Miracles -- By: J. Leslie Porter

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 030:118 (Apr 1873)
Article: Miracles
Author: J. Leslie Porter


Prof. J. Leslie Porter1

The importance of miracles as facts in scripture history, and evidences of the truth of a divine revelation, cannot be too highly estimated. Devout men sometimes treat assaults upon miracles with indifference, regarding it a matter of little moment whether those beyond the circle of strict orthodoxy believe in or deny their reality. They argue that it is wise not to disturb the smooth current of popular faith, by a review of sceptical objections. There would be wisdom in this if the current were smooth. It would be folly to meet objections if those objections were not intruded upon our attention. But objections to miracles meet us, in the present age, at every turn, in books, pamphlets, periodicals, and even newspapers. No thoughtful young man who tries to keep abreast of current popular literature, can possibly be ignorant of the fact that the evidential character of miracles has been denied, and that their historical reality has been called in question of late by men of great learning and influence. Nor can he be ignorant that the tendency of the higher scientific training, and of the most advanced philosophical speculation at the present moment, is to set aside the miraculous and the supernatural altogether; in a word, to banish God as a personal, free, omnipotent, all-controlling Governor from his own universe.

We do not wish to provoke discussion; but we must show that we are not afraid of it, and that we are prepared to meet it. We do not wish to go back and establish again the foundations of our faith; but we are ready, if need be, to

open them up to the world’s eye, and to show, alike to philosopher and artizan, that they are firm as the everlasting hills.

The place which miracles occupy, and the object they were designed to serve, in the scheme of divine revelation, are plainly taught in the New Testament. Whatever may be the views of theologians or philosophers now, there can be no doubt as to the views of our Lord and his apostles. Miracles were professedly the visible or sensible signs and evidences of a divine commission given to, and a divine revelation made through, those who performed them. Miracles were acts of superhuman power performed for the express and declared purpose of enabling ordinary observers to test, and to test with absolute certainty, the claims of men who professed to be inspired and commissioned of God. Miracles were direct appeals to Omnipotence, in proof of doctrines alleged to be taught by. the Omnipotent. The case is this: A man declares to his fellow-men that he speaks by God’s authority God’s word. He cannot show his fellow-men the Divine Spirit comm...

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