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miracle must witness for itself, and the doctrine must witness for itself, and then the first is capable of witnessing for the second * ; and those books of Christian evidences are utterly · maimed and imperfect, fraught with the most perilous consequences, which reverence in the miracle little else but its power, and see in that alone what gives either to it its attesting worth, or to the doctrine its authority as an adequately attested thing.
• Gerhard (Loc. Theoll., loc. 23, c. 11): Miracula sunt doctrinæ tessere ac sigilla; quemadmodùm igitur sigillum à literis avulsum nihil probat, ita quoque miracula sine doctrinâ nihil valent.
THE EVANGELICAL, COMPARED WITH OTHER CYCLES
1. THE MIRACLES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT. The miracles of our Lord and those of the Old Testament afford many interesting points of comparison, and of a comparison equally instructive, whether we trace the points of likeness, or of unlikeness, which exist between them. Thus, to note first a remarkable difference, we find oftentimes the holy men of the old covenant bringing, if one may venture so to speak, hardly and with difficulty the wonder-work to the birth; there is sometimes a momentary pause, a seeming uncertainty about the issue ; while the miracles of Christ aro always accomplished with the highest ease ; he speaks and it is done. Thus Moses must plead and struggle with God, “ Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee,” ere the plague of leprosy is removed from his sister, and not even so can he instantly win the boon; (Num. xii. 13–15;) but Christ heals a leper by his touch, (Matt. viii. 3,) or ten with even less than this, merely by the power of his will and at a distance*. (Luke xvii. 14.) Elijah must pray long, and his servant go up seven times, before tokens of the rain appear ; (1 Kin. xviii. 42—44 ;) he stretches himself thrice on the child and cries unto the Lord, and painfully wins back its life ; (1 Kin. xvii. 21, 22;) and Elisha, with yet more of effort and only after partial failure, (2 Kin. iv. 31–35,) restores the child of the Shunammite to life. Christ, on the other hand, shows himself the Lord of the living and the dead, raising the dead with as much ease as he performed the com
- --------• Cyril of Alexandria, (CRAMER'S Catena in Luc. v. 12,) has observed and drawn out the contrast,
monest transactions of life. In the miracles wrought by men, glorious acts of faith as they are, for they are ever wrought in reliance on the strength and faithfulness of God, who will follow up and seal his servant's word, it is yet possible for human impatience and human unbelief to break out. Thus Moses, God's organ for the work of power, speaks hastily and acts unbelievingly. (Num. xx. 11.) It is needless to say of the Son, that his confidence ever remains the same that his Father heareth him always; that no admixture of even the slightest human infirmity mars the completeness of his work.
Where the miracles are similar in kind, his are larger and freer and more glorious. Elisha feeds an hundred men with twenty loaves, (2 Kin. iv. 42-44,) but he five thousand with five. They have continually their instrument of power to which the wonder-working power is linked. Moses has his rod, his staff of wonder, to divide the Red Sea, and to accomplish his other mighty acts, without which he is nothing, (Exod. vii. 19; viii. 5, 16; ix. 23; x. 13; xiv. 16, &c.;) his tree to heal the bitter waters; (Exod. xv. 25 ;) Elijah divides the waters with his mantle; (2 Kin. ii. 8 ;) Elisha heals the spring with a cruse of salt. (2 Kin. ii. 20.) But Christ accomplishes his miracles simply by the agency of his word, or by a touch, (Matt. xx. 34;) or if he takes anything as a channel of his healing power, it is from himself he takes it, (Mark vii. 33; viii. 23 * ;) or should he, as once he does, use any foreign medium, (John ix. 6,) yet by other miracles of
-- - - - - - - -- -- -* In the East the Mahometans had probably a sense of the fitness of this, namely, that Christ should find all in himself, when they made his healing virtue to have resided in his breath, (THoLuck's Blüthensamml. aus d. Morgenl. Myst., p. 62,) to which also they were led as being the purest and least material effluence of the body. (Cf. John xx. 22.) So Agbarus in the apocryphal letter which bears his name, magnifies Christ's healings, in that ihey were done, ävev pappákwv xai Botavwv. Arnobius, too, (Adv. Gent., 1. 1, c. 43, 44, 48, 52,) lays great stress upon the point, that all which he did was done sine ullis adminiculis rerum; he is comparing, it is true, our Lord's miracles with the lying wonders of the youtes, not with the only relatively inferior of the Old Testament.
like kind, in which he has recourse to no such extraneous helps, he declares plainly that this was of free choice and not of any necessity. And, which is but another side of the same truth, while their miracles and those of the apostles are ever done in the name of, and with the attribution of the glory to, another, “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew you,” (Exod. xiv. 13,) “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk,” (Acts iii. 6,)“ Eneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole,” (Acts ix. 34; cf. Mark xvi. 17; Luke x. 17; John xiv. 10;) his are ever wrought in his own name and as in his own power: “I will, be thou clean,” (Matt. viii. 3 ;) “ Thou deaf and dumb spirit, I charge thee come out of him ;” (Mark ix. 25;) “Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.” (Luke vii. 14.) Even where he prays, being about to perform one of his mighty works, his disciples shall learn even from his prayer itself that herein he is not asking for a power which he had not indwelling in him, but indeed is only testifying thus to the unbroken oneness of his life with his Father's *, (John xi. 41, 42;) just as on another occasion he will not suffer his disciples to suppose that it is for any but for their sakes that the testimony from heaven is borne unto him. (John xii. 30.) Thus needful was it for them, thus reedful for all, that they should have great and exclusive thoughts of him, and should not class him with any other, even the greatest and holiest of the children of men.
These likenesses and unlikenesses seem equally such as beforehand we should have naturally expected. We should have expected the mighty works of either covenant to be like, since the old and new form parts of one organic whole; and it is ever God's law that the lower should contain the germs and prophetic intimations of the higher. We should expect them to be unlike, since the very idea of God's kingdom is that of progress, of a gradually fuller communication and larger revelation of himself to men, so that he who in times
* Cf. AMBROSE, De Fide, 1. 3, c. 4.
past spake unto the fathers by the prophets, did at length speak unto us by his Son; and it was only meet that this Son should be clothed with mightier powers than theirs, and powers which he held not from another, but such rather as were his own in fee*.
And this, too, explains a difference in the character of the miracles of the two covenants, and how it comes to pass that those of the old wear oftentimes a far severer aspect than the new. They are miracles, indeed, of God's grace, but yet also miracles of the Law, of that Law which workethi wrath, which will teach, at all costs, the lesson of the awful holiness of God, his hatred of the sinner's sin,—a lesson which men had all need thoroughly to learn, lest they should mistake and abuse the new lesson which a Saviour taught, of God's love at the same time toward the sinner himself. Miracles of the Law, they preserve a character that accords with the Law; being oftentimes fearful outbreaks of God's anger against the unrighteousness of men; such for instance are the signs and wonders in Egypt, many of those in the desert, (Num. xvi. 31; Lev. x. 2,) and some which the later prophets wrought; (2 Kin. i. 10–12; ii. 23—25 ;) though of these also there are far more which wear a milder aspect ; and are works, as all our Lord's are, of evident grace and mercy. I say all of our Lord's, for that single one, which scems an exception, the cursing of the barren fig-trec, has no right really to be considered such. Indeed it is difficult to see how our blessed Lord could more strikingly have shown his purpose of preserving throughout for his miracles their character of beneficence, or have witnessed for himself that he was come not to destroy men's lives but
. Tertullian, (Adr. Marc., 1. 3, passim,) brings this out in a very interesting manner; and Eusebius, (Dem. Erang., 1. 3, c. 2,) traces in the same way the parallelisms between the life of Moses and of Christ. They supposed that in so doing they were, if anything, confirming the truth of either, though now the assailants of Revelation will have it that these coincidences are only calculated to cast suspicion upon both.