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sealing, as it were, the extraordinary dispensation by a solemn admonition to "remember the law of Moses, which God commanded him in Horeb, with the statutes and judgments," and promising no farther inspired guidance until the coming of the mystical Elias. When the publication of the Gospel renders new credentials necessary, miracles reappear, as the signs of Jesus' Messiahship, and the Church requiring new prophets, they are appointed and endued with the proper evidences of the prophetic character. The presence of the Holy Spirit is attested to the Church and to the world, by extraordinary operations, distinctly foretold and promised, as in the former case. As in the former case also, inspired chroniclers are provided to record the promise and its fulfilment; a written canon is compiled, rendering the lessons and evidences, sensibly afforded in one age, of permanent sufficiency for all others, and a machinery constructed for the diffusion and conservation of the documents which it contains. Such, apparently, are the general marks which indicate the law of miracles, as far as it can be collected from the great body of wellattested phenomena. If, in so great a number, there are some which, from insufficient light, appear at present, anomalous; it is not from these instantiæ solitaria and deviantes that the law is to be collected, but from the conformable characters of numerous clear and repeated experiments. What can possibly be more repugnant to analogy than to suppose a system, in which the exception becomes the general rule, and the general rule the exception? Yet such is the conclusion we must arrive at, if we admit the ecclesiastical miracles.

On the contrary, it is evident that if fraud or fanaticism, or a combination of both, were to set about forging for themselves a continuation of the Scripture miracles, these strange and imperfectly understood instances are precisely those which they would naturally seize upon as precedents; both as being more easily counterfeited, and (from their romantic wildness) most fitted to strike and inflame the imagination. This is an additional and independent ground for suspecting the legendary prodigies.

But it is said (apparently for want of anything else to say) that, at any rate, the Church miracles do not differ more from the Scripture miracles than do the Scripture miracles themselves from the course of nature. Admit this, and what then? Is it not plain that, as the variance in the one case creates a presumption against them, which can only be overcome by the strongest evidence, the variance in the other must act in the same way? But the absurdity of the allegation lies in this: that the very nature and end of miracles requires that they should be wholly different from the

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course of nature. This is involved in the very notion of them. Whereas there is nothing of the kind which requires that new miracles should differ from all former ones.

Mr. Newman (as might be expected) has shewn a sort of similar dexterity in collecting and representing, in the most startling form, the circumstances which are usually felt as more or less difficult in the Scripture narratives of miracles. This is not the first time that he has exhibited his zeal in "doing the proper work" of the infidel; and one cannot but remark in this reckless determination to risk the very authority of God's revelation for the sake of obtruding upon men's faith what is superfluous and unnecessary to be believed-in this bold determination to maintain his system at all hazards, and this utter carelessness of scandal to the weak in a confessedly sceptical generation-another evidence of congeniality with the temper of the Romish controversials. In this spirit, some miracles of Elisha-the exploits of Samson, and the memorable case of the handkerchiefs and aprons brought from Paul's body, are appealed to as parallel to certain legends which were current in the Post-Nicene church. The miracles of Elisha were the credentials of his prophetic character, the proper evidence to himself and others of his commission, as Jehovah's nuncio, to reform a disordered commonwealth. This was their grand general design; and (while they answered this design) it was of little matter upon what slight immediate occasions they were wrought. One would expect beforehand that where a miracle was necessary for such purposes, it would be wrought upon the first occasion that presented itself. In the legends, on the contrary, the trivial immediate purpose is the only end apparent. Whatever is strange in the exploits of Samson seems to result from this, that the peculiar gift bestowed upon him-preternatural bodily strength-was not occasional and transitory (like the power of working miracles) but habitual; and, therefore, equally liable to abuse with natural endowments. The restoration of the corpse to life upon touching Elisha's bones, is a solitary instance; yet we can plainly see the fitness of, by such an awful testimony, reviving the memory of that great prophet's instruction and example, at a time and juncture when it was of great importance that they should not be forgotten. Besides, there is a sublimity that must strike every one in a miracle which attests the sanctity of death, in a dispensation where many things conspired to make it dreadful, and which shewed that, though the chariots and horses of fire which bore his master from the earth were not vouchsafed to the disciple, the God of the living was as truly the God of the buried Elisha as he was of the translated Elijah. The cures wrought by the handkerchiefs brought

from Paul's body, constitute another solitary instance; yet here too, though the mode was unusual (and specially marked as such by the Evangelist,) yet the end was precisely the same as of those wrought in the more customary manner. These cures bear no analogy to the portentous wonders of the reliquary legends.

From the discussion of objections derived from their internal characters, Mr. Newman proceeds to a statement of the general evidence in favour of the ecclesiastical miracles. He commences by formally assuming that the "incredulity" which regards miracles, as carrying with them any strong antecedent improbability, is "sin" and, if this modest postulation be granted, he undertakes to shew us sufficient testimony to satisfy a pious mind already predisposed to its reception. In good time. But first we must be satisfied of the reasonableness of his preliminary demand. Upon what does this stand? Why, upon the sole plea-very eloquently expressed, no doubt, and rhetorically amplified, but still in substance no more than this-that he who admits the supernatural character of the Christian Church, and the presence of God therein as in a temple, must admit the presence of a Power adequate to the production of any wonders, or any multitude of wonders.

Now we trust we admit all this as heartily as Mr. Newman, though perhaps we could not express it so well; and yet we feel utterly at a loss to discover the connection of it with his postulate. How often must it be repeated, that the presumption against miracles arises not at all from any atheistic supposition of the absence of a Power adequate to their production, from the universe; but from the measure of estimating the probable course of the Divine Will, which the Deity has himself put into our hands, and necessitated us to act upon? External phenomena are alleither mediately or immediately-the acts of Divine Power. The ordinary measure which God has given for calculating antecedently how He will act in this way (i. e. what course external phenomena will observe,) is, common experience of how He has acted. This measure we all of us do, and must rely upon, every hour and moment of our lives; and it is manifest that where we can see no reason why this measure should not be a good one in any particular case, we may call our desertion of it, faith, but it is in reality the grossest and most culpable credulity. Now what is there in the notion of such a supernatural system as the Christian dispensation to lead us to expect a continual interference with the external phenomena of nature? Not the necessity of proving its divine origin and reality; for that end might be, and has been, accomplished by miracles wrought once for all, and then suffi

ciently attested. Nor yet that such continual interferences are necessarily implied in the notion of such a system for they manifestly are not, unless the very point in question is assumed. The providential ministry of angels, we know, is carried on without deranging the external phenomena: nay, we have reason to believe that the regular order of the course of things may itself be the result of the ministry of angels; so that such an order may be the very law of their agency. Nor does the influence of the Holy Spirit upon our minds interfere with any one known law of the intellectual economy. The system of grace is, indeed, supernatural; it displays to us much that is beyond nature; but it is in no sense, and in no case, preternatural. It disturbs in no way the regular sequences which experience teaches us to anticipate.

But Mr. Newman, by a far more legitimate kind of argument, endeavours to support his cause upon the basis of a promise recorded in scripture. The passage which he relies upon is the celebrated one, Mark xvi. 17; and the man who, at p. xc., formally brings this forward as a promise of that power of working miracles which was exercised by the church in the post-Nicene ages, has himself, at p. xl, quoted with approbation the following exposition of it, from Gregory the Great:-"[And these signs shall follow those that believe.] Is it so, my brethren, that because ye do not these signs, ye do not believe? On the contrary, they were necessary in the beginning of the church; for, that faith might grow, it required miracles to cherish it withal: . . . This is what Paul teaches, Tongues are a sign, not for those who believe, but for those who believe not.'" Can anything show more clearly that, in Gregory's opinion, the miracles of his own age-if, indeed, he seriously believed in them at all-belonged to a totally different dispensation, from those contemplated in the text? We ought surely be pardoned by the patrons of tradition, if we prefer, in this case, the voice of the fathers to the judgment of a modern doctor. Mr. Newman is very angry with the notion of a standing power of miracles, transmitted by imposition of the Apostles' hands :


"What ecclesiastical history rather inculcates is the doctrine of an abiding presence of divinity such as dwelt upon the ark, showing itself as it would, and when it would, and without fixed rules; which was seated primarily in the body of Christians, and manifested itself sometimes in persons, sometimes in places, as the case might be; in saintly men, or in ‘babes and sucklings,' or in the very stones of the temple; which, for a while, was latent, and then became manifest again, which to some persons, places, or generations was an evidence, and to others not. The ideas of regular succession,' conscious 'exercise' of power, objects deliberately contemplated, discretionary use of a gift, are quite foreign to a theory of miraculous agency of this kind.”—(p. xcv.)

No doubt they are. But that is not the question. The real question now is, Are they also foreign to the theory of the gospel

miracles? Every reader of the New Testament knows that they are not, and it was for this very reason-because they saw that such miracles, whether true or false, were of a totally different kind from the gospel miracles-that the consistent defenders of Christianity have always denied that they formed any part of that miraculous dispensation, which is guaranteed by the Saviour's promise. The general antecedent presumption, therefore, stands in all its force against the ecclesiastical miracles. They are very suspicious facts; they must be closely examined before they can be admitted. Let us look at them more narrowly.

In the first place, it cannot be denied that fraud, credulity, and fanaticism have in every age and country produced a numerous spawn of spurious prodigies; insomuch that miracles, under certain circumstances, are so notoriously the offspring of such causes, that when we see the effects we naturally guess their parentage. Nor is there any reason for denying the presence of such causes within the Christian church, as well as without it. Experience testifies to the contrary: and we know that some of the most accomplished doctors of the ages in question have deliberately defended the practice of imposing upon the vulgar for the sake of religion. Men possessed with such principles-or, to pitch it lower, men setting out with Mr. Newman's own maxim, that to doubt, in such cases, is a sin, and to believe, a virtue-would not be very likely to examine with any inconvenient degree of caution into the miraculous stories which they helped to circulate. We must add that the alleged miracles were generally such as subserved the interests of the clergy, and tended to increase the importance and revenues of the shrines at which they were worked; circumstances under which, experience tells us, large crops of false miracles are most frequently produced.

We must consider also that, for the most part, they were wrought with power and public opinion on their side; in a state of things where imposture was easy, examination difficult, and contradiction dangerous. As to their moral character, we must reflect that they were generally wrought to attest the sanctity of martyrs, or the importance of minute ritual observances, at a time when there was least apparent necessity for any such attestation; at a time when we Protestants at least are convinced that the reverence for the martyrs was excessive, and the vulgar zeal for ceremonies inordinately great: that upon such miracles was built a practically idolatrous worship of those glorified persons, by whose intercession they were believed to have been wrought; and that their direct tendency was to introduce and sanction such a worship. Mr. Newman, indeed, chooses to flinch from the con

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