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The ivliole argument proceeds on the assumption — as if uncontroverted—of the authority of the Judaical Scriptures in the matter" — Order of Nature, p.
The world, it would seem, is a piece of clock-work, which having been wound up in the beginning, — if indeed it ever had a beginning, — was then set a-going, and left to go, in a perpetual motion, without further interference on the part of its Maker. Strange that it should be thought more agreeable to sound reason to believe of Him who has civil service essay given to the creatures which He has made both the will and the power to control the operation of the laws of matter to an almost indefinite extent, that He has divested Himself of the same, than that He has both retained them, and exercises them according to the dictates of His infinite wisdom!
If the boomerang was divinely communicated to savages ignorant of its principle, then surely the disclosure of that principle in our time by the gyro- MIRACLES. But by what means its claims, in those points which transcend the reach of human reason, and which form, as miracles are said to do, "the main difficulties and hindrances to its acceptance 1 ," are to be write my essay service enforced on those to whom it has not been directly communicated, does not appear. One would be strongly tempted to suppose that none but those to whom it has been directly communicated are under an obliga- tion to receive it.
But I have no intention help 123 essay of following him into every particular in which his questionable opinions come out to view. My object is simply to deal with the subject of Miracles, which is the subject of his Essay. If I touch upon other subjects, it will only be as they stand related to this. Before proceeding to the main question, Professor Powell "premises a brief reflection upon the spirit and temper in which it should be discussed 1. And though those who deal with it may have no doubts or difficulties of their own, he would have them appreciate those of others, and make allow- ance for them. Especially it behoves that there should be no want of sympathy with minds perplexed with difficulties, which they are hon- estly seeking to have resolved. But sympathy with those who are perplexed and troubled with difficulties, and are conscientiously seek- ing their way out of them, must not be suffered to run on into a countenancing of those who have turned aside from the way of truth themselves, and are avail- ing themselves of their position, and of the influence which their position gives them, to turn others aside from it.
That we should approach the question with candour, and with an honest desire to arrive at the truth, is a caution very necessary to be borne in mind in other matters as well as in the one before us. But it is to be remembered that there may be an undue bias against as well as for. Whewell, in his Bridge - water Treatise, has assigned reasons for believing that what he calls deductive habits as opposed to inductive, — habits formed by following out the discoveries of MIRACLES. But we might perhaps go further, and assert that they are less likely than men employed in other pursuits to make any clear advance towards such a subject of speculation.
Deductive reasoners, those who cultivate science of whatever kind, by means of mathematical and logical processes alone, may acquire an exaggerated feeling of the amount and value of their labours.
And it cannot be matter of sur- prise, that they who have embraced the Gospel, on whatever grounds, and have staked their dearest hopes upon its promises, should look upon the denial of the reality of the Christian miracles as a sacrilege of the worst description. Woe be to the individual by whom such a principle is accepted! What has been in one instance may have been in another, in ten others, in a thousand others. And I take this opportunity of remarking, that repeatedly, in the course of his Essay, one has the conviction forced upon one, either that he had a difficulty in ex- pressing himself clearly, or else that, on occasion, he designedly involved his meaning in a mist of words because he feared that, if seen in clear sunshine, it would be too much for the prejudices of his readers.
At all events, as to the point in question, it is plain that the whole drift and tendency of the Essay is to deny the reality of miracles altogether.
The argu- ment lies within the smallest possible compass, — The a far less reasonable basis than the firm belief which accepts the whole, or the complete unbelief which accepts nothing. For what- ever may be the antecedent improbability which attaches to a mi- raculous narrative, as compared with one of ordinary events, it can affect only the narrative taken as a whole, and the entire series of miracles from the greatest to the least. If a single miracle is admitted as supported by competent evidence, the entire history is at once removed from the ordinary calculations of more or less proba- bility. One miracle is sufficient to shew help 123 essay that the series of events with which it is connected is one which the Almighty has seen fit to mark by exceptions to the ordinary course of His providence : and this being once granted, we have no a priori grounds to warrant us in asserting that the number of such exceptions ought to be larger or smaller. If any one miracle recorded in the Gospels, — the Resur- rection of Christ, for example, — be once admitted as true, the remainder cease to have any antecedent improbability at all, and require no greater evidence to prove them than is needed for the most ordinary events of any other history.