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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. Such employments, from the clearness of the notions involved in them, the irresistible con- catenation of truths which they unfold, the subtlety which they require, and their entire success in that which they attempt, possess a peculiar fascination for the intellect.
Those who pursue such studies have generally a contempt and impatience of the pretensions of all those other portions of our knowledge, where, from the nature of the case or the small progress hitherto made in their cultivation, a more vague and loose kind of reasoning seems to be adopted. At the same time, it is to be confessed, that they who believe our Lord to have been what He claimed to be, and acknowledge the New Testament to contain an authentic record of His teaching and that of His apostles, cannot approach the subject but with a foregone conclusion in favour of the reality of the Christian miracles.
With them the question is already settled, upon authority which ad- mits of no dispute. For it is impossible to deny that the reality of those miracles is perpetually implied throughout the New Testament.
This love of paradoxes, he owns himself, order papers online that both his enemies and his reviews for essay writing services friends reproach him with. It is not too much to say, therefore, that the question is vital as re- gards Christianity. 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 order papers online 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.
One miracle is sufficient to shew 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 order papers online greater evidence to prove them than is needed for the most ordinary events of any other history.
L 146 MIRACLES antecedent incredibility of a miracle is such as abso- lutely to preclude all a posteriori reasoning on the subject. And that antecedent incredibility rests on " the grand truth of the universal order and constancy of natural causes, as a primary law of belief," a belief " so strongly entertained in the mind of every truly inductive inquirer, that he cannot even conceive the possibility of its failure 11. The world, in all its parts, is ordered and governed upon an es- tablished plan. As science extends her domain and pushes her discoveries into new regions, cases which once seemed exceptional are found to conform to the general rule. If in any instance the conformity can- not be traced, yet the instances in which it can are so innumerable, that there can be no reasonable doubt that in this also the rule holds. H7 Spinoza held that a miracle is absolutely impossible, because it would be derogatory to the Deity to depart from the established laws medical school essay writing service of the universe 7 , an argu- ment which appears to be identical with that of "Weg- scheider referred to by Professor Powell, "that the belief in miracles is inconsistent with the idea of an eternal God consistent with himself 2.
A miracle, in the Scriptural notion of the word, is a violation neither of the laws of matter, nor of any other of the laws of nature. But there is one clause in his quotation, the meaning of which, he confesses, is not clear to him, that, namely, in which "moral laws" are spoken of as "controlling physical.
His mind appears to have been so en- grossed with the study of what is called natural science, his eye so exclusively fixed upon the mate- rial world around him, that he overlooked the fact, that the world contains other elements besides material, that it has other forces besides physical, and that as matter is perpetually acted upon in all imaginable e See Dean Trench, "Notes on the Miracles," p. The human will is the element, the action of whose disturbing force upon the material system around us comes most frequently or most strikingly under our notice. Man, in the exercise of his ordinary faculties, is perpetually interfering with, or moulding, or con- trolling the operation of those ordinary laws of matter which are in exercise around him. He does so if he does but disturb one pebble in its state of rest, or stay the fall of another before it reaches the ground.