To history has been assigned the office of judging the past, of instructing the present for the benefit of future ages. To such high offices this work does not aspire. It wants only to show what actually [essentially?] happened (wie es eigentlich gewesen).
You have reckoned that history ought to judge the past and to instruct the contemporary world as to the future. The present attempt does not yield to that high office. It will merely tell how it really was.
It is striking how history, when resting on the memory of men, always touches the bounds of mythology.
History is no criminal court
Every generation is equidistant from God.
In schoolbooks and in literature we can separate ecclesiastical and political history; in the life of mankind they are intertwined.
Most humans recognize their ruin, but they carry on regardless.
All ages are equidistant from eternity, and just as immediately accessible to God's presence.
He who overcomes himself is divine. Most see their ruin before their eyes; but they go on into it.
Calvin was virtually the founder of America.
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