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But they endeavoured to put Him down summarily on the ground that His teaching was at variance with their law. While He, on the contrary, continually appealed to that law, bidding them search the Scrip- tures, for they testified of Him, and affirming, that had they believed Moses they would have believed Him, for he wrote of Him. Precisely similar, it may be added, to the rule under the Old Testament, is the rule under the New : — " Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many d Deut. No one is to be hearkened to, no not for a moment, let him come with what pretensions he may, tuhose teaching contravenes a revelation already given.
In what has been said thus far, it will be seen that the subject has been help me write a essay regarded from the point of view of those only who are already in possession of a divine revelation.
If it be asked, How the case stands with those who have had no best writing services reviews previous revelation to guide them? No miracle ought to be accepted by a heathen as divine, the object of which is to confirm a system of teaching plainly repugnant to those principles. On the other hand, there being no antecedent presumption on such grounds against the teaching, the appeal to mira- cles would be entitled to a candid and patient con- sideration. If the case, instead of being that of a heathen, were that of an nnbeliever living in a Christian country, the only difference would be, that such a one would have the advantage of a truer and higher moral standard to judge by, — the standard, namely, which had been furnished by that very revelation on which he was sitting in judgment, and of which he was un- consciously reaping the benefit. And now we may see the extent to which the doctrine is a test of the miracle.
And it is highly important that we should have a right understanding on this point, seeing that certain dicta, such as that " the miracles prove the doctrines, and the doctrines approve the miracles," have got into current use, which, though they are perfectly true if taken rightly, often have an unsound sense put upon them. The doctrine, then, taught by him who appeals to miracles as a proof that he has a commission from God, must itself be tried hj the revelation already given. Under the Old Testament dispensation, that doctrine would have been self-condemned, and the miracles to which it appealed together with it, which taught men to forsake the worship of the one living and true God. Under the New Testament, the case is the same where the doctrine denies that Jesus is the Christ, or contra- venes any other of the fundamental truths of the Gospel. Where neither top custom essays the Old Testament best writing services reviews nor the New can be appealed to, then, and then only, must men be con- tent with that standard of truth and morality, an im- perfect one at best, to which, by whatsoever means, those who know nothing or believe nothing of a pre- cedent revelation have attained.
If the doc- trine taught contradicts a revelation already given, or, s Essay, p. It may be granted, at the outset, that there is no test which, taken singly, by itself, is absolutely suf- ficient to stamp an alleged miracle with the seal of God.
But yet, notwithstanding, there may be pre- sumptions afforded by various considerations, and there may be concurrent circumstances of such weight, that the joint result may be to place the matter beyond question. And it is important to remember that it is by such joint result, rather than by any single test, that divine miracles are to be ascertained. Though even so, Scripture warns us that there is need of an honest and truth-loving best writing services reviews heart, otherwise the proofs afforded, be they what they may, will be fruitless.
Of the presumptions referred to, one is supplied by the alleged miracle itself. Its character recommended essay writing service may be such, that, as it is inconceivable that it should have been wrought but by power more than human, so it is best writing services reviews inconceivable but that that power must have been divine. Still a proof is one thing, a presumption is another. And if the doctrine, in attestation of whose divine origin miracles are alleged to have been wrought, be so emi- nently holy, and inculcate truth and righteousness to such a degree, and carry on the face of it such an air of goodness that it is impossible to conceive that it should have proceeded from the Evil One, here also, i8 4 CRITERIA OF DIVINE MIRACLES. If that object be trifling and apparently unworthy of the divine interference, or if the end could have been gained by natural means, then there is at once a pre- sumption against the idea of a divine miracle. But if, on the other hand, the object be of grave import- ance, and especially if there be no way apparent by which otherwise it could so well have been attained, there is here also a presumption that the miracle is from God. Still these are but presumptions, — only, be it ob- served, presumptions which mutually strengthen and confirm one another.
For let it be considered for a moment how the case would have stood, supposing that one or more of them had been wanting.
But, besides these presumptions, there is another circumstance to be taken into the account, of a much more substantive and determinate character : Prophecy, in foretelling the advent of the Messiah, had described the circumstances of His coming and the characteristics by which He should be known.