation 
ships of life, an influence which makes itself especially felt 
with the pedagogic and the social sciences. He who has had 
his bringing-up in the midst of want and neglect will enter 
tain entirely different views of jural relationships and social 
regulations from him who from his youth has been bathed 
in prosperity. Thus, also, your view of civil right would 
be altogether different, if you had grown up under a des 
potism, than if you had spent the years of early man 
hood under the excesses of anarchism. To which (8) this 
is yet to be added, that the different parts of the content 
of our consciousness affect each other, and no one exists 
atomistically in his consciousness. This entails the result 
that the inaccuracies and false representations which you 
have gleaned from one realm of life, affect injuriously again 
the similarly mixed ideas which you have made your own 
from another domain. And so this evil indefinitely multi 
plies. Especially the leading thought which we have formed 
in that realm of life that holds our chiefest interests, exer 
cises a mighty dominion upon the whole content of our 
consciousness, viz. our religious or political views, what 
used to be called one s life- and world-view, by which the 
fundamental lines lie marked out in our consciousness. If, 
then, we make a mistake, or a single inaccurate move, how 

110 43. SCIENCE AND SIN [Div. II 

can it fail but communicate itself disastrously to our entire 
scientific study? 

All this refers merely to the formal working of sin upon our 
mind. But this is not all. Sin also works upon our conscious 
ness through an endless variety of moral motives. kt Every 
body preaches for his own parish" (cliacun preche pour so. 
paroisse^) is the simple expression of the undeniable truth 
that our outlook upon things is also governed by numerous 
personal interests. An Englishman will look upon the his 
tory of the Dutch naval battles with the British fleet very 
differently from a Netherlandish historian ; not because each 
purposely desires to falsify the truth, but because both are 
unconsciously governed by national interests. A merchant 
will naturally hold different views concerning free trade, fair 
trade and protection, from the manufacturer, simply because 
self-interests and trade-interests unconsciously affect his 
views. A Roman Catholic has an entirely different idea of 
the history of the Reformation from a Protestant s, not because 
he purposely violates the truth, but simply because without 
his knowing it his church interests lead him away from the 
right path. Thus our physicians will readily be inclined to 
think differently from the patients about the free practice of 
medicine ; the jurist will judge the jury differently from the 
free citizen; a man of noble birth will maintain a different 
attitude toward democratic movements from that of a man 
of the people. These are all moral differences, which are 
governed by self-interests, and which sometimes work con 
sciously and lead to the violation of conscience, but which 
generally govern the result of our studies unconsciously and 
unknown to us. 

No word has yet been said of that third class of influences 
which are essentially sinful because they result from the 
injurious effect worked by sin immediately upon our nature. 
The Christian Church confesses this to be the darkening of 
the understanding ; which does not mean that we have lost 
the capacity of thinking logically, for as far as the impulse 
of its law of life is concerned, the logica lias not been 
impaired by sin. When this takes place, a condition of 


insanity ensues. It must be granted that sin has weakened 
the energy of thought, so that in all the fulness of its glories 
this wondrous gift manifests itself only now and then in 
a rare athlete; and it must be acknowledged that sin all 
too often makes us the victims of a false and an apparently 
logical, but in reality very unlogical, reasoning; but man 
as man, or, if you please, the universal human conscious 
ness, is always able to overcome this sluggishness and to 
correct these mistakes in reasoning. No, the darkening of 
the understanding consists in something else, and would be 
better understood if we called it the darkening of our con 
sciousness. Over against sin stands love, the sympathy of 
existence, and even in our present sinful conditions the 
fact is noteworthy, that where this sympathy is active you 
understand much better and more accurately than where 
this sympathy is wanting. A friend of children under 
stands the child and the child life. A lover of animals 
understands the life of the animal. In order to study 
nature in its material operations, you must love her. With 
out this inclination and this desire tow r ard the object of your 
study, you do not advance an inch. Hence there is nothing 
problematic in the fact that the Holy Scripture presents man 
in his original state before he fell as having both by sympathy 
and affinity a knowledge of nature, which is entirely lost by 
us. And this is significant in every department of study. Sin 
is the opposite of love. It has robbed us, speaking generally, 
of all seeking sympathy, only to leave us this seeking love 
within some single domain, and that in a very defective 
form. But, taken as a whole, standing over against the 
cosmos as its object, our mind feels itself isolated ; the object 
lies outside of it, and the bond of love is wanting by which 
to enter into and learn to understand it. This fatal effect 
of sin must naturally find its deeper reason in the fact that 
the life harmony between us and the object has been dis 
turbed. What once existed organically, exists now conse 
quently as foreign to each other, and this estrangement from 
the object of our knowledge is the greatest obstacle in the 
way to our knowledge of it. 

112 43. SCIENCE AND SIN [Div. II 

But there is more. The disorganization which is the 
result of sin consists not merely in the break in the natural 
life-harmony between us and the cosmos, but also in a 
break in the life-harmony in our own selves. More than one 
string has been strung upon the instrument of our heart, 
and each string has more than one tone. And its condition 
is normal only when the different motives and tones of 
our heart harmoniously affect one another. But such is no 
longer the case. Disharmony rules in our innermost parts. 
The different senses, in the utterances of our inner selves, 
affect each other no longer in pure accord, but continually 
block the way before each other. Thus discord arises in our 
innermost selves. Everything has become disconnected. 
And since the one no longer supports the other, but 
antagonizes it, both the whole and its parts have lost their 
purity. Our sense of the good, the true, the beautiful, of 
what is right, of what is holy, has ceased to operate with ac 
curacy. In themselves these senses are weakened, and in 
their effect upon each other they have become mixed. And 
since it is impossible, in the spiritual sciences, to take one 
forward step unless these senses serve us as guides, it readily 
appears how greatly science is obstructed by sin. 

And finally, the chiefest harm is the ruin, worked by sin, 
in those data, which were at our command, for obtaining 
the knowledge of God, and thus for forming the conception 
of the whole. Without the sense of God in the heart no 
one shall ever attain unto a knowledge of God, and with 
out love, or, if you please, a holy sympathy for God, that 
knowledge shall never be rich in content. Every effort to 
prove the existence of God by so-called evidences must 
fail and lias failed. By this we do not mean that the 
knowledge of God must be mystic; for as soon as this knowl 
edge of God is to be scientifically unfolded, it must be repro 
duced from our thinking consciousness. But as our science in 
no single instance can take one forward step, except a bridge 
is built between the subject and the object, it cannot do so 
here. If thus in our sense of self there is no sense of the 
existence of God. and if in our spiritual existence there is 


no bond which draws us to God, and causes us in love to go 
out unto him, all science is here impossible. If, now, experi 
ence shows that this sense has not worn away entirely, and that 
this impulse has not ceased altogether, but that, in virtue of 
its own motive, sin has weakened this sense to such an extent 
as to render it oftentimes unrecognizable, and has so falsi 
fied this impulse, that all kinds of religious emotions go 
hand in hand with hatred of God, it is plain that every 
scientific reproduction of the knowledge of God must fail, 
as long as this sense remains weakened and this impulse 
falsified in its direction. From which it follows at the same 
time that the knowledge of the cosmos as a whole, or, if you 
please, philosophy in a restricted sense, is equally bound to 
founder upon this obstruction wrought by sin. Suppose that 
you had succeeded in attaining an adequate knowledge of all 
the parts of the cosmos, the product of these results would 
not yet give you the adequate knowledge of the whole. 
The whole is always something different from the combina 
tion of its parts. First because of the organic relation which 
holds the parts together ; but much more because of the 
entirely new questions which the combination of the whole 
presents : questions as to the origin and end of the whole ; 
questions as to the categories which govern the object in 
its reflection in your consciousness ; questions as to absolute 
being, and as to what wow-cosmos is. In order to answer 
these questions, you must subject the whole cosmos to your 
self, your own self included; in order to do this in your 
consciousness you must step out from the cosmos, and you 
must have a starting-point (So? poi irov O-TW) in the non- 
cosmos; and this is altogether impossible as long as sin 
confines you with your consciousness to the cosmos. 

From which it by no means follows, that you should 
sceptically doubt all science, but simply that it will not do 
to omit the fact of sin from your theory of knowledge. 
This would not be warranted if sin were only a thelematic 
conception and therefore purely ethic ; how much less, now, 
since immediately as well as mediately, sin modifies so 
largely all those data with which you have to deal in the 

114 44. TRUTH [Div. II 

intellectual domain and in the building-up of your science. 
Ignorance wrought by sin is the most difficult obstacle in 
the way of all true science. 

44. Truth 

In a preceding section reference has already been made to 
the grave significance to scientific investigation of the con 
ception which one forms of "truth." This significance can 
now be considered more closely in relation to the fact of sin. 
It will not do to say that seeking after truth is directed ex 
clusively against the possibility of mistake. He who in good 
faith has made a mistake, has been inaccurate but not untrue. 
Falsehood is merely a milder expression for the lie, and the 
search after truth has no other end in view than escape from 
the fatal power of what Christ called the lie (TO ^euSo? ) . 
This does not imply that "the mistake " does not stand 
equally related to sin. The former section tried to prove the 
contrary. But if the unconscious mistake stands in causal 
relation to sin, this relation is entirely different from what it 
is with the lie. The Holy Scripture teaches us to recognize 
an unholy principle in the lie, from which a caricature 
(Zerrbild) of all things is born, and the fatherhood of this 
lie is pointed out to us in Satan. In John viii. 44, we 
read : "The devil speaketh a lie for he is a liar and the 
father thereof." This theological explanation need not detain 
us now, but it cannot be denied that a false representation 
of the real has made its way into almost every department 
of life ; that with a closer investigation these several false 
representations appear to stand in an organic relation ; and 
that a hidden impelling power is at work within this entire 
domain of the false and the untrue, which arouses our right 
eous indignation and bears a sinful character for our conscious 
ness. The form of this spuriousness is not constant. It often 
happens that certain general ideas govern public opinion for 
a long time and then become discredited ; that they maintain 
themselves a little longer with the less educated masses ; 
and finally pass away altogether, so that he who still holds 
them is out of date. But with this shedding of its skin the 

CHAP. II] 44. TRUTH 115 

serpent does not die. And Proteus-like, the false and untrue 
reappear in a new form, and the battle of life and death 
between truth and falsehood begins anew. Obviously, there 
fore, the lie is no mistake, nor a temporary dominating 
untruth, but a power, which affects injuriously the conscious 
ness of man, and not merely puts into his hands phantasy 
for reality, and fiction for history, but intentionally brings 
into our mind a representation of existing things which 
proscribes reality, with the avowed aim of estranging us 
from it. 

In this condition of affairs a holy interest is at stake in 
this struggle for the truth. This conflict does not aim at 
the correction of simple mistakes in the representation, 
neither does it combat prejudice, nor rectify inaccuracies ; 
but it arrays itself against a power, which ever in a new form 
entangles our human consciousness in that which is false, 
makes us servants to falsehood, and blinds us to reality. 
Thus the saying of Christ, " I am the truth," has a deep 
significance ; since he alone possessed such spiritual power 
of resistance that he was able to withdraw himself abso 
lutely from the dominion of the false. The word " lie " it 
self confirms this interpretation. In our daily life this evil 
word is almost never used in circles where the lie is contra 
band ; while on the other hand, in circles which, alas, admit 
the lie as a common weapon of defence, the contention for 
true or untrue is constantly in order with the reproachful 
epithet of " you lie." If you think of life in heaven, you 
perceive at once that every effort to establish truth falls 
away. Who would enter the arena in behalf of truth, in a 
place where the lie is not conceivable ? Neither can truth have 
had a place among the conceptions which were originally 
common to man in the state of his innocence. As long as 
sin had not entered the heart, there could be no impulse 
to defend truth against the lie which had as yet no exist 
ence. In entire accordance with this the Scriptural narra 
tive of the fall presents Satan as the first to whisper the lie, 
that what God had said was not true, and that moment 
marks the beginning of the conflict for the truth. 

116 44. TRUTH [Div. II 

Hence it is none too strongly said, that the struggle for 
"truth" is legitimately only a result of sin. Science is 
entirely different from truth. If you imagine our human 
development without sin, the impulse to know and understand 
the cosmos, and by this knowledge to govern it, would have 
been the same ; but there would have been no search after 
truth, simply because there could have been no danger of re 
lying upon falsehood as a result of investigation. In our 
sinful condition, however, while the human consciousness is 
constantly ensnared in falsehood, from the very nature of 
the case science has the twofold calling, not only to investi 
gate and understand the object, but also to banish the false 
representations of it. 

But this is easier said than done, and as soon as you leave 
the material domain you see different men, who from their 
point of view are honest in their purposes, and whose talents 
for investigation are fairly equal, arrive at as many different 
and sometimes directly opposite results. This is less to be 
feared in the domain of pure matter, at least as long as one 
confines himself to the mere statement of what has been ob 
served, and draws no inferences from his observations. As 
soon, however, as investigations reach the point where the 
reinforced eye and ear are no longer able to observe with abso 
lute certainty, disputes may arise, though this has nothing 
to do with falsehood ; and when, after all the applause that 
hailed Dr. Koch s preparation for tuberculosis, it was shown 
that this preparation not only failed of its purpose, but even 
caused injurious effects, he had to acknowledge it. When 
facts spoke, illusion was ended. It is entirely different, how 
ever, when one comes in contact with the wo^-material domain 
of life. The science of statistics, on which it was thought we 
could so safely build, is shown to be largely untrustworthy. 
And when we enter the domain of the real spiritual sciences, 
the most objective observation, such as the examination of 
documents, and the statement of a few tangible facts, are 
scarcely ended, but ideas everywhere separate, and there is no 
more objective certainty to compel universal homage, which 
can brincr about a unity of settled result. This is not found 

CHAP. II] 44. TRUTH 117 

in the domain of psychology; or of philosophy in the narrower 
sense ; or of history ; or of law ; or in any spiritual domain 
whatever. Because here the subjective factor becomes pre 
ponderant ; and this subjective factor is dependent upon the 
antithesis between falsehood and truth ; so that both the 
insight into the facts and the structure which one builds 
upon this insight must differ, and at length become, first 
contrary and then contradictory. 

The fatality of the antithesis between falsehood and truth 
consists in this, that every man from his point of view claims 
the truth for himself, and applies the epithet of "untrue" to 
everything that opposes this. Satan began by making God 
the liar and by presenting himself as the speaker of truth. 
And for our demonstration this applies more emphatically 
still to the custom among men ; especially since in this section 
we speak exclusively of those persons who devote themselves 
to scientific research. Though we grant that in science also 
wilful mutilation of facts is not altogether wanting, it must be 
accepted, as a rule, that he who announces himself as a man 
of science is disposed to take things as they are, and to deal 
with them accordingly. Nobody writes a scientific thesis 
with the purpose of propagating falsehood ; the purpose of 
all scientific labor is to champion the truth. And from this 
very fact it follows that where two scientific men arrive at 
directly opposite results, each will see the truth in his own 
result, and falsehood in the result of his opponent, and both 
will deem it their duty to fight in the defence of what 
seems to them the truth, and to struggle against what seems 
to them the lie. If this concerns a mere point of detail, it 
has no further results; but if this antithesis assumes a more 
universal and radical character, school will form itself against 
school, system against system, world-view against world- 
view, and two entirely different and mutually exclusive 
representations of the object, each in organic relation, will 
come at length to dominate whole series of subjects. From 
both sides it is said: "Truth is with us, and falsehood with 
you." And the notion that science can settle this dispute is 
of course entirely vain, for we speak of two all-embracing 

118 44. TRUTH [Div. II 

representations of the object, both of which have been ob 
tained as the result of very serious scientific study. 

If the objection be raised that science has cleared away 
whole series of fallacious representations, we repeat that 
this concerned the forms only in which the lie for a time 
lay concealed, but that that same lie, and therefore the same 
antithesis against truth, is bound to raise its head in new 
forms with indestructible power. All sorts of views, which 
for centuries have been considered dead, are seen to rise 
again resuscitated in our age. As far as principle is con 
cerned and the hidden impulse of these antitheses, there is 
nothing new under the sun ; and he who knows history and 
men, sees the representatives of long-antiquated world-views 
walk our streets to-day, and hears them lecture from the 
platform. The older and newer philosophers, the older and 
newer heresies, are as like each other, if you will pardon the 
homely allusion, as two drops of water. To believe that an 
absolute science in the above-given sense can ever decide 
the question between truth and falsehood is nothing but a 
criminal self-deception. He who affirms this, always takes 
science as it proceeds from his own subjective premises and 
as it appears to him, and therefore eo ipso stigmatizes every 
scientific development which goes out from other premises 
as pseudo-science, serviceable to the lie. The antithesis of 
principles among Theism, Pantheism, and Atheism domi 
nates all the spiritual sciences in their higher parts, and as 
soon as the students of these sciences come to defend what 
is true and combat what is false, their struggle and its 
result are entirely governed by their subjective starting- 

In connection witli the fact of sin, from which the whole 
antithesis between truth and falsehood is born, this phenome 
non presents itself in such a form that one recognizes the 
fact of sin, and that the other denies it or does not reckon 
with it. Thus what is normal to one is absolutely abnormal 
to the other. This establishes for each an entirely different 
standard. And where both go to work from such subjective 
standards, the science of each must become entirelv different. 

CHAP. II] 45. WISDOM 119 

and the unity of science is gone. The one cannot be forced 
to accept what the other holds as truth, and what according 
to his view he has found to be truth. 

Thus, taken by itself, the triumph of Scepticism ought to 
result from this, and Pilate s exclamation, "What is truth," 
should be the motto of highest wisdom. But the process of 
history is a protest against this. However often Scepticism 
has lifted up its head, it has never been able to maintain a 
standing for itself, and with unbroken courage and indefati 
gable power of will thinking humanity has ever started out 
anew upon the search after truth. And this fact claims an 

45. Wisdom 

The threatening and of itself almost necessary dominion 
of Scepticism, stranded first upon the ever more or less prob 
lematical phenomenon which is called Wisdom. In order to 
appreciate the meaning of this phenomenon, the combina 
tion " philo-sophia " should not claim our first attention, 
since it identifies " wisdom " too greatly with " science," and 
the leading characteristic of " wisdom " is that it is not the 
result of discursive thought. An uneducated and even an 
illiterate man may convey in large measure the impression of 
being a wise man ; while, on the other hand, scientifically 
developed persons often fall short in wisdom of sense. The 
etymology of the words, by which the conception of " wis 
dom " is expressed in different languages, makes this dis 
tinction between a scientific disposition and a disposition for 
wisdom to be clearly seen. Wisdom (sapientia) and science 
(scientia) are not the same. Sapere means to taste, to try, 
and in its metaphoric use points to a knowledge of things 
which expresses itself not theoretically, but practically, and 
works intuitively. The Greek word ero ^o? (wisdom), in con 
nection with o-<z(?79, <7a7r/309, and perhaps with OTTO ?, belongs 
evidently to the same root, and points also to a radical-word 
which indicated the action of smelling or tasting. The Ger 
manic word " wise " takes no account with the origin of this 
peculiar knowledge, but with its outcome. Wisel is the well- 
known name of the queen of the bees, who, taking the lead, 

120 $45. WISDOM [Div. II 

by this superiority governs the entire swarm. Here also the 
practical element of knowledge appears in the foreground. 
He is wise who knows and sees how things must go, and 
who for this reason is followed by others. With the limited 
development of Semitic etymology, the Hebrew expression 
D3H is less clear, but from the description which the Chok- 
matic writings give us of this " wisdom," it appears the more 
convincingly that the Hebrew understood this wisdom to 
be something entirely different from what we call scientific 
development, and in this conception thought rather of a 
practical-intuitive understanding. The derivation of !"Cn, 
which means to cleave to something, would agree very well 
with this, as an indication of the spirit s sympathy with 
the object from which this Chokmatic knowledge is born. 
Phrases which are in common use with us, also, such as, for 
instance : " You have wisely left it alone," " When the wine 
is in the man, wisdom is in the can" ; " He is a wise man" : 
or the Bible-text : " If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask 
of God"; all agree entirely with this etymological result. 
The root-idea always appears to be, that one possesses a 
certain natural understanding of the nature and process of 
things, and understands the art of accommodating himself 
to them in practical life. Wisdom has nothing to do, 
therefore, with intellectual abstraction, but clings immedi 
ately to the reality, proceeds from it and works out an effect 
upon it. But again, it is not artistic skill, nor what is called 
talent, for it is not the action which proceeds from the 
insight but the insight itself which stands in the fore 
ground. Wisdom is the quiet possession of insight which 
imparts power, and is at the disposal of the subject, even 
when this subject is not called to action. Wisdom is also 
distinguished from artistic skill and talent, in that it bears 
an universal character. Me who excels in a certain depart 
ment of science is not wi*e, neither is he wise who excels 
in a certain trade. Such an one-sided development of .skill 
is rather opposed to the root-idea of wisdom. He who is 
wise, is centrally wise, i.e. he has a general disposition of 
mind which, whatever comes, enables him to have an accu- 

CHAP. II] 45. WISDOM 121 

rate view of things, in conformity with which to choose and 
act with tact and with discretion. As the result, therefore, 
it may be stated that entirely apart from the development 
of science, there is in certain persons an aprioristic, not 
acquired, general insight, which in its efficient, practical 
excellence shows itself in harmony with the reality of things. 
But if among your acquaintances you meet with but few 
persons who have this insight to such an extent as to entitle 
them to the epithet of "wise folk," all the others are not 
fools ; and yet only this antithetical conception of foolish 
ness elucidates sufficiently the exact conception of wisdom. 
A. fool and a lunatic are not the same. An insane man is he 
whose consciousness works in the wrong way, so that all 
normal insight has become impossible for him. A fool, on 
the other hand, is he whose consciousness works normally, 
but who himself stands so crookedly over against the reality 
of things, that he makes mistake upon mistake and con 
stantly makes the wrong move on the chess-board of life. 
He acts foolishly who makes an evident mistake in his 
representation of reality, and who in consequence of his 
noticeable lack of accurate insight, chooses the very thing 
that will serve him a wrong end. He lacks the proper 
relation to the reality, and this accounts for his mistakes. 
Between these "wise folk" and these "fools" stands the 
great mass of humanity, who in all possible gradations 
form the transition from the wise to the foolish ; while 
among these general masses is found what used to be called 
a sound mind, common sense, le sens commun. This implies 
something that does not scale the heights of wisdom, but 
which, nevertheless, maintains a relation to it and offers a gen 
eral basis for it. We grant that, more especially since the close 
of the last century, this expression " common sense " has 
been used synonymously with that analogous " public opin 
ion " in which the weakened form of Rationalism reflected 
itself, and that this spectre has repeatedly been evoked to 
banish idealism, to mock the faith, and to hush every nobler 
feeling; but this was simple abuse. Originally, "common 
sense " meant by no means the iteration of the program of 

122 45. WISDOM [Div. II 

a particular school, but, on the contrary, a certain accuracy 
of tact, by which, in utter disregard of the pretensions of 
the schools, public opinion followed a track which turned 
neither too far to the right nor to the left. This weakened 
wisdom, which generally directs the course of life, occasion 
ally forsook public opinion, and this gave foolishness the 
upper hand, and mad counsels free courses ; but, in the long 
run, common sense almost always gained the day. And in 
individual persons it is found, that if the particular a wise 
folk " be excluded, one class is inclined to foolishness, while 
another class remains subject to the influence of a weakened 
wisdom, and the latter are said to be the people of common 
sense; a term which does not so much express a personal 
gift (charisma), as the fact that they sail in safe channels. 
If the phenomenon itself be thus sufficiently established, 
the question arises, how, culminating in ivisclom and finding 
its antithesis \nfolly, this phenomenon of -common sense" 
is to be psychologically interpreted. It is not the fruit of 
early training, it is not the result of study, neither is it 
the effect of constant practice. Though it is granted that 
these three factors facilitate and strengthen the clear opera 
tions of this common sense and of this wisdom, the phenome 
non itself does not find its origin in them. Two young men, 
brought up in the same social circle, of like educational 
advantages and of similar experience, will differ widely 
in point of wisdom ; one will become a wise man, while 
with the other life will be a constant struggle. Thus we 
have to do with a certain capacity of the human mind, 
which is not introduced into it from without, but which is 
present in that mind as such, and abides there. The Dutch 
language lias the beautiful word " be-s?/-fen " (to sense), 
which etymologically is connected with the root of srt/>ientia, 
and indicates a certain immediate affinity to that which 
exists outside of us. In this sense prudence and wisdom are 
innate; not an innate conception, but an insight which pro 
ceeds immediately from the affinity in which by nature we 
stand to the world about us, and to the world of higher 
things. Both point to a condition in which, if we may so 

CHAP. II] 45. WISDOM 123 

express it, man felt Nature s pulse beat; in which he shared 
the life of every animate thing, and so perceived and un 
derstood it ; and in which, moreover, he also apprehended 
the higher life not as something foreign to himself, but as 
" sensing " it in his own sense of existence. Or if we look 
ahead, both phenomena lie in the line, at whose end the 
seeing (Oe&pelv) is reached, "the knowing as we are known." 
The energy of this intuition is now broken. With some it 
seems entirely lost, and these are called "fools." With 
some others it still w r orks comparatively with great effect, 
for which reason they are called, preeminently, the wise folk. 
And between these extremes range the people of common 
sense ; so called because in them something is still found 
of the old, sound, primitive force (Urkraft) of the human 

Now it is readily seen what a formidable dam wisdom and 
common sense prove against the destructive floods of Scepti 
cism. If there were no other way open to knowledge than that 
which discursive thought provides, the subjective character 
which is inseparable from all higher science, the uncer 
tainty which is the penalty of sin, and the impossibility be 
tween truth and falsehood to decide what shall be objectively 
compulsory would encourage Scepticism to strike ever deeper 
root. But since an entirely different way of knowledge is 
disclosed to us by wisdom and its allied common sense, 
which, independent of scientific investigation, has a start 
ing-point of its own, this intuitive knowledge, founded on 
fixed perceptions given with our consciousness itself, offers 
a saving counterpoise to Scepticism. For now we have a 
certain insight, and on the ground of this insight a relative 
certainty, which has no connection with the discursive con 
flict between truth and falsehood, and which, being constantly 
confirmed in the fiery test of practical application in daily 
life, gives us a starting-point by which the conviction main 
tains itself in us that we are able to grasp the truth of 
things. And since this ivisdom and common sense determine 
those very issues and principles of life, against which scepti 
cism directs its most critical and important attacks, we find 

124 45. WISDOM [Div. II 

in this phenomenon, so mysterious in itself, a saving strength 
which enables the human mind to effect its escape from the 
clutches of Scepticism. This wisdom can never supersede 
discursive thought, nor can it take the place of empiricism, 
but it has the general universal tendency to exclude follies 
from the processes of discursive thought, and in empirical 
investigation to promote the accuracy of our tact. 

In answer to the objection that it is difficult to harmonize 
this interpretation of "wisdom" with the conception of aotyia 
in our word "philosophy" (</>tXoo-o(/>ta), we observe that for 
a just criticism of this apparent objection we must go back 
to the original conception of " wisdom " as held by the 
Greeks, and to the most ancient meaning of the combination 
of faXelv witli this word. As for " wisdom," we refer first 
of all to the noteworthy sentence of lleraclitus: ao^u) aX??- 
dea \eyeiv teal iroielv Kara <$>VCTLV eTratWra?, i.e. " Wisdom con 
sists in knowing how to speak the truth, and how to live 
according to nature," in which the last words especially 
indicate that " wisdom " is taken as ripening from a natural 
instinct, while the verb "to live" (jroLtlv) exhibits its prac 
tical character. With Thales only it was thought that 
wisdom " also bore a somewhat theoretical character. See 
Plutarch s Life of /Solon, 3, 9: "And, on the whole, it is 
likely that the conception of wisdom was at that time carried 
further by Solon alone, in speculation, than its significance in 
common use ; but in the case of others the name wisdom 
arose from its use in civil affairs." What Xenophon narrates 
conceiving Socrates leads to the same conclusion. See Xen. 
Mem. III. 9, 4: "(Socrates) did not separate (i.e. distin 
guish between) wisdom and prudence," even in this sense 
that " Those who do not act rightly he considered neither 
wise nor prudent." Undoubtedly with Plato it is already 
"A possession of the truth in contemplation" (p. 414, ?>), 
and with Aristotle, "The science of tilings divine and 
human : but this is not the original conception. With the 
oldest philosophers we do not find the mention of a phi 
losophy which is the result of investigation. Their philoso- 
phv is rather an exposition of their insight into the relation 

CHAP. II] 46. FAITH 125 

of things, in the elaboration of which they deal more freely 
with their phantasy than with empiricism. Even in the 
word " theory " this ancient meaning of the wisdom-concep 
tion is still active. Etymologically, "theoria" refers to 
intuition, and as such it has nothing in common with the 
idea which we attach to the theoretical. 

46. Faith 

Even more effectually than by " wisdom " Scepticism is 
counteracted by "faith" (Trt o-n?). Faith in this connection 
is taken formally, and hence considered quite apart from all 
content. By " faith " here, then, we do not mean the " faith 
in Christ Jesus " in its saving efficacy for the sinner, nor yet 
the " faith in God " which is fundamental to all religion, 
but that formal function of the life of our soul which is 
fundamental to every fact in our human consciousness. 
The common antithesis between " faith and knowledge " 
places the content obtained by faith in contrast to the con 
tent obtained by knowledge. Thus we face two dissimilar 
magnitudes, which are susceptible neither of comparison nor 
of amalgamation. We encounter iron and clay, as Daniel 
pictures it; elements which refuse to intermingle. To take a 
position with reference also to this antithesis, it is necessary 
that we go back to the formal function of faith, and inves 
tigate whether this function does or does not exhibit an 
universal character. For if it does, this universal function 
of faith must also influence that particular function by 
which the scientific result is obtained, and the extent is 
traceable to which the function of faith is able to exert 
itself, as well as the point where its working stops. We 
purposely consider this function of faith, next to wisdom, 
as a similar reaction against Scepticism. All Scepticism 
originates from the impression that our certainty depends 
upon the result of our scientific research. Since, however, 
this result constantly appears to be governed by subjective 
influences, and is affected by the conflict between truth 
and falsehood which is the result of sin, there is no defence 
against Scepticism except in the subject itself. The defence 

126 4G. FAITH [Div. II 

against Scepticism which the subject provides, can prove no 
benefit to our science, except it is evident that this defence 
bears no individual-subjective character; but that in its 
real significance it belongs to the subject as such, and may 
therefore be called subjective in a general and communal 
sense. And faith exhibits this character. 

In the explanation of this two difficulties present them 
selves, which we must not allow to overshadow us. The 
first difficulty is, that faith is a conception which has been 
introduced into our common speech, especial!) from the New 
Testament, and has received thereby a religious, and in a 
more restricted sense a soteriological, stamp. Thus under 
stood, this conception has no place in our Erkenntniss-theo- 
rie, and the appearance is given that faith bears no universal 
character at all. The second difficulty is, that profane 
literature almost never uses the conception of faith tech 
nically, and hence attaches no definite meaning to it. The 
old philosophy, for instance, never deals with faith as with 
a special function of the soul. It appears, however, as if 
Pythagoras attached something more to this conception and 
that he classified it, as we learn in Tlteol. Aritlnn. X., p. GO, 
how the Pythagoreans "in their mystical explanations called 
it (i.e. TTicrri?) at one time the world ; at another, the heavens : 
still again, the universe ; then again, fate and eternity ; and, 
yet again, might, faith, necessity "; yet this appears to be the 
case in a very superficial sense only, since of this TTICTTIS at 
once this more exact explanation is given in TJieol. Arith/n., 
p. 61: "The number Ten indeed is called belief (or faith), 
since according to Philolaos by (the number) Ten, and its 
parts, which have to do primarily witli realities, we have a 
clear idea of Belief." It may not be denied that Philolaos 
saw that in some instances faith stands on a line with avdy/cij 
(necessity); but he makes no mention of a general applica 
tion of this conception. 

Neither of these two difficulties, however, should prevent 
us from making a more general application of this conception. 
Not the difficulty derived from the Holy Scriptures, since 
Ileb. xi. 1 anticipates our wish to restore faith to its more 

CHAP. II] 46. FAITH 127 

general meaning. There Ave read that faith is "the assur 
ance (uTTOo-racri?) of things hoped for, the proving (e Xe7%o?) 
of things not seen." Thus faith is here taken neither in 
an exclusively religious sense, much less in a soteriological 
significance, but very generally as an " assurance " and " prov 
ing " of objects which escape our perception, either because 
they do not yet exist (ra eXirifypeva), or because they do 
not show themselves (TO, fir) /3\7ro/j,eva). Far from exclud 
ing, therefore, a more general interpretation, the Scripture 
itself calls our attention to it. And as for the backwardness 
of profane literature in defining this conception more exactly, 
the above-quoted saying of the Pythagoreans shows that the 
idea of taking up faith as a link in a demonstration was not 
entirely foreign to the ancients ; and this appears stronger 
still from what Plutarch writes (Mor. 756, 5), " that in di 
vine things no demonstration (aTro Saft?) is to be obtained," 
and that it is not needed, " For the traditional and ancient 
faith is sufficient ; than which it is not possible to express 
nor discover a clearer proof ; but this is, in itself, a sort of 
underlying common foundation and support for piety," 
words which, although limited to the domain of religion, and 
rather used in connection with tradition, nevertheless betray 
a definite agreement with the teaching of Heb. xi. 1, and 
place faith as the ground of certainty over against " assur 

Neither the etymology of irians and the words synony 
mous with it in other languages, nor the use of these words, 
prove any obstacle in the way of this general application. 
Faith with the root-idea of Treidco (to persuade), and in con 
nection with the derivatives TTKTTO?, 7rtaTo a>, Trevro [6rjcn<$, ajrei- 
Oeco, a7m#7^?, and cnrelffeia, points etymologically to an action 
by which our consciousness is forced to surrender itself, and 
to hold something for true, to confide in something and to 
obey something. Here, then, we have nothing but a certain 
power which is exercised upon our consciousness, to which it 
is forced to subject itself. Upon our consciousness, which is 
first unstable, uncertain, and tossed about, a check is placed 
which puts an end to uncertainty. There is a restraint irn- 

128 40. FAITH [Div. II 

posed on us from which we cannot escape. Or, as far as our 
consciousness itself desires this stability, this " underlying 
foundation and support" (e/?a ical /Satn? vfaa-Twa-a), as Plu 
tarch expressed it, or, as Ileb. xi. 1 states it, this "assur 
ance " and this "proving" are offered us. Where the action 
of the Treideiv (persuasion) is ended, certainty is obtained. 
In the middle voice Treidea-Oai (to be persuaded) expresses the 
function of the soul by which it establishes itself in that sta 
bility. And faith therefore may express this certainty itself, 
as well as the action by which I grasp it. The same root- 
idea lies in I^KH- j^ (amen) is that which stands fast and 
does not change. The Hiphil expresses that by which this 
certainty is born in us. And our believing conies from a dif 
ferent source, but it allows the self-same universal tendency. 
With the Latin lubet, allied to the Sanscrit lubh, which 
means to appropriate something to oneself, and which stands 
in immediate connection with the Dutch words lieven and 
loven, it points to a cleaving to something, to holding fast 
to something, and to being linked to it by an inner sym 
pathy. Thus in be-lieving the relation is more prominent 
than in Trtcm? or in H31E8, but that relation is taken as 
something not uncertain, but certain. He who cleaves to 
something holds himself fast to it, leans upon and trusts in 
it : while in this believing lies the fine secondary meaning, 
that this cleaving unto, this holding fast to, is accom 
plished by an inward impulse. And if the etymology of 
any of these expressions does not prevent a more general 
application of this word, the difficulty presented in the 
accepted use of these words is equally insignificant. Not 
only was this TTLCTTLV e^eiv (to have faith), a current term in 
Greek, applied to every department of life, and the tendency 
of p^KH almost wider still (see, for instance, Deut. xxviii. 66, 
Judges xi. 20, etc.), but, what is more noteworthy, in our 
Christian society the use of the word " to believe " is limited 
so little to the religious and soteriological domain, that even 
more than "to have faith" the term "to believe " has be 
come common property for every relation. 

There is no objection, therefore, to the use of the term faith 

CIIAI-. II] 46. FAITH 129 

for that function of the soul ($%) by which it obtains cer 
tainty directly and immediately, without the aid of discursive 
demonstration. This places faith over against "demonstra 
tion " ; but not of itself over against knoiving. This would 
be so, if our knowledge and its content came to us exclu 
sively by observation and demonstration, but, as we tried to 
prove in 37, this is not so. To know and knowledge, to know 
and understanding, are not the same. I knoiv all those things 
the existence of which, together with some relations of this 
existence, is actual fact to me. No demonstration can ever 
establish with mathematical certainty the question that gov 
erns your whole life, who it is that has begotten you ; 
and yet under ordinary circumstances no one hesitates to 
declare, "I know that this man is my father." For though 
men may talk here of the theory of probabilities, it is not at 
all to the point. A proof proves only what it proves defi 
nitely and conclusively, and everything which in the end 
misses this conclusive character is not obtained by your 
demonstration but from elsewhere; and this other source of 
certainty is the very point in question. Or rather, for 
even now we do not speak with sufficient emphasis, this 
other source, which we call faith, is the only source of cer 
tainty, equally for what you prove definitely and conclusively 
by demonstration. 

That this is not generally so understood can only be ex 
plained from the fact that, in the search after the means at 
our command by which to obtain knowledge, the investi 
gation is abandoned before it is finished. The building is 
examined, and its foundation, and sometimes even the piles 
that are underneath, but the ground on which the lowest 
points of these piles rest is not explored. Or to state it in 
another way, let us say that the need is felt of a continuous 
line drawn from the outermost point in the periphery of the 
object to the centre of your ego; but when the ego is as 
nearly reached as possible, the distance which still separates 
us from it is not bridged ; we simply vault the gulf. And 
this is not lawful, because it is illogical. Of necessity 
a chain must fall when a single link is wanting; for the 

130 4G. FAITH [Div. II 

two links which it ought to connect lose their point of 

This comes out at once in the self-consciousness by which 
we say I. A child, in which self-consciousness has not yet 
awakened, speaks of itself in the third person. There is 
some thinking in the child, and a certain amount of knowl 
edge, but it is not yet his possession. There is a property, 
but the owner is still anonymous. Meanwhile, this self- 
consciousness is an impenetrable mystery to us. To say that 
it originates through comparison is a vain attempt to soothe 
oneself with words, for the very subject to be compared is 
here in question. Neither can it be said that self-consciousness 
is identical with the nature of our soul, for then it ought also 
to be active in the child, and ought to stay with us under all 
circumstances of life, and that sort of insanity by which one 
thinks himself to be another would annul our human nature. 
Self-consciousness, therefore, is an entirely unaccountable 
phenomenon in the life of the soul, which reveals its activity 
only at a certain age, which sometimes may slumber, and 
may lose itself for years in insanity. It is a phenomenon 
that stays by us in the unconscious condition of our sleep, 
for in our dreams also it is ourselves who suffer anxiety and 
all things move themselves about our person. Neither is 
this self-consciousness an accidental something to that science 
which we seek to obtain. On this self-consciousness hangs 
the subject that investigates, and without that subject 
no investigation is conceivable. He with whom this self- 
conscioasness is still wanting is, like the child, unable 
to separate himself from the object, and equally unable 
to draw conclusions from his inward perceptions. Thus 
the starting-point actually lies in this self-consciousness, 
and there must ever be a gap if this self-consciousness 
be not duly considered. From this it also follows, that 
without faith you miss the starting-point of all knowledge. 
The expression, "you must believe in yourself," has cer 
tainly been abused in humanistic circles to weaken both the 
denial of ourselves and our faith in God, but it is actually 
the case that he who does not begin by believing in himself 

CHAP. II] 46. FAITH 131 

cannot progress a single step. Nothing but faith can ever 
give you certainty in your consciousness of the existence of 
your ego; and every proof to the sum, which you might 
endeavor to furnish by the exhibition of your will, or if 
need be by the revelation of your ill will, etc., will have no 
force of demonstration, except before all things else, on 
the ground of faith, the knowledge of your ego is established 
for yourself. In the cogito ergo sum the logical fault has 
indeed long since been shown. The ego, which is to be 
proved in the sum, is already assumed in the premise by the 

But the indispensableness of faith goes much farther, and 
it may safely be said that with the so-called exact sciences 
there is no investigation, nor any conclusion conceivable 
except in so far as the observation in the investigation and 
the reasoning in the conclusion are grounded in faith. Xo 
play is intended here on the word " faith." Faith is taken by 
us in its most real sense. By faith you are sure of all those 
things of which you have a firm conviction, but which con 
viction is not the outcome of observation or demonstration. 
This may result from indolence by which you apply the 
much easier and ever ready faith, where the more arduous 
duty of observation and demonstration is demanded. But 
this is the abuse of faith, which should ever be reproved. 
In this abuse, however, the formal character of faith remains 
inviolate. Properly used or misused, faith is and always 
will be a means of becoming firmly convinced of a thing, 
and of making this conviction the starting-point of conduct, 
while for this conviction no empirical or demonstrative proof 
is offered or found. Faith can never be anything else but 
an immediate act of our consciousness, by which certainty is 
established in that consciousness on any point outside of 
observation or demonstration. " The ground on which your 
faith rests," and "the ulterior ground of your faith," are 
often spoken of, but in all such expressions faith itself is not 
meant, but only its content, and this does not concern us 
now. Faith here is taken merely as the means or instrument 
by which to possess certainty, and as such it not only needs 

132 40. FAITH [Div. II 

no demonstration, but nllo\vs none. And in that \ve 
referred to it in the iirst place, as the certainty concern 
ing our ego in our own self-consciousness, which precedes 
every act of thought or observation, and which can only 
be established in us by faith, or, if you please, is not ac 
quired by us, but is a received good, of which no account 
can be given. 

This is equally true of the starting-point of perception. 
All perception takes place through the senses, whether you 
allow them to act naturally, or whether you reinforce 
them by a technical apparatus. The case, however, is not 
that our senses perceive, for our ego perceives by means of 
those senses. The sick man who lies in bed with his eyes 
wide open, but whose mind is affected, perceives nothing : 
even though the images of his surroundings are reflected on 
the retina of his eyes. While you sleep, many sounds 
may vibrate in the air-waves of your room, but not waken 
you to hear and perceive them. To stop short with the 
senses is, therefore, both unscientific and superficial. The 
way of knowledge certainly leads through the senses, but 
it extends farther. It is also continued from the sense 
through the nerves and the brain, and back of these out of 
our sensorial avenues to that mysterious something which 
we call our consciousness, and, in the centrum of that con 
sciousness, to what we call our ego. The students of t la- 
so-called exact sciences, who think that their as yet un- 
demonstrated, immediate knowledge of the object rests ex 
clusively upon the action of the senses, are thus entirely 
mistaken, and allow themselves a leap to which they have 
no right. If their ego is to obtain knowledge of the object, 
they must not stop with the action of the senses, but ask 
how the ego acquires certainty of the reality of the percep 
tion. By means of your senses, you receive sensations and 
impressions ; but in your consciousness the result of this 
consists of forms, images, shapes, and figures, which are not 
dissimilar to those which loom up before your mind outside 
of perception, in imagination, in dreams, or in moments of 
ecstasy. Your perception by means of your senses acquires 

CHAP. II] 46. FAITH 133 

value only when you know that your senses gave you 
movements in your sensorial nerve-life, which came from 
a real object, and in their changes and successions are 
caused by the state of this object. Actually it amounts 
to this: that your ego believes in your senses. If by faith 
the action of your senses is brought into the relation of 
certainty with your ego, then you can depend upon per 
ception by means of your senses, but not before. And 
the perception of faith and the certainty which it gives 
are so forcible that, as a rule, we grasp immediately the 
distinction between the products of dream, fancy and of 
perception. The action of faith becomes weaker when the 
condition of mind becomes abnormal, as in delirium of 
fever, in moments of anxiety, in hypochondria, or sudden 
insanity ; then a feeling of uncertainty overtakes us as 
to what we perceive or think we perceive, which we know 
nothing of in a normal condition, when faith works regu 
larly. It must be granted that wilful deception may tempt 
us to take for real what exists merely in appearance, but 
even these ever more or less humiliating experiences do 
not hinder us from resuming immediately our normal stand 
on reality, thanks to this faith. He who was deceived 
by the apparition of a ghost, which he afterward discovered 
to be unreal, will not be uncertain whether a runaway horse 
in the street is a real phenomenon or not, but will step out 
of the way of it. If, thus, it must be granted that this faith, 
by which our ego believes in our senses, can become abnor 
mal by a perplexity of our mind, and in like manner can 
become the dupe of delusion, nevertheless this faith is, and 
always will be, a certainty-yielding process in our mind, 
which at once resumes its dominion. 

This is even so true that we actually owe all our convic 
tions of the reality of the object exclusively to faith. With 
out faith you can never go from your ego to the non-ego ; 
there is no other bridge to be constructed from phenomena 
to noumena; and scientifically all the results of observation 
hang in air. The line from Kant to Fichte is the only 
line along which you may continue operations. It is true 

134 40. FAITH [Div. II 

that perception is susceptible of verification : the perception 
of one sense by that of the other ; the perception of to-day 
by that of to-morrow ; the perception of A by that of B. 
But in the first place, this is no help whatever as long as 
faitli provides no certainty concerning a single perception. 
You cannot verify x by x. And on the other hand, it is 
an undoubted fact that, with the exception perhaps of some 
weak-minded philosopher, every man, without thinking of 
verification or applying any verification whatever, is cer 
tain every moment of the day that his surroundings actually 
are as they appear ; so that on the ground of this certainty 
he acts and works without the least hesitation. When you 
sit in your room and some one comes in and addresses you, 
you do not consider it your first duty to verify this fact, 
for in that very moment you are certain that this person 
stands before you and speaks to you ; and you deal with 
this fact and act accordingly. All human intercourse is 
founded on this fact, as is also all observation, and conse 
quently all scientific knowledge, which is built up on 
observation ; and this fact falls away at once if faitli 
does not work in you to make your ego believe in your 

This is so true, that the most exact science properly begins 
its scientific task in the higher sense only when observation 
is finished. To observe bacteria or microbes is by itself as 
little an act of science as the perception of horses and cows 
pasturing in the meadow. The only difference between the 
two is, that horses and cows in the meadow arc perceptible 
with the naked eye, and bacteria and microbes can be ob 
served only with the reinforced eye. Let no one, however, 
be misled. The reinforcement of the eye is partly the result 
of invention, and partly of scientific construction. But the 
bacteriologist, who uses a maximum microscope in his labo 
ratory, did not make this himself, he bought it ; and all lie 
does is to see by means of his microscope. An aged person 
can no longer distinguish letters with his naked eye and buys 
glasses; but who will assert that he performs a scientific act, 
simply because with the aid of glasses he now reads what 

CHAP. II] 46. FAITH 135 

once he read without glasses. Technical skill is called into 
play in the use of the microscope ; accuracy also ; and a 
certain inventive instinct in the statement of what one ob 
serves. Scientific knowledge of the department in which 
one observes will also be a requisite. All this, however, does 
not deny that the observation itself bears no scientific char 
acter, and that the scientific task of the observer only begins 
when the result of the observation has been obtained. The 
farmer who, in his stables and fields, observes the data and 
phenomena of nature, exercises virtually the same function 
as the observer in his laboratory. To perceive is the com 
mon function of man, and perception in a full-grown man is 
not scientific study because an adult perceives more and 
better than a child. He who has a sharp and penetrating 
eye sees all sorts of things which a common observer does 
not see, but who has ever thought of calling the observation 
of a sharp-seeing man scientific? If then the observer in 
his laboratory sees with the reinforced eye what would not 
reveal itself in any other way, how can this put the stamp of 
science on his labor? If suddenly our eye should be so 
greatly strengthened as to equal the microscope in power of 
vision, then every one would see what he sees. His advan 
tage consists simply in this, that his eye is reinforced. Rein 
forced in the same way as the eye of the pilot on the bridge 
of a ship is reinforced, so that he discovers the approach 
of a coming ship at a great distance. Reinforced in the 
same way as the eye of the Alpine huntsman, who through 
the spy-glass discovers from afar the wild goat on the gla 
cier. Only with a difference of degree. But how can this 
difference of degree in the reinforcement of vision ever lend 
a scientific character to work in the laboratory, which no one 
ever grants to a sea-captain or chamois-hunter ? Grant there 
fore that the preparation of the chemist is scientific, that his 
purpose lies in science, that presently he will go to work sci 
entifically with what has been observed. Very well, if only 
you concede that his observation as such lacks all scientific 
character, and that a chemist who confined himself to obser 
vation would not be prosecuting science at all. All certainty 

136 40. FAITH [Div. II 

indeed, as far as obtained by perception and observation alone, 
rests exclusively on the faith that that which we acquire by 
the senses deserves our confidence. 

If such is the case with the self-consciousness of our ego, 
and with the certainty obtained by observation, it is equally 
so with demonstration or with the action of our reasoning 
understanding. Here also you can pursue no course, unless 
you have a point of departure. For this reason men have 
always recognized axioms as fixed principles introductory to 
demonstration. This word, however, is not happily chosen, 
since it suggests an opinion, or a meaning ; but even in 
this less-happily chosen word you confess that the funda 
mental principles on which you build are not results of dem 
onstration ; indeed, that they are not capable of proof. All 
you can say of them is, that no one denies them ; that every 
one, consciously or unconsciously, consents to them ; so that 
you will meet no opposition if you start out from them. 
This by itself however is nothing more than an argumen- 
turn ad homines, and no proof whatever. Nothing remains, 
therefore, but to declare that these axioms are given with 
our self-consciousness itself ; that they inhere in it ; that 
they are inseparable from it ; and that of themselves they 
bring their certainty with them. Since certainty is your 
highest aim, nothing more can be demanded than the entire 
certainty of these axioms. And what is this again but faith ? 
To you they are sure, they are lifted above every ques 
tion of doubt, they offer you certainty in the fullest sense, 
not because you can prove them, but because you uncondi 
tionally believe them. Thus faith is here also the mysteri 
ous bond which binds your ego to these axioms. It certainly 
has happened, and may happen again, that one will accept all 
too quickly as an axiom, what later on will appear suscepti 
ble of proof; but at best this only shows that in connection 
with what we observed above about "wisdom" our mind also 
has intuitive knowledge, and that this intuitive knowledge 
may readily be mistaken for the formal action of our faith. 
If one takes merely the identity-conception that A = A, the 
fact is still a fact that the conviction itself, which forms 

CHAP. II] 46. FAITH 137 

the starting-point for all demonstration, is not fixed by dem 
onstration, but only and alone by faith. 

This has by no means exhausted the significance of faith 
for the "way of knowledge. As faith provides us the 
starting-point for our observation and the axiomatic start 
ing-point for every demonstration, it also offers us the 
motive for the construction of science. This motive lies in 
the codification of the general laws which govern the phe 
nomena. Observation itself is no science yet in its higher 
sense. Science is born of observation only when from those 
phenomena, each of which by itself furnishes nothing more 
than a concrete and separate case, we have reached the 
universal law which governs all these phenomena in their 
changes. You admit that without certainty of the existence 
and of the validity of these laws, all scientifice effort is futile. 
But how do you obtain the knowledge of these laws ? Have 
you investigated beforehand all the phenomena that belong 
to one class, and do you now conclude, that because the 
same activity is seen to operate in all these phenomena in 
the same way, it should therefore be the law which, thus 
described, governs this class of phenomena? Of course not. 
It is not possible for you to do this. The very idea of such 
a general law even excludes such an all-embracing investiga 
tion. Just because it shall be a general law, it must have 
been valid in the ages when you were not yet born, and must 
be valid in the ages when you shall be no more. Moreover, 
while you live it must be valid everywhere, even in those 
places where you are not present, in which places, therefore, 
observation is impossible for you. Moreover, suppose that 
you had acquired your knowledge of this law in the afore 
mentioned way, you would have lost your interest in it. 
For that which interests you in the knowledge of such 
a law, is the very fact that it enables you to state how this 
group of phenomena was conditioned before you were born, 
and how it shall be after you are gone. This law holds the 
key to the mystery, and it owes its attraction to this charm. 
But how did you acquire the knowledge of this law? You 
have observed a certain number of cases, which observation 

138 40. FAITH [Div. II 

shows you a certain constant action ; this constant action 
makes you surmise that this action will always be constant ; 
you hear of others who have built like conclusions upon like 
observations ; you apply a special test, and it appears that 
in this way you are able to call the same action into life ; 
no case is known to you in which this action has not shown 
itself ; no one contradicts your surmise ; and every one who 
devotes his attention to what has attracted yours, arrives at 
the same conclusion : and, upon this ground, it is scientifically 
determined that in this group of phenomena such and such 
a law operates thus and so. Very well ! But have you now 
demonstrated this law? Is the certainty which you have of 
the existence of this law, the result of demonstration ? Your 
demonstration cannot extend farther than your observation, 
and your observation covered certainly not one billionth part 
of the cases which are concerned. A\ r hether the post hoc in 
the cases observed is at the same time a propter hoc, can by 
no means always be empirically proved. This proof is only 
given when the genetic operation of the cause can be traced 
in its entire development. But no one hesitates to adopt a 
general conclusion, even where this genetic knowledge is 
wanting. That quinine counteracts intermittent fever is a 
generally accepted conclusion, even though no one has ever 
been able to explain genetically the action of quinine on the 
blood. In this case, however, no harm is done. But without 
knowing the genetic action of vaccine, the general conclusion 
was considered equally justifiable, that inoculation with 
this ^ irus is a harmless preventive against smallpox, and, 
on the ground of this so-called scientifically discovered law 
vaccination has been enforced by public authority ; while 
now, alas, in the end it appears how carelessly this conclu 
sion was drawn. Hence extreme care is necessary, lest we 
proclaim as a general law what aftenvard appears to rest 
on defective observation. But even though we pass these 
cases by, and confine ourselves to those general laws which 
are no longer contradicted, the question ever returns, What 
foundation have you for your confidence that your conclu 
sion is correct? You say: "I can show this at once and 

CHAP. II] 46. FAITH 139 

prove that it is so, since no one can call a phenomenon into 
being in which this law does not show itself." And as-ain 

o o 

we say : Very well ! The law of gravitation, etc., is as certain 
to us as to you ; but we ask : Where is your proof? And 
to this question no answer can be given, except that here 
also faith enters in and makes you believe in the existence 
and in the absolute validity of such a law. Not that 
the formula of this particular law rests on faith. The 
formula is the result of your investigation. But the idea 
itself that there are such laws, and that when certain phe 
nomena exhibit themselves, you are certain of the existence 
of such laws, does not result from your demonstration, but 
is assumed in your demonstration and is the basis on which 
your demonstration rests, and in the end it appears the 
means by which your certainty is obtained. Without faith 
in the existence of the general in the special, in laws which 
govern this special, and in your right to build a general con 
clusion on a given number of observations, you would never 
come to acknowledge such a law. For one of the primor 
dial principles in your logic reads : A particulari ad generale 
non valet conclusio, i.e. no conclusion from the special to 
the general, is valid. Just so, but all your observations deal 
with the special only. Hence you would never reach a gen 
eral conclusion if faith did not give you both the idea of 
the general and the right to accept it as a fact. 

Though this applies to all the sciences, it nevertheless 
creates no uneasiness in the man of science, because every 
student has the faith, in this universal sense, which is neces 
sary for the self-consciousness of the ego, for securing the 
axiomatic starting-point and for the forming of general 
conclusions. This harmony may momentarily be disturbed 
by the report that some people still believe in the reality 
of miracle ; but this alarming suggestion is readily dismissed. 
If miracles are real, they have no place in common science, 
for the very reason that they are miracles. Thus in scientific 
investigation faith is virtually taken as a quantity that can 
be neglected, because it is the same in all, and therefore 
makes no difference in the conclusion. This, of course, 

140 40. FAITH [Div. II 

ought not to be so, and an ever stronger protest should be 
raised against this superficiality which is so unworthy of 
the name of science ; but the false antithesis between faith 
and science is so generally current, that they who value 
science most, as a rule prefer the removal of the last vestige 
of the leaven of faith. 

But when we leave the domain of the natural, and enter 
the domain of the mixed and the spiritual sciences, what 
then ? Here, also, faith (Trt o-n?) enters in as the indispensable 
factor, and in a way which is not the same with all. In the 
mixed and spiritual sciences we touch immediately upon the 
diversity of the subject, and constantly encounter what in a 
preceding section we explained as the fact of sin. Take his 
tory, for instance. With the exception of a small part be 
longing to your own times, all observation is at second, third 
and fourth hand. There is tradition. Is it trustworthy ? 
A certificate bears a signature. Is it the name of the certi- 
fier ? You need to consult a document; is this document 
genuine ? In such cases doubt is not unnatural. A repre 
sentation of events which you yourself have witnessed, is 
often made in public meetings, in the press, and in reviews, 
which you know is incorrect; this is often given by persons 
who were eye-witnesses as well as yourself ; you have no 
right in every case to assume bad faith, and yet it is some 
times as clear to you as day. If, then, the difficulty is so 
great in establishing the truth of an event, the parties of which 
are still alive, the official records of which are at your service, 
and every particular of which is known to 3*011, what then 
becomes of the history of b3 r gone ages, of entirely different 
lands and countries, which comes to 3*011 from documents, the 
very language of which at times is doubtful? This concerns 
merely the attestation of facts; and this gives chronicles, but 
no history. History demands psychological explanations; 
the discovery of a leading motive in events ; a connection 
among these events ; and a conclusion that leads to prophetic 
insight into the future. Hack of the facts, therefore, you 
must interpret the characters, the plans, and purposes of the 
actors : and back of those persons vou must search out 


the general impulses by which often unconsciously many 
people were impelled. As long as this general motive is not 
found, there is no science in history. Moreover, history is 
likewise a judge. The past is no kaleidoscope which you 
turn before your eye. In history there is a struggle of what 
you deem holy and true against that which you despise and 
lament. Thus you must pass judgment. Your sympathy 
and antipathy are active. In history you spy the root-life 
of what lives in yourself and in your own surroundings and 
in your own times. If this is so, how then can thero 
ever be a place in the ranks of the sciences for a sci 
ence of history, if in your authentication of the past, in 
your effort to explain the past, and in your judgment of 
that past, you exclude faith and accept nothing but what has 
been obtained by the immediate observation of the senses or 
by logical demonstration ? 

What has been said of history applies, mutatis mutandis, 
in lesser or greater measure, to all the spiritual sciences, 
simply because in all these sciences the mystery of man pre 
sents itself, and you are as unable to bring the mystery 
of your own being, as that of your neighbor, within the 
reach of your senses or of your logic. As soon therefore 
as medical science leaves the domain of pure empiricism, 
and thus becomes scientific, it has to deal more or less with 
the same difficulties. Not only in Psychiatry alone, but in 
Physiology and in Pathology as well, does it come in contact 
with influences and processes, the explanation of which is not 
found in matter, but in the psyche. For this reason, even 
after the interesting studies of Professor Bornheim, Mag 
netism and Hypnotism have not yet been naturalized by 
the medical science. 

Ordinary experience shows that in all contact with this 
invisible world, faith, and nothing but faith, forms the ground 
in the human personality of every act. When some one 
announces himself to us, and tells us who he is, we at once 
accept it as true. We attach value to what he tells of him 
self, without having any proof of the truth or means of 
verification. Take away this mutual confidence from soci- 

142 40. FAITH [I):v. II 

ety, and conversation or intercourse is no longer possible. 
And so firmly and almost ineradicably is this confidence 
rooted in us, that even the constant experience of deception 
does not impair or take away this universal foundation of 
life. Experience makes us guarded and more careful ; but 
as long as there is no reason for distrust, confidence remains 
the rule of society. This is accounted for by the fact that 
no one is able to disclose the inner life of a man except 
that man himself. What you call your observation is never 
anything else with man than the observation of his life- 
expressions. Since he has nine-tenths of these life-expressions 
entirely under his control, and is able to withhold or to 
falsify them, the knowledge of man obtained by observation 
is always extremely limited, and in itself uncertain. Not 
observation, but revelation, is the means by which knowledge 
of the human person must come to you. Hence, you know 
next to nothing of those individuals who are deaf-mute. 
And even the revelation which a person makes to you of 
himself is by itself of no use, unless you have in your person 
the allied data by which to interpret his revelation. There 
is certainly some verification by which one can judge of the 
self-revelation of another ; but in the first place this veri 
fication is often of little use, and, again, it can only be 
applied in special cases. Hence in most cases the judge 
must depend upon the confessions of the accused and the 
explanations of witnesses, both of which obtain their force 
of evidence almost exclusively from faith. If such is the 
case in the acquisition of knowledge of your nearest sur 
roundings, faith is still more strongly appealed to where it 
concerns persons who live at a distance from you, or who 
lived in former times. You only know what happens in 
Japan by what other people say ; and though you may be 
entirely unable to verify these communications, you believe 
them grosso modo, and doubt not for a moment but that on 
reaching Japan you would find the conditions as stated. 
Your representation of many a part of Africa rests on the 
information of one man. This, however, does not make a 
sceptic of you. Yes, though time and again you may be 

CHAP. II] 46. FAITH 143 

disappointed in your credulity, you do not abandon your in 
eradicable confidence, simply because this confidence cleaves 
to your nature and is indispensable to life itself. And 
this is also true with reference to the past. Even with 
reference to your own past, you do not doubt for a moment 
that the woman whom you loved as mother was your mother, 
and that the man whom you addressed by the name of father 
tvas your father. You have not observed your conception 
and your birth. Equally unable are you to prove them. 
And yet when there is no special cause to make doubt com 
pulsory, every child lives in the glad assurance of having 
its real father and mother. And herein lies the starting- 
point of the power and right of tradition, which, though 
frequently mixed up with mistake and falsehood, in itself 
forms the natural tie which binds our consciousness to the 
past, and so liberates it from the limitations of the present. 

All this but shows the utter untenability of the current 
representation that science establishes truth, which is equally 
binding upon all, exclusively on the ground of observation 
and demonstration, while faith is in order only in the realm 
of suppositions and of uncertainties. In every expression 
of his personality, as well as in the acquisition of scientific 
conviction, every man starts out from faith. In every 
realm faith is, and always will be, the last link by which 
the object of our knowledge is placed in connection with 
our knowing ego. Even in demonstration there is no cer 
tainty for you because of the proof, but simply because 
you are bound to believe in the force of the demonstration. 
That this is generally lost sight of, is because faith, which 
operates in our observation and demonstration, renders this 
service in the material sciences to all individuals equally and 
of itself. This prevents the rise of a difference of opinions. 
While in the spiritual sciences it has always been necessary 
to admit a certain unknown factor in the demonstration, and 
for the sake of this x to subtract something from the abso 
lute character of the certainty obtained, which, however, has 
been disguised under the name of evidence or moral certainty. 
And for this reason it was very important to show that 

144 40. FAITH [Div. II. 

faith is the element in our mind by which we obtain cer 
tainty, not only in the spiritual, but equally in the material 
sciences. From which it follows that the lesser degree of 
certainty in the spiritual sciences is not explained by saying 
that in the spiritual sciences we have to deal with faith, 
which it is not necessary to do in the material sciences ; 
but rather from the fact that in the spiritual sciences faith 
seems to operate differently in different persons. To obviate 
this difficulty the effort is now made to approach the spiritual 
sciences as much as possible from the visible world (physical 
and physicocratic psychology, etc.), but the knowledge of the 
psychical, which is the real object of these sciences, is not 
advanced thereby a single step. The cause of this unlike 
operation of faith in the domain of the spiritual sciences is 
twofold. On the one hand, the effect worked upon this 
faith by the disposition of the subject ; and on the other hand, 
the fact that in spiritual science faith operates not merely 
formally, but also presents a content. 

The first cause finds its explanation in the fact that in 
the spiritual sciences the unifying pow r er of the object does 
not control the subjective differentiation. In the material 
sciences the subject is obliged to incline himself as far as 
possible from his psychical centre to the object, and this 
accounts for the fact that here all subjects present that 
side only, which is almost one and the same with all. As 
soon, however, as in aesthetic observation, as the subject re 
sumes his active role, the subjective inequality and differ 
ence return at once, as is seen in the fine arts of painting 
and music. In the spiritual sciences the opposite takes 
place. Here the object is not physical, but psychical, and 
where the physical still claims considerable attention, as 
in the study of language, it is of a secondary order, and 
the psychical remains of first importance. As in the street, 
and especially in a foreign city, most people appear alike, 
and their differences of nature and character are seen only 
in their home life and in their drawing-rooms, so, in viewing 
the material world, all spirits (^i^cu) show themselves one 
and the same ; but in the psychic centrum their differences 

CHAP. II] 46. FAITH 145 

of nature come to light. The peculiar character of the 
spiritual sciences consists in this, that they look on the life 
of the psyche in its own home and in its own calling, and 
therefore in the domain of these sciences the result of faith 
is often so entirely different in one than in the other. The 
same phenomenon in language will make different impres 
sions upon a Mongolian and upon a Romanic linguist ; and 
a High Churchman will give an entirely different explanation 
of an event in English history from a partisan of the Old 
Covenanters. And if this subjective differentiation counts 
already for so much in Linguistics and in History, which have 
so strong a physical substratum in common, how much more 
powerful must be this influence of the subjective diversity, 
where psychology, morals, politics, economics, jurisprudence, 
etc., are in question. In these sciences almost everything 
depends upon the principles one starts out from, the meaning 
one attaches to words and the spiritual tendency by which 
one is governed. This subjective character of faith in these 
sciences is, therefore, no mistake, nor a defect, but a factor 
given of necessity in the nature of their object and their 
method. It is the essential condition (conditio sine qua non) 
by which alone these sciences can flourish. 

The second cause of this unlike working of faith in the 
spiritual domain lies in the fact, that faith here not only 
renders the formal service of establishing the relation be 
tween the object and the self-conscious and thinking ego, 
but also becomes the immediate voucher of the content. 
This is not the case in the material sciences, but it is in 
daily life. Our walking, our climbing of stairs, our eating 
and drinking, are not preceded by scientific investigation, 
but are effected by faith. You run downstairs without 
inquiring whether your feet will reach the steps, or whether 
the steps are able to bear your weight. You eat bread 
without investigating whether it may contain poison, etc. 
But when the material world is the object of scientific 
investigation, everything is measured, weighed, counted, 
separated and examined, and faith renders the exclusively 
formal service of making us believe in our senses, in the 

146 47. KELIGION [Div. II 

reality of the phenomena, and in the axioms and laws of 
Logic by which we demonstrate. In the spiritual sciences, 
on the other hand, this is different. In Psychology it is faith, 
and faith alone, which directly guarantees to me the pres 
ence of my soul, of my eyo, and of my sense of self. All 
the data by which I labor on psychical ground fall away 
immediately as soon as I consign faith to non-activity. 
And when I go out of myself, in order to communicate 
with other persons, in nine cases out of ten faith is the 
only means at command by which I can receive the revela 
tion of their personality and attach a value to that reve 
lation. Let it be emphatically repeated here, that only 
because my mother revealed to me who my father was, 
do I know this as a fact ; and in almost every case this 
all-important circumstance that affects my whole existence 
cannot be certified except by faith in the content of this 
revelation. This presents no difficulty as long as it con 
cerns a content which touches me alone ; as soon, however, 
as this content acquires a general character, and tends to 
establish the laws of psychic life, in the domains of morals, 
politics, economics, pedagogy, jurisprudence and philosophy, 
we see all sorts of groups of individuals separate into schools, 
and nothing more is said of unity and common certainty. 

47. Religion 

That which in the given sense is true of all science of the 
creaturely, and by which in the end everything depends upon 
faith, is from the nature of the case still more eminently 
true of all scientific research which concerns itself with the 
matter of religion. Taking the conception of religion " pro 
visionally, without any more precise definition, this much is 
certain, that all religion assumes communion with something 
that transcends the cosmos, this cosmos being taken objec 
tively as well as subjectively. Even when religion takes 
no higher flight than- Ethics, it gropes about in that ethical 
world-order that it might iind there a central ethical power 
which governs this whole domain, and before which every 
non-ethical phenomenon must vanish. As long as Ethics 


aims only at utility or eudemonism, it misses all religious 
character. Even with Kant this is the all-important point 
at which religion, however barren and abstract, enters into 
his ethical world. The ethical subject feels and recognizes 
a higher ethical will, to which his will must be subordi 
nated. From which point of view, it follows of necessity 
that the whole world of phenomena is either reasoned out of 
existence as a mere semblance, or, as real, is subordinated to 
the ethical. But in whatever way it is interpreted, in any 
case the central power of the ethical world-order is made 
to be supreme, transcending all things else, and to it the 
subject not only subordinates himself, but also the object. 
With a somewhat higher religious development, however, 
this will not only not suffice, but there can be no rest until, 
surpassing the thelematic, this subordination of subject and 
object to this central power has also been found for one s 
consciousness. The object of religion is not only placed 
outside of this object-subject, but the subject as well as the 
object, and the relation of both, must find their ground and 
explanation in this central power. The psyche addresses 
itself not merely to the general in the special, and to the 
permanent in the transient, but to the cause (atria), the 
beginning (a/?^), the constitution (o-vo-racri?), and end 
(re A.0?) of both. This extra-cosmic and hyper-cosmic char 
acter, however, of every central power, which in the higher 
sense shall be the object of religion, is the very reason that 
neither observation nor demonstration are of the least avail 
in establishing the tie between our subject and this central 
power, and that your reasoning understanding is as unable 
to foster as to exterminate religion. 

This is different, of course, with Theology, which as a 
science concerns itself with the matter of religion ; but the 
nature of this science, its method and its certainty, sustain 
the closest relation to the character of this central power, 
which is the impelling motive in all higher religion. As 
a physiological and physicocratic study can be for years made 
of the expressions of human life, without ever touching upon 
the study of the psyche, a lifetime can be spent in all sorts 

148 47. RELIGION [Div. II 

of interesting studies of religious ideas, culture-forms, and 
usages, without ever touching upon the study of religion. 
Since we now have a psychology without pysche, we also hear 
a great deal said of a science of religion without religion. 
In which case all study remains phenomenal, but religion 
itself is not reached. Hence in this domain also, everything 
addresses itself to faith. If the subject were to construe his 
religion out of himself, religion itself would be destroyed. 
Its characteristic is that the subject places not only the 
cosmos outside of him, but primarily himself in absolute 
dependence upon the central power whose superiority he 
acknowledges. Consequently he can never place himself 
above this central power; this, however, is just what he 
would do, if he placed this power under himself as object of 
his investigation, or construed it out of himself. Much less 
can he construe this central power from the cosmos ; for if 
the moral sense demands that we subordinate all that is 
cosmical to our ethical life, a fortiori this cosmical can never 
be adequate to the central power which dominates our ethical 
world-order. By the study of phenomena, therefore, many 
definite ideas of religion may be derived from the subject 
and from the cosmos, but with all this there is nothing- 
gained unless I have first grasped the heart of religion, of 
which the phenomenal is merely the outshining. 

Thus, what in the preceding section we found to be the 
case with respect to our relation to other subjects, repeats 
itself here with still greater emphasis. No sense, no percep 
tion, and no knowledge is here possible for us, unless this 
central power reveals itself to us, affects us, and touches us 
inwardly in the centrum of our psyche. When we as man 
stand over against man, we are always able from our own 
subject to form our idea of the other subject, on the ground 
of faith in our common nature. But in religion this infer 
ence fails us. Except, therefore, this central power makes 
itself felt by us, and with entire independence reveals itself 
to us in a way which bends to the form of our sense and of 
our consciousness, it has no existence for us, and religion is 
inconceivable. For this reason all those systems which try 


to construe this central power ethically from the subject, or 
naturalistically from the object, fall short of religion and 
virtually deny it. Against all such efforts the words of the 
Psalmist are ever in force : " In thy light shall we see light," 
and also the words of Christ: "Neither doth any know the 
Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth 
to reveal him. " Presently your demonstration may have a 
place in your theological studies of the knowledge that is 
revealed, and in your inferences derived from it for the sub 
ject and the cosmos; but observation or demonstration can 
never produce one single milligramme of religious gold. 
The entire gold-mine of religion lies in the self-revelation 
of this central power to the subject, and the subject has no 
other means than faith by which to appropriate to itself the 
gold from this mine. He who has no certainty in himself 
on the ground of this faith, about some point or other in 
religion, can never be made certain by demonstration or 
argument. In this way you may produce outward religious 
ness, but never religion in the heart. 

It may even be asserted that faith obtains its absolute 
significance only in religion. In the cosmos you are sup 
ported by observation, in the knowledge of other persons by 
your own human consciousness and in the self-knowledge of 
your own person by the self-consciousness of your ego. But 
nothing supports you here. Especially not as the cosmos 
now is, and as your subject now exists. In that cosmos, as 
well as in your subject, all manner of things oppose your 
religious sense; and between you and the object of your 
worship there is always the fathomless abyss of the "trans 
ference into another genus " (/iera/Sao-t? et? a\\o 7eW?), the 
transmutation of that which is not God into God. This 
cannot be explained more fully now, because we must not 
anticipate the character of Theology. But enough has been 
said to show convincingly that without faith no forward 
step can be taken here, and that therefore there can be no 
science of religion unless, by faith, the inquiring subject 
holds communion with that which is the supreme element 
in the nature of all religion. 


48. Two Kinds of People 

The certainty and unity of the scientific result, which, 
through the strong divergencies which exist in the thinking 
subject, and still more through the existence of the lie, al 
most fell victims to Scepticism, recover considerable strength 
through the influence of ivisdom and the support of faith. 
Since, however, as soon as it performs its function in the 
domain of the spiritual sciences, faith passes again under 
the dominion of the subjective divergencies, it can indeed 
promote the certainty of the result in the conviction, but 
it proves, rather than a help, an obstacle in the way to the 
unity of this result. The degree of certainty of one s own 
conviction cannot be raised without causing the antithesis 
with the scientific result of others to become proportionately 
striking. This is true of every spiritual science, in so far 
as its object is psychic; but from the nature of the case this 
is most true of the science which has religion for the object 
of its investigation; because, here, the subjective-psychic 
must make a very important step, in order from one s own 
soul to reach the object of its worship. 

And yet these darker spots in the orb of science would 
prove no obstacle in the way to the unity of its radiance, 
if these divergencies in the subject limited themselves to 
a relative difference. Since, as was seen at the beginning 
of our study, the subject of science is not the individual, 
but the general subject of human nature, the potentially 
higher might at length of itself draw the potentially lower 
up to and along with itself, and in spite of much resistance 
and hesitation bring the universal human consciousness to a 
clear insight, a firm conviction, and a certain knowledge. 



In every domain of the expression of human life the sub 
jective powers are unequal; not only in that of science, but 
also in those of art, religion, the development of social life, 
and business. In the spiritual domain, i.e. as soon as the 
powers of the consciousness and of the will turn the scale, 
equality is no longer found. Here endless variety is the rule. 
But in this multiformity there operates a law, which makes 
a rule, and involuntarily causes the radically stronger and 
purer expressions to dominate the weaker. That which 
takes place in song, takes place in the entire spiritual 
domain: the stronger and purer voice strikes the keynote, 
and ends by getting the others in tune with it. In the 
domain of the sciences, also, experience shows that, after 
much resistance and trial, the man of stronger and purer 
thought prevails at length over the men of weaker and less 
pure thought, convinces them, and compels them to think as he 
thinks, or at least to yield to the result of his thinking. Many 
convictions are now the common property of the universal 
human consciousness, which once were only entertained by 
individual thinkers. And when we come into touch with 
the thinking consciousness of Buddhists, of the followers 
of Confusius, or of Mohammedans, we are in general so 
deeply conscious of our superiority, that it never occurs 
to us to ingratiate ourselves into their favor, but of itself 
and involuntarily, by our very contact with them, we make 
our conviction dominate them. When this does not succeed 
at once, this is exclusively because of their lesser suscepti 
bility and backwardness ; as soon, however, as they begin to 
develop and to approach maturity, they readily conform to 
us. According to the rule " du choc des opinions jaillit 
la verite," i.e. "truth is formed from clashing opinions," 
these provisional and necessary divergencies might be toler 
ated with equanimity, in the firm conviction that from this 
multiplicity unity will spring, were only the character of 
these divergencies among men exclusively relative and 
matters of degree. 

But this naturally all falls awa} 7 when you encounter a 
difference of principle, and when you come to deal with 

152 48. TWO KINDS OK PKOl LK [Div. II 

two kinds of people, i.e. with those who part company 
because of a difference which does not find its origin 
within the circle of our human consciousness, but outside 
of it. And the Christian religion places before us just this 
supremely important fact. For it speaks of a regeneration 
(TraXtyyeyeo-ta), of a "being begotten anew" (amyeW^o-t?), 
followed by an enlightening (</>&mo7io?), which changes man 
in his very being ; and that indeed by a change or transfor 
mation which is effected by a supernatural cause. The ex 
planation of this fact belongs properly to Dogmatics. But 
since this fact exerts an absolutely dominating influence upon 
our view of science, it would be a culpable blindfolding of 
self if we passed it by in silence. This " regeneration " breaks 
humanity in two, and repeals the unity of the human con 
sciousness. If this fact of "being begotten anew," coming 
in from without, establishes a radical change in the being of 
man, be it only potentially, and if this change exercises at 
the same time an influence upon his consciousness, then as far 
as it has or has not undergone this transformation, there is an 
abyss in the universal human consciousness across which no 
bridge can be laid. It is with this as with Avild fruit trees, 
part of which you graft, while the rest you leave alone. 
From the moment of that grafting, if successful and the 
trees are properly pruned, the growth of the two kinds of trees 
is entirely different, and this difference is not merely relative 
and a matter of degree, but specific. It is not a better and 
tenderer growth in one tree producing a richer fruit, while the 
other tree thrives less prosperously, and consequently bears 
poorer fruit; but it is a difference in kind. However luxu 
riantly and abundantl} the ungrafted tree may leaf and 
blossom, it will never bear the fruit which grows on the 
grafted tree. But however backward the grafted tree may 
be at first in its growth, the blossom which unfolds on its 
branches is fruit blossom. No tree grafts itself. The wild 
tree cannot change from its own kind into the kind of the 
grafted tree, unless a power which resides outside of the 
sphere of botany enters in and effects the renewal of the wild 
tree. This is no relative transition. A tree is not one- 


tenth cultivated and nine-tenths wild, so that by degrees it 
may become entirely cultivated; it is simply grafted or not 
grafted, and the entire result of its future growth depends 
on this fundamental difference. And though from the nature 
of the case this figure does not escape the weak side which 
every metaphor has, it will nevertheless serve its purpose. 
It illustrates the idea, that if in the orchard of humanity a 
similar operation or grafting takes place, by which the char 
acter of the life-process of our human nature is potentially 
changed, a differentiation between man and man takes place 
which divides us into two kinds. And if the sublimate, 
which from our being arrays itself in our consciousness, 
may be compared to the blossom in which the tree develops 
its hidden beauty, then it follows that the consciousness of 
the grafted and the consciousness of the non-grafted human 
ity must be as unlike as to kind, as the blossom of the wild, 
and that of the true, vine. 

But the difficulty which we here encounter is, that every 
one grants this fact of grafting of trees, while in the world 
of men the parallel fact is denied by all who have not experi 
enced it. This would be the case also with the trees, if 
they could think and speak. Without a doubt the wild 
vine would maintain itself to be the true vine, and look 
down upon that which announces itself as the true vine 
as the victim of imagination and presumption. The supe 
riority of the cultivated branch would never be recognized 
by the wild branch; or, to quote the beautiful German 
words, the Wildling (weed) would ever claim to be Edelreis 
(noble plant). No, it is not strange that so far as they have 
not come into contact with this fact of palingenesis, thought 
ful men should consider the assertion of it an illusion and a 
piece of fanaticism; and that rather than deal with it as fact, 
they should apply their powers to prove its inconceivable- 
ness. This would not be so, if by some tension of human 
power the palingenesis proceeded from the sphere of our 
human life ; for then it would seem a thing to be desired, 
and all nobler efforts would be directed to it. But since 
palingenesis is effected by a power, the origin of which lies 


outside of our human reach, so that man is passive under it 
as a tree under grafting, the human mind is not quickened 
by it to action, and consequently must array itself in opposi 
tion to it. The dilemma is the more perplexing, since he 
who has been wrought upon by palingenesis can never con 
vince of it him who has not been similarly wrought upon, 
because an action wrought upon us from without the human 
sphere, does not lend itself to analysis by our human con 
sciousness ; at least not so far as it concerns the common 
ground on which men with and without palingenesis can 
understand each other. They who are wrought upon by 
palingenesis can in no wise avoid, therefore, conveying the 
impression of being proud and of exalting themselves. The 
Edelreis everywhere offends the Wildling, not merely in that 
measure and sense in which a finely cultured, cesthetically 
developed person offends the uncouth parvenu; for with 
these the difference is a matter of decree, so that as a rule 


the parvenu envies the aristocrat, and so secretly recognizes 
his higher worth; but, and this is the fatality, the differ 
ence in hand is and always will be one of principle. The 
Wildlinr/ also grows and blooms, and as a rule its foliage is 
more luxuriant, while in its specific development the Edelreis 
is not seldom backward. 

We speak none too emphatically, therefore, when we 
speak of two kinds of people. Both are human, but one is 
inwardly different from the other, and consequently feels a 
different content rising from his consciousness ; thus they 
face the cosmos from different points of view, and are 
impelled by different impulses. And the fact that there are 
two kinds of people occasions of necessity the fact of two 
kinds of human life and consciousness of life, and of two 
kinds of science; for which reason the idea of the unity of 
science, taken in its absolute sense, implies the denial of the 
fact of palingenesis, and therefore from principle leads to the 
rejection of the Christian religion. 


49. Two Kinds of Science 

By two kinds of science we do not mean that two radi 
cally different representations of the cosmos can be simul 
taneously entertained side by side, with equal right. Truth 
is one, and so far as you understand it to be the object re 
flected in our human consciousness, science also can only be 
one. Thus if you understand science to be the systematized 
result of your perception, observation and thought, the dif 
ference in the result of your investigation may be a matter 
of degree but cannot be radical. If the result of A is con 
trary to the result of B, one or both have strayed from the path 
of science, but in no case can the two results, simultaneously 
and with equal right, be true. But our speaking of two kinds 
of science does not mean this. What we mean is, that both 
parts of humanity, that which has been wrought upon by 
palingenesis and that which lacks it, feel the impulse to in 
vestigate the object, and, by doing this in a scientific way, to 
obtain a scientific systemization of that which exists. The 
effort and activity of both bear the same character ; they 
are both impelled by the same purpose ; both devote their 
strength to the same kind of labor ; and this kind of labor is 
in each case called the prosecution of science. But however 
much they may be doing the same thing formally, their activ 
ities run in opposite directions, because they have different 
starting-points ; and because of the difference in their nature 
they apply themselves differently to this work, and view 
things in a different way. Because they themselves are dif- 
erently constituted, they see a corresponding difference in the 
constitution of all things. They are not at work, therefore, 
on different parts of the same house, but each builds a house 
of his own. Not as if an existing plan, convention or de 
liberation here assigned the rule. This happens as little 
in one circle as in the other. Generation upon generation 
in all ages, in different lands, and among all classes of 
people, is at work on this house of science, without concert 
and without an architectural plan, and it is a mysterious 
power by which, from all this sporadic labor, a whole is per- 


fected. Eacli one places his brick in the walls of this build 
ing, and always where it belongs, without himself knowing 
or planning it. But despite the absence of all architectural 
insight the building goes on, and the house is in process of 
erection, even though it may never be entirely completed. 
And both are doing it, they who have been wrought upon 
bv palingenesis, as well as those who have remained un 
changed. All this study, in the circle of the one as well as 
in that of the other, founds, builds and assists in the con 
struction of a whole. But we emphatically assert that these 
two kinds of people devote their time and their strength to 
the erection of two different structures, each of which pur 
poses to be a complete building of science. If, however, 
one of these two is asked, whether the building, on which he 
labors, will truly provide us what we need in the scientific 
realm, he will of course claim for himself the high and noble 
name of science, and withhold it from the other. 

This cannot be otherwise, for if one acknowledged the 
other to be truly scientific, he would be obliged to adopt the 
other man s views. You cannot declare a thing to be scien 
tific gold, and then reject it. You derive your right to 
reject a thing only from your conviction that that something 
is not true, \vhile a conviction that it is true would compel you 
to accept it. These two streams of science, therefore, which 
run in separate river-beds, do not in the least destroy the 
principle of the unity of science. This cannot be done ; it 
is absolutely inconceivable. We only affirm that formally 
both groups perform scientific labor, and that they recognize 
each other s scientific character, in the same way in which 
two armies facing each other are mutually able to appreciate 
military honor and military worth. But when they have 
arrived at their result they cannot conceal the fact that in 
many respects these results are contrary to each other, and 
are entirely different ; and as far as this is the case, each 
group naturally contradicts whatever the other group asserts. 


Tliis would have revealed itself clearly and at once, at least 
in Christian lands, if from the beginning the development of 
each group had proceeded entirely within well-defined boun 
daries. But this was not the case, neither could it be. First, 
because there is a very broad realm of investigation in which 
the difference between the two groups exerts no influence. 
For in the present dispensation palingenesis works no change 
in the senses, nor in the plastic conception of visible things. 
The entire domain of the more primary observation, which 
limits itself to weights, measures and numbers, is common 
to both. The entire empiric investigation of the things that 
are perceptible to our senses (simple or reinforced) has noth 
ing to do with the radical difference which separates the two 
groups. By this we do not mean, that the natural sciences as 
such and in their entirety, fall outside of this difference, but 
only that in these sciences the difference which separates the 
two groups exerts no influence on the beginnings of the inves 
tigation. Whether a thing weighs two milligrams or three, 
can be absolutely ascertained by every one that can weigh. 
If it be mistakenly supposed that the natural sciences are 
entirely exhausted in this first and lowest part of their inves 
tigation, the entirely unjust conclusion may be reached, that 
these sciences, as such, fall outside of the difference. But in 
accurate as this would be, it would be equally unfair, for the 
sake of accentuating the difference, to deny the absolute char 
acter of perception by the senses. Any one who in the realm 
of visible things has observed and formulated something with 
entire accuracy, whatever it be, has rendered service to both 
groups. To the validity of these formulas, which makes 
them binding upon all and for all time, the natural sciences 
owe their reputation of certainty, and, since we are deeply 
interested practically in the dominion over matter, also their 
honor and overestimation. For the more accurate state 
ment of our idea we cannot fail to remark that, however 
rich these formulas and the dominion over nature which they 
place at our disposal may be in their practical results, they 
stand, nevertheless, entirely at the foot of the ladder of sci 
entific investigation, and are so little scientific in their char- 


acter, that formally they are to be equated with the knowledge 
of the farmer, who has learned how land must be tilled, and 
how cattle may be bred to advantage. Observation in the 
laboratory is certainly much finer, and the labor of thought 
much more exhaustive, and the skill of invention much more 
worthy of admiration, but this is a distinction in degree ; the 
empiric knowledge of the farmer and the empiric knowledge 
of our naturalist in principle are one. If, however, it is 
important to reduce to its just equality the significance of 
that which, in the results of naturalistic studies, is absolutely 
certain, it should be gratefully acknowledged that in the 
elementary parts of these studies there is a common realm, 
in which the difference between view- and starting-point 
does not enforce itself. 

Not only in the natural, but in the spiritual sciences 
also, a common realm presents itself. The mixed psychic- 
somatic nature of man accounts for this. Consequently, 
the object of the spiritual sciences inclines also, to a cer 
tain extent, to express itself in the somatic. Only think 
of the logos, which, being psychic in nature, creates a body 
for itself in language. Hence in the spiritual sciences the 
investigation is partly comprised of the statement of out 
wardly observable facts. Such is the case in History, the 
skeleton of which, if we may so express it, consists entirely 
of events and facts, the accurate narration of which must 
rest upon the investigation of all sorts of palpable docu 
ments. It is the same with the study of Language, whose 
first task it is to determine sounds, words and forms in their 
constituent parts and historic development, from all manner 
of information and observation obtained by eye and ear. 
This is the case with nearly every spiritual science, in part 
even with psychology itself, which has its physiological 
side. To a certain extent, all these investigations are in 
line with the lower natural sciences. To examine archives, 
to unearth monuments, to decipher what at first seemed un 
intelligible and translate it into your ow r n language ; to catch 
forms of language from the mouth of a people and to trace 
those forms in their development ; and in like manner to 


espy the relation among certain actions of our senses and 
the psychic reactions which follow, etc., are altogether activ 
ities which in a sense bear an objective character, and are 
but little dominated by the influence of what is individual 
in the investigating subject. This should not be granted too 
absolutely, and the determination whether an objective docu 
ment is genuine or not, or whether the contents of it must be 
translated thus or so, is in many cases not susceptible to 
such an absolute decision. But provided the study of the 
objective side of the spiritual sciences does not behave itself 
unseemly and contents itself within its boundaries, it claims 
our joyful recognition, that here also a broad realm of study 
opens itself, the results of which are benefits to both groups 
of thinkers, and thus also to the two kinds of science. 

This must be emphasized, because it is in the interest of 
science at large, that mutual benefit be derived by both cir 
cles from what is contributed to the general stock of sci 
ence. What has been well done by one need not be done 
again by you. It is at the same time important that, though 
not hesitating to part company as soon as principle demands 
it, the two kinds of science shall be as long as possible con 
scious of the fact that, formally at least, both are at work at 
a common task. It is with reference to this that to the two 
already mentioned common realms a third one should be 
added, which is no less important. The formal process of 
thought has not been attacked by sin, and for this reason 
palingenesis works no change in this mental task. 

There is but one logic, and not two. If this simply im 
plied, that logic properly so called as a subdivision of the 
philosophical or psychological sciences, does not need to be 
studied in a twofold way, the benefit would be small ; the 
more because this is true to a certain extent only, and be 
cause all manner of differences and antitheses present them 
selves at once in the methodological investigation. But the 
influence of the fact aforementioned extends much farther, 
and contributes in two ways important service in main- 

100 4!. TWO KINDS OF SCIENCE [Div. 11 

taiiiing a certain mutual contact between the two kinds of 
science. In the first place, from this fact it follows that the 
accuracy of one another s demonstrations can be critically ex 
amined and verified, in so far at least as the result strictly 
depends upon the deduction made. By keeping a sharp 
watch upon each other, mutual service is rendered in the 
discovery of logical faults in each other s demonstrations, and 
thus in a formal way each will continually watch over the 
other. And, on the other hand, they may compel each other 
to justify their points of view over against one another. 

Let not this last be misunderstood. If, as we remarked, 
palingenesis occasions one group of men to exist differentl}* 
from the other, every effort to understand each other will 
be futile in those points of the investigation in which this 
difference comes into play; and it will be impossible to settle 
the difference of insight. No polemics between these two 
kinds of science, on details which do not concern the state 
ment of an objectively observable fact, or the somatic side of 
the psychical sciences, or, finally, a logical fault in argumenta 
tion, can ever serve any purpose. This is the reason why, as 
soon as it has allowed itself to be inveigled into details, and 
lias undertaken to deal with things that are not palpable phe 
nomena or logical mistakes, Apologetics has always failed to 
reach results, and has weakened rather than strengthened the 
reasoner. But just because, so soon as the lines have diverged 
but a little the divergency cannot be bridged over, it is so 
much the more important that sharp and constant attention 
be fixed upon the junction where the two lines begin to di 
verge. For though it is well known beforehand that even at 
this point of intersection no agreement can be reached ; for 
then no divergence would follow; yet at this point of intersec 
tion it can be explained to each other what it is that compels 
us, from this point of intersection, to draw our line as we do. 
If we neglect to do this, pride and self-conceit will come into 
play, and our only concession to our scientific opponent will 
be the mockery of a laugh. Because he does not walk in our 
footsteps we dispute not only the accuracy of his results, 
but also formallv denv the scientific character of his work. 


And this is not right. Every tendency that wants to main 
tain itself as a scientific tendency, must at least give an 
account of the reason why, from this point of intersection, it 
moves in one and not in the other direction. 

And though nothing be accomplished by this, beyond the 
confession of the reason why one refuses to follow the ten 
dency of the other, even this is an infinite gain. On the one 
hand it prevents the self-sufficiency which avoids all inves 
tigation into the deepest grounds, and lives by the theory 
that "the Will stands in place of reason." Thus we feel 
ourselves bound, not only to continue our studies formally 
in a severely scientific way, but also to give ourselves an 
increasingly clear account of the good and virtuous right 
by which we maintain the position originally taken, and 
by which we formally labor as we do. And since among 
congenial spirits one is so ready to accept, as already 
well defined, what is still wanting in the construction, 
the two tendencies render this mutual service ; viz. that 
they necessitate the continuance of the investigation into 
the very soil in which the foundation lies. But, on the 
other hand also, this practice of giving each other an account 
at the point of intersection effects this very great gain, that 
as scientists we do not simply walk independently side by 
side, but that we remain together in logical fellowship, and 
together pay our homage to the claim of science as such. 
This prevents the useless plying of polemics touching points 
of detail, which so readily gives rise to bitterness of feel 
ing, and concentrates the heat of battle against those issues 
of our consciousness which determine the entire process of 
the life of science. However plainly and candidly we may 
speak thus of a twofold science, and however much we may 
be persuaded that the scientific investigation can be brought 
to a close in no single department by all scientists together, 
yea, cannot be continued in concert, as soon as palingenesis 
makes a division between the investigators ; we are equally 
emphatic in our confession, which we do not make in spite 
of ourselves, but with gladness, that in almost every depart 
ment there is some task that is common to all, and, what is 


almost of greater importance still, a clear account can be 
given of both starting-points. 

If this explains why these two kinds of science have re 
mained for the most part interlaced, there is still another 
and no less important cause, which has prevented their 
clearer separation. It is the slow process which must 
ensue before any activity can develop itself from what po- 
tentiall} is given in palingenesis. If palingenesis operated 
immediately from the centrum of our inner life to the outer 
most circumference of our being and consciousness, the antith 
esis between the science which lives by it and that which de 
nies it, would be at once absolute in every subject. But such 
is not the case. The illustration of the grafting is still in 
point. The cultivated shoot which is grafted into the wild 
tree is at first very small and weak; the wild tree, on the 
other hand, after being grafted, will persist in putting forth 
its branches ; and it is only by the careful pruning away of 
wild shoots that the vitality from the roots is compelled to 
withdraw its service from the wild trunk and transfer it to 
the cultivated shoot. Later on this progress is secured, till 
at length the cultivated shoot obtains the entire upper hand 
and the wild tree scarcely puts out another branch ; but this 
takes sometimes seven or more years. You observe a similar 
phenomenon in palingenesis, even to such an extent that if 
the development begun upon earth were not destined to reach 
completion in a higher life, the sufficient reason of the entire 
fact could scarcely be conceived, especially not in those cases 
where this palingenesis does not come until later life. But 
even when in the strength of youth palingenesis leads to re 
pentance (transformation of the consciousness), and to con 
version (change in life-expression), the growth of the wild 
tree is by no means yet cut off, neither is the shoot of the cul 
tivated branch at once completed. 

This is never claimed in the circles that make profes 
sion of this palingenesis. It has been questioned among 
themselves whether the entire triumph of the new element is 


possible on this side of the grave (Perfectionists), but that 
in any case a period of transition and conflict must precede 
this completeness has been the experience and common confes 
sion of all. If we call to mind the facts that those people who 
as a sect proclaim this Perfectionism, are theologically almost 
without any development, and soon prove that they reach 
their singular conclusions by a legal Pelagian interpretation 
of sin and a mystical interpretation of virtue, while the 
theologians in the church of Rome who defend this position 
consider such an early completion a very rare exception, it 
follows, that as far as it concerns our subject this Perfec 
tionism claims no consideration. These sectarian zealots 
have nothing to do with science, and those who have been 
canonized are too few in number to exert an influence upon 
the progress of scientific development. Actually, therefore, 
we here deal with a process of palingenesis which operates 
continually, but which does not lead to an immediate cessa 
tion of the preceding development, nor to a sufficiently 
powerful unfolding at once of the new development ; and 
as a necessary result the scientific account, given in the 
consciousness, cannot at once effect a radical and a clearly 
conscious separation. 

Several causes, moreover, have assisted the long con 
tinuance of this intimate relation. First the fundamental 
conceptions, which have been the starting-points of the two 
groups of scientists, were for many centuries governed alto 
gether by Special Revelation. Not only those who shared the 
palingenesis, but also those who remained without it, for a 
long time started out from the existence of God, the creation 
of the world, the creation of man as sui generis, the fall, etc. 
A few might have expressed some doubt concerning one 
thing and another ; a very few might have ventured to deny 
them ; but for many centuries the common consciousness 
rested in these fixed conceptions. 

Properly, then, one cannot say that any reaction took 
place before the Humanists ; and the forming of a common 

164 4 {) - TW() KINDS OF SCIENCE iMv. II 

opinion upon the basis of Pantheism and Naturalism lias 
really only begun since the last century. Since, now, those 
who lived by palingenesis found these old representations 
to conform entirely to their own consciousness, it is nat 
ural that they were not on the alert to build a scientific 
house of their own, as long as general science also lived by 
premises which properly belonged to palingenesis. Now, 
however, all this has entirely changed. They who stand 
outside the palingenesis have perceived, with increasing 
clearness, that these primordial conceptions as premises 
belonged not to them but to their opponents, and in a com 
paratively short time they have placed an entirely different 
range of premises over against them. Creation has made 
room for Evolution, and with surprising rapidity vast multi 
tudes have made this transition from creation to evolution, 
because, in fact, they never have believed in creation, or 
because they had, at least, never assimilated the world of 
thoughts which this word Creation embraced. As natural 
as it has been, therefore, that in the domain of science 
both circles have been one thus far, it is equally natural 
that the unity of this company should now be irreparably 
broken. He who in building upon the foundation of crea 
tion thinks that he builds the same wall as another who 
starts from evolution, reminds one of Sisyphus. No sooner 
has the stone been carried up than relentlessly it rolls back 

A second cause in point, lies in the fact that palingenesis 
does not primarily impel to scientific labor. It stands too 
high for this, and is of too noble an origin. Let us be sober, 
and awake from the intoxication of those who have become 
drunk on the wine of science. If you except a small aris 
tocracy, the impulse to the greater part of scientific study 
lies in the ambition to dominate the material and visible 
world; to satisfy a certain intellectual tendency of the mind : 
to secure a position in life ; to make a name and to harvest 
honors; and to look down with a sense of superiority upon 
those who are less broadly developed. Mention only the 
name of Jesus Christ, and you perceive at once how this 


entire scientific interest must relinquish its claim to occupy 
the first place in our estimate of life. Jesus never wrote 
a Summa like Thomas Aquinas, nor a Kritik der reinen 
Vernunft like Kant, but even in the circles of the naturalists 
his holy name sounds high above the names of all these 
coryphaei of science. 

There is thus something else to make a man great, and 
this lies outside of science in its concrete and technical sense. 
There is a human development and expression of life which 
does not operate within the domain of science, but which, 
nevertheless, stands much higher. There is an adoration 
and a self-abasement before God, a love and a self-denial be 
fore our fellow-men, a growth in what is pure and heroic and 
formative of character, which far excels all beauty of science. 
Bound as it is to the consciousness-forms of our present 
existence, it is highly improbable that science will be of 
profit to us in our eternal existence ; but this we know, 
that as certainly as there is a spark of holy love aglow in 
our hearts, this spark cannot be extinguished, and the 
breath of eternity alone can kindle it into the brightest 
flame. And experience teaches that the new life which 
springs from palingenesis, is much more inclined to move in 
this nobler direction than to thirst after science. This may 
become a defect, and has often degenerated into such, and 
thus has resulted in a dislike or disdain for science. The 
history of Mysticism has its tales to relate, and Methodism 
comes in for its share. But as long as there is no disdain of 
science, but merely a choice of the nobler interest, it is but 
natural that the life of palingenesis should prefer to seek 
its greatness in that which exalts so highly the name 
of Jesus, and feels itself less attracted to the things which 
brought Kant and Darwin their world- wide fame. Add to 
this fact that for most people the life of science depends 
upon the possibility of obtaining a professorship or a lecture 
ship, and that in Europe they who have these positions to 
dispose of are, as a rule, inclined to exclude the sons of 
palingenesis from such appointments, and you see at once 
how relatively small the number among them must have 


been who were able to devote themselves, with all the energy 
of their lives, to the study of the sciences. And thus their 
strength was too small and their numbers too few to assume a 
position of their own, and to prosecute science independently 
from their own point of view. 

One more remark will bring to a close the explanation of 
this phenomenon. One may have a scientific mind, and be 
able to make important contributions to the scientific result, 
and yet not choose the most fundamental principles of life as 
the subject of his study. There is a broad field of detail- 
study in which laurels can be won, without penetrating to 
the deep antitheses of the two world-views whose position 
over against each other becomes ever more and more clearly 
defined. In this class of studies success is won with less 
talent, with less power of thought, with less sacrifice of 
time and toil ; one also works with greater certainty ; more 
immediate results are attained ; and more questions of an 
historical character are presented which can be solved within 
a more limited horizon. This accounts for the fact that of 
ten scientists, nine will prefer this class of studies. Theolo 
gians are the exception, but their position at the univer 
sities is uncommon. One tolerates in them what would not 
be tolerated in others, and a gulf between the theological and 
the other faculties is tacitly acquiesced in. If these faculties 
of theology were not an imperative necessity because of the 
churches, at most universities they would simply be abol 
ished. With the reasonable exception of these, the ratio of 
one to nine, assumed above, between the men of detail-study 
and the men of the study of principles, is certain!}- a fair 
one ; and thus when applied to the few sons of palingenesis 
who have devoted themselves to science and have been ap 
pointed to official positions, causes the number of the stu 
dents of principles among them to be reduced to such a 
minimum, that an independent and a clearly defined attitude 
on their part has been fairly impossible. 

Practically and academically the separation between these 


two kinds of science has thus far been made only in a 
few single points. The universities of Brussels and Lou- 
vain are examples of this. In Amsterdam and Freiburg, 
also, a life peculiar to itself has originated. And in Amer 
ica a certain division has begun. But these divisions bear 
too much a churchly or anti-churchly character, and for the 
greater " republic of letters " as a whole they are scarcely 
yet worthy of mention. Almost everywhere the two stems 
are still intertwined, and in almost every way the stem which 
grows from palingenesis is still altogether repressed and 
overshadowed by the stem of naturalism ; naturalism being 
here taken as the expression of life, which, without palin 
genesis, flourishes as it originated. There was, indeed, a 
conservative period in university life, in which the old 
world-view still thought itself able, by an angry look or 
by persecution, to exorcise the coming storm ; and a later 
period in which by all manner of half concessions and weak 
apologetics, it tried to repress the rise of the naturalistic 
tendency. But this Conservatism, which first tried compul 
sion and then persuasion, owed its origin least of all to 
palingenesis, and thus lacked a spiritual root. At present, 
therefore, it is rapidly passing away. Its apologetics lack 
force. It seeks so to comport itself that by the grace of 
Naturalism it may still be only tolerated ; and it deems it no 
disgrace to skulk in a musty vault of the fortification in 
which once it bore command. 

Neither the tardiness, however, of the establishment of 
this bifurcation of science, nor the futile effort of Conserva 
tism to prolong its existence, can resist the continuous 
separation of these two kinds of science. The all-decisive 
question here is whether there are two points of departure. 
If this is not the case, then unity must be maintained by 
means of the stronger mastering the weaker ; but if there 
are two points of departure, then the claim of two kinds of 
science in the indicated sense remains indisputably valid, 
entirely apart from the question whether both will succeed 
in developing themselves for any good result within a given 
time. This twofold point of departure is certainly given by 


palingenesis. This would not be true if the deepest founda 
tions of our knowledge lay outside of us and not -in us, or 
if the palingenesis operated outside of these principia of 
knowledge in the subject. Since, however, this is not the 
case, because, like sin, whose result it potentially destroys, 
palingenesis causes the subject to be different in his inner 
most self from what he was before ; and because this disposi 
tion of the subject exercises an immediate influence upon 
scientific investigation and our scientific conviction ; these 
two unlike magnitudes can have no like result, and from 
this difference between the two circles of subjects there fol 
lows of necessity difference between their science. 

This bifurcation must extend as far as the influence of 
those subjective factors which palingenesis causes to be dif 
ferent in one than in the other. Hence all scientific research 
which has things seen only as object, or which is prosecuted 
simply by those subjective factors which have undergone no 
change, remains the same for both. Near the ground the tree 
of science is one for all. But no sooner has it reached a cer 
tain height, than two branches separate, in the same way 
as may be seen in a tree which is grafted on the right side, 
while on the left side there is allowed to grow a shoot from 
the wild root. In its lowest parts the tree is one, but at a 
given height it divides itself, and in this twofold develop 
ment one branch grows side by side with the other. Which 
of these two is to be considered the wild development, is to 
be accounted as failing of its end and to be cut away, and 
which the truer development of the tree that shall bear fruit, 
cannot be decided by one for the other. The negative for 
the one determines here the positive for the other. This, 
however, is the same for both, and the choice of each is not 
governed by the results of discursive thought, but exclusively 
by the deepest impulse of the life-consciousness of each. 1 f 
in that deepest impulse the one were like the other, the 
choice would be the same. That it is different, is simply 
because they are constitutionally different. 


Meanwhile, it must not be concluded from this that in the 
circle of palingenesis scientific development must be uniform, 
in the sense that all, who in this circle devote themselves to 
science, must conform to a given model and arrive at harmo 
nious results. This representation is not infrequently made 
by the other side. Naturalistic science decorates itself with 
corn-flower and garden-rue, as symbols of the free character 
which it boasts, while the science of those who accept palin 
genesis is represented as festooned with autumn-lea ves(f euille- 
morte), and as incapable of progress worthy of the name within 
the narrow limits to which it is confined. This entire repre 
sentation, however, is but a play of the imagination, and in 
both circles a real scientific development takes place, which un 
folds the beauty of truth only in the harmony of multiformity. 

A fuller explanation may be considered important. 

In the abstract every one concedes that the subjective 
assimilation of the truth concerning the object cannot be 
the same with all, because the investigating individuals are 
not as alike as drops of water, but as unlike as blades of 
grass and leaves on a tree. That a science should be free 
from the influence of the subjective factor is inconceivable, 
hence with the unlikeness of the individuals the influence 
of this factor must appear. 

For this reason science in its absolute sense is the property 
of no single individual. The universal human consciousness 
in its richest unfoldings is and ever will be the subject of 
science, and individuals in their circle and age can never 
l^e anything but sharers of a small division of science in 
a given form and seen in a given light. The difference 
among these individuals is accordingly both a matter of 
degree and of kind. A matter of degree in so far as energy 
in investigation, critical perspicuity and power of thought 
are stronger in one than in the other. But a matter of 
kind also, in so far as temperament, personal inclination, 
position in life and the favorableness or unfavorableness of 
circumstances cause each individual investigator to become 
one-sided, and make him find his strength in that one-sided- 
ness which renders the supplementation and the criticism 


of others a necessity. This accounts for the varieties of 
theories and schools which antagonize, and by this antag 
onism bless, each other. This is the reason why in each age 
and circle certain views prevail, and strike the keynote ; 
and that all manner of personal influences are restricted 
by the power of public opinion. This piecemeal labor 
of every description would never advance science, if the 
object of science itself did not exist organically, and the 
investigating individuals in every land and age were not 
involuntarily and often unconsciously organically related. 
To annul this mutually supplementary, corrective and yet 
organically connected multiformity, would be the death of 
science. Not the military mechanism of the army, but the 
organic multiformity of social life is the type to which, in 
order to flourish, science must correspond. 

Such being the case with naturalistic science, it would be 
different with the science which flourishes upon the root of 
palingenesis, only if palingenesis annulled the cause of this 
subjective pluriformity. This, however, is not at all the case. 
Palingenesis does not destroy the difference in degree between 
individuals. It does not alter the differences of tempera 
ment, of personal disposition, of position in life, nor of con 
comitant circumstances which dominate the investigation. 
Neither does palingenesis take away the differences born 
from the distinction of national character and the process 
of time. Palingenesis may bring it about, that these dif 
ferences assume another character, that in some forms they 
do n -^t appear, and that they do appear in other forms 
unknown outside of it ; but in every case with palingenesis 
also subjective divergence continues to exist in every way. 
The result indeed shows that in this domain, as well as 
in that of naturalistic science, different schools have formed 
themselves, and that even in the days of the Middle Ages 
there never was a question of uniformity. However much 
Rome has insisted upon uniformity, it has never been able 
to establish it, and in the end she lias adopted the system of 
giving to eacli expression of the multiformity a place in the 
organic harmony of her great hierarchy. 


No doubt the antitheses sometimes assume an entirely dif 
ferent character in the domain of palingenesis than in the 
domain of naturalistic science. No atheistic, materialistic, 
nor pessimistic system can flourish in its soil. Its schools, 
therefore, bear different names and divide themselves after 
different standards. But as after the entrance of the Chris 
tian religion into the world, the schools of Alexandria, of 
Antioch, of North Africa, of Constantinople, and of Rome, 
each bore a type of its own, so it has remained through all 
the ages, is now, and shall be to the end. Friction, fermen 
tation and conflict are the hall-mark of every expression of 
life on higher ground in this present dispensation, and from 
this the science of the palingenesis also effects no escape. 

Three objections may here be raised : (1) that this 
science is bound to the content of revelation ; (2) that its 
liberty is impeded by the ecclesiastical placet ; and (3) that 
its result is determined in advance. A brief remark is in 
place on each of these three objections. 

Since the investigating subject is changed by palingenesis 
from what he was before, he will undoubtedly assume a 
different attitude towards the Revelation of God. He will 
no longer try, as in his naturalistic period, to denounce that 
Revelation as a vexatious hindrance, but will feel the need 
of it, will live in it, and profit by it. He will certainly thus 
reckon with that Revelation, but in no other way than that 
in which the naturalist is bound to and must reckon with the 
existing cosmos. This, however, would destroy the scientific 
character of his knowledge, only if this Revelation consisted 
of nothing but a list of conclusions, and if he were not allowed 
subjectively to assimilate these conclusions. This, however, 
is by no means the case. The Revelation offered us in the 
Word of God gives us gold in the mine, and imposes upon us 
the obligation of mining it ; and what is mined is of such a 
nature, that the subject as soon as he has been changed by 
palingenesis, assimilates it in his own way, and brings it in 
relation to the deepest impulse and entire inner disposition 


of his being. That this assimilation does not take place by 
means of the understanding only, can raise no objection, since 
it has been shown that naturalistic science also can make no 
advances without faith. Moreover, naturalistic science, as 
well as that of palingenesis, has its bounds, beyond which it 
cannot go; its antinomies, which it cannot reconcile; and its 
mysteries, after which the interrogation point remains stand 
ing. If now knowledge is brought us by Revelation from 
across the boundaries, a reconciliation is offered for many 
antinomies, and many a new mystery is unveiled, it pleads 
in no respect against the scientific character of our science, 
that our reason is unable to analyze this new material and 
to place it in organic connection with the rest. It is not 
strange, therefore, that with reference to this Revelation, 
faith unfolds a broader activity than in the investigation 
of the cosmos, and harmonizes entirely with the aim and 
character of this Revelation : viz. to be of service first to 
the practical religious life, even of the simplest-minded 
people, and after that to science. But rather than protest 
against this, science ought to recognize the fact that she is 
called, (1) to investigate the nature and essence of this Reve 
lation; (2) to anatyze the material, which has been derived 
from it ; and (3) to discover and indicate the way in which 
this material, as well as Revelation itself, enters into relation 
with the psychical life of man. The lack of unanimity on 
any of these three points, and that in all ages these three 
points, and everything connected with them, have been so 
differently judged, is readily explained. The tendencies of 
mysticism and pietism, of realism and spiritualism, of trans 
cendentalism and immanence, of monism and dualism, of the 
organic and individualism have ever intruded themselves 
into these questions, and have crossed again those blended 
types, which are known by the name of Romanism, Luther- 
anism and Calvinism. Tendencies and types these, in which 
shortsightedness beholds merely ecclesiastical variegations, 
but which to the man of broader view, extend themselves 
across the entire domain of human life, science included. 
And though the science of the palingenesis may succeed as 


little as naturalistic science in scientifically bringing to a suc 
cessful end the conflict between these different schools and 
tendencies on its own ground, it is still the task of science 
also within the realm of palingenesis constantly to test the 
assertions of these several tendencies, for the sake of en 
hancing the clearness of their self-consciousness. 

This brings us of itself to the second objection : that the 
liberty of this science is impeded by the ecclesiastical placet. 
This also must be denied. There is no instituted church 
(ecclesia instituta) conceivable without a placet; and the 
position of an investigator, whose results antagonize this ec 
clesiastical placet, is thereby rendered false and untenable ; 
but this does not impede the prosecution of science in the 
least. In the first place the church, as instituted church, 
never passes sentence upon that which has no bearing upon 
"saving faith." Even the church of Rome, which goes far 
thest in this respect, leaves the greater part of the object 
free. Again, this church placet is itself the result of a spir 
itual conflict, which was developed by contradictions, and in 
which the controversy was scientific on both sides. Hence 
it is every man s duty and calling constantly to test by sci 
entific methods the grounds advanced from either side. And 
if, in the third place, an investigator becomes convinced that 
the placet of the church is an unjust inference from Revela 
tion, he must try to prove this to his church, and if she will 
not allow him this privilege, he must leave her. This would 
not be possible if the church were a scientific institute, 
but no instituted church advances this claim. Hence in the 
realm of palingenesis one remains a man of science, even 
though he may lose his harmony with the church of his birth ; 
and it is not science, but honesty and the sense of morality, 
which in such a case compels a man to break with his church. 
This, however, occurs but rarely, partly because the churches 
in general allow considerable latitude ; partly because a false 
position does not seem untenable to many ; but more 
especially, because the churchly types are not arbitrarily 
chosen, but of necessity have risen from the constellation of 
life. Since the scientific investigator, who is connected with 


such a church, stands for the most part under those same 
constellations, it is very natural that in most cases he will 
not come into any such conflict, but will arrive at the same 
conclusions as his church. Then, however, there is no com 
pulsion ; no bonds are employed ; but the agreement is 
unconstrained and necessary. The danger would be more 
serious, if the whole church in the earth had only one form 
alike for all parts of the world, so that the placet would be 
everywhere the same ; and indeed the existence of this dan 
ger of the loss of liberty could not entirely be denied dur 
ing the Middle Ages, nor can it be denied to-day in those 
countries which are entirely uniform religiously. But since 
in the instituted church this unity is broken, so that now 
there are ten or more forms of church organizations, in which 
almost every possible type has come to an organization of its 
own, it is almost inconceivable that in the domain of palin 
genesis a scientific investigation would ever lead to a result 
which would not accord with the placet of one of these 
churches on the contested points. And if, in case a conflict 
cannot be avoided, one is impelled by love of truth and by 
a sense of honor to change his relations from one church to 
the other, it is as little of a hindrance to the liberty of the 
spiritual sciences, as when one is compelled by the results of 
investigation on political grounds to seek refuge from Russia 
in freer England or America. 

Finally, concerning the last objection, that in the do 
main of palingenesis there can be no science, because its 
results are predetermined, let it be said that this is partly 
inaccurate, and that as far as it is accurate, it applies equally 
to naturalistic science. As it stands, this proposition is 
partly untrue. In general one understands by it, that in 
the ecclesiastical Creed or in the Holy Scriptures the results 
are already given. If a conflict arises between the result of 
our investigation and our ecclesiastical creed, it may render 
our ecclesiastical position untenable, but it cannot affect the 
maintenance of our scientific results. And as for the Holy 
Bible, it is ever the province and duty of science to verify 
what is inferred from it. Yet after the subtraction of these 


two factors, it is still entirely true that in the abstract the 
results of our investigation are beforehand certain, and that, 
if we reach other results, our former results are not valid and 
our investigation is faulty. This, however, is common both to 
the science of palingenesis and to naturalistic science. The 
actual nature of the cosmos conditions the results of all 
investigation, and so far as there is question of knowledge 
which we obtain by thinking, our thinking can never be 
aught than the o/fer-thinking of what has been before thought 
by the Creator of all relations ; even to such an extent 
that all our thinking, to the extent that it aims to be and is 
original, can never be anything but pure hallucination. Hence 
it is entirely true, that in the domain of palingenesis all 
results of investigation are bound to the nature of palin 
genesis, and determined by the real constitution of the 
spiritual world with which it brings us into relation ; it is 
also true, that that which has been well investigated will 
prove to agree with what has been revealed to us in an 
accurate way from this spiritual world ; nor may it be 
denied that in this realm also, all our thinking can only 
be the after-thinking of the thoughts of God ; but it has 
all this in common with the other science, and all this is 
inherent in the nature of science. If the objection be raised 
that in the prosecution of science as directed by palingen 
esis, it is a matter of pre-assumption that there is a God, 
that a creation took place, that sin reigns, etc., we grant this 
readily, but in the same sense in which it is pre-assumed in 
all science that there is a human being, that that human 
being thinks, that it is possible for this human being to 
think mistakenly, etc., etc. He to whom these last-named 
things are not presuppositions, will not so much as put his 
hand to the plough in the field of science ; and such is the 
case with him who does not know, with greater certainty 
than he knows his own existence, that God is his Creator, 
entirely apart from palingenesis. Facts such as are here 
named, that there is a God, that a creation took place, 
that sin exists, etc., can never be established by scientific 
investigation ; nor has this ever been attempted but some 


acuter mind was at hand to convict its predecessor of error. 
Only let it be remembered, that in this section we do by no 
means refer to Theology simply, nor even especially. Sci 
ence, as here considered, is science which has the entirety 
of things as its object ; and only when we come to Theology 
may the special questions be answered, to which the entirely 
peculiar character of this holy science gives occasion. 

50. The Process of Science 

Our proposition that there are two kinds of science is, 
from the nature of the case, merely the accommodation to a 
linguistic usage. The two sciences must never be coordi 
nated with each other. In fact, no one can be convinced 
that there is more than one science, and that which 
announces itself as science by the side of, or in opposition 
to, this can never be acknowledged as such in the absolute 
sense. As soon as the thinker of palingenesis has come to 
that point in the road where the thinker of naturalism parts 
company with him, the hitter s science is no longer anything 
to the former but "science falsely so called. Similarly 
the naturalistic thinker is bound to contest the name of 
science for that which the student of the "wisdom of God" 
derives from his premises. That which lies outside of the 
realm of these different premises is common to both, but 
that which is governed, directly or indirectly, by these 
premises comes to stand entirely differently to the one from 
what it does to the other. Always in this sense, of course, 
that only one is right and in touch with actual reality, but 
is unable to convince the other of wrong. It will once be 
decided, but not until the final consummation of all things. 
For though it must be granted, that in what is called the 
moral and social u Banquerott der Wissenschaft," even now 
a test is often put in part to the twofold problem ; and though 
ii is equally clear that every investigator will come to know 
this decision at his death : yet this does not change the fact 
that, of necessity, the two kinds of science continue to spin 
their two threads, as long as the antithesis is maintained 
between naturalism and palingenesis; and it is this very 


antithesis which the parousia will bring to an end, or this 
end will never come. 

Hence formal recognition only is possible from either side. 
The grateful acceptance of those results of investigation 
which lie outside of the point in question, is no recog 
nition, but is merely a reaping of harvests from common 
fields. So far, on the other hand, as the antithesis between 
our human personality, as it manifests itself in sinful nat 
ure and is changed by palingenesis, governs the investi 
gation and demonstration, we stand exclusively opposed to 
one another, and one must call falsehood what the other 
calls truth. Formally, one can concede, as we do without 
reservation, that from the view-point of the opponent, 
the scientific impulse could not lead to any other prosecu 
tion of science, even with the most honest intention; so 
that, though his results must be rejected, his formal labor 
and the honesty of his intention must claim our apprecia 
tion. That this appreciation is mostly withheld from us, is 
chiefly explained from the fact that, from the view-point of 
palingenesis, one can readily imagine himself at the view 
point of unregenerated nature, while he who considers fallen 
nature normal, cannot even conceive the possibility of a palin 
genesis. For which reason, every scientific effort that goes out 
from the principle of palingenesis is either explained as fanat 
icism or is attributed to motives of ambition and selfishness. 

Hence the urgent necessity to combat the false represen 
tation that that science which lives from the principle of 
palingenesis lacks all organic process, and consists merely 
in the schematic application of dogmas to the several prob 
lems that present themselves. This representation is antago 
nistic to the very conception of science, and is contradicted 
by experience. Very marked differences of insight pre 
vail among the scholars of the science which operates from 
the principle of palingenesis, as well as among the others, 
and many institutions and schools form themselves. There 
is, therefore, no organic, multiform process of science among 
naturalists and a schematic, barren monotony with the men 
of palingenesis; but the calling of science to strive after an 


objective unity of result born from multiformity, in the face 
of all the disturbance of subjectivity, is common to both. 

To both the general subject of science is, and always will 
be, the human mind at large and not the ego of the individual 
investigator. The rule is also common to both, that the 
human mind does not operate except through the subject of 
individual investigators, and that these, according to their 
differences of disposition, of age, and habits of life, can sever 
ally bring in but a very small and limited, a very subjec 
tively tinted and one-sidedly represented, contribution to 
the final harvest of science. This many-sided variety gives 
rise to divers antitheses and contradictory representations, 
which for a time establish themselves in the institutions and 
schools, which are in process of time superseded by other 
antitheses, and from which again new institutions and 
schools are born. Thus there is continual friction and con 
stant fermentation, and under it all goes on the process of 
an entirely free development, which is in no wise bound 
except by its point of departure, whether in unregenerate 
or in regenerate human nature. Let no one think, there 
fore, that Christian science, if we may so call the science 
which takes palingenesis as its point of departure, will all 
at once lead its investigators to entirely like and harmonious 
results. This is impossible, because with the regenerate 
also, the differences of subjective disposition, of manner of 
life, and of the age in which one lives, remain the same; 
and because Christian science would be no science, if it did 
not go through a process by which it advanced from less to 
more, and if it were not free in its investigation, with the 
exception of being bound by its point of departure. That 
which the prosecutor of Christian science takes as his point 
of departure is to him as little a result of science as to the 
naturalist; but he, as well as the naturalist, must obtain 
his results of science by investigation and demonstration. 

Only let it be remembered, that not every subjective repre 
sentation which announces itself as scientific is a link in the 


process of the development of science. The subjective ele 
ment certainly bears on one side a necessary character, but 
also one which, all too often, is merely accidental or even 
sinful. In the spirit of humanity is a multiformity from 
which, for the sake of the full harmony, no single element 
can be spared; but there is also a false subjectivism which, 
instead of causing single tones to vibrate for the sake of 
the full accord, disturbs the accord by discord. To over 
come this false subjectivism, and to silence these discords, 
is by no means the least important part of the task of science. 
However much this false subjectivism may exert itself in 
the domain of Christian science, as well as in that of natural 
istic science, yet we may assert that with Christian science 
this parasite does not reach an equal development of strength. 
Palingenesis takes away from the human spirit much on 
which otherwise this parasite feeds, and the enlightening, 
which develops itself from regeneration, applies a saving 
bridle to this false subjectivism. But this parasite will 
never be wanting from the domain of Christian science, 
simply because palingenesis does not absolutely remove the 
after-workings of unregenerated nature. Hence it is also 
the calling of Christian science to resist this false subjectiv 
ism, but only by scientific combat. 

As far, on the other hand, as this subjective element is of 
necessity connected with the multiformity of all human life, 
the differences born from this will reveal themselves in Chris 
tian science more strongly rather than more weakly, because 
palingenesis allows these subjective differences to fully assert 
themselves, and does not, like naturalism, kill them. From 
the earliest ages of the Christian religion, therefore, these an 
titheses in the domain of Christian science, and the tendencies 
born from them, have ever assumed a much firmer and more 
concrete form, especially where they ran parallel with the 
ecclesiastical distinctions. But in the realm of Christian 
science it will never do for these several tendencies to point 
to the ecclesiastical basis of operation, as the source from 
which they obtained their greater permanency- Every ten 
dency is bound scientifically to defend its assertions in the 


face of those of other tendencies. One may even say that 
this scientific labor maintains the spiritual communion be 
tween those who are ecclesiastically separated and estranged 
from each other. And if this is objected to by the state 
ment that the prosecutors of this science often assume the 
position over against one another, that they only possess 
truth in its absolute form, the threefold remark is in place: 
First, that in their realm the students of naturalistic science 
often do the same thing; that with them also one school 
often stands over against the other with the pretence of 
publishing absolute truth. Secondly, that we must dis 
tinguish between what the student of Christian science- 
professes as a church-member, and what he offers as the 
result of his scientific investigation. Hut, in the third 
place also, that idealism in science demands that every man 
of conviction shall firmly believe that, provided their devel 
opment be normal, every other investigator must reach the 
same result as he. He who shrinks from this cannot affirm 
that he holds the result of his own investigation as true : 
he becomes a sceptic. He who in his own conception has 
not stepped out from his subjectivity in order to grasp the 
eternally true, has no conviction. And though it he entirely 
true that history plainly teaches, that the ripest and noblest 
conviction has never escaped the one-sidedness of one s own 
subjectivity, the inextinguishable impulse of our human 
nature never denies itself, but sees truth in that which it 
has grasped for itself as truth. 

Ilenc 1 the result we reach is, that the effort which reveals 
itself in our nature to obtain a scientific knowledge of the 
cosmos by investigation and demonstration, is ever bound 
to the premises in our nature from which this effort starts 
out. That for this reason this effort leads to a common 
practice of science, as far as these premises remain equal, 
but must divide itself as soon as the fork is reached where 
the change effected in these premises by palingenesis begins 
to influence the investigation. That for this part of the 
investigation, therefore, two kinds of scientific study run 
parallel, one which is. and one which is not, governed by 


the fact of palingenesis. That they who study science under 
the influence of palingenesis, as well as they who leave it 
out of account, can only hold for true what rests on their 
own premises, and thus can appreciate each other s study 
only in a formal manner. That with Christian, as well as 
with naturalistic science, that only stands scientifically sure 
which, going out from its own premises, each has obtained 
as the result of scientific research. That consequently, in 
both studies of science, all sorts of antitheses, tendencies, 
and schools will reveal themselves, and that by this process 
alone science on both sides advances. And finally, that 
because the influence of the subjective element, occasioned 
by a difference of disposition, manner of life, spiritual 
tendency, and age, makes itself felt with both, every in 
vestigator deems his own result of science true in the 
broadest sense ; thereby going out from the conviction that, 
provided he carries on his investigation well, every normal 
investigator will attain a like result with himself. 

51. Both Sciences Universal 

The proposition, that in virtue of the fact of palingenesis 
a science develops itself by the side of the naturalistic, 
which, though formally allied to it, is differently disposed, 
and therefore different in its conclusions, and stands over 
against it as Christian science, must not be understood in a 
specifically theological, but in an absolutely universal sense. 
The difference between the two is not merely apparent in 
theological science, but in all the sciences, in so far as 
the fact of palingenesis governs the whole subject in all in 
vestigations, and hence also, the result of all these investi 
gations as far as their data are not absolutely material. To 
support this proposition, however, two things must still be 
shown : first, that in both cases science is taken in the sense 
of universal-human validity ; and, secondly, that palingenesis 
is not merely a subjective psychical, but a universal phenom 
enon, which involves both the investigating subject and the 
cosmos. Inasmuch, however, as we are writing a theological 
encyclopedia, we do not proceed here to the exposition of this, 


but reserve it for treatment under the development of the con 
ception of Theology. At this point, therefore, a simple sug 
gestion suffices. Concerning the first, the universally valid 
character is inseparable from all science ; not in the sense that 
every individual agrees with you, but that the subject of your 
science is, and ever will be, the universal human conscious 
ness. Well, then, the palingenesis, which does not operate 
within single persons atomistically, but organically upon our 
race, will produce this result: that the tree of humanity, our 
race, humanity as a whole, and thus also the universal human 
consciousness, shall be glorified and sanctified in the a body of 
Christ." He who remains outside of this till the end, falls 
away from humanity. Up to the time of this final solution, 
however, neither the naturalistic nor the Christian science 
have any universally compulsive character outside of their 
own sphere. We encounter one another in open conflict, and 
a universally compulsory science, that shall be compulsory 
upon all men, is inconceivable. And concerning the second 
point, let the provisional remark suffice, that there is not 
merely a palingenesis of the human soul, but also a palin 
genesis of the body and of the cosmos. This accounts for 
the central character of the Resurrection of Christ, and for 
the far-reaching significance of the restoration of the cosmos, 
which in Matthew xix. 28 is indicated by this very word of 



52. Organic Division of Scientific Study 

Before we can find a provisional answer, in the closing 
chapter of this division, to the question, whether Theology 
is or is not a necessary and an integral part of the organism 
of science, this organism itself must be somewhat closely ex 
amined. Only when the anatomy of this organism is known, 
can it be seen of what parts it consists, and whether among 
these parts a science in the spirit of what we call Theology 
occupies a place of its own. Of course, in the framing 
of this conclusion we must start out with a definition of 
Theology, which cannot be explained until the following 
division ; but for the sake of clearness in the process of the 
argument, this hypothetical demonstration is here indispen 

As far as the organism of science itself is concerned, we have 
purposely chosen as the title of this section the expression : The 
organic division of scientific study. If the organic division 
of science itself is viewed, apart from its relation to practice, 
nothing is obtained but an abstraction, which lies entirely 
outside of history and reality ; and the question whether 
Theology is a science in this scientific organism can never 
be answered. For Theology is an historic-concrete com 
plex, which, if brought over into the retort of abstractions, 
would at once slip through our fingers and volatilize. 

As regards the organic character of science, three data 
must be taken into account : (1) the organic relation among 
the several parts of the object of science ; (2) the organic 
relation among the different capacities of the subject and the 
data which lead to the knowledge of the object ; and (3) the 
organic relation which in consequence of (1) and (2) must 



appear in the result of the scientific task. The object exists 
organically ; the subject itself exists organically and stands 
organically related to the object; and consequently this 
organic character must be found again, as soon as the knowl 
edge of the object has been attained by the subject with 
sufficient completeness and accuracy. The unity of these 
three reveals itself historically in the scientific task, which 
did not begin by making these distinctions clear for itself, 
but had its rise in the instinctive faith in this mutual rela 
tionship. The stimulus to undertake this scientific study is 
not given by an Academy of Sciences, but by our innate 
inclination to investigate. As a child breaks his toys and 
cuts them into pieces, in order to find out what they are 
and how they are constructed ; or, as outside of his play- 
hour he overwhelms you with questions ; thus is man 
prompted by a natural impulse to investigate the cosmos. 
And, though with adults also this desire after knowledge 
may consist too largely of a playful inquiry, the needs 
of life add a nobler seriousness to this playful investiga 
tion and by it rule and continuity are imparted to the sci 
entific task. If the practical need of physicians, lawyers, 
ministers of the Word, Academic professors, etc., did not 
continually press its claims, the very existence of universities 
would at once be jeopardized. If these were abolished, and 
with them the avenues to success were closed against those 
who desire to devote their lives to scientific pursuits, a small 
group only of competent persons would be able to allow 
itself the luxury of this pursuit. And if the number of sci 
entists should thus be reduced, the study of science would 
likewise suffer from the gradual disappearance of the whole 
apparatus which is now at its service in libraries, labora 
tories, observatories, etc-. The vitae non scolo.e is true also 
in the sense that only life gives the school its susceptibility 
to life. 

The ideal representation that science would still be able to 
flourish when practised merely for its own sake, rests upon 
self-deception. This is best observed in the case of those 
special sciences whose study is not immediately born from 


the practical need of life, and whose development in conse 
quence has been so greatly retarded. If there \vere no 
logic in this practical need of life, and if it were not con 
nected with the organic motive of science itself, this de 
pendence of the school upon life would be most fatal, and 
would obstruct the smooth progress of scientific investiga 
tion. This, however, is not so. The practical need of life 
is born from the relation in which the subject stands to the 
object, and from the necessary way in which the subject 
(humanity) develops itself organically from itself. It must 
be conceded that the claims which this practical need causes 
to be felt, are not always considered in the accurate order of 
succession, and that only after several fits and starts do they 
assume a more normal character ; but the result also shows 
that science has made all these fluctuations with them, and 
only when the practical need of life has begun to express itself 
in clearer language, and, consequently, with clearer self-con 
sciousness, has it assumed a more normal character. This 
would certainly have proved a difficulty, if the slow ripen 
ing of this clear insight into the claims of practical need 
were bound to any other law than that which governs the 
development of science itself ; but it has created 110 disturb 
ance, since both the development of these practical needs and 
the development of science have been governed by the self 
same power, i.e. by the actual mode of existence and or 
ganic relation of object and subject. Every encyclopedical 
division of the sciences, which aims to be something more 
than a specimen of mental gymnastics, will therefore in the 
main always proceed from the practical division given histori 
cally in the academical faculties. Not as though this division 
were simply to be copied ; for this division, which has already 
been modified so often, is always susceptible of further modi 
fication ; but these future modifications also will not abstractly 
regulate themselves according to the demands of your scheme, 
but will be permanently governed by the demands of prac 
tical need ; and only when your schematic insight has modi 
fied the form in which the practical need of life asserts itself, 
will this insight, through the medium of practical life, be 


able to influence effectually the process of discriminating the 

But while criticism of the division of scientific study, as it 
is controlled by that of the faculties, is in every way lawful 
and obligatory, Encyclopedic science is nevertheless bound 
to set out from this historic division. It is not to dissect an 
imaginary organism of science, but it must take as its start 
ing-point the body of science as it actually and historically 
presents itself; it must trace the thought which has deter 
mined the course of this study; and, reinforced with this lead 
ing thought, it must critically examine that which actually is. 
Encyclopedia is no speculative, but a positive, science ; it 
finds the object of its investigation in the actually given 
development of science. As long as this object had not 
sufficiently developed, the very thought of Encyclopedic 
science could not suggest itself. Its study only begins when 
the study of the sciences has acquired some form of perma 
nency. Since historically Theology has called into life a 
faculty of its own and has presented itself in this faculty as 
a complex of studies ; and since it is our exclusive aim to 
answer the question whether Theology takes a place of its 
own in the organism of the sciences ; it would be futile to 
sketch the organism of science in the abstract. For in the 
case both of ourselves and of our opponents this sketch would 
of necessity be controlled by the sympathy or antipathy 
which each fosters for Theology. Hence that we may have 
ground beneath our feet, AVC should not lose ourselves in 
speculative abstractions, but must start out from the historic 
course which, under the influence of the practical needs of 
life, has been pursued by the study of the sciences. 

Practically, now, we see that the theological faculty was 
the first to attain a more fixed form. Alongside of it, and fol 
lowing immediately in its wake, is the juridical faculty. Next 
to these two is the slow growth of the medical, a.s a third 
independent faculty. The so-called philosophical faculty 
finds its precursors 121 the Artista,- 1 : but it is a slow process 
by which these surmount the purely propaedeutic character 

1 Artista; ^Yas the name of tin- teachers of classic lansniaaes. 


which their study bore at first. The facultas litteraria, 
either in or out of connection with the faculty of natural 
philosophy, only gradually takes its place by the side of the 
above-named three. Clergymen, lawyers and physicians 
were everywhere needed, while a man of letters and a natu 
ral philosopher could find a place only in a few schools. 
To every one hundred young men, who studied in the first 
three faculties, there were scarcely five who found their 
career in the study of literature or natural philosophy. 
And for this reason the first three faculties were for a long 
time the principal faculties, and the study of the Artistse 
and Physicists were mere auxiliaries to them. Propaedeutics 
was the all-important interest, and not the independent 
study of Letters or of Natural Philosophy. From this 
it must also be explained, that at so many universities 
the study of Letters and of Natural Philosophy has always 
been combined in the same faculty. In Holland the un- 
tenability of this union has long since been recognized, and 
the Literary and Natural Philosophy faculties have each 
been allowed a separate existence; and the fact that else 
where they still remain together is simply the result of the 
common propaedeutic character which was deemed to con 
stitute their reason for being. The practical needs of life to 
broaden the knowledge of nature have for more than a century 
caused the independent character of the natural sciences con 
vincingly to appear, and this very detachment of the study 
of natural philosophy has quickened the literary studies to 
a sense of their own independence. The difference of method 
especially, between the tAvo kinds of sciences, was too pro 
nounced to allow the auxiliary character of literary studies to 
be maintained. This last process of the emancipation of the 
literary faculty, however, is still so imperfect, that no com 
mon opinion has yet been obtained on the unity of matter, 
or, if you please, on the real object of this group of sciences. 
The philological, historical and philosophical studies still 
seek their organic unity. But in any case it seems an 
accepted fact, that the cyclus of studies will run its round 
in the circle of these five faculties. Although there seems 


to be a disposition abroad to let the Theological faculty be 
come extinct, or to supersede it by a faculty of Philosophy, 
no serious desire is perceived to enlarge the number of 
faculties beyond the five, and it is scarcely conceivable that 
the practical needs of life will ever warrant the increase 
of this number. Neither the smaller or larger number of 
departments, nor the lesser or greater number of professors, 
but only the combination of studies demanded by a practical 
education, decides in the end the number and the division 
of the faculties. 

Meanwhile it is by no means asserted that the prosecution 
of science, and in connection with it the university life, 
should aim exclusively at a practical education. On the con 
trary, the pursuit of science for its own sake is the ideal 
which must never be abandoned. We merely emphasize that 
the way to this ideal does not lead through sky and clouds, 
but through practical life. A science which loses itself in 
speculation and in abstraction never reaches its ideal, but 
ends in disaster ; and the high ideal of science will be the 
more nearly realized in proportion as the thirst after and the 
need of this ideal shall express themselves more strongly in 
human life, so that the practical need of it shall be stimulated 
by life. As the transition from unconscious into conscious life 
advances, the impulse born of society increases of itself to 
account for every element and every relation, and, thanks 
to this impulse, the prosecution of science for its own sake 
carries the day. 

In connection with this it is noteworthy that the three 
originally principal faculties were born of the necessity of 
warding off evil. This is seen in the strongest light in the 
case of the medical faculty, which still exhibits this negative 
character in name, and partly even in practice. It is not 
called the somatic faculty, to express the fact that the human 
body is the object of its study ; nor the hygienic faculty, to 
express the fact that health is the object of its choice; but 
the medical, by which name the diseased body alone is desig 
nated as its real object. This accords with the attention 
which man bestows in real life upon his body. As long as 


one is well and feels no indisposition, he does not inquire 
into the location and the action of the organs in his body ; 
and only when one feels pain and becomes ill does the pains 
taking care for the body begin. Alike observation applies 
to the juridical faculty. If there were no evil in the world 
there would be no public authority, and it is only for the 
sake of evil that the authority is instituted, that the judge 
pronounces judgment, and that the making of laws is de 
manded. Not for the sake of the study of law as such, 
but for the sake of rendering a well-ordered human in 
tercourse possible in the midst of a sinful society, did 
jurisprudence undertake its work ; and the juridical faculty 
came into being for the education of men who, as states 
men and judges, are leaders of public life. This also applies 
to the theological faculty, though not in so absolute a sense. 
Because it was found that salvation for the sinner, and a 
spiritual safeguard against the fatal effects of wickedness, 
were indispensable, both law and gospel were demanded. 
The purpose was medical, but in the Theological faculty it 
was psychic, as it was somatic in the so-called Medical fac 
ulty. For though it must be acknowledged that originally 
the aim of the Theological faculty was not exclusively soteri- 
ological, but that on the contrary it also tried to foster theti- 
cally the knowledge of God, yet the call for an educated 
clergy, and the concomitant prosperity of this faculty, are 
due in the first place to the fact that men were needed 
everywhere who would be able to act as physicians against 
sin and its results. Hence it is actually the struggle against 
evil in the body, in society, and in the soul which has cre 
ated the impulse for these three groups of sciences, the need 
of men to combat this evil, and consequently the necessity 
for the rise of these three faculties. All three bear origi 
nally a militant character. This cannot be said of the Artistic, 
nor of the faculties of Literature and Natural Philosophy 
which at a later period were formed from their circle. 
In the case of these studies positive knowledge was much more 
the immediate object in view, even though it must be granted 
that this knowledge was pursued only rarely for its own sake, 


and much more for the sake of utility. One studied natural 
philosophy and letters in order to become a jurist, physician, 
or theologian, or to obtain power over nature. But with this 
reservation it is evident that from the beginning these pro 
visionally dependent faculties stood nearer to the scientific 
ideal, and formally occupied a higher point of view. 

If it is asked what distinctions control this actual division 
of scientific labor, it is easily seen that the attention of the 
thoughtful mind had directed itself in turn to man and to 
nature that surrounds him ; that, as far as his own being is 
concerned, man has occupied himself severally with his so 
matic, psychic, and social existence ; and that even more 
than these four groups of sciences, he aimed distinctively at 
the knowledge of G-od. The accuracy of this division, which 
sprang from practical need, is apparent. The principium of 
division is the subject of science, i.e. Man, This leads to 
the coordination of man himself with nature, which he rules, 
and with his Grod, by whom he feels himself ruled. And this 
trilogy is crossed by another threefold division, which concerns 
" man " as such, even the distinction between one man and 
man//, and alongside of this the antithesis between his somatic 
and psychic existence. Thus the subject was induced in the 
Theological faculty, to investigate the knowledge of God, and 
in the faculty of natural philosophy to pursue the knowledge 
of nature ; to investigate the somatic existence of man in the 
Medical, his psychic existence in the Philological faculty, 
and finally in the Juridical faculty to embrace all those 
studies which bear upon human relationships. The boun 
dary between these provinces of science is nowhere absolutely 
certain, and between each two faculties there is always some 
more or less disputed ground ; but this cannot be otherwise, 
since the parts of the object of science are organically re 
lated, and the reflection of this object in the consciousness 
of the subject exhibits an equally organic character. 

If science had begun with devising a scheme for the divi 
sion of labor, these disputed frontier-fields of the faculties 
would have been carefully distributed. Since science, how 
ever, and the division of faculties both, are products of the 


organic process of life, it could not be otherwise than that 
uncertainty at the boundaries, which is the mark of all or 
ganic division, here also shows itself. Should the Medical 
faculty teach psychology for the sake of psychiatry and of the 
psychical influences upon the body ? Does the philosophy of 
nature and of law belong to the Philological, or to the Psy 
chical and Juridical faculty ? Is the place for Church-law in the 
Theological faculty or in the Juridical faculty, which itself 
originated from it as the " Decretorum facultas," and which 
for many years it claimed in the title of iuris utriusque doctor? 
These questions, together with many others, have all been 
solved in a practical way such as is of course open to critical 
examination by self-conscious science in its Encyclopedia, but 
such as a closer investigation claims an ever-increasing re 
spect for the accuracy that marks the decision of practice. 
The Encyclopedia of the sciences is safest, therefore, when it 
does not abandon this historic track marked out by prac 
tice. A speculative scheme, in which the organic-genetic 
relations of the sciences are fitted to another last, would 
have almost no other value than to evoke our admiration 
for the ingeniousness of the writer. Thus various titles of 
departments would be obtained, for which there are no 
departments of study. In our review of the history of 
Theologic Encyclopedia. 1 it has been seen that, in the study 
of Theology also, such speculations have not been spared, 
and numerous departments for new and imaginary branches 
of study have been formed ; but, meanwhile, practice has 
continued the even tenor of its way, and real study has 
been best served by this practical division. This would 
not be so, if the object and the subject of science, and also 
the development of life and of the consciousness of life, 
stood in no necessary relation to each other ; but since this 
all-sided relation cannot be denied, and the process of sci 
ence and the process of life almost always keep equal step, 
history offers us an important objective guarantee of accu 
racy. There is a power that directs the course of our life- 

1 In the translation this review of the history of Theologic Encyclopedia, 
occupying in the original 432 pages, has been omitted. 


process, and there is a power that directs the course of the 
process of science. This dominion does not rest in the hand 
of a single individual, but, for life and science both, is in 
the hand of a Spirit who stands above all individuals; and 
since in both realms (in that of life as well as in that of 
science) this power is exercised by one and the selfsame 
Spirit, the correct idea of the organism of science comes 
of itself to light in history, though it be only gradually and 
not without fits and starts. 

53. The Five Faculties 

In the preceding section the Theological faculty was num 
bered with the other four, in order to state the fact that it 
was born from the practical needs of life, and that it has stood 
behind none of the others in the manner of formation. Its 
right of primogeniture among these five can scarcely be 
disputed. But however important a weight this fact may 
add to the scale, it does by no means yet define the posi 
tion which Theology is entitled to hold in the organism of 
science. The fact may not be overlooked, that at more than 
one university the faculty of Theology has practically been 
abolished ; that at a number of universities it continues 
merely as the child of tradition ; and that in this traditional 
prolongation of its life it has undergone, more than any other 
faculty, so violent a metamorphosis that at length the iden 
tity of the object of its study has been entirely lost. Not 
merely the need, therefore, of judicious criticism, but practice 
itself places a very grave interrogation mark after this heri 
tage of history, and compels, with respect to Theology, a 
closer investigation into its certificate of birth and its right 
of domicile. To do this, however, it is necessary that we 
first orient ourselves a little with reference to the other parts 
of the realm, in order to obtain a definite conception of the 
other four faculties. 

Since for our investigation the Philological is the most 
important, we will consider that first. This faculty has not 
yet attained its self-consciousness. It would have done this 
much sooner, if the faculty of Natural Philosophy had 


been separated from it in Germany as timely as in Holland. 
Now, however, this unnatural conjunction has in many 
ways confused insight into the character of Philological 
study. Even when the studies of Philology and Natural 
Philosophy are separated, every difficulty is by no means yet 
surmounted, for then the antithesis is at once encountered be 
tween the studies of Philosophy and Philology in the narrower 
sense. It has more than once been proposed to allow Phi 
losophy a faculty of its own and to give it the house in which 
Theology lies dying. The Philological faculty would then 
become exclusively the faculty of letters, and in an eminent 
sense engage itself with all those studies which the littera 
scripta gives rise to or renders possible. And from this point 
of view a third antithesis appears : viz. the antithesis be 
tween Historical studies and those of Philology proper. If 
indeed the criterium for the object of Philology lies in the 
littera scripta, then it both can and must investigate the his 
torical documents and the historical expositions, as literary 
products, but the real content of History lies outside of its 
horizon. In this wise the faculty is more and more reduced, 
and at length its only remaining object is that which is written, 
which condemns it as an independent faculty. However 
highly one may estimate its value, letters can never form 
a principal group in the organism of the object; and to 
a certain extent it is even contingent. The object existed 
long centuries before literary life manifested itself. Hence 
the name Literary faculty can in no case be taken as a start 
ing-point. We owe this name to Humanism, which in this 
instance also did not forsake its superficial character. " Philo 
logical " is therefore in every way a richer and a more deeply 
significant name, because the Logos does not refer to the 
letter, but to that which the letter serves as body. For a 
long time the restricted meaning of word or of language 
was attached to the logos in " Philology," and consequently 
Philology was interpreted as standing outside of Philosophy 
and History. This, however, only showed how dimly it was 
understood that every faculty must have a principal group 
in the object of science as the object of its investigation. If 


word, and language still more, is a wider conception than 
that of littera scripta, yet language and word can never 
acquire the signiiicance of being a principal group in the 
object of science. As a life-expression of man the life of 
language is coordinated with the expressions of the ethical, 
lusthetic and material life, and hence for each of these a 
separate faculty should have to be created. As long as only 
the expression of life is studied the object of science is not 
grasped. This is done only when life itself is reached, the ex 
pression of which is observed. This, in the case of the logos, 
is, in its general sense, the life of the human consciousness. It 
is this life which recapitulates itself in the logos, taken as 
thought; expresses itself in the logos, taken as word; and 
which for a very considerable part is at our disposal in the 
literary product. And thus we have laid our hand upon a 
principal group in the great object of science; for not only does 
man belong to this object, but is himself the most important 
factor in it, and it is in his wonderful consciousness that pres 
ently the whole cosmos reflects itself. If now in this sense 
the object of this faculty is understood to be the conscious 
life of man, the word conscious must of necessity be taken in 
its pregnant sense. Else all science could be brought under 
this faculty, even that of nature. But this danger is evaded 
if, on the other hand, full emphasis is placed upon the quality 
of conscious life, so that in this faculty our life is in question 
only from the side of our consciousness. By doing this we 
keep in the path first indicated by Boeck and extended so 
much farther by my esteemed colleague, Dr. J. Woltjer, in 
his Rectoral oration of 1891. 1 If Boeck placed thinking too 
much in the foreground, Dr. Woltjer rightly perceived that 
from thinking we must go back to the Logos as reason in 
man ; and it is therefore entirely in keeping with the relation 
established by him, that in Philology we interpret the word 
Logos as indicating that which is conscious in our life. 

And thus the view-point is gained, from which the prac 
tice is justified, which has ever united philosophical and 
historical studies with that of Letters. Even if language and 

1 The Science of the LOIJOS, by Dr. J. Woltjer, 1891. 


everything that is connected with language is the vehicle of 
human consciousness, the study of this vehicle does by no 
means end the study of that consciousness itself. That 
human consciousness also as such, according to its form and 
comprehensive content, must be made the object of investi 
gation, and this necessitates the formal and material study of 
philosophy. Above all it should be taken into consideration 
that it is not the consciousness of a single individual, but the 
consciousness of man as such, and hence of humanity in its re 
lation and continuous process, that is to be known ; and this 
gives rise to the task of History. Hence it is the one Logos, 
taken as the consciousness of humanity, which provides the 
motive for Linguistic and Historic and Philosophic studies ; so 
that no reasonable objection can be raised against the name of 
Philological faculty. " Logoi " was indeed the word used 
originally for an historical narrative, and this gave historians 
the name of Logographers. In this way the combination of 
Linguistic, Historic, and Philosophic studies does not lead to 
an aggregate, but to an organic unity, which in an excellent 
manner locates a principal group of the object of science in 
a realm of its own. It is man in antithesis with nature, and 
in man his logical, in antithesis with his bodily manifestation, 
which determine the boundaries of this realm. The unity 
that lies in this may not be abandoned. 

Meanwhile let it be observed, that the task of this faculty 
should not be extensively, but intensively interpreted. The 
object of its existence is not the study of every conceivable 
language, nor the investigation of all history, nor yet the 
systematizing of the whole content of the human conscious 
ness. The Faculty, as such, must direct its attention to 
the consciousness of humanity taken as an organic unity, 
and thus must concentrate its power upon that in which the 
process of this human consciousness exhibits itself. It does 
not cast its plummet into a stagnant pool, but away out in 
the stream of human life. Its attention is not riveted by 
what vegetates in isolation, but by that which lives and asso 
ciates with and operates within the life of humanity. For 
this reason the classical and richly developed languages from 

196 5.-;. Tin-: FIVK FACTLTIKS [Di\. n 

the old world and the new- are so vastly more important to 
this Faculty, as such, than the defective languages of the 
more supine and undeveloped nations. It does not look 
upon Literature as an aggregate of everything that has been 
handed down in writing, but as an organic conception, which 
only embraces that which is excellent in form and content. 
History also is only that in which the human consciousness 
has developed strength to bring the human life to the fuller 
unfolding of its idea. And as material Philosophy, it merely 
offers that which has advanced the current of human thought, 
and has enabled its different tendencies to express themselves 
correctly. The proposal to overwhelm this Faculty with the 
study of all conceivable languages and peoples and conceptions 
must therefore be declined. This deals the death-blow to 
this Faculty, makes it top-heavy, and causes it to lose all 
unity in its self-consciousness. In order to maintain itself as 
a faculty it must distinguish between main interests and side- 
issues, and maintain unity in multiformity, and keep its 
attention fixed upon that which in continuous process has 
ever more richly unfolded the consciousness of our human 
race, has enabled it to fuller action, and has brought it to 
clearer consciousness. We do not deny that other languages 
also, peoples and conceptions may be the object of scien 
tific research, but this sort of study must annex itself to 
the work of this faculty, and not consume its strength. 
This self-limitation is not only necessary in order that it 
may handle its own material, but also that it may not lose 
its hold on life, and thus may keep itself from conflict 
with practical demands. Duty, therefore, demands that 
in the study of the human consciousness it should not 
swing away to the periphery, but that it shall take its station 
at the centrum, and never lose from sight the fact that the 
object of its investigation is the conscious life of our human 
race taken as an organic unity. With this in view it inves 
tigates language as the wondrous instrument given as vehicle 
to our consciousness; the richest development which language 
has proved capable of in the ( fttsxinnl luHf/uni/ex of ancient and 
modern times ; and the full-grown and ripe fruit which Ian- 


guage has produced in classical Literature. Next to this study 
of language as vehicle and incorporation of our consciousness, 
follows the investigation into the activities of this conscious 
ness in the life of humanity, i.e. the broad study of History. 
And then, at length, formal and material Philosophy follow; 
the first to investigate conscious life in its nature, and the 
laws which govern it ; the second to answer the question, 
how the " World-Image (Weltbild) has gradually formed 
itself in this consciousness, and in what form it exhibits 
itself at present. This order of succession certainly gives 
rise to the objection, that formal philosophy should properly 
lead the van ; nevertheless, we deem it necessary to maintain 
it, because formal as well as material philosophy assumes a 
preceding development of language, and hence also a preced 
ing history. 

The Medical faculty being of less importance for our investi 
gation may therefore be more briefly considered. We for our 
part do not desire the name of Medical faculty to be changed 
into Somatological or Philosomatical faculty. We would not 
have the fact lost from sight that this science did not origi 
nate from the thirst after a knowledge of our body, but 
from the need of seeking healing for its diseases. For this 
implies the confession that our general human condition 
is neither sound nor normal, but is in conflict with a destruc 
tive force, against which help from a saving power must be 
sought and can be found. This, however, does not weaken 
the demand that the medical character of these studies should 
not too absolutely be maintained. Obstetrics in itself is 
no real medical study. Moreover, medical study has always 
assumed the knowledge of the healthy body. And Hygiene, 
which demands an ever broader place, is not merely medical - 
prophylactic, but in part stands in line with the doctrine 
of diet, dress, etc., as tending to the maintenance of the 
healthy body. On these grounds it seems undeniable, that 
the object of investigation for this faculty is the human 
body, or better still, man from his somatic side. Already 
for this reason the effort to take up the body of animals 


into this faculty should be protested against ; and warnings 
should be sounded against entertaining too sanguine expec 
tations from vivisection, and against the altogether too bold 
exploits which it adventures. In itself, veterinary surgery 
would never have become anything more than an empiric 
knowledge ; and the insight it derives from the Medical 
faculty is a mercy which from our human life descends to 
suffering animals. But Darwinism should never tempt us in 
this faculty to coordinate man and animal under the concep 
tion of "living things." If the human body had riot been sub 
ject to disease, there would never have been a medical science. 
Vegetation also has its diseases and invites medical treat 
ment ; but who will include the healing of plants in the 
Medical faculty? The human lody must remain the exclu 
sive object for the complex of medical studies. The pro- 
plastic forms also, or preformations which were created for 
this bodv in the vegetable and animal kingdom, must indeed 

/o o 

be investigated with a view to this body, but the studies 
which this investigation provokes serve exclusively as sub- 
st>Uary helps, and should not be permitted to destroy the 
boundary between the human body and these preformations. 
In the same way the boundary should be guarded which 
divides the somatic life of man from his psychical life. 
This psychical life is the heritage of the Philological and not 
of the Medical faculty. If this boundary be crossed, the 
Medical faculty must subordinate the psychical phenomena 
to the somatic life, and cannot rest until, under the pressure 
of its own object, it has interpreted this psychical life 
materialistically. But neither should it be forgotten that an 
uncertain and mingled region lies between the somatic and 
the psychic life. Both sides of human life stand in organic 
relation. The body affects the soul, and the soul the body. 
Hence, there is on one side a physico-psychical study which 
must trace the psychical phenomena on physical ground, and 
on the other side a psychico-physical study which determines 
the influence exercised by the soul upon the body. And 
this must serve as a rule, that Psychology derives its physi 
cal data from the Medical faculty ; while on the other hand 


tlie Medical derives its psychological data from the Philo 
logical faculty. That the Theological faculty also comes into 
consideration here is not denied ; but since it is the very 
purpose of this investigation to point out the place in the 
organism of science which belongs to the Theological faculty, 
we pass it by for the present. Only let the necessary obser 
vation be made, that it is contradictory to the peculiar 
character of the medical studies to leave the important 
decision concerning the imputability of guilt in the process 
of punishment to be accounted for by this faculty. Finally 
a last boundary must be drawn for the medical faculty on the 
side of the juridical faculty. For on that side also medical 
science steps constantly beyond the lines of its propriety. It 
demands, indeed, that public authority shall unconditionally 
adopt the results from medical and hygienic domains into civil 
ordinances, and shall execute what it prescribes. This abso 
lute demand should be declined, first, because these results 
lack an absolute, and sometimes even a constant character ; 
and in the second place, because it is not the task of 
medical, but of juridical science to investigate in how far 
the claims of the body should be conditioned by the higher 
claims of the psychic and social life. 

Within these boundaries these medical studies naturally 
divide themselves, according to their object, into studies 
which investigate the healthy body; which trace the phe 
nomena of disease; and which have for their purpose the 
cure of these abnormal phenomena. The study of the body 
as such, i.e. in its healthy state, divides itself equally 
naturally into the somatical and psychico-somatical, while the 
somatic studies divide again into anatomy and physiology. 
The sciences which have for their object the deviations from 
the normal, i.e. the sick body, are pathology and psycho- 
pathology. The studies, finally, which direct themselves to 
Therapeutics, divide into medical, surgical, and psychiatri 
cal, to which Medicine and applied Medica join themselves. 
Only the place of Obstetrics is not easily pointed out, be 
cause a normal delivery, without pain, would not be a path 
ological phenomenon, and to this extent Obstetrics would 


not find its motive in the medical, but in the somatical char 
acter of these studies. As such it should belong as a tech 
nical department to Physiology. From the view-point of 
Revelation, however, delivery with pain is an abnormal 
phenomenon, and to this extent we see no difficulty in coordi 
nating obstetrics after the old style with medical and surgical 
science. With the exception of these incidental questions it 
is readily seen, meanwhile, that as long as the Medical science 
confines itself to these independent studies, it still lacks its 
higher unity, and cannot be credited with having come to a 
clear self-consciousness. This would only be possible if it 
could grasp the deeper cause of the corruption from which 
all diseases originate ; if, on the other hand, it could expose 
the relation between this cause and the reagents ; and thus 
could crown its labor by the production of a Medical 

The Juridical faculty claims a somewhat larger share of 
our attention, since it stands in a closer relation to that of 
Theology. In the object of science we found its province 
in man, not in himself, but as taken in Ids relation to 
other men. This, however, must not be interpreted in the 
sense that man is merely a social being, and that therefore 
juridical study must lapse into sociology. The origin of 
this faculty is a protest against this. From the beginning 
it was a faculty for the study of Sancta Justitia, devoted to 
the education of those who were to administer the affairs of 
government and exercise the judicial function. Both these 
conceptions, of government and judicial power, were derived 
from the fundamental conception of the Supreme Authority. 
The folly of separating the powers of state had not yet been 
invented, and the intrinsic unity of all legislative, judicial, 
mid governing power stood still firm in the common mind. 
Authority was exercised over men upon earth ; this authority 
was not original with man, but was conferred of God upon 
the magistracy. Hence the way in which this authority was 
to be exercised by the magistracy was not left to the arbi 
trariness of despotism, but this authority fulfilled its end 


only when it operated in harmony with the order of human 
society ordained of God. The laws and regulations to 
which this authority bound its subjects and itself were 
obliged, therefore, to meet a fixed claim ; and this claim had 
been established by God himself in the ordinances of his 
Creation, and had received its fuller interpretation in his 
special Revelation. Hence, though whatever the magistracy 
ordained as law was actually valid, as such, within the 
circle of their authority, and though as such it bound the 
conscience formally, the obligation that this enforced law 
should legitimate itself as law before a higher tribunal, and 
in other ways be corrected, could not be ignored. From 
this obligation the study of law in the higher sense is born ; 
for profound and scientific study alone can obtain an insight 
into the nature of law in general, and into the special rela 
tions of law, as they should be in order to correspond to 
the relations which have been divinely ordained in creation 
and by history mutually between man and man or among 
groups of men. 

The view, which formed the point of departure in this, 
was accurate in every way, viz., that there would have been 
no need of a magistracy, nor of the regulation of law, nor of 
a consequent study of law, if there had been no moral evil 
among men. In a sinless state, the correspondence of the 
social life to the demands of the holiest law would be spon 
taneous. Hence, when this faculty originated, it was still 
the common confession that sin alone was the cause that one 
man was clothed with compulsory authority over the other. 
In a sinless society every occasion for the appearance of such 
a compulsory authority would fall awaj*, because every one 
would feel himself immediately and in all things bound by 
the authority of God. And so it has come to pass that the 
Juridical faculty, as well as the Medical and the Theological, 
has disclosed the tendency to oppose an existing evil. If 
the Theological faculty tended to militate against evil in the 
heart of man, and the Medical to overcome evil in the human 
body, in like manner the Juridical faculty has tended to 
resist evil in the realm of Justice. In connection with this, 


the Juridical faculty bore a consecrated character. It did 
not study human relations in its o\vii self-sufficiency, but 
realized its calling to lead the authority imposed of God 
upon men into the path of Right ordained by Him. Mean 
while this almost sacred origin of the Juridical faculty does 
not prevent science from introducing the logical purpose 
of all science more prominently into the foreground of the 
Juridical domain, and from giving an account of the place 
which these studies also occupy in the organic unit of 
science. Viewed in this way, a proper, well-defined place 
in the object of general science should also be allotted to 
this study ; and in this sense there is no objection against 
seeking this proper domain of the juridical science, this 
provincia juris, in the social relations of man. The great 
development of the sociological and economical auxiliary 
departments shows, that the study of law actually moves in 
this direction, while no one seriously thinks of separating all 
sociological and economical studies from this faculty and 
of classing them with the Philological faculty, or, as far 
as the material object of economical studies is concerned, 
with the natural philosophical. 

It would be a serious matter, however, if for this reason 
the original juridical character of this faculty should be 
abandoned, and if gradually and by preference it should be 
allowed to merge into a sociological faculty. If there is 
apportioned to this faculty the study of all that originates 
the social life of man, makes it real, and belongs to its 
nature in its broad extent, then ethics would gradually 
claim a lodging with it, the life of science and art would 
come under its care, pedagogy would have to recognize its 
authority, and the technique also of agriculture, commerce, 
and of trade would partly come under its rule. It is 
necessary, therefore, to limit the object of tins faculty by a 
more accurate definition, and that closer definition can be no 
other than that this faculty is concerned with human society 
only in so far as this calls out the Jurat Relationships. Thus 
authority will ever be the characteristic of this faculty, 
since authority alone is able to verify these Jural Relation- 


ships as Law, to maintain them where they are normal, to 
modify them where they are abnormal, and, where they are 
still undeveloped, gradually to cause them to emerge. This 
is as valid for the Jural Relationships between the magis 
tracy and their subjects as for the Jural Relationships of 
these subjects mutually, and of the nations at large. The 
sociological and economical studies in this faculty are not 
charged with tracing abstractly the organic relation among 
people at every point, nor yet with viewing from every side 
the relation between our human social life and property ; 
but it is their exclusive task to obtain such an insight into 
this twofold and very important relation as shall interpret 
the Jural Relationships it implies, and shall discover to the 
magistracy what in this domain it must and must not do. 

In fact, the study of the Juridical faculty will always 
be governed by the principles professed with reference to 
authority. If authority is considered to have its rise from 
the State, and the State is looked on as the highest natural 
form of life in the organism of humanity, the tendency 
cannot fail to spring up to deepen the significance of the 
State continuously, and even to extend the lines of authori 
tative interference, which Plato pushed so far that even 
pedagogy and morals were almost entirely included in the 
sphere of the State. Indeed, more than one sociologist in 
the Juridical faculty is bent upon having his light shine 
more and more across the entire psychical life of man, in 
the religious, ethical, cesthetical, and hygienic sense. If 
sooner or later the chairs of this faculty are arranged and 
filled by a social-democratic government, this tendency 
will undoubtedly be developed. If, on the other hand, it 
is conceded that authority over man can rest nowhere 
originally but in God, and is only imposed by Him upon 
men with regard to a particular sphere, this impulse to 
continuous extension is curbed at once, and everything that 
does not belong to this particular sphere falls outside of the 
Juridical faculty. In the moral life, which is not included 
here, God himself is the immediate judge, who pronounces 
sentence in the conscience and various temporal judgments 


ill the world, and who will utter final judgment in the last 
day : while public authority must appoint law only upon 
the earth, and must pronounce sentence as judge upon 
that alone which can be legally established and maintained 
in the external relations of life by compulsion. Hence ethics, 
as touching the relation of man in foro interno, will remain 
in the Theological and Philological faculty ; pedagogy, as 
bearing upon the psychic life, belongs in the Philological 
faculty ; hygiene remains with the Medical ; the material 
side of property finds its study in the faculty of Natural 
Philosophy ; while all that touches the real technics is 
treated by the Artes and not by the Scientice. Thus the 
Juridical faculty stands in organic relation to all the others ; 
it cannot forego the assistance of any ; it must borrow data 
(Lehnsiitze) from all ; but it does not lose itself in these 
studies, while the object of its own science is the social 
life of man, not as abandoned to whim or accident, but as 
governed by an authority, and thus bound to a law, which 
is indeed framed by man, but which finds its deepest ground 
and hence its binding rule in Him who created this human 
social life, and Avho, in the interests of its outward relations, 
on account of sin, conferred authority upon man over man. 

The science of Law, therefore, is not only to shed light 
upon the relation of the magistrate and the subject (public 
law and penal law), upon the relation of citizen to citizen 
(civil law, commercial law, etc.), and upon the relation of 
nation to nation (international law); but, before all this, it 
must develop the idea of Justice itself, so that it can be well 
understood at what view-point it takes its stand, and accord 
ing to what rule the development of law must be guided. 
To accomplish this, it cannot rest content with the investi 
gation of existing Jural institutions, their comparison with 
others, and a study of their historical origin. All this can 
never effect more than the knowledge of formal law; while 
Justice exhibits itself in its majesty only when it obtains its 
adamantine point of support in our psychical existence, and 
of necessity flows from what, to our deepest sense of life, is 
highest and holiest. The question whether one worships 


this highest and holiest in the living God, or whether it is 
sought in the pantheistic idea, or in the pressure of natural 
life, determines, really, the entire course of our further studies. 
But in any case the science of law must fix its point of de 
parture, formulate its idea of justice, and make clear the vital 
principle of law. To do this it must borrow its data from 
Theology, Psychology, and Philosophy in the general sense, 
but by a proper Philosophy of law it must work out these bor 
rowed data independently with a view to Justice, and unite 
them organically into one whole, in which the self-conscious 
ness of Law expresses itself. The Encyclopedia of the science 
of law does not preclude the necessity of a separate study of 
the philosophy of law. For the object of Encyclopedia is not 
law itself, but the science of law, and though it is self-evident 
that there can be no exposition of the science of Law as an 
organic whole without due consideration of the questions 
what law is, what law is born from, and how we can learn 
to understand law, yet the answer of these does not rest 
with the Encyclopedia, but is accepted in the Encyclopedia 
as already determined ; and this is only possible when in the 
organism of the Science of law the Encyclopedia also finds 
the Philosophy of law, with its results. 

By this we do not detract in the least from the signifi 
cance of the historical study of law. That historical study 
includes by no means merely the explanation of existing Ju- 
ral institutions in their origin, but at the same time points out 
the forms which the character of our human nature, in con 
nection with national and climatic differences, have given to 
law, and according to what process these forms have devel 
oped themselves one from the other. It also appears from 
these historical studies, that the development of law has been 
more normal in one direction, and that in definite circles the 
development of law has exhibited a classical superiority. 
What we contend is, that no criticism or even a mere judg 
ment is possible, unless a critic is present subjectively in the 
investigator, and the authority which gives law its sanction 
determined in advance. Even where this criticism is rejected 
from principle, and in a pantheistic sense the distinction be- 


tween right and wrong is actually abolished, in order to recog 
nize law only in that which is in force as such as long as it 
maintains itself, there is a premise already in this, and back 
of this premise an entire system, that dominates our entire 
science of law. Even where one eliminates the Philosophy 
of law, the start is made insensibly, i.e. without a clear 
self-consciousness, from a point which the Philosophy of law 
alone can scientifically justify ; and for this reason the omis 
sion of this study is at heart an insincerity. 

Concerning the grouping of the several departments of 
study in this faculty, no one will longer defend the method 
of Kirchner of placing the fountain-studies, such as herme- 
neutics, criticism, and diplomatics in the foreground as the 
exegetical group. These are simply not juridical departments, 
but philological, and are here specially applied to documents 
of juridical contents. In this faculty also the grouping 
should derive its principle of division (principium division is*) 
from its object, and hence this principium can only lie in 
the several elements, among which the Jural relationships 
are observed, i.e. government and subject, people and peo 
ple, citizen and citizen. The fourth relation, God and 
Sovereignty, w r e purposely omit, because law also runs its 
course where this relation is not recognized or is even 
denied, and where the prerogative of Sovereignty is ex 
plained in other ways. From this, however, it follows that 
the three lines of relations which we have named form only 
the particular part in the juridical science, and that these 
three -tudies, which together form the particular part, must 
be preceded by a general part on .Law as such. This general 
part should embrace the two departments : (1) The philoso 
phy of Law ; and (2) the history of Law ; to which, for rea 
sons fully developed above, Encyclopedia can be added 
(although, even as with the other faculties really a philo 
sophical study), in an irregular way. Of course it is not 
denied that the three portions of the particular part have 
each a history of their own, but we are so fully convinced 
of the common fundamental trait which dominated these 
parts in every period and with every people, that Roman 


law, Germanic law, etc., are generally spoken of in an uni 
versal sense. Upon tins general part follows the particular 
part, which falls into three : Public law, International law, 
Civil law, each with their auxiliary sciences. Public law 
divides itself again into public law in the narrower sense 
and Penal law, and to penal law the theory of procedure is 
added as a subdivision. Those which, on the other hand, are 
taken separately as political sciences, i.e. statistics, econom 
ics, politics, diplomatics, sociology, etc., are only auxiliary 
sciences which keep public law especially, but civil law also 
in part, from feeling their way at random, and help them to 
walk in the broad light of the knowledge of facts, condi 
tions, and relations. The difference is that in olden times 
the unconscious life was stronger, and hence also the sense 
of law, since custom of itself determined all sorts of rela 
tions which now in our more conscious life are only obtained 
as the result of investigation. Of course material goods are 
here considered only in so far as they are subsumed under 
man, and thereby are brought under the conception of law, 
or at least can exercise an influence upon the decision of the 
relations of law. The relation between gold and silver, for 
instance, would of itself be entirely indifferent to the jurist, 
but it becomes of importance to him as soon as the question 
arises, in what way the government in its monetary sys 
tem is to decide the relation between them. We cannot 
enter into further detail. To analyze more closely the sev 
eral characteristics of civil law, commercial law, maritime 
law, etc., lies not in our province, and the fact that legal pro 
cedure, political science, etc., bear less a scientific than a tech 
nical character is self-evident. Our only purpose has been to 
explain that side of the science of law on which it lies organ 
ically linked in the organism of general science, and to indi 
cate the partly sacred character which the Juridical science 
must maintain, for Justitia must remain sancta or cease to be 
Justitia, and for this reason it stands in immediate relation 
to the two great problems, of how authority from God comes 
to man, and whether or no it has been conferred upon man 
simply because of sin. 


The faculty of Natural Philosophy can be considered more 
briefly. There is only one difference of opinion about the 
object of physical science. This arises from the fact that 
the mathematical and arithmetical sciences were formerly 
classed with Philosophy, while at present the tendency is 
stronger to class them with the physical sciences as the sci 
ences of the relations of physical data. Those who hold 
these relations to be unreal, or at least explain them in the 
main as subjective, are obliged, for the sake of logical conse 
quence, to prefer the custom of the old philosophy, and group 
these departments with the psychical studies. Since, how 
ever, the impression has become more universal that science 
in general and therefore each particular science, must seek its 
strength in the knowledge of the relations even more than in 
the knowledge of the elements among which these relations 
exist, it is not probable that with reference to the disposi 
tion of Mathematics and Arithmetic the subjective tendency 
will again gain the day. It is entirely true that our human 
consciousness is adjusted to measure and to number ; else 
the most industrious effort would never bring us the concep 
tion of geometry or arithmetic. It is also entirely true that 
the la\vs which dominate the combination of measures and 
numbers, or, if you please, the Logica of measure and number, 
must find a point of connection in our human consciousness ; 
else we should never be able to propound or solve an abstract 
problem in mathematics or arithmetic. This, however, does 
not take away the fact that it is the cosmos outside of us 
that iirst brings measure and number to our consciousness. 
( )n this ground there seems to be no objection to classing 
Mathematics, Algebra, and Arithmetic as three formal depart 
ments under the physical sciences. For the material depart 
ments, however, the principium of division here too lies in 
the object of physical science. This object ascends from the 
elements of nature to the cosmos, and in this ascent it fol 
lows the scale of the so-called natural kingdoms of our earth, 
and of that which lias been observed in the cosmos physically 
outside of our earth. Hence those departments come first, 
which investigate the elements (matter as well as force), and 


which are to be embraced under Physics and Chemistry. 
Then come the sciences which investigate certain groups of 
elements in their organic relations, i.e. Mineralogy, Botany, 
and Zoology. After that come the studies which direct 
themselves to our earth as such, viz., Geology, Geography in 
its broadest extent, and Meteorology. And lastly follows 
Astronomy ; and finally Cosmology, as embracing the whole. 
Let no one imagine, however, that all these sciences as 
such belong to the so-called exact sciences. No one will be 
able to assert this of Cosmogony, and the evolution-theory 
of Darwin sufficiently shows that natural philosophy cannot 
afford to limit itself to the simple results of weight, number, 
and measure. The simple observation of what one hears, sees, 
tastes, and handles, even with the aid of instrumental rein 
forcement of our senses, and under proper verification, is 
never anything more than the primitive point of departure 
of all science and stands formally in line with common per 
ception. Only by the discovery of the laws which exercise 
general rule in that which is particular does this science 
raise itself to its second stadium, and become able to exer 
cise authority over matter. But though in this way it ma 
terially aids in establishing the dominion which was given 
man over all created things, and though physical science 
has contributed the valuable result that it has exalted the 
independent human consciousness and has set us free to so 
large an extent from the dominion of matter, it has by no 
means yet satisfied the highest scientific need. As long as it 
knows nothing beyond the several data and the law by which 
these data are governed, the thinking mind cannot rest. It 
searches also after the relations among the several king 
doms of nature, between our earth and the other parts of the 
cosmos, between all of nature outside of us and man, and 
finally after the origin of nature and of the tie which binds 
us to it, even in our body. These are the points of connec 
tion between the faculty of Natural Philosophy and the other 
faculties ; and the fact that physical science inclines more 
and more to announce itself as the only true science, in order 
to coordinate man with the objects of zoology, and to explain 


the psychical life materialistically, shows how ill-advised it 
is to allow this physical science to make only practical ad 
vances, without attaining encyclopedically to self-conscious 
ness and giving itself an account of the place which it 
occupies in the great organism of science. A scientific Ency 
clopedia, worthy of the name, is the very thing it altogether 
lacks ; and only when it makes serious work of this can the 
question be answered, whether as a culminating department 
Philosophy of nature belongs to this faculty. 

If now the outline of the four named faculties has been 
drawn fairly correctly, the question arises whether the 
Theological faculty joins itself to them in organic connec 
tion, with a proper object, and in good coordination. To 
make this clear it will not do to begin by making the con 
ception of Theology fluid. All judgment concerning the 
Juridical faculty is rendered impossible so soon as you 
interpret it now as the facultas juris, or legal faculty, and 
again as the facultas societatis, or sociological faculty. Much 
less will a way of escape be discovered from the labyrinth 
on theological ground, if by Theology you understand, now, 
that which was originally understood by it, and again 
supersede this verified conception by an entirely different 
one, such as, for instance, the Science of Religion. The 
study of the nature of Theology is in order in the follow 
ing division, so that in this chapter we can do no other than 
state the conception which we start out from, and after that 
review the Theological faculty, and in historical connection 
with this determine the place of Theology in the organism 
of science. Because of the importance of the subject we 
do this in a separate chapter. 



54. Is there a Place for Theology in the Organism of 

Science ? 

The raising of this question intends no coquetry what 
ever with much-boasted "science." The theologian who, 
depressed by the small measure of respect cherished at 
present by public opinion for theological stud} r , seeks favor 
with public opinion by loudly proclaiming that what he 
studies is science too, forfeits thereby his right to the 
honorable name of theologian. Suppose it were demon 
strated that Theology is no science, but that, like the 
study of music, it is called to enrich our spiritual life, 
and the consciousness of that life, in an entirely different 
way, what would this detract from its importance? Does 
Mozart rank lower than Edison, because he did not work 
enchantments, like Edison, with the data of the exact 
sciences? The oft-repeated attempt to exclude Theology 
from the company of the sciences, and to coordinate it, as 
something mystical, rather with the world of sounds, was in 
itself entirely praiseworthy, and has commanded more respect 
from public opinion in general than the scholastic distinc 
tions. If thus it should be shown that Theology has no 
place in the organism of science, it would not lower it in the 
least, even as, on the other hand, Theology would gain no 
merit whatever from the fact (if it be proved) that it has 
its rank among the sciences. In no case may Theology 
begin with renouncing its own self-respect. And those 
theologians who are evidently guilty of this, and who, being 
more or less ashamed of Theology, have tried, by borrowing 
the scientific brevet, to put it forth in new forms, have been 
punished for their cowardice. For the non-theological science 



has compelled them to cut out the heart of Theology, and to 
transform it into a department of study which shall lit into the 
framework of naturalistic science. Hence we delinitely de 
clare that our defence of the scientific character of Theology 
has nothing in common with this questionable effort. No 
Calvinist takes part in the renunciation of our character as 
theologians. And now to the point. 

When treating of the historical development of the facul 
ties it was shown that the general organism of science allows 
itself to be analyzed into its parts along plain and clearly 
discernible lines. Thinking man distinguishes in himself 
first between that which relates to his inner or psychical, 
and outward or somatical, existence. He distinguishes in 
the second place between his own personal existence and his 
social life with others, as far as this is not governed by the 
personal existence of the individuals. And in the third place 
he distinguishes between human life and the life of nature. 
This division comes of itself, is unsought, sees itself justi 
fied by the history of the faculties, and is in entire agree 
ment with the needs of practical life. Now the question is 
whether, along with these four, there remains yet a fifth inde 
pendent part or organ in the organism of science. And the 
answer lies at hand, that a final distinction still remains, 
even the distinction between man and his Grod. Thus 
in the complete object of science we have four antitheses 
and five independent parts: (1) God and his creation; 

(2) in that creation the rest of creation and man ; (3) in 
man first the distinction between his material and spiritual 
existence, and, again, (4) the antithesis between unity and 
multiplicity. Or, if you please, five independent and yet 
organically connected objects present themselves to think 
ing man, viz. : (1) his God, (2) his psychical existence, 

(3) his somatical existence, (4) his existence as a member 
of humanity, and (5) nature outside of man. This divi 
sion corresponds fully to the Theological faculty (object: 
God), the Philological (the human soul, ^fi^), the Medical 
(the human body, o-wfia), the Juridical (the legal relation 
ships among men), and Natural Philosophy (the cosmos out- 


side of man). And this analysis of the entire organism into 
five parts causes the organic relation among the parts, at 
least in the case of the four faculties already outlined, to 
be clearly discerned, as well in the object itself as in the 
reflection of it in the subject, and develops the subdivisions 
organically in each of the four parts. 

Nothing is gained, on the other hand, by the notion that 
Theology has religious feeling, subjective religion, the phe 
nomena of piety, etc., for its object, and that for this rea 
son it is not to be taken as Theology, but as the Science of 
Religion. It is impossible in an organic sense to coordinate 
man s psychical existence, man s somatical existence, man 
as subdivision of humanity, and nature outside of man, and 
then, as a fifth wheel to the wagon, man s religious feeling. 
For this religious feeling belongs to man s psychic existence, 
and the study of it as such tends to investigate the object 
man. Hence the religious feeling cannot be an indepen 
dent part in the object to be investigated, distinguished 
from the other coordinated parts by an essential difference. 
This religious feeling is very important, and it is certainly 
right to investigate this phenomenon in the life of man 
and of humanity; but this religious life is coordinate with 
his ethical, sesthetical, and intellectual life ; and hence be 
longs to his psychical existence. In this way these studies 
come of themselves under the Philological faculty, and can 
never occasion the rise of a separate faculty of Theology. 

One objection only can be raised. From the view-point 
of the Trichotomists it can be asserted that man does not 
consist of body and soul, but of body, soul, arid spirit, and that 
it is therefore entirely rational, by the side of a faculty for 
the body and a faculty for the soul, to place a third faculty, 
which has the spirit (jrvev^a) of man for its object, and that 
this should be the Theological. Thus next to a Somatology 
and a Psychology, there should also be a Pneumatology as 
"Dritte im Bunde." This objection, however, cannot stand. 
The organism of science cannot be analyzed, or, if you please, 
divided, according to the measure of a distinction accepted 
only by a single school, but disputed by other schools, and 


finding no echo in the universal human sense. With all 
the Reformed we reject the Trichotomy, at least in so far as 
it assumes three substances in man. We are Dichotomists. 
Even if the distinction between soul and spirit (^f%^ and 
TrvevfAa) were able to maintain itself to a certain extent, 
body, soul, and spirit could never be coordinated. But the 
antithesis should be between body and soul, and within 
that soul the distinction between the psychical and the 
pneumatical should be sought. Even they who speak of a 
faculty of the Science of Religion are well aware that nothing 
can be done with the pneuma as such, wherefore they have 
thrown themselves upon religion, as being a very compli 
cated expression of life and rich in phenomenal life. The 
pneumatical per se would not be capable of investigation to 
any considerable extent. Hence along this way there is no 
possibility of pointing out a proper ground in the object of 
general science for a science of Theology, and there can be 
no question of a Theological faculty. Both are possible only 
when you come to the antithesis of self-conscious man and 
his G-od, so that you find the object of your faculty not in 
religion, but in G-od. 

But even this by itself will not suffice. Not so much 
because it will not answer to coordinate God with the 
incorporeal, with the soul, the body politic, or nature. For 
the distinction could well be made between the creator and 
creation, in the creation between man and nature, and in 
man between his body and soul. This would be no logical 
error. But the difficulty is, that in science, as taken in 
this chapter, man is the thinking subject, and not God; 
that this thinking subject as such must stand above the 
object of science, and must be able to investigate it, and 
to grasp it with his understanding. And this he is well 
able to do with nature, with our body, soul, and body politic, 
but not with God, taken as an object of our human science. 
Thinking man, taken as subject over against God as object, is 
a logical contradiction in terms. It remains an incontestable 
truth (1 Cor. ii. 11) that "the tilings of God none knoweth. 
save the Spirit of God." Man himself would stand lie fore 


us a closed mystery, if \ve were not man ourselves and thus 
able from ourselves to form our conclusions as to others. 
"For who among men knoweth the things of a man, save 
the spirit of the man, which is in him?" With man, ac 
cordingly, his phenomenal manifestation may always serve 
us ; observation is possible ; and the multiplicity of objects, 
through comparison, may bring you to some clue. But 
with God taken as object, all this forsakes us. In the most 
absolute sense, He is univocus. From yourself (at least so 
long as He has not Himself revealed to you the creation 
after His image) you can conclude nothing concerning 
Him; neither can you see or hear or perceive Him in any 
conceivable way. For which reason it is entirely logical 
that the naturalistic tendency in science has not hesitated 
to cancel Theology, and that the Free University at Brus 
sels, and after her more than one university in America, 
have opened no faculty, or "Department," as it is called in 
America, for Theology. We can also understand that the 
Theologians who have broken with Special Revelation have 
refused to walk any longer in the old paths, have abandoned 
God (6 tfeo?) as object of science, and have declared: We 
can investigate religion, but not Grod. And no fault could 
have been found with this, had they faced the consequence 
of this metamorphosis of the object, and after the demoli 
tion of the Theological faculty transferred their study of 
religion to the Philological faculty. 

Something very different presents itself, on the other 
hand, when the old definition is readopted, that the science 
of Theology finds its object of investigation in the revealed, 
ectypal knowledge of Grod; which definition we hold our 
selves, but which can be explained only in the following 
chapter. It is enough here to recall that, according to 
this representation, God alone knows Himself (" archetypal 
knowledge of God," cognito Dei archetypa), and that there 
is no created being that can know aught of Him, except 
He himself reveals something from His self-knowledge and 
self-consciousness in a form that falls within the compre 
hension of the creature ("ectypal knowledge of God," cog- 


nitio Dei ectypa). Had this revelation, now, taken place in 
the form of complete analysis and synthesis, it would satisfy 
at once the most rigorous claims of our scientific wants, and 
would simply have to be inserted into the result of our other 
scientific work; just as in an historical sketch of an event, 
in which you yourself have played an important role, you 
simply insert and embody without further examination that 
which you yourself have planned and achieved, because you 
know your personal part in a way which does not provoke 
a closer investigation. Such, however, is not the character 
of this revelation, for it presents itself in such a form that 
all sorts of data are given, from which you are obliged 
to frame the result. Understood in this way, the com 
plex of all that belongs to this revelation forms an object 
which, in its starting-point and end, is a unit (einheit- 
lich); which invites investigation; and which by scientific 
effort must be transposed into a form that shall satisfy the 
claims of our human consciousness. Suppose that still more 
Egyptological discoveries were to be made, and, what is not 
impossible, that a number of inscriptions and communica 
tions were brought to light concerning a thus far lesser 
known Pharaoh; that monuments of his activity were un 
earthed; and that you were supplied with all sorts of 
letters, statistics, and records of his reign; all these dis 
coveries would invite and enable you scientifically to ex 
plain the historical phenomenon of this prince. Then. 
however, the object of your investigation would still be 
Pharaoh himself, and not the knowledge of his person, 
simply because all these monuments and documents were 
not erected and written by him for the sake of giving you 
a specially intended representation of his person. But now 
imagine the other case. Suppose that an Eastern despot 
had purposed to hand down to succeeding generations, a 
particular representation of his person and work, which 
did not correspond to reality, and to this end had prepared 
numerous monuments and documents; then from these his 
real figure in history could not be known, but only that 
representation of himself which he had intended. And the 


object of jour investigation would not be that despot him 
self, but "the knowledge of his person," such as he had 
purposed to hand down to posterity. And this is the case 
here. God has not unintentionally left behind Him traces 
of His works and revelations of His thoughts in monuments 
and documents, from which we are to search out who God is. 
But purposely, and fully conscious of what He was doing, 
the Lord our God has imparted a knowledge of His Being- 
such as He desired that this knowledge should be. And 
He has done this in such a way that this revelation does not 
contain His absolute image, but conveys this knowledge in 
that particular form which alone can be of service to you. 
What we supposed in the case of the Asiatic despot to have 
sprung from the desire to have a different image of himself 
outlive him from that which he had exhibited in reality, 
takes place here by means of the third term of comparison 
(tertium comparationis). The image which is purposely ex 
hibited here is different from the real Being, simply because 
it is only in that definite form, "according to the measure of 
man" (pro mensura hominis), that it can be taken up by us. 
We are therefore fully authorized to say that that which 
presents itself to us in these monuments and documents is 
not the knowledge of the real Being of God, which we are 
to search out from them, but, on the contrary, that in these 
monuments and documents lies an image of God, drawn by 
Himself, such as He desires us to receive. Hence, when 
we investigate these monuments and documents, the object 
which we search out is not the Divine Being, but that 
ectypal knowledge, of God, which is posited in them by God 
Himself, and which corresponds entirely to the character of 
our human nature and our human consciousness. The in 
vestigation of those monuments and documents, and the 
search after the ectypal knowledge of God contained there- \ 
in, is a scientific task in an equally rigorous sense as, in the 
supposed case, the historic expounding of the image of such 
a Pharaoh or Asiatic despot. 

We admit, of course, that in this section it is only an 
hypothesis that the Lord our God has placed such monu- 


inents and documents at our disposal, that He has purposely 
hid iu them an image of Himself, and that it is possible for 
us to obtain this ectypal knowledge from them. We only 
wanted to render it apparent, that with this hypothesis the 
necessity arises for a peculiar scientific work which does not 
indeed have God for its object, a thing which cannot be, 
but His ectijpal knowledge; provided there exists a defi 
nite circle of phenomena from which, by investigation, this 
object can be known. And if, later on, it can be shown that 
what is here put as hypothesis is true, then in this way we 
have certainly found a Theology whose calling it is to do a 
scientific work, and which as such has a place in the organ 
ism of science. For this hypothesis itself implies that the 
phenomena from which this knowledge must be drawn, and 
this knowledge itself, must organically cohere with the ob 
ject as well as with the subject of science : with the object, 
because these phenomena are given in the cosmos and in 
history; and with the subject, since it is only as ectypal 
that this knowledge corresponds to the measure of man. 
And this being so, the founding of a proper faculty for this 
scientific investigation is justified of itself. The object, 
indeed, which is sought in these phenomena cannot be 
brought under either of the four other heads. The phe 
nomena which must be investigated form an entirely pe 
culiar group. And the object itself is of such eminent 
importance, that not only the needs of practical life, but 
the incomplete character of all other science, alike render 
the study of Theology necessary. 

, o \J *s 

One more objection, however, must be met. It might, 
indeed, be said that in 38 of this volume we designate 
the cosmos as the only object of science; that except we fall 
into Pantheism, God does not belong to the cosmos, but that 
as the ground of all being and cause of the cosmos, He must 
be sought outside of it; that hence He does not belong to it, 
and that therefore the search after God, i.e. Theology, cannot 
be classed with science. We answer, that this objection 
has no force when directed against our representation of the 
matter. To us, indeed, not the unknown Essence of God but 


the ectypal revelation (revelatio ectypa) which has been 
made knoivn, is the object of Theology. This revelation does 
not lie outside of, but in the cosmos, and never presents itself 
to us in any but its cosmical form. Without the least 
modification, therefore, of our definition of the object of 
science, Theology, interpreted in this way, certainly obtains 
its proper place in the organism of science. And Theology 
extends no further than this. For though the assumption 
of a cosmos implies the confession of a ground of being for 
that cosmos, it is not science, and therefore not Theology, 
but only the mysticism of our inner life, which involves the 
data by which we personally know and experience that we 
stand in communion with that extracosmical ground of 

55. The Influence of Palingenesis upon our View of 
Theology and its Relation to the Other Sciences 

In the preceding sections the difference has repeatedly 
been shown between the conceptions which, according as 
you reckon with or without palingenesis, you must enter 
tain of the task of the several faculties and their mutual 
relations. In this closing paragraph this difference is more 
definitely considered. There are two sorts of people, both 
of which claim to be the interpreters of our human race 
in its normal manifestation, and who, because thinking that 
their own apprehension is the scientific consciousness, cannot 
abandon the pretension that the result of their scientific work 
alone leads to the knowledge of the object; which knowl 
edge is indeed not adequate, but as pure as lies within 
our reach. The difference between these two groups can 
briefly be designated by the word Palingenesis, in so far as 
this implies, first, the abnormal character of that which has 
not undergone this palingenesis, and, on the other hand, the 
gradual growth into normality again of what exhibits itself 
as fruit of this palingenesis. This accounts for the fact, 
that he who not only stands outside of palingenesis but 
also rejects it as a play of the imagination, must consider 
everything as normal and can only view the divergencies 


or disturbances as necessary stages in the process of de 
velopment. Hence such an one deems himself authorized 
to draw his conclusions from what exists both from what 
exists outside of him and from what exists in himself, and 
to make these conclusions compulsory for all. And from 
this point of view no other method is conceivable. He, on 
the other hand, who himself lives in the palingenesis, or who 
at least accepts it as a fact, has eo ipso an entirely different 
outlook upon himself and his surroundings. Palingenesis 
implies that all existing things are in ruins ; that there is a 
means by which these ruins can be restored, yea, that in 
part they are already restored. He neither may nor can, 
therefore, draw compulsory conclusions from what exists 
outside of palingenesis ; there can be no question with him 
of an evolution process ; and for him the necessity of all 
science does not lie in what presents itself to him, but in 
the criticism of existing things by which he distinguishes 
the abnormal from the normal. 

This applies to all the faculties, but becomes more impor 
tant in proportion as the part of the object which a given 
faculty is to investigate stands higher. With the faculty 
of Natural Philosophy, therefore, this antithesis makes itself 
least felt ; a little more with the Medical ; more strongly 
with the Philological ; almost overwhelmingly with the Ju 
ridical; but most strongly of all with the Theological faculty. 

If I omit from my calculations the facts of palingenesis 
and sin. then no estrangement from God has taken place ; 
then our understanding has not been darkened ; and no 
disturbance has convulsed nature to cloud the transparency 
of God in the cosmos. And it is equally inconceivable 
that a restoring power should be operative in the world, 
in our heart and in our thought, or that there should be 
a revelation, in facts or in words, which does not coincide 
wilh the normal process of development. For in this case 
we have nothing but progress, continuous gain and clari 
fying of knowledge. And granted that there is a God and 
liiat a knowledge of this God seems possible, this knowl- 
ed"\- of God stands infinitelv higher in our nineteenth cen- 


tury than in the days of Abraham and Moses, of David and 
Isaiah, of Christ and his Apostles. Hence it is from no evil 
intent, at least not among men (of Satan we do not speak), 
but simply the necessary consequence of the lack of a per 
sonal experience of palingenesis, that, so far from acknowl 
edging them, modern theological development cannot rest 
until it has dispossessed all religious phenomena of their un 
common character, and has included them in the scope of the 
normal development of our human consciousness. And it 
is but the consequence of principle, which is compulsory 
from this point of view, that the authorit} r of the Holy 
Scriptures is attacked, and that the conflict against the 
Holy Scriptures must be continued until at length all that 
they offer us is reduced to the proportions of the ordinary. 

And this gives rise to the question whether from this 
naturalistic point of view there can still be a theological 
science, and whether there is still room for a theological fac 
ulty. This question is not answered by a rehearsal of the 
gigantic labors of modern Theology in breaking down the 
so-called antiquated representations. Breaking down is 
not building up. And though it is indisputably the task of 
science to combat error, it is plain that this negative effort 
does not justify the existence of a faculty. Thus the ques 
tion should be put as follows : When once the old building 
shall have been taken down entirely, so that without causing 
any more concern, antique Theology, properly catalogued, 
shall have been carefully put by in the museum of scientific 
antiquities, will there then still remain a work of a peculiar 
character like Theology which as such will justify the exist 
ence of a separate faculty ? And this must be answered in 
the negative. It can be said superficially, that from this 
view-point also the five questions present themselves to the 
thinking mind concerning his own spiritual and bodily ex 
istence, and his relation to his fellow-men, to nature and to his 
God ; but and this is the decisive point from this point 
of view the very existence of God is questionable. One no 
doubt says there is a God; but another denies it. And among 
those also who acknowledge the existence of God, some hold 


that He can be known, while others dispute it. Suppose it 
were a question whether there are plants, should we be able 
to speak of a botanical science? So long as the existence 
of the object of a science remains uncertain, inquiry may 
take place ; one may sound, feel his way and seek, but one 
cannot investigate. Science with a proper object, and a 
method derived from that object, is still wanting. Hence 
in no case can a complex of sciences be allowed to form an 
independent faculty, on the ground of its organic relation to 
life. As an escape from this dilemma an attempt has been 
made to substitute another object for this science, by placing 
the knowledge of Religion at its disposal instead of the knowl 
edge of Grod. From now on it is to be called the Science of 
Religion. The existence of religion can in no case be denied. 
In religion we have to do with a notable phenomenon that 
has been observed at all times and among many nations. 
This phenomenon may be investigated and thus theological 
science be revivified. This, however, rests upon a misunder 
standing. As a subjective phenomenon religion is one of 
the phenomena of man s spiritual existence, and as such it 
belongs to the Philological faculty, and more appropriately 
to history and philosophy. And as no one would think it 
proper to found a separate faculty for aesthetics or ethics, 
it is equally unreasonable to open a faculty for the religious 
life in man (or at least in many men). We do not deny 
that from this point of view also there may be a very ear 
nest desire to learn what may be known of God in man 
and in nature ; and to the study of religion or of the science 
of religion, to annex another study, which seeks after God, 
feels after Him that it may find Him, tries to prove His 
existence and to establish knowledge concerning Him. But 

o o 

he who ignores the facts of the fall and palingenesis, must 
always reckon with the denial of God by so many thou 
sands, for which reason he can never attain unto a positive 
knowledge, nor ever produce anything that falls outside of 
the scope of Philosophy. From this naturalistic point of 
view the five faculties must be reduced to four. The faculty 
of Theology, whose supposed object must still be sought, falls 


away. And everything that relates to religion, in its phe 
nomena as well as in the postulates that produce these phe 
nomena, as a department of study, goes to the Philological 
faculty. The so-called history of religions is classed with 
history, more appropriately with the science of countries 
and nations. Religion as a psychological phenomenon is 
relegated to the psychological sciences. And finally the 
assumptions to which religion leads find their place in specu 
lative philosophy, which here finds a point of support for its 
favorite monistic conclusions. 

This whole matter assumes an entirely different phase, 
however, when palingenesis is taken as the starting-point. 
For then it ceases to be a problem whether there is a God ; 
that the knowledge of God can be obtained is certain ; and 
in the revelation which corresponds to this palingenesis there 
is presented of itself an objectum sui generis, which cannot 
be subserved under any of the other faculties ; this im 
pels the human mind to a very serious scientific investiga 
tion, which is of the utmost importance to practical life. 
Then every necessary claim, for the emergence of Theol 
ogy as a proper department of science, is fully met ; and 
its right to a special faculty is entirely indisputable. He 
who knows from personal experience that there is such a pal 
ingenesis, and conceives something of the important change 
wrought by this fact in our entire sensibility, cannot remain 
in the suspense of this vague impression, but feels impelled 
to explain it to his consciousness, and to give himself an 
intelligent account of all the consequences which flow from 
it and which are bound to affect his entire world- and 
life- view. And since this fact does not stand by itself in 
him, but corresponds to similar facts in the spiritual exist 
ence of others, and to analogous facts in the cosmos and in 
history, the demand of the human spirit is absolute, that 
these facts, in him as well as outside of him, must be in 
vestigated and placed in relation and in order. And this 
no other science can do ; hence a special science must be 
found to do this ; since the object to be investigated bears an 
entirely independent character. The further exposition of 


this will be the task of the following chapters. But at this 
point let us briefly consider the relation which, from the 
view-point of palingenesis, must exist between the Theologi 
cal faculty and the other faculties. 

All prosecution of science which starts out from natural 
istic premises denies the subjective fact of palingenesis, as 
well as the objective fact of a special revelation, which 
immediately corresponds to this. Even though the incon 
sistency is committed of maintaining from this point of view 
a Theological faculty, no influence worth the mention can 
ever be exerted by this faculty upon the other faculties. 
.Religion, which as a phenomenon is the object to be inves 
tigated by this faculty, is and remains an expression of the 
life of the emotions, which, however strong its hold may 
be upon life, either remains unexplained, or allows itself to 
be classed in the common scope. Alongside of the ethical 
and ajsthetical life, there is also a religious life ; but the 
study of that religious life imposes no claims upon the 
studies of the other sciences, nor does it exercise an influ 
ence upon their methods. 

This, of course, is altogether different, when in palin 
genesis we recognize a critical and a restorative fact, which 
both subjectively and objectively places all things, along 
with their origin and issue, before us in an entirely differ 
ent light. In the Holy Scriptures palingenesis is a general 
conception, which is applied to the subject of science (vide 
Tit. iii. ">), as well as to the object of science (vide Matt, 
xix. 2$). It assumes a first genesis, which by a departure 
of the process of life from its principle has led to death, and 
now it declares that a repetition of the genesis takes place, 
but this time as a springing up again of that which went 
down, and that in this restoration the method of genesis 
repeats itself, viz. the development from a germ. This is 
applied to man in all his inward life, but will sometime be 
applied as well to man s somatical existence, as to the whole 
cosmos outside of him, as far as this also has shared in the 
false process. Hence palingenesis is now operative in the 
human mind ; and, analogous to this, palingenesis will here- 


after appear in the somatical and cosmical life. This palin 
genesis is introduced spiritually by an act of God s Spirit 
in the spiritual life of humanity (inspiration in its broadest 
sense), and somatically by an act of the power of God in the 
natural life of the world (miracles in their widest interpre 
tation). From which it follows that all study of science, 
where the investigator occupies the view-point of palingen 
esis, must reckon with the four phenomena: (1) of personal 
regeneration ; and (2) of its corresponding inspiration ; 
(3) of the final restoration of all things ; and (4) of its 
corresponding manifestation of God s power in miracles 
{NiplileotJi) . These four phenomena have no existence to 
the scientist who starts out from naturalistic premises. On 
the contrary, his principle and starting-point compel him to 
cancel these phenomena, or, where this is not possible, to ex 
plain them naturalistically. He, on the other hand, who has 
personally been taken up into this powerful, all-dominat 
ing activity of palingenesis, finds his starting-point in these 
very phenomena, and mistrusts every result of investiga 
tion which does not entirely correspond to them. If now 
this palingenesis applied only to the religious life, one could 
say that the faculty of Theology alone is bound to deal with 
it. But this is not at all the case. Palingenesis is a uni 
versal conception which dominates your whole person, and 
all of life about you ; moreover, palingenesis is a power that 
exerts an influence not merely in your religious, but equally 
in your ethical, sesthetical, and intellectual life. A Jurist, a 
Physician, a Philologian, and a Physicist, who have person 
ally come under the action of this palingenesis, experience 
its influence as well as the Theologian, and not only in 
their emotional but in their intellectual life. This, indeed, 
has been too much overlooked in earlier periods ; where 
fore the consequences of palingenesis have been looked for 
in Theology alone, and thus the mischievous demand has 
been imposed upon the other sciences that they should 
subject themselves to the utterances of Theology in those 
points also which did not pertain to its object of investiga 
tion. The Reformed alone have established the rule with 


reference to the magistracy, that it should not ask the 
Church to interpret God s ordinances regarding the duties 
of its life, but that the magistrates should study them out 
independently for themselves from nature and from the 
word of God. In this way homage was paid to the prin 
ciple that every one who shares this palingenesis should 
exercise independent judgment in all his own affairs. If 
this principle, which is the only true one, were applied to 
all the sciences, it would readily be seen that Theology is 
by no means called upon to arbitrate in every domain of sci 
ence ; while, on the other hand, also, it would be seen that 
a twofold study must develop itself of all the sciences, 
one, by those who must deny palingenesis, and the other 
by those who must reckon with it. 

This, however, does not take away the fact, that the other 
sciences must leave Theology the task of investigating palin 
genesis. For this is its appointed task. Theology alone is 
called to do this. If there were no palingenesis, there would 
be no other than a natural knowledge of God, which belongs 
in the Philological faculty to the philosophical, and more 
especially to the psychological and outological, sciences. 
Since, on the contrary, palingenesis has come in as an uni 
versal phenomenon, dominating all things, a faculty of its 
own had to be created for Theology, and it is the task of 
Theology to take the four above-mentioned phenomena as 
the object of its independent investigation. It must exam 
ine : (1) inspiration, as the introductory fact to psychical 
palingenesis; (2) the psychical palingenesis itself; (3) the 
manifestation that operates introductory to the cosmical pal 
ingenesis ; and (4) the cosmical palingenesis. Later on it 
will be shown why this entire study must be drawn from 
the Holy Scriptures as the principium of Theology, and how 
it owes its unity just to this common principium. For the 
present, let it suffice that we simply assume this as a fact, and 
conclude from it that the investigation here to be instituted 
forms a special, well-defined ground, and that the other facul 
ties must leave this investigation to Theology. And as, in 
virtue of the mutual relations of the sciences, one adopts 


its borrowed data (Lehnsatze) from the other whenever it is 
necessary, so that the Juridical science, for instance, does not 
compose a psychology for itself, and does not teach a physics 
of its own in economics, but borrows as much material as it 
requires from the philological and physical sciences ; so also 
is the relation here. No one of the other faculties can insti 
tute an investigation of its own of palingenesis, but must 
borrow its data for this from Theology. And as to their 
own ground of investigations, they operate from the con 
sciousness of palingenesis, as far as this refers to their own 
department ; and they cannot rest until with their own 
method they have brought the insight and the knowledge of 
their own object into harmony with the study of palingenesis. 




56. The Name 

In the answer to what we are to understand by Theology, 
even the name is in our time too superficially explained. 
The reason is that men are in some perplexity about the 
name. Having broken away from old-time Theology, and 
having displaced it by something else, the old name is 
merely kept to maintain in a moral and formal sense an 
hereditary right to the heritage of Sacrosanct Theology. 
This is only arbitrary, unless one can prove, genetically at 
least, his relation to old-time Theology. If this cannot be 
done, it does not infringe the right to abandon what has 
become unfit for use, and to replace it by a new complex of 
studies entirely differently understood, but in that case the 
old name should be discarded. For then the name becomes 
a false label, and its retention would be dishonest. Our 
going back to the name of Theology is therefore no anti 
quarian predilection, but is demanded by the method that 
must guide us in defining the conception of Theology. The 
effort more and more put forth in the second half of this 
century, either in the psychologic-empiric line of Schleier- 
macher, or in the speculative track of Hegel, or in both, to 
form a certain idea of the departments taught in the Theo 
logical faculty, to translate this idea into a conception, and 


CHAP. I] 56. THE NAME 229 

to take this conception as the definition of Theology, is a 
method which can stand no testing, because in this way the 
certainty that the object of this science remains the same 
is altogether wanting. In his Oratylus Plato does not 
say in vain: "To teach a thing rightly it is necessary tirst 
to define its name." Even in itself, therefore, a study of 
the name of Theology is demanded ; but this is much more 
necessary now since a genealogical proof must be furnished 
by those who claim hereditary right, and this hereditary 
right to the Theological inheritance must be disputed with 
more than one contestant. 

For the right understanding of the name Theology the 
etymology and the usage of the word claim our attention. 
With respect to the etymology three questions arise : In 
what sense is -logia to be interpreted ? In what sense #eoV ? 
And in this connection is 0eoV to be taken actively or 
passively ? The addition -logia occurs, just as the allied 
terms, in the sense of speaking about something, as well 
as in the sense of thinking about something. Aoyeiov was in 
Athens what we call the platform, and 0eo\oyelov was the 
place on the stage from which they spoke who represented 
the gods as speaking. The conception of speaking, there 
fore, and not of thinking, stands here clearly in the fore 
ground. In 6arreo\oyia, (f>va-ioXo<yia, and other combinations, 
on the other hand, -logia has the sense of tracing, investigat 
ing. In itself, therefore, 6eo\oyia could indicate etymologi 
c-ally the action of a #0X0709, i.e. of one who speaks about 
God, as well as the thinking about God. The only thing that 
serves as a more precise indication here is the age of the word 
and the object to which -\o<yia is coupled. The root of \eyetv 
(to speak) with Homer almost always means " to gather." 
with or without choice. Only later on it obtains the sense 
of speaking. And only later still, in its last development, the 
utterance of the thought is put in the background, in order to 
cause the thought itself to appear in the front. Since now 
the word 0eo\oyia occurs already in Plato, the first under 
standing of -\oyia has the choice ; a choice which is con 
firmed by Plato s own words. In his de Re Pull. Lib. II., 

230 56. THE NAME [Div. Ill 

p. 379 a , he writes: "We, O Adimantos, are at this moment 
no poets (TTOiT^rai), but speak as founders of a city (ot/acrral 
7ro Xe&)9), and as such we should understand the forms (TVTTOI) 
in which the poets must tell their legend." The question 
is then asked, " What should be the forms (types) of Theol 
ogy?" upon which the answer follows that the gods must 
be proclaimed as they are, whether they are spoken of in 
"epics, in lyrics, or in tragedy (e v eirecri, ev ^eXeaiv or ev 
rpayp&ia). This statement admits of no doubt. In this 
place at least -Xoyia is used in the sense of speaking. And 
with reference to its composition with #eo-, it is evident 
that the idea of investigating the being of God must have 
originated much later than the necessity of speaking about 
the gods. Hence our first conclusion is that -Xoyia in this 
combination was originally used in the sense of speaking. 
The second question, what 6eo- in this combination means, 
the gods in general or the only true God, can likewise be 
answered by the above citation from Plato. Plato himself 
interchanges theology with a speaking of the gods in 
epics, in lyrics, or in tragedy. Concerning the third ques 
tion, however, whether in this combination 6eo- is object or 
subject, we must grant the possibility of both. In 
Oeofjir/via, deoKparia, Oeofcpicria, 0eoya/j,ia, 6eo7rpata, 
etc., a god is meant who gives, who is angry, who rules, 
judges, marries, acts, speaks, and thus 6eo- is the subject. 
On the other hand, in Oeoaefieta, Oeo/Ju/jLTiaia, 0OK.\vrri<n<;, 
OeoXarpeta, etc., it is a god who is feared, imitated, in 
voked, and honored, hence $eo- is the object. eoAoyta, 
therefore, can mean etymologically the speaking of God, 
as well as the speaking about God. Or if you take 
BeoXoyia in the later sense of knowledge, then it indicates 
a knowledge which God Himself has, as well as a knowledge 
which we have of God. Finally, in the last-mentioned sense 
$0X0709 seems to be older than 6eo\oyeiv, and it appears 
that 0eo\oyeiv as well as 0eo\oyia are derived from it. The 
result therefore is that Theology etymologically is no com 
bination of #ed? and \oyos, but means originally a speaking 
of or about a god or gods ; and that only with the further 

CHAP. I] 56. THE NAME 231 

development of the word logos, which at first indicated a 
collected mass, then a word, and only later reason or thought, 
#60X070?, OeoXoydv, and #0X0710. also were conceived as a 
knowledge of or concerning a god or the gods. 

Since the etymology admits so many possibilities, the 
more accurate knowledge of the term "Theologia" should be 
gleaned from the usage of the word. With Lucian and 
Plutarch #0X070? occurs in the general sense of one who 
treats of the gods, and Augustine declares in de Civ. Dei, 
XVIII., c. 14 : "During the same period of time arose the 
poets, who were also called theologians, because they made 
hymns about the gods." With Aristotle OeoXoyetv indi 
cates, to be a theologian, or to act as a theologian. ^Trto-njfj-rj 
6eo\oyitcij means with Aristotle (Metapli. X. 6) a knowledge 
concerning the divine ; while with Plato, " theology " occurs 
as a speaking about the gods, and with Aristotle in the 
plural number, " Theologies " were investigations into divine 
things (Metereol. 2. 1). Thus far in all these combinations 
the general conception was implied of engaging oneself with 
the matter of the gods or deity, either in consultation with 
tradition, or in reflection for the sake of a more accurate 
understanding. With the name "Theology," this general 
conception has been adopted by Christian writers, modified 
according to the requirements of their point of view, and 
carried out upon a large scale. He who reads the exhaustive 
explanation of Suicer, Thes. grace., under the words #0X0705, 
#0X0701, and 0eo\oyelv perceives at once how greatly the use 
of these words was increased and how much more deeply the 
thinking consciousness entered into the sense of these words, 
than with the classical writers. That the apostle John was 
early called the Theologian (6 #50X070?), even in the title of 
the Apocalypse, cannot properly be explained from his refer 
ence to the Logos in the prologue to his Gospel and in his 
first Epistle ; but indicates that John was esteemed to be more 
versed in the divine mysteries than any other apostle. This 
readily accounts for the fact that he is indicated as such in 
the title of the Apocalypse and not in the title of his Gospel. 
In a like sense all the writers of the Old and New Testaments, 



[Div. Ill 

but more especially the prophets and apostles, are called theolo 
gians. Thus Athanasius says, Oratio de incarnation? l r erbi, I., 
p. G2, ravra 6e KOI Trapa ra)v aurov rou ^(orfjpos 6eo\6yo)v av- 
8pS)V TTLCTTevcrdat rt? StWrat, evrvy^dvwv rot? etceivcov ypd/j.[j.acriv : 
i.e. one thing and another concerning the Saviour you can 
also confirm by an appeal to the theologians if you turn to 
their writings. But shortly after this follows the signifi 
cance of theological investigations of ecclesiastical questions. 
Thus Gregory of Nazianzus was called "the Theologian," not 
to place him on a level with John, as though to him also divine 
mysteries had been revealed, but because in the treatment of 
dogma he always ascended to God, and thus, as Gregory the 
Presbyter writes, reached the height of dogma (tn^o? Soy^d- 
rcai/). (See Suicer, I., p. 1360.) 

If thus the word " theologos " itself admitted of a twofold 
meaning, that of "a speaker in the name of God," and that 
of "a thinker who in his thinking ascends to God," the 
word " theologein " was still more pliable. This also signi 
fied at first to speak in the name of God; for instance, Tre/at 
TOVTCOV rwv 8oy fjidrcov Beo^oyel Hcra/a?, i.e. concerning these 
tilings Isaiah speaks as commanded by God. Secondly, to 
explain any point theologically; for instance, Aojov eljrev i va 
TIJV reXetav vjrap^iv crot rov Irjcrov $60X0777(777, i.e. he names 
Christ the Logos, in order to explain the absolute relation 
of Jesus to the very essence of God, a use of this word 
which already with Justin Martyr obtained more general 
currency to indicate an investigation which was instituted 
ivitk a certain dignity of form. Thus, for instance, in his 
Dial. c. Tr. (ed. von Otto, Jen;e, 187(5, I. 400 B), "Do 
you inquire in the spirit of theological discussion why 
one a was added to the name of Abraham, and ask with 
an air of importance why one r was added to the name 
(if Sarah?" (Ata rl pev ev a\<$>a TT/DCOTW Trpoa-ere drj rco A/S/aaa/i 
i, $eoXo r yet?, Kol BLO, rl ev pa) rw ^.dppas OVO/JLUTI, o/zot co? 
where from the coupling of Ko/^7ro\oyelv and 
0o\oyelv it clearly appears, that in both cases a dignity, a 
gravity, and a rhetoric are implied, which did not corre 
spond to the unimportance of the question. But besides 

CHAP. I] 56. THE NAME 233 

these two meanings, which run parallel with those of " theo- 
logos," the great Fathers of the Christological conflict also 
used, in the footsteps of Justin, the word " theologein " in 
the sense of proclaiming one to be God, of announcing one as 
God. Justin Martyr wrote in his Dial. c. Tryph. (ed. von 
Otto, Jenee, 1876, I., p. 104 C), with the Messianic prophecy 
in Psalm xlv. 6 sq, in mind, " If, therefore, you say that 
the Holy Spirit calls any other God (6eo\oydv) and Lord 
(^Kvpio\oyelv^ except the Father of all the Universe and 
his Christ," which manner of speech, both by the sense 
and by the addition of Kvpio\o<yeiv, leaves no doubt but 
that OeoXoyelv is taken in the sense of calling one God. 
Thus also we read in Athanasius (Tom. I., p. 1030) : Ei> 
aTraaiv ol? So^d^rai 6 Trarrip ^0X070^6^09, ev ai/rot? Soaerai 
Kal 6 i/to? /cal TO iTvev^ia TO ayiov, i.e. " In all points in which 
the Father is glorified by being spoken of as God, the same 
also takes place with the Son and with the Holy Ghost." 
For the sake of still greater clearness, the word Oeov is even 
added, 6eo\oyeiv riva Oeov, as for instance, in Philostorgius, 
If 1st. Eccl. XIV., p. 103, TO /3(/3XtW 00\oyei Oeov rov . . . 
Srjfjuovpybv cnrdvTwv, i.e. This book, the Gospel of John, calls 
the author of all things G-od. Thus also Csesarius, Quest. 
22, p. 44, says of the Christ, "also when he is incarnate, 
nevertheless VTTO rwv irpo^rMv deoKoyeiTai, i.e. is he called 
God by the prophets ; the Latin praedicare Deum." 1 And 
finally there was developed from this the more general sig 
nificance of deifying something or making it to be God. For 
instance, ov jrdvra Kara (fivcrtv yiverai, iva pr} 6eo\oy7]0rj 77 
</>vcrt5 (Chrysostom, V., p. 891), i.e. "It is by Divine appoint 
ment that all things do not happen in accordance with nature, 
lest nature be taken for God." 

In this way only can we understand the history of the 
word "theology" in Patristic literature. If a theologian 
is one who speaks in the name of God, and tlieologein 
the act itself of speaking in the name of God, then we 
understand how "Theology" could mean the Old and the Neio 
Testament: Tr)? TraXcu a? 6eo\o<yias Kal TT}<? yea? 8eo\oyias rrjv 
op)v, dav/jLaaerai rrjv aXwdetav, i.e. "Seeing the 



[Div. Ill 

harmony of the Old and New Testament, one marvels at the 
truth" (Theodor. Therap. See Suicer, I., p. 1350). For 
the word of God comes to us in these two Testaments. If 
in the second place the word theologein means to explain 
a point so fully as to trace it back to God, then it is clear 
how " Theology " could mean : reduction to the mystery 
of the essence of God. Tims says Theodoret (Qitcent. in 
Crenes. I., p. 3), TI Sijirore /AT) Trporera^e rfjs TCOV o\wv BJJ- 
lALovpyias OeoXoyiav ; i.e. " Why did not Moses preface the 
creation-narrative with an introduction on the mystery of 
the essence of God ? " If, in the third place, " theologein " 
was used in the sense of "to declare some one God," then 
it follows also that " Theology " could signify : the divine 
appellation. Thus says Pachymeres in his note on Diony- 
sius Areopagita (Suicer, I., p. 300), ra KOLVWS TTJ 0eia c^vaei 
dpfio^dvTa ovdfjLara ^vw^evr/v eTriypdfai OeoXoyiav, i.e. tlie 
names which in general belong to the divine nature, he 
calls theologia unita. And since in the bitter conflict against 
the Arians everything hinged on the point of proclaiming 
Christ as God, " Theology " in this sense became almost 
synonymous with the Deity of Christ. Thus Gregory of 
Nyssa speaks of a K^pva-aeiv TO /j,va-Tr/piov TT}? #0X07/09, with 
his eye on John i. 1, which thus means to say, "to announce 
the mystery of the Deity of Christ." This Theologia was 
then placed over against oiKovofila as the appellation for 
his human nature. Thus in Theodoret, Comm. in lL>b. iv. 
14, p. 414: we ought to know riva /J.ev TT)? 0eo\oyias, riva Be 
T>}? ot/co^o/u-t a? owfiara, i.e. what names belong to his divine, 
and what to his human, nature. In connection with this, 
" Theology " was also used in the sense of the " mystery of 
the Trinity." The knowledge of God, which as such was 
the characteristic of Christianity, was contained just in this 
trinitarian mystery. Thus Athanasius, de Definitionibus, 
Tom. IT., p. 44 : ETrt r?}9 6eo\oyia<; /j,iav fyvaiv 6/*io\oyov/j.ei> 
T>}? ajia<t T/amSo?, rpeZ? 5 L/Trocrrttcret?, i.e. " Of the mystery of 
the Divine Ueing we confess that in the Holy Trinity there 
is only one nature, but a threefold hypostasis." Photius, 
Epiist. XXXI V., p. 95, axTTrep eVt T/";9 Oeo\oyia<f TO rpeZ? 6/tioXo- 

CHAP. I] 56. THE NAME 235 

yelv ovaias iroXvOeov, i.e. even as it is Polytheistic to confess 
three substances in the mystery of the Trinity. Theophy- 
lact, Comm. in Math., c. xxviii., p. 185, eiTrwv on Set ficnrTi- 
%eiv els TO ovopa rr)? r/3iaSo? rrjv 0eo~\.oyiav r}\uv Trape8a>Kev, i.e. 
by the command to baptize in the name of the Trinity, 
Christ has revealed to us the mystery of the Divine Being. 
And in like sense Gregory Nazianzen uses the word when 
in Oration I., p. 16, he writes, Tpia e cm irepl deoko^ia^ appco- 
o-TijfjLaTa, i.e. there are three weaknesses with reference to 
the interpretation of the Divine mystery. 

Thus the development of the term Theology is not doubt 
ful. First the word was adopted from the pagan usage 
to indicate a speaking of the things that pertain to the 
gods or God, whether materially, as declarations of divine 
affairs, or simply formally, as a speaking with dignity and 
with a certain unction. In the conflict about the divine 
nature of Christ the still living Grecian language-conscious 
ness began to use the term 0eo\oyetv actively in the sense 
of calling one God, and thereby Oeo\o<yia obtained gradually 
the significance of the confession of the Deity of Christ. 
Since the Christological conflict speedily assumed a Trini 
tarian character, and the confession of the Trinity hinged 
upon the acknowledgment of the Deity of Christ, Theology 
began gradually to be interpreted in the sense of the mystery 
of the Divine Essence as Trinitarian. And finally, by Theol 
ogy there began to be understood that which is revealed to 
us concerning this mystery, since to this extent only we can 
deal with this mystery. At the point of history when the 
supremacy of the Church was transferred from the East to 
the West, and the living word 0eo\oyia was lost in the dead 
barbarism Theologia, this Latin term was understood to mean 
the revealed knowledge of the mystery of the Threefold 
Being of God, and by no means a prosecution of Theological 
departments of study. 

57. Theological Modality of the Conception of Theology 

Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theol. I. 9, L, art. 7) already 
protested against the abuse of making the nature of Theology 


to consist, not in the knowledge of God, but in the knowl 
edge of an entirely different object of investigation; and 
thus against those who assigned, not God, but "another 
subject for this science, for example, either things and 
signs, or the works of redemption, or else the whole Christ, 
that is, both head and members"; for, says he, "all these 
are treated in this science, but according to their order with 
respect to God" ("aliter assignaverunt huius scientiae sub 
ject urn, sc. vel res, et signa, vel opera reparationis, vel totum 
Christum, id est, caput et membra," . . . "de omnibus istis 
tractatur in ista scientia, sed secundum ordinem ad Deum"). 1 
So far as this protest directs itself against the soteriological 
or Christological interpretation of the science of Theology, 
it is equally pertinent to almost all definitions which in the 
course of this century have been given of the conception of 
Theology. What he says, on the other hand, of Theology 
as a study of the Signa et Res, refers in part to Peter 
Lombard s Sententiae, but principally to Augustine, who, 
in his Libri IV. de doctrina Christiana, had followed the 
division into Signa et Re*, a division which Thomas does 
not reject, but which in his view does not define the "sub 
ject of Theology," or what we would call the object of 

The important interest defended by Thomas in this pro 
test, a protest to which all earlier Reformed theologians have 
lent their influence, lies in the requirement that the concep- 

1 S"ientiae snbjectnm here stands for what we would call Scientiae obj/-c- 
tnm. This confusion between the grammatical and the logical antithesis of 
subject and object is to be laid to Aristotle s credit, who took rb vtroKtlnevov, 
i.e. the subject, also for rb wepl ov 6 \6yos yiverai. Compare Prantl, Ge- 
srhichtc der Loyik im AbcndJand, Leipzig, 18(!7, III. 208: "An unzahligen 
Stellen treffen wir fortan (since Duns Sc-otus, 11308, who first placed them 
over against each other as termini), bis in das 18th Jahrhundert (d. h. bis 
Alex. Baumgarten) diesen gebrsuich der Worte subjective und objective, 
welcher zu dem jetzigen sich genau umgekehrt verhiilt : niimlich damalshiess 
subject ivitm dasjenige, was sich auf das Subject der Urtheille, also auf die 
concreten Gegenstande des Penkens, bezieht; hingegen obji-ctivc, jenes, was 
im blossen objicere, i.e. im Vorstelligmachen, liegt und hiemit auf Hechnung 
des Vorstellenden fiillt. 

See also Kudolph Encken. Dif Grundbfgriffe der Cfcyi incart, Leipzig, 
18!:!: Subjectiv-Objectiv, pp. 25 ff. ; and Trenclelenburg, Ek-mcnta Loyi< rs 
Ariftnti-liciaei ed. VIII., pp. 54, 55. 


tion of Theology must not only be construed abstractly logi 
cally, but also theologically. Augustine already tried to do 
this, though he rarely used the word Theology to indicate 
the conception intended by us. What in the Western 
Church also was called Theology, he called Doctrina de Deo 
or Christian Doctrine ; and however strange it may seem, 
by the word Theology Augustine understands the pagan 
rather than the Christian conceptions of the Divine. This 
appears prominently in his De Civitate Dei, in which 
he (Lib. VI., c. 5 sq., ed. Bened. Bass. Ven., 1797, 
pp. 179-255) discusses the system of Varro, as though 
there were three kinds of Theology: mythology (theologia 
fabulosa ), which lived in tradition and in the theatre ; 
natural theology (theologia naturalis), which is found 
in the writings of the philosophers; and State religion 
(theologia civilis), which was maintained by official public 
worship. And it is noteworthy that while continually 
quoting this threefold description of Theology, Augustine 
nowhere places theologia Christiana, or vera, over against 
it, but always speaks of Doctrina Christiana. Once only, 
in caput 8 (p. 203), does he take theologia in its general 
sense, but still not to express doctrina Christiana, but that 
after which the doctrina Christiana seeks. In refuting the 
physiological representations of the philosophers he says: 
"But all these things, they say, have certain physical, 
i.e. natural, interpretations, showing their natural mean 
ing; as though in this disputation we were seeking physics 
arid not theology, which is the account, not of nature, but 
of God." From this we see, that by "Theology " Augustine 
did not understand the study of our science, nor that sci 
ence itself; by him this was called doctrina; but much more 
the knowledge of God, as the aim of theological study. 

Thus with Augustine already this deeper conception of 
Theology bore a decidedly theological character. This is 
seen in his Libri IV. de doctrina Christiana, where he goes 
back to God, as Himself the Wisdom (Sapientia), and calls 
Christ, as the Word of God (Verbum Dei), the first way to 
God (prima ad Deum via), and then by the side of the 


intellectual method of attaining the knowledge of God, he 
also emphasizes the way of contemplation (via contempla- 
tionis) and the seeing of God. Thomas Aquinas also 
occupies this point of view in the main, and in his footsteps 
also Calvin. Thomas chief work bears, indeed, the title of 
Snmma tlieologica, but in his introduction he systematically 
treats of the sacra doctrina, which really is not Theology 
itself, but circa tlieologiam versatur. Only rarely does the 
word tlieolofjia occur with him, as, for instance, when in P. 
i. i. Qu. art. 7, ed. Xeap., 1702, I., p. 12 1 , he says: "But in 
this science discourse is chiefly made about God, for it is 
called Theology, as being discourse about God" ("Sed in hac 
scientia lit sermo principaliter de Deo; dicitur enim theo- 
logia, quasi sermo de Deo"). Here, however, he gives us 
least of all a definition, but derives an argument from the 
etymology of the word to maintain " God " (6 $eo?) as the 
object of the sacred doctrine. The real conception which 
he attaches to Theology is therefore much more clearly seen 
from what he says concerning faith, hope and love as the 
three virtutes theologicae (see I., secundae, qu. 02, art. i. 
sq.~). Let it be noted also that he did not write as the 
title of his work: Sumina theologtae, but Summa theologiea. 
De Moor, in his Comm. in Jlarck., Tom. I., p. 9, quotes 
these words of Thomas: "Theology is taught by God, 
teaches of God, and leads to God " (" Theologia a Deo 
docetur, Deum docet et ad Deum ducit ") ; since, however, 
he does not name the place where he found this citation, it 
is not to be verified. In like manner Calvin does not p ive 


to his dogmatics the title of Epitome Theologiae, but of 
Institutio religionis Christianae, and translates the word 
theologia, which he almost everywhere avoids, by notitla Dei 
(cf. Lib. I., c. i., i. s^.). The indexes are not trustworthy 
with reference to this. The index to Thomas as well as 
to Calvin s Institutes gives a meaning to the word Theology 
in which the word Theology itself was used neither by Thomas 
nor by Calvin. 

This distinction, now, which maintained itself for a 
loner time between theological science as sacred learning 


or instruction (sacra doctrina, institutio), etc., and The 
ology itself as knowledge of Grod (notitia Dei), was not 
trivial ; but tended to interpret the conception of Theology 
theologically, as this theological conception is more precisely 
analyzed into the theologia archetypa and ectypa. And this 
must be maintained. The field of knowledge disclosed 
to us in Theology cannot logically be coordinated with 
the other fields that are investigated by our understanding. 
As soon as this is done, Theology is already robbed of its 
peculiar character, and cannot be interpreted except as a 
part of metaphysics, or as a science whose object of investi 
gation is the empirical phenomenon of religion, or, more 
precisely, the Christian religion. If, on the other hand, 
Theology is a knowledge which, instead of dealing with 
created things, illumines our minds with respect to the 
Creator, and the "origin and end of all things," it follows 
that this knowledge must be of a different nature, and must 
come to us in another way. The normae that are valid for 
our knowledge elsewhere have no use here; the way of 
knowledge must here be another one, and the character itself 
of this knowledge must differ from all other science. As 
within the boundaries of the finite you must follow a differ 
ent way to knowledge for the spiritual than for the natural 
sciences, the way to the knowledge of that which transcends 
the finite and lies beyond its boundary cannot coincide with 
the Erkenntnisstheorie of the finite. Hence we have no war 
rant for making a logical division and saying: Science inves 
tigates nature, man, and God, and the science which does the 
latter is Theology, simply because the coordination of nature, 
God and man is false. He who views these three as co 
ordinates, starts out logically from the denial of God as God. 
This was entirely correctly perceived by the Greek Fathers, 
and in the steps of Augustine by the Western Fathers, in 
consequence of which, even though without sufficient clear 
ness of insight, they refused to place Theology in line with 
the other -logies or -nomies, and demanded a theological 
interpretation of the conception of Theology. The force of 
this theological interpretation was still felt in the second 

240 57. THEOLOGICAL MODALITY [l)i\. Ill 

half of the eighteenth century, whenever the dogmatic! de 
scribed Dogmatics not as a subdivision of Theology or as 
one of the departments of theological study, but as the 
theologia propria, to which exegesis, church history, church 
polity, etc., were added as auxiliary studies. They had 
already lost the conception of Theology to such an extent 
that, although not theoretically, they practically applied the 
name of Theology to the human study which was devoted to 
this revealed knowledge of God; but from their limitation of 
this name to Dogmatics it was evident that they took this to 
be the study that leads to the right understanding of the real 
knowledge of God. They were not concerned about all kinds 
of learning, but about God Himself, and that alone which 
could bring us a closer knowledge of that God could claim in 
the more precise sense the name of Theology. It is indeed 
true, as is shown by the history of Encyclopedia, that the En 
cyclopedists gradually began to understand by Theology the 
complex of the several departments of theological study; 
but no one will contend that in doing this they contributed 
to an organic interpretation of the conception of Theology. 
Of Schleiermacher only it can reall} be said that, seeing the 
unskilfulness of the earlier Encyclopedists, he seriously 
tried to bring Theology, not as a knowledge of God, but 
taken as a theological science, to a unity of interpretation. 
It is too bad that he went to work at this so unhistorically ; 
that he paid almost no attention to the development of the 
conception of Theology in former ages: and still more is 
it a pity that, mistaken in the idea of the object, he could 
not attain to an organic interpretation, and advanced no 
further than to explain it as an aggregate, united by the 
tendency of these several studies to aid in preparation 
for the sacred office. By this he cut off the theological 
understanding from the conception of Theology; and they 
who have come after him have no doubt superseded his 
aggregate by an organic conception, and his exceedingly 
limited object by a broader object, but have not removed 
the breach between what Theology was originally and what 
lias since been understood by it. The rule continued to be 


derived exclusively from Logica by which to define the con 
ception of Theology, and thus it was impossible to regain 
the theological conception of this science. This does by no 
means imply that repristination of the former conception 
would suffice. The very contrary will appear from our 
further exposition. All we intend to say, is that here also 
no progress is possible, unless we continue our work along 
the line of those threads that were spun for us in the past. 

And in looking back upon this past we find that in the 
conception of Theology a characteristic theological modality 
exhibits itself almost constantly; by which we mean that 
the peculiar character of Theology has exerted an influence 
also upon the forming of this conception. How far this 
influence extended can only be shown in the following sec 
tions ; but in order to place the significance of those sections 
in the desired light, it was specially necessary to refer to 
this point. 

58. The Idea of Theology 

He who is called to the fifth story of a large building, 
and finds an elevator, which without any effort on his part 
brings him in a moment where he wants to be, will not 
climb the hundred or more steps on foot. Applied to our 
knowledge, this implies that common, slow investigation, 
with its inductions and deductions, is merely the stairs with 
its hundred steps by which we climb the heights of knowl 
edge, while the attainment of knowledge is ever the aim in 
view. From which it follows that if that same height of 
knowledge can be reached by a shorter or less laborious 
way, the former stairs become worthless. This is true hori 
zontally as well as vertically. Since now there are railways 
to all the corners of Europe, no one travels any longer by 
stage-coach. Though there may be a peculiar pleasure 
attached to that slow rate of progress, or rather to creeping 
along the way of knowledge, it is, nevertheless, somewhat 
morbid to abandon for the sake of this lower pleasure the 
much higher delight of the knowledge of the truth. Lessing s 
proverb has led us astray on this point, and therefore the brief 

242 58. THE IDEA OF THEOLOGY [Div. Ill 

indication of the only true point of view was necessary. What 
surprises still await us of locomotion by electricity or through 
the air are not easily foretold ; but this is certain, that every 
more rapid communication antiquates the less rapid. This 
compels us in Theology, also, to distinguish between the 
conception and the idea of Theology. The conception is 
bound to the way of knowledge which we travel. The 
idea, on the other hand, views the end, independently of the 
question of the way by which this end shall be reached. 
This was the distinction in view in the formerly generally 
current division of Theology into a theologia unionis, vis- 
ionis and stadii. This supplied three conceptions, which 
found their unity in the idea of Theology. The theologia 
unionis was that highest knowledge of God, which Christ 
possessed in His human nature, by virtue of the union of this 
nature with the Divine nature. The theologia visionis, also 
called patriae, was the appellation of the knowledge of God 
which once the elect will obtain in the state of heavenly 
blessedness. And the theologia stadii, also called studii, or 
viafonim, expressed that knowledge of God which is acquired 
here upon earth by those who are known of the Lord. 
That which was common to them all, and which united 
these three conceptions, was the general idea of the knowl- 
ed;/e of God. The aim of Theology, therefore, did not lie 
in the theological investigation, neither in all sorts of 
studies and learning, but exclusively in knowing Crod. All 
study and learning served only as scaffolds for erecting the 
palace of our knowledge ; but as soon as the building was 
finished that scaffolding lost all its meaning, even became a 
hindrance, and had to be cleared away. And this was more 
clearly perceived in olden times, than by most theologians 
after Schleiermacher. The idea of Theology can be none 
other than the knowledge of Cro<L and all activity impelled 
by Theology must in the last instance be bent upon the 
knowledge of God. This is not said in a metaphorical, but 
in a very exact sense. And this must be maintained as 
the idea of Theology, when you come to consider also 
the science of Theology, as it is studied and taught by the 


Theological faculty. By a different notion of the idea, and by 
lowering your ideal, you degrade theological science itself. 
According to its idea, Theology does not at first demon 
strate that there is a God ; but it springs out of the over 
whelming impression which, as the only absolutely existing 
One, God Himself makes upon the human consciousness, and 
finds its motive in the admiration which of itself powerfully 
quickens the thirst to know God. Though Theology may 
be permitted to seek after proofs for the existence of God, 
by which it may open the eyes of those half-blind, it can 
not itself start out from doubt, nor can it spend itself in the 
investigation of religious phenomena, or in the speculative 
development of the idea of the absolute. It may do all this 
when it is convenient and as a dialectic auxiliary, but all 
this is only secondary ; at most, a temporary bridge, by 
which itself to reach the other side or bring others there, 
but its purpose, wading the mountain stream, remains to 
come to the mountain itself, and in the sweat of its brow to 
climb the mountain path, until at length the highest peak is 
reached, the top itself, where the panorama, the knowledge 
of God, unveils itself. Only when thus interpreted does 
Theology regain its necessary character, and otherwise it 
lapses into an accidental dilettantism. Thus only it regains 
its value, and, apart from every conception of utility or 
eudemonistic purpose, it recovers an absolute significance 
in itself. Thus in its very idea it advances beyond the 
boundary of our present existence, and extends itself into 
the eternal and the infinite. 

The older Theologians derived this more accurate insight 

o o 

into the nature of Theology and this necessary distinction be 
tween the idea and the several conceptions of the one Theology 
from the Holy Scriptures. In the Scriptures " the knowledge 
of God " is clearly stated as the forma of " eternal life, and 
of that knowledge of God several degrees are indicated. 
The distinction is evident at once between the knowledge 
of God disclosed to man before he sinned, and that modified 
knowledge of God given to the sinner. There was a knowl 
edge of God for Him who said : " Neither doth any know 

244 58. THE IDEA OF THEOLOGY [Div. Ill 

the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son 
willeth to reveal him"; and a knowledge of God for those 
who could not attain this save by that Son. And finally in 
the Scriptures a very significant distinction is made between 
the knowledge of God of those who have been "enlightened" 
and of those who still "walk in darkness"; between the 
knowledge of God, already obtained here by those who have 
been enlightened, and that which shall sometime be their por 
tion in the realm of glory. Hence a rich difference of form 
was found in the Scriptures, but still the same idea was com 
mon to all these forms, which idea was and is : to know Grod, 
and to know Him as men. For in the Scriptures a knowledge 
of God in the world of angels is also spoken of, which is not 
entirely lost even in fallen angels, so that " the devils also 
believe that there is one God " ; but since this knowledge 
assumes another subject, we need not here take it into ac 
count. This treatise deals exclusively with human Theol 
ogy (Theologia humana), and for the sake of clearness we 
leave the other distinctions alone, in order now to study 
the distinction between our knowledge of God here and in 
heaven (Theologia stadii and patriae). 

The classical proof-text for this is 1 Cor. xiii. 8-13, where 
the holy apostle definitely declares, that the gnosis which we 
now have " shall be done away," since now it is only a know 
ing "in part"; that in this matter of our knowledge of 
God there is a "perfect" contrasted to that which is now "in 
part" ; that when that which is "perfect" is come, a seeing 
of "fpce to face" shall come into being ; and that this seeing 
shall be a "knowing even as also I have been known." 
Elsewhere also, in Matt. v. 8, in 1 John iii. 2, in Psalm xvii. 
1 5, etc., a knowledge of God is mentioned, which shall con 
sist in a neeiny of God; but for brevity s sake we confine 
ourselves to the utterance in 1 Cor. xiii. Two things are 
here included. First, a sharp dividing-line is drawn between 
the knowledge of God which is acquired on earth, and that 
other knowledge of God which is in prospect on the other 
side of the grave. But secondly, the relation is indicated 
which is sustained between these two forms of knowledge. 


Knowledge does not disappear in order to make room for 
sight. It is not a knowing here and a seeing of God 
there. No, it is a knowing both here and there ; but with 
this difference, that here it is " in part " and there it shall 
be "perfect." The seeing, on the other hand, is, here as 
well as there, the means by which to obtain that knowl 
edge ; here a seeing " through a glass darkly," there a 
seeing "face to face." The holy apostle treats even more 
exhaustively the relation between Theology here and in 
heaven by indicating the analogy of the child that becomes 
a man. The child and the man have both a certain knowl 
edge, but the knowledge of the child dissolves in that of 
the man. By becoming a man he himself brings the put 
ting away of that which belonged to the child. Thus the 
unity between the two forms of our knowledge of God is 
most firmly maintained, and both conceptions of knowledge 
emphasized as finding their higher unity in the idea of The 
ology, which is and always will be : the knowledge of G-od. 
That Paul speaks very expressly here of the knowledge of 
Grod, and not of " the knowledge of divine things " in gen 
eral, appears clearly from the Ka6a><s eTrejvcoadrjv in vs. 12. 
"Knowing even as also I am known" cannot mean any 
thing save knowing Him by whom I am known. 

The objection also that this future seeing of God is merely 
mystical or contemplative, and that therefore it has nothing 
to do with our logical consciousness, but falls outside of 
Theology, is set aside by 1 Cor. xiii. The logical is not a 
temporal form of our human consciousness, fundamentally 
fictitious, and therefore bound to pass away. But God Him 
self is logical, for in Him also knowledge is assumed, and 
between our knowledge here and that which shall be ours 
in eternity, there is no essential, but only a proportional, 
difference : now in part, then perfect. Similarly the differ 
ence between the two modes of knowledge is merely that of 
the immediate and mediate. Then our knowledge will turn 
immediately on God Himself, while now we only observe the 
image of God in a glass, in which it is reflected. Thus the 
continuity of our knowledge of God is not broken by the pass- 

246 58. THE IDEA OF THEOLOGY [Div. Ill 

ing away of present things. When the knowledge "in part 
shall have passed away, the identity of our consciousness 
shall continue. That same ego, which now can only faintly 
discern the image of God in a glass, shall presently be con 
scious of the fact that it knows that selfsame God whose 
image it first saw "darkly," and will recognize in the Divine 
face those very features which formerly it observed in the 
glass imperfectly and indirectly. From this, at least, we see 
that the so-called scientific investigation shall sometime fall 
away; that it bears no absolute character; and that it derives 
its temporal necessity merely from the condition brought 
about by sin, and its possibility logically from " common 
grace" and theologically from the "particular grace" of di 
vine illumination. And if this is so, it follows of itself that 
scientific investigation can never be Theology, and is only 
an accidental activity amid present conditions and within 
given boundaries, impelled by the thirst after Theology, or 
rather by the thirst after the knowledge of God. Hence the 
higher idea of the knowledge of G-od determines Theological 
science and not Theological science the idea of Theology. 
There can, and there will hereafter, be a rich Theology 
without the aid of a Theological science ; while on the other 
hand when Theological science withdraws itself from the 
knowledge of God, it loses all sufficient reason, and can lead 
no other than a nominal existence. 

The naming of the animals by the original man in paradise 
presents a partial analogy. In the domain of zoology, also, 
the real end in view is not scientific study, but knowledge of 
the animal. In our present condition this knowledge cannot 
be acquired except by empirical investigation and the draw 
ing of conclusions from the data obtained. But if we knew 
and understood the animal at once, this empirical investiga 
tion and this drawing of conclusions would be purposeless, 
and hence dispensable. And something like this is told us 
in the story of paradise. There was here really a knowledge 
of the animal by the "seeing of face to face." To Adam 
the animals were no enigma as to us, but were known and 
understood by him ; and therefore he could give them a 


name according to their nature. Had this capacity remained 
intact in us, zoology of course would have assumed an en 
tirely different form ; and not in a lesser but in a much 
higher sense it would still have been zoology. For the 
knowledge of animals in paradisaical man was not analogous 
to the vague perception which we now have immediately of 
the world of sounds or of moral phenomena, but it was logi 
cal ; as is evident from the fact that it led to the giving of 
the name. And in this sense it presents an analogy for 
Theology in its two different phases. Just as now in zool 
ogy scientific study is indispensable if we would obtain 
a logical knowledge of the animal, in our present dispen 
sation Theological study is equally indispensable to obtain 
the logical knowledge of God. But as in paradise knowl 
edge of animals was at the disposal of man without this 
study, in the dispensation of glory man will similarly attain 
a much more complete and yet logical knowledge of God, 
without theological study. This is equally applicable to 
theologia paradisi and tlieologia unionis ; but this we pass 
by because for the sake of clearness we are considering only 
the antithesis between our knowledge of God " in a glass " 
here and " face to face " in glory. 

If it is now plain that the theological idea lies in the 
impulse of our human consciousness to know G-od, entirely 
independently of the way in which this knowledge is to be 
acquired, our object has been gained. The idea of Theology 
as such is imperishable, but, according to the demands of our 
condition, it leads us by different ways to our ideal. The 
way which we must travel is that of theological study, and 
the science which is born from this study can with entire 
propriety be called Theology, provided this is not done in an 
exclusive sense, and this science admits no other motive than 
to know or learn to know G-od. Every conception of Theol 
ogy which is not subordinated to the idea of Theology must 


59. The Dependent Character of Theology 

If the idea of Theology lies in the knowledge of 6JW, an 
entirely peculiar character Hows from this for all Theology, 
which distinguishes it from all other knowledge or investi 
gations of science. For in all other investigations the in 
vestigating subject places himself above the object to be 
investigated, is the active agent in the investigation, and 
directs his course in obedience to his own free judgment. 
And this is both possible and proper with created things, 
because among all these man ranks first. But when the 
thirst for knowledge directs itself to Him to whom man 
and all creation owe their origin, existence, and conscious 
ness, the circumstances are materially changed. Then man 
stands no longer above, but beneath the object of his investi 
gation, and over against this object he finds himself in a posi 
tion of entire dependence. Our earlier Theologians explained 
this by distinguishing between archetypal Theology (Theo- 
logia archetypa) and ectypal Theology (Theologia ectypa) 
a distinction which as it was finally defended could not 
be maintained, but which contains an element of truth that 
should not be abandoned. For the real thought fundamental 
to this distinction between archetypal and ectypal Theology 
is that all personal life remains a closed mystery to us as 
long as he whose life this is does not himself disclose it to 
us. And this thought must be maintained. We purposely 
limit ourselves to personal life in order to exclude the 
zoological question, even though we readily grant that in 
animals also a similar mystery presents itself; but this 
mystery need not detain us now, because the knowledge of 
man presents already the entirely sufficient analogy for the 
knoirledye of Grod. With man also the rule applies to each 
individual that you cannot know him in his personal exist 
ence, except he himself disclose the mystery of his inner 

And yet as far as man is concerned, appearance might 
readily deceive us. We quickly form an idea about the per 
sons we meet in daily life, and some of us can form a fairly 


accurate idea of a man at tlie very moment of meeting. 
Let us observe however : first, that being human ourselves 
we have a means in our own existence by which measurably 
at least to understand a fellow-creature. Were we not our 
selves man, we would not understand what man is ; as it reads 
in 1 Cor. ii. 11: "For who among men knoweth the things of 
a man, save the spirit of the man, which is in him?" In the 
second place, this knowledge which we owe to our mutual 
relationship, is strengthened by the fact, that as a rule we 
associate with fellow-citizens, congenial spirits, and those to 
whom we are united by a certain community of lot. Hence 
not only our common humanity, but the fact also that the 
modality of existence is largely common to us all, makes it 
easy from ourselves to form conclusions concerning others. 
How important this factor is, w r e perceive at once when we 
cross the boundaries of our native land, and especially when 
we come among other races and into entirely different coun 
tries. A Russ or Finn understands very little of the real 
inner nature of the Red man, and w r hat does a Frenchman 
understand of the inner nature of a Lapp or Finn ? In the 
third place, let it be noted that however much there may 
be something personal in every man, characters divide them 
selves into certain classes, which are recognized by certain 
combinations of phenomena, so that he who knows one or more 
of these kinds readily understands a great deal of a person, as 
soon as he perceives to what class he belongs. Fourthly, man 
is no spirit but a spiritual being, and exists simultaneously 
psychically and somatically, so that a great deal of his inner 
life manifests itself without the person being conscious of it ; 
often indeed against his will and purpose. The look of the 
eye, feature and color of face, carriage and manners, compos 
ure or restlessness in the whole appearance, etc., betray much 
of what goes on in man. To which may be added, in the 
fifth place, that in conversation or in writing a man may say 
to us or to others, something of himself from which very 
important data may be gathered directly or by inference 
concerning the mystery of his person. No doubt there are 
" closed characters," and also " characters that falsify them- 


selves," which you can never fathom, but as a rule you can 
obtain considerable knowledge of a man, even when he does 
not purposely disclose to you the mystery of his person. 

If, now, on the other hand, you turn from the knowledge 
of man to the knowledge of God, you perceive at once that 
almost nothing of these five means of help is at your dis 
posal. Standing before God you do not find an analogy in 
your own being to His Being, because He is God and you 
are man. The closer knowledge of your fellow-man which 
you acquire from your sharing his modality of existence falls 
entirely away, since the distance between you and the Eter 
nal Being discovers itself the more overwhelmingly as your 
existence specifies itself. The division into kinds is of 
equally little service, because there is but one God, of whom 
therefore no conclusion can be drawn from the species to the 
individual. Unintentional somatic unveiling is equally im 
possible with God, since asomatic and only spiritual exist 
ence characterizes Him as God. And finally, the casual 
dropping of a remark does not occur with respect to the 
Eternal Being, since the casual and unconscious doing of a 
thing is not predicable of God. 

The difficulty which the biographer encounters when he 
undertakes to sketch the development of a character that 
belongs to another age, land and surroundings, and of 
which almost no personal utterances are handed down in 
writing, repeats itself with the Theologian, only in an abso 
lute measure. His aim and purpose is to acquire knowledge 
of a Being which is essentially distinguished from himself 
and from all other creatures ; a Being which, by no amount 
of investigation, he can compel to give knowledge of itself ; 
which as such falls entirely outside of his reach ; and over 
against which he stands absolutely agnostically, in accord 
ance with the true element of Spencer s Agnosticism. 

Let it not be said, that an infinite number of things are 
manifest and knowable of God, in the works of creation, in 
history, and in the experiences of our own inner life ; for all 
this leads to a certain knowledge of God, only when God has 
begun to reveal Himself to me as a God, who exists and exists 


as God. Even though for the moment we do not reckon 
with the darkening of sin, all that is called " natural revela 
tion" would not impart to us the least knowledge of God, 
if it were not willed by God, and as such make an inten 
tional revelation, i.e. a disclosure in part of His Divine 
mystery. Suppose that on the fixed stars there lived a 
race of beings, of an entirely different type from what we 
have ever known ; the simple report of what they had 
done would never advance our knowledge of them, as long 
as the idea, not to say every conception, of their kind of 
being were wanting. From the nature of the case this is 
much more forceful with reference to the knowledge of God, 
and the contemplation of visible things would avail us ab 
solutely nothing, if the sense that there is a God, and of 
what a God is, were not imparted to us in an entirely differ 
ent way. 

In this sense we speak of a dependent character for Theol 
ogy. When an absolute stranger falls into the hands of 
the police, which is no infrequent occurrence anywhere, and 
steadfastly refuses to utter a single syllable, the police face 
an enigma which they cannot solve. They are entirely de 
pendent upon the will of that stranger either to reveal or 
not to reveal knowledge of himself. And this is true in an 
absolute sense of the Theologian over against his God. He 
cannot investigate God. There is nothing to analyze. There 
are no phenomena from which to draw conclusions. Only 
when that wondrous God will speak, can he listen. And 
thus the Theologian is absolutely dependent upon the pleas 
ure of God, either to impart or not to impart knowledge of 
Himself. Even verification is here absolutely excluded. 
When a man reveals something of himself to me, I can 
verify this, and if necessary pass criticism upon it. But 
when the Theologian stands in the presence of God, and God 
gives him some explanation of His existence as God, every 
idea of testing this self-communication of God by something 
else is absurd ; hence, in the absence of such a touchstone > 
there can be no verification, and consequently no room for 
criticism. This dependent character, therefore, is not some- 


thing accidental, but essential to Theology. As soon as this 
character is lost, there is no more Theology, even though an 
investigation of an entirely different kind still adorns itself 
with the theological name. In his entire Theology the 
Theologian must stand in the presence of God as his God, 
and as soon as for a single instant he looks away from the 
living God, in order to engage himself with an idea about 
God over which he will sit as judge, he is lost in phrase 
ology, because the object of his knowledge has already van 
ished from his view. As you cannot kneel in prayer before 
your God as worshipper, in any other way except as depend 
ent upon Him, so also as Theologian you can receive no 
knowledge of God when you refuse to receive your knowl 
edge of Him in absolute dependence upon Him. 

This deep sense of dependence has ever induced our real 
theologians, in the days of their power, to place all our 
knowledge of God as ectypal Theology, in absolute de 
pendence upon the self-knowledge of God, which they called 
archetypal Theology. As the ectype is absolutely depend 
ent upon the archetype, is governed and formed by it, 
thus, they would say, all our knowledge of God is abso 
lutely governed by the knowledge which God has of Him 
self. Thus they taught that we of ourselves can never enter 
into the holy place of the Lord, to examine it and gather 
knowledge concerning it, but that it behooves us to take 
our stand on this side of the veil, and to wait for what 
God Himself will communicate to us from this holy place 
and from behind this veil. This revelation or communica 
tion, which is imparted to our knowledge, we may consider, 
analyze, systematize and cast into the form of our con 
sciousness ; but in all these operations all active investiga 
tion after what is God s remains excluded, all knowledge 
remains received knowledge, and it is not God Himself, but 
the knowledge He has revealed to us concerning Himself 
which constitutes the material for theological investigation. 
Hence ectypal Theology. 

The objection raised against this division and appellation 
cannot stand. It has been said, that in this way we 


can also speak of an ectypal zoology, botany, etc. For 
these parts of His creation are also known to God before 
they are known to us ; and all our knowledge of the world 
of animals and plants, etc., is either in harmony with the 
knowledge God has of them and then true, or in antago 
nism with it and then false. This distinction between 
archetypal and ectypal knowledge is valid in every depart 
ment, and therefore may not be claimed as something char 
acteristic of Theology. But this objection is altogether 
inaccurate. For instance, I can order a sketch to be made 
of a gable-roof, which upon examination is seen to agree 
entirely with the original drawing of the architect ; but 
does that prove that this last sketch has been copied from 
the original drawing ? No, only if this sketch had not been 
made from the gable, but immediately from the original 
drawing, would it have been ectypal ; but not now. It is 
not true, therefore, that our botanical and zoological knowl 
edge can be called ectypal. It \vould be this, if we did not 
draw this knowledge from the world of animals and plants, 
but copied it apart of these realities from the decree of 
creation, as far as it referred to animals and plants. We 
will not stop to consider the question whether our knowl 
edge of the world of angels, of the soul, of the other side 
of the grave, of the future, etc., is not ectypal ; this ques 
tion is in order in the section on the ambitus (circle) of 
Theology. It is enough if the essential difference is 
clear between a knowledge which is the result of the 
active investigation of an object, and that wholly different 
knowledge which we must first passively receive and then 
actively investigate. And with the old Theologians we 
maintain the ectypal character of the knowledge of God, 
since no man can investigate God Himself, and all the 
knowledge which we shall have of God can only be a copy 
of the knowledge God has of Himself, and is pleased to 
communicate to us. 

Besides the strictly dependent character of Theology, there 
lie in this ectypal characteristic two suggestions, which must 
be emphasized. First, that there is no involuntary re vela- 


tion. This refutes the idea that God may be more or 
less unconscious of Himself, or that He could be seen by 
us in His works, without His willing or knowing it. Since 
this ectypal Theology has its rise only from the fact that 
archetypal Theology imprints itself in it, there is nothing 
in the ectype which was not first in the archetype. Every 
thing, therefore, from without that mingles itself with the 
ectype and does not come to it from the archetype, is con 
traband and must be excluded. A child may watch his 
father without his perceiving it or wanting to be watched ; 
a precocious child can sometimes know his father better 
than he can know himself ; but nothing of all this can ever 
take place with reference to God, because all this springs 
from the imperfection of the father or from the superiority 
of his child, and the very idea of God excludes every pos 
sibility both of incompleteness in God and of superiority 
in His creature. All representations of this sort, therefore, 
which have crept more and more into Theology, must 
be banished as impious, since they start out essentially 
from the exaltation of man above God. The second 
point, which must be emphasized in the ectypal character 
of our knowledge of God, is the truth of our knowledge of 
God. If the ectypal originates by the imprint of the 
archetypal, the ectypal image is no phantasy, no imagination, 
but an image in truth. Just as we saw in the antithesis 
between Theology here and hereafter, that our knowledge 
of God on earth shall then be done away, and rise again 
in a nigher form of a knowledge "face to face"; but 
always such, that the truth of our knowledge " in part " 
shall be the more fully exhibited by the completer knowl 
edge in heaven. Our given knowledge of God derives 
from this its absolute character, not as to its degree of 
completeness, but with reference to its connection with its 
object, i.e. with God. God who is, lias knowledge of Him 
self ; and from this self-knowledge God has taken the knowl 
edge given to us. This excludes not only doubt, but also 
the dilution of subjectivism, as if our formulated statement 
of the knowledge of God in our confession were unim- 


portant, and without loss of truth could be exchanged for 
every other confession or placed on a line with it. 

Meanwhile we should guard against anthropomorphism in 
our representations of this archetypal knowledge of God. As 
human beings, we do not know ourselves at the beginning 
of our lives , gradually we obtain a certain consciousness 
of our own person, and we frame a certain representation of 
our personal existence and of our inner being. In in 
timate intercourse we can impart this representation of 
ourselves to others. And in this way it is also possible 
to speak of a certain archetypal and ectypal knowledge of 
our person. But if this were applied similarly to God, we 
would incur a very serious error. We cannot conceive of 
a gradually increasing self-consciousness in God, and con 
sequently of an existence of God that preceded His con 
sciousness. Consciousness in God covers His entire existence, 
and the word " eternal " is predicable of both in an intensive 
sense. Hence with God there can be no self-knowledge 
which has been formed in a human way by observation, 
analysis, inference, etc. The self-knowledge in God is sui 
generis, and therefore Divine. If this condemns the admis 
sion of all anthropomorphism in the archetypal knowledge, 
this mode of representation is equally inadmissible in our 
communication of this knowledge to man. When we com 
municate something concerning ourselves to another, it is 
man who imparts something to man, and thereby deals 
with analogies that are mutually present, and with similar 
representations which render the understanding of our 
communications possible. All this, however, falls away 
when God approaches man. Then it is not God revealing 
knowledge of Himself to a Q-od, but God imparting His 
self-knowledge to man. Moreover, in our communications 
with others concerning ourselves, we are bound to the form 
of thought, and must take the capacity for knowledge as it 
is ; but there is no such limitation with God, who Himself 
created the creature to whom He has determined to impart 
this self-knowledge, and thus was able to adapt this capacity 
for knowledge to His revelation. And, finally, it should be 



remembered that we can mutually come close to each other s 
heart, but can never penetrate each other s inner selves ; 
while the door to the secret and innermost recesses of our 
being is open to God. 

It was entirely correct, therefore, when in olden times 
it was additionally stated that ectypal Theology reveals 
to us the self-know r ledge of God according to our human 
capacity; and that the necessity was felt in the eigh 
teenth century (see De Moor, Comm. in Marck., Vol. I., 
p. 29) of limiting archetypal Theology to that self-knowl 
edge of God, quam creaturae manifestare decreverat, i.e. 
" ivhich he had decreed to reveal to the creature." In it 
self this was correctly viewed ; in order to preserve the 
image of the type, the ectypal must be equal in extent 
and form to the archetypal. And yet this further expla 
nation has not made the matter itself more clear, but more 
confusing, both mechanically and intellectually. In the 
self-knowledge of God there are not ten parts, six of which 
he has decided to reveal unto us ; but, though only " as in a 
glass darkly," the whole image has been reflected to us in 
Revelation. Neither will it do to interpret the revelation 
of God s self-knowledge as a merely intellectual communica 
tion, independent of Creation and the Incarnation ; for this 
would cut in Revelation itself the main artery of religion. 

Rather, therefore, than lose ourselves in this intellectual- 
istic abstraction, we adopt the names of Archetypal and 
Ectypal Theology in the originally fuller sense, i.e. as 
standing in immediate relation to the creation of man after 
the image of God. As man stands as ectype over against 
God, the archetype, man s knowledge of God can therefore 
be only ectypal. This is what we meant when we called 
Theology a dependent knowledge a knowledge which is 
not the result of an activity on our part, but the result of 
an action which goes out from God to us ; and in its wider 
sense this action is God s self-revelation to His creature. 


60. Ectypal Theology the Fruit of Revelation 

The ectype does not arise unless there is a material that 
can receive the impression of the archetype, and the act of 
impressing it on this material has taken place. And though 
in the preceding section it was maintained that the ectypal 
knowledge of God did not arise from our observation of 
God but from self-communication on the part of God, and 
consequently bears a dependent character, we do not assert, 
that for the acquisition of this knowledge of God the nature 
and disposition of the subject are indifferent. On the con 
trary, all revelation assumes (1) one who reveals Himself; 
(2) one to whom he reveals Himself; and (3) the possibility 
of the required relation between these two. In revelation, 
therefore, man (and more especially sinful man), who is to 
receive it, must be taken into account. If, as was done 
formerly, we exclusively consider Him who reveals Him 
self and that which He reveals, this revelation lies outside 
of man; the actual perception and assimilation are wanting; 
and the whole end of revelation is lost. In the second 
place, it will not do to interpret revelation as an announce 
ment or communication of the one subject to the other sub 
ject, without taking due account of the fact that the subject 
G-od created the subject man, and that God wholly maintains 
and governs man from moment to moment ; the result of 
which is, that He does not follow a way of communication 
that happens accidentally to be present, but that He Himself 
lays out the way of communication in keeping with His pur 
pose. In the third place, it must be kept in view that the 
revelation of God is not an act of a single moment, but a 
continuous process, which extends itself across the ages, and 
in this extension does not purposelessly swing back and 
forth, but propels itself according to the motive contained 
in its idea, according to the nature of its successive content, 
and according to the nature of the bed which its stream 
must form for itself. In the fourth place, this revelation 
may not be interpreted as an atomistical self-communication 
of God to the several individuals, but must be taken as a reve- 


lation to man in his generations, i.e. to the organic unity 
of humanity, and only in this organic unity to the single 
man. And finally, in the fifth place, account must be kept 
of the special character which this revelation had to assume, 
both with regard to the act of revelation and its content, 
and the forming of its channel in the human spirit, in 
order, in spite of the obstruction of sin, to accomplish 
its original plan and to realize the purpose implied in its 
tendency. Though it is thus unquestionably true that in 
our sinful state we could never attain to a true Theology, 
i.e. a true knowledge of God, unless the form of revelation 
were soterioloyical, it is nevertheless necessary that in our 
representation of revelation also the fact be emphasized that 
the soteriological element is ever accidental, bears merely 
an intervenient character, and remains dependent upon the 
fundamental conception of revelation which is given in 
creation itself, and which teleologically looks forward to 
a state of things in which there shall be no more sin, so 
that every soteriological act shall belong to a never-return 
ing past. 

The first proposition therefore reads : Crod reveals Him 
self for His own sake, and not in behalf of man. 

This only true starting-point for the real study of Revela 
tion has been too much lost from view, not only in recent 
times, but even in the more prosperous periods of sound 
Theology. Even in the treatment of the do</ma of "the 
necessity of sacred Scripture," the fact of sin was always 
taken as the point of departure, and thus the starting-point 
for Revelation was found in the soteriological necessity of 
causing light to arise in our darkness. A revelation before 
sin \vas, to be sure, recognized, but it was never success 
fully placed in relation to revelation in the theological 
sense ; and this was especially noticeable in the mechanical 
placing side by side of natural and revealed Theology. 
To repair this omission is therefore a necessity. Every 
interpretation of Revelation as given for mans sake, de 
forms it. You either reduce Revelation to the Creation, or 


cause it to occur only after the Creation. If you accept the 
latter view, you make it intellectualistic, and it can only 
consist, as the Socinian conceived, of an outward mechanical 
communication of certain data, commandments, and statutes. 
Thus, however, true revelation, which is rooted in religion 
itself, is destroyed. If for this reason you favor the other 
horn of the dilemma, viz. that Revelation goes back to Crea 
tion itself, then the motive for this Revelation cannot be found 
in man; simply because man was not yet in existence, and 
therefore could be no motive. For though it be asserted 
that, as the apostle Peter says, man was foreknown in the 
Divine decree before the creation, and that therefore Revela 
tion could well point to this foreknown man, the argument 
is not valid. For in the decree a motive must have ex 
isted for the foreknowledge of man himself; and if it be 
allowed that this motive at least could lie only in God, it 
follows that Revelation also, even if it found its motive in 
man, merely tended to make man what he should be for the 
sake of God, so that in this way also Revelation finds its 
final end in Grod, and not in man. 

But even this might grant too much. With a little 
thought one readily sees that Revelation is not merely 
founded in Creation, but that all creation itself is revela 
tion. If we avoid the Origenistic and pantheistic error that 
the cosmos is coexistent with God; the pagan representa 
tion that God Himself labors under some higher necessity; 
and the Schleiermachian construction that God and the 
world were correlate, at least in the idea; and if, conse 
quently, we stand firm in the sublime confession: "I believe 
in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth," the 
motive for Creation cannot be looked for in anything outside 
of God, but only and alone in Crod Himself. Not in an eter 
nal law (lex aeterna), a fate (nolpa) or necessity (avay/cij*), 
nor in some need of God nature, nor in the creature that 
was not yet created. He who does not worship God as self- 
sufficient and sovereign, misconceives and profanes His 
Being. Creation neither can nor may be conceived as 
anything but a sovereign act of God, for His own glori- 

200 00. ECTYPAL THEOLOGY [Div. Ill 

fication. God cannot be glorified by anything that comes 
to Him from without. By His own perfections alone can 
He be glorified. Hence creation itself is primarily nothing 
else than a revelation of the power of God; of the God 
Almighty, who as such is the Creator of heaven and earth. 
If this is true of creation, and of the self-revelation of 
God which was effected in the creation, this must be true 
of all revelation, simply because the cosmos, and every 
creature in the cosmos, and all that is creaturely, are given 
in the creation. If you deny this, you make an essential 
distinction between all further revelation and the revelation 
in creation; you place it as a second revelation mechanically 
alongside of the first; and lapse again into the irreligious, 
intellectualistic interpretation of revelation. If, on the 
other hand, further revelation is not taken except in organic 
relation to the revelation given in creation, and thus is post 
ulated by it, the motive of creation becomes of itself the 
motive of its manifestation; and all later revelation must 
likewise be granted to have been given us, not for our sake, 
but in the last instance for God s own sake. For though it 
is self-evident that the manner of operation of this revela 
tion in every concrete case adapts itself to the disposition of 
the creature, and in this creature reaches its temporal end, 
yet in the last instance it only completes its course when 
in this operation upon or enriching of this creature it glori 
fies its Creator. When this revelation, therefore, leads to 
the creaturely knowledge of God, i.e. ectypal Theology, this 
knowledge of God is not given primarily for our benefit, but 
because God in His sovereignty takes pleasure in leitiy known, 
of His creature; which truth is thus formulated in Holy 
Scripture, that God doeth all things for His Name s sake : 
sometimes with the additional words: not for your sake*, 

From this the second proposition follows of itself, that 
Jtivine Revelation assumes a creature capable of transposing 
thi* Revelation into subjective knowledge of God. 

Revelation by itself would not be able to realize its aim. 


Imagine that there were no reasonable creatures, and that 
the creation consisted of nothing but entirely unconscious 
creatures, incapable of consciousness, the perfections of God 
revealed in His creation could not be evident to any one but 
God Himself. This, however, would be a contradiction in 
terms. He who is Himself the Author of revelation, knows 
the entire content of His revelation before He reveals it. 
Hence nothing can become known to Him by His revelation, 
which at first He did not know. This is possible in part 
with us. When by the grace of God a poet first carries a 
poetical creation in his mind, and afterwards reveals it in 
his poem, many things become known to him in this poem 
which at first were hid from him. This is accounted for by 
the fact that this poet was inspired in his poetic creation by 
a higher power, so that he himself did not know all the 
obscure contents of his imagination. With God, on the 
other hand, such cannot be the case, simply because God 
cannot be inspired b}- one higher than Himself, and because 
there is nothing in His Being which He does not see 
with fullest clearness of vision. This implies that there 
can be no mystery for God, either in His Essence, coun 
sel, or plan of creation; and hence nothing can become 
revealed or known to God by creation. By creation the 
contents of His virtues are in nothing enriched ; in no 
particular do they become more glorious to Himself; hence 
there would be no revelation in creation or in any later 
activity of God, if there were no creature to whom all this 
could become the revelation of a mystery. For though we 
grant that God Himself sees and hears the beautiful in His 
creation ; we deny that this display in creation is a greater 
joy to God than the view of His perfections in Himself. 
Every effort to seek a necessary ground in this sense for 
the creation of the cosmos results in cancelling the self- 
sufficiency of the Eternal Being, and in making God, by 
His creation, come to the knowledge and possession of His 
own divine riches; and by a little deeper thought this of 
itself leads back again to the theory of the world s co 
existence with God. 


The proposition of an unintentional revelation is equally 
untenable. This often happens with us, because the reve 
lation of our person or of our disposition is not always 
under our control. Not only unintentionally, but some 
times against our intention and in spite of our purpose 
to the contrary, all sorts of things are constantly heard and 
seen of us, which it was by no means our desire to reveal. 
But this again you cannot apply to the Eternal Being, with 
out lapsing into the anthropopathic representation of His 
existence. Such unintentional discovery of self to others 
results from a lack of power or insight, and from a con 
sequent dependence upon many human data. Thus the 
omnipotence and absolute independence of God would be 
impaired, if in Him you assumed this unconscious, uninten 
tional, and in so far accidental, revelation. His revelation 
postulates both the will and the purpose to reveal Himself, 
and this is inconceivable, unless there is at the same time a 
conscious being outside of God, which is able to appropriate 
what is revealed, and for which this revelation is intended. 
Though a star is praised for sparkling, which it does with 
out knowing it, and a flower for the aroma that flows from 
its cup without this cup perceiving it, and though, in a 
similar strain, we praise the native simplicity of a beautiful 
character that radiates without effort and conscious aim, 
yet with no such conception can we approach the Lord 
our God, for He has nothing that He does not owe to 
Himself, and in no single particular is lie a mystery to 
Him-:elf. In Him whose is the highest and the most com 
plete consciousness, there is no room for the conditions of 
semi- or total-unconsciousness. What the Confessio Bel- 
gica states in Art. 12, that all created things are "for 
the service of man, to the end that man may serve his 
God," applies also to the realm of revelation, since man is 
the creature, by whom whatever is creaturely on earth be 
comes the instrument of revelation of the attributes of God. 

Our second proposition, however, implies more than this. 
The conscious creature is not only indispensable in order that 
revelation can be revelation, but that which is revealed must 


also be transposed by man into subjective knoivledge of God 
and of His perfections. That which God reveals is conscious 
knowledge of Himself, before He reveals it. He is not a 
Light from which effulgence radiates, while He Himself 
does not know that light. His self-knowledge is absolute, 
and the impulse to reveal His perfections arises from His 
knowledge of them. And therefore this revelation of His 
perfections does not reach its aim nor point of rest until God 
is known. Hence, without ever giving themselves to intel- 
lectualism, the Holy Scriptures always put this knowledge 
of Gf-od in the foreground, and stand in prospect a " know 
ing of God as we are known." If Mozart had been a 
completely self-conscious musician, he would not have been 
able to develop his compositions otherwise than with the 
will and aim of finding performers and hearers who would 
not only hear his compositions and perform them, but would 
also understand them. And in like manner revelation flows 
from the archetypal knowledge of God and strives to become 
ectypal knowledge of God in man. Thus revelation itself 
is properly no Theology, but flows from the auto-Theology 
in God Himself and has Theology, i.e. knowledge of God 
in man, for its result. 

This leads to our third proposition, viz. that man, in order 
to do this, must be adapted by nature, relation and process to 
interpret ivhat has been revealed as a revelation of G-od and to 
reduce it to subjective knoivledge of Crod. 

It was the aim of propositions one and two to show that 
man did not come into being indifferent as to the manner 
how, and only afterwards revelation was added to him as 
an auxiliary, and was therefore adapted to his need; but 
that, on the contrary, revelation finds its end in God, and 
our human race was in its creation entirely adapted to this 
revelation. In this third proposition examine this original 
and necessary relation between revelation on the one side 
and the nature, relation and development process of our race 
on the other. And we point at once to the twofold office 


of man in revelation. He is not only to appropriate that 
which has been revealed, but he is himself a link in that reve 
lation. This is exhibited most strongly in his logos, since 
by his logos he appropriates revelation to himself, and in his 
logos reflectively (abbildlich) reveals something of the eter 
nal logos. If the cosmos is the theatre of revelation, in this 
theatre man is both actor and spectator. This should not be 
taken in the sense that, in what is revealed in him, he adds 
one single drop to the ocean of cosmical revelation, but 
rather, that man himself is the richest instrument in which 
and by which God reveals Himself. And he is this not so 
much on account of his body and his general psychical 
organization, but chiefly on account of that deepest and 
most hidden part of his being, in which the creaturely 
reaches its finest and noblest formation. And if, without 
lapsing into trichotomy, we may call this finest element in 
our human being the pneumatical, we define it as being both 
the choicest jewel in the diadem of revelation and the instru 
ment by which man transmutes all revelation into knowledge 
of Grod. Both are expressed in the creation of man after the 
image of G-od. On one hand, one s image is his completest 
revelation, and on the other hand, from just that creation 
after God s image originates that higher consciousness of 
man, by which in him also the logos operates. This is 
what the older Theology called innate or concreate Theologv 

O O . 

(theologia innata or concreata), and to which the doctrine 
of faith must be immediately related. 

To make this clear we must go back a moment to the iirst 
man, who, in so far as he represented our entire race, Avas 
no individual, and in whose case we do not yet need to 
reckon Avith the relation in which we stand to other men. 
It is evident that, when thus taken, Adam possessed in him 
self, apart from the cosmos, everything that was necessary 
to have knowledge of G-od. 

Undoubtedly many things concerning God were manifest to 
him in the cosmos also; without sin a great deal of God would 
have become manifest to him from his fellow-men ; and through 
the process of his development, in connection with the cosmos, 


he would have obtained an ever richer revelation of God. 
But apart from all this acquired knowledge of God, he had 
in himself the capacity to draw knowledge of God from what 
had been revealed, as well as a rich revelation from which to 
draw that knowledge. Our older theologians called these 
two together the "concreate knowledge of God"; and cor 
rectly so, because here there was no logical activity which 
led to this knowledge of God, but this knowledge of God 
coincided with man s own self-knowledge. This knowl 
edge of God was given eo ipso in his own self-conscious 
ness; it was not given as discursive knowledge, but as 
the immediate content of self-consciousness. Even in our 
present degenerate condition, when much of ourselves can 
only be learned by observation, there is always a back 
ground of self-knowledge and of knowledge of our own 
existence, which is given immediately with our self-con 
sciousness. Before the fall, when no darkening had yet 
taken place, this immediate self-knowledge must have been 
much more potent and clear. And thus it could not be 
otherwise but that in this clear and immediate self-knowl 
edge there was, without any further action of the logos in 
us, an equally immediate knowledge of God, the conscious 
ness of which, from that very image itself, accompanied him 
who had been created in the image of God. Thus the first 
man lived in an innate knowledge of God, which was not 
yet understood, and much less expressed in words, just as 
our human heart in its first unfoldings has a knowledge of 
ideals, which, however, we are unable to explain or give a 
form to. Calvin called this the seed of religion (semen reli- 
gionis), by which he indicated that this innate knowledge of 
God is an ineradicable property of human nature, a spiritual 
eye in us, the lens of which may be dimmed, but always so 
that the lens, and consequently the eye, remains. 

In connection with this, now, stands faith, that wonderful 
Trio-?, the right understanding of which has been more and 
more lost by the exclusively soteriological conception of our 
times. Of course as a consequence of the fall faith also 
was modified, and became faith in the Saviour of the world. 

266 60. ECTYl AL THEOLOGY [Div. Ill 

But the form which anything has received as a consequence 
of sin can never be its proper or original form ; and it is 
equally absurd to look upon saving faith as a new spiritual 
sense implanted for the first time by regeneration. Nothing 
can ever be added to man by regeneration which does not es 
sentially belong to human nature. Hence regeneration cannot 
put anything around us as a cloak, or place anything on our 
head as a crown. If faith is to be a human reality in the regen 
erate, it must be an attitude (habitus) of our human nature 
as such ; consequently it must have been present in the first 
man ; and it must still be discernible in the sinner. To prove 
the latter is not difficult, provided it is acknowledged that 
ethical powers (sensu neutro) operate in the sinner also, even 
though in him they appear exclusively in the privative, i.e. sin 
ful form. Taken this way, the pistic element is present in all 
that is called man ; only in the sinner this pistic element as 
sumes the privative form, and becomes unfaith (airicrTia). If 
sin is not merely the absence of good (carentia boni), but posi 
tive privation (actuosa privatio), aTriaria also is not only the 
absence of faith (absentia fidei), but the positive privation of 
faith (actuosa fidei privatio), and as such sin. By overlook 
ing this distinction our earlier theologians came to speak 
of the innate knowledge of God (cognitio Dei innata) 
as an attitude (habitus), which properly invited criticism. 
Cognitio can be no habitus. But while they expressed 
themselves incorrectly, they were not mistaken in the mat 
ter itself; they simply failed to distinguish between concreate 
theology (concreata), and faith which is inseparable from 
human nature. Faith indeed is in our human consciousness 
the deepest fundamental law that governs every form of dis 
tinction, by which alone all higher "Differentiation" becomes 
established in our consciousness. It is the daring break 
ing of our unity into a duality; placing of another ego 
over against our own ego; and the courage to face that 
distinction because our own ego finds its point of support 
and of rest only in that other ego. This general better 
knowledge of faith renders it possible to speak of faith in 
every domain; and also shows that faith originates primor- 


dially from the fact that our ego places God over against 
itself as the eternal and infinite Being, and that it dares to 
do this, because in this only it finds its eternal point of 
support. Since we did not manufacture this faith our 
selves, but God created it in our human nature, this faith 
is but the opening of our spiritual eye and the consequent 
perception of another Being, excelling us in everything, 
that manifests itself in our own being. Thus it does not orig 
inate after the Cartesian style from an imprinted idea of 
God, but from the manifestation of God in our own being to 
that spiritual eye which has been formed in order, as soon as 
it opens, to perceive Him and in ecstasy of admiration to be 
bound to Him. By faith we perceive that an eternal Being 
manifests Himself in us, in order to place Himself over against 
our ego, in the same way in which we discover the presence 
of light by our eye ; but what this eternal Being is and what 
it demands of us, is not told us by faith, but by the innate 
knowledge of God, presently enriched by the acquired. 

The discovery, the perception of a mightier Ego, which is 
above and distinct from our own ego, is therefore the start 
ing-point of all religion and of all knowledge of God. If 
we were not created after God s image, this manifestation 
would affect us strangely and cause us fear; but since in 
virtue of our creation there is an affinity between our own 
ego and that other Ego revealing itself to us, the manifesta 
tion of that mighty Ego affects us pleasantly, it fascinates 
and satisfies us with a feeling of infinite rest. It appeals to 
us. And as all revelation finds its completion only in this, 
this appeal becomes at length a speaking to us. There is 
fellowship between that peace-bringing Being, that reveals 
itself to us, and our own ego. He is the heavenly Friend, 
who does not merely reveal himself as a silent presence, but 
who, asking for our word in prayer, addresses us in the high 
est utterances of spirit, i.e. in the transparent word, and 
only in thus speaking to us becomes our God, unto whom 
goes out the worship of our hearts. In this way only does 
man know his God; not with a knowledge of Him or con 
cerning Him, but in such a way that with the deepest utter- 

268 60. ECTYPAL THEOLOGY [Div. Ill 

ance of the soul lie knows his God personally; not yet with 
the full vision, but with something already of the seeing 
of face to face lost by sin, and only to be- perfected in the 
full unfolding of our nature. Thus there is a revelation 
of God about us and within us, and the latter culminates in 
the personal knowledge of the living God, as a God who 
dwells among and associates with us, and allows us to asso 
ciate with Him. He who understands it differently from 
this separates Revelation from religion, and degrades it to an 
intellectualistic communication of certain facts or statutes. 
For the fact must not be abandoned that religion germinates 
only when it attains unto that which is written of Enoch, 
viz. that he walked with G-od. Neither knowledge nor pious 
feeling by themselves can ever be called religion. Only 
when your God and you have met each other and associate 
and walk together, does religion live in your heart. 

But even this does not fully construe the conception of 
innate tlieology. The distinction between the seed of re 
ligion and faith, both of which are increated in our human 
nature, explains how from the side of God a revelation takes 
place in us, and how our ego is disposed to observe this 
revelation in us, but this by itself does not give us any 
theology yet, i.e. knowledge of God. Even though revela 
tion in us on the one hand, and the working of our faith on 
the other hand, have so far advanced that at length we have 
perceived God in us and consequently knoiv God, we have 
as yet no knowledge of God, and hence no theology. I 
may know a number of persons in the world whom I have 
met, whose existence has been discovered to me, and of 
whom I have received general impressions, while yet I 
have no knowledge of them. That I may have knowledge 
of him whom I have met, the logical action must first take 
place. AVben I have met some one and thus know him, I 
inquire about him, or seek an interview with him, that 
I may obtain knowledge of his person. And such is the 
case here. Though God icorks and manifests Himself in 
our being, and though I have the power of faith to per 
ceive this inworking and this manifestation, this produces 


nothing in me beyond perceptions, impressions and feelings ; 
while I am left to the mysticism of my emotions. If from 
this mysticism I want to advance to knowledge, and transform 
revelation into theology, the logical action must enter in 
between ; perception must pass over into thought ; impression 
must sublimate itself into a conception; and thus the seed 
of religion must unfold the flower- bud in the word; viz. the 
word of adoration. Hence this logical action also was in 
cluded in innate theology ; simply because otherwise it could 
have been no i\\Qology. This, however, should not be taken in 
the sense that Adam was created with some sort of a cate 
chism in his head ; for logical action presumes subjective 
action of the human mind. If, therefore, we should speak 
with entire accuracy, we should say that there was no incre- 
ated theology in Adam, but that he was so created, that, in 
his awakening to self-consciousness, he arrived of necessity 
at this original theology from the data that were present in 
him. In a literal sense respiration was not increated in 
Adam, for the first inhalation only came when the creation 
was completed, while before the creation was ended he could 
not draw breath. Breathing is an action of the person 
which comes only when the person exists. Since all the 
conditions for breathing are given in our nature, and every 
person born in this nature breathes of himself and from 
necessity, no one hesitates to acknowledge that respiration 
is inborn with us all. It were mere prudery, therefore, to 
object to the expression of innate or concreate theology ; for 
though theology is the result of a logical action in the sub 
ject, with Adam this logical action took place immediately 
and from necessity ; and it was by this alone that the 
receiving of an oral revelation was already possible in para 
dise. For it is plain that the entire representation which 
the Scripture gives us of the intercourse with God in 
paradise, of the fall and subsequent promise, becomes un 
intelligible and falls away, if we assume in Adam exclu 
sively the sense of the eternal, and deny him all conscious 
knowledge of God. 

La-n(/u,a<:/e itself decides the case. Speech without Ian- 


guage is inconceivable, and lie who in contradiction to the 
Scriptures declares that the first man could utter at most a 
few vague sounds, but was not in possession of language, 
wholly denies thereby the Christian doctrine of creation and 
the fall, and consequently of the Salvation in Christ. If, on 
the other hand the original man, to speak with Heraclitus, 
possessed a language by fyvcns, 1 the very possession, of that 
language assumes a logical action which is immediate, regu 
lar and pure equally with our respiration. And if from 
the nature of the case this logical action was originally 
limited with reference to its content to what man perceived 
in himself, and, in his inner perceptions, the perception of 
God stood majestically in the foreground, it is evident that 
the first natural action of the human consciousness could 
have been no other than the necessary translating into 
knowledge of God of the inner sensibilities and perception 
effected in him by God Himself. And on this ground we 
hold that innate or concreate theology presumes three fac 
tors : (1) the inworking and manifestation of God Himself 
in Adam s inner being ; (2) faith, by which the subject 
perceives and grasps this inworking and manifestation ; and 
(3) the logical action, by which of himself and of necessity 
he reduces this content in his heart to knowledge of G-od, in 
the form of thought and word. 

From this it does not follow that one of these three fac 
tors should fall outside of Revelation. With none of these 
three factors do we overstep the boundary of creation, 
and all creation as such belongs to the domain of revelation. 
This does not need to be shown of the first factor. The 
action of God in our being is of itself revelation. But this 
same thing is true also of the second factor : faith. For 
what is faith but the sympathetic drawing of the image 
(Abbild) to the original (Urbild) ; and what is there 
revealed in this faith but that God lias created us after 

1 In opposition to the conventional theory of Pemocritus, Heraclitus 
taught that language was produced in us by the impressions received from 
the objects in or around us. So Dumocritus taught a language by 06rts, he 
by <pvvis. 


Himself, for Himself, and to Himself? And concerning 
the third factor, viz. the knowledge which is the result of the 
logical action, what expresses itself in this but the reflective 
(abbildliche) working in us of that Logos, which is in God 
and itself is God? The whole man, therefore, in his exist 
ence, in his relation to God, in his communion with, and 
his knowledge of, God, is originally but one rich revelation 
of God to man. At a later period revelation may also come 
to him from without ; but it begins by being in him, as an 
immediate result of his creation. 

This innate or connate theology was destined to be en 
riched by acquired (acquisita) theology. Not in the sense of 
addition, as though this increated knowledge would gradu 
ally increase by such and such a per cent. Innate theology 
was rather a completed whole by itself. It constituted all 
that knowledge of God, which was to be obtained from the 
immediate communion of God with the individual soul. It 
completed that knowledge of God, whose principium lies in 
the mystery of the emotions. But since the creation did not 
consist of that single soul but of a human race, and of a 
cosmos as the basis of this entire human race, a revelation of 
God was also necessary in that cosmos and in that organic 
unit of humanity ; and since the individual soul stands in 
organic relation to humanity and to the cosmos, its knowl 
edge of God had to include both these other spheres of 
revelation. Even though you conceive a development apart 
from sin, acquired theology would of itself have been 
joined to innate theology, as soon as man entered into con 
scious relation to the cosmos and humanity as an organic 
unit. Not for the sake of rilling out what was incomplete, 
but of enriching the knowledge complete in itself with the 
revelation in both these other spheres. Thus, for instance, 
to enlarge upon this with a single word, the idea of God s 
Omnipotence, Wisdom, etc., would never have entered into 
the consciousness of the soul from the cosmos nor from 
the universal human life. These ideas lie in innate the 
ology, and are given in the idea of Grod as such. Neverthe 
less the significance and tendency of these ideas are only 

272 GO. KCTYl AL THEOLOGY [Dir. Ill 

clearly seen " since the creation of tlie world, being perceived 
through the things that are made." And as to the acquired 
theology which conies to the individual soul from its relation 
to the organic unity of humanity, it is evident at once that 
the Divine is too potent and overwhelming to reveal itself 
iu one human soul. Only in the combination of the whole 
race of man does this revelation reach its creaturely com 
pleteness. Which could not be so if one man were merely a 
repetition of another, but which leads to that completeness 
since every individual is a specific variation. Herein also 
lies the ground for the social character of all religion. The 
knowledge of God is a common possession, all the riches of 
which can only be enjoyed in the communion of our race. 
Not, indeed, as if even outside of religion man is a social 
being, so that of necessity his religion also is of a social char 
acter, for this would reverse the case ; but because humanity 
is adapted to reveal God, and from that revelation to attain 
unto His knowledge, does one. complement another, and only 
by the organic unity, and by the individual in communion 
with that unity, can the knowledge of God be obtained in a 
completer and clearer sense. 

For this reason reference was made not merely to our 
nature, and to the relation we sustain to one another, but 
also to the process or course run of necessity by human devel 
opment. Without sin Adam would not have remained what 
he was, but he and his race would have developed them 
selves into a higher condition. The process as known in 
reality may be dominated by sin, but even with a sinless 
existence there would have been a process of develop 
ment; and this element must be reckoned with in theuloyia 
acquisita. Of course we cannot enter into the particulars of 
a supposed possibility cut off by sin. This were to lose 
ourselves in fiction. But in general it may be al lirmed, 
(1) that even without sin human existence would have been 
a successive existence in time, and consequently an exist 
ence in the form of a process ; (2) that the entire human 
race was not in existence at once, but could only come suc 
cessively to life; and (3), as is seen from the paradise narra- 


tive itself, the study of the cosmos would have borne a 
successive character. Hence in this process there would 
have been progress, and not simple repetition. Difference 
of relation to the Eternal Being would have resulted from 
difference of conditions. The relations among these sev 
eral conditions would have been organic. Hence in this 
process of human development there would of itself have 
appeared a process of development of the knowledge of God. 
Yea, this process itself, as history foreordained and ruled by 
God from step to step, would in turn have become a revela 
tion sui generis. In this development of the human race 
the logical consciousness in man would likewise have ob 
tained a development of its own. Thus parallel to the 
process of history there would have run a history of man 
as a logical being. In proportion as revelation enriched 
itself, the instrument would thus have become more potent by 
which man transmuted the treasures of this revelation into 
Theology. We do not say that this would have taken place 
in the form of our present science. In our human existence 
everything is so intimately connected, that the modification 
which our entire existence experienced by sin and by sin- 
restraining grace, both "common" and "particular," im 
presses its stamp upon our science also. Abstraction, which 
at present is absolutely indispensable to our science, would 
certainly not have exercised so strong an influence without 
sin as it does now. But in whatever form common human 
consciousness might have developed itself without sin, 
Theology, i.e. the knowledge of God, would have occupied 
a sphere of its own in the world of thought, and would by no 
means have been restricted to the secret reverie of individuals 
upon the sensations of their inmost soul. All revelation 
proceeds from the Logos (John i. 1-8), and therefore cannot 
rest content as long as it is not grasped and reflected back 
by the logical consciousness of individuals and of the whole 
of humanity, i.e. by the "logos in humanity." In this way 
knowledge of God would have proceeded immediately from 
revelation, and in virtue of the organic relation and develop 
ment of our race this knowledge of God eo ipso would have 


assumed a scientific form, even if by another effort of the mind 
than that from which at present the science of Theology is 
born. Theology as a science would then have proceeded 
immediately and of necessity from Theology as the personal 
and universal knowledge of God, and it would never have 
entered the mind of any one to understand by the name of 
Theology anything but that God-knowledge itself. Scien 
tific Theology also would rigorously have maintained its 
character as knowledge of God. The three above-mentioned 
factors revelation, faith and the logical action are and 
ever will be with acquired Theology also, which develops 
of itself into scientific Theology, the three constituent ele 
ments of ectypal Theology. Without revelation nothing is 
known; without faith there is no apprehension nor appropria 
tion of that revelation ; and without the logical action, that 
which has been perceived cannot be transmuted into subjec 
tive knowledge of God. 

We, however, may not rest content with this supposition 
of a sinless development. The development is a sinful one, 
and all closer insight into the nature of Theology must 
therefore deal with this fact. And yet we do not deem the 
exposition superfluous of the relation which would have 
arisen in the case of a sinless development. It is rather a 
significant fault that in later theological studies this has 
been too much neglected. We understand what darkness is 
only from the antithesis of light. Pathology assumes the 
knowledge of the normal body. And so too the sinful de 
velopment of our race and of its w r orldof thought, in relation 
to intervenient grace, can never be understood except we first 
leave sin out of account. He only who has before his eyes 
the straight line understands the crooked line. To note a 
deviation, I must know where the right path runs. And the 
negative or privative character of sin makes this also neces 
sary with the study of Theology. By the too exclusively 
soteriological interpretation of Theology we have become 
unaccustomed to this ; while the theologians, who avoided 
this danger, weakened the fact of sin, and so lost more or 
less the whole antithesis. Formerly, however, in the days 


when Theology was still taken theologically, this distinction 
was rigorously maintained; and every one who, as theolo 
gian, aims again at Theology in its real sense, must return 
with us to this distinction. 

But neither in this discussion of the Revelation of God to 
the sinner, any more than in the first part of this section in 
our explanation of the Revelation of God to man, will we 
describe the content and form of that Revelation itself. For 
so far as the form of this revelation is in order in Encyclo 
pedia, it falls to be treated in the chapter on the Principium 
of Theology. Since now, however, we have only just begun 
to develop the conception of Theology from its idea and 
histor} r , we cannot concern ourselves with that content and 
form, but must confine ourselves here to its general character. 

In view of this our fourth proposition reads, that the revela 
tion of Crod to the sinner remains the same as the revelation of 
Grod to man without sin, only with this ttvofold necessary differ 
ence, that formally the disorder in the sinner must be neutral 
ized, and materially the knowledge of Crod must be extended so 
as to include the knowledge of God s relation to the sinner. 

In this connection we need not concern ourselves with the 
fact that it is grace that speaks in the so-called soteriological 
Revelation. This belongs properly to Dogmatics and not 
to Encyclopedia. In passing, however, we suggest that 
the possibility is conceivable, that after man had become a 
sinner, God might have continued to reveal Himself as before. 
The result of this would not have been, as is commonly 
asserted, that the natural knowledge of God alone would 
have survived; for, as will be shown later on, this natural 
knowledge of God also is a fruit of grace, and more particu 
larly of " common grace." Imagine that all grace had been 
withdrawn, so that sin would have been able to develop its 
deepest energies in the sinner all at once, without airy check 
or opposition, nothing would have remained but spiritual 
darkness, and all "knowledge of God " would have turned 
into its opposite. Hence to obtain a clear insight into the 

270 oo. KCTYI-AI, TIII;OLO<;Y [DIT. in 

modification suffered by the original revelation on account of 
sin, we must go back to this hypothesis and put the ques 
tion, in what condition the three factors of the knowledge 
df (iod revelation, faith and the logical action of the 
human mind would exhibit themselves under this con 

Revelation, taken as limited to man and interpreted ;is the 
imvorking and manifestation of (iod in man s hidden being, 
does not cease with sin; nothing can annihilate the omni 
presence! of (iod, not even sin; nor can man s dependence us 
image; upon the archetype be destroyed, neilhe:r can the: mys- 
t ical eonlae;t of the infinite and the finite in the: human soul be 
abolisheel. Thus re:velatiem in continued in the heart e>f man. 
Thai, \vhie:h in his he;llish terror drove Juelas te> despair and 
suicide, was but the; perception e>f this fearful manifestation 
of (Joel in the elcepe;st e;entre; e>f his person. Only this reve- 
lation, \vhie;h was originally sympathetic, turns inte> its 
e)ppe>site and becomes antipathetic. It becomes the revela- 
tion e>f a (iod who se;iiels out, His wrath and punishes the 
sinner. I A cn in he;ll the: sinner continues to carry in him- 
sedf this in work ing eif (iod s omnipresence. Because; as 
sinner ;i,lso he remains forever man and mut remain sudi, 
IK; can never escape from that, revelation. "If I make: my 
be;d in hell, behold, Thou art there ." 

The; same: is true; e>f the second factor, Trta-ris. Faith also 
belongs to human nature:, consequently the sinner can never 
rid himself eif it; it alse> turns into its opposite and becomes 
unfaith (cnrio-Tia); which must not be understood as a mere 
want or defect of faith, but always as an active: deprivation 
(actuosa privatiei). The; energy which by nature: op<;rales 
in faith remains the same:, but turns itsedf away freuu (lee| 
and with all the: passion at its command attaches itself /<> 
nomcthitHj r/.sv. This is accounted fe>r by tlie; fact that reve 
lation e an no hmger reach its highest pe>int in the- sinne-i, 
vi/.. the personal manifestation ef (iod to the sinner. So 
that i ( is limiteel to the: internal operations of (iod in His 
anger, and thus <e perceptions in the subject of an awful 
power that te-rrifie-s him. This perception can affee-t faith in 


two ways: the sinner to whom (od can no longer appear 
personally c un either attribute (his inworking lo some poxver- 
ful, terrible creature, ami for that, reason direct his faith to 
this moH*trtni* ereature itself; or, against this terrifying 1 
power in his inmost soul he ean seek protection elsexvhere, 
nnd thus eentre his faith upon a ereature that is tympatfattie 
to him. A (in he has become a MIIIH-I, man still eontinues 
to seek after a #i>in< tliin<j to whieh to cleave with his faith; 
even though, in Diabolism, Satan himself liccame this to him. 

And finally the third faetor, t/M Itywtil nation by whieh 
that whieh faith roeeives by revelation is raised to subjee- 
tive knowledge, remains also operative in the sinner, and, 
eases of idiocy and lunacy exeepted, maintains itself in him. 
Tin* sinner also is impelled to rolled in his consciousness 
the perceptions xvhioh by moiins of faith ho has grasped 
as real, and placed in relation to an author. Though the 
stimulus of the logical activity ^onorally operates less 
strongly in the sinner, siuee it is the tendency of sin to 
slacken all activity, yet this is by no moans the ease with 
all individuals, and so far as faith has turned into nnfaith 
it can strongly stimulate this activity from sheer enmity 
against (jod. Kven then, this logical activity does not load 
to the knowledge of (Jod, but simply to the erroneous effort 
to explain the potent and terrible percept ions, actually re 
ceived in one s hointf by the inworkiu^ of (Sod, in such a way 
that, (iod is denied by the intolloet, and all such in working is 
either explained away or explained from the oreaturo. That 
xvhioh is \vritt(>n of Satan: "The devils also believe and 
tremble," expresses the condition of the sinner under the per 
ception of tin- inworking of (iod in his soul; only with this 
difference, that the demont^ as non-somatic, cannot doeeivo 
themselves with reference to the reality of the existence of 
(iod, and can work no eclipse of His existence by the sub 
stitution of a creature, which is the very tiling that man as 
sinner can do; at least so lon^ as he is upon earth, and 
especially in connection xvith the restraint of sin by common 

In case, therefore, that /. /. /./^--// had not been modified 

278 60. ECTYPAL THEOLOGY [Div. Ill 

on the part of God, by way of accommodation to the sinner, 
revelation would have worked nothing in man beyond the 
sense of the presence of a terrible power that makes him 
tremble; faith would have turned into unfaith toward God, 
and would have attached itself to an antipathetic or sympa 
thetic creature; and the logical activity would have sought 
an explanation of that perception, but would never have 
achieved any knowledge of God. There would have been no 
Theology; and nothing could have been done on the part 
of the sinner to create light in this darkness. This lio-ht 


could only come from the side of God. 

This implies, as the facts of history show, that there was 
in fact a modification introduced in the original plan of reve 
lation and of the construction from this revelation of a 
knowledge of God. It was changed, but not by the addition 
of something new and foreign. This would have worked 
magically; it would have stood mechanically by the side of 
man, and would have been incapable of assimilation. That 
which is to be knowable to man and is to be known by man 
must correspond to the disposition of human nature. That 
which does not approach us in a human perceptible form has 
no existence for us, and that which is not adjusted to our 
subjective logos can never become the content of our knowl 
edge. Hence revelation to the sinner must continue to ex 
hibit that same type to which man is adjusted in his creation. 
This first, and in the second place there must occur such a 
modification in revelation as will make it correspond to the 
modifhation which took place in man. The nature of the 
change worked in man by sin governs the change which must 
follow in revelation. This also affords no room for arbitra 
riness or \vhim. The fundamental type remains what it is 
in original revelation, and modification in this type must 
entirely agree with the modification occasioned by sin. In the 
third place, it must not be lost from view that immediate re 
straint of the deadly operation of sin was necessary, in order 
that such a modified revelation might still be of use. If sin 
had once worked its absolute effect, there could be no more 
help against it by revelation. All they who have once re- 


ceived the hellish character, lie in a darkness which no ray 
of light can penetrate. And in that case all contact with the 
light of revelation but leads to sin against the Holy Ghost. 
All "special " revelation, as it is commonly though not alto 
gether correctly called, postulates common grace, i.e. that act 
of God by which negatively He curbs the operations of Satan, 
death, and sin, and by which positively He creates an inter 
mediate state for this cosmos, as well as for our human race, 
which is and continues to be deeply and radically sinful, but 
in which sin cannot work out its end (reA,o9). In the cove 
nant with Noah especially, which embraced the whole earth 
and all that has life upon it, this " common grace " assumed a 
more definite form; and human life, as we know it, is not life 
in paradise, nor life as it would be if sin had been allowed 
to work out its final effects, but life in which evil truly 
predominates and works its corruption, but always in such 
a way that what is human as such is not destroyed. The 
wheel of sin is certainly revolving, but the brakes are on. 
This is what our churches confessed when they spoke of 
sparks (scintillae) or remnants (rudera) which still re 
mained of the image of God, which did not mean that they 
have remained of themselves, as though sin would not have 
extinguished those sparks or destroyed those remnants had 
it been able to do so; but that by "common grace " God has 
restrained and curbed for a time the destructive power of sin. 
In virtue of the Noachic covenant this restraint continues to 
be applied till the Parousia. Then the brake is taken from 
the wheel and those sparks also go out into entire darkness. 
The so-called "special" revelation, therefore, does not 
adapt itself to the sinner, as he would have been, if sin had 
worked in him its destruction to the end. Such a sinner 
would have become satanic, and consequently have passed 
bej^ond all possibility of salvation. But special revelation 
is intended for the sinner who stands in common grace. 
This is not said in order to postulate in the sinner anything 
positive, that could ever produce regeneration. Even while 
standing in common grace the sinner is "dead in trespasses 
and sin," and in regeneration is absolutely passive; only 

280 60. ECTYI AL THEOLOGY [Div. Ill 

under common grace palingenesis is still j>0s.s/Wt , while 
it has become an entire impossibility in the angel absolutely 
fallen and will be impossible in man when he shall have 
become absolutely satanic. This refutes the representation 
that the sinner is a "stock or block," and what we maintain 
is but the antithesis of the Reformed against the Lutheran 
representation, in which it was objected to on our part, that 
every point of connection for grace was wanting in the 
sinner. Re-creation may never be interpreted as an abso 
lute creation. 

With reference now to the modifications which of neces 
sity must occur in the fundamental type of revelation, it is 
evident that these must take place in each of the three 
factors which lead to the knowledge of God. 

Since God in revelation could no longer appear to the 
spiritual vision of man, after it had been darkened by 
sin, that self-manifestation had to be transferred from the 
mystery of soul-life to the outer world, with the incarnation 
as its central point, which is by no means the necessary 
complement of the normal human development, but was 
demanded only and alone by sin. From this it follows of 
itself that the method of revelation became inverted. If it 
began originally in the mystical nature of the individual, 
that so it might grow into a common revelation to our race, 
this was no longer possible after the fall. All knowledge, 
which as a connected whole directs itself from the external 
to the internal, is bound to the method of first establishing 
itself in the common consciousness, and from this only can 
it enter the consciousness of the individuals. And formally 
it is by these two data that special Revelation is entirely 
governed; while its material modification could consist in 
nothing else than that God should no longer reveal Himself 
to the sinner antipathetically in His anger, but sympatheti 
cally, i.e. in His pitying grace. 

So much for revelation itself. On the other hand, the 
modification effected in the second factor- -faith bears an 
entirely different character. The faith life of the sinner is 


turned away from God in cnncrTia, and attaches itself to some 
thing creaturely, in which it seeks support against God. 
If, now, this turning of faith into its opposite stood as a 
psychical phenomenon by itself, this faith could only again 
be made right. But such is not the case. That faith turned 
into its opposite took place in connection with the entire 
change occasioned in the psychical existence of man, and 
extended not only to the outward act but even to the root. 
Recovery of the original working of faith is, therefore, only 
possible by palingenesis, i.e. by bending right again, from 
the root up, the direction of his psychical life. Potentially, 
in order from the potential to become actual. In the second 
place this faith, which was originally directed only to the 
manifestation of God in the soul, was now to be directed 
to the manifestation of God in the flesh, and thus become 
faith in Christ. And in the third place this faith, which 
originally could turn to unfaith, was now to obtain such a 
character, that, once grasping God in Christ, it should hold 
fast forever, and so far as its fundamental tendency is con 
cerned, would not again turn back. 

It is not so easy to lay hand on the change, necessitated by sin 
in the entire scheme of revelation, with reference to the third 
factor : the logical action. Here, confusion has sprung from the 
almost exclusively soteriological interpretation of the knowl 
edge of God. It was thought that Revelation was exclusively 
intended to save the elect; consequently Revelation could not 
be understood except as directed to the individual person; 
and this has prevented every collective view of special Revela 
tion as a whole. In this way one becomes at once involved 
in the insoluble antinomy, that in order to be saved the first 
fallen man in paradise must already have had this Revela 
tion in a state of sufficient completeness, and that therefore 
all that came afterward was really superfluous, since that 
which was sufficient to save Adam ought also to suffice for 
Isaiah, Augustine and Luther. From this point of view an 
historical, progressive and an ever increasingly rich revela 
tion is inconceivable. Already in its first form it must be 
complete ; and what is added at a later date is superfluous 

282 60. ECTYPAL THEOLOGY [Div. Ill 

luxury. If meanwhile you face the fact, that this Revelation 
has a history, and in part still progresses, and that from 
this long process a broadly ramilied and organic whole is 
born, you incur the other danger, that in this Revela 
tion the saving germ is distinguished from that which has 
grown around it; in which way a retreat is suggested from 
the clearly conscious to the less clearly conscious ; which 
opens the door to boundless arbitrariness; and ends in a 
return to mysticism, and in viewing all logical action as 
accidental. Which evil is still more aggravated by the 
consideration that the humblest-minded people should have 
the full offer of salvation, and that even children, who die 
before they have awakened to any consciousness, should not 
be excluded. And this obliges you to conceive the germ 
to be so small that even the simplest mind can grasp it, and 
to place the degree of consciousness so loiv, yea, even below 
zero, as not to exclude the infant that dies at its very 
birth. Thus you see that this exclusively soteriological 
interpretation of special Revelation tends directly to its 
destruction; for from the nature of the case nothing what 
ever remains of an external revelation as the means of sal 
vation for the young dying child. Hence it is no help to 
3*ou, that along with the logical action you point to divine 
illumination. This may be added to it, but soteriologically 
can never be the essential condition. And the fact is well 
known, that this soteriological interpretation of revelation 
as a revelation of salvation has of necessity led many minds 
to seek refuge again in the tents of mysticism; and to deem 
themselves accordingly authorized to try to their heart s con 
tent their anatomical skill upon the Holy Scriptures as upon 
a corpus vile. 

From this difficulty there is no escape, until special 
Revelation is no longer viewed as directed soterioloo-icallv to 

O O *J 

individual man. Revelation goes out to humanity taken as 
a whole. Since humanity unfolds itself historically, this 
Revelation also bears an historic character. Since this 
humanity exists organically, having a centrum of action, 
this Revelation also had to be orf/cmie, with a centrum of its 


own. And as individuals partake of this human life only in 
relation to humanity as a whole, so also in relation to this 
whole alone is Revelation of any significance to individual 
man. By this we do not deny the soteriological aim of 
special Revelation, but merely assert that salvation of the 
individual soul is not its rule. Its standard is and will be 
theological; its first aim is theodicy. Surely whosoever be 
lieves on Christ shall be saved; this is possible first and only 
because God has sent His Son ; but the aim, and therefore 
also end, of all this is, to make us see how God has loved 
His world, and that therefore the creation of this cosmos, 
even in the face of sin, has been no failure. Hence Reve 
lation taken as a whole aims at three things : (1) the actual 
triumph over sin, guilt and death, a triumph which for 
the sake of Theology could not be limited to God s plan or 
counsel, but was bound to go out into the cosmical reality ; 
(2) the clear reflection of the manifold wisdom of God in 
the logical consciousness of man; and (3) such a dioramic 
procedure, that at every given moment of its career it offers 
all that is necessary for the salvation of the contempora 
neous generation and of all persons in that generation. 
Passing by the first and the third for a moment, we con 
sider the second alone as touching directly upon the logical 
action. The realization of the triumph over sin, guilt and 
death belongs in revelation to life itself ; the salvation of 
individuals does not depend in principle upon the logical 
action, but upon the rectification of faith; and with the 
logical action, which is the point in hand, the main 
point is what we called, in the second place, the reflection 
of the wisdom of God in the logical consciousness of 
humanity. The subject of this action is not the individual 
person, but the general Ego of believing humanity a 
limitation in which the additional term of "believing" is 
no contradiction, if only it is understood how wrong it is to 
suppose that the real stem of humanity shall be lost, and 
that merely an aggregate of elect individuals shall be saved.. 
On the contrary, it should be confessed that in hell there is 
only an aggregate of lost individuals, who were cut off from 

2S4 (50. ECTYl A I, THEOLOGY [Div. Ill 

the stem of humanity, while humanity as an organic whole is 
saved, and as such forms the "body of Christ." By "believ 
ing humanity," therefore, we understand the human race 
as an organic whole, so far as it lives, i.e. so far as unbelief 
lias turned again to faith or shall turn. 

In the general consciousness of humanity thus taken, 
the content, according to the original disposition of our cre 
ation, should be formed by individual accretion. Bud by 
bud unfolds, and thus only is the foliage of the bush gradu 
ally adorned with flowers. Without sin the logical action, 
which translates the content of faith into a clear concep 
tion, and thus into knowledge of God, would have gone out 
from the individuals, and from these single rills the stream 
would have been formed. Here, also, the way would have led 
from within outward. This, however, was cut off by sin. 
As soon as sin had entered in, revelation had to work from 
without inward, since sin had fast bolted the door which 
gave access to the manifestation of God in the soul. No 
sooner had sin gained an entrance than Adam discerned and 
perceived the presence of the Lord approaching him from 
without in the cool of the day. And thus the problem 
arises, in what way the logical action, which is to transmute 
the content of faith into knowledge of God, can come from 
without, in order now inversely, from the general conscious 
ness, to reach the consciousness of the individual. And from 
the nature of the case there is no simple solution for this 
very complicated problem, but a very complex one, which 
can only be fully explained in the chapter on the principium 
of Theology. The lines alone can here be indicated, whose 
combination and crossing offer the figure for this solution. 

In the first place, then, let ns observe that the general 
subject of the essential ego of restored humanity can be n<> 
abstraction, simply because an abstraction is incapable of 
any logical action. Agreeably to this the Scripture teaches 
that this general subject is the Christ, As we commonly 
sav that there is a thinking head in an association, group, 
or party, or that he who forms a school is the essentially 
thinking head for all his school, so in a much more rigorous 


sense is Christ the thinking subject of our restored human 
ity, in whose common consciousness "the manifold wisdom 
of God" is to reflect itself. The Church confesses this by 
honoring him as prophet, and Paul expresses it by saying 
that Christ is first given us as wisdom (1 Cor. i. 30). Even 
though it is the Holy Spirit who executes the logical action, 
it is Christ himself who said: "He shall receive of mine, 
and shall show it unto you." He is not only the light and 
the life and the way, but He is also the truth. And Christ 
can be this, because he is himself the Logos, as the Evan 
gelist emphasizes so strongly, and because the logos in man 
exhibits the image of this Logos of God. If now there were 
no causal relation between these two, Christ would be 
inconceivable as subject of the new humanity. Since, how 
ever, our logos is reflectively (abbildlich) the counterpart of 
the divine Logos, and since this Logos is in consequence, 
also independently of sin, "the Light of the world," thus 
supporting and animating the logical existence of man, it is 
in every way conceivable that this Logos should approach 
individual man from without, for the sake of executing for 
him and in his stead the logical action, for which he him 
self had become disabled, and thus by indoctrination in the 
literal sense to bring him back again to that logical action. 
This was implied in the saying of the older theologians, 
that the Logos had revealed himself to us in a twofold way, 
viz. in the reality of being by incarnation, aad in the world 
of our consciousness by what, for brevity s sake, we will call 
inscripturation, without emphasizing for the present the 
scriptural part. There was a revelation of the Logos, they 
said, in the flesh, and a revelation of the Logos in the ivord, 
or, if you please, in being and thought. And because both 
these revelations were revelations of the one Logos, they 
were organically united in him, and together formed one 
whole. If the incarnation were nothing but a physical 
fact, without a logical content, this fact could not be taken 
up into our consciousness as far as its content is con 
cerned. And, on the other hand, if the revelation by the 
u ord had no background in reality, and no central motive 

286 00. ECTYPAL THEOLOGY [Div. Ill 

in the incarnation, it were nothing but an abstraction. 
Since, however, the subject of the incarnation is one with 
the subject of the revealed word, there is not merely har 
mony between the two, but organic relation ; and this organic 
relation is most strongly evident when the incarnate Logos 
utters even as man the oracles of God. To be sure the Logos is 
not bound to the organ of his own human nature for revelation 
by the word; as organic head of the new humanity he can also 
speak through the organ of other human persons ; so Peter 
affirms of the prophets (1 Pet. i. 11, what the spirit of 
Christ which was in them did signify) and Jesus himself 
declares of the apostles ; yet the coincidence of the two lines, 
that of the incarnation (eWa p/ecoa-t?) and of the words (XaXi a), 
in Christ s own manifestation, lends an entirely unique 
majesty to his word, which does not appear to this extent 
either before or after him. 
Thus, if it is true of sinless humanity that the "knowledge 

/ O 

of God " could gradually ripen in individual persons and from 
the few enter into the general human consciousness, it is the 
opposite of this that takes place with sinful, and therefore to 
be restored, humanity. Christ, as the Head of the Bod}-, is 
the general subject of restored humanity; and the knowledge 
of God is not only complete in him, but from him it descends 
to individual believers. It is the same difference that is 
found in the domain of ethics between the dispensations of 
paradise and Golgotha. In paradise ethical life is first 
personal, and then common, and is intended to progress 
toward perfection. In Christ, on the other hand, holiness 
is centrally given for his entire mystical body, from him 
to communicate itself to his members; while in Christ also 
an ethical perfection is offered to us which is no more 
to be acquired, but is now finished. And the same is true 
of the knowledge of God. This also is first in Christ as 
our common head and centrum, and descends from him to 
individual believers ("Neither knoweth any man the Father 
save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal 
him." Matt. xi. 27); and again this knowledge of God 
in Christ is perfect ("As the Father knoweth me, even so 


know I the Father." John x. 15). Our older theologians 
expressed this entirely exceptional position of Christ as our 
prophet by attributing to him the Theologia Unionis, i.e. that 
"knowledge of God" which resulted from what he him 
self described by saying: I and the Father are one. The 
Christological explanation of this is not in order here, but 
in Dogmatics. But to show the significance of this fact 
to special revelation, we here indicate these three points: 
(1) that the theologia unionis is not taken as an adequate 
divine self-knowledge, but always as a human knowledge of 
Grod, i.e. a knowledge as complete as the measure of human 
capacity will allow, but nevertheless ever bound to this 
measure. Our eye can only take in light to a limited 
degree of intensity; stronger light does not lighten us, 
but blinds our eye, and that degree of light only which is 
adjusted to our eye gives us entire clearness. In the same 
way a knowledge of God which exceeds our human limita 
tions would throw no light into our darkness, but cause us 
to see still less. (2) Let it be observed that this knowledge 
of God as the fruit of Christ s union with the Father was 
not the result of a dialectical analysis, but was intuitive, 
and therefore was not acceptable "to the wise and the 
learned," but intelligible to babes. It is not said, there 
fore, that Christ is our knowledge (yvdoa-is^), much less 
that he is our understanding (avvevis), but that he is our 
wisdom (<ro0ta). Christ does not argue, he declares; 
he does not demonstrate, he shows and illustrates; he does 
not analyze, but with enrapturing symbolism unveils the 
truth. The statement that Christ " increased in wisdom " 
cannot detain us here ; in this instance we merely deal with 
Christ after his baptism, when the "hear him" had been 
proclaimed of him. And the objection that Christ con 
sulted the Holy Scriptures of Israel has no weight with 
those who confess, with the apostle Peter, that Christ is 
also the subject of prophecy. But in whatever way this 
may be taken, the result remains the same. The Son, who 
was in the bosom of the Father, has declared Him unto us, 
and this implies what we postulated: (1) that the knowl- 


edge of God of restored humanity was first in its general 
subject, i.e. in Christ; and (2) that in this general subject 
it was perfect. 

If this is the beginning of the logical action by which 
regenerated humanity turns into knowledge the content of 
revelation received by faith, it is at once evident that this 
does not end the logical action. First, there is still want 
ing the logical action of the individual, by which he 
comes to a personal knowledge of God ; and, in the second 
place, the central and complete knowledge of God, which 
the whole body of Christ possesses in Him who has been 
given it of God for wisdom, must be radiated from all 
the combining articulations of regenerated humanity, and 
must become "understanding" in its dialectical conscious 

With reference to the first it is necessary that the organ 
or instrument for this logical action in the sinner shall 
regain the power which it has lost by sin. Although we 
are not deprived by sin of the power of thought, and though 
our law of thought is not broken, the pivot of our thought 
has become displaced, and thereby our activity of thought, 
applied to divine things, has a wrong effect. This is 
restored by divine illumination, which does not imply that 
he who has thus been enlightened is to think more 
acutely. Greater or lesser acuteness of thought depends 
upon personal conditions which are entirely different. Paul 
is a more acute thinker than James, and in acuteness of 
thought Aristotle and Kant excel by far the majority of 
Christians. If I put a sharp knife in a mowing-machine, 
but place it too high, so that it cannot touch the grass, all 
action of the machine is in vain; and with a duller knife, 
which touches the grass, I will produce ten times as much 
effect. And such is the case here. As long as the divine 
illumination remains wanting, the logical instrument in the 
sinner is out of relation to divine things. It does not touch 
them, and therefore its action is in vain. The instrument 
of the logical action is not repaired mechanically; this 
postulates the palingenesis of our person, which is only 


effected by the Holy Spirit in the regenerate. When, how 
ever, this divine illumination has once become actual, at 
least in its beginnings, our consciousness is able to appro 
priate to itself logically also the content taken up by 
faith. Not in the sense that every believer is able to think 
out in a clear way the entire content of revelation. This 
is only done by all believers together. After these many 
centuries, this task is still by no means completed. Person 
ally this enlightening simply means that, according to the 
peculiarities of his person, according to his needs and the 
measure of his gifts, every believer understands everything 
that is necessary for confession. Under the influence of 
divine illumination, this logical action therefore does not 
direct itself to the entire field of revelation, but to its cen 
tral content, while the knowledge which extends itself also 
to a part at least of the periphery is only the possession of a 
very few. Moreover, this logical action does by no means 
effect a clear understanding with all, but gives each the 
insight suited to the peculiar susceptibility of his person, 
which is entirely different with a humble clay-laborer from 
what it is with the scholar. But as a result so much 
knowledge of God in each case is obtained as corresponds to 
the clearness of each consciousness. 

Next to this individual insight into the content of revela 
tion, no less attention should be paid to the logical action 
which brings the content of revelation to clearness in that gen 
eral understanding, which in turn serves and enriches personal 
knowledge. The foundation for this is laid by apostolic reve 
lation, which affords us a more varied and distinguishing look 
into the wisdom of Christ. This does not imply that the 
apostles offered us anything that falls under the conception 
of scientific Theology. He who makes this assertion totally 
underestimates their authority. But in their writings the 
lines are indicated along which the logical activity of the 
so-called scientific Theology must conduct itself through all 
ages. Thus they indicate what the content of revelation is, 

290 00. ECTYPAL THEOLOGY [Div. Ill 

as well as the relation in which this content as a whole 
stands to the past, to the antithetical powers, and to personal 
faith and practice. This apostolic knowledge is, therefore, 
the complement of revelation itself, since this revelation would 
be incomplete if it did not itself produce the roots from 
which the understanding must develop itself. This develop 
ment can only follow when it finds its point of departure in 
revelation itself. Even then this development is not left to 
abstract and independent thought, but remains dependent 
upon the inworking and guidance of the Holy Spirit. The 
human logos, as weakened by sin, can certainly deal with the 
content of this revelation, as has been the case in all ages; 
but as soon as this movement has reached out after something 
more than a mere superficiality, it has become at once anti 
thetical, has placed itself in opposition to revelation, and has 
sought, and still seeks, logically to destroy it. Hence the 
development we referred to can only come from that circle in 
which the divine illumination operates, and the logical action 
of the circle outside of this can only serve to stimulate 
the action of those who have been enlightened and to 
make them careful of mistakes. Since in the circle of the 
"enlightened" the Holy Spirit operates not merely in in 
dividuals, but also in groups and in the whole circle, it 
is actually the Holy Spirit who, as "the teacher of the 
Church," interprets the content of revelation, and so en 
riches and purifies the knowledge of God; not, however, by 
the suppression of logical action, but by stimulating and 
by employing it as its instrument. The necessary outcome 
of this is that this working is not perfect; that it propels 
itself by all sorts of vibrations between truth and error; that 
it only gradually obtains more firmness, and finally results 
in the dogma of the Church. 

But even this does not end the task of the logical action. 
The understanding of Revelation must be taken up into the 
general understanding, from which of itself the need arises 
of giving an organic place in the unit of our knowledge to 
that knowledge of God lodged in the regenerate, and which 
under the guidance of the Holy Spirit the Church, in deadly 


conflict, has formulated into dogma. Our knowledge of the 
cosmos and of revelation must not merely be brought into 
practical harmony for the sake of the life of faith, but in 
the human consciousness as such it must also become an 
organic whole, and thus Theology rise as a science : first, 
in the scholastic sense, so long as it serves no other pur 
pose than the justification of the content of Theology at 
the tribunal of thought; after that, poll/historically, when 
it swarms upon every sort of flower-bed that stands in less 
or more relation to Theology; and finally, in the organic 
sense, when it places its subjective action, as well as its 
given object, in their relation to our world of thought and 
the world of other objects. Thus only can that which is at 
first potential knowledge unfold itself to a complete and 
actual science. 

But in this process, from start to finish, it is ever and 
always Theology in its proper sense, i.e. the knowledge of 
God divinely given, that is taken up into our consciousness, 
and is reflected from our consciousness (personal as well as 
general). Hence nothing is significant to Theology, because 
nothing belongs to it organically, but that which interprets 
this "knowledge of God" in its origin, content, significance, 
working and tendency. 

By way of recapitulation, therefore, we arrive at what 
was stated in our fourth proposition, viz. that ectypal Theol 
ogy, as revealed by God Himself, is the same in all its 
stages ; and that special revelation, i.e. revelation to the 
sinner, is only modified to the extent that now it can also be 
known what God is willing to be to the sinner. That, fur 
ther, this development of revelation goes hand in hand with 
an accommodation to the lost condition of the sinner, so that 
now revelation does not work from within outward, but 
makes its approach from the outer world to the inner life 
of man, and that the logical action goes out from the central 
ego of Christ, and thus only benefits the individual subject 
in the personal believer. And that finally, for the sake of 
the assimilation of this knowledge of God by the sinner, his 
unbelief must be changed to a faith in Christ, which is only 

292 61. CONCEPTION OF [Div. Ill 

possible through, at least a potential, palingenesis of his 
whole being. 

And thus we reach the point which renders the forming 
of the conception of Theology as science, possible, and which 
will be considered in the following section. 

61. Conception of Theology as Science 

Like every other science, the science of Theology can be 
spoken of in a twofold sense, viz. either with reference to the 
intellectual labor expended upon Theology, or with reference 
to the results of that labor. In the latter sense, Theology as 
science also remains the knowledge of Grod ; for though its 
result is not an increase of the knowledge of God, and can 
only lead to a clearer insight into the revealed knowledge of 
God, yet every gain in clearness of insight magnifies the 
worth of that knowledge. The microscope adds nothing to 
the wing of the butterfly, but enables me to obtain a richer 
knowledge of that wing. And while the science of Theology 
adds no new knowledge of God to the knowledge revealed 
to us, scientific Theology renders my fuller assimilation of 
its content possible. 

Whether this scientific insight into the knowledge of God 
is possible and necessary, depends upon the stage of develop 
ment which has been reached by the human consciousness. 
In fact, in the sense in which we now interpret the domain 
of theological studies as one organic whole, the science of 
Theology has only been born in our century. Even down to 
the middle of the last century, while there was a Theology, as 
Dogmatics, with which other studies were connected, yet the 
necessity was not felt of moulding these into one organic 
whole, and still less the impulse to conjoin this unit of 
Theology organically with the other sciences into one archi 
tectural whole of science. This was not accidental, but the 
immediate consequence of the general spirit of the times. 
This same phenomenon presented itself not only in the 
domain of Theology, but in the domain of every other 
science. The Encyclopedia of Theology had already made 
considerable advances, while all encyclopedical insight into 


the psychical and medical sciences was still entirely wanting, 
and in the philological and juridical sciences it had scarcely 
yet begun. Impelled by its own exceptional position, as 
well as by the alarming attitude the other sciences assumed 
against it, Theology was the first to give itself an account 
of its place and of its calling. For the greater part of the 
last century, however, this attempt bore an apologetic char 
acter; and only when, by and after Kant, the question about 
the essence and the method of our knowledge, and conse 
quently of the nature of science in general, pressed itself 
forcefully to the front, in our human consciousness, was there 
gradually adopted the organic interpretation of Theology as 
a whole and as one of the sciences in the great unit of the 
sciences, which is now dominant in the Theological faculty, 
and is being more widely recognized by the other faculties. 
Formerly a science of Theology in that sense was not neces 
sary, because the human consciousness in general did not 
feel the need of such an interpretation; neither was it pos 
sible, because the data for such a construction of Theology, 
and of all the other sciences, cannot be borrowed from the 
knoivledge of G-od, but from Logic in the higher sense. 

Hence the conception, which was formed of Theology in 
the academic sense, has certainly been modified. Theology, 
taken in the subjective sense, was understood to be our 
human insight into the revealed knowledge of God, and 
this insight was graded as the subject chanced to be a lay 
man, a scholar, or more especially a theologian ; but even in 
this highest sense Theology was limited to Dogmatics, gen 
erally with Ethics included. This learned insight into the 
revealed knowledge of God was for the most part explained 
after the scheme of Aristotle or Peter Ramus, and defended 
against all objections. This study alone was called Theol 
ogy, besides which some theologians would study Church 
History and other similar branches; but the relation of all 
these to real Theology was merely mechanical. At present, 
however, the name of Theolog}*- covers the entire realm of 
these studies; there is no rest until a starting-point for 
Theology has been found in the unit of science; and. in this 

294 01. CONCEPTION OF [Div. Ill 

connection, the effort is also made to understand organically 
the essence of Theology itself. 

It is evident that this has given rise to a serious danger 
of falsifying the nature of Theology. As what used to 
count as the whole of Theology has been classed as a mer,. j 
part, the tendency was bound to exhibit itself to seek 
the heart of Theology no longer in its principal factor, 
but in its auxiliary departments; and similarly when the 
articulation of Theology to the organism of science is traced, 
of necessity its Nature can no longer be explained simply 
from its own principle alone, but also from the general prin 
ciple of science. Both these dangers have shown themselves 
and have brought their evil with them ; even to such a meas 
ure that in the conceptions of Theology, as severally formed 
in our times, scarcely a trace of the original significance re 
mains. This compels us to hold fast, tooth and nail, to the 
original meaning; and therefore, starting out from the idea 
of Theology, we have made a transition from the idea to the 
conception of Theology, in which the conception of the knowl 
edge of God remains the principal part. 

The way in which the several departments of theological 
study are organically related to this knowledge of God can 
only be shown when we come to consider the organism of 
Theology; here, however, this organic relation is merely 
assumed, so that we do not even say which departments of 
study do and which do not find a place in this organic unit. 
At present we only speak of a certain group of studies which 
together have announced themselves as a theological science, 
and are recognized as such at the great majority of universi 
ties. This group of departments offers a scientific treat 
ment of all sorts of material, which, however widely they 
may differ, must nevertheless be bound together by a com 
mon motive. This motive neither can nor may be anything 
else but the idea of Theology itself, and hence must be con 
tained in the knowledge of God revealed to us. If for a mo 
ment, therefore, we dismiss from our thoughts the division of 
departments, and thus picture to ourselves the theological 
science as one ichole, "this revealed knowledge of God, and 


this alone, is its object of investigation. This investiga 
tion would be superfluous if this knowledge of God were 
revealed to us in a dialectic, discursive form. Then, indeed, 
the human mind would be released from all necessity for 
assimilating this knowledge of God. But such is not the 
case. The knowledge of God is revealed to us in a veiled 
form, just such as was necessary in order that it might be 
valid for every age and people, for every time of life, grade 
of development, and condition. Not the dialectically acute 
Greek, but the mystic-symbolic man from the East, was 
chosen as the instrument to reveal to us this knowledge of 
God. Hence a considerable distance still separates this 
knowledge of God, as it has been revealed, from the world 
of the entirely clarified human consciousness, and the con 
sciousness of man has yet to perform a giant s task, before it 
has appropriated the treasures of that Revelation with trans 
parent purity and has reflected it from itself. 

This labor, therefore, is nevertheless not scientific labor in 
its entire extent. There are lower grades in the develop 
ment of our consciousness, which, though they do not bear 
the scientific stamp, are yet productive of early fruit. The 
assimilation of the revealed knowledge of God by our human 
consciousness has gone through all these grades. There is a 
labor of thought devoted to this knowledge of God, which 
has had for its exclusively practical purpose the persuasion of 
him who stands afar off to confess Christ. There is a labor of 
thought expended upon this Revelation with no other purpose 
than to defend it against opposition and heresy. This knowl 
edge of God has been reflected upon by the human conscious 
ness in the personal application of it to one s own condition 
and experience of soul. Human power of thought has entered 
upon this knowledge of God in preparation for preaching 
and catechizing. No less in the formulation of dogma has 
human power of intellect labored in the sweat of its brow. 
And all that national acumen and the spirit of a given age, 
or the sense of a peculiar confession, could produce in rich 
variation has been applied with indefatigable diligence 
and indomitable perseverance to cause the beauty of this 

296 61. CONCEl TION OF [Div. Ill 

"knowledge of God" to glisten to its utmost in the prism 
of our human thought. But all this, however excellent and 
rich, is not yet what we understand by Theology as science. 
Of this we can speak only when our intellect does not per 
form mere menial service for other purposes, but when in 
our consciousness itself awakens the sense of its higher call- 
inof, viz. to transmute the mechanic relation between itself 

O " 

and its object into an organic one. Of course, this does not 
imply that science should exist merely for the sake of knowl 
edge, and that in entire self-sufficiency it should lose itself 
in abstractions. On the contrary, science also, as a sphere of 
the Logos, is called as a creature of God to serve its Creator, 
and its high and practical purpose in our behalf is, that it 
should emancipate us, afford us an independent position in 
the face of threatening powers, and that thus it should ad 
vance our human existence to higher estates. This, however, 
can only be more fully explained when we come to consider 
concretely the place of Theology in the whole organism of sci 
ence. For the forming of the conception of Theology, it is 
sufficient if it is seen that the science of Theology can flour 
ish as a plant by itself only when our human consciousness 
takes the reins in its own hands and becomes aware of its 
sacred calling to melt the ore of this "revealed knowledge of 
God " into shining gold, in order, apart from every incidental 
aim, as soon as this task is done, to place the fruit of its 
labor at the disposal of the higher aim to which its labor es 
pecially must be directed. 

But because this science engages itself with theologia, 
i.e. the knowledge of God, as its object, it could not claim 
the name of Theology, if it were not included in the plan of 
Revelation and in the nature of this knowledge of God that 
the Logos in this higher sense should be one of the means to 
enrich our subjective insight into this ectypal knowledge of 
God. For which reason we mentioned the fact, in our dis 
cussion of Revelation, that it is also the calling of the logical 
activity to introduce this knowledge of God into the general 
subject of re-created humanity. Christ is no doubt this gen 
eral subject in its central sense, on which account, as shown 


above, " wisdom " is given in Him ; but this is still entirely 
different from the "understanding" of the general subject of 
humanity in the general human consciousness. Only when 
from the central subject (Christ) this "wisdom " has entered 
into individual believers and into circles of believers of 
different times is it possible that, from these individual and 
social insights into the wisdom of God, a different kind of 
insight can gradually be formed as "understanding," which 
cannot rest until it has become adequate to the content of 
the wisdom which was in the central human consciousness, 
i.e. in Christ. But even if for a moment we imagine the 
unattainable ideal that the content of each were adequate, 
yet the nature of each would be entirely different ; what was 
"wisdom" in Christ as the central subject would have be 
come "understanding" and "science " in the general subject 
of regenerated humanity; and it is the science of Theology 
alone that can lead to " understanding " in this given sense. 
As in every domain science, by the establishing of the gen 
eral human consciousness, unveils the possibility of single 
persons and individual groups, broadening their insight and 
clarifying it, such is also the case here. The more the sci 
ence of Theology succeeds in giving theology to the general 
subject of regenerated humanity, and thus in bringing this 
general subject to the knowledge of God, the more clearly 
does it open the way to the churches and to believers to attain, 
at least so far as the intellect is concerned, to a fuller knowl 
edge of God, and thus to a better theology. Even as science 
it adds its contribution to the subjective assimilation of the 
knowledge of God within its appointed sphere, and so derives 
its right to claim for itself the name of Theology. Thus it 
presents itself to us as a logical activity, which transfers 
ectypal knowledge of God from Revelation, as " understand 
ing," into the general subject of (regenerated) humanity. 

Meanwhile this qualification of regenerated humanity 
demands a fuller explanation. God does not love indi 
vidual persons, but the u orld. His election does not aban 
don the human race to perdition, merely to save individuals, 
and to unite these as atoms to an aggregate under Christ; 

298 61. CONCK1TION OF [Div. Ill 

but He saves humanity, He redeems our race, and if all of 
our race are not saved, it is because they who are lost are 
cut off from the tree of humanity. There is no organism 
in hell, but an aggregate. In the realm of glory, on the 
other hand, there is 110 aggregate but the "body of Christ," 
and hence an organic whole. This organic whole is no 
new "body," but the original organism of humanity, as 
it was created under Adam as its central unity. Therefore 
the Scripture teaches that Christ is the second Adam. i.e. 
that Christ in His way now occupies the same place in 
the human race which was originally occupied by Adam. 
Hence it is not something else nor something new, but it 
is the original human race, it is humanity, which, recon 
ciled and regenerated, is to accomplish the logical task of 
taking up subjectively into its consciousness this revealed 
ectypal Theology, and to reflect it from that consciousness. 
AVhatever a man may be, as long as he does not share the 
life and thought of this regenerated humanity, he cannot 
share this task. "The natural man receiveth not the things 


of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: 
neither can he know them, because they are spiritually dis 
cerned " (1 Cor. ii. 14). Our consciousness is connected with 
ourbeing. Without palingenesis there is no adaptation of our 
consciousness conceivable, which would enable it to assimi 
late or reflect ectypal Theology, and it is only by the 
"enlightening," as the result of palingenesis, that our con 
sciousness receives the susceptibility for this. As in the 
general subject of humanity the spirit of man (TO TTVCV^O) is 
the real agent, so in the general subject of humanity, or in 
the body of Christ, the spirit (vr^eO/za) in this body. i.e. the 
Holy Spirit, is the inner animator. And therefore the 
science of Theology is a task which must be accomplished, 
under the leading of the Holy Spirit, by regenerated human 
ity, and by those from among its ranks who, being partakers 
of palingenesis, and enriched bv "enlightening," have also 
in their natural disposition those special talents which are 
necessary for this intellectual task. 

That the science of Theology is thereby not isolated nor 

O / v 


cut off from the common root of all science, can only be 
explained when we consider the organism of Theology. 
Here we affirm that in every domain palingenesis revivifies 
the original man as "a creature of God," and for no single 
moment abandons what was given in the nature of man. Sin 
tries to turn the excellencies of this nature into their 
opposites, but this fatal effect of sin has been restrained by 
common grace; and where particular grace renders this 
restraint potentially complete, and at the same time poten 
tially recovers original purity, from the nature of the case 
the action of the Spirit in the sphere of palingenesis remains 
identical with the action of the Logos in human nature, and 
joins itself to the common grace, which has called all science 
into being, at every point of investigation. 

The science of Theology, therefore, is nothing but a 
specialization of what is given in the idea of Theology. It 
is not all Theology, neither may all subjective assimilation 
of ectypic knowledge of God be appropriated by it. Among 
the different assimilations of this knowledge of God, Theol 
ogy as a science occupies a place of its own, which is defined 
by its nature as an organic member in the unit of sciences. 
And thus we come to this conception of Theology, viz. that it 
is that science which has the revealed knowledge of God as 
the object of its investigation, and raises it to " understand 
ing." Or in broader terms, the science of Theology is that 
logical action of the general subject of regenerated humanity 
by which, in the light of the Holy Spirit, it takes up the 
revealed knowledge of God into its consciousness and from 
thence reflects it. If, on the other hand, the science of The 
ology is not taken in its active sense, but as a product, then 
Theology is the scientific insight of the regenerated human 
consciousness into the revealed knowledge of God. 

This conception diverges entirely from what the several 
schools at present understand by Theology as a science ; and 
this compels us, in defence of our definition, to investigate 
first the several degenerations of Theology as knowledge of 
Grod, and then the several falsifications of the conception 
of Theology as science. 

300 62. DEGENERATIONS OP [Div. Ill 

G 2. Degenerations of Theology as " Knoidedge of God" 

The idea and significance of Theology has been corrupted 
in two respects : on the one hand with reference to Theol 
ogy as "knowledge of God, and on the other with reference 
to Theology as "science." This section treats of the first 
kind of degeneration, and the following of the falsification 
of Theology as science. 

With reference to the degeneration of Theology, taken in 
the sense of "knowledge of God," we must begin with 
Natural Theology (theologia naturalis), since only in view 
of this natural knowledge of God can there be any question 
of Theology with those who reject special revelation (reve- 
latio specialis). It is common in our times to seek the tie 
which unites the higher life of pagan nations to our own, in 
religion. A general conception of religion is then placed in 
the foreground. It is deemed that in this general sense 
religion is present in almost all these nations. Affinity is 
observed among their several religions, but also a gradual 
difference. In all this it is thought that a process is percep 
tible, and it is by means of this many-sided process that the 
Christian religion is brought into relation to these lower 
forms. We do not take this way, because religion and 
knowledge of God are not the same, and it is in the latter 
that Theology finds its only point of departure. Religion 
can be interpreted as a sense, a service, or an obligation, but 
in none of these is it identical with the "knowledge of God." 
This is most strongly emphasized by the pious agnostic who 
claims himself to be religious, and yet on principle excludes 
all knowledge of God. The loss from sight of this specific 
difference between religion and Theology accounts for the 
fact, that even in the science of Theology religion has been 
put in the place of its original object. 

This compels us to seek the tie that binds us to pagan 
nations, not in the phenomenal side of their religious life- 
expressions, but, along with Scripture, in natural Theology ; 
which at the same time offers this advantage, not to be 
despised, that we need not confine ourselves to the national 


forms of ritual, but can also deal with the theology which, 
outside of these rituals, can be observed in their mysteries 
and in their poets and philosophers. It is well said, that 
even the most repulsive idolatry stands in organic relation 
to the purest revelation. There is a generic unity, which in 
former times was too greatly lost from sight, and is still 
overlooked too much, especially by Methodism ; overlooked 
also in the work of missions. The purest confession of 
truth finds ultimately its starting-point in the seed of re 
ligion (semen religionis), which, thanks to common grace, 
is still present in the fallen sinner ; and, on the other hand, 
there is no form of idolatry so low, or so corrupted, but has 
sprung from this same semen religionis. Without natural 
Theology there is no Abba, Father, conceivable, any more than 
a Moloch ritual. In so far, then, we agree in principle with 
the present day Science of Religion (Religionswissenschaft). 
On the other hand, we place ourselves in direct opposition to 
it, as soon as it tries to fill in the interval between this Abba, 
Father, and the Moloch ritual with the undulations of a grad 
ually advancing process. There is here no transition nor 
gradual development, but an antithesis between the positive 
and negative working of a selfsame power. With natural 
Theology it is the same as it is with faith and ethics. Ethi 
cal life knows only one normal development, viz. that to 
holiness; but over against this positive stands the negative 
development along the line of sin. Sin is an " actual depri 
vation," and not merely a want (carentia), and therefore it is 
virtue turned into its opposite, and such by the negative work 
ing of all the glorious power which by nature belongs to the 
ethical life. Likewise unbelief, as shown above, is no want 
of faith, but an actuosa privatio fidei, i.e. the power of faith 
turned into its opposite. And in the same way idolatry 
also is no outcome of the imagination, nor of factors in 
the human consciousness that gradually develop themselves, 
but of an actuosa privatio of the natural knowledge of God. 
In the idolater both the motive and the content of this natu 
ral theology are turned into their opposites. It is the same 
wheel, turning itself on the same pivot, but in a reverse or 

302 62. DEGENERATIONS OF [Div. Ill 

averse direction. The Christian Religion and Paganism do 
not stand related to each other as the higher and lower 
forms of development of the same thing ; but the Christian 
religion is the highest form of development natural theology 
was capable of along the positive line ; while all paganism 
is a development of that selfsame natural theology in the 
negative direction. Christendom and Paganism stand to 
each other as the plus and minus forms of the same series. 

From this it appears that natural theology is not taken 
by us in that worn-out sense in which, at the close of the 
seventeenth century, a barren scheme of individual truths 
was framed, which was made to stand as natural theology 
alongside of the supernatural. Natural theology is with 
us no schema, but the knowledge of God itself, which 
still remains in the sinner and is still within his reach, 
entirely in harmony with the sense of Rom. i. 19 sq. 
and Rom. ii. 14 sq. Sin, indeed, is an absolute dark 
ening power, and were not its effect temporarily checked, 
nothing but absolute darkness would have remained in and 
about man ; but common grace has restrained its workings to 
a very considerable degree ; also in order that the sinner 
might be without excuse. In consequence of this common 
grace there remain the rudera or sparks of light in the sinner, 
and the curse upon nature has not yet come in such measure 
but that " invisible things " are clearly seen, because under 
stood by the things that are made (Rom. i. 20). Hence the 
condition of man and his world are not such as they would 
have been if sin had at once accomplished its end; but, 
thanks to common grace, both are of such a character that 
knowledge of God is still possible, either by way of tradi 
tion, or as the result of personal insight, such as has been 
found in generous measures in the midst of paganism, in its 
mysteries as well as with its poets and philosophers. But, 
and this is the point, instead of clinging fast to this, the 
sinner in general has played a wilful game with this fruit 
of common grace, and consequently his "foolish heart" has 
become entirely "foolishness" and "darkness." And only 
as result of this abuse which the sinner has made of natural 


theology, God at last has "given him over," as Paul reiterates 
it three times in Rom. i. God has let go His hold upon 
him ; and in consequence of this desertion of God the curse 
of self-degradation and of brutishness has come upon pagan 
ism, and now constitutes its real mark. 

Hence two mistakes have here been made, and two errors 
are to be guarded against. Our older theologians have too 
greatly ignored paganism, and have explained it too ex 
clusively from a demoniacal motive, and thereby have not 
allowed the organic relation to show itself sufficiently, 
which unmistakably exists between true and false theology, 
as the normal and abnormal working of one and the same 
impelling principle ; while, on the other hand, it is the 
error of our times to abandon the antithesis of true and false, 
to identify the two, and to prefer the form of the process of 
development to this organic relation. If formerly they 
failed per defectum, we now fail per excessum. And true 
insight into the organic relation between true Theology and 
Paganism is only obtained when the antithesis is fully rec 
ognized between the positive and negative development of 
common grace. There is here also an antithesis between 
true and degenerate development, which the more they 
progress, the farther they separate from each other, an 
antithesis which is in no single particular a lesser one than 
that between good and evil, as both expressions of the one 
ethical principle implanted in us all. 

We do not deny that a process has taken place ; only this 
process is twofold. As at the fork in the road where good and 
evil separate a twofold process begins, of which one leads to 
an ever richer revelation of that which is holy, and the other 
to an ever sadder exhibition of that which is demoniacal in 
sin, such also is here the case. From the times of Abraham 
the lines of true and false theology separate. Not as 
though this antithesis did not exist before; but because at 
this point the two manifestations assume each an historic 
form of its own. And from this point we have on the one 
hand a development of true theology, which reaches poten 
tially its acme in Christ, and on the other hand also a 


deterioration of false theology, which in a negative sense 
must likewise run its course to the end. In another 
volume this will be more fully explained. Here we can 
only locate the point of view where one must stand, in order 
that the organic relation between our own confession and 
that of Paganism may fully exhibit itself again, and at the 
same time the danger be avoided of weakening the distinc 
tion between these two to a relative difference. 

To preclude the possible objection, that the theology of 
Greek philosophy stands higher and approaches nearer to 
the truth than the Animistic and Fetishistic forms of 
paganism, we observe: first, that it should not be consid 
ered proper to link the theological representations of a negro 
tribe to those of a people so highly cultured as that which 
gave being to Greek philosophy. The hypothesis that all 
nations have begun Avith Animism, and have gradually 
mounted the several rounds of the scale, is entirely unsup 
ported. Our second observation is, that dissimilar magni 
tudes cannot be compared, and hence the cultus-forms of 
any people cannot be compared to the theological teach 
ings (theologumena) of philosophers. For comparison the 
cultus-forms of paganism must be contrasted with the practi 
cal religion of these philosophers, and their theological teach 
ings with the ideas concerning the infinite and its workings 
which are fundamental to the cultus-forms of the nations 
of lower standing, or of the Greeks. By which comparison 
it appears at once that the philosophers had no cultus-forms, 
and obtained them only when in Neo-Platonism, Gnosticism, 
etc., they had adopted elements from the Christian religion. 
This shows that Natural Theology operated in them more as 
an intellectual power than as a devotional impulse, a fact 
which of itself leads to our third observation, viz. that 
however high, from an intellectual point of view, the theo 
logical teachings of Greek philosophy may stand, in the main 
they exhibit a much stronger deterioration of the true 
knowledge of God, inasmuch as they destroyed the feeling 
of dependence, in place of which, in Stoicism, they substi 
tuted human self-sufficiency. In the negro, who trembles as 


he kneels before his Fetish, there is more of the fear of God 
than in the proud philosopher, who reasons about the gods 
(or about TO delov) as about powers, of which he will deter 
mine what they are. In the negro there is still a consider 
able degree of vitality of the seed of religion, while in the 
self-sufficient philosopher it is dead. He reasons; in how 
ever imperfect a way, the negro worships. 

As Christian Ethics not only deals with the positive 
development of good, but reckons as well with the negative 
development of evil, Christian theology also is not to con 
fine itself to the study of true theology, but must also deal 
with false theology in paganism; and this it must do not 
merely for the sake of making obvious the monstrosity 
of pagan representations, this, indeed, would not be a 
proper interpretation of its task, but rather that it may 
show that this paganism also is born of natural theology, 
and discover the law which this false development has 
obeyed. There is no single datum in idolatry, which is 
inherent in it, but has sprung from natural theology. Of 
course this does not underestimate the inworking of tradi 
tion from paradise, nor the influence exerted by Israel. 
When the antithesis between true and false theology is 
sharply seen, the true must have preceded the false, and 
idolatry can be nothing else than deterioration; which 
implies of itself that, as with all deterioration, some 
elements of the originally pure development still co 
operate. And with reference to the inworking of special 
revelation, it should not be lost from sight, that from the 
days of Abraham, the people of revelation have ever been 
in touch with the surrounding nations, and that extensive 
journeys, for the sake of finding out what other nations 
taught concerning Divine things, suited entirely the spirit 
of the ancients. With this purpose in view the passes of 
the Himalaya were crossed from China to the Ganges. Add 
to this the great significance and calling of the empire of 
Solomon, and the fact that the prophets appeared long be 
fore the Greek philosophers, and it betrays little historical 
sense, when a priori all effect of Israel upon paganism 


and pagan philosophy is denied. But this after-effect of 
tradition, as well as that possible in working of Israel, are 
accidental. They are not inherent in the contrary process 
of natural theology in its deterioration. Hence this pro 
cess itself must be investigated, not for the sake of paying 
homage to the theology of paganism as such, but to show 
that the religious life of these pagan nations was founded 
upon some theology, which as such was not invented, but 
is the necessary result of the sinful development of natural 

Islam occupies here a somewhat separate position. Just 
as with Gnosticism and Manichaeism, w r e here deal with a 
unit of theological representations which has special revela 
tion back of it, and partly included in it. This presents 
three factors for our consideration. First, the contrary 
development of natural theology, which here also forms 
the pagan background. Secondly, the contrary devel 
opment of supranatural theology, which had an entirely 
peculiar career. And, thirdly, the syncretistic element, 
which united these deteriorations into one. Islam is not 
merely pagan, nor is it merely heretical, but both together, 
and hence it occupies an entirely peculiar place among the 
deteriorations of true theology, in which it now stands alone, 
simply because Alanichreism, Gnosticism, etc., as religious 
societies, have passed away. On the other hand, Islam, as 
such, is allied to those theological representations that have 
become current again, especially since the beginning of this 
century, and which have embroidered the flowers of Christian 
revelations upon the tapestry of a radically pagan philosophy. 
With this difference, however, that these philosophic deteri 
orations have not established religious communions, but have 
invaded the Church of Christ. 

03. Falsifications of the Conception of Tlteolxj)/ 

The falsifications of Theology as science bear an entirely dif 
ferent character. By these we do not refer to the heretical di 
vergencies, such as Protestants assert of Romanism, and Rome 
in turn ainrms of Protestantism. With everv heretical diver- 


gence both sides occupy the same point of view as to natural 
theology; from both sides it is confessed that their theology 
is derived from special Revelation ; and the difference arises 
only from the diverging views of this special Revelation. In 
speculative and empiric theology, on the other hand, one is 
met by a falsification, which, from principle, denies all 
special Revelation, and thus in reality takes counsel with 
natural theology. Both forfeit thereby the right to the 
name of theology, because in this way speculative theology 
really ends in Philosophy, and empiric theology disappears 
in Naturalism. Natural Theology can exhibit itself as a 
regnant power only when human nature receives the beams of 
its light in their purity and reflects them equally completely. 
At present, however, the glass has been impaired by a hun 
dred cracks, and the receiving and reflecting have become 
unequal, and the image that was to reflect itself is hindered 
in its clear reflection and thereby rendered untrue. And 
for this reason you cannot depend upon natural theology as 
it works in fallen man; and its imperfect lines and forms 
bring you, through the broken image, in touch with the reality 
of the infinite, only when an accidens enables you to recover 
this defective ideal for yourself, and natural theology re 
ceives this accidens only in special revelation. Speculative 
and empiric theology are correct, therefore, in their reaction 
against methodistic superficiality, which actually annuls 
natural theology, and accepts special revelation by faith 
as something entirely independent by itself. While, on the 
contrary, it is only by the natural knowledge of God, by 
the semen religionis, that a special revelation is possible for 
us, that our consciousness can unite itself to it, and that 
certainty can be born of its reality in our sense. Yea, to 
speak still stronger, we may say that special theology is 
merely temporal, and natural theology eternal. This is not 
stated more boldly than the Scriptures justify, when they 
explain the mutual relation between the special priest 
hood of the Aaronic ceremonial and the natural priesthood 
of Melchizedek. Melchizedek appears as one standing en 
tirely outside of the special revelation; he is a priest-king, 

308 00. FALSIFICATIONS OF [Dir. Ill 

who has natural theology only, together with a weakened 
tradition of the once blessed paradise. Aaron, therefore, on 
whom shone the full light of special revelation, stands far 
above him in knowledge of God, in loftiness of religion, and 
in purity of priestly ritual. With a little less thought one 
would have been tempted to place Aaron s priesthood far 
above that of Melchizedek, in order to find the ideal high- 
priesthood of Christ in Aaron, and not in the order of 
Melchizedek. And yet revelation, in both Old and New 
Testaments, teaches the very contrary. Aaron s ceremonial 
bears merely a temporal character ; Melchizedek s office is 
eternal; and Aaron disappears in Christ, in order that in 
Christ Melchizedek may reappear. Thus Aaron s service 
merely fulfilled the vocation of rendering the service of 
Melchizedek possible again, and enabling it to resume its 
original significance. And this is the point of view which 
dominates also the relation between " natural theology " and 
"particular grace." Undoubtedly the content of special reve 
lation is much richer than the meagre content which natu 
ral theology now offers fallen man ; and it is also evident 
that without its accidens in special revelation this natural 
theology is no help to you whatever. Aaron s service was 
much richer than that of Melchizedek, and without the 
Aaronic ordination Melchizedek s offering missed every aton 
ing merit. But this does not take away the fact, that 
natural theology always remains the originally real one, and 
that special revelation can never be anything else than acci 
dental. Hence, when it comes to a state of purity, when sin 
shall have been eradicated so that its very memory shall no 
longer work its after-effects in the creation of God, then all 
the riches of special revelation shall merely have served the 
end of bringing natural theology back again to its original 
lustre, yea, of causing it to glow with a brightness which 
far excels its original lustre. In the prophetic domain of the 
knowledge of God, also, Aaron disappears, and Melchizedek 
returns with all the glory of the original creation. This is 
the deep significance of the oath sworn by the Lord in Psalm 
ex., concerning the priest after the order of Melchizedek. 


Jesus Himself spoke of a future in which His disciples would 
no more ask Him anything, because the Father Himself loved 
them. And in the perspective of 1 Cor. xv., when God 
shall be "all in all," the entire special revelation has receded; 
the object for which it was given has been obtained; and with 
reference also to the knowledge of God, the " all in all " 
expresses nothing else than what once existed in paradise. 
Though this deeper truth was not recognized by Schleier- 
macher, the spiritual father of subjective empiricism, and 
by Hegel, the master thinker, who founded the school of 
recent speculative theology, they perceived it, nevertheless, 
sufficiently clearly to vindicate the primordial authority of 
natural theology. Calvin saw deeper than both, when he 
compared ectypal theology, as thanks to common grace it 
still exists in and for the sinner, to a book the writing of 
which had become blurred, so that it could only be deci 
phered with a glass, i.e. with the help of special revelation. 
In this figure the thought lies expressed, that the theology 
which reflects itself as such in our nature, is ever the real 
theology, which, however, must be augmented and be ex 
plained, and which without this assistance remains illegible ; 
but which, even during and after this help, always remains 
the true divine writing. So also it is foretold in prophecy, 
when Jeremiah declared that there was a time coming in 
which the outward special revelation would be ended, and 
every one would bear again in his heart the divine writing, 
and all should know the Lord from the least unto the oldest. 
This, too, is only the representation that the outward special 
revelation merely serves for a time, and that it has no other 
tendency than to lift natural theology from its degeneracy. 
Natural theology is and always will be the natural pair of 
legs on which we must walk, while special revelation is the 
pair of crutches, which render help, as long as the weakened 
or broken legs refuse us their service. This indeed can be 
frankly acknowledged, even though it is certain, that as long 
as our legs cannot carry us we can only walk by means of 
the crutches, so that during this abnormal condition our legs 
do not enable us to walk truly in the ways of the Lord, 

310 03. FALSIFICATIONS OF [Div. Ill 

but only our crutches, i.e. not natural theology, hut only 
special revelation. This last point has been less denied 
than entirely abolished by Schleiermacher, as well as by 
Hegel, and in so far we deny that the subjective-empiric 
and the speculative schools, which they called into life, are 
able to offer us any real and actual theology. But this does 
not destroy the fact that the motive which impelled them con 
tained an inward truth. After the Reformation orthodoxy 
withdrew itself all too quickly from general human life. It 
became too greatly an isolated phenomenon, which, however 
beautiful in itself, was too much disconnected ; and when it 
undertook to distil a kind of compendium from the so-called 
natural theology, and in all its poverty to place this by the 
side of the rich display of special revelation, it belittled this 
natural theology to such an extent, that rationalism could not 
fail of its opportunity to show itself and to administer reproof; 
while orthodoxy, removed from its basis, was bound to turn 
into inwardly thin supranaturalism with its external sup 
ports. Thus there was no longer a scientific theology worthy 
of the name. All that remained was, on the one hand, a mysti 
cism without clearness, and on the other hand a barren frame 
work of propositions and facts, without the glow of life or 
of reality. This was observed with great sharpness of 
vision by Schleiermacher, as well as by Hegel, and both 
endeavored to find again, in the reality of life, a 09 poi TTOV 
ara) (starting-point) for religion, and thus also for theology. 
They did this each in his own way : Schleiermacher by 
withdrawing himself into human nature, as religious and 
social in character ; and Hegel, on the other hand, by ex 
tending the world of human thought so broadly, that theol 
ogy also found a place in it. From subjectivity, i.e. from 
mysticism, Schleiermacher came to theological thought, Hegel, 
from the thought of man, hence from intellectualism, to re 
ligion. Thus together they grasped natural reality by the 
two handles which this reality presents for religion. Natu 
ral theology includes two elements: first, ectypal knowledge 
of (iod as founded in the human consciousness, and secondly, 
the pistic capacity of man to grasp this ectypal knowledge 


with his inner consciousness. Hegel made the ectypal 
knowledge of God to appear in the foreground of human 
consciousness ; Schleiermacher, on the other hand, started 
out from the pistic capacity increated in the inner nature 
of man. Hence it is not surprising in the least, that both 
formed a school of their own, and that only by their initia 
tive theology revived again as a science. They indeed 
abandoned the isolation to which theology had fled. Each 
in his way restored religion and theology to a proper place 
of honor in human life and in the world of thought. By 
their work the " unheimisch " feeling of confusion in the 
face of reality was taken away from the theologian ; he had 
again a standing. The thirst after reality could again be 
quenched. And that even orthodox theologians, whose 
earnest effort it was to maintain by far the greater part of 
the content of special revelation, sought refuge in the two 
schools need not surprise us, for the reason that the strength 
of each lay not so much in their positive data, as in their 
formal view, which to a certain extent was also adapted, if 
needs be, to cover an orthodox cargo. With respect to this 
formal part, Schleiermacher and Hegel even supplemented 
each other. If in Schleiermacher s subjective school the 
ology was threatened to be sacrificed to religion, and in 
Hegel s speculative tendency to be glorified as the sole 
substance of religion, it was evident that those who were 
more seriously minded foresaw the future of theology in the 
synthesis of both elements. There were two sides to natu 
ral theology, and only in the combination of Schleiermacher 
and Hegel could natural theology again obtain a hearing in 
its entirety. 

But this whole effort has ended in nothing but bitter dis 
appointment. Not, as already said, as though in these two 
schools men began at once to cast the content of the special 
revelation overboard. On the contrary, Schleiermacher and 
Hegel both did not rest content with the meagre data of 

O O 

natural theology, but made it a point of honor to demand 
the exalted view-point of the Christian religion for its own 
sake, and, so far as they were able, to vindicate it. What 

312 63. FALSIFICATIONS OF [Div. Ill 

good was this, however, when they were bent on explaining, 

at any cost, this ideal view-point of the Christian religion 
from the normal data? They no doubt acknowledged the 
considerable interval between this ideal religion and the 
imperfect religions expression outside of the Christian do 
main, but they refused to attribute this to the supernatural, 
and thus to what seemed to them the abnormal action of 
the living God. The interval between the highest and 
the lowest was not to be taken any longer as an antithesis, 
but was to be changed into a process, by which gradually 
the highest sprang from the lowest. Thus each in his way 
found the magic formula of the process. From Theism they 
glided off into Pantheism. For thus only was it possible to 
maintain the high honor of the Christian religion, and at, 
the same time to place this exalted religion in organic rela 
tion to the reality of our human existence. And this was 
the thing that avenged itself. For from the meagre data 
of natural theology they were not able to operate along 
straight lines, and thus even these fundamental data were 
falsified. This became especially apparent in the school of 
Hegel, when in their way his younger followers tried to 
systematize religion, and soon rendered it evident that, 
instead of vindication, the result, which in this school they 
reached by strict consequence, was the entire undermining 
of historic Christianity and of all positive religious data. 
What Hegel thought he had found was not religion, bin 
philosophic theology, and this theology was no true "knowl 
edge of God," but a general human sense, in which the im 
manent Spirit (der immanente Geist) gradually received 
knowledge of himself. This did not iind archetypal knowl 
edge in God, but in man, and ectypal knowledge in the 
incomprehensible God. Hence it was the perversion of all 
Theology, and the inversion of the conception of religion 
itself, and both dissolved in a philosophic system. 

Though at first the subjective-empiric school of Schleier- 
macher appeared less dangerous, and though it did not 
h-ad to those repulsive consequences in which the young 
Hegelians lost themselves, yet even this did not escape its 


Nemesis, and with fatal necessity tends more and more to 
Naturalism. It did not come to religion from the sphere of 
thought, but sought its connecting point in human nature. 
Man, not as individual, but taken as an integral part of the 
organism of humanity, presented himself as a subject with 
certain emotions and perceptions, and bearing a religious char 
acter; from these perceptions and emotions, by virtue of the 
"social instinct" (Sociale Trieb), which is peculiar to man 
as an organic being, sprang a certain desire after religious 
communion (Verein); and since man inclines to take up his 
emotions and perceptions into his consciousness, there was 
gradually born of this selfsame subjective mysticism a 
world of religious representations. Only with these ethical 
premises at his disposal, does Schleiermacher come to the 
phenomenon of the Christian Church, which, both by way of 
comparison and in principle, seems to satisfy the highest 
aspirations these premises inspire. Faithful to his natural 
istic interpretation he concedes that it is the vocation of the 
Church to remain the leader of this ethic-social process in 
humanity. This requires elucidation of insight. And so 
he arrives at an interpretation of theology which is nothing 
but an aggregate of disparate sciences, which find their bond 
of union ad hoc in the phenomenon of the Church. 

We readily grant that Schleiermacher did not mean this 
naturalistically. His purpose was to save the ideal life 
of humanity. But we maintain, that this whole inter 
pretation sprang from the naturalistic root, and is chargeable 
with the naturalistic tendency, which became more strongly 
evident in his followers. Of the three data which he deals 
with, human nature, God and thought, he takes human 
nature alone to be autonomic. All that he teaches of God, 
is not merely bound in its form of expression to the data of 
our nature, but the content also is the mere reflection of 
subjective perceptions ; man is and remains the subject, that 
is, thinks and speaks, and in his presence God obtains 
no autonomic position. The reality even of the existence 
of God appears to the very end to be dependent upon the 
reality which vindicates itself in the subject man. The 

314 03. FALSIFICATIONS OF [Div. Ill 

same is true with reference to the factor of thought. With 
Schleiermacher, thought is the result of being, not in the 
absolute sense, but of being in man and of that which 
springs from this being of man. Actually, therefore, 
human nature alone and its phenomena are real for Schleier 
macher; from this nature only you come to God as to its 
projection; and thought exercises so little independent 
power, that the unconscious senses, feelings and perceptions 
not only govern our entire thought, but even repress it, 
and already prepare the primacy of the will of later date. 
With this, however, Schleiermacher as a theologian had 
passed the handle entirely out of his hands. It is self- 
evident, that the autonomic study of human nature held the 
mastery also over the future of theology. If that physio 
logical and psychological study should lead to materialistic 
results, the whole of Schleiermacher s religion would fall 
away. Or, where the result was less disappointing, yet so far 
as the method is concerned, the physiological factor was bound 
to dominate entirely the psychological factor, and this would 
also include everything that relates to religion under the 
power of the naturalistic view. In this wise the Christian 
religion was bound to be reduced to the product of all pre 
ceding religious development; that preceding religious de 
velopment could at length be nothing more than the necessary 
development of a psychological peculiarity; that psycho 
logical peculiarity, in turn, must be the result of the fun 
damental data in our human nature; that human nature 
could be nothing else than the product of the unbroken 
development of organic nature; that organic nature could 
not differ essentially from the inorganic nature; so that 
finally, everything that is high and holy in the Christian 
domain has been brought under the power of the evolution 
theory, and the theologian has to be informed by the 
naturalist where to look for the origin of the object of his 

Thus, in both schools, everything that had so far been 
known by the name of theology was in principle destroyed. 
There were no longer two, (jod and man, the former of whom 


has imparted knowledge of Himself to the latter; there 
was, in fact, nothing else but man, in whom alone, according 
to the speculative school, "the Ever-Immanent Spirit" (der 
ewigimmanente Geist) came to consciousness of himself; and 
who according to the subjective-empiric school, experienced 
subjective perceptions, from which he formed for himself sub 
jective representations of a religious character. Neither in 
one school nor in the other was there any more question of an 
extrahuman God, nor room for a theology which should be 
able to introduce actual knowledge of that God into the 
general human consciousness. The abandonment of the name 
Theology, and the substitution in its room of the name of 
Science of Religion, was nothing but the honest consequence of 
the fundamentally atheistic point of view which was held. 
Is atheistic too strong a word in this connection ? It is, when 
by atheism we understand the denial of the spirit and 
perceptions of the infinite ; but not, when we interpret it 
as the refusal longer to recognize the living God, who has 
made Himself known to us as God. Though both schools 
held to the name of God, they both afterward denied that 
we have the right to reckon with the reality of the living 
God, as a personal, self-conscious Being, who from that 
self-consciousness reveals Himself to us. And from that 
time on, the object that engaged the investigator in this 
domain was no longer the reality God, but religion. With 
reference to the eternal Being everything had become prob 
lematic; the religious phenomenon was the only certain 
thing. There revealed itself in human nature and in his 
tory a mighty factor, which was known by the name of reli 
gion. It was possible to trace and to study the historic and 
ethnologic development of this factor; psychologically, also, 
an explanation of this religious phenomenon could be sought ; 
and in this perhaps at length sufficient ground could be 
found to assume a general agent as cause of this phenome 
non; but no venture could be made outside of this phe 
nomenal circle. The vovpevov remained problematic. 

That nevertheless most students shrank from the imme 
diate adoption of this radical transition, had a threefold 

olti 0:1 FALSIFICATIONS (>F [Div. 11! 

cause, the historic form of our theological faculties, the 
existence of the Christum Church, and the exalted character 
of the Christian religion. By far the larger number of 
theologians of name do not reach their destination except in 
the theological faculty. That faculty, as an historic institute, 
is bound to the theological name, and more particularly still to 
Christian Theology. The revolution which has taken place 
on theologic ground must of necessity either modernize these 
faculties entirely, or perhaps occasion their disappearance, 
and the transfer of their chairs to other faculties. But this is 
not done at once. Every academic institute is conservative. 
And since one cannot Avait for this, and meanwhile is not 
willing to abandon the influence of the chair, one adapts 
himself to the inevitable, and continues to call himself a 
theologian, and to speak of theological study, even though 
in the main he has broken with theology, in the historically 
valid sense of the word. The second reason, why the name of 
theology has been maintained, lies in the Christian Church. 
For her sake the Ministers of the Word must be educated. 
If it were not for her, there would be no question after 
pupils for this faculty. Dilettant theologians are becom 
ing ever more scarce. And thus one had still to adapt 
himself to practical needs in these departments. From a 
scientific point of view the study of other religions might 
promise richer harvests ; but almost no one would frequent 
the lecture-rooms where exegetical readings were given from 
the holy books of other religions. And thus the scientific 
standard had to be abandoned, and for the sake of practical 
needs the old theological tracks are still continued. This is 
indeed an unenviable position, in which self-respect is re 
gained in part only by the consideration of the third cause 
mentioned above, that is, the relative excellency of the Chris 
tian religion. Even when, after the fashion of botanists, "we 
treat religion as a flora of poorer and richer types, it is but 
natural that fuller study should be devoted to the religious 
plant of higher development; and, as such, homage is paid 
to the Christian religion. Not generally any longer as the 
highest, for Buddhism, and even Islam, are placed by its side; 


and much less as the highest conceivable, for in ethics Christ 
is thought to be far excelled, and it is maintained that further 
development is not at all impossible. But in general the 
Christian religion still counts as one of the higher develop 
ments ; especially as that development, which is of greatest 
interest to us historically, and which, so far as the lower 
classes of people are concerned, is even yet the only one that 
claims our general notice. And thus it comes to pass, that 
this faculty is still called theological, and is still regulated 
with a view to the training of Ministers of the Word for 
the Christian Church, and, though the other religions are 
reviewed, the Christian religion is still the main study pur 
sued. This is done, in antagonism with principle, for the 
sake of secondary considerations; and it is for this reason 
that the ancient name of Theology is still borne, though 
now as a misnomer, and that the only fitting name for what 
is really meant, that of "science of Religion" (Religionwis- 
senschaft), remains still banished from the official curricu 

In order to restore harmony to a certain extent between 
name and matter, it has been tried in more or less conserva 
tive circles, to define Theology as " the science of the Chris 
tian religion"; which, however much better it may sound 
than Schleiermacher s prudish and unnatural definition, is 
nevertheless equally unable to stand the test of criticism. 
Is there likewise a science of English history ? Of French 
philosophy? Of Greek art? Of course not. The science 
of history devotes a chapter to England s national past; the 
history of philosophy devotes a separate investigation to that 
Avhich has been pondered and reflected upon by French 
thinkers; and the history of aesthetics engages itself espe 
cially with Greek art ; but no one will undertake to represent 
these parts of a broader object as a proper object for an 
independent science. Hence, in the religious domain also, 
there is no separate science of Parseeism, of Buddhism, of 
Israelitism, of Christianity, or of Islam. He who takes one 
of these phenomena as such as object of investigation, may 
not take it outside of its relation to correlated phenomena, 

318 03. FALSIFICATIONS OF [Div. Ill 

and can take no stand except in a science which embraces 
these correlated phenomena as a whole. It is unscientific, 
therefore, to speak of a "science of the Christian religion/ 
If I confess a Revelation, which has no correlates and which 
is a phenomenon of an entirely singular kind, it may well 
be the object of an independent science. But if one views 
the Christian religion as one of several religions, even 
though it is comparatively the highest of all religious 
developments known to us, he is as unable to create an 
independent science of the Christian religion as the botan 
ist is to speak of a special science of the cedar. If, on the 
other hand, with other more or less orthodox theologians, 
we assert that the Christian religion is distinguished from 
all other religious phenomena by a special specific revela 
tion, its distinguishing element is not in the religion, but 
in the revelation of Christianity, and hence this revelation 
must be the object of this science. 

This was felt by Hodge, the champion of scientific 
orthodox}- in America, and therefore he tried to escape from 
the dilemma by choosing the facts of the Bible as the object 
of his theology. His intention was good, for in the main 
he was correct in saying that the Holy Scriptures offer us 
no scientific theology, but contain the facts and truth** 
"which theology has to collect, authenticate, arrange and 
exhibit in their internal relation to each other " (8yst. 
Theology, I., p. 1). And yet we may not rest content even 
with Hodge s definition. For in this way the conception of 
"ectypal Theology" is lost, and from all sorts of facts we 
are to conclude what must follow from them with respect to 
the Being of God. His combination of "facts and truths" 
overthrows his own system. He declares that the theologian 
must authenticate these truths. But then, of course, they 
are no truths, and only become such, when I authenticate 
them. His idea was, of course, to save theology as a positive 
science, and to do this in a better way than they who took 
the "Christian religion" as the given olji ct; but it can 
scarcely be denied that he succumbed to the temptation of 
placing Theology formally in a line with the other sciences. 


All the other sciences have the data of nature and of history 
for their object, and Theology, in like manner, has the data 
of this supernatural history. There were two spheres, two 
worlds, which have become object of a proper science each. 
That the distinction between God as creator and all the rest 
as His creature draws the deep boundary-line between the 
ology and all other science, could not be established in this 
way. The authentication of his "facts" brought him logi 
cally back again under the power of naturalistic science. 
And though as a man of faith he bravely resisted this, his 
demonstration lacked logical necessity. 

Our result is that, though still called by the name of 
theology, the entire subsequent development of theological 
study has actually substituted an utterly different object, 
has cut the historic tie that binds it to original theology, 
and has accomplished little else than the union of the sub 
divisions of psychology and of historic ethnology into a new 
department of science, which does not lead to the knowledge 
of God, but aims at the knowledge of religion as a phe 
nomenon in the life of humanity. Along this way also the 
return was made to natural theology, and whatever was 
still valid as " Christian revelation " was cited to legiti 
matize itself before the tribunal of natural theology. The 
harmony between the results of these modern investigations, 
and those derived in former ages from natural theology in 
India and elsewhere, could therefore arouse no surprise in 
the least. This only should be added, that the exchange of 
iheologia naturalis for religio naturalis accounts for the loss 
with us of what the Vedanta still maintains, viz. the divine 
reality, which corresponds to the impressions and percep 
tions of the religiously disposed mind. 

64. Deformations of Theology 

If the effort to obtain Divine knowledge from natural 
theology, without the help of special revelation, was bound, 
after the fall, to effect the entire deterioration of the knowl 
edge of God ; and if, on the other hand, the effort to substi 
tute religion as object of investigation for the "knowledge of 


God was bound to falsify the conception of theology; the 
evil worked within the theological domain by what we call 
its deformations, the results of schism and heresy, is of an 
entirely different character. The difference is still clearly 
evident between what is called Protestant, Romish and 
Greek or Eastern Theology; and though on Protestant 
ground the antithesis between the Lutheran and Reformed 
type of doctrine is less significant than before, it is self- 
deception to suppose that it has become extinct; while, 
on the other hand also, the variegations of the mystic- 
apocalyptic and the pietistic-methodistic mode of teaching 
still maintain themselves in ever wider Protestant circles. 
The illusion that the former confessional differences have 
had their day, in order gradually to make room for a general 
Protestant sense, scarcely held itself intact for a quarter of 
a century. It was evident all too soon, that this indiffer 
ence to confessional standards sprang from an unhistoric ten 
dency and was fed by an exceedingly serious hypertrophy of 
the philosophic element. Almost everywhere, therefore, we 
see the revival of confessional standards in theology, the 
moment it escapes from the arms of philosophy, and, for the 
sake of defending its position, is bent upon the recovery of 
its independence. This, however, makes it necessary, just 
as our fathers did before us, to deal with the deformations 
of Theology. 

This conception of deformation excludes, on our side, two 
untenable points of view: first, the sceptical, which attributes 
no higher worth to Protestant Theology than to the Romish 
or Eastern, and evermore tends to place these in a line; and 
secondly, the absolute, which counts out every other theology 
but its own as worthless, and frankly declares them to have 
originated with the Evil One. 

The sceptical point of view falls short in faith, decision 
and coin-age of conviction. Mere, in reality, one takes truth 
as something that lies beyond human reach; hence one s own 
confession also is valued no higher than as an effort to express 
truth, which from the nature of the case has met with ill suc 
cess. One feels his way in the dark, and hence must readily 


concede others the right of doing the same. Their confes 
sion and yours contain equally little or much of worth, just as 
you please. They are variations of the same theme. Each 
of these variations enrich and complement, and you stand 
personally higher, just in proportion as being less narrow in 
the attachment to your own confession, you have an open eye 
and ear to rejoice in all expressions of life. This is not 
meant to be taken eclectically, for since you have no favorite 
flower, you gather no bouquet from the several confessions, 
but simply walk among the several flower-beds to enjoy what 
ever is beautiful in this confessional garden. All this lacks 
seriousness of purpose. From this view-point every form of 
confession becomes an article of luxury. Confessional life 
aims no longer at truth, but serves as a kind of poetry. 
In the life of his emotions one experiences certain pious per 
ceptions ; one also seeks a certain mystical communion with 
the hidden world of the infinite ; and in so far as one accepts 
the reality of that world, he is seriously minded ; but he has 
no faith in what he himself expresses or in what he hears 
others say concerning it. It does not become us, it is said, 
to do anything but stammer. No significance, therefore, 
should be attached to the sounds, forms, or words which we 
speak, as though these expressed the higher reality. At most 
these sounds have the worth of a musical character. They 
give utterance to our better feelings, and presently aid to 
revive them again. But for this very reason, the song 
which another sings from his heart is equally beautiful. 
There is no more truth to be confessed. All that remains 
is a pious, aesthetic enjoyment of what has been stammered 
by man in all manner of ways concerning the truth. A 
Calvinistic prayer, which drinks in encouragement for higher 
life from the fountain of eternal election, impresses, from this 
point of view, equally strongly as the Ave verum corpus of 
the Romish worshipper, as he kneels before the uplifted 

This sceptical point of view, therefore, should not be 
confounded with the mystical antithesis, which opposes all 
dogma, all confessions and also all special revelation. This 


mystic antithesis springs from tlie tendency to let being 
triumph over consciousness, and, while it apparently an 
tagonizes barren intellectualisra, in reality it opposes every 
modification which by virtue of religion must be brought 
about in our world of thought. It is said that our so-called 
modern ethical tendency sets no store by conceptions ; but 
from the nature of the case this is not so. No one can cfet 


along without thought; without a life with consciousness no 
human life is conceivable; every one goes out from certain 
general conceptions ; and, voluntarily or otherwise, in those 
who live in higher spheres those general conceptions form a 
system, i.e. they stand in a certain relation to each other. 
As an actual fact, therefore, the conflict against "barren 
intellectualisra " banishes all influence of revelation or even 
of religion from the development of our world of thought ; 
while eventually the world of thought, which from natural 
reason has become common property, is permitted to assert it 
self as unassailable and self-evident. With these men it is 
ever the old conflict between the primacy of the consciousness 
and of the will, while our entire higher life is subsumed by 
them under the will. With the deformations of theology, 
however, we need not take this into account; since all such 
efforts end in an entire falsification of the conception of 
theology, and as such belong to our former paragraph. 
The sceptics, on the other hand, whom we here speak of, 
occupy the selfsame view-point with us of special revela 
tion; with us they feel the need of holding dogma in honor, 
and re.idily agree that no church can get along without con 
fessional standards; only, to all these confessions together 
they attribute nothing but a relative value. The truth is 
not contained in one confession, nor in all the confessions 
taken together; to push propaganda, therefore, of one con 
fession above another is entirely void of motive. Going 
from one church to another, except for the sake of marriage 
or of national interests, has no significance. And the poor 
martyrs who faced death for the sake of their convictions, 
died like naive victims of a confessional mistake. 

If thus in this confessional scepticism the energy of con- 


viction is wanting, the confessional absolutists, on the other 
hand, sin through the excess of conviction, when they anathe 
matize everything that falls outside of their own confession. 
This ground was not held by the Reformers and the learned 
divines who theologically expounded the confession of the 
Reformers. Even Calvin is clearly conscious that he builds 
on the theology of Augustine and Thomas Aquinas ; and he 
who reads the original Lutheran and Reformed dogmatists, 
perceives at once that they make constant use of what has 
been contributed by Romish theologians. But in the sub 
sequent period this usage has become extinct. Every church 
withdraws itself within its own walls; and finally it seems 
that there is no theology for the dogmatist, but that which 
rests upon his own confession. Hence, not only in the case of 
every antithesis, is one equally firm in cleaving to his own 
conviction, and in rejecting whatever opposes it; but also 
every suggestion is banished that, at least in that which is 
not antithetic, some theologic depth, development and truth 
may lodge with the opponent. The Romish theologians 
cany this confessional absolutism to the farthest extreme. 
With the Lutheran theologians this absolutism is quickly 
carried into practice, even at the expense of Reformed 
theology. The Reformed theologians alone have longest 
reacted against this confessional absolutism. If the confes 
sional sceptic knows little besides irenics, and if in his eyes 
all controversy is folly, the absolutist, on the other hand, is 
averse to all irenics, and controvers} r or polemics is his only 
point of contact with the confessions of the other churches, 
which he considers simply false. 

But it is readily seen that neither this sceptical nor this 
absolutist point of view is in harmony with the claim of 
theology. Not the sceptical, for if theology is " the knowl 
edge of God," and if, consequently, theology as a science 
can have no other object than to introduce that revealed 
knowledge of God as clearly as possible into our human 
consciousness, personal conviction must ever be the starting- 
point of all theology. Taken generically, theology is, and 
always will be, knoivledye, and for this reason there can be no 


theology where the conviction that one /niotcx is wanting. 
Confessional indifferentism is in irreconcilable conflict with 
this, for many things may lie in the farthest circumference 
of each one s conviction which are not attached to his 
personal consciousness; but these do not belong to our con 
fession. But that which one confesses, one must mean; of 
this we must be certain; if necessary, the greatest sacrifice 
must be made for this ; if needs be, the sacrifice of life. That 
now this confessional conviction in the Lutheran Church is 
different from that in the Eastern, and in the Reformed than 
in the Church of Rome, certainly does not depend upon our 
personal preference. This difference is connected, rather, 
with our position in life and genealogy. Xo objection should 
ever be raised on that account, however, against the reality 
of our conviction, since the entire world of our representa 
tions, those of the non-religious kind also, are determined 
by the circle from which we spring and the age in which 
Ave live; the Pelagian only may encounter some ditViculty 
here, because he does not believe in a divine plan, which 
determines our whole position; but, for the rest, no con 
viction ever strikes deeper root than when it has been 
prepared atavistically in us. lie, therefore, who has in this 
way obtained his conviction as one with his life, does not 
ascribe its possession to his own excellencies, but renders 
thanks for it to the grace of God. A true theologian, there 
fore, will and must hold for real and true the theology 
which he embraces, and to the further development of which 
he devotes his life, and should not hesitate to consider all 
other theology to be deformation. A Lutheran theologian, 
who is not firmly convinced of the truth of his own confes 
sion and who has no courage to denounce all theology which 
is opposed to it as deformation, has lost his wny. The same 
is true of the Romish theologian. And we as Reformed 
theologians stand equally firm in our unshakable conviction 
that the track, along which we move, runs the most accu 
rately, and that every other track leads to lesser or greater 

I>ut though from his own point of view no single theolo- 


gian should shrink from this qualification of deformation, 
this conception of deformation contains, on the other hand, 
an element of appreciation, and therefore a sentence against 
confessional absolutism. Deformation passes judgment on the 
imperfection of the form, but honors the essence. Whether 
this deformation is the outcome of schism, and consequent 
onesidedness, by the contraction of the energy of truth at one 
single point; or whether it has found its origin in heresy, i.e. 
in the adoption into one s confession of elements that are 
foreign to the truth, can make no difference. In either case 
you acknowledge that there is a "knowledge of God," and 
that that which calls itself theology is truly possessed of the 
theologic character. It is still commonly accepted in the con 
fessions that there is an ectypal knowledge of God, that in 
the natural way this cannot lead the sinner to saving results, 
and that there is a special revelation to supply this want. 
The canonical books also of the Old and New Testaments 
are honored by all these churches together as the Divine 
documentation of this revelation. Difference only begins 
with the addition to these Scriptures of the apocrypha, of 
tradition, of papal inspiration, of the mystic inspiration by 
the internal light (lumen internum), etc. Thus from either 
side we are abundantly able to show how the deformation 
originated with the other; and this is the point of attack; 
yet this does not destroy what is common in all confessions 
and theologies. 

And if this opens the way to the appreciation and use 
of what has been prepared also by theologians of other con 
fessions, in what is common to us all, it leads at the same 
time to still another consideration. Even Rome does not 
deny that charismata are also at work outside of her church ; 
and where in this way even Rome maintains a unity, our 
Protestant principle includes the open recognition of the 
correlation of the other churches with ours. No single con 
fessional group claims to be all the church. We rather 
confess that the unity of the body of Christ extends 
far beyond our confessional boundaries. The theological 
gifts that operate outside of our circle may supply what 


we lack, ami self-sufficient narrow-mindedness alone will 
refuse such benefit. With us irenics go ever hand in hand 
with polemics. Firmly and unshakably we stand in our 
confession, that the track along which we move is the most 
accurate known to us, and in virtue of this conviction we 
do not hesitate a moment to mark the divergence of the 
tracks of others as deformation. Against all such deformity 
we direct our polemics. But we are equally conscious of 
the fact that tee alone do not constitute the Church of 
Christ in the earth; that there is a conviction of truth 
which operates also outside of our circle; and that in de 
spite of all such deformation divine gifts continue to foster 
a theologic life worthy of the name. Hence our irenics. 

To us, therefore, there is no theology as such, which, 
exalting itself above all special theologies, is the theology 
in the absolute sense. Such a theology would effect at once 
a new confession and call into life a new church organi 
zation; simply because one can hold no different conviction 
as theologian than as church member. But this would 


reverse the order of things. The Church does not spring 
from theology, but theology has its rise in the life of the 
Church. And if the objection is raised, that in this way 
theology is robbed of its character of universal validity and 
thus becomes unscientific, we answer: (1) that for universal 
validity the acceptance of all individuals is not demanded. 
but only of those who are receptive to the truth of a matter 
and are well informed of it; (2) that every convinced theo 
logian in the presence of his opponent also appeals from the 
mind that lias been ill-informed (male informatum) to the 
mind that is to be better informed (melius informandum). 
The fact that unity of conviction, which is fairly common 
with the material sciences and rare with the spiritual 
sciences, is altogether wanting with the highest, viz. theol 
ogy, is no pica against theology, since it merely shows that, 
as it touches that which is most tender, it of necessity stands 
highest, and consequently has most to endure from the 
ruin worked by sin in our spiritual life. 

On this ground we maintain the confessional character of 


theology, since otherwise either the unity of our theological 
thinking is lost, or the integrity of our theological convic 
tion. To us who are members of the Reformed Churches 
the more exactly defined object of theology is, the knowl 
edge of God, as given in the Reformed or purified confession. 

65. The Relation of Theology to its Object 

Thus far the course of thought has run smoothly. Knowl 
edge of God is the crown of all that can be known. Knowledge 
of God is inconceivable, except it is imparted to us by God 
Himself. This knowledge, given us by nature in our crea 
tion, has been veiled from and darkened in us by the results 
of sin. Consequently it now comes to us in the form of a 
special revelation, and we have received the divine illumina 
tion, by which we can assimilate the content of that revela 
tion. And science is called in, to introduce this knowledge 
of God, thus revealed, into our human thought. Just here, 
however, a very serious misinterpretation is possible, which 
must needs be prevented. It can be represented that it is 
only science that places the revealed knowledge of God 
within the reach of the pious. In which case it is science 
that investigates the special revelation; the results of this in 
vestigation are gradually more fully established ; that which 
is established is brought to the knowledge of all ; and thus 
the knowledge of God is made universal. This entirely 
intellectualistic way excludes, meanwhile, the spiritual ex 
perience of the Church in its entirety, as well as of indi 
vidual believers. Taken in this way, scientifically theolog 
ical study must have preceded all faith, and the knowledge of 
God would only have come within our reach after theology 
had as good as finished its task. This, however, is incon 
ceivable, since theology is born of the Church, and not the 
Church of theology. Reflection does not create life, but 
suo jure life is first, after which reflection speaks its word 
concerning it. And thus spiritual life became manifest 
in the Church of Christ, and as the result of Revelation 
practical spiritual knowledge of God had been the rich pos 
session of thousands upon thousands, long before the idea of 

328 65. THE KRLATION OF [Div. Ill 

a scientific theology was suggested. It cannot even be said 
that scientific theology presented the forms of thought 
which led to the formulations of dogma. Those formula 
tions were much more the product of the conflict for truth 
which took place in the life of the Church, and therefore 
they have borne much more an ecclesiastical than a scientific 
character. The knowledge of God, held by the Church, did 
not remain naively mystical, until science analyzed this 
mysticism. But sharp and clear thinking was done in the 
Church as such, long before the science of theology as such 
had won a place for itself. The Church has not lived uncon 
sciously, but consciously, and so far as the personal life of 
believers is concerned, no urgency for a closer scientific 
explanation has ever been observed. 

Much less can it be said that scientific theology is called 
to add more certainty to the confession of the Church and lo 
demonstrate its truth. The desire to have theology perform 
this service, so entirely foreign to it, has not originated in 
times of spiritual prosperity and healthful activity of faith, 
but was always the bitter fruit of the weakening of faith, and 
consequently was ever incapable of checking the decline of 
the life of the Church. The Church that has leaned on the 
ology, instead of presenting its arm to theology for its support, 
has always lost the remnant of higher courage which re 
minded it of better days, and has always degraded itself to a 
dependency upon the school. No, the need of scientific the 
ology does not spring from the need of the soul, but always 
finds its motive in our human thought. There is a world of 
thought which binds man to man, and which, notwithstanding 
the change of individuals, passes on from generation to gen 
eration. Only a few, however, live in that world of thought 
with such clear consciousness as to feel themselves at home 
there. But they also who do not enter in so deeply, derive 
general representations from this world of thought which are 
the common property of all and thereby render the mutual 
correspondence among minds possible. And this world of 
thought cannot resist the impulse to take U things up into 
itself, and therefore also this knowledge of God ; and of this 


impulse theology as a science is born. This seems to be other 
wise, when we observe that the practical purpose of the first 
theological studies was to defend themselves apologetically, or 
to train preachers for the Church ; but appearance must not 
mislead us. The actual need, expressed in these attempts, was 
to seek a point of support for one s propaganda in the world 
of thought that was common to Jews and heathen. It was 
soon learned that with one s preaching pure and simple no 
gains were made. Hence the need was felt of something of 
a more transparent character, to supply which the content 
of the faith was gradually interpreted in the language of our 
thinking consciousness. In proportion as the significance of 
this effort after clearer consciousness was more sharply seen, 
the sense also gradually awakened of a vocation, which, inde 
pendent of necessity and defence, should cause the content 
of the revealed knowledge of God to shine likewise in this 
world of thought. By obedience to this, that content was 
not brought closer to our heart, but was presented with more 
clearness to our consciousness. The distance was lessened 
between our general conceptions and the content of that reve 
lation. The confession of that content became more trans 
parent and accurate, and though this scientific theology was 
unable to add one grain to the content of this knowledge of 
God, it has unquestionably heightened the pleasure of our 
possession. The Church, therefore, has not hesitated to 
profit by it ; and though there is no single pearl in her con 
fession which she owes theology as such, since all her pearls 
are gathered from the depths of spiritual life, it is equally 
certain that she would not have been able to string these 
pearls so beautifully in her confession, had not the light of 
theology illumined her spiritual labor. From clearer con 
sciousness to go back to mystic darkness, is obscurantism ; 
and since theology has also made the scientific torch to burn, 
no church that wants to avoid being wilfully " blind " can 
afford to act as though this torch had never been lighted, but 
must duly take it into account. In this wise, moreover, the 
ological science is no abstraction. On the contrary, it springs 
of necessity from the life of the Church, upon which it exerts 

330 65. THE RELATION OF [Div. Ill 

an influence in all the stages of its development. What we 
protest against is, that theology should be thought to exist 
merely for the sake of rendering this auxiliary service, and 
that the Church by itself should be considered not to be able 
to do without it. Spiritually the Church has prospered long 
centuries without it, and in so far can never be dependent 
on it. But on the other hand, again, theology should not be 
explained from utility. That it did originate, is accounted 
for by the nobility of our human thought, which cannot rest, 
so long as there is still a single domain within reach which 
it has not annexed to itself. Thinking man, converted to 
God, has felt himself called to cause the honor of God s truth 
to shine also in the world of our representations and concep 
tions. If that which God causes us to perceive of Himself 
were limited to a mystic esthesia, we might philosophize 
about this phenomenon, but we would never be able to ana 
lyze this perception theologically. Since, however, at sun 
dry times and in divers manners God has spoken unto the 
fathers, and thus light upon Grod has arisen in our conscious 
ness, that revelation itself has impelled a scientific investi 
gation, and Christendom would have done violence to the 
impulse of its consciousness if it had lived without tJieoloyy. 
Theology, therefore, like every other science, aims jit as 
complete and accurate a knowledge of its object as possible. 
It too is born from the thirst after insight and clearness, 
and cannot rest so long as there is still a possibility of mak 
ing the insight into its object more clear. Theology should 
not be denied this ideal character of all science, and there 
fore its motive should ever be sought in knowing God, and 
not in knowing religion or Christianity. Religion and Chris 
tendom by themselves are excellent and important subjects, 
but as such they do not cover a necessary department in 
our consciousness. But this is entirely different with respect 
to the Eternal Being. In every human consciousness of 
higher development, or at least in the general consciousness 
of humanity, there is a vacant space, which can only be filled 
by the knowledge of the Eternal One. If, therefore, as was 
shown above, theology is to find its object only in the re- 


vealed, ectypal knowledge of (rod, this should never be taken 
in the sense of scholastic learning. The motive for all the 
ology is and ever will be the knowledge of the Eternal 
Being, not now in the interest of the needs of our heart, and 
not, as a rule, for the practical purposes of life, but solely 
in the interest of the world of our thought. More than 
this it cannot give. As a science, it is and always will be 
intellectual work, and can never be anything else. Only as 
far as the revealed knowledge of God has a logical con 
tent, is theology able to master it. Outside of the domain 
of our thinking it is powerless; but when the matter con 
cerns this thinking, it is indisputably the province of theol 
ogy to do it. 

But if in this way we concentrate its calling upon the criti 
cal examination of the self-revelation of the Eternal Being 
to us sinners, we do not mean that it is merely to explain from 
this revelation what relates exclusively to God and to His 
Nature. It must be strictly theological, so that from the be 
ginning to the end of its epic God Himself is the hero ; but as 
was observed by the older theologians, one can treat of God 
both in the direct and oblique cases (de Deo in casu recto et 
obliquo). Not only, therefore, that which in revelation deals 
with the being of God, but also His attributes, activities, 
and creations, so far as these contribute to the knowledge 
of God, should be taken up in the investigation ; nature, 
therefore, as well, and history, i.e. from the theological side ; 
and man likewise, provided he is taken as created after the 
image of God, and thus interpreted theologically. And as 
knowledge of a powerful thinker is deemed incomplete 
for his biography, unless you include his ideas concerning 
the significance of man, the great problems of life, and the 
development which awaits us in the future, it is self-evident, 
that it belongs to the knowledge of God, to investigate what 
He declares concerning man, His relation to the children of 
men, and His counsel which shall stand. The emphasis, 
which we put upon theology, as theology, tends by no means 
to impoverish it ; we take it that its content is thereby greatly 
enriched ; we only claim that whatever shall belong to its 


content must be governed by one and the same leading 
thought, which leading thought is the knowledge of God. 
This provides at the same time a standard, as shall be shown 
later on, by which to bring perspective into the Scripture ; 
provided we avoid the errors of distinguishing between 
Scripture and the Word of God, and of concentrating the 
significance of the Scripture upon the religious-ethical. The 
knowledge of God alone teaches you to distinguish between 
eminent, common, and less important interests in the Script 
ure. Only that which you have made your own theologi 
cally, you possess as part of revelation ; while that which 
to your sense is not connected with the knowledge of the 
Eternal Being, lies still outside of it. 

Even this, however, does not entirely determine the rela 
tion of theology to its object. All this concerns exclusively 
the content of Revelation, and does not yet reckon with the 
revealed knowledge of God as such. Thus far a dogmatic- 
ethical study might develop itself, but this would not provide 
room for a theology in the broader unfolding of all its depart 
ments of study. Only with the organic construction of 
theology as a scientific unity can it be shown more accu 
rately of every department, in what relation it stands to the 
knowledge of God, and what place, therefore, belongs to 
such a department in the theologic unit. To this, then, we 
refer ; but it is necessary here to indicate, in broad outline, 
from whence theology derives these many departments of 
study. It will not suffice to say, that they have appeared 
h facio, neither will it be enough to emphasize the signifi 
cance of these departments as preparation for the preaching of 
the Word. To be capable of being scientifically interpreted, 
the unit of a science must spring from the root of its object, 
or, at least, its object must be its motive. This object here 
is: the revealed knowledge of God, or the theolot/ia ectypa reve- 
I tta. From this it follows, that we are not simply to deal 
with the content of this revelation, but also that this revela 
tion as such must be investigated; that the activity must 
be traced, which has gone out from this revelation ; and that 
the relation must be traced between revelation and our 


psychic data, in order to make action from our side possible 
with that revelation. He who is to make a scientific ex 
amination of a mineral spring, is not permitted to rest con 
tent with an analysis of its ferruginous quality, but is bound 
to inquire into the history of this spring, to watch the action 
of its waters, and to experiment as to how its content is best 
applied. Apply this to the revealed knowledge of God, and 
you perceive at once, that the theological science cannot deem 
its task completed, when it has analyzed the content of reve 
lation, but the revelation itself and the action that went out 
from it, together with the method demanded by its applica 
tion, must be studied in their relation to each other. With 
the strictest maintenance, therefore, of the theologic character 
of our science, nothing prevents a view of the relations 
of the several departments of study. For instance, what is 
church history but the broad narrative of the effects which 
the ectypal knowledge of God has exerted in the life of 
nations? Meanwhile we content ourselves with the simple 
indication of it here. This relation can only fully be 
explained in the closing sections of this volume. 

66. Sacred Theology 

Before we enter upon the study of the principium of 
Theology, we insert here a brief explanation of the ancient 
epithet of Sacred before Theology, Not that we should insist 
on this title, or that to our idea this title implies any special 
merit, but because the purpose of its omission is the secular 
ization of theology, and for this reason it has an essential 
significance as an effort to destroy the distinguishing char 
acter of theology. The habit of speaking of Sacred The 
ology has the indorsement of the ages. At the Reformation 
the churches found it in this form, and they felt themselves 
bound to reverence and maintain it. The first mention of 
the omission of this title appears, after the conflict had 
begun against a principium proprium for theology ; and 
the dislike which the effort to restore this ancient title to 
theology creates in many people, is identical with the dis 
like which is shown by those same people for every 

334 00. SACRED THEOLOGY [Div. Ill 

representation of a special revelation. As the omission of 
Sancta was no accident, our effort is equally intentional, to 
renew the use of that name in our Reformed circles. By in 
serting Sancta before Theologia we desire it to be clearly 
understood, that we take no part in the secularization of 
Theology, but maintain that it has a sphere of its own. 

The Church of Christ has borrowed from the Holy Script 
ures this word sacred as a prefix to whatever stands in imme 
diate relation to the special revelation. This prefix is con 
stantly used in the Old, as well as in the New, Testament. 
The spot of ground at the burning bush is called holy ground, 
because there the holiness of the Lord revealed itself to 
Moses. The vHp in Israel, or the congregation of the people, 
is called holy. In Exod. xvi. 23 it speaks of "the holy 
sabbath unto the Lord." The people itself is called an 
"holy people," and its members are called "holy men" 
(Exod. xxii. 31). In a still more pregnant sense the altar 
is called "holy" and "whatsoever touches the altar" (Exod. 
xxix. 37), which refers to places and buildings, as well as to 
persons, their garments, tools and acts. Jerusalem itself is 
called the "holy city" (Xeh. xi. 1). Holy, therefore, is the 
deiinite epithet not only for what is in heaven, with all the 
hosts of angels, but equally for that which on earth is chosen 
of God for His service. Thus the Psalmist speaks of the 
saints that are in the earth." "God s faithfulness is in the 
assembly of the hoi} ones." Thus the Proverbs speak of 
the knowledge the people of God received by higher light, as 
" the knowledge of the holy" (A. V. ix. 10 and xxx. 3); and, 
in short, without a closer study of the idea of "MJ?, it may 
be said that in the Old Testament this title of "holy" is 
attached to everything that transmits the special revelation, 
flows forth from it, or stands in immediate relation to it. 

That it will not do to explain this prefix, "holy," simply 
from the symbolic and typical character of the Old Dispen 
sation, appears from the entirely similar use of "holy" in 
the writings of the New Covenant. Here also we find 
Jerusalem spoken of as the "holy city" (Math. iv. o; xxvii. 
53 and Kev. xi. 2 ; xxi. 2 and xxii. ll>). Christ also 


speaks of "the holy angels" (Luke ix. 26). Christ himself 
is called "that holy one that shall be born of Mary." The 
men of God of the Old Covenant are spoken of as the " holy 
prophets." The members of the Church of the New Cove 
nant, from the Jews as well as from the heathen, bear 
the almost fixed name of " the saints," so that ol ayiot, 
was provisionally the technical name for those who subse 
quently were called "the Christians." In an entirely similar 
sense the books of the Old Covenant are spoken of as the 
" Holy Scriptures." The kiss, with which the partakers of the 
ayaTrai greeted each other, receives the name of "holy kiss." 
Children born of believing parents receive the same hono 
rary title. Like the prophets of the Old Covenant, the apostles 
and prophets of the New Dispensation are called holy apostles 
and prophets." Believers on the Lord are called a "holy 
people," a "holy priesthood." Their prayers come up before 
God as " the prayers of the saints " ; the martyr s blood is 
" the blood of the saints " ; and the Gospel itself is announced 
as "the holy Gospel." 

In connection with this use of language the Church of 
Christ has introduced this epithet of " holy " into her public 
utterances ; and not only the Romish Church, but the churches 
of the Reformation as well, spoke of the "holy church," of 
the "holy prophets," the "holy apostles," the "holy Script 
ures," the "holy Gospel," the "holy sacraments," "holy 
Baptism," " holy Communion," and thus likewise of " sacred 
Theology " and the " sacred ministry." This use of language 
was constant, and, at least in this limited sense, met with no 
opposition. This only manifested itself when the Romish 
church applied this epithet of "holy" distinctively to indi 
vidual persons of a higher religious standing. This opposi 
tion, however, was not unanimous nor logical. Even where 
the so-called Romish saints were passed by, it remained 
invariably the custom to speak of "Saint Augustine," "Saint 
Thomas," etc. These were inconsequences, however, to which 
men were led by the accustomed sound, and which represented 
in the case of no writer in the days of the Reformation any 
intentional principle ; in addition to which it is observed 

336 66. SACKED THEOLOGY [Div. Ill 

that Reformed theologians offended less in this respect than 
many a Lutheran. 

This does not mean that by this reformatory correction the 
use of the ancient Christian church was restored in all its 
purity. Originally, indeed, the name of holy (c^o?) was a 
general distinction, to discriminate between what was within 
and what without. Everything that had entered holy ground 
was considered holy ; everything outside was spoken of as 
"lying in wickedness"; but in the Scriptures of the New 
Testament no such distinction occurs between a lower and 
higher holiness within the bounds of the Church. The error 
of the Romish Church lies in the application of this title to this 
non-Scriptural distinction. While in the Holy Scriptures all 
confessors of Christ are called saints, the Romish Church 
deprived the people at large of this title, and reserved it for 
a special class of Christians, either for the clergy in general, 
or for those under higher vows, or for those who, as church 
fathers and teachers, held a special position ; or finally, 
in its narrowest sense, for those who were canonized. The 
Reformation opposed this non-Scriptural distinction, but 
lacked courage to restore the name of saint in its original 
significance to all believers. Spiritualistic apocalyptic circles 
tended toward this ; from the side of Protestantism also, 
in addresses, etc.. the whole congregation were again called 
a holy communion" (eine heilige Gemeinde); poets fre 
quently followed this use of language ; but the Reforma 
tion has not restored the name of saint as a general term for 
every Christian. It preferred rather to abandon the name 
in its general sense, than by the use of it to encourage the 
Romish misuse. 

From this, however, it is evident that there was no super- 
licial work done in the days of the Reformation, and that the 
representation that by speaking of "holy Scripture." "holy 
(Jospel," "holy Baptism," etc., they merely imitated Rome, 
rests on a misunderstanding. The reformers did most care 
ful work. There were cases in which the epithet "holy" 
was purposely dropped ; but others also in which this prefix 
was purposely kept ; and to this last category belongs the 


word " Sacred" before Theology. If it is asked what was 
meant by this qualification of theology, no special reason 
seems to have been given. As in the Proverbs " the knowl 
edge of the holy " was spoken of, it was thought proper that 
that knowledge and science, whose principium lies in the 
Holy Scriptures, should be distinguished from all other 
knowledge ; and thus it may be said, that in the sixteenth 
century Sancta theologia chiefly indicated the antithesis be 
tween that which came to us from profane literature and 
from the Holy Scriptures. 

At present, however, this general indication will not suf 
fice. The significance of this epithet for the object, the 
subject, and the method of theology should be more accu 
rately analyzed. And with reference to the object, the prin 
cipium proprium of theology stands certainly in the fore 
ground. What we understand by this "proper principle" 
of theology, we will endeavor to explain in the following 
chapter ; here it is merely remarked that the ectypal knowl 
edge of God, in which the science of theology finds its 
object, does not come to us in the same way, from the same 
fountain and by the same light, as our other sciences. There 
is a difference here, which in its deepest root reduces itself 
to a straightforward antithesis, which places two principles 
of knowing (principia cognoscendi) over against each other. 
The particular principium of theology characterizes itself by 
the entrance of an immediate, divine action, which breaks 
through what is sinful and false, in order in the midst of 
these false and sinful conditions to reveal unto us, by a light 
of its own, what is true and holy in antithesis to what is sin 
ful and false. The heathen antithesis between profane and 
sacred has no application here. That was simply the pride 
of the initiated that expressed itself at the expense of the 
uninitiated. The odi prqfanum vulgus et arceo is refuted 
and censured by the character of everything that is holy in 
the Scriptures, and we might wish that our theologians 
would never have employed the word profane as an antithe 
sis. In Scripture the antithesis is between the special source 
and the natural, which is more sharply emphasized by the 

338 06. SACRED THEOLOGY [Div. Ill 

antithesis between what is wicked, foolish and satanie, and 
what is true, holy and divine. But however much this 
proper principium of theology, far from underestimating the 
natural principium, rather takes it up in itself, as the next 
chapter will show, the antithesis between the normal and 
abnormal, the general and special, and between that which 
is bound by sin and that which surmounts sin, of these " two 
sources of knowledge," can never be destroyed. To empha 
size this antithesis, the word "sacred" was used in simple 
imitation of the Scripture, and in this entirely Scriptural 
sense our science was called Sacred Theology. 

If thus the principal motive for the use of this word 
"sacred" lies in the peculiar character of the object of the 
science of theology, a second motive was added in conse 
quence of the peculiar quality which in the investigation 
of this object was claimed as a necessity in the subject. This 
was on the ground of 1 Cor. ii. 14, that "the natural man 
receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are 
foolishness unto him " ; and also because he who stands out 
side of palingenesis "cannot see the kingdom of God." 
Hence, there was not simply an antithesis to be considered 
between the object of this and of all other sciences ; but a 
similar antithesis also presented itself in the subject, that was 
to take this theology up into itself and presently to repro 
duce it. Not every one can engage in this work, but only 
they who are spiritually minded. No intellectual relation is 
possible in the domain of this science, between those to whom 
this theology is "foolishness," and the others to whom it is 
the "wisdom of God." They only, who by virtue of palin 
genesis are partakers of spiritual illumination, have their eyes 
opened to see the object to be investigated. The others do 
not see it, or see it wrongly. By reason of the lack of affin 
ity between subject and object, every deeper penetration into 
the object is impossible. The rule that "in thy light we see 
light" finds here its special application. No blind man can 
be our guide in the domain of optics. Though it is entirely 
true, therefore, that in the science of Theology the ego of the 
general human consciousness is the general subject, yet this 


ego is here incapable of its task, unless the darkening worked 
by sin in his consciousness is gradually withdrawn. 

This leads, in the third place, to the conviction that the 
science of theology is not governed by the general human 
mind, such as it now operates in our fallen race, but only to 
that extent in which this universal human mind has been 
animated by the Holy Grhost, i.e. also to a difference in 
method. Only later on can this point be fully explained. 
At present let it be said that that same Holy Spirit, who 
offers us the Holy Scriptures and the Church as the result of 
His activity, is the real Doctor ecclesiie, who enables us to 
grasp the truth from the Scriptures, and from our conscious 
ness to reflect the same in scientific analysis. As it advances 
in the course of centuries, there is coherence and steadiness 
of progress in the science of theology, and a decided unity 
of effort, even though individual theologians are not con 
scious of it or able to determine its course. But while this 
unity of effort in the course of centuries is determined in the 
other sciences partly by the inherent Logic, and by natural 
events keeping pace with it, theology derives this determi 
nation of its process from a Logic which presents itself in 
light pneumatically only, in connection with events which 
flow from the dealings of Christ with his Church. Hence, 
this leading of the Holy Spirit as subject of theology makes 
itself felt in a threefold way. First, through the Church, 
which has the formulation of dogma in hand, and with it the 
choice of the course to be taken, and which effects this formu 
lation of dogma officially, i.e. as the instrument of the Holy 
Spirit. That in this the Church is not an infallible organ, 
and the reason for it, will be explained later on. We here 
content ourselves with pointing to this mingling of ecclesi 
astical power in the development of theology, as one of the 
actions of the Holy Ghost. Secondly, this action of the Holy 
Spirit presents itself in the logical development of those ten 
dencies opposed to the truth, which, without any fault or 
purpose of its own, the Church has had to resist successively, 
and which only subsequently prove themselves to have been 
the means of revealing truth in its logical relation. Not 

340 66. SACKED THEOLOGY [Div. Ill 

from the Church, but rather from without comes the frequent 
impetus, which stimulates and necessitates spiritual thought, 
and yet the thinking born from this is not aphoristic, but 
logical and organically coherent. And in the third place 
this action of the Holy Spirit is evident from the pro 
ductiveness of theology in times when the operations of the 
Spirit in the Church are powerful, and from the poverty 
and meagreness which are seen in contrast, as soon as those 
operations of the Spirit withdraw themselves from the 
Church. Subjectively this can be expressed by saying that 
theology has flourished only at the times when theologians 
have continued in prayer, and in prayer have sought the 
communion of the Holy Spirit, and that on the other hand 
it loses its leaf and begins its winter sleep when ambition 
for learning silences prayer in the breast of theologians. 

In this sense, both with reference to its object, and to the 
extent in which it concerns its subject, and its method as 
well (in virtue of the leading of the Holy Spirit as Doctor 
ecclesiae), the peculiar character of theology demands that 
its peculiarity shall be characterized also by its title of S<it r> <l 



67. What is here to be understood by Principium 

When theology abandoned its proper and original char 
acter, 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 theolo- 
yiae. This principium of theology is not infrequently taken 
as synonymous with fans 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 how 
ever 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 knowl 
edge 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 revolutionarily 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 phe 
nomena ; 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 knowl 
edge of God is little else than intellectual atheism. 

The propounding of a special principium in the theologi 
cal 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 think 
ing 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 knoivledge ; 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 pro 
vides 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 
bv 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 princi 
pium 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 Crod ; 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 subjecjb 
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 belong 
ing 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 Script 
ure 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 passive!// 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 him 
self 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, vi/.. that either the sinner 
should live on without "knowledge of God," or that fron: 


the side of God there should proceed an activity to impart 
this knowledge to sinful man, in keeping with Ids 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 prin 
ciple (proprium quid), which only stepped in between pro 
visionally, 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, his 
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 ser 
viceable 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 distin 
guished, 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 

In part it may even be maintained, that the principium 
of being (essendi) is also included here. That self-revela 
tion of God to the sinner is possible even without a pre 
ceding 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 en 
lightened " of Heb. vi. 4 do not stand in the same line with 
the "enlightened" of Eph. i. 18. The latter only are "spirit 
ual" 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 dis 
tinction between theology and the other sciences not only 
formally touches the principium of faith, and materially the 
"good word of God" (/caA.oy deov prj/jia ), but also penetrates 
into our real being (esse). This explains 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, lie 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 
(TO 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 metamor 
phosis 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 Theo/o //// 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 knowl 
edge of God, which God Himself had communicated by 
numerous facts and revelations, and which under his guid 
ance 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 princi 
pium, 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 Grod 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 com 
pleted, we may readily proceed from the ultimate cause (prin 
cipium 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-revela 
tion 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 understand 
ing was to investigate the Scripture as its object, in an 
entirely similar way to that in which this same under 
standing threw itself on plant and animal as its object. 


At first tills 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 principiuin 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 Avas consid 
ered 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 principiuin of knowing God had been allowed to 
assert itself? 

68. Different Representations concerning the Operation of 
this Principiuin 

In the first section of this chapter, it has been shown 
that the possession of a special principiuin of knowing is 
indispensable to theology, for the reason that God is never 
a passire 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 ren 
ders a special principiuin of knowing necessary. This is 
essentially agreed upon, without distinction, by all who still 
hold fast to theology in its original sense. Xot by those who, 
though they have adopted an entirely different object for their 
science, still call themselves theologians ; but by the theo 
logians 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 concern 
ing this ultimate cause (principium remotum). 

It is different, on the other hand, when it is further 
investigated in what way this principium of God s self- 
revelation has operated or still operates. The confession 
is still almost universal that this self-revelation lies at 
<>ur 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 tradi 
tion, yea, the papal inspiration also, claim our attention ; 
those who are mystically inclined tend to supersede the 
Scriptures by personal inspiration ; and minds that wan 
der 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 over 
come, 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 nat 
ural 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 darken 
ing 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 represen 
tations can be grasped is that of inspiration, i.e. of an in work 
ing of the Spirit of God upon the mind and heart of the 
sinner, by which God makes Himself known to him, and com 
municates 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 theop- 
neusty 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 Home 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 opera 
tion 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 repre 
sentation is both the most primitive and simple. Entirely 
aphoristically God makes Himself known first to A and then 
to 13. 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 accord 
ing to age, sex, nationality, needs of the soul, etc. With all 
these variations the type of this inspiration remains unchange 
able. It is ever God Almighty turning Himself to the indi 
vidual 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 Grod must reveal Himself to every 
individual, so that the secret walk with G-od 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 in- 


spired 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 with 
out rational sense. And where they go a little farther 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 self- 
deception. 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 inspi 
ration. This conception was not interesting enough, there 
fore 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 dis 
asters, to establish the claim that all God s people shall sub 
ject 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 inspira 
tion, as an extraordinary instrument, was not merely tempo 
ral 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 in 
spired 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 explana 
tion and application to the knowledge of God obtained else 
where. 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 ques 
tion, whether God the Lord could have followed the mystic 
individual way of communicating the knowledge of Him 
self ; 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 -f- B + (7, but knows organically. There is a process in 
this knowledge. This knowledge developing itself in pro 
cess 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, there 
fore, 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 in- 
shining 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 condi 
tions. That which is revealed of the knowledge of God 
within this given period of time and in connection with 
those conditions forms one ivhole; 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 ten 
dency than to lead and to enlighten the Church in the spir 
itual labor which it must expend upon this revelation. This 
organic interpretation, then, brings with it that whatever you 
confess concerning the Hol} T 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 year 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 signifi 
cance for our entire race. It has had a beginning, arid also 
an ending ; and the benefit we derive is no longer a con 
tinuous 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 Holy 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 


1)0 placed in a line with the ever abnormal inspiration. In 
spiration, therefore, is here taken in connection with all sorts 
of other operations of the Holy Spirit, as an abnormal, tem 
poral, 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, ex 
pressed 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 contro 
versy 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 ca 
thedra loqnente. 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 com 
pulsory authority in the Church, while by its official inter 
pretation 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 inspi 
ration 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 coun 
cils of ecclesiastics are placed on one line with the inspira 
tion 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 distin 
guish 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 

69. The Relation between this Principium and our Con 

For the present, we leave the further study of the differ 
ent conceptions that are formed of the working of this 
principium, in order to go back to the more weight}* ques 
tion 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 con 
sciousness 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 prin 
cipium 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. Grod from His oivn mind breathes (inspirat) 
into the mind of man, more particularly into the mind of 

01). TIIK KKI.ATION !!KT\VKKN [Div. Ill 

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 inspi 
ration and manifestation are related to what, thanks to 
common grace, has remained in and about us of natural the 
ology, 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 con 
sciousness 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, agi- 
tante 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 convic 
tion 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 cer 
tainty becomes weak, I become sceptical, 1 lose my higher 
energy of life, and end in madness, and no human reason 
ing can restore to me the lost certainty of my human start 
ing-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 Crod 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 con 
viction 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 
our eyes; 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 (I)eus 
inspirans) must be the principium, the first agent in our 
knowledge of God ; and the finding of a something lack 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 (I)eus 
creans), ancl 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 two 
fold 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 
orator; r . 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 con 
flict, 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 Crod. 
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, be 
cause 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 condi 
tion ; 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 Crod 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 

What is said above would not lightly rouse contradiction, 
if this inspiration of Crod 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 lie 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 revela 
tion 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 reve 
lation 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 wit 
ness 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 th.4r high esteem of the ministry of the Word for the ap 
plication 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 what 
ever point, the Holy Scripture always remains the real prin- 
cipium which brings about the knowledge of God. Plow 
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 homi- 
nis peccatoris moclo 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 princi 
pium 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 accom 
plish 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 Reve 
lation, 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 prin 
cipium, 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 philos 
ophers, 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 pro 
tection 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 sepa 
rately 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 neces 
sary 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 repre 
sentation. 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 G-od 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 Heidel- 


berg 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 re 
vealed 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 conscious 
ness 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, 
(rod 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 provide ntia specialissima, of rendering this 
Scripture a special revelation for this and that given person. 
The confession of all those win* 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 un 
derstand 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 per 
sonally you must distinguish between his experimental 
(netto) and purely intellectual (bruto) faith in the Script 
ure, 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 propor 
tions 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 con 
stantly modified with each person whose life of faith ad 
vances, so that the experimental and intellectual faith will 
proportionately decrease and increase. But however this 
purely intellectual (bruto) faith may diminish, it is not con- 


ceivable 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 be 
cause the Divine character of the Scripture rests for us 
exclusively on faith, the richest exposition can never consti 
tute 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 soap- 
bubble as soon as the thread of your reasoning breaks. 

\) o 

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 imme 
diate 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 im 
possible, 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 inves 
tigation of another. What would it profit you, if you had 
reached a sufficient and satisfactory result for yourself ? To 
morrow a book appears with new objections, and then every 
thing with you must remain unsettled, so long as you cannot 
successfully unnerve all those new objections. Scarcely, how 
ever, 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 " pass 
ing 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, evervtliing 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 ex 
cellent, provided it does not include the Scriptures, and 
no other thought is entertained than of the mystical com 
munion with the eternal Being, simple reference to what was 
explained in 46 #</. 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 " Knowl 
edge 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 

70. Relation between this Principium and the Natural 

The acknowledgment of the Holy Scriptures as the prin- 
cipium 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 our 
selves to the relation between natural and revealed theology 
(theologia naturalis and revelata), which is virtually the 
contents of this section. Hut this we will not do. First, 
because the formal action of our tli inking is also involved, 
and secondly, because with natural theology one thinks more 
of the content, while lie re 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 in 
stance, 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 knowl 
edge 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 (re Xo?). 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 
f 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, lio\vever, is ahvays 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 re 
store 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 con 
stitution. 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 revela 
tion, the knowledge, nevertheless, which Adam had as con 
nate, 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 assist 
ance in the transition from an abnormal something. Call the 
knowledge which Adam had in paradise the caterpillar, ;md 
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 con 
tent 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 perma 
nent. 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 Christo- 
logical 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 ac 
tion of the church on earth in behalf of the dead, had con 
centrated 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 formu 
lated. Light on the subject, however, was not wanting. 
"Prophecies, tongues, knowledge," everything that consti 
tutes 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 know 
ing, even as we are Jcnotvn, 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 mys 
tery 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 
lie 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 provi 
sionally our purpose is accomplished, if it is clear, why the 
whole dispensation of special grace passes away, and ho\v 
in consequence the special principium of knowledge, from 
which theology draws its life, is destined sometime to dis 
appear 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 es 
cape the false representations abroad, especially concerning 
natural theology (theologia naturalis). If at first the Refor 
mation 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 en 
riched 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 the 
ology 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 con 
ceivable 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 ele 
ment 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 revela 
tion 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 mak 
ing of all things new," the " new creature " and the works 


iii 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 sub 
stance 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 represen 
tation, 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 Belyica 
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 " (List. Eel. 
Chr. 1. 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 reve 
lation 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" (Inxt. I. (I. 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 rela 
tion 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 ivood, and the fruit of knowl 
edge 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 ly 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 

87<) 70. RKLATION HKT \VKK.N THIS 1 lilNfII IUM L I)iv. Ill 

way cultivates ripe fruit of knowledge from what otherwise 
would have produced only wood lit for fire. 

If now we investigate the meaning of this iigure, 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 pos 
sess 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 conse 
quently the special knowledge, comes forward. In Go<L 
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 natu 
ral life for the glory of His name. Secondly, in man, since 
it is the same ego that draws knowledge from both prin- 
cipia ; 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 itsel f unthinkable; and fi>r 
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 1 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 instru 
ment 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 con 
sciousness 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 pro 
cess. 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 revelation- 
life. 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 knowl 
edge 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 knowl 
edge, 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 (Tra/ae Sco/ce). 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 phi 
losophy, 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 be 
comes serviceable. By the light of the Scripture the sinner 
becomes able to give himself an account of the " seed of re 
ligion" 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 

o / O 

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 ulti 
mate 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 prin 
cipia 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 ele- 


ment into the sum of things, but, so far as their origin is con 
cerned, 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 intro 
duce the special revelation into our human consciousness. 
In the interests of this also you see no new or other capaci 
ties 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 dif 
ferent 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 knowl 
edge of God as All-Merciful to sinners. When croup pre 
vents the breathing in o f 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 estab 
lished. In this sense it can be said, that the normal en 
trance, 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 demo 
niacal design of Satan. 

x 71. 7s 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 sen 
tence of death, and the special principium could furnish the 
guarantee of eternal permanency. Over against every rep 
resentation of this character our conviction remains dominant 
that our life, as originally given in the Creation, is the sub 
stratum of our real existence ; that as such it is and remains 
for us the real ; and that, therefore, whatever special revela 
tion 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 priii- 


cipium of its own. Xo other judgment except death un 
qualified ("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 con 
fess that it is no real principium. For a thing is either no 
principium, or it must be autonomous and sufficient unto 

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 cor 
rective or of the supplement of another principium. Hence 
this question also has a moral side. If self-knowledge, quick 
ened by the inshining of a higher light, leads to the recog 
nition 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 recog 
nize 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 conse 
quently 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 dis 
pute 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 necessitas Sacrae Scripturae. He who, thanks to the in- 
shining 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 rea 
son, 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 capaci 
ties ; 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 con 

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 unsound- 
ness 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 imper 
fection 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 b} r 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 com 
plete of itself will gradually come forth. Moreover, though 
lie evade you in this manner, you may not question the 
honesty of your opponent. From your own point of view 
vou 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 religious- 
ethical 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 them 
selves 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 acknowl 
edgment of antinomies in our consciousness and the insuf 
ficiency 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 (Princi- 
pienlehre) 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 invent 
ive 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 re 
fute objections raised against the content of our Christian con 
fession, 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 " Erkenntniss- 
theorie." 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 world- 
view. 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 over 
thrown ; and, in like manner, if the Christian theologian 
acknowledges in one cardinal point the assertions of his 
torical 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 re 
marks 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 docs not confess this principium, to 


accept it. The acceptance of this principiurn 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 cor 
rectly by saying, that this argument was not meant authori 
tative, 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 beauti 
ful 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 

888 71. IS THE XATURAL 1 HIXCIPIt M A1JLK [Div. Ill 

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, 1 
arguments were produced which were so easily applied to 
other sacred books that all their force evaporated. What 
ever 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 acutesi 
dialectic!, 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, redivivus, Franeq, 1654), an analogy by which h- 
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 th- 
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 prin 
cipium. 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, \ve 
lapse into insanity, generally after the course lias been run 
of the several stadii of scepticism. It is indeed true, that 
with respect to this natural principium, as a rule, we make 
110 mention of the " witness of God as Creator," but this is 
explained from the fact, that it coincides with our self -con 
sciousness, 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 this 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 con 
sciousness. In the case of such, immediate faith has been 
given equally naturally and as fully with their self-con 
sciousness, 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. Universality 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 con 
sciousness. 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 experi 
ence 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 Gethsemaue, 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 Reve 
lation 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 

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 prin 
cipium is and offers. Science demands universality. Not 
in the sense, of course, that nothing is established scientifi 
cally 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 univer- 


sality 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. Be 
fore that time there was theology as knowledge of God ; 
even measurably in a dogmatic sense; but as yet no theologi 
cal science. This could only originate when the Revelation 
was completed, and liberated from the restrictions peculiar 
to Israel. Then there arose that universal 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 institu 
tional 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 char 
acter 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 sub 
stituted 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 (eccle- 
sia visibilis in fidelibus) and the visible church as an insti 
tution (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 instituta 
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 out 
did 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 guar 
antee 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 society 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 insti 
tute, 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 wow-instituted but organi 
cally present communion mutual among believers. 

It is unhistorical, therefore, to imagine that every person, 
taking the Bible in hand from his own impulse, should for 
mulate 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 poten 
tially given in regeneration, but which only from this com 
munion can draw the life-sap needed for its development. 
As one tree of the forest protects another against the vio 
lence 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 universal 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 be 
lievers, 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 
Lido-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 Ids confes 
sion, by breaking down every partition wall (jueo-oVot^oy) ; 
and this universal human character stands in immediate con 
nection with the possession of a special principium of knowl 
edge. 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 cecumenic char 
acter, 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 onlj r among those nations, 
which either have taken no part in the general human de 
velopment, or have stood at a much lower level. Even the 
accession of Persia to Islam is attended with the disappear 
ance 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 organ 
ized 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 bv the action, in 


addition to that of the natural principium, of another princip- 
ium 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 universal 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 universal life and that universal 
thought, which have certainly clashed with the other circle, 
that rejected the special principium, but which have pos 
sessed, nevertheless, entirely sufficient consistency to invite 
and to render possible scientific construction upon the foun 
dation of that principle which, in this circle, is universal. 
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 universally 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 life- 
circle, 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 
aAvay from that trunk as a useless branch. He is, and re 
mains, 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, like unto thee ; and I will put my words in his 
mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall com- 


mand him." An important thought, however, precedes the 
announcement of this rich inspiration, which in all its full 
ness 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 be 
trayed 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 signifi 
cance, 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 
universal human sense, so long as this still expresses itself in 
an unconstrained and natural way. The appearance, there 
fore, of another principium of knowledge in the Christian 
religion does not enter the present state of things as soim-- 
tliing 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 universal 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, there 
fore, 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 prin 
cipium, in order, in Spiritualism, to revive the ancient effort 
after necromancy. This Spiritualism now counts its fol 
lowers bv 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 defend 
ing 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 "prac- 
tische 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 universally human ; that in its organic working this prin 
cipium bears an universally human character ; and that in the 
final result towards which it directs itself, it has an universally 
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 dem 
onstration. 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-creativery in His deranged creation. The repre 
sentation as though a way of life could have been disclosed 

73. THIS PKINC1PIUM [Div. Ill 

for us by a book descended from heaven or by a Bible 
dictated from heaven, rests upon an intellectualistic abstrac 
tion, which interprets altogether incorrectly the relation 
between being and thought, between fact and ivord. If it is 
entirely true, that God created by speaking, so that the 
creatural being originated by the word, it must not be for 
gotten 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-\vord 
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 there 
fore 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 Script 
ure 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 pre 
pared 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, cither immediately or mediately, and that has not pro 
ceeded 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 prin 
cipium 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 distinc 
tion 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 explana 
tion. 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 never 
theless not a few who in the meantime, and without Script 
ure, 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 reve 
lation. 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 

400 73. THIS PllIXCIPIUM [Div. Ill 

in you. the hope of glory." By this falls away every con 
ception 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 Testa 
ment, 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 
kt 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 } et 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 ivorld 
that He gave His only begotten Son," had the moment 
come, when the Holy Scripture also would attain its en 
tirely 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 ivorld, 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, indi 
cated 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 human 
ity 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 even 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. 

402 73. THIS rUINCiril M [Div. Ill 

This is not the case at all, and he who thinks that the Holy 
Spirit really gave the Scripture, but now leaves its appropria 
tion to our natural reason, is wofully mistaken. On the con 
trary, the Holy Spirit, who gave the Scriptures, is Himself 
the perpetual author (auctor perpetuus) of all appropria 
tion of their contents l>y and of all application to the indi 
vidual. It is the Holy Spirit who, by illumination, enables 
the human consciousness to take up into itself the sub 
stance of the Scripture; in the course of ages leads our 
human consciousness to ever richer insights into its con 
tent ; 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 in 
creased 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 gen 
erations 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 con 
sciousness 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 mate 
rial 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 re 
mains valid that the substance of the knowledge of God, 
which comes to us from the special principium, is identical 
u ith 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 prin 
cipium 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 Script 
ures, 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 be 
lieve 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 disap 
peared 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 mate 
rial 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 tiiese 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 historic- 
accidental. 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 (iod is concerned, which is 


given to humanity as such, the Holy Bible itself is the proxi 
mate 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. ra> Kocrpw) ; 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 

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 some 
thing 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 universal, the need of writing would 
never have been known. The sense of shortness of memory 
and our limited ability of communicating our thoughts per 
sonally, 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, pic- 
tographic writing, then idiographic writing, then phono 
graphic writing, after that syllabic writing, and finally, 
alphabetic writing. Hence writing bears almost entirely a 


conventional and arbitrary character. Only as pure idio- 
graphs did it escape from the conventional, and then only upon 
the condition of being delineation instead of writing. Writ- 

o o 

ing, in the real sense of the word, tries to photograph the 
somatic part of our human language, in order that by see 
ing 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 Ave 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 imme 
diately in all its inflexions upon paper, we should have abso 
lute 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 indi 
cates 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 in 
flexion 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 every 
way 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 ical ovSev pevei (everything flows and noth 
ing remains) in the most mournful sense. And even when, 
by the phonograph, it is secured that the flowing word con 
geals and is presently liquefied, it gives us at most a repeti 
tion 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 miiiutise with 
what went on in Adam so many thousand years ago. Writ 
ing, 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 it 
self 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 be 
comes 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 little- 
complicated 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 ivorld, 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 writ 
ing. 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. universal, 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 ran 
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 mil 
lions 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 communica 
tion, 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 conscious 
ness 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 universal 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, there- 


fore, 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 con 
tend 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 
ulique, 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 neic 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 lib 
erty, which each successive transmitter allows himself, brings 
it to pass that in the course of two or three centuries tradi 
tion is wrenched entirely away from the grooves of its fixed 
ness. This may occur unconsciously or without ill intent, 
but in every case it breaks the working power of the trans 
mitted 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 oppo 
sition 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 
holy 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 re 
ligion, which does not end in individual wisdom or fanati 
cism, 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 guar 
anteed 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 indi 
vidualism 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 i>ceii 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 falsifica 
tion. 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 ivritten. 

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 print 
ing 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 it 
self, in so far as printing (and writing in part) liberates men 
from men and binds them to God. So long as the revela 
tion is handed down by oral tradition only, the great mul 
titude was and ever remained dependent upon a priestly order 
or hierarchy to impart to them the knowledge of this revela 
tion. Hence there ever stood a man betAveen us and God. 
For which reason it is entirely natural that the Roman hier 
archy 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 immedi 
ately 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 appre 
hend 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 theol 
ogy 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 inter 
changed. 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 Ency 
clopedia 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 mat 
ter stands differently. It has to investigate a matter as its 
object, whose principium is not given normally in the crea 
tion, 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 inspi 
ration 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 dic 
tated intellectually, and could not communicate to us any 
thing 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 out 
side 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 07) the principium essendi, and from it comes miracle, 
not miracle taken as an isolated phenomenon, which ap 
pears 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 w r as 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 cos 
mos. 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 (70779). 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 regenera 
tion, 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 regener 
ation, 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 inci 
dental 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 unthink 
able. The fuller explanation of this belongs from the nature 
of the case to dogmatics. Here it is sufficient that the atten 
tion 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 there 
fore 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 before 
hand 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, Avas 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 satis 
fied with simply having happened; it only effected its purpose 
when, transformed into an idea, it obtained permanence, and 
even as the Divine ivord, 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 conscious 
ness stood beneath them, and, left to itself, was bound to mis 
understand 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 
aboul by the Divine energy from the special principium in 
inspiration in a twofold way : (1) b}* 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 ex 
plain the rich content of the fruit of inspiration in the con 
fession of believers and in the development of theology ; yet 
in principle all these operations of the Spirit are to be dis 
tinguished from inspiration in its proper sense. In the coun 
sel 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 subjective- 
mystic 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 matu 
rity has been reached, and then that growth ceases. An or 
ganic 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 reve 
lation, 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 communi 
cation 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 appear 
ance intellectually, but in life itself, and therefore dramati 
cally, 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 cecumenic 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 cecumenic 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 

420 76. INSPIRATION IN [!>:Y. Ill 

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 (rod, even 
though we can only approximately indicate the beginning 
of the second period. 

76. Inspiration in Connection with Mirade* 

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 illumina 
tion); on the other hand, as principium of being (essendi), 
the spiritual and material acts of re-creation commonly called 
miracles (n lfcOS3 and Tepara). 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 (87^) that which 
to us constitutes the characteristic of the miracle. Conse 
quently the formal side of the miracle need not be considered 

Very unjustly at the mention of miracles one thinks almost 
exclusively of those in the material domain, and almost with 
out 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 moi-e majestic than even the creation of a comet in the 
heavens ; and in the same way the re-creation of a person inim 
ical 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 lirst 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 bod}*, 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 palin 
genesis, 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 exist 
ence the cosmos is an inseparable postulate. To the state of 
innocence, i.e. to that existence of man, which was the im 
mediate 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 con 
sisted 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 

422 70. INSPIRATION IN [Div. Ill 

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 im 
mediately 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 ap 
peared 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 Avithout 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 want 
ing ; 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 succes 
sively they should overcome every effect of sin in our human 
misery; and (2) that they should be a model, a proof, a 
a-qnelov, and therefore be limited to one period of time and 
to one circle. Otherwise it would have become a real palin 
genesis, 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 simultane- 

424 76. INSPIRATION IN [Div. Ill 

ously, antl as result of the judgment, bring about the destruc 
tion as well of soul, body and cosmos in hell, then it follows 
that the signs of salvation must run parallel with the ziyns 
of the destruction, which merely form the shadow alongside 
of the light. 

If both these kinds of miracles, however strongly con 
trasted 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 (ruTTi/coi?), 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 inaugu 
rate 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 mir 
acle that shall sometime make an end of this existing order 
of tilings. 

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 cen 
trum. Itself psychical by nature, it mmt, 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 manifesta 
tion. 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 representa 
tions 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 

426 76. INSPIRATION IN [Div. Ill 

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 cre 
ation 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 mail 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 (re Xo?) ; 


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 crea 
tion itself, without at a single point placing a second creation 
by the side of the first. Wherever the Scripture speaks of a 
renewed, 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. Crea 
tion and re-creation, nature and grace, separate, so far as 
the concrete appearance in the practical application is con 
cerned, but both in the counsel of God and in the poten 
tialities 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 rea 
son 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 dis 

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. 10 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 interpreta 
tion 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 pre 
sent 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 them 
selves 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 per 
sons, 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 differ 
ence. 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 rea 
son ? Hence they only, who stand in conscious life-contact 
with the life-sphere of Christ can accept the force of demon 
stration, which lies in the testimony concerning the Script 
ure 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 testi 
mony 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 multi 
formity ; (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 such 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 cer 
tain, for him also who does not reckon with inspiration, that 
Jesus judged the Scripture thus, and not otherwise. 

Tli is 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 concep 
tion that was current, and characterizes himself only by the 


original, i.e. not borrowed, application of the dominant man 
ner 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 dis 
puted 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 cur 
rent 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, there 
fore, 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 them 
selves 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 accommodation- 
theory, 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 char 
acter. 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 consti- 


tute a collection of products of Hebrew literature, but He 
valued them as a holy unity of a peculiar sort. 

For this \ve 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 Ixxxii. 6 is here quoted, is entitled by the singular 
ypa(f)tj. by the article 77 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 rj <ypa(f)ij can have been meant not Scripture, 
but spiritual revelation, because the " word of God " in what 
immediately precedes is clearly distinguished from the jpa(f)jj. 
And thirdly, it is impossible that ypatyr) should indicate the 
quotation in hand, and not the Old Testament, since a con 
clusion ayenerali ad particular e follows, and just in this form : 
The Scripture cannot be broken ; this saying from Psalm 
Ixxxii. 6 occurs in the Scripture ; hence Psalm Ixxxii. 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 ihat " 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 Testa 
ment under the name of ypa^ai as a unity, and by the article 
al isolates it from all other <ypa(f)ai. The same we find in Matt. 
xxii. 29, in the words: "Ye do err, not knowing the Script 
ures, nor the power of God." Here, also, al 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.o. 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 ap 
pear as one whole, which is called at ypatyai, and it is a 
Scripture, such as offers the program of what was to come, 
and gives that program with such authority, that the fulfil 
ment 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 Script 
ures might be fulfilled." That at another time Jesus indi 
cated 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 Ixix., 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 

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<f>ij, or yeypafM/jLevov, 
or yeypaTTTai 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 yeypaTrrai 
nor the yeypappevov 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 
as in this instance, is used in an entirely absolute 


sense, and without the least indication of this subject, it im 
plies that this subject is the absolute subject in that circle. 
In the state yeypaTrrai expresses that something is law ; and 
in the spiritual domain yeypciTTTai 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 lilis) 
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 
Ixi., He said to the people in the synagogue at Xazareth, 
" To-day hath this Scripture been fulfilled in your ears," by 
Scripture He does not refer to the Book, but to this particu 
lar utterance, and honors this utterance itself as jpa^rj. 
Whether, in John vii. 38, ypa(j>^ 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 Script 
ure may be fulfilled," and then adds : " He that eateth my 
bread lifted up his