Thanks to Steve Bishop I have a copy of Sander Griffioen's "Origins and Growth of Revolutionary Thought: An Outline of Lectures". Griffioen discusses Groen van Prinsterer's thought and makes a similar point to that made by Goudzwaard quoted in my earlier post. He writes:
For Groen history is irreversible; one cannot go back to pre-revolutionary days, and he introduces the distinction of counter- and anti-revolutionaries. The former desire a return to the pre-revolutionary period, the ancien regime, whereas the latter can decry the revolutionary spirit but accept the revolutionary status quo as a point of departure and as material for acting. Contrary to this, the counterrevolutionaries somehow refuse to acknowledge the revolutionary reality. Groen tried to find his own, position between the revolutionary and the counter-revolutionary position, in that he attempts to deal with the real situation in order to transcend it. There are norms for the actual historical situation, without accepting the situation as a norm in itself.