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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 the Old Testament 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. To appeal to any such standard, when the benefit of a precedent reve- CRITERIA OF DIVINE MIRACLES. Professor Powell, after referring to such passages as those which have been above cited, and inferring most justly, "that the unworthiness of the doctrine will discredit even the most distinctly alleged apparent miracles," adds, that the worthiness or unworthiness of the doctrine " appeals solely to our moral judg- ment g. 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, buy a college paper online 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 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 may be such, that, as it is inconceivable that it should have been wrought but by power more than human, so it is 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 need someone write my paper 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.

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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. Among these characteristics it had intimated that He should shew signs and wonders 1 , and it had even particularized some of these.

It had foretold that "the eyes of the blind should be opened, and the ears of the deaf should be unstopped, that the lame man should leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb should sing m. Now the works of Jesus and the other marvellous circumstances connected with Him accurately corre- sponded to these predictions and these intimations. And even where, as in some instances might be the case, the prophecies were obscure or of doubtful ap- plication, the works threw light back upon the pro- phecies, while at the same time the prophecies stamped the works as divine. Paul q , and incor- porating them into her Creed, echoes on the same teaching to this hour, declaring her belief, not need someone write my paper only that " Christ rose again the third day," but that He so rose " according to the Scriptures" This correspondence between the Gospel miracles and the prophecies which foretold them was a cri- terion on which the early Christian writers laid espe- cial stress, as proving those miracles to be divine.

It has been truly remarked that the prevalent belief in magic, as it afforded a subterfuge to the enemies of Christianity, by which they sought to escape when they were pressed with the argument from the Gospel miracles, so it made those who maintained the Chris- tian cause more slow than they would have been otherwise to avail themselves of that argument. Positively, there was every pre- sumption in their favour, whether from the nature of To the same purpose as Justin, St. There could be no doubt but that such works were to be ascribed to God.

And as they were to be ascribed to God, so they bore witness to those by whose instrumentality they were wrought, that they had a commission from God. But if I do, though ye believe not Me, believe the works : that ye may know and believe that the Father is in Me and I in Him 8. For what are the facts which that history sets before us? It is true, that this religion in- culcates a morality so pure and exalted, that it cannot but commend itself to the minds and need someone write my paper consciences of such as are really in earnest in seeking to know and do what is right, though even so not without the ad- mixture of some precepts which must seem foolish- ness in their eyes : but together with this, and in- separable from it, it contains assertions of the most im- probable kind, and such as one would imagine the most credulous must revolt from. This was the strange story which the first preachers of the Gospel carried forth with them wherever they went. Those who em- braced it "ligabantur, includebantur, csedebantur, torquebantur, urebantur, laniabantur, trucidabantur, et — multiplicabantur V The religion in a brief space spread itself over the whole civilized world.

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