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included in the unity of one Word. The ideality of all things in their substantial relations is thereby expressed. Nothing proceeded forth from the troubled, the unconscious, the dark, from weakness or from chance; no grain of dust goes forth unrelated, confused and causing confusion, from the absolute ideal ground, the connecting cause and end of all things.
The golden fruit on the tree of life is the Word. Therefore the deep root of this tree must also be the Word in its crystal brightness, and the whole tree itself must more and more give forth the silver tones of the Word, which pervades it through and through.
This is the relation of the eternal existence of Christ to the origin of the world. But as this relationship is the ground of its origin, it is also the ground of its continuance. The supramundane attribute is then only divine, when it is at the same time intra-mundane (not extra-mundane); and the intra-mundane attribute is then only divine, when it is supra-mundane (not mundane or com-mundane). The intra-mundane character of the Logos has, however, two fundamental forms. Its real (material) form is life, as the basis of nature and of all finite life. In this, the ideal form, is also implied, spirit, the light of men.'
As, however, the Logos, in His intra-mundane character, is the light of men, He must according to His nature enter into conflict with the darkness, which with sin has spread itself among men, without our being able to name a real (material) origin for it.? The light must cast abroad its radiance. It does not shine only into the midst of the darkness (as revelation of God), but it shines in the midst of the darkness itself in a thousand forms and colours), as a reflection of the revelation of God, in the consciences, the spirits, the philosophemes, the mythologies, and customs of the nations. And finally, as it is according to its nature more powerful than the darkness, it could not be kept back, it could not be suppressed or chained by the darkness; it must approve itself to be divine, by penetrating through the darkness.
Thus, in the eternal relation of Christ to the world, His historical relation to it—His entrance into humanity, His advent, His coming—is already implied and announced.
This advent was indeed long concealed. Nothing was known 1 See above, vol. v. p. 171.
? See above, vol. v. p. 172.
of Him in the heathen world. Only His witnesses amongst the people of revelation knew of Him-divine seers, prophets in the wider sense, as the representative of whom stands John the Baptist, the last and greatest of the prophets.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John (Grace of God). The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, that all men through him might believe. He (himself) was not the light, but—this was his mission--that he might bear witness of the light.
He should bear witness of His coming, with respect to which it stood thus :
The light itself, the essential light-identical with the eternal existence, and therefore the principle of all glory and glorious transformation, the prototype, whose image appears in the outward effulgence of the world—which shines into every man, was a light coming into the world—it was from the beginning occupied with coming into the world.
The foundation of His advent was His eternal presence in the world : He, the Logos, in His character as the light, was in the world (in the creation, as in the world of mankind). But notwithstanding His eternal presence in the world, He must nevertheless come into the world, for: the world (in its substance) was made by Him, and the world (in its non-development as mere world of nature, as well as in its false self-determination, as a fallen spiritual world) knew Him not.
Therefore was His coming long delayed: it had to break through great opposition.
He came into His possession—by commencing His revelations among mankind,—but His own—the organs of His being and of His revelation-received Him not.3
In general, they did not receive Him, so far as men remained passive in their religion ; yet there were individuals who allowed
* See above, vol. v. p. 174.
3 The possession of the Logos (to Pòrce) is to be distinguished from the possession of Jehovah ; i.e., it is not to be referred to the Jews only, but to the whole human race, so far as the Logos has made it a place of His manifestation. The expression, on the other hand, cannot be referred to the earth, as the Logos is always present in the material world. Whilst the more designate mankind generally, the loro, here designate, in particular, the passive part of mankind, who did not receive the Logos.
themselves, through His influence, to be excited to activity, to reciprocal action with Himself. These received Him.
But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become sons of God, to such, namely, as believe on His name.
Through faith in His name, that is, by an active resignation of themselves to the shining forth of His character (for the revelation of the Logos is His name), they received the power, the vital principle, of a new creation into their souls; their regeneration began, and with it the new birth of humanity, the consecration and transformation of its substance, the generation of sons unto God.
Thus there appeared, among those that received Him, the children of God—the Monotheists of primeval time-over against the children of men, who gave no place in their hearts to the Spirit of God; the patriarchs of Israel over against the nations of the heathen ; the elect in Israel over against the inert mass of the people, who thought they could be born as children unto God by flesh and blood, by their descent from Abraham.
Those children of God were not born of flesh and bloodby natural generation—nor of the will of the flesh—by a higher, more exalted generation, through the power of an ennobled nature-nor even of the will of man—by the most sacred form of generation, effected in the strength of a theocratic faith, but by the birth which is of God (by regeneration. See above, vol. v. pp. 175-6).
However much, in virtue of their faith, the consecration of the life, the new creation, had in substance commenced, as the effect and expression of the vital power of the name of Christ, and the acts of generation became ever more sanctified in the line of the elect, there remained nevertheless still a breach and antagonism between human nature and the divine light, till the light triumphed at length over all opposition in the centre of humanity.
Yet the successive steps by which the natural birth was consecrated, prepared the way for this victory. To the birth from flesh and blood, in the rudest form of the life of nature, there followed the births proceeding from the will, the higher instinct of an ennobled nature; and to these, again, the births which proceeded from the will of the man by theocratically sanctified and moral generation ; and although they all needed to be supplemented by the new birth which is from God, yet nevertheless, in this process of development, the birth and the new birth had ever approached more nearly together, and thus a preparation was made for the ushering in of that moment when both should coalesce in one, in the deepest source of life, and thus the absolutely new birth could appear from heaven.
And the Word became flesh.
This is the true incarnation of the eternal Word. It came not merely into humanity, it not merely assumed human nature : itself became man, a human individuality; nay, it became flesh, a human individuality in the strength and weakness of earthly human life. In this assumption of pure humanity appeared that wondrous blossom which bore witness to the holy root at the source of all things, to the eternal Word.
And the incarnate Word-dwelt among us.
This is the historically completed incarnation of Christ. Not in the sanctuary of the temple, in the Most Holy Place, did the Logos at last make Himself known to men, but He made the chosen human body, and the habitations of men, and the hearts of men into tabernacles; and thus by the publicity and the power of His manifestation He has put all men in the condition of becoming divine seers, prophets, and priests; and those whose hearts are open to this teaching, have in reality become so.
And we beheld His glory—the effulgence of God, the Shechinah--the glory of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
An historical acquaintance with Christ becomes necessarily a spiritual beholding of eternal things (in vision). This contemplation is a contemplation of the absolute glory—of the essential dignity of Jesus, of His perfect freedom and power in the Spirit, of His oneness in dominion with God. This glory makes itself more distinctly known in the character of the only-begotten of the Father, which embraces all the characters and attributes of all the births which are of God. His being is an infinite fulness of the divine life; and the beautiful double ray, in which this fulness discovers itself, is grace—the revelation of love which cancels guilt, and truth-the revelation of light, which abolishes the darkness.
These experiences of the glory of Christ are purely the effects of the power of God, and therefore they must necessarily be
turned into testimonies. And by these testimonies, the entrance of the eternal Word into the history of the world is made universal and perpetual. Thus it is that the completion of the pre-historical dominion of Christ points forward to His posthistorical sway.
These testimonies present themselves in a twofold form-in the form of the prophetic and apostolic testimonies, the testimonies of heralds and of apostles. The forerunner of Christ, John the Baptist, bears witness of Him (continuously), and proclaims aloud the announcement: This is He (pointing to Christ) of whom I spake: He that cometh after me is preferred before me; for He was before me.' As He was above me from eternity, He was before me in time, according to His Old Testament advent. Thus the Baptist first declared the character of Christ, and then pointed to His special manifestation.
But the disciples of Jesus also bear witness of Him: And out of His fulness have we all taken (drawn), and grace for grace—the highest discoveries of the majesty of love, as it appears in effacing sin.
In the harmony of these testimonies lies the unity of the Old and New Covenants. The whole course of revelation is only one advent of Christ. Nevertheless the climax of this revelation, the manifestation of grace, forms also a contrast to its previous form under the law. To this John points in the words: For the law was given by Moses, grace and truth became (as embodiment) by Jesus Christ. What the law demands, is given by grace; what the law teaches, is performed by the truth. Thus, as Moses described the true life in the letter of the law, Christ brings it in the reality of the Spirit, as an incarnate, perfected life. He is therefore the real (substantial) revelation of God, in opposition to the typical.
And in so far is He also the one revelation, before which the preceding revelations melt away like shadows. This is announced by the Evangelist in his concluding words, in which he sums up the whole account of the incarnation of Christ :
No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him. All the divine visions of seers and prophets were only visions of the glory of Christ in dim representation ; but He only has seen God: He sits eternally in His bosom, rests eternally on His heart,