Obrazy na stronie

and, however it may not be itself an appeal to the spiritual in man, yet to act as a summons to him that he now open his eyes to the spiritual appeal which is about to be addrest to him (Acts xiv. 8–18).

2. But the miracle is not a wonder' only; it is also a sign,'' a token and indication of the near presence and working of God. In this word the ethical purpose of the miracle comes out the most prominently, as in 'wonder' the least. They are signs and pledges of something more than and beyond themselves (Isai. vii. 11; xxxviii. 7);? valuable, not


Enuesov. We notice here that defect, too common in our English Version, that it does not seek, so far as possible, to render one word of the original always by one and the same word in English, but varies its renderings with no necessity compelling. Enuciov might very well have been rendered 'sign' throughout; but in the Gospel of St. John, where it is of continual recurrence, far oftener than not, 'sign’gives place to the vaguer ‘miracle,' and this sometimes with manifest injury to the sense ; thus see iii. 2 ; vii. 31; X. 41; and especially vi. 26. Our Version makes Christ say to the multitude, who, after He had once fed them, gathered round Him again, 'Ye seek Me, not because ye saw the miracles,' &c. It should have been, 'Ye seek Me, not because ye saw signs' (onucia without the article), 'not because ye recognized in those works of mine tokens and intimations of a higher presence, such as led you to conceive great thoughts of Me: no such glimpses of my higher nature bring you here; but

you come that you may again be filled.' The coming merely because they had seen miracles, works that had made them marvel, and hoped to see such again, would as little have satisfied the Lord as a coming only for the supply of their lowest earthly wants (Matt. xii. 39; xvi. 1-4).

* Basil (in loc.): "Eorl onuenov apãyua pavepov, kerpvupévov tuvos vai αφανούς εν εαυτώ την δήλωσιν έχον: and presently after, η μέντοι Γραφή τα παράδοξα, και παραστατικά τινος μυστικού λόγου σημεία καλεί. And Lampe well (Comm. in Joh. vol. i. p. 513): Designat sane onuciov naturâ suân rem non tantum extraordinariam, sensusque percellentem, sed etiam talem, quæ in rei alterius, absentis licet et futuræ, significationem atque adumbrationem adhibetur, unde et prognostica (Matt. xvi. 3) et typi (Matt. xii. 39 ; Luc. xi. 29), nec non sacramenta, quale est illud circumcisionis (Rom. iv. 11), eodem nomine in Novo Testamento exprimi solent. Aptissime ergo hæc vox de miraculis usurpatur, ut indicet, quod non tantum admirabili modo fuerint perpetrata, sed etiam sapientissimo consilio Dei ita directa atque ordinata, ut fuerint simul characteres Messiæ, ex quibus cognoscendus erat, sigilla doctrinæ quam proferebat, et beneficiorum gratiæ per Messiam jam præstandæ, nec non typi viarum Dei, earumque circumstantiarum per quas talia beneficia erant applicanda.

so much for what they are, as for what they indicate of the grace and power of the doer, or of the connexion in which he stands with a higher world. Oftentimes they are thus seals of power set to the person who accomplishes them (“the Lord confirming the word by signs following,' Mark xvi. 20; Acts xiv. 3 ; Heb. ii. 4); legitimating acts, by which he claims to be attended to as a messenger from God.'

What sign showest thou' (John ii. 18)? was the question which the Jews asked, when they wanted the Lord to justify the things which He was doing, by showing that He had especial authority to do them. Again they say, "We would see a sign from Thee' (Matt. xii. 38); 'Show us a sign from heaven' (Matt. xvi. I). St. Paul speaks of himself as having the signs of an apostle (2 Cor. xii. 12), in other words, the tokens which designate him as such. Thus, too, in the Old Testament, when God sends Moses to deliver Israel He furnishes him with two signs.' He warns him that Pharaoh will require him to legitimate his mission, to produce his credentials that he is indeed God's ambassador, and equips him with the powers which shall justify him as such, which, in other words, shall be his signs' (Exod. vii. 9, 10). He gave a signto the prophet, whom He sent to protest against the will-worship of Jeroboam (1 Kin. xiii. 3).”

1 The Latin monstrum, whether we derive it with Cicero (De Divin. i. 42) from monstro, or with Festus from moneo (monstrum, velut monestrum, quod monet futurum), though commonly used as = répaç (Nec dubiis ea signa dedit Tritonia monstris, Æn. ii

. 171), is in truth by either etymology more nearly related to onuziov. Thus Augustine, who follows Cicero's derivation (De Civ. Dei, xxi. 8): Monstra sane dicta perhibent a monstrando, quod aliquid significando demonstrant, et ostenta ab ostendendo, et portenta a portendendo, id est præostendendo, et prodigia quod porro dicant, id est futura prædicant. And In Ev. Joh. tract. xvi. : Prodigium appellatum est quasi porrodicium, quod porro dicat, porro significet, et aliquid futurum esse portendat. See Pauly, RealEncyclopädie, vol. ii. p. 1139.

2 Occasionally onuriov loses its special and higher signification, and is used simply as = rivac. Ilerod hoped to have seen some ‘sign' (ompeiov) wrought by Christ (Luke xxii. 8), but few things he would have desired less than a sign or indication of a present God; what he wanted

At the same time it may be convenient here to observe that the sign’ is not of necessity a miracle, although only as such it has a place in our discussion. Many a common matter may be a 'sign or seal set to the truth of some word, the announcement of which goes along with it; so that when that 'sign 'comes true, it may be accepted as a pledge that the greater matter, which was, as it were, bound up with it, shall also come true in its time. Thus the Angels give to the shepherds for 'a sign' their finding of the Child wrapt in swaddling clothes in a manger (Luke ii. 12. cf. Exod. iii. 12). Samuel gives to Saul three signs' that God has indeed appointed him king over Israel, and only the last of these is linked with aught supernatural (1 Sam. X. 1-9). The prophet gave Eli the death of his two sons as a 'sign' that his threatening word should come true (1 Sam. ii. 34. cf. Jer. xliv. 29, 38). God gave to Gideon a 'sign' in the camp of the Midianites of the victory which he should win (Judg. vii. 9-15), though the word does not happen to occur


was some glaring feat to set him agape—a répas,—or, more properly yet, a Bañua, in the lowest sense of the word.

1 Cf. Virgil, Æn. viii. 42-45, 81-83.

* The words tépaç and onucior stand linked together, not merely in the New Testament (Acts ii. 22 ; iv. 30; 2 Cor. xii. 12; John iv. 48), but frequently in the Old (Exod. vii. 3, 9; xi. 9; Deut. iv. 34; vi. 22, and often ; Neh. ix. 10; Isai. viii. 18 ; XX. 3 ; Dan. iv. vi.

27 ;

Ps. lxxxvii. 43 ; civ. 27; cxxxiv. 9, LXX); and no less in profane Greek (Polybius, iii. 112, 8; Ælian, V. H. xii. 57; Josephus, Antiqq. xx. 8. 6; Philo, De Vit. Mos. i. 16; Plutarch, Sept. Sap. Conv. ii.). The distinction between them, as though the répas were the more wonderful, the onuciov the less 80,-as though it would be a onuciov to heal the sick, a répaç to, open the blind eyes, or to raise the dead (80 Ammonius, Cat. in Joh. iv. 48: τέρας εστί το παρά φύσιν, οίον το ανοίξαι οφθαλμούς τυφλών και εγείρει νεκρόν: σημείον δε το ουκ έξω της φύσεως, οιόν έστιν ιάσασθαι άρρωστον), is quite untenable, however frequent among some of the Greek Fathers (see Suicer, Thes. 8. V. onueiov). Neither will Origen’s distinction stand (in Rom. xv. 19): Signa appellantur, in quibus cum sit aliquid mirabile, indicatur quoque aliquid futurum. Prodigia vero in quibus tantummodo aliquid mirabile ostenditur. Rather the same miracle is upon one side a ripas, on another a onuciov; and the words most often refer not to different classes of miracles, but to different qualities in the same miracles; so Fritzsche: Eandem rem diverse æstimatam exprimunt; and Lampe (Comm. in Joh. vol. i. p. 513): Eadem miracula dici

(cf. 2 Kin. vii. 2, 17-20). Or it is possible for a man, under a strong conviction that the hand of God is leading him, to set such or such a contingent event as a sign’ to himself, the falling out of which in this way or in that he will accept as an intimation from God of what He would have him to do. Examples of this also are not uncommon in Scripture (Gen. xxiv. 14-21; Judg. vi. 36-40; 1 Sam. xiv. 8-13). Very curious, and standing by themselves, are the signs' which shall only come to pass, after that of which they were the signs has actually befallen; but wbich shall still serve to confirm it, as having been wrought directly of God; thus see Exod. iii. 12; 2 Kin. xix. 29.

[ocr errors]

3. Frequently also the miracles are styled powers' or "mighty works,' that is, of God.' As in the term 'wonder' or 'miracle,' the effect is transferred and gives a name to the cause, so here the cause gives its name to the effect.? The power' dwells originally in the divine Messenger (Acts vi. 8; x. 38; Rom. xv. 19); is one with which he is himself equipped of God. Christ is thus in the highest sense that which Simon blasphemously suffered himself to be named, “The great Power of God(Acts viii. 10). But then, by an easy transition, the word comes to signify the exertions and separate puttings forth of this power. These are powers possynt signa, quatenus aliquid seu occultum seu futurum docent; et prodigia (répara), quatenus aliquid extraordinarium, quod stuporem excitat, sistunt. Hinc sequitur signorum notionem latius patere, quam prodigiorum. Omnia prodigia sunt signa, quia in illum usum dispensata, ut arcanum indicent. Sed omnia signa non sunt prodigia, quia ad signandum res cælestes aliquando etiam res communes adhibentur. Cf. 2 Chron. xxxii. 24, 31; where at ver. 24 that is called & onuciov, which at ver. 31 is a répas (LXX). See my Synonyms of the New Testament, ý 9I.

Avvápenç = virtutes. · With this lovoia is related, which yet only once occurs to designate a miracle. They are termed ivooka (Luke xiii. 17), as being works in which the 8óta of God came eminently out (see John ii. 11; xi. 40), and which in return caused men to glorify Him (Mark ii. 12). They are uryadria (= magnalia, Luke i. 49), as outcomings of the greatness of God's power.

a Deo

in the plural, although the same word is now translated in our Version, 'wonderful works' (Matt. vii. 22), and now, "mighty works' (Matt. xi. 20; Mark vi. 14 ; Luke x. :13), and still more frequently, ‘miracles' (Acts ii. 22; xix. 11; 1 Cor. xii, 10, 28; Gal. iii. 5); in this last case giving such tautologies as this,'miracles and wonders' (Acts ii. 22 ; Heb. ii. 4); and obscuring for us the express purpose of the word, pointing as it does to new powers which have entered, and are working in, this world of ours.

These three terms, 'wonders,' 'signs,' and powers,' occur three times in connexion with one another (Acts ij. 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 aspects of the same works, than themselves different classes of works. An example of one of our Lord's miracles will illustrate what I say. The healing of the paralytic (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.'?

· Pelt's definition (Comm. in Thess. p. 179) is brief and good : Param diferunt tria ista δυνάμεις, σημεία, τέρατα. Δύναμις numero singulari tamen est vis miraculorum edendorum; onueia quatenus comprobandæ inserviunt doctrinæ sive missioni divinæ ; répara portenta sunt, quæ admirationem et stuporem excitant. Cf. Calvin on 2 Cor. xii

, 12: Signa porro vocantur, quod non sunt inania spectacula, sed quæ destinata sunt docendis hominibus. Prodigia, quod suân novitate expergefacere homines debent, et percellere. Potentiæ aut virtutes, quod sunt magis insignia specimina divinæ potentiæ, quam quæ cernimus in ordinario naturæ cursu.

? Of the verbs connected with these pouns we may observe in the first three Evangelists, onueia didóval (Matt. xii. 39; xxiv. 24; Mark viji. 12), and still more frequently ovváutis mortiv (Matt. vii. 22 ; xiii. 58 ; Mark ix. 39, &c.). Neither phrase occurs in St. John, but onueia motiv

« PoprzedniaDalej »