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to new powers which have come into, and are working in, this world of ours. . These three terms, of which we have hitherto sought to unfold the meaning, occur thrice together, (Acts ii. 22; 2 Cor. xii.12; 2 Thess. ii. 9,) although each time in a different order. They are all, as has already been noted in the case of two of them, rather descriptive of different sides of the same works, than themselves different classes of works. An example of one of our Lord's miracles may show how it may at once be all these. The healing of the paralytic, for example, (Mark ii, 1–12,) was a wonder, for they who beheld it “were all amazed ;” it was a power, for the man at Christ's word “arose, took up his bed, and went out before them all;" it was a sign, for it gave token that one greater than men deemed was among them; it stood in connexion with a higher fact of which it was the sign and seal, (cf. 1 Kin. xiii. 3 ; 2 Kin. i. 10;) being wrought that they might “know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins *.”
4. A further term by which St. John very frequently names the miracles is eminently significant. They are very often with him simply " works t,” (v. 36; vii. 21; x, 25, 32, 38; xiv. 11, 12; xv. 24 ; see also Matt. xi. 2.) The wonderful is in his eyes only the natural form of working for him who is dwelt in by all the fulness of God; he must, out of the necessity of his higher being, bring forth these works greater than man's. They are the periphery of that circle whereof he is the centre. The great miracle is the Incarnation; all else, so to speak, follows naturally and of course.
• Pelt's definition (Comm. in Thess., p. 179,) is brief and good : Parum differunt tria ista ouváners, onpeia, tépata. Aúvauis numero singulari tamen est vis miraculorum edendorum; onueia quatenus comprobandæ inserviunt doctrinæ sive missioni divinæ : tépara portenta sunt, quæ admirationem et stuporem excitant.
The miracles of the Old Testament are called fpya, Heb. i. 9; Ps. xciv. 9, LXX.
It is no wonder that he whose name is “Wonderful” (Isai. ix. 6,) does works of wonder ; the only wonder would be if he did them not*. The sun in the heavens is itself a wonder, but not that, being what it is, it rays forth its effluences of light and heat. These miracles are the fruit after its kind, which the divine tree brings forth; and may, with a deep truth, be styled “works” of Christ, with no further addition or explanation 1.
* Augustine (In Ev. Joh., Tract. 17): Mirum non esse debet à Deo factum miraculum. ... Magis gaudere et admirari debemus quia Dominus noster et Salvator Jesus Christus homo factus est, quàm quod divina inter homines Deus fecit.
+ I am aware that this interpretation of čpya, as used by St. John, has sometimes been called in question, and that by this word has been understood the sum total of his acts and his teachings, his words and his works, as they came under the eyes of men; not indeed excluding the miracles, but including also very much besides; yet I cannot doubt that our Lord, using this word, means his miracles, and only them. The one passage brought with any apparent force against this meaning, (John xvii. 4,) does not really belong to the question. For that čpyov in the singular may, and here does, signify his whole work and task, is beyond all doubt; but that in the plural the word means his miracles, the following passages, v. 36; X. 25, 32, 38; xiv. 11, to which others might be added, seem to me decisively to prove.
# With regard to the verbs connected with these nouns, we may observe in the three first Evangelists, onueia didóvai, (Matt. xii. 39; xxiv. 24; Mark viü. 12,) and still more frequently ouváners holeîv. (Matt. vii, 22; xiii. 58 ; Mark ix. 39, &c.) Neither of these phrases occurs in St. John, but onueia TOLEîv continually, i. 11; Üï. 2; iv. 54; &c.,) which is altogether wanting in the earlier Evangelists; occurring, however, in the Acts, (vii. 36; xv. 22,) and in Revelations (xiii. 13 ; xix. 20). Once St. John has onucia deikvÚELV (ii. 18.)
WHEREIN, it may be asked, does the miracle differ from any step in the ordinary course of nature? For that too is wonderful; the fact that it is a marvel of continual recurrence may rob it, subjectively, of our admiration ; we may be content to look at it with a dull incurious eye, and to think we find in its constant repetition the explanation of its law, even as we often find in this a reason for excusing ourselves altogether from wonder and reverent admiration*; yet it does not remain the less a marvel still. ..
To this question it has been replied by some, that since all is thus marvellous, since the grass growing, the seed springing, the sun rising, are as much the result of powers which we cannot trace or measure, as the water made wine, or the sick healed, or the blind restored to vision, there is therefore no such thing as a miracle eminently so called. We have no right, they say, in the mighty and complex miracle of nature which encircles us on every side, to separate off in this arbitrary manner some certain facts, and to say that this and that are wonders, and all the rest ordinary processes of nature ; but that rather we must confine ourselves to one language or the other, and entitle all or nothing miracle.
But this, however at first sight it may seem very deep and true, is indeed most shallow and fallacious. There is quite enough in itself and in its purposes to distinguish that which we name by this name from all with which it is thus attempted to be confounded, and in which to be lost. The distinction indeed which is sometimes made, that in the
* See Augustine, De Gen. ad Lit., 1. 12, c. 18; and Gregory the Great (Hom. 26 in Evang.): Quotidiana Dei miracula ex assiduitate viluerunt.
miracle God is immediately working, and in other events is leaving it to the laws which he has established, to work, cannot at all be admitted : for it has its root in a dead mechanical view of the universe which lies altogether remote from the truth. The clock-maker makes his clock and leaves it; the ship-builder builds and launches his ship, and others navigate it; but the world is no curious piece of mechanism which its Maker makes and then dismisses from his hands, only from time to time reviewing and repairing it; but as our Lord says, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work;” (John v. 17 ;) he upholdeth all things by the word of his power*." (Heb. i. 3.) And to speak of “ laws of God,” “laws of nature,” may become to us a language altogether deceptive, and hiding the deeper reality from our eyes. Laws of God exist only for us. It is a will of God for himself. That will indeed, being the will of highest wisdom and love, excludes all wilfulness-is a will upon which we can securely count; from the past expressions of it we can presume its future, and so we rightfully call it a law. But still from moment to moment it is a will; each law, as we term it, of nature is only that which we have learned concerning this will in that particular region of its activity. To say then that there is more of the will of God in a miracle than in any other work of his, is insufficient. Such an affirmation grows out of that lifeless scheme of the world, of which we should ever be seeking
* Augustine: Sunt qui arbitrantur tantummodò mundum ipsum factum à Deo; cetera jam fieri ab ipso mundo, sicut ille ordinavit et jussit, Deum autem ipsum nihil operari. Contra quos profertur illa sententia Domini, Pater meus usque adhuc operatur, et ego operor....Neque enim, sicut à structurâ ædium, cùm fabricaverit quis, abscedit; atque illo cessante et absente stat opus ejus ; ita mundus vel ictu oculi stare poterit, si ei Deus regimen suum subtraxerit. So Melancthon (In loc. de Creatione): Infirmitas humana etiamsi cogitat Deum esse conditorem, tamen postea imaginatur, ut faber discedit à navi exstructâ et relinquit eam nautis ; ita Deum discedere à suo opere, et relinqui creaturas tantùm propriæ gubernationi; hæc imaginatio magnam caliginem offundit animis et parit. dubitationes.
to rid ourselves, but which such a theory will only help to confirm and to uphold.
For while we deny the conclusion, that since all is wonder, therefore the miracle commonly so called is in no other way than the ordinary processes of nature, the manifestation of the presence and power of God, we must not with this deny the truth which lies in this statement. All is wonder ; to make a man is at least as great a marvel as to raise a man from the dead. The seed that multiplies in the furrow is as marvellous as the bread that multiplied in Christ's hands. The miracle is not a greater manifestation of God's power than those ordinary and ever-repeated processes ; but it is a different* manifestation. By those other God is speaking at all times and to all the world; they are a vast revelation of him. “The invisible things of him are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.” (Rom. i. 20.) Yet from the very circumstance that nature is thus speaking unto all, that this speaking is diffused over all time, addressed unto all men, from the very vastness and universality of this language, it may miss its aim. It cannot be said to stand in nearer relation to one man than to another, to confirm one man's word more than that of others, to address one man's conscience more than that of every other man. However it may sometimes have, it must often lack, a peculiar and personal significance. But in the miracle wrought in the sight of some certain men, and claiming their special attention, there is a speaking to them in particular. There is then a voice in nature which addresses itself directly to them, a singling of them out from the crowd. It is plain that God has now
* Augustine (Serm. 242, c. 1): In homine carnali tota regula intelligendi est consuetudo cernendi. Quod solent videre credunt: quod non solent, non credunt. .... Majora quidem miracula sunt, tot quotidie homines nasci qui non erant, quàm paucos resurrexisse qui erant: et tamen ista miracula non consideratione comprehensa sunt; sed assiduitate viluerunt.