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* * 10 ON THE NAMES OF THE MIRACLES.
1. To take then first the name “wonder,” in which the effect of as. tonishment which the work produces upon the beholder is transferred to the work itself, an effect often graphically portrayed by the Evangelists, when relating our Lord's miracles, (Mark ii. 12; iv. 41; vi. 51; viii. 37; Acts iii. 10, 11,) it will at once be felt that this does but touch the matter on the outside. The ethical meaning of the miracle would be wholly lost, were blank astonishment or gaping wonder all which they aroused; since the same effect might be produced by a thousand meaner causes. Indeed, it is not a little remarkable, rather is it singularly characteristic of the miracles of the New Testament, that this name “wonders” is never applied to them but in connection with other names. They are continually “signs and wonders,” or “signs” or “powers” alone, but never “wonders” alone. Not that the miracle, considered simply as a wonder, as an astonishing event which the beholders can reduce to no law with which they are acquainted, is even as such without its meaning and its purpose; that purpose being that it should forcibly startle from the mere dream of a sense-bound existence, and, however it may not be itself an appeal to the spiritual in man, should yet be a summons to him that he should open his eyes to the spiritual appeal which is about to be addressed to him.
2. But the miracle, besides being a “wonder,” is also a “sign,”f
* Tépag. The term 6ailua, near akin to répac, and one of the commonest in the Greek Fathers to designate the miracles, never occurs in the Holy Scripture; 6avuáatov only once; (Matt. xxvi. 15;) but the 6avuášew is often brought out as a consequence. (Matt. viii. 27; iz. 8, 83; xv. 31, &c.) IIapáčošov, which in like manner brings out the unexpectedness of the wonder, and so implies, though it does not express, the astonishment which it causes—a word of frequent usage in ecclesiastical Greek-is found only Luke v. 26.
# It is not satisfactory that a word, which is thus only the subordinate one in the Greek, should be the chief one in our language to designate these divine facts, that the two words almost exclusively in use among us, namely wonders and miracles, should bring out only the accidental accompaniment, the astonishment which the work creates, and should go so little into the deeper meaning of the work itself. The Latin miraculum (which properly is not a substantive, but the neuter of miraculus) and the German Wunder lie exactly under the same defect.
# Xmuelov. Our version is not entirely satisfactory from its lack of consistency in rendering this word. There is no reason why amuelov should not always have been rendered “sign;" but in the Gospel of St. John, with whom the word is an especial favorite, far oftener than not, “sign” gives place to the vaguer “miracle,” and this sometimes not without injury to the entire clearness and force of the words. See for instance, iii. 2; vii. 31; x. 41; and especially vi. 26, where the substitution of “miracles” for “signs” is greatly injurious to the meaning. Our version makes Christ to say to the multitude, which, after he had once fed them in the wilderness, gathered
a token and indication of the near presence and working of God. In this word the ethical end and 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; (Isaiah vii. 11; xxxviii. 7;)* they are valuable, not so much for what they are, as for what they indicate of the grace and power of the doer, or of the connection 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. We find the word continually used in senses such as these: Thus, “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.
round him again, “Ye seek me not because ye saw the miracles, &c.” But rather should it be, “Ye seek me not because ye saw signs,” (amueia without the article.) “not because ye recognized in these works of mine tokens and intimations of a higher . presence, something which led you to conceive great thoughts of me: they are no glimpses of my higher nature, which you have caught, and which bring you here; but you come that you may again be filled.” The coming merely because they saw miracles, in the strictest sense of the word—works that had made them marvel—the coming with the expectation of seeing such again, would have been as much condemned by our Lord as the coming only for the satisfying of their lowest earthly wants. (Matt. xii. 39; xvi. 1–4.) * Basil upon this passage: "Eart amuelov orpäyua pavepov, kexpuuuévov twóc kal doavoic &v Šavrò Tov Čižoatv #xov. (SUICER's Thes, s. v.) And Lampe is good here (Comm. in Joh., v.1, p. 518): Designat sané amuelov naturâ suá remnon tantúm extraordinariam, sensusque percellentem, sed etiam talem, quae in rei alterius, absentis licet et futurae significationem atque adumbrationem adhibetur, unde et prognostica (Matth. xvi. 3) et typi (Matth. xii. 89; Luc. xi. 29) nec non sacramenta, quale est illud circumcisionis, (Rom. iv. 11,) eodem nomina in N.T. exprimi solent. Aptissimé ergo haec vox de miraculis usurpatur, ut indicet, quod non tantùm admirabili modo fuerint perpetrata, sed etiam sapientissimo consilio Dei ita directa atque ordinata ut fuerint simul characteres Messiae, ex quibus cognoscendus erat, sigilla doctrinae quam proferebat, et beneficiorum gratiae per Messiam jam praestandae, nec non typi viarum Dei, earumque circumstantiarum per quas talia beneficia erant applicanda. # The Latin monstrum, whether we derive it with Cicero (De Divin, 1.1, c. 42) from monstro, or with Festus from moneo, (monstrum = monestrum,) though commonly used as answering most nearly to répac, is in truth by either etymology more nearly related to amuelov. Thus Augustine, who follows Cicero's derivation (De Civ. Dei. L 21, c. 8): Monstra sané dicta perhibent à monstrando, quod aliquid significando demonstrant; et ostenta ab ostendendo, et portenta à portendendo, id est praeostendendo, et prodigia quod porrö dicant, id est futura prædicant.
1.) St. Paul speaks of himself as having “the signs of an apostle," (2 Cor. xii. 12,) in other words, the tokens which should mark him out 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 sign” to the prophet whom he sent to protest against the will-worship of Jeroboam. (1 Kin. xiii. 3.)* At the same time it may be as well 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, for instance any foretold coincidence or event, may be to a believing mind a sign, a seal set to the truth of a foregoing word. Thus the angels give to the shepherds for “a sign” their finding the child wrapt in the swaddling clothes. (Luke ii. 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.) God gave to Gideon a sign in the camp of the Midianites of the victory which he should win, (Judg. vii. 9—15,) though it does not happen that the word occurs in that narration. Or it is possible
for a man, under a strong conviction that the hand of God is leading him, to set such and 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. 16; Judg. vi. 36–40; 1 Sam. xiv. 8–13.)
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. 9;) 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” 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 sometimes such tautologies as this, “miracles and wonders;” (Acts ii. 22; Heb. ii. 4;) and always causing to be lost something of the express force of the word-how it points 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 connection 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.”
tenus aliquid extraordinarium, quod stuporem excitat, sistunt. Hinc sequitur sig norum motionem latius patere, quâm prodigiorum. Omnia prodigia sunt signa, quia in illum usum a Deo dispensata, ut arcanum indicent. Sed omnia signa non sunt prodigia, quia ad signandum res coelestes aliquando etiam res communes adhibentur. Compare 2 Chron. xxxii. 24, 31; where at ver. 24 that is called a amuelov, which at ver. 31 is a répac (LXX).
* Avváuetc = virtutes.
# With this #ovata is related, which yet only once occurs to designate a miracle. They are termed Evdoša, (Luke xiii. 17,) as being works in which the 665a 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 pleyažeia=magnalia, (Luke i. 49,) as outcomings of the greatness of God's power.
4. A further term by which St. John very frequently names the miracles is eminently significant. They are very often with him simply “works,”? (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. It is no wonder that he whose name is “Wonderful,” (Isaiah 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.|
* Pelt's definition (Comm. in Thess., p. 179) is brief and good: Parum differunt tria ista Övváuetc, omutia, répara. At vauto numero singulari tamen est vis miraculorum edendorum; amucia quatenus comprobandae inserviunt doctrinae sive missioni divinae: répara portenta sunt, quae admirationem et stuporem excitant. # The miracles of the Old Testament are called $pya, Heb. iii. 9; Ps. xciv. 9, LXX. † 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, quâm quod divina inter homines Deus fecit. § I am aware that this interpretation of £pya, 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 opyov 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