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purpose ; they were, in fact, the necessary the Resurrection. It is, after all, the miraconsequence of the new relation in which He cle on which we rely for evidence, and yet stood to man. For, in the first place, they it was worked for quite a different end. It were in general a debt of charity which He certainly, would not have been absent had paid to suffering humanity. Our Lord being sufficient proof been previously given. man, and having within Him the power of Here, then, is the cardinal error of the God, became debtor to His fellow-men for evidential theory the connecting of the the use of that power. Just in the same miracle exclusively with the end of eviway we, being possessed of any talent, are dence, or the maintaining that it has no debtors for the employment of that talent. other purpose or place in the Divine scheme That our Lord's miracles were, in one point except proof. But this involves a further of view, a debt of charity, will be evident if error — a misconception of the way in which we run over some of them in thought. The the miracle attains the end of evidence. change of water to wine; the feeding five Mr. Mozley has elaborated, with singular thousand; the innumerable cures; the ability, the evidential theory in this respect. widow of Nain's son, Lazarus, &c. Is not He includes the evidential function of the this point of view expressly avowed by Him miracle under the general head of the Arin the exquisitely touching narrative of the gument from Design. There is an interrupwoman of Canaan, when He says, “It is not tion of natural order, and this event is in meet to take the children's bread and to cast coincidence with a Divine announcement. it unto dogs.' That evidence, as an end, was The interruption, it is assumed, is the work hardly at all considered is seen from the of God, and it guarantees the truth of the fact that many of the miracles were done in message with which it is in coincidence. But secret; and, in respect of many others, si- how can we be sure that the interruption lence was enjoined. See thou tell no man,' is due to God? The Jews had great diffis the very language of charity, in its care culty in arriving at such a conclusion, owthat the right hand should not know what ing to the possibility of diabolical agency. the left doeth. But, in the second place, We in modern times would have at least our Lord's miracles may be regarded in equal difficulty. There would be to us the another point of view. They were intended possibility of some power, not God, being to shadow forth, and to be the first-fruits of known to and used by the worker. It is the work of Redemption. He came to restore evident that miracles, taken by themselves, us in soul and body, to banish from among are not equal to the functions which this men all sin and imperfection, all suffering theory lays upon them. But besides this, and death ; and to show forth this great the theory is untenable in face of fact. It work He raised the dead and dying, cast we apply it to the miracles of our Blessed out devils, and cleansed the lepers. He Lord, we must make some such supposition gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, as this — that He called around Him a sufspeech to the dumb, and made the lame to ficient number of witnesses; that in their walk. All His miracles had a bearing on presence He worked unmistakable mirathe work of Redemption; they were not ar-cles; that He then delivered a Divine Mesbitrary acts of Divine power, but were li- sage, and appealed to the miracles as proof. mited by this idea, wbich was the end of But is not such a supposition at variance His mission. And is not this point of view with our Lord's whole attitude ? Does it recognized by Him in His answer to the not assume, what we have shown to be embassy of John the Baptist : Go and wrong, that the end of His mission was the show John what things ye do hear and deliverance of a message or revelation ? see' - as much as to say, "What ye bear The truth is, that our Lord appealed to miand see is the work of Christ, therefore be racles, but not at all in this view. He apin no doubt.' Again, in the third place, the pealed to them, not as proof of a message, crowning and most stupendous of Christ's but as, in connection with other things, the miracles, those on which we must rely for appropriate manifestation of the Divine evidence, were worked for quite a different power in Him. He professed to be the Son end. They were the very work of Redemp- of God; and not any miracle, or set of mition itself. Such were the Mystery of the racles, but His whole life and purpose, bore Incarnation, the Blessed Passion and Death, Him out in His profession. Men saw in His and the glorious Resurrection and Ascen- daily life the goodness, the wisdom, the sion. The absurdity of the position that knowledge, and the power of God. And evidence is the exclusive end of the miracle when, finally, He laid down His life, and is seen fully in presence of the miracle of took it again, they saw in these actions the
redemption of the world which He professed it, as Hume has done, by setting the world to work.*
of experience, actual and unmistakeable, Now, let us look at the evidential theory on one side, and the alleged event on the in the light of consequences. We bave no other. A further improbability, which hesitation in saying ihat it places the su- amounts, as we shall see, almost to an impernatural in a light which makes it utterly possibility, is raised against any alleged incredible. As we have seen, the position event if it cannot be brought under a law taken up involves a train of consequences or rule of action; and this is the case with which make themselves felt in every de- miracles as viewed under the evidential partment of theology ; and the result is that theory. the supernatural, as a system, is contracted So far we have been viewing the miracle and perverted in a way which makes it ut- in itself. Now look at it on the part of terly incredible. Is it not a notorious fact God, and a different kind of improbability that miracles are rejected on à priori is created against it. It is unworthy of grounds ? that men will not listen to, much Almighty God that He should be supposed less examine, the arguments in their favour ? to break laws, or to have recourse to exAnd why is this but that the system of the pedients. There is no denying what has supernatural
, as proposed to them, appears been so often urged upon us, that this inin their eyes so narrow as to be almost volves a supposition unworthy of perfect childish ? And what has occasioned this wisdom. Then if we consider the end for but simply the error which we have pointed wbich 'the expedient is alleged to be deout? If we once disentangle it from this vised
the attestation of a message error, the supernatural, as a system, ac- could not this end have been attained by quires a breadth, a range, and a verisimili- apter means ? Would a miracle attest a tude, which will come home with imposing message to us? If what we have been force to the minds of men.
saying is true, taken by itself, it would not. It is a result of the evidential theory that But an improbability arises out of the idea miracles are thereby isolated. They are of the message.' Is it worthy of the remade to be rare events: they are dissevered lation between man and God, that the only from all connexion with anything which visible act of intercommunion should be a now has a place in the world of experience. message, delivered eighteen centuries ago ? They have the character of arbitrary acts Is God in His dealings with man to come as opposed to a scheme or rule of action; forth but once, and ever after to recede they are expedients to which God is sup- into obscurity ? Or if we can get over this, posed to resort for the attainment of a par- we meet an objection which is even more ticular end; and which are laid aside when formidable ; and we state it in stronger the end is attained.
terms than is done by Mr. Mozley (p. 117). Now each of these statements forms a Can we suppose that truths on which our separate improbability, and the whole, eternal interests depend should be guarwhen taken together, reach an amount anteed by events which, to say the least, which is not to be got over. An event is wear an aspect of incredibility events improbable in proportion as it is rare; if it which are allied to nothing which has a has not occurred for eighteen centuries it is present place in God's universe, and the very improbable. This improbability, how. ruth of which as facts is only guaranteed ever, would be got over, if we found the by a second-hand channel of knowledge rationale of the alleged event in the present – human testimony? Would this be worworld of experience. Thus the appear- thy the care and wisdom of our heavenly ance of a comet, whose period had been Father? ascertained to be 2,000 years, would not be But the improbability of the miracle as improbable. But if the alleged event is thought under the evidential theory assumes totally disconnected with the world of ex- greater proportions, when we state accuperience - if it is separated from it by an rately its bearing upon nature. • Miracles, impassable chasm, its non-occurrence for says Mr. Mozley (p. 142),' are summarily eighteen centuries creates an improbability characterized as violations of the laws of which is very great.
We may measure nature.” We shall hereafter have to return
to this subject, when we come to consider * For a fuller account of the secondary and indi. the relation of the superoatural to nature. rect way in which the iniracle attains the end of exti: In the meantime, it is to be remarked that The error of the evidential theory consists in re: the evidential theory necessitates some snch garding the miracle as proving a message,' instead definition as the above. A miracle, to be of regarding it as the outer manifestation of the Divine presence with man.
a miracle, must be marked off unmistake
ably from ordinary events ; and it is of no pose is to show how they are self-made. consequence what term we use so long as Let us disconnect the miracle from its this process of separation is performed. We assigned end — the proof of a revelation ; may call them violations or suspensions of let us join it on to God's great purposes in laws of nature, or events at variance with connexion with man; and it immediately the course of nature or ordinary experi- assumes an aspect and a standing under ence; and in each case the meaning is that, which all these difficulties vanish like untaking our stand on the world of experience, healthy mists. Our theory of the supera miracle is an unusual, unaccountable, natural loses its cramped and forced aspect. lawless, or isolated event; for if it could be It becomes natural and imposing; and, inaccounted for, or reduced to any law ex- stead of being attended with an à priori existing in the world of experience, it improbability, all facts and analogies of would cease to be a miracle. We say, present experience point to and support taking our stand on the world of experi- it. ence; because divines, when hard pressed For when we have so disconnected by the objections of science and philosophy, the miracle, it loses its isolated character have taken refuge in the theory that, and becomes one of a class or system of though lawless in reference to this world, a facts. If we comprehend in one whole the miracle is not lawless on the scale of the contents of the Bible and the religious life whole universe. But it is obvious science of the Church, it is obvious that we have might decline to admit this higher point of got a class of facts with special characterview as equally beyond experience, and as istics. They may be designated as that in fact guaranteed only by the miracle. It class of facts which arise out of the relamight say, nay, it does say, I must not tion in which man stands to God. And judge of the miracle in the light of what it this would mark them off from other classes proves; I must judge of it by that of which of actions which have a place in the life of I have experience; and judged in this humanity: as for instance, the social, politlight, it is a lawless, unaccountable, isolated ical, and physical, which arise out of the
relations in which we stand to our fellowLet us see now what objections the mira- men and physical nature. Now let us obcle is liable to when propounded to the serve what is the distinguishing mark of world in this character. It is placed under those facts or phenomena which arise out of the ban both of science and philosophy. the Divine relation. It is that they are Science has shown that, as a matter of fact, supernatural, or in other words miraculous. a lawless and isolated event has no exist- Why so ? Because in religion the objects ence in nature. Philosophy goes further, towards which we act and which react on and shows that it cannot have; that in fact us are supernatural. When we act towards the assertion of such an act or event is a our fellow-men socially or politically, those contradiction in terms. For what is a purely with whom we act belong to the same lawless, or exceptional act? It is an act sphere of being, and the resultant acts are which is out of all relation to other things. what we term natural. But in the simplest But such an act is to us simply unknowable. act of religion, the object with which we We can only know things in so far as they are set face to face is supernatural, and the are connected with other things, i.e. in so act is consequently a supernatural act. The far as they are instances of law or system. supernatural character of religious actions A purely lawless or exceptional act is can only be denied by maintaining that in simply unknowable. What then does the religion the action is all on our side: and definition of the miracle as something.ex- that there is no response from on high. If ceptional or opposed to experience amount there is a response, if when we kneel down to? It simply annihilates itself. It amounts God's eye is turned to us, if He vouchsafes to this, thai a miracle in so far as it is a mir- His blessing or His grace, or His proviacle is an impossibility, a nonentity. In point dential care, or any other sign of His presof fact, too, it is wrong: for what we call ence, then these acts are certainly supermiracles are not disconnected from nature. natural. They are as much miracles as the What makes them to be miracles is not dividing of the Red Sea, or the raining want of connexion with nature, but con- down of manna. Why should great miranexion with something else.
cles such as that of the Red Sea be disBut we care not to point out further the tinguished from an ordinary act of providifficulties and incredibilities by which this dential care, or the Resurrection of Christ theory of the supernatural is surrounded from an act of grace whereby a soul dead on every side. What is more to the pur- in sin is raised to a new life in Christ ?
What differential character can be assigned | They are therefore admitted to a participation to them? We believe there is none. You of those blessings which form the subject of St. may say that those great miracles were in- Paul's prayer for his Ephesian converts. The terferences with the course of nature. But Spirit of God, by whom they are regenerated, were they so in any sense in which the lat- dwells in them. They become His temple; and ter are not ? Is not the most ordinary their soul or “inner man.'
so by Him are “strengthened with might" in providential act an interference with the blessed Spirit, the love of God is shed abroad
By the same course of nature ?. Is not the communica- in their hearts. Christ, therefore, dwells in their tion of Divine grace the same? Are not hearts by faith ; according to His own promiso both the special work of God just as much to them that love Him, that “ He will come unto as the former ?
them, and make His abode with them.” So Mr. Mozley has laboured hard to estab- great, then, is the change which passes upon all lish a distinction between the great miracles regenerate Christians at their entrance into the and what he terms the running miraculous. Church of Christ, that it can be compared to notliBut we look in vain for any character dead unto sin, and born agalvi unto righteous
ing less than a resurrection. By it we become assigned by him which would form a rational
The "old Adam is buried in us, and the ground of distinction. The only thing new man is raised up in us." To ilustrato which he seems to dwell upon is, that they more fully this great faith, the Church leads us were greater and more unmistakable, so to to consider the resurrection of the widow's son speak: and that being so, the Jews and in the Gospel for the day. In this, us in the heathens recognised them to be miracles in other miracles performed by Our Lord upon the bod. a sense in which their own were not.
And ies of men, we may see a type of those lle now this is quite true. But greatness will not works upon our souls. Christ
, the resu, rection of itself give a differential character. There and the life, who stood by the bier of the were great differences in this respect in the young man to bid him “arise,” is as really, miracles of Christ. We could not, for in- regenerate members, when He bids them “rise
though invisibly, present with each one of His stance, put His cures upon the same footing again from the death of sin unto the life of in respect of greatness as the raising of righteousness.” The influence of His Blessed Lazarus, or His own resurrection. But Spirit, which He then sheds upon iheir souls, is there is a point which Mr. Mozley has over to them as the breath of their spiritual life, by looked. Is it not matter of faith that mira- which they live and move and have their being. cles, at least as great as those of Christ, are The same mighty power which raised the wiàday by day being transacted ? Every time ow's son from the temporal death, also “ quickwe kneel at the altar, are we not bound to sins.' » – The Christian taught by the Church's
ened us when we were dead in trespasses and believe in a miracle second only to the In- Services, edited by Dr. Hook, l'art ii. p. 77. carnation ? and the same in respect of the other sacraments? How can we in any true sense believe in the work of the Spirit We would ask, is all this a reality, or is it without believing in a law of continued just a way of speaking ? If it is a reality, miraculous agency?
then the evidential theory is wrong; for And so, when we shut up a book on evi- there is a law of miracles going on now idendences, and return to ordinary religious tical with that which gave rise to the miralife, we instinctively throw aside the evi- cles of Christ. And why should we not dential theory, and take up a point of view recognise this in forming a rationale of the such as we are advocating. The moment supernatural ? If we do so, we shall get as a we have to do with practical religion, we definition of the miraculous, that class of find ourselves in an atmosphere of the facts or phenomena which arise out of the supernatural. We regard our personal relation in which man stands to God.' This religious life, and the life of the Church, as would be in substance identical with a definiparts of a great miraculous system
tion which we gave in a former article ; but tem which began in the earliest times, which better expressed. In defining the miracle culminated in the miracles of Christ, and to be an event with a supernatural cause,' which, as a system, is going on still. In we omitted to specify the human side of the proof of this we select the following pass- miraculous. As a matter of fact, miracles age at random from a common religious are not due to supernatural power simply, manual.
but to supernatural power in relation with
man. * The Church is the family of God. Those
The advantages of this definition over the who compose it, whether already triumphant in old theory are very great. It frees the heaven, or stili militant on earth, have been whole sphere of the supernatural from the made His children by adoption and grace. cramped shape into which it was thrown.
We no longer need to look at any acts of evidence but to edification. Divines have
with the common sense of mankind. Once With the coming of Christ a new order admit the human personality, and the exof things began, of which the distinguishing istence of God and of the miraculous follows mark was the personal presence of God in as a matter of course.
We have first the presence of the Our definition, too, at once and for ever Second Person in Christ by means of the obviates the philosophical objections. Spihypostatic union; and, secondly, the pres- noza is the source whence these are drawn; ence of the Third Person in His Body but we have taken the ground from under the Church. Thus a new relation was es bis feet. His whole strength consists in tablished between man and God, and this hammering on the fundamental axiom gave rise to a new class of miraculous facts. "everything which takes place must be in The miracles of Christ were the result of accordance with law. But miracles are the hypostatic union; and their end, as we not lawless events; they are not shifts and have pointed out, was not primarily eviden expedients resorted to for a special purpose. tial, but for the accomplishment of the work On the contrary, there is a law of the miof redemption. In like manner the miracles raculous, just as there is a law for every of the Church resulted from the presence other class of facts in God's uviverse. of the Holy Ghost, and they looked not to There is, for instance, a class of facts which
arises out of the mutual relations of mole* It seems ludicrous to observe that the Red Sea cules and masses of matter; and these, we was divided, that the Israelites might pass throughi. say, are subject to the law of gravitation. Yet it is froin overlooking this very obvious view of But, just in the same way, there is a class the matter, that all the difficulties with science and of facts which arises out of the relation in philosophy have originated.