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which God is training him for a higher and nobler state. If the end, consequently, of the present constitution and course of nature can be helped forward by occasional interpositions of the Deity, in forms and circumstances which compel us to recognize His hand, the order of the world is preserved and not broken. When the pantheist “ charges the miracle with resting on a false assumption of the position which man occupies in the universe, as flattering the notion that nature is to serve him, he not to bow to nature, it is most true that it does rest on this assumption. But this is only a change would tell against it, supposing that true, which, so far from being truth, is indeed, its first great falsehood of all, namely the substitution of a God of nature, in the place of a God of men.” Admit the supremacy of God's moral government, and there is nothing which commends itself more strongly to the natural expectations of men, than that He shall teach His creatures what was necessary to their happiness according to the exigencies of their case. Miraculous interventions have, accordingly, been a part of the creed of humanity from the fall to the present hour.
The argument here briefly enunciated requires to be more distinctly considered. There is no doubt that, after all, the strongest presumption which is commonly imagined to exist against the miracle, arises from the impression, that it is an interference with the reign of order and of law. It is regarded as an arbitrary infraction of the course of nature, or a wilful deviation from the general plan of God. It is treated as an aimless prodigy. If this view were correct, it would be fatal to its claims. The moral argument would be so overwhelming that we shall be very reluctant to admit any testimony in its favour. It is to obviate this prejudice that so many attempts bave been made, like the one already noticed in Trench, and rebuked by Dr. Wardlaw, to transfer the miracle to a higher sphere of nature. Nitzsch very distinctly states the difficulty, and resolves it in the same way that Trench has done. “If a miracle,” says he, “were simply an event opposed to nature's laws—a something innatural and incomprehensible; and if the human understanding, together with entire nature, experienced, through its agency, merely a subversive shock, then would the defence of Christianity—a religion established by means of a grand system of miracles-bave to contend against insurmountable difficulties. But the miracles of revelation, with all the objective supernaturalness essentially belonging to them, are in truth somewhat accordant with natural laws, partly in reference to a higher order of circumstances to wbich the miracles relate, and which order also is a world, a nature of its own kind, and operates upon the lower order of things according to its mode; partly in regard to the analogy with common nature which miracles, in some way or other, retain; and finally, on account of their teleological perfection."*
The same difficulty occurs in Thomas Aquinas ;t and his answer strikes us as far more direct and conclusive than any ingenious attempts to divest the miracle of its distinctive and essential character as a supernatural pbenomenon. The answer amounts substantially to this; the miracle is against the order of nature, but not against the end of nature. It is the different way of accomplishing the same ultimate design. There is moral harmony, notwithstanding phenomenal contradiction. As one law of nature holds another in check, as one sphere of nature is superior to another—and the superior rules and controls the lower; and yet as all these collisions and conflicts conduce to the great purpose of God in establishing these laws and systems, so He who is supreme above them all may hold them all in check, when the design of all can be more effectually promoted by such an interferericc. There is no more confuson or jar in this omnipotent interposition of His own will in contradiction to nature, than when one part of nature thwarts and opposes another. In the sense, then, of disorder, as being a turning aside from the ultimate relation of things to the great First Cause, the miracle is not maintained. It is the bighest order—the order of ethical harmony. It introduces no confusion in the universe. It rather lubricates the wheels of nature, and gives it a deeper significance. It breaks the apathy into which unbroken uniformity would otherwise lull the soul. The introduction of miracles into the moral system of the world is analogous in its effects to the introduction of chance upon so large a scale. The fortuities of nature keep us constantly reminded of God, and impress us with an habitual sense of dependence. We are compelled to recognize something more than law. The miracle, in the same way, brings God distinctly before us, and has a direct tendency to promote the great moral ends for which the sun shines, the rains descend, the grass grows, and all nature moves in her steady and majestic course. Miracles and nature join in the grand chorus to the supremacy and glory of God.
* Christian Doctrine, p. 83.
+ “A qualibet causa derivatur aliquis ordo in suos effectus, cum quælibet causa habeat rationem principii ; et ideo secundum multiplicationem multiplicantur et ordines, quorum unus contineatur sub altero, sicut et causa continetur sub causa. Unde causa superior non continetur sub ordine causæ inferioris, sed e converso: cujus exemplum apparet in rebus humanis • nam ex patrefamilias dependet ordo domus, qui continetur sub ordine civitatis, qui precedit a civitatis rectore, cum et hic contineatur sub ordine regis, a quo totum regnum ordinatur. Si ergo ordo rerum consideretur, prout dependet a prima causa, sic contra rerum ordinem Deus facere non potest ; si enim sic faceret, faceret contra suam præscientiam, aut voluntatem, aut bonitatem. Si vero consideretur rerum ordo, prout dependet a qualibet secundarum causarum, sic Deus potest facere præter ordinem rerum : quia ordini secundarum causarum ipse non est snbjectus ; sed talis ordo ei subjicitur, quasi ab eo procedens, non per necessitatem naturæ, sed per arbitrium voluntatis. Potuisset enim et alium ordinem rerum instituere ; unde et potest præter hunc ordinem institutum agere, cum voluerit ; puta, agendo effectus secundarum causarum sine ipsis, vel producendo aliquos effectus, ad quos causæ secundæ non se extendunt." Summa 1, Quest, 105, Art. 6.
The true point of view, consequently, in which the miracle is to be considered is in its ethical relations. It is not to be tried by physical, but by moral probabilities; and if it can contribute to the furtherance of the ends for which man was made and nature ordained ; if it can make nature herself more effective, we have the same reson to admit it, as to adınit any other arrangement of our Creator, when we make the physical supreme; when we make the dead uniformity of matter more inportant tban the life, and health, and vigour of the soul. This subject is very ably discussed by Dr. Wardlaw, and we close our argument upon it by pregnant extract:
“Let me illustrate my meaning by a simple comparison—a comparison taken from what is human, but, in the principle of it, bearing with infinitely greater force on our conclusion, when transferred to what is divine. A mechanician, let me suppose, has devised and completed a machine. Its structure in each of its parts, and in its entire complexity, is as perfect as human ingenuity and long-practised skill are capable of making it. All its movements are beautifully uniform. Its adaptation for its intended purpose is exquisite. So far as that purpose is concerned, it cannot be improved. It works to admiration. In such a case, the probability certainly is, that the maker will not think of introducing any change; seeing in a structure thus faultless every alteration would be for the worse. The machine, therefore, would be kept going on as at the first, to the continued satisfaction of the inventor and artificer, and the delight and wonder of all who have the opportunity of examining it
. Thus far all is clear. But suppose now further, that circumstances should occur, in which the continuance of the regular movements of the said machine exposed a human life to danger; and that, by simply stopping or changing one of those movements for but a few seconds, that life could be saved ; and yet more, that it is in the power of the maker and owner, with perfect ease, to stop or to change that movement, and to do $0, without in the slightest degree injuring his machine, or even at all interfering with and impeding the chief purpose of its construction: if, in these circumstances, we knew the maker and owner to be a man of unusual sensi. bility and benevolence, or even of no more than ordinary humanity, should we not feel it by far too feeble an expression, to say that it was likely he would stop to change the movement ? should we not think we insulted himself, and maligned his character, if we pronounced his doing so less than certain? If, merely because he was enamoured of the beauty and regularity of a mechanical motion, he were to refuse interference, and allow life to perish; what should we think of the man's heart, and what too of his head ? Should we not look upon him with equal detestation for his cruelty, and contempt for his childish imbecility ? setting him down at once as a heartless monster, and as a senseless fool ? And if thus you would think of the fellowman who could act such a part, what is to be thought of the God, who, when a world's salvation was in the question-involving not the safety of a human life merely, or of hundreds and thousands of such lives, but the eternal wellbeing of millions of immortal souls-should allow that world to perish, for want of evidence of his willingness to save it, rather than allow the order of the material creation to be, in a single moment, interfered with ? and that too, although not the slightest injury was, by such interference, to be done to the system? For surely by no one will it be held an injury, to be made subservient to a purpose incomparably transcending in importance any or all of those which, by its uninterrupted regularity, it is effecting.
Excepting in one particular, the cases I have thus been comparing are closely analogous. The particular in which they differ is this: that in the case of mechanician, the evil was not by him anticipated, nor, consequently, the need for his interference; whereas, in the case of the divine Creator and Ruler, all was in full anticipotion; and the occasional deviations from the order of the physical creation entered as essentially into the allperfect plan of his moral administration, as the laws by which that order was fixed entered into the constitution of the physical creation itself. But such a difference there necessarily is between everything human and everything divine; between the purposes and plans of a creature who knoweth not what a day may bring forth,' and the purposes and plans of Him who knoweth the end from the beginning. It evidently does not, in the least degree, affect the principle of the analogy, or invalidate the force of the conclusion deduced from it.
We cannot conclude these remarks without alluding to the fact that the researches of modern science are rapidly exploding the prejudices which pantheism, on the one hand, and a blind devotion to the supremacy of laws on the other, have created and upheld against all extraordinary interventions of God. The appearances of our globe are said to be utterly inexplicable upon any hypothesis which does not recognize the fact that the plan of creation was so framed from the beginning as to include, at successive periods, the direct agency of the Deity. The earth proclaims, from her hills and dales, her rocks, monntains, and caverns, that she was not originally made and placed in subjection to laws which themselves have subsequently brought her to her present posture. She has not developed herself into her present torin, por peopled herself with her present inhabitants. That science which, at its early dawn, was bailed as the handmaid of infidelity and skepticism, and which may yet have a controversy with the records of our faith not entirely adjusted, has turned the whole strength of its resources against the fundamental principle of rationalism. It has broken the charm which our limited experience had made so powerful against miracles, and has presented the physical government of God in a light which positively turns analogy in favour of the supernatural. The geologist begins with miracles; every epoch in his sciente repeats the number, and the whole earth to his mind is vocal with the name. He finds their history wherever he turns, and he would as soon think of doubting the testimony of sense as
the inference which the phenomena bear upon their face. Future generations will wonder that in the nineteenth century men gravely disputed whether God could interpose, in the direct exercise of His power, in the world He has made. The miracle, a century hence, will be made as credible as any common fact. Let the earth be explored ; let its physical history be traced, and a mighty voice will come to us, from the tombs of its perished races, testifying, in a thousand instances, to the miraculous hand of God. Geology and the Bible most kiss and embrace each other, and this youngest daughter of science, will be found, like the eastern magi, bringing her votive offerings to the cradle of the Prince of peace. The earth can never turn traitor to its God, and its stones bave already begun to cry out against those who attempted to extract from them a lesson of infidelity or atheism.
ART. II.-A VINDICATION OF THE SCRIPTURAL MESSIANIC INTERPRE
TATION OF THE LIII. OF ISAIAH.
The 53d chapter of Isaiah, on which the whole doctrine of atone
ment is founded, and which is cornected with the preceding chapter, speaks of the captive Daughter of Zion; whereas the Temple stood in the age of Jesus. “ View of the famous Rabbi Isaac, and other Rabbins." The 53d chapter of Isaiah speaks of the prophet Jeremiah. Vier of Rabbi Saahdiah Gaon,' quoted by Aben Ezra, in his comment on Isaiah lii and liii. The 53d chapter of Isaiah speaks of king Josiah, 'view of. Abarbanel,' vide comment. in Esaiam.
Before we proceed to show satisfactorily, that these interpretations are a complete departure from the strict and true meaning of this prophecy, and from the received opinions of the ancient Israelites, and were invented merely for a controversial purpose; and that in the Jewish non-controversial books, this prophecy is exclusively applied to the Messiah, it may be profitable to take a bird's-eye view of the whole book, as also of its Inspired Author.
With a strong Evangelical Faith, and a full and affectionate confidence in the certainty of those things which God has declared, Isaiah continued, without interruption, to discharge the office of a