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philosophy and life at the very outset, with a wholesome touch of mysticism, which may well pass as a fair specimen of the reigning tone and temper of the book throughout. On the last of the names noticed, we have the following interesting observation :
"A further term by which St. John very frequently names the miracles is eminently significant. They are very often with him simply "works,” (v. 36; vii. 21; x. 25, 32, 38; xiv. 11, 12; xv. 24 ; see also Matt. xi. 2.) The wonderful is in his eyes only the natural form of working for him who is dwelt in by all the fulness of God; he must, out of the necessity of his higher being, bring forth these works greater than man's. They are the periphery of that circle, whereof he is the centre. The great miracle is the Incarnation; all else, so to speak, follows naturally and of course. It is no wonder that he whose name is Wonderful' (Isaiah ix. 6,) does works of wonder; the only wonder would be if he did them not. The sun in the heavens is itself a wonder, but not that, being what it is, it rays forth its effluences of light and heat. These miracles are the fruit after its kind, which the divine tree brings forth; and may with a deep truth, be styled 'works' of Christ, with no further addition or explanation."— P. 14.
The relation of Miracles to Nature is next considered ; a most difficult subject, as all know who have turned their thoughts to it ever in any earnest way. The common course of nature is marvellous; but it is still most shallow and fallacious to confound the miraculous and the natural together for this reason, in the way some pretend, as being in the end the same. “The distinction indeed which is sometimes made, that in the miracle God is immediately working, and in other events is leaving it to the laws which he has established, to work, cannot at all be admitted; for it has its root in a dead mechanical view of the universe, which lies altogether remote from the truth. The clockmaker makes his clock, and leaves it ; the ship-builder builds and launches his ship, and others navigate it; but the world is no curious piece of mechanism, which its Maker makes and then dismisses from his hands, only from time to time reviewing and repairing it.-Laws of God exist only for us. It is a will of God for himself." The ordinary processes of nature are as truly full of God's presence and will, as any miracles. “The seed that multiplies in the furrow is as marvellous as the bread that multiplied in Christ's hands." Still the miracle, though not a greater manifestation of divine power than the common course of nature, is a different manifestation. It is the power
which is always at work in the other form, standing forth in a special and extraordinary way, with direct address to those present, for the purpose of fixing their attention on the mission or message to which it is attached as seal.
In this view however, the miracle can never be against nature. It is wholly unsatisfactory to speak of God's wonderful works in such form, as violations of natural law; they are above and beyond nature, as to us known, but not contrary to it. Spinoza has taken advantage of the fault, by which this distinction is too commonly overlooked. “The miracle is not thus unnatural, nor can it be; since the unnatural, the contrary to order, is of itself the ungodly, and can in no way therefore be affirmed of a divine work such as that with which we have to do. The very idea of the world, as more than one name which it bears testifies, is that of an order; that which comes in then to enable it to realize this idea which it has lost, will scarcely itself be a disorder. So far from this, the true miracle is a higher and a purer nature, coming down out of the world of untrou
a bled harmonies into this world of ours, which so many discords have jarred and disturbed, and bringing this back again, though it be but for one prophetic moment, into harmony with that higher.” Nature is not opposed or violated, when one order of action and work is simply brought to yield to another of superior worth.
“ Continually we behold in the world around us lower laws held in restraint by higher, mechanic by dynamic, chemical by vital, physical by moral; yet we say not, when the lower thus gives place in favor of the higher, that there was any violation of law,that anything contrary to mature came to pass ; rather we acknowledge the law of a greater freedom swallowing up the law of a lesser. Thus, when I lift my arm, the law of gravitation is not, as far as my arm is concerned, denied or annihilated; it exists as much as ever, but is held in suspense by the higher law of my will. The chemical laws which would bring about decay in animal substances still subsist, even when they are hemmed in and hindered by the salt which keeps those substances from corruption. The law of sin in a regenerate man is held in continual check by the law of the spirit of life ; yet is it in his members still, not indeed working, for a mightier law has stepped in and now holds it in check, but still there, and ready to work, did that higher law cease from its more effectual operation. In the miracle, this world of ours is drawn into and within a higher order of things; laws are then at work in the world, which are not the laws of its fallen condition, for they are laws of mightier range and higher perfection; and as such they claim to make themselves felt, and to have the pre-eminence which is rightly their own.
“ Thus Aquinas, whose greatness and depth upon the subject of miracles I well remember once hearing Coleridge exalt, and painfully contrast with the modern theology on the same subject (Sum. Theol. part 1. qu. 105, art. 6): A qualibet causa derivatur aliquis ordo in suos effectus, cum quælibet causa habeat rationem principii. Et ideo secundum multiplicationem causarum multiplicantur et ordines, quorum unus continetur sub altero, sicut et causa continetur sub causa. Unde causa superior non continetur sub ordine causæ inferioris, sed e converso. Cujus exemplum apparet in rebus humanis. Nam ex paterfamilias dependet ordo domus, qui continetur sub ordine civitatis, qui procedit a civitatis rectore : cum et hic contineatur sub ordine regis, a 'quo totum regnum ordinatur. Si ergo ordo rerum consideretur prout dependet a prima causa, sic contra rerum ordinem Deus facere non potest. Si enim sic faceret, faceret contra suam præscientiam aut voluntatem aut bonitatem. Si vero consideretur rerum ordo, prout dependet a qualibet secundarum causarum, sic Deus potest facere præter ordinem rerum; quia ordini secundarum causarum ipse non est subjectus ; sed talis ordo ei subjicitur, quasi ab eo procedens, non per necessitatem naturæ sed per arbitrium voluntatis; potuisset enim et alium ordinem rerum instituere.”—P. 22.
“ It is with these wonders which have been, exactly as it will be with those wonders which we look for in regard of our own mortal bodies, and this physical universe. We do not speak of these changes which are in store for this and those, as violations of law. We should not speak of the resurrection of the body as something contrary to nature, as unnatural; yet no power now working in the world could bring it about; it must be wrought by some power not yet displayed, which God has kept in reserve. So, too, the great change which is in store for the outward world, and out of which it shall issue as a new heaven and a new earth, far exceeds any energies now working in the world, to bring it to pass, (however there may be pre-dispositions for it now, starting points from which it will proceed); yet it so belongs to the true idea of the world, now so imperfectly realized, that when it does take place, it will be felt to be the truest nature, which only then at length shall have come perfectly to the birth.”—P. 23.
The next chapter is devoted to the Authority of the Miracle, or in other words the force it has to establish truth. For a large part of our popular theology, miracles in the most outward view, as mere preternatural facts or wonder-works, are taken to be at once and by themselves the proof of divine revelation. This view Professor Trench rightly rejects. There are wonder-works also in the power of Satan, caricatures of the holiest, employed to uphold and advance the cause of sin; for it is plain, that the Scriptures mean to attribute real wonders to his agency. These indeed are not iniracles in the highest sense of the word; they are abrupt, isolated phenomena, in no union with the organic whole of the world's life; “not the highest harmonies, but the deepest discords, of the universe.” But this only goes to show, that the true and proper authority of miracles is not in their mere form outwardly considered, and that they have no power in such view accordingly to accredit truth. To make them valid for this purpose, something more must enter into their constitution. They must themselves be authenticated as genuine heavenly miracles, by carrying in them proper spiritual contents, and by being surrounded with proper spiritual connections and relations. They are of force, not abstracuy and on the outside of the revelation or mission they are employed to prove, but concretely and in living union with this, as part and parcel of the whole.
“A miracle does not prove the truth of a doctrine, or the divine mission of him that brings it to pass. That which alone it claims for him at the first is a right to be listened to; it puts him in the alternative of being from heaven or from hell. The doctrine must first commend itself to the conscience as being good, and only then can the miracle seal it as divine. But the first appeal is from the doctrine to the conscience, to the moral nature in man. For all revelation pre-supposes in man a power of recognizing the truth when it is shown him,—that it will find an answer in him,--that he will trace in it the lineaments of a friend, though of a friend from whom he has been long estranged and whom he has well nigh forgotten. The denial of this, that there is in man any organ by which truth may be recognized, opens the door to the most boundless skepticism, is indeed the denial of all that is godlike in man. But he that is of God, heareth God's word,' and knows it for that wbich it proclaims itself to be.
" It may be objected, indeed, If this be so, if there be this inward witness of the truth, what need then of the miracle? to what does it serve, when the truth has accredited itself already? It has, indeed, accredited itself as good, as from God in the sense that all which is good and true is from him, as whatever was precious in the teaching even of heathen sage or poet was from him ;—but not yet as a new word directly from him-a new speaking on his part to man. The miracles are to be the credentials for the bearer of that good word, signs that he has a special mission for the realization of the purposes of God in regard of humanity. When the truth has found a receptive heart, has awoke deep echoes in the innermost soul of man, he who brings it may thus show that he stands yet nearer to God than others, that he is to be heard not merely as one that is true, but as himself the Truth, (see Matt. xi. 4,5; John v. 36); or if not this, as an immediate messenger standing in direct connection with him who is the Truth, (1 Kings xiii. 3); claiming unreserved submission, and the reception, upon his authority, of other statements which transcend the mind of man,mysteries which though, of course, not against that measure and standard of truth which God has given unto every man, yet cannot be weighed or measured by it."-P. 27, 28.
“ The purpose of the miracle being, as we have seen, to confirm that which is good, where the mind and conscience witness against the doctrine, not all the miracles in the world have a right to demand submission to the word which they seal. On the contrary, the great act of faith is to believe, in the face, and in despite, of them all, in what God has revealed to, and implanted in, the soul, of the holy and the true; not to believe another Gospel, though an angel from heaven, or one transformed into such should bring it, (Deut. xiii. 3 ; Gal. i. 8); and instead of compelling assent, miracles are then rather warnings to us that we keep aloof, for they tell us that not merely lies are here, for to that the conscience bore witness already, but that he who utters them is more than a common deceiver, is eminently “a liar and an antichrist," a false prophet,-standing in more immediate connection than other deceived and evil men to the kingdom of darkness, so that Satan has given him his power, (Rev. xiii. 2,) is using him to be a special organ of his, and to do a signal work for him."--P. 29.
All this we take to be sound and important doctrine; though it goes entirely against the thinking of many, who affect to be the greatest friends of orthodoxy. They will have it, that miracles prove the divine authority of the Bible in a purely outward way. The business of reason then is to try the truth of this external seal, to be satisfied that miracles have actually taken place, and on the strength of this proof accept the Bible as God's word, raising no question afterwards in regard to the character of its contents. To make the character of the contents part of the proof for the truth of the miracles themselves, they take to be a rationalistic reversal of the proper order of faith, and an appeal from the voice of God to the judgment of man. The truih is however, that the proper order of faith is overthrown just by the opposite course, that which seeks to interpose the miracle as an outward proof between God's word and the soul
as though the first were something more near to man's inmost life, and more sure for him, than ihe last. Miracles, in their right form, belong to the truth, go along with its revelation in