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face to face with an ancient faith, that of the writer himself, given. It an ancient public and popular does not follow that the accounts opinion. We observe its general are erroneous. But it does follow consistent harmony-but it is quite that evidence such as is demanded another thing to assume its his- to establish a fact of the most toric exactitude. We can only ordinary occurrence, is altogether say, So they believed.
wanting with regard to any of Nor does the case alter when these events. Unknown historians we come down to the later historic relate them, relatethem in imperfect period. We are aware that the accordance with each other, and accounts of the miracles given in relate them without telling their the New Testament are in full reader of their sources of informaharmony with the popular belief tion. We may have our own at the time, and under the cir- opinions as to who these writers cumstances, of their composition. were; but the fact is undeniable For the more striking and import- that they have not thought fit to ant of these miracles precedents authenticate the works by the were to be found in the Hebrew declaration of their own names. Scriptures. The healing of the Of only one writer of early lepers, the revival of the dead-as Christian times we have numerous they were held to be until restored and undoubted writings. That to their friends—the ascension of he was, like his fellow students of the human body from the earth, the law, a firm believer in miracle, the multiplication of food, the there is no doubt whatever. But counteraction of the destructive he has not supplied that direct energies of Nature, are all to be evidence which we seek. From the found in the Old Testament. The expressions which he uses he apparticular form of relief described pears to have held himself seduas the healing of demoniacs is not lously aloof from the twelve chosen therein to be found. But the witnesses of the life of Christ. Jews were familiar with that be- The reasons which induced him to lief from the time of their return change his views as to Christianity from Babylon. And its presence appear to have been purely subamong the Egyptians nearly, orjective. It is to the change wrought quite as far back as the date of the in his own inner conviction that Exodus is proved by hieroglyphic he always refers ; not to the records. So naturally was any pro- effect produced on him by exphetic mission held to be accom- ternal testimony. On the single panied and attested by miracles, occasion on which he alludes to that the first Evangelist leans more
those who had seen Jesus after the on the argument of the fulfilment Resurrection, in an account which of certain prophetic passages of has not hitherto been reconciled the Scriptures or rather of the with either of the other four conTargums, than upon the miracles tained in the New Testament, he which he relates.
speaks of an appearance to himself At the same time, when we seek last of all, as if it were one of the for direct evidence of a single same nature with the others. miraculous occurrence,
Whether he here refers to the nothing beyond an anonymous be- occurrence on the road to Damaslief. In only three or four instances cus, or to the vision in the Temple is the subject of a miracle named mentioned in the Acts of the or identified. In none is the name Apostles, is not clear. In either of the informant of the writer, or case he appears to place a sub
jective, on the same footing with an personal testimony of eye witnesses objective, appearance. Both are to each of the thirty-five miracles conceivable; and either might be mentioned by the Evangelists, the quite convincing to the witness. authority of the Law on the subject But the testimony of the Evan- would remain unaltered. Of the gelists is supposed to refer, not permanence and authority of that to visions, but to the distinct Law, down to the very power of the sight and touch, by the Apostles crowns or horns of certain letters in and the women,
or some of the synagogue copies of the Roll, them, of the actual human it is impossible to speak with more form that had been crucified and respect than in the words of Jesus buried. When these pieces of himself. No miracle, however direct evidence (if we only had attested, was to save from lapidathem from the witnesses them- tion any prophet who disowned selves) are put by a controversial that Law. No prophet ever spoke writer of that day on the same of its permanence in more precise level as a trance, vision, or dream terms than did Jesus himself. It of his own, we cannot but feel that is therefore clear that if we had he much damages the claim of that full body of testimony which the other writers to be speaking would be demanded by those to from positive evidence, at least whom miracles appeared something among any but Semitic people. apart from the ordinary course The Jewish indifference to what of events, rather than a natural we consider essentials cannot be attribute of the prophetic function, more strikingly displayed than it we should be still unable to adis in this argument of the Epistle. vance a single step beyond the
Again, then, we are brought inflexible limits laid down in the face to face with the fact that Pentateuch. while great and wonderful miracles
VIII. were believed by many of the contemporaries of Jesus Christ to have It is a conceivable, and to the attended his ministry, in full ac- mind of the writer it is the most cordance with the uational faith in probable, theory, that in the earlier such events, no single writer, dis- centuries of human history the comciple, or witness has been found munication between the visible and to give such positive evidence of any the invisible worlds was more free, fact as we find given, for example, certain, and palpable than in later by Herodotus of matters which
times. The universal consensus cameunder his personal cognisance.
of ancient history, sacred and proThis fact does not disprove the fane, is to that effect. The only occurrence of the miracles. It argument that is urged in opposidoes not, properly regarded, even
tion is that some learned menthrow doubt on their probability. principally of the surgical craftBut it does draw the exact line do not think it probable. On one between the probable, or the side we have the testimony of all generally believed, and the proven,
ancient history—that, be it obor between public rumour and served, of hieroglyphics and cuneilegal evidence.
form tablets, as well as of papyri Nor is this truth, which it is im- and parchments. On the other possible to question, to be regarded hand, we have the opinion-it as in any way hostile to a true may be disrespectful to say of acceptance of the teaching of Jesus modern sciolists; but the mere Christ. If we had direct, signedfact of speaking dogmatically in
contempt of all the evidence which in a Divine guidance of human exists, be it more or less worthy affairs. On the other hand, the of credence, can hardly deserve ignorant of every country, age, or any name but that of sciolism. creed, have substituted for a belief Nor would these opponents of the in the lofty guidance of miracles, ancient creed have had the stand the superstitious fear of magic. ing room accorded to them which The substance has always its they now hold, but for the distinc- shadow: the true doctrine has ever tion made by theologians, in equal its superstitious echo. contempt of the true sources of central idea of the miraculous is authoritative information, between lost in the vulgar notion of a the relations of the two worlds miracle—the vulgar notion, not. within and without the narrow only of the devotee but of the limits of Palestine, or of the Jewish materialist. A man in a certain nation. But when we find that, stage of ignorance would accept at the earliest period to which we from his priest, with equal assurcan trace sacred law, or written ance, the information that a circle history, it was clearly laid down can be miraculously made so that as a principle that the miraculous the circumference shall be exactly must be subservient to the right; three times its diameter, or that an that there is a truth and a justice eclipse of the moon was foretold to which no sign or wonder could happen at a given time. The wellwarrant any man in questioning educated man knows that the first or in perverting, and that whatever statement is not that of a miracle, counsel or message man, in his but of an absurdity-a conutmost need, might seek or might tradiction in terms. As to obtain from powers
the latter, , he knows that human conduct must always be such fore-knowledge can only be ultimately judged by a law written communicated by an intelligence on human conscience, it is clear superior to that of the peasant in that we must acknowledge the question, whether that intelligence existence of a Divine truth, and of be human or otherwise. He will a Divine word in the heart of
man, exhaust the possibilities of the first compared to the vital energy of supposition, before he accepts the which it may well be said that second. But he can offer no sound signs are not for those who believe, reason why the latter mode of enbut for those who believe not. lightenment should not occur. It
is rather in the wonderful economy IX
of the Divine government; its In conclusion, the doctrine of avoidance of waste of power, as attestation of Divine communica- well as of waste of material; its tion, by prediction or by marvel, is habitual accomplishment of the an essential feature of all ancient grandest ends by the simplest forms of religion. If Christianity means, than in the idea of difficlaims to have inherited it from culty as to mode of communiJudaism, she should the more care- cation, that the religious man will fully remember the wise limits im- find the most reason to hesitate posed by the Jewish legislator on as to the truth of any reasonably the acceptance of such testimony. asserted miracle. It is in the asThe possibility of the miraculous sertion that events contrary to can only be doubted by those who known principles of physical nature disbelieve in immaterial existence, are accomplished by the Law-giver in the immortality of the soul, and of nature on trivial occasions, or
for grotesque objects, that the Scepticism. The growth, and the really irreligious treatment of the education, of all the qualities of subject consists. Peasants in the human mind, from age to age, Syria, in Italy, in Ireland, and correspond very closely to those of doubtless in many other parts of the mind of the individual in the world, have a profound dread rising from infancy to manhood. of the magical, or as they call it, The child receives all information the miraculous, power of the priest. as truth. Experience disenchants The belief in weir-wolves is yet him, and enforces inquiry and prevalent in Italy. The Irish research. The man who accepts peasant is said to believe or very all positive statements with the recently to have believed—in the simplicity of a child is no other power of the priest to turn a man than a fool. There is nothing into a hare. The belief in unphilosophical or irreligious in the curative or magical effect the idea that a larger amount of of certain rites performed by the direct teaching, from an invisible priest is not confined to the pea- source, may have been easy and. santry of the countries cited. A good for men in the infancy of the certain flavour of that doctrine is human race, and that as time ran found to pervade religious dogma on, the sterner education of the to a remarkable extent. The boyhood of humanity lost the devout feeling is not wounded by ancient whisper of unseen guides.. this dangerous tendency. On the In life, as we see it to exist now, contrary, that feeling, when car- and in life as we conceive it to ried to excess, and becoming de- exist hereafter, knowledge is convoteeism, nourishes and cherishes tinually taking the place of faith.
But nothing can be What we believed yesterday, we more hostile to a vigorous and know to-day. That which is tointelligent religion. Nothing is day obscure may to-morrow beof more evil omen than the spread come clear. Knowledge, to the of a feeling of that nature among healthy mind, is ever growing. As certain circles even in this country. it extends, it covers
more and To the grotesque caricature of more of the horizon of speculation. faith which is presented by devout Could knowledge become perfect, Superstition, is due the no less faith would be no more. It would grotesque negativism which steals be turned to sight. Love alone is the more respectable name of imperishable and immortal.
F. R. CONDER..
IN THIS WORLD :
By MABEL COLLINS, Author of "An Innocent Sinner," &c.
her with a real old-fashioned doc
tor, who regards her as an extraNEW SCHOOLS AND OLD.
ordinary new sort of animal when “My dear Miss Armine, I assure she shews medical knowledgeyou we shall have the greatest fun which, in consequence, she can't in the world this afternoon. Dr. often be got to do. Well, Coventry Ernestine Vavasour is coming to and I have had great amusement see me—you know Miss Vavasour, lately because several times she do you not ?"
has met, at our little gatherings Yes,” said Miss Armine, “I here, Dr. Doldy—you know his have seen her. She is tall, fair, name, of course." very handsome, with beautiful
· Yes, indeed," said Miss Ardeep dark eyes."
mine, “everybody knows his “You always remember people name. He made his reputation by their pictorial effects, you odd ten years ago, I have heard, out
of the Duchess of Dolldrum's “ That's because my work lies kneecap. He's one of the doctors in what you call 'pictorial effects,' of fashion, is he not ?" I suppose, Mrs. Silburn.
“Just so, my dear, if not the do you
remember them by, I won- most fashionable of all. Well, his der ?-as a writer, I imagine you presence acts like a refrigerator on must have some special, if different Miss Dr. Vavasour. She has such method ?"
a horror of being sneered at that “I never forget people's little she becomes the mere lady of -odd ways and pet weaknesses," fashion the moment she sees him; said Mrs. Silburn, smiling. “Now and the best of it all is that I beMiss Vavasour has only lately lieve our orthodox medico has taken her M.D. And you know fallen head over ears in love with she is one of the proudest women her." that ever existed. If I were in
“My dear Mrs. Silburn! Isn't her place I should chatter to every he too old for her?" one about my new dignity. But “Not at all, he is at what I she wishes our sex to be viewed as sider the prime of life, and he entirely equal, if not superior to the really is a charming man. I shan't other; so that of course becoming tell him she's just got her M.D., I an M.D. is nothing at all to boast shall not spoil sport, if I can only .of. Consequently she never can be keep Coventry quiet, for I think got to speak about it in society; it would be a capital thing for her and the best fun of all is to see
to marry him. They are both of