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§ 89. Relation of Miracles to History.

The relation of miracles to history is perhaps sufficiently obvious from what has been said. Every theory of history that proceeds from the stand-point of natural reason, admitting nothing superior to itself, must, from its very point of departure, reject the idea of miracles. It must seek to include and explain all events by one and the same pragmatical connexion of causes, and can therefore find no place for miracles. Even if it be desirous to examine the acts of Christ without prejudice, it can only, from its peculiar stand-point, manifest such freedom by representing truthfully, according to the accounts that remain, how Christ himself wished these phenomena to be regarded, and what impression they made upon his contemporaries.

But this holds good of only a very limited and arbitrary idea of history, one which barricades itself by its own prejudices against all higher views. The conception of the miracle, as such, is in no way repugnant to a really scientific theory of history; and as it is the task of the latter to study the proper character of every fact and phenomenon, the import of miracles, as miracles, is one of its necessary problems. The manifestation of Christ, indeed, can only be rightly understood when it is conceived as being originally Divine and supra-historical, and as having become historical; and Christianity can only be explained as a supernatural principle, destined to impart to history a new tendency and direction. In this connexion the individual miracles, preceding, accompanying, and following the manifestation of Christ, appear entirely in accordance with nature. As for history itself, when it does not refer to Christianity and the kingdom of God as the object of all human progress, it appears but as a lawless play of forces moving hither and thither, rising and falling, without aim and without unity. Christianity alone shows us that it has both. But in order to comprehend Christianity, and, through it, History, reason must receive the higher light of faith, without which the eye of the mind must remain blind to the operations and revelation of the Divinity in the course of human progress.200200   My view of the miracles agrees with what Twesten has said in the Introduction to his “Dogmatik;” and I am gratified to find a similar agreement, also, in his second volume, pt. i., p. 170, seq.


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