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after his death, rose from the grave, and was seen and conversed with by many. These things are most strange. But we cannot on account of their strangeness alone refuse to consider them. They are not palpable impossibilities. They involve no absurdity, unprecedented as they are. All things, even the most familiar, are unspeakably wonderful. Every object that we look upon is a mystery. Custom hides from us the wonderfulness of this condition of existence, or "we should see ourselves in a world of miracles, wherein all fabled or authentic thaumaturgy and feats of magic were outdone;" and we should see also that the strangeness of an event is no reason of itself for denying its reality. We should be prepared to believe every thing. As it is, notwithstanding the powerful influence of familiarity in deadening our sense of the marvellous, the great and diversified wonders of existence have in all times impressed the mind of man so powerfully that the main tendency always has been to believe-to receive fables for facts; so that it becomes those, who would judge truly, not indeed to reject a reported fact, because it is strange, but to look well to the evidence, and proceed with the utmost caution.

At this point of our investigation, a plausible supposition suggests itself. The accounts of these marvels were either interwoven with the histories of Jesus at some early period by some other than the original writers-some one or more, impelled thereto by interested motives or a fondness for the wonderful, or they are exaggerated, distorted statements of ordinary events, given by the original writers themselves.

This supposition strikes us at first sight as very plausible. But as our examination proceeds, not only is it shown to be wholly without foundation, but evidence




of a positive and most impressive character is disclosed, going to show that the relations of the miracles are from the same hands that have given us the other parts of the history, the same hands, guided by the same singleness of mind, the same truthfulness. One and the same spirit is revealed throughout, as well in the notices of the miracles as in the relations of ordinary occurrences or even more strikingly. Brief and fragmentary as the Gospels appear, they are for nothing more wonderful than for the unity of their spirit. Like the remains of ancient statuary, broken and dismembered, but all revealing the spirit of true art, the Christian Records, apparently most defective in order and consistency, are found, upon the closest inspection, to be moulded by one only spirit, by minds singularly inspired with a love of truth. For my own part I cannot desire evidence more satisfactory than the whole structure of these books furnishes, that they are the compositions of good men and true. Some instances of the nature and force of this evidence I have already given. Our attention at present is occupied with those portions of these histories which record miracles, and I desire to show that like the rest of the narratives, they are covered with the deepest marks of truth.

We are familiar with the New Testament from our earliest years. If we have never conned it distastingly as a schoolbook, still it was put into our hands at so early a period that we have never fully apprehended the signs of truth which abound on every page. Other causes have conspired to hide from us its extraordinary characteristics as a true book. We have heard it extolled to the skies without any accurate discrimination of its merits. Accordingly it requires an effort to appreciate the singular simplicity which marks the



accounts of the miracles of Jesus. They have all the air of narratives of facts seen by the narrators' own eyes. Take the following examples.

"And behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed."

“And it came to pass the day after that he went into a city called, Nain; and many of his disciples went with him and much people. Now, when he came nigh to the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. And when Jesus saw her, he pitied her and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier; and they that bare it stood still. And he said, Young man, I command thee, arise! And he that was dead, sate up and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear on all; and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, that God hath visited his people."

"And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus! Come forth! And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot in grave-clothes, and his face was bound round with a cloth. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go."

All the relations of the miracles are of this character. The awful wonders are described in the briefest manner, in words so few and simple that it seems as if the writers were strangely devoid of sensibility. They manifest no sense of the extraordinariness of the facts which they relate. But we judge very superficially when we draw such inferences from the briefness of these descriptions. We mistake the signs of deep feel



ing. The deepest is always silent, or if it speaks, its utterances are never profuse. He who is profoundly moved feels the utter inadequacy of all words, and cannot endure to think that any terms of his are needed to set forth the truth or fact which moves him. It so completely fills his vision, that he deems the briefest hint sufficient. He feels that it would be an insult to the truth to asseverate and argue. He cannot do it. His absorbing sense of reality will not allow it. So, I conceive, it was, or so, at least, it appears to have been, with the New Testament historians. Suppose them to have witnessed these extraordinary occurrences, and it is impossible that they should have described them with a more entire truth of manner. Had they been telling what they knew was not real, or what they had some misgivings about, had they been inspired by any less profound feeling than a pure sense of truth, they would have tried to make up the deficiency by strong protestations, by reiteration, by enlarging upon the facts and soliciting attention and wonder. They do none of these things. They betray not the slightest anxiety to prove what they relate. They appear to know the facts to be real, overpoweringly real, and they leave them to speak for themselves. All that they could have said, beyond the simplest statement of the facts, would have seemed to them an irreverent, sacrilegious interruption of the Divine voice of truth which, clear and full, filled all their hearts, rendering all human language superfluous and vain. It is as if they said, "There are the facts. They speak for themselves. Just look at them and you must perceive as we do that they are real, and feel that our words are worthless. Shall we undertake laboriously to describe the sun shining there in the heavens? Look and you must see." In a word, the simplicity of these relations reveals the infinite confi



dence of truth, rejecting the aids of language, and calm and silent in the consciousness of its own strength.

Another characteristic of the narratives of the miracles is their honesty. Not the slightest disposition is evinced to conceal or obscure the fact that, upon many who witnessed these things, no abiding impression was made. We are told that the wonderful effects produced by the word or the touch of Jesus, were attributed on the spot to the agency of evil spirits-that numbers went away without faith in him or in the divinity of his mission. Upon this trait of these histories I have already remarked at length. The greatest wonders are related. And in the same breath and with equal explicitness, we are told that those who stood by, and saw, and heard, either remained unchanged in their opinion of Jesus, or were confirmed in the belief that he was an impostor. These facts, apparently so inconsistent, not a word is uttered to reconcile.

There are here and there in the miraculous relations, peculiarities, forms of expression which produce the strongest impressions of truth.

Once, as we read, when Jesus raised to life a young female, he approached the bed where she lay, and said "Talitha-cumi,' that is to say, 'young maid! I say unto thee, arise!" Again we are told that when a deaf man with an impediment in his speech was brought to Jesus, he "put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he sighed and said unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened."

Now supposing the authority of these accounts to be as yet unsettled, and our minds to be in suspense with respect to their truth, a curious question is suggested. How shall we account for the singular construction of these two relations? Why is it, for what end, with

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