Place And Value Of Miracles In The Christian System -- By: Joseph Haven

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 019:74 (Apr 1862)
Article: Place And Value Of Miracles In The Christian System
Author: Joseph Haven


Place And Value Of Miracles In The Christian System

Rev. Joseph Haven

As in all warfare, so in the attack and defence of Christianity, the battle-ground changes, from time to time, as the enemies of the truth change their tactics, or direct their assault now upon this, now upon that point in the line of our defences. At present, it is the supernatural element in Christianity that is more directly and fiercely assailed. Around this the battle rages. And, what is not a little remarkable, it is from the professed friends of Christianity, from those who call themselves its disciples, rather than from its open and avowed enemies, that this attack mainly proceeds. It is no longer the Jew, the Mohammedan, the pagan, but the rationalist and sceptic, within the sacred precincts of the Christian temple, and before its very altars, who take it upon themselves to call in question, or utterly to deny, the supernatural element of the Christian religion.

Miracles, we are told, are no longer to be relied upon as evidences of the divine authority of the Christian system. However appropriate they may have been in a remote and less enlightened age, they are now quite out of place. As civilization and science have progressed, they have left this method of thinking and reasoning wholly in the back-ground. It is now understood, by all cultivated and philosophic minds, that in the domain of matter everything moves on by fixed and determined laws, which are never violated, never suspended, and which never change. This invariable operation, this universal order and unity of physical causes, is the first principle of the laws of nature, and whatever is at variance with this principle must be unconditionally and unhesitatingly rejected. The material universe is discovered to be one great system of self-sustaining and self-

evolving laws, a grand whole moving on in harmony, and adequate to itself. Even the idea of original creation is now coming to be rejected as an antiquated notion, in view of the recent developments of science with respect to the origination of species. In a word, any interference with or deviation from the established and eternal order of things, is a physical impossibility, which no amount of evidence can substantiate; and the miracles, so called, of the Christian system, which in a ruder and darker age were considered as its main supports and defences, are, in reality, at the present day the chief hindrances to its acceptance.

Such is the position taken by the modern sceptic and rationalist. It is a position which the advocates of Christianity are called upon to meet. Mere denunciation and reproach of those who thus reason, will not suffice. Ecclesiastical censure will not meet the cas...

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