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The fact is, however, that there are occasional, though not frequent, references by the writers to their own miracles, and these distinctlv as literal facts 55. The transfiguration and the voice from heaven are expressly ap- pealed to, and that as strictly literal and historical facts, 2 Pet.
Its literal truth as a u physiological phenomenon" is the very basis and substratum of all that is said on the subject. After that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once. Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen : and if Christ he not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. But noiv is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept" 174 SUMMARY OF PROPOSED SOLUTIONS.
Will any one venture, after such, a passage as this, to talk of a merely " spiritualized sense," as" though the resurrection of the " fullest development of apo- stolic Christianity" were of a different kind from that which was recognised on the very day on which the history relates that it occurred, when our Lord shewed the assembled disciples His hands and His feet, and bade them handle Him and see that His body was a real body, and by consequence His resurrection a real resurrection, literally and physically true? It would be a waste of time to adduce further proofs, whether as regards the resurrection, or the incarnation, or the ascension, that whatever doctrinal instructions the apostles might graft upon these great and cardinal truths, they neither held nor taught any other faith respecting them than that which pervades the whole volume of the New Testament.
So much, then, for the several solutions which Professor Powell offers in explanation of the Christian miracles. I have endeavoured to shew of each in turn that it is wholly unsatisfactory. But, indeed, there is no need of a laboured refutation.
The sim- plest and the most convincing exposure of their un- satisfactoriness is that which each one may derive for a 2 Tim. The difficulty, however, is to pre- vail upon those who have already determined with themselves on antecedent grounds to reject the Chris- tian miracles, to read the narratives of those miracles with any measure of candour.
Being facts, it is idle to speak of an allegorical or a " spiritualized" sense, such as shall exclude the literal.
And they are facts which it is impossible to account for by a reference to causes ordinarily in operation.
They must be acknow- ledged to be beyond the power of man, and above nature : they must be accepted as Miracles. But it may still be a question, How far are mira- cles to be accepted as evidence for a divine reve- lation, — or, to confine the matter within narrower bounds, as evidence for Christianity?
For to what purpose is it to discuss the value of the evidence afforded by miracles, if we are already persuaded that no such thing as a miracle was ever wrought? As it is, indeed, he does not so much discuss the question, as though it were one which admitted of debate, as ring a variety of changes upon the principle, which he conceives he has already made good, of " the universal order and constancy of natural CRITERIA OF DIVINE MIRACLES. But that principle, as we have seen, has not been established. And we may therefore proceed to dis- cuss writing paper services the question of the evidential force of miracles upon its own merits.
By many, indeed, such an inquiry would be thought superfluous, inasmuch as a miracle having once been granted to be real, there would seem no room for further question. The appeal to miracles, however, is one which has been repeatedly made by rival sects in support of their respective claims : and though pro- bably enough without any foundation of truth to rest upon in the vast majority of cases, yet Scripture, as it distinctly recognises the existence of superhuman beings, evil as well as good, so it not less distinctly warns us that miracles, even real miracles it should seem, may be wrought by the agency of such beings, God so permitting, where the workers are evil, whe- ther for the trial of His servants, or, judicially, for the punishment of those who wilfully blind themselves against the truth c. Let us see to what extent the same Scripture affords us a test whereby we help with writing a thesis may try the miracles whether they are of God.. That He did many miracles they could not and they did not attempt to deny.
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 writing paper services 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 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 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 writing paper services be, that such a one would have the advantage of a truer and higher moral standard to judge by, — the standard, namely, which writing paper services 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.