In point of fact, before the eighteenth century the existence of a supranatural world, and the necessity, possibility, and reality of a special revelation, had never been seriously called into question. But Deism, springing up in England, emancipated the world from God, reason from revelation, the will from grace.
The philosophy of revelation, just like that of history, art, and the rest, must take its start from its object, from revelation. Even its idea cannot be construed apriori. There is but one alternative: either there is no revelation, and then all speculation is idle; or else there comes to us out of history such a revelation, shining by its own light; and then it tells us, not only what its content is, but also how it comes into existence.
“The immediate concomitant of the first sin, and therefore hardly a result of it in the strict sense of the word, was the total depravity of human nature. The contagion of his sin at once spread through the entire man, leaving no part of his nature untouched, but vitiating every power and faculty of body and soul. Immediately connected with the preceding was the loss of communion with God through the Holy Spirit.”