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Sutler remarks, — " Before we can have ground for raising what can with propriety be called an argu- ment from analogy, for or against revelation, considered as somewhat miraculous" — or, as it might be added with equal truth, for or against miracles, as authenticating a revelation, — " we must be acquainted with a similar or parallel case. But the history of some other world seemingly in like circumstances with our own is no more than a parallel case, and therefore nothing short of this can be so h. If it be urged that the reasoning which has been employed hitherto does but remove the question of probability order custom essay online or improbability, of credibility or incredi- bility, a step farther back, — viz. And no doubt a revelation by internal illumi- i That a revelation is not antecedently improbable would appear from the circumstance that Socrates is represented by Plato as intimating not only his belief in a future order custom essay online life, but his belief that some divine communication would one day be made concerning it.
And a departure from the former is as truly a miracle, — as truly indicates supernatural interference, — as a departure from the latter. Indeed Scripture re- cognises such a revelation repeatedly. But it is to be observed that if that revelation be a revelation of truths of which man could not by the exercise of his natural faculties have attained the knowledge, we have at once something which transcends nature, that is, in other words, a miracle, — not indeed a physical miracle, but a moral one. Let thus much suffice for the question of antecedent credibility or probability. But indeed, we are but feeling about in the dark while we are discussing such questions in a matter where we are, after all, so little competent to determine antecedently what is credible or probable, or are following out analogies where we are so little competent to determine to what extent the analogies hold, or whether indeed they hold at all. The really important question is, as to the facts re- puted to be miraculous. And it is surely inconsistent in those who lay so much stress, and justly so, on the necessity of weighing every fact which bears upon their theories in matters of science, summarily to override facts, when they do not accord with their theories in matters of religion. That the facts of the Christian history which are reputed miraculous really did take place, rests, as has been often urged, upon such testimony as would be accepted as sufficient, and much more than sufficient, in all ordinary matters.
And it is very true that both testimony may mislead, and our senses may de- k Essay, pp. But these results depend upon the character of the testimony, and upon the condition in which our senses are, or the opportunities which they have for taking cognizance of that which comes under their notice. The reality, then, of the Christian miracles, so far as the fact is concerned, rests, as has been said, on the most ample testimony. The enemies of Christianity, — though they refused to 156 THE ARGUMENT FOR MIRACLES. It is true the prevalent belief in magic, and in the power of evil spirits aud their sensible interference in the world, made men more ready to believe reports of supernatural or superhuman occurrences than they might have been otherwise. Still, when every allow- ance has been made on this account, it is inconceiv- able that facts, such as the Christian miracles were afhrmed to be, could have been accepted, as facts, by enemies, who had every opportunity of testing them, and actually did test them in some instances most rigorously, unless they had really taken place.
For how could we account for a practice so universal of forging miracles for the support of false religions, if on some occasions they had not actually been wrought for the confir- mation of a true one? Or how is it possible that so many spurious copies should pass upon the world, without some genuine original from whence they were drawn, whose known order custom essay online existence and tried success might give an appearance of probability to the counterfeit 1? Nor, truly, does Professor Powell absolutely and in every instance deny the facts. It is only when no reasonable prdspect of a solution upon his own principles offers itself that he denies them.
And even then his denial is couched in such ambiguous terms, that, if we had not a more explicit statement of his views elsewhere to guide us, it might be somewhat difficult to ascertain his precise meaning. But let us hear his own account of the way in which he would deal with the Christian miracles. If, however, the character of the miracle, or possibly the constitution of our own minds, be such, that we cannot bring ourselves to acquiesce in such a suppo- sition, — then, as a last resource, we must accept the m Essay, p. In doing this, however, we must be content to re- gard the narrative " in a less positive and certain light, as requiring some suspension of judgment as to its nature and circumstances in other words, we must presume that we have been mistaken in looking upon it as literally and historically true. And we must either leave it to " await its solution," without ven- turing to offer a solution of our own, receiving it "in connexion with, and for the sake of the doctrine inculcated," or we must have recourse to "ideology," and suppose that the narrative has " more or less of the parabolic or mythic character," or, as our author expresses himself elsewhere, is "of a designedly fic- titious or poetical nature 11.