Appendix

APPENDIX,

WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE LECTURE ON MIRACLES—LECTURE V.

In the delivery of these Lectures on the Evidences of Christianity, there was a very important point which, if not wholly passed over, was not discussed with the fullness which the nature of the subject demanded. Of this I was myself deeply sensible when the Lectures were composed, and of this I presume my hearers were painfully sensible at the time when they were delivered. I can not doubt that there were persons in the audience who would have been desirous of asking me questions, as I should have been if I had been listening to a course of Lectures on that subject, and I can not deny that questions might have been easily proposed which I could not have answered, and it may have excited some surprise that inquiries which could have been so easily made, and which would have seemed to be so obviously proper, were not more fully considered in the Lectures. These inquiries might have been made by two classes of persons, and if proposed by both or by either, they would seem to be such as to have a claim to a candid answer. (a) It is probable that they may have occurred to the theological students for whom the Lectures were especially prepared, and who might feel that they would be likely to encounter the very difficulties involved in such inquiries in the work of the ministry, and who might have desired to be furnished with the means of allaying doubts which perhaps were suggested by the Lectures, and of removing difficulties which they could easily foresee they would be likely to meet in their professional life; and (A) they are inquiries which would have been made by those who are not believers in the truth of Christianity, if such were present, and who might have found a secret satisfaction in the fact that the difficulties were not met, and that the questions which they would have asked were not solved, and in the belief that the fact that they were not adverted to was, in their apprehension, a tacit confession on the part of the lecturer that the difficulties could not be removed.

These difficulties pertained especially to the subject of miracles—the subject particularly discussed in the fifth Lecture, though often alluded to in the other Lectures.

The difficulty would be expressed, in few words, in the following questions : What evidence is there in favor of the miracles of the Bible stronger than that which can be alleged for witchcraft, necromancy, sorcery, divination, and demonology; for the miracles practiced among the heathen; for the miracles of the early Christian Church subsequent to the time of the apostles, and for the miracles of the Roman Catholic communion? Since, in the progress of the world; in the diffusion of science; in the advances of civilization; in the careful examination of historical testimony, the world has been disabused of belief in these things, or is tending to uersal skepticism in regard to them, why should not the same result be reached in regard to the alleged miracles of the Bible, and to all that is claimed there to be supernatural? In other words, why should not the principles of Rationalism, which have been made so effective in relieving the world of superstition, and of unfounded claims to the supernatural, be applied to that which is claimed in the Bible to be supernatural, and the race be effectually delivered from all that remains that is supposed to be a departure from the established laws of nature ?

For the omission in not considering this inquiry there were two reasons:

One was the difficulty of prosecuting the inquiry in a course of Lectures designed to be in their main features of a popular character, in such a manner as to make it interesting to the audience that was to be addressed. The course of Lectures, by the terms of the foundation, was, indeed, designed mainly to be for the benefit of the students of the seminary, and the course prescribed was to be on such subjects as would come before them in their preparation for the ministry, and in this view the points now adverted to would have been eminently appropriate, difficult as it might have been to make the discussion interesting in a public Lecture; but the course was also designed to be, in some measure, a connecting link between the seminary and the public, and it was contemplated that the Lectures should be of such a character as would be interesting to a popular audience, and it would have been difficult to present an argument on these points which would be interesting to such an audience. An argument on the subject, to be of value, must be somewhat abstruse. Such an argument could not have been compressed into a single Lecture, and could not have been appended to the Lecture devoted to the subject of miracles, without protracting it to a length that would Jiave Violated all the rules of propriety. It might have been difficult, moreover, before such an audience, to present the subject in such a manner as not to create more doubts than would have been allayed, and the subject, therefore, was passed over in silence.

The other reason for the omission was, that if the questions had been proposed to me, I should have been constrained to admit that there were difficulties on the subject which I could not then solve.

In reference to these difficulties I made the following remarks in the course of the Lecture on Miracles:

"I confess that of all ^he questions ever asked on the subject of miracles, this is the most perplexing and the most difficult to answer. It is rather to be wondered at that it has not been pressed with more zeal by those who deny the reality of miracles, and that they have placed their objections so extensively on other grounds. From the fact that it is so seldom referred to by skeptics, it is manifest that it does not strike them as it strikes me, and that they, from some cause, are not disposed to use it as I would, if I had no faith in miracles; and perhaps it may savor more of apparent candor than of wise prudence for a believer in the reality of miracles even to make the suggestion.

" The argument might be made very strong, and if there were time to present it here, it might be done in such a manner that it might seem, at least, to be impossible to meet and refute it."*

I might, indeed, have taken refuge from the difficulties adverted to under the plea that on any subject questions may be asked which can not, in the present state of human knowledge, and perhaps with the limited capacities of the human mind, be answered; that it is no certain evidence of the falseness of an opinion, or the weakness of an argument, that such questions can be asked; and that if we were to pause in our investigations of truth at the exact point where a question might be asked which we could not answer, the range of our inquiries would be narrowed down to the smallest conceivable dimensions. Such an answer, however, would not have satisfied an inquirer, and the impression could scarcely have been avoided in such an answer that there was a consciousness that there was something in the question which could not be answered; for while it would be admitted by all persons qualified to judge in such inquiries that questions may be asked on any subject which no one can answer, it must be admitted that questions may be asked on most subjects which, if not answered, will be fatal to an argument. In such a case as that before us, under such circumstances, the inference would be likely to be drawn that this was one of those subjects.

The argument on miracles, therefore, would not be complete if, after having referred so often in the Lecture to this as constituting perhaps the most important point in the evidences of Christianity in the nine* Page 161.

teenth century, and after having, perhaps, suggested doubts which might not have occurred to others, I should allow the Lectures to go forth in a volume, perhaps much beyond the circle of those who heard them, without an attempt, at least, to solve the difficulty, though in doing it I may have occasion on some points to avail myself of the admission that there are difficulties which I can not solve, and that questions may be asked on this subject, as on any other, which we might be compelled to admit that we couldjnot answer.

The point of difficulty, and the question to be solved, may be made apparent by a few remarks:

(a) In a course of Lectures on the Evidences of Christianity in the Nineteenth Century, it was impossible not to advert to the great changes which have occurred in the opinions of the world on the subject of the supernatural and the marvelous in the course of eighteen hundred years—in other words, to the progress of " Rationalism" in that long period. The fact of such a change is apparent on the face of history, and the progress of" Rationalism" becomes a very important part of history, alike in secular and sacred matters, for the principles of Rationalism have been applied as fearlessly to Grecian records and to Roman history as to the Bible. Eighteen hundred years ago there were numerous subjects then supposed to pertain to the region of the supernatural which are now well understood to be connected with the operation of the regular laws of nature, as eclipses, meteors, comets, storms, diseases; and there were numerous other subjects then supposed to be connected with the supernatural, as divination, necromancy, witchcraft, and sorcery, which have been detached from the faith of mankind, and which have taken their place with myths and legends. So far as the facts in regard to this change of opinion are concerned, and so far, in the main, as the causes of this change are concerned, the history has been given to the world in our own time in a work of great learning, with great attractiveness of style, and with a full acquaintance with the subject—a work which leaves nothing in regard to the history of this change to be desired.* It was impossible, in a course of Lectures on the Evidences of Christianity in the Nineteenth Century, not to advert to this history, and not to inquire into the bearing of this change in the sentiments of mankind on the evidences of the miraculous and the supernatural in the Bible. The history of this change I have, therefore, more than once adverted to. The fact of the change can not be called in question; its tendency, as relating to the question of the evidences of revealed religion, is one of the most important inquiries now before the Church and the world.

* History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of nationalism in Europe, by W. B. H. Lecky, M.A., in 2 vols. N. York: D. Appleton and Co., 1866.

(6) The effect of this change, as related to the subjects discussed in these Lectures, are such as the following:

1. A great number of things once regarded as matters of true history are now reduced to the place of legends, myths, fables. One has only to look into Grote's History of Greece, or into Niebuhr's History of Home, or indeed into any history that professes to trace events in the past to their origin, to see, if the expression may be allowed, as derived from the classic writings, that the " god Terminus" has removed the point where authentic history commences very far within what was once regarded as the true boundary, and that the intelligible and reliable accounts of the affairs of the world have their beginning very far within what was once regarded as the proper point from which to reckon the progress of human affairs. It is a very natural inquiry whether the same process of elimination may not properly be applied to the Bible, as well as to the Egyptian, Persian, Greek, and Roman histories.

2. Many things once regarded as supernatural and miraculous, as I have more than once observed, have been reduced to the operation of the regular and established laws of nature. Portents, wonders, comets, eclipses, meteors, diseases, have been taken out of the region of the supernatural, and placed under the rules of natural science, and now constitute subjects of regular instructions in the schools, instead of being regarded with superstitious dread, or made subjects by which one class of men can secure an ascendency over another, or by which the errors and impositions of false religions, under the control of a priesthood, can be kept up in the world. It is a fair question, and one which this age is asking, whether the same principles of explanation can not be applied to all those cases recorded in the Bible which have been commonly relied on as miracles.

3. The world has been disabused, so far as sound science has gone, of its belief in divination, necromancy, demonology, witchcraft, sorcery, and the region of the supernatural has been narrowed to an extent which we can not well estimate by the withdrawal of these things from the causes which affect the progress of human affairs and the destiny of mankind. It is a question which we can not avoid in contemplating this course of things, whether the wonders of the Bible can not be reduced to the same class of events, and may not be explained as those ancient wonders that exerted so much influence on mankind may now be explained, and take their places with the things that derived their influence from the fears, the credulity, and the superstitions of the early ages of the world.

4. There has been a great change on the subject of faith in the miracles in the early Christian Church subsequent to the time of the apostles. If a disbelief in those miracles is not absolutely uersal, yet it may be said that it is rapidly becoming so, and that that result is morally certain. For a long time the faith in those miracles was undoubted, and, even among Protestants, the question was not whether such miracles were actually wrought, but at what time they ceased. So uersal was the belief in those miracles, that even Mr. Locke consulted Sir Isaac Newton on the question, not whether such miracles were wrought, but at what time they ceased. In one of the letters of Sir Isaac Newton to Mr. Locke there is a somewhat hesitating passage on this subject: "Miracles," says he, "of good credit continued in the Church for about two or three hundred years. Gregorius Thaumaturgus had his name from thence, and was one of the latest who was eminent for that gift; but of their number and frequence I am not able to give you a just account. The history of those ages is very imperfect."—Brewster's Life of Newton, p. 275. The prevalent belief on this subject among the Christian "fathers," to which I may have occasion to advert again, may be learned from St. Augustine, the ablest and most clear-headed of those fathers, and a man of undoubted piety. He solemnly asserts that in his own diocese of Hippo, in the space of two years, no less than seventy miracles had been wrought by the body of St. Stephen, and that in the neighboring province of Calama, where the relic had previously been, the number was incomparably greater. He gives a catalogue of what he deems undoubted miracles, which he says he had selected from a multitude so great that volumes would be required to relate them all. In that catalogue there are no less than five cases of restoration from the dead. —He Civitat. Dei, lib. xxii., c. 8. See, also, Sermons of Augustine (Serm. 28G, § 4); and his Confessions.—B. ix., vii., p. 1G. Since the time of Middleton, and his attack on the veracity of the fathers,* the faith in these early miracles of the Christian Church has to a great extent died away, and the question is an obvious one why the same reasoning which has destroyed the faith of mankind in those miracles should not also be applied to the miracles of the Bible ?

5. The belief in the reality of the Roman Catholic miracles, once so uersal in Europe, and made so extensively the basis in maintaining that religion in those countries where it is established, and of extending it among the heathen, has, in the more enlightened and scientific portions of the world, almost wholly passed away. Of course, no such faith is entertained by any of the Protestant nations. No such faith is entertained by scientific men as such. To a great extent, also, there

* A Free Inquiry into the Miraculous Powers which are snpposed to have subsisted in the Christian Church from the Earliest Ages through several successive Centuries, by Conifers Middleton, D.D. London, 1749.

is a general incredulity on the subject among the most intelligent and scientific of the Koman Catholics themselves. On this point, Mr. Lecky, in remarking on the former belief in the supernatural in Europe, makes the following remarks: " All this has now passed away. It has passed away, not only in lands where Protestantism is triumphant, but also in those where the Roman Catholic faith is still acknowledged, and where the mediaeval saints are still venerated. St. Januarius, it is true, continues to liquefy at Naples, and the pastorals of French bishops occasionally relate apparitions of the Virgin among very ignorant and superstitious peasants; but the implicit, indiscriminating acquiescence with which such narratives were once received has long since been replaced by a derisive incredulity. Those who know the tone that is habitually adopted on these subjects by the converted in Roman Catholic countries will admit that, so far from being a subject of triumphant exultation, the very few modern miracles which are related are every where regarded as a scandal, a stumblingblock, and a difficulty. Most educated persons speak of them with undisguised scorn and incredulity; some attempt to evade or explain them away by a natural hypothesis; a very few faintly and apologetically defend them. Nor can it be said that what is manifested is merely a desire for a more minute and accurate examination of the evidence by which they are supported. On the contrary, it will, I think, be admitted that these alleged miracles are commonly rejected with an assurance that is as peremptory and unreasoning as that with which they would have been once received. Nothing can be more rare than a serious examination, by those who disbelieve them, of the testimony on which they rest. They are repudiated, not because they are unsupported, but because they are miraculous. Men are prepared to admit almost any conceivable occurrence of natural improbabilities rather than resort to the hypothesis of supernatural interferences; and this spirit is exhibited not merely by open skeptics, but by men who are sincere, though perhaps not very fervent believers in their church." —History of Rationalism, vol. i., p. 159,160.

The general result of this state of things, or the prevalent feeling on the subject, may be stated in the words of Lecky: " If we put aside the clergy, and those who are most immediately under their influence, we find that this habit of mind is the invariable concomitant of education, and is the especial characteristic of those persons whose intellectual sympathies are most extended, and who therefore represent most faithfully the various intellectual influences of their time." " All history shows that, in exact proportion as nations advance in civilization, the accounts of miracles taking place among them become rarer and rarer, until at last they entirely cease." " The plain fact is, that the

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progress of civilization produces invariably a certain tone and habit of thought which makes men recoil from miraculous narratives with an instinctive and immediate repugnance, as though they were essentially incredible, independently of any definite arguments, and in spite of dogmatic teaching."—Ibid, p. 161, 1G2. To what this change may tend may be illustrated by a remark of the Rev. Frederick Temple, D.D., Head-master of Rugby School, in a sermon before the Uersity of Oxford on " The present relations of Science to religion"—a remark that may, without impropriety, be regarded as expressing the sentiments or the fears of many in the Church. He says, " The student of science is learning to look upon fixed laws as uersal, and many of the old arguments which science once supplied to religion are in consequence rapidly disappearing. How strikingly altered is our view from that of a few centuries ago is shown by the fact that the miracles recorded in the Bible, which once were looked on as the bulwarks of the faith, are now felt by very many to be difficulties in their way; and commentators endeavor to represent them, not as mere interferences with the laws of nature, but as the natural action of still higher laws belonging to a world whose phenomena are only half revealed to us. It is evident that this change in science necessitates a change in its relation to faith. If law be either almost or altogether uersal, we must look for the finger of God in that law—we must expect to find him manifesting his love, his wisdom, his infinity, not in individual acts of will, but in a perfection of legislation rendering all individual action needless; we must find his providence in that perfect adaptation of all the parts of the machine to one another which shall have the effect of tender care, though it proceed by an invariable action."—Recent Inquiries in Theology, p. 489.

The great question now, as I stated in the Lecture on Miracles—the great question of our age in regard to religion, and not less important in regard to science, is, How far this skepticism is to extend? What is its proper limit ? Is the principle to become so uersal as to include all the facts claiming to be of a supernatural nature which have actually occurred, or which will occur in our world ? Is it to embrace the whole region of the miraculous and the supernatural, so as to exclude the idea of any direct agency on the part of God, any phenomena—any changes—the antecedents in which are only the divine will and the divine power ? So it is maintained by Rationalists; such, too, is the practical belief of many men whose lives are devoted to science.

The progress of things, the influences of civilization, the discoveries of science in regard to physical laws, have "exorcised" the world, if the expression may be allowed, in regard to sorcery, witchcraft, magic, necromancy, portents and wonders in eclipses, storms, and earthquakes; are these to "exorcise" the world in regard to mesmerism, spiritualism, spirit-rapping, and table-moving; and are they also to " exorcise" it in regard to the belief that Joshua caused the sun to "stand still upon Gibeon,"and the moon "in the valley of Ajalon;" to the stilling of the tempest on the Sea of Tiberias; to the healing of the lame man at the pool of Bethesda; to the opening of the eyes of Bartimeus; to the raising of Lazarus from the grave, and to the resurrection of the Kedeemer himself?

The material inquiry is, What stronger historical evidence is there of the truth of the miracles of the Bible than of the alleged facts respecting witchcraft, sorcery, divination, and necromancy; the alleged marvels in the early history of the world—as the prodigies which, according to Livy, attended the founding of Bome; the alleged miracles in the Christian Church after the death of the apostles; and the alleged miracles of the mediaeval ages, and of the Catholic Church in modern times ? May not the same process of explanation by which the world has been disabused of faith in these things be legitimately applied to the Bible ? Skeptics and Bationalists claim that it may be so, and should be so; the existence of the Christian religion in the world depends on making out the contrary.

The proper points of inquiry, therefore, in the solution of the question would be,

I. The causes which have led to the change in the opinions of the world in regard to the marvelous; and,

II. The question whether the miracles of the Bible can not be explained in the same manner, and whether they may not also take their place with the illusions and deceptions of former ages.

These inquiries manifestly cover the whole ground.

I. The causes which have led to these changes in the opinions of the world in regard to the marvelous.

Those causes are now well understood, and may be referred to in few words.

(1.) The reduction of events which were supposed to be supernatural to the operation of natural laws. In this solution the facts are, of course, admitted, and the effects produced by those facts on the minds of men are admitted also. The explanation is sought in laws that are now well understood, and that imply nothing that is supernatural. Thus, as I have before remarked, eclipses, comets, meteors, that were regarded as marvelous and supernatural in the early periods of the world, indicating by their appearing the pleasure or the displeasure, the favor or the wrath of the gods, or heralding important events, are now reduced to laws that are as regular and as well understood as the ordinary laws of nature, and excite no more alarm or apprehension than the rising or the setting of the sun and the stars.

Very many things are thus withdrawn from the region of the marvelous, and now take their places in the ordinary course of events. The world no longer believes that the harvest-fields are under the control of Ceres; that Neptune rules on the sea; that ./Eolus controls the winds; that Dryads and Fawns preside in the groves; or that the healing properties of medicine are to be traced to the god ^Esculapius — and the woods, and the groves, and the lakes are deserted; the temples of Ceres, and Neptune, and Bacchus, and ^Esculapius are no longer crowded by worshipers, and more substantial and permanent honors are rendered to scientific men who have discovered the laws by which the phenomena are explained than were rendered to the imaginary divinities.

Science, then, just in proportion as it has made progress in the world, has contributed to this change of opinion; has relieved the world of the fears attendant on superstition; and has contributed, if not always to the introduction and establishment of true religion, at least to the removal of superstition and idolatry. The mythology of Greece can never be restored; the Parthenon can never be rebuilt; the Pantheon can never be again a temple for heathen gods and heathen worship.

(2.) The progress of civilization may be referred to as a second cause of this change. This, indeed, would include, in some measure, that which has above been adverted to, the progress of science, for that enters, of course, largely into the progress of civilization. The point to be now adverted to is that which has been dwelt upon so much by Lecky, and which springs from the nature of the case, that, up to a certain period at least, in proportion as society advances in civilization, the belief in the marvelous disappears, and that the very progress of civilization tends to prepare the minds of men to disbelieve in the supernatural altogether, or leads to Rationalism—to Rationalism in a proper use of that word; to "Rationalism," in fact, in the sense in which that word is commonly employed.

And yet, with all the concessions which should be made on that point, it would be a fair inquiry how far the mere progress of civilization would in fact conduct the human mind, or what, in this respect, would be its legitimate influence on the world. It could not fail to be noticed in such an inquiry that mere civilization has never destroyed the love of the marvelous and the belief in the supernatural; that the belief of the marvelous and the supernatural prevailed under the highest forms of civilization in Greece and Rome; that it prevails in the most civilized nations of the world at this day; and that, if one form of belief in the supernatural is banished to any extent from the minds of men by an advanced civilization, another form may take its place not more reconcilable with the sober and chastened laws of science. It can not be forgotten that in this age—an age which we regard as more civilized than any past period, certainly as more civilized than the ages in which a belief in necromancy, divination, and witchcraft prevailed, and, in the apprehension of many in this age, more civilized and advanced than the ages when there was a general faith in miracles, there is a wide-spread belief in mesmerism, in spirit-rapping, in table-turning, and in "spiritualism" —in actual converse with, and communication with, the spirits of departed men, and that this belief is by no means confined to those who lay no claims to a refined civilization, or who are of the most humble walks of life. Scientific men; literary men of no mean name—judges, physicians, lawyers, and " philosophers," are found in the class of those who believe in these marvels; and perhaps the very home of this faith may be found in the most enlightened cities of our own country, in the very vicinity of the most celebrated seats of learning, or in the most refined walks of life.* Yet, while these things arc so, it can not be doubted that the advancing civilization of the world has had an important influence in narrowing the circle of the supernatural and the marvelous, nor that there is a tendency in such civilization to suggest the inquiry whether a perfect civilization would not remove all traces of the miraculous and the marvelous from the world.

(3.) In connection with this, it is to be observed that there has been a course of events in the world that has tended to disabuse mankind of unfounded claims to a favored and peculiar acquaintance with the secrets of nature, to a compact with powerful spiritual beings, to intercourse with the spirits of the departed, and to the special favor of God bestowed on those who were supposed to be remarkable for their piety —the " saints," and this fact has silently and imperceptibly operated to lead men to doubt the reality of any direct divine interposition in human affairs.

(a) The change in the world on the subject of witchcraft has tended to produce this. Formerly the belief in witchcraft was not less uersal than the belief in miracles, and the belief was sustained by what

* It can not be improper to refer to the fact that the inventor of the compound blow-pipe in chemistry was a firm believer in mesmerism, spiritualism, spirit-rapping, and table-turning, and that he employed no small part of the leisure which he enjoyed in his later years in lecturing on these subjects; in endeavoring to give a scientific form to these disclosures; and in the mechanical effort to construct a machine, with an appropriate dial, by which the presence of the supernatural agency could be indicated—somewhat on the principle of the magnetic telegraph.

was regarded as the highest possible evidence. Faith in that has, to a great extent, passed away, and the question which men now ask is whether the belief in miracles is any better sustained.

(6) The belief in magic was once as uersal as the belief in miracles, and the facts were supposed to be sustained by irrefragable evidence. That belief has also passed away. It has been removed partly by the application of science to the real explanation of the facts, and partly by the knowledge that the alleged facts were merely the results of cunning and imposture, and men, in like manner, ask the question whether the same solution is not to be applied to the whole subject of miracles.

(c) Faith in necromancy, sorcery, and divination has passed away. The world has come to believe that all the facts that were connected with such claims are to be traced to a hallucination of the mind, or to well-executed imposture, and they ask whether the same solution may not be applied to all pretended miracles.

(d) The faith of the world in regard to the reappearance of the dead, and to the visitation of the gods to earth, has passed away, and men have learned to ask whether the same result is not to follow in regard to all the divine manifestations to our world, and to the alleged resurrection of Lazarus and of Christ.

(«) The belief in the early miracles of the Christian Church subsequently to the time of the apostles has passed away, and men have learned to ask significantly what should make a difference between those miracles and the miracles of the New Testament.

(/) Faith in the miracles of the Roman Catholic Church exists nowhere outside of that communion, and to a very limited extent, apart from the priesthood, within, and the world is beginning to ask why the miracles of the Bible should not share the same fate.

Those who defend the miracles of the Bible, it is said, admit the fact that the pretended miracles of the Egyptians in the time of Moses were false; that the miracles of the early Christian Church were false; that the miracles of the Catholic Church are false—that, in fact, men have often been imposed upon in the belief of such wonders, and they ask why should not the principles which they apply so unsparingly to these pretended wonders be applied to all claims of miraculous powers.

(<?) There has been, at the same time, a vast decline of priestly power and influence tending to the same result. The world has come to believe that alike among the heathen, and in the early Christian Church, and in the Roman Catholic communion, the belief in miracles has been kept up, in a good measure, by the influence and the arts of the priesthood. Outside of the Catholic Church that belief is now uersal in regard to the pretended miracles in that Church, and the belief that the credit of the miracles in the early Church was to be traced to priestly power has become nearly uersal.

Priestly power, as such, is fast dying away in the world—alike among the heathen, in the Roman Catholic portion of the world, in the Greek Church, and in the Protestant world. In proportion as science advances, and the world becomes acquainted with the arts which have so often characterized the priesthood of all religions, the mere power of a priesthood as such dies away. The power bf influencing men by forms and ceremonies; by processions and benedictions ; by splendid vestments and pomp; by the belief that truth flows only from the lips of an anointed priesthood and grace from their hands, dies out among men, and they are led to ask, since so much of religion has undeniably owed its power to the unfounded claims of a priesthood, whether the whole of it can not be resolved into such a belief.

It may be true, indeed, that the real influence of ministers of religion is advancing in other forms, and is keeping pace with the progress of the world, but it is not as priests, or in virtue of any supposed hereditary holiness, or of any superiority over other men as intrusted with the power of pardoning sin, or communicating grace, or delivering dogmas to mankind to be received on their authority, but it is as men who are abreast of their age in intelligence, as entitled to confidence from their moral worth, and to respect for their learning. There is a foundation in the human heart for respect and honor toward the ministers of religion when they rely for their influence on these things; all other respect for them is fast dying away, and with the decline of that profound reverence for a priesthood that characterizes this age as distinguished from former ages, there has been a corresponding decline on the whole subject of faith in the supernatural and the marvelous. Men refuse to embrace doctrines and dogmas in religion on different grounds from those on which they embrace truth on other subjects, not by a reference to miracles, and signs, and wonders, but as founded on reason, and as commending itself to their sober sense of what is right and true.

Perhaps the present state of the world on this subject, as indicating an existing state of mind, can not be better described than in the following passage from the writer to whom I have so often referred:

" Generation after generation the province of the miraculous has contracted, and the circle of skepticism has expanded. Of the two great divisions of these events, one has completely perished. Witchcraft, and diabolical possession, and diabolical disease have long since passed into the region of fables. To disbelieve them was at first the eccentricity of a few isolated thinkers; it was then the distinction of the educated classes in the most advanced nations; it is now the common sentiment of all classes in all countries in Europe. The countless miracles that were once associated with every holy relic and with every village shrine have rapidly and silently disappeared. Year by year the incredulity became more manifest, even when the theological profession was unchanged. Their nunfbers continually lessened, until they at last almost ceased, and any attempt to revive them has been treated with a general and undisguised contempt. The miracles of the fathers are passed over with an incredulous scorn or with a significant silence. The rationalistic spirit has even attempted to explain away those which are recorded in Scripture, and it has materially altered their position in the systems of theology. In all countries, in all churches, in all parties, among men of every variety of character and opinion, we have found the tendency existing. In each nation its development has been a measure of intellectual activity, and has passed in regular course through the different strata of society. During the last century it has advanced with a vastly accelerated rapidity; the old lines of demarkation have been every where obscured, and the spirit of Rationalism has become the great centre to which the intellect of Europe is manifestly tending. If we trace the progress of the movement from its origin to the present day, we find that it has completely altered the whole aspect and complexion of religion. When it began, Christianity was regarded as a system entirely beyond the range and scope of human reason; it was impious to question ; it was impious to examine; it was impious to discriminate. On the other hand, it was visibly instinct with the supernatural. Miracles of every order and degree of magnitude were flashing forth incessantly from all its parts. They excited no skepticism and no surprise. The miraculous element pervaded all literature, explained all difficulties, consecrated all doctrines. Every unusual phenomenon was immediately referred to a supernatural agency, not because there was a passion for the improbable, but because such an explanation seemed far more simple and easy of belief than the obscure theories of science.

" In the present day, Christianity is regarded as a system which courts the strictest investigation, and which, among many other functions, was designed to vivify and stimulate all the energies of man. The idea of the miraculous, which a superficial observer might have once deemed its most prominent characteristic, has been driven from almost all its intrenchments, and now quivers faintly and feebly through the mists of eighteen hundred years.'"*

II. Such, then, being the facts in regard to the change of belief in * Lecky, History of Rationalism, vol. i., p. 194,1C5.

the world on the subject of the marvelous and the supernatural, and such being the causes by which this change is to be explained, the inquiry meets us whether the miracles of the Bible can not be explained in the same manner, and whether they may not in like manner take their place with the illusions and deceptions of former ages. It is clear that if they can thus be explained, and if there is no stronger historical evidence in their favor than could be adduced. for those things which have been referred to, they will soon, in the estimation of mankind, take the same place, and faith in the supernatural will wholly cease among men. Whether they can thus be explained is the point now to be considered. If they can not thus be explained, then the evidence commonly relied on for their support will be unaffected by the changes which have occurred on other subjects, and will remain in all the force attached to undisputed evidence on other well-attested historical facts in the past.

(1.) The miracles of the Bible can not be explained by the operation of natural laws, or, in other words, can not be brought within the range of natural laws. I mean by this, that, if the facts are admitted, there are no powers of nature known to man that would explain or account for them; that is, they could not be arranged and classified under any of the natural sciences. If Lazarus was raised from the grave; if Christ rose from the dead; if the blind were restored to sight by a word or a touch, there are no laws of science—chemistry, natural philosophy, galvanism, electricity, or magnetism to which such facts can be shown to belong; there is no power in connection with those sciences to produce such effects now; there are no principles suggested by those sciences which will explain them.

On this point I made the following remarks in the Lecture on Miracles, which it seems necessary to repeat here, in order that a connected view may be taken of the subject:

Science has not advanced so far as to explain the miracles of the New Testament on any known principles, as it has in these matters, nor has it made any approximation to it. Nay, just so far as it has gone it has demonstrated that those miracles can not be explained on any principles known, or Jikely to be known, to science—gravitation, attraction, repulsion, electricity, galvanism, or the healing properties of vegetables or minerals. The chemist does not open the eyes of the blind by a touch; he does not heal the sick by a word; he does not raise the dead by the blow-pipe or by galvanism. In the language of Mr. Mansel, '' The advance of physical science tends to strengthen rather than to weaken our conviction of the supernatural character of the Christian miracles. In whatever proportion our knowledge of phvsical causation is limited, and the number of unknown natural ngents comparatively large, in the same proportion is the probability that some of these unknown causes, acting in some unknown manner, may have given rise to the alleged marvels. But this probability diminishes when each newly-discovered agent, as its properties become known, is shown to be inadequate to the production of the supposed effects, and as the residue of unknown causes, which might produce them, becomes smaller and smaller. We are told, indeed, that the ' inevitable progress of research must, within a longer or shorter period, unravel «11 that seems most marvelous ;'* but we may be permitted to doubt the relevancy of the remark to the present case, until it has been shown that the advance of science has in some degree enabled men to perform the miracles performed by Christ. When the inevitable progress of research shall have enabled men of modern times to give sight to the blind with a touch, to still tempests with a word, to raise the dead to life, to die themselves, and to rise again, we may allow that the same causes might possibly have been called into operation ten thousand years earlier by some great man in advance of his age. But, until this is done, the unraveling of the marvelous in other phenomena only serves to leave these works in their solitary grandeur, as wrought by the finger of God, unapproached and unapproachable by all the knowledge and all the power of man. The appearance of a comet or the fall of an aerolite may be reduced by the advance of science from a supposed supernatural to a natural occurrence, and this reduction furnishes a reasonable presumption that other phenomena of a like character will in time meet with a like explanation. But the reverse is the case with respect to those phenomena which are narrated as produced by personal agency. In proportion as the science of today surpasses that of former generations, so is the improbability that any man could have done in past times, by natural means, works which no skill of the present age is able to imitate. "t

In addition to these observations, I would now, for the farther illustration of the subject, make the following remarks :

(a) If the miracles of the New Testament were in themselves susceptible of explanation in this manner, it is plain that the authors of the Bible, or those who wrought the miracles, were not, in fact, so far in advance of their own age, or that they had no such knowledge of scientific principles—of the laws of nature—as to enable them to make use of this knowledge in working the alleged miracles. There were events in the Middle Ages, in connection with " magic," which seemed to the masses of men to be miracles; which surpassed all their power of producing or comprehending them; and which conveyed, designedly or undesignedly, to the multitudes the impression that those who * Essays and Reviews, p. 109. t Aids to Faith, p. 21, 22.

wrought them were in league with higher intelligences, or were endowed with supernatural powers. Those events are now susceptible of an easy and natural explanation, as has been shown amply by Sir David Brewster in his work on "Magic." Roger Bacon, for example, was so far in advance of his age in the sciences, that, on the ground of this, he might readily have obtained a reputation for being able to work miracles; and if we were to suppose that Roger Bacon, or any of his contemporaries, had the knowledge which is now possessed by those skilled in chemistry; or could have exhibited the wonderful and sudden transformations of matter now exhibited in the laboratory of the chemist; or that they had the power of multiplying copies of books, with the strictest exactness, almost in an instant; or that they could have multiplied accurate impressions of the human countenance, or of hills, and vales, and trees, and animals, by the action of light; or that they could have transmitted thought and language in a moment over hills and vales, across rivers and along the beds of oceans, it would have been easy for such men to have established the reputation of being workers of miracles. But, apart from all other considerations, now, the authors of the Bible had no such pretensions to knowledge in advance of their age. They were not in a land distinguished for science. They had received no scientific education. They had, so far as appears, no scientific genius. They had nothing which constitutes the " apparatus" of science now. All accounts agree in the fact that they were plain, unlettered men; nor does any thing which they ever said, or wrote, or did, indicate that they had any acquaintance whatever with even the very lowest rudiments of scientific knowledge.

(6) The principles of science can not be so applied as to explain the miracles of the New Testament. Science makes no approximation to an explanation.

This remark is especially true in regard to the resurrection of the dead, and is of special importance, because a single case of restoration to life settles the whole question. If Lazarus was raised from the dead, the Christian religion is from God. Science has settled the principle so that it is now an admitted axiom among all scientific men that the production of life is beyond the power of mere science. Whatever life may be, and whether it will ever be true that men will be able to explain and define what it is, it is reduced to a certainty that men, by the application of scientific principles, can not produce it. No approximation has been made to the power of causing it to exist where there has not been a germ or an ovum, or where it does not already exist, though suspended. Animalcules that seemed to have been dead for ages, and that may be dried and pounded, may be made to revive by the application of moisture ;• a grain of wheat that may have been hidden in the folds of an Egyptian mammy for three thousand years may be made to grow, but no power of man can originate life; none can cause it to exist again when it has become extinct. Until that is done, it may be regarded as settled that the miracles of the New Testament can not be explained by the application of the principles of science. If such a thing is claimed as possible, we may at least demand that the same thing should be done now by scientific men; for assuredly it can not be pretended that in true scientific knowledge the apostles were superior to the scientific men of this generation. If, therefore, it could be shown, as Renan supposed, that the healing of Peter's wife's mother could be explained by some power of mesmerism, yet we have a right, in order to set aside the evidence for the miracles of the New Testament, to demand that there shall be some unmistakable act of raising up the dead —where there is no doubt of the death—as in the case of Lazarus and the Savior; and, to make the argument complete, that it shall be done by a word—by some command which the scientific man has over the dead, and the grave, and the invisible world. As it is certain that men have never done this, and as it is certain that the scientific men of this age, or of future ages, will not even attempt this, it may be regarded as settled that the miracles of the New Testament can not be explained by the application of any principles of science, or can not be brought under the range of natural laws.

(2.) The miracles of the Bible can not be disposed of in the way in which the belief in witchcraft, necromancy, and sorcery has been. The explanation which has been applied to these things, and which has so entirely modified or revolutionized the faith of mankind on these subjects, can not be applied to the miracles of the Bible. In other words, we can not take the explanations; the course of reasoning ; the changes produced by civilization, and the results of calm and sober thinking on these subjects, by which so material a change has been produced in the faith of mankind in regard to these matters, and by the application of the same process reach the same results in respect to the miracles of the Bible.

This is a very material point in the argument; for if the reasoning which has changed the faith of the world in regard to the marvelous and the supernatural on these subjects is of sufficient force to change the faith of the world in all that is supernatural, including the miracles of the Bible as well as other things, then it is manifest that faith in miracles will soon occupy the same place as faith in witchcraft, and necromancy, and sorcery; and as it is now certain that the faith in witchcraft, necromancy, and sorcery which was once held in the world can not be restored in the present state of civilization, and still less under the advanced civilization to which the world is tending, so, if the arguments and explanations which have banished the belief in witchcraft from the world can be legitimately applied to the miracles of the Bible, it will follow that the world is tending rapidly and inevitably to the highest point of Rationalism, where all faith in the supernatural and the marvelous shall cease among men. That this result is desired by many there can be no doubt; that it is secretly believed by many that it will be so there can be as little doubt; and that the tendency of the statements on the causes which have led to the changes in the opinions of the world on these subjects, as they are found in the histories of Rationalism, is to lead to the apprehension that this will be so, there can be as little doubt. No man can rise up from a history of Rationalism, and of the changes which have occurred in regard to the belief of mankind in the marvelous, without asking the question whether the legitimate result of all this is not to remove all faith in the marvelous and the supernatural from the minds of men.

What, then, is witchcraft? What is sorcery, divination, necromancy ? By what means has the faith of mankind in these things been shaken ? Are the same processes of unbelief applicable to the miracles of the Bible ?

Witchcraft, divination, sorcery, necromancy, though they differ specifically from each other, yet so far partake of the same general nature that they can be grouped together, and they so far resemble each other, and so far depend on the same things, that the same explanation in regard to their origin, their prevalence, and their removal from the faith of mankind will be found applicable to them all. It would be impossible that one should retain its hold on the faith of mankind if all the others, or any of the others, should be proved to be a delusion and an imposture. The question is whether the miracles of the Bible will share the same destiny.

I have stated the difficulty on this subject in the Lecture on Miracles (p. 161-165), and perhaps so stated it as to have led to the inquiry—perhaps a painful inquiry—on the minds of some, whether all that is said there might not also be said about miracles. As there can be no desire of concealment in a candid inquiry after truth on any subject, and as it is important to have the difficulty fairly before the mind, I shall copy here what was said on the subject in the Lecture.

A more material and important question still is, Whether there is any stronger evidence in favor of miracles than there is in favor of witchcraft, of sorcery, of the reappearance of the dead, of ghosts, of apparitions ? Is not the evidence in favor of these as strong as any that can be adduced in favor of miracles? Have not these things been matters of uersal belief? In what respects is the evidence in favor of the miracles of the Bible stronger than that which can be adduced in favor of witchcraft and sorcery? Does it differ in nature and in degree; and if it differs, is it not in favor of witchcraft and sorcery ? Has not the evidence in favor of the latter been derived from as competent and credible witnesses ? Has it not been brought to us from those who saw the facts alleged ? Has it not been subjected to a close scrutiny in courts of justice—to cross-examinations—to tortures ? Has it not convinced those of highest legal attainments; those accustomed to sift testimony; those who understood the true principles of evidence? Has not the evidence in favor of witchcraft and sorcery had, what the evidence in favor of miracles has not had, the advantage of strict judicial investigation, and been subjected to trial, where evidence should be, before courts of law ? Have not the most eminent judges in the most civilized and enlightened courts of Europe and America admitted the force of such evidence, and on the ground of it committed great numbers of innocent persons to the gallows or to the stake ?

An extract or two from Lecky, in his History of Rationalism in Europe, will show the nature of the difficulty and the force of the objection, though the remarks made by him are in no way designed to support the cause of infidelity: "Por more than fifteen hundred years it was uersally believed that the Bible established, in the clearest manner, the reality of the crime [of witchcraft], and that an amount of evidence, so varied and so ample as to preclude the very possibility of doubt, attested its continuance and its prevalence. The clergy denounced it with all the emphasis of authority. The legislators of almost every land enacted laws for its punishment. Acute judges, whose lives were spent in sifting evidence, investigated the question on countless occasions, and condemned the accused. Tens of thousands of victims perished by the most agonizing and protracted torments without exciting the faintest compassion. Nations that were completely separated by position, by interests, and by character, on this one question were united. In almost every province of Germany, but especially in those where clerical influence predominated, the persecution raged with fearful intensity. Seven thousand victims are said to have been burned at Treves, six hundred by the single Bishop of Bamberg, and eight hundred in a single year in the bishopric of Wurtzburg. In France, decrees were passed on the subject by the Parliament of Paris, Toulouse, Bordeaux, llheims, Rouen, Dijon, and Rennes, and they were all followed by a harvest of blood. At Toulouse, the seat of the Inquisition, four hundred persons perished for sorcery at a single execution, and fifty at Donay in a single year. Remy, a judge of Nancy, boasted that he had put to death eight hundred witches in sixteen years. The executions that took place at Paris in a few months were, in the emphatic words of an old writer,' almost infinite.' The fugitives who escaped to Spain were there seized and burned by the Inquisition. In Italy a thousand persons were executed in a single year in the province of Como; in the other parts of the country the severity of the inquisitors at last created an absolute rebellion. In Geneva five hundred alleged witches were executed in three months; forty-eight were burned at Constance or Ravensburg, and eighty in the little tpwn of Valery, in Savoy. The Church of Rome proclaimed in every way that was in her power the reality and the continued existence of the crime."

The writer from whom I have made this extract adds: "It is, I ' think, difficult to examine the subject with impartiality, without coming to the conclusion that the historical evidence establishing the reality of witchcraft is so vast and so varied that it is impossible to disbelieve it without what on other subjects we should deem the most extraordinary rashness. The defenders of the belief, who were often men of great and distinguished talent, maintained that there was no fact in all history more fully attested, and that to reject it would be to strike at the root of all historical evidence of the miraculous. The subject was examined in tens of thousands of cases, in almost every country of Europe, by tribunals which included the acutest lawyers and ecclesiastics of the age on the scene at the time when the alleged facts had taken place, and with the assistance of innumerable sworn witnesses. The judges had no motive whatever to desire the condemnation of the accused; and as conviction would be followed by a fearful death, they had the strongest motives to exercise their power with caution and deliberation. In our day it may be said with confidence that it would be altogether impossible for such an amount of evidence to accumulate round a conception which had no basis in fact. If we considered witchcraft probable, a hundredth part of the evidence we possess would have placed it beyond the region of doubt. If it were a natural, but a very improbable fact, our reluctance to believe it would have been completely stifled by the multiplicity of the proofs."*

In reference to this point, I now submit the following remarks: (a) Witchcraft, sorcery, divination, necromancy, all depend essentially on one idea—the idea of a compact with created spirits; not ivith God. The idea is always that of a compact, of an understanding, or of an alliance for certain purposes, and the accomplishing of * See Lecbj, History of Rationalism in Europe, vol. i., p. 28, 34, 30, 37, 3S, 39.

certain things to which the unaided human powers are inadequate, but whick may be quite within the range of the power of such invisible beings. Thus, in necromancy, the foundation of all that^is implied in it is a desire—that desire so natural to man—to penetrate the future. The knowledge necessary for this purpose is not in the power of the most gifted man among the living,* but it is supposed that it must be in the possession of the dead—of those who now reside in the invisible world, and that a compact may be made with them by which that knowledge may be imparted to those who are parties in the agreement. Thus, also, in divination, the idea is essentially the same. It is defined by Webster to be " a foretelling of future events, or discovering things secret or obscure, by the aid of superior beings, or by other than human means." "The ancient heathen philosophers," says " he, " divided divination into two kinds, natural and artificial. Natural divination was supposed to be effected by a kind of inspiration or divine afflatus; artificial divination was effected by certain rites, experiments, or obsservations, as by sacrifices, cakes, flour, wine," etc. The main idea was, that there was some aid derived from spirits superior to man with whom this knowledge was, and from whom it could be obtained by favored persons by compact, or by the performance of certain rites of homage or honor rendered to them.

The same idea was at the foundation of all that there was in witchcraft—a subject in its bearing on the matter before us of much more importance than either necromancy, divination, or sorcery. Few persons, Rationalists or skeptics, would now refer either to necromancy, divination, or sorcery as having any evidence in their favor which would seriously affect the evidence in regard to miraculous events; the subject of witchcraft, however, as we have seen, does materially affect the whole question of evidence, and particularly the evidence in regard to supernatural events, since the proof of witchcraft was brought before courts sitting in judgment on the very cases ; since that proof was so thoroughly examined by men learned in the law, and accustomed to sift evidence; since the alleged facts were supposed to be established by incontrovertible evidence; since such trials involved the question of life or death; and since so many innocent persons were actually put to death on the ground of such evidence.

A witch is defined by Webster to be " a woman who, by compact with the devil, practices sorcery or enchantment." The essential idea always is that of a compact or agreement with the devil, or with evil spirits, by whose aid things are done which are beyond the natural power of those who practiced witchcraft, or which could not be pro

* For an illustration of this thought I may be permitted to refer to the Lecture on Prophecy—Lecture VI.

duced by natural laws, and in which the acts, therefore, are, so far, miraculous or supernatural. Witchcraft, however, is Nevee associated with the idea of divine help or divine power. It never implies a compact with God. It is never supposed that what is done is done by his power. It is always something within the range of beings inferior to God, but superior to man. It is, in this respect, wholly distinguished from the idea of a miracle properly so called, where, as we have seen, the idea is that of an event where the only antecedent is the will and power of God.

The following things, therefore, enter into the idea of witchcraft, and in getting rid of witchcraft by the process of Rationalism, the world has delivered itself from these, and these only: (1.) There is a compact with some spirit or spirits inferior to God, but superior to man. (2.) The spirit with which the compact is made is always a bad, or an evil spirit—as we never associate the idea of witchcraft with a good " demon," or with a holy angel. (3.) The person who is supposed to make the compact, or who is competent to enter into it, is commonly believed to be a woman, and usually an old woman. If there has been a belief in wizards, it has been rare, and the common idea in such a case is merely that of a juggler, a conjuror, or an enchanter. (4.) The matter which pertains to witchcraft is usually some trifling matter; some petty annoyance; some small injury done to property ; some disease brought upon cattle; rarely, if ever, any thing that terminates in death. It never has respect to a work of beneficence or mercy; never is employed in healing diseases; never is alleged to be sufficient to give sight to the blind; never lays claim to the power of raising the dead. In these respects, also, it is distinguished by broad lines of demarkation from all proper ideas of a miracle.

(b) The alleged facts in witchcraft were usually such as could, and did occur, under the operation of natural causes. All the injuries done; all the diseases inflicted; all the annoyances employed; all the calamities that fell upon cattle or upon men; all the blightings of the harvest; all that was involved in the idea of pinching or burning—of palsy, or of withered arms or hands, or a shriveled skin—all these are things which do occur in the world with no necessity of supposing any intervention of superior beings. Not one of them implies, of necessity, the agency of supernatural power; not one of them, as a fact, lies beyond the range of explanation from natural causes. They are, therefore, as facts, wholly without the range of miracles.

(c) The facts in the alleged case of witchcraft are commonly easily established, and there was no difficulty in proving them in the courts; in the matter of miracles the main difficulty is in regard to the facts themselves—whether the sun and moon actually stood still at the command of Joshua; whether the lame man at the pool of Bethesda was actually healed; whether Lazarus was actually dead, and was raised from the dead; whether the Lord Jesus actually came to life again after he had been put to death on the cross. But the alleged facts as pertaining to witchcraft are such as may be easily established—that is, what witches are accused of doing may be matter of clear and definite proof. That a person is afflicted with some form of disease; that property is destroyed; that mischief has occurred in regard to a man's cattle, or that there may be some form of prevalent disease among them; that grain about to ripen may be suddenly blighted in the field—all these may be points of fact that could be easily established, and about which there need be no doubt.

As an illustration of this point, we may take the case of Richard III., as it is stated in history, and as it is represented by Shakspeare. The scene is described by Mr. Hume (History of England, vol. ii., p. 174) in the following manner:

"The Duke of Gloucester was capable of committing the most bloody and treacherous murders with the utmost coolness and indifference.. On taking his place at the council-table, he appeared in the easiest and most jovial humor imaginable. He seemed to indulge himself in familiar conversation with the counselors before they should enter on business; and, having paid some compliments to Morton, bishop of Ely, on the good and early strawberries which he raised in his garden at Holborn, he begged the favor of having a dish of them, which that prelate immediately dispatched a servant to bring to him. The Protector then left the council, as if called away by some other business; but, soon after returning, with an angry and inflamed countenance, he asked them what punishment those deserved that had plotted against his life, who was so nearly related to the king, and was intrusted with the administration of government ? Hastings replied that they merited the punishment of traitors. These traitors, cried the Protector, are the sorceress, my brother's wife, and Jane Shore, his mistress, with others, their associates: see to what a condition they have reduced me by their incantations and witchcraft: upon which he laid bare his arm, all shriveled and decayed. But the counselors, who knew that this infirmity had attended him from his birth, looked on each other with amazement, and above all Lord Hastings, who, as he had, since Edward's death, engaged in an intrigue with Jane Shore, was naturally anxious concerning the issue of these extraordinary proceedings. Certainly, my lord, said he, if they be guilty of these crimes they deserve the severest punishment. And do you reply to me, exclaimed the Protector, with your ifs and your ands ? You are the chief abettor of that witch Shore! You are yourself a traitor; and I swear by St. Paul that I will not dine before your head be brought me. ' He struck the table with his hand; armed men rushed in at the signal; the counselors were thrown into the utmost consternation; and one of the guards, as if by accident or mistake, aimed a blow with a poll-axe at Lord Stanley, who, aware of the danger, slunk under the table; and though he saved his life, received a severe wound in the head, in the Protector's presence. Hastings was seized, was hurried away, and instantly beheaded on a timber-log, which lay in the court of the Tower."

Shakspeare describes the scene in the following words:

" Gloucester. I pray you all, tell me what they deserve
That do conspire my death with devilish plots
Of damned witchcraft; and that have prevailed
Upon my body with their hellish charms?

Hastings. The tender love I bear your grace, my lord,
Makes me most forward in this noble presence
To doom the offenders: Whosoe'er they be,
I say, my lord, they have deserved death.

Gloucester. Then be your eyes the witness of their evil,
Look how I am bewitched; behold mine arm
Is, like a blasted sapling, withered up:
And this is Edward's wife, that monstrous witch,
Consorted with that harlot, strumpet Shore,
That by their witchcraft thus have marked me."

Richard III., Act iii., Scene iv.

Now, about the fact of the withered arm, there could have been no doubt. The evidence was at hand. No one .would call it in question ; no one would dare to dispute it. That fact could have been proved before any court of justice as clearly as any of the facts to which Mr. Lecky refers when he says, "The subject [of witchcraft] was examined in tens of thousands of cases, in almost every country of Europe, by tribunals which included the acutest lawyers and ecclesiastics of the age on the scene at the time when the alleged facts had taken place, and with the assistance of innumerable sworn witnesses."

(rf) The main point, therefore, in witchcraft—the point on which the whole turned, and on which it differed from all the questions connected with miracles, was in Connecting the accused person with The Fact ; in showing that the accused person was the cause of it, or the author of it. Thus, in the case of the Duke of Gloucester, the point on which the whole turned was not the fact that the arm of the duke was dried up, or was shriveled—for of that there was no doubt, but it was whether this had been caused by the wife of Edward and Jane Shore. That the duke affirmed; that would have been the point in a court of justice; that was the only point that would have any bearing on the question of witchcraft. That point—the connection of the accused persons with the alleged and undoubted facts—was the point which was before the courts—the point on which so many hundreds and thousands were condemned to the flames.

And yet how could that point be properly brought before a court of justice ? What evidence could there be that would bear on it ?

It is evident that, in this circumstance, there was all that was necessary for wide-spread illusion, imposture, and wrong; for the indulgence of all that there was in a community of suspicion, malignity, and hatred against particular individuals; all that could be devised to keep up the faith of a community in the marvelous; all that was needful to feed and satisfy the desire for the belief in invisible influences, and to perpetuate a prevalent superstition. For what was demanded in the case was not the proof of certain facts that might be the proper subject of testimony, but the connecting of certain obnoxious persons with those facts; and as soon and as far as the popular idea connected such facts with a certain class of persons—as aged females—there would be no lack of witnesses to testify to such a connection.

It is difficult to account for popular illusions; for the fact that a whole community will be affected with such an illusion at the same time; that it may influence all classes of persons; that it will constitute the characteristic of a certain period or a certain land; that it will, for the time, break down all the ordinary and sober rules of thinking, and override all that is sacred in truth, and solemn in the forms of oaths. It would be easy to adduce now, in any court of justice, almost innumerable witnesses, of most respectable character, that would testify on oath to the alleged facts in regard to table-moving and spirit-rapping. The witnesses of these alleged facts would not by any means be found altogether or mainly among the humblest ranks, or the most ignorant in a community, nor among those who have no proper idea of the solemnity of an oath, or who are ignorant on the subject of evidence. Judges, lawyers, merchants, professors of chemistry, clergymen — men profoundly learned in the sciences, could be found in large numbers who would testify to the reality of the facts, and who would do it with no ascertainable intention of imposing on mankind.

It matters little what is the thing that thus becomes the subject of popular illusion, and it is to be admitted that if the miracles of the New Testament could be brought under this idea, it would not be less difficult to establish their reality than to establish the facts about witchcraft and spirit-rapping. Macaulay, in his History of England, refers to an epidemic of that nature which followed the successful effort of Titus Oates to excite uersal alarm in England in regard to the plot to murder the king [Charles II.] ; to hum the city of London ; to revolutionize the kingdom, and to restore it to the dominion of the Papacy. " Every person," says he, " well read in history must have observed that depravity has its temporary modes, which come in and go out like modes of dress and upholstery. It may be doubted whether, in our country, any man ever before the year 1678 invented and related on oath a circumstantial history, altogether fictitious, of a treasonable plot, for the purpose of making himself important by destroying men who had given him no provocation. But in the year 1678 this execrable crime became the fashion, and continued to be so during the twenty years which followed. Preachers designated it as our peculiar national sin, and prophesied that it would draw on us some awful national judgment. Legislators proposed new punishments of terrible severity for this new atrocity. It was not, however, found necessary to resort to those punishments. The fashion changed; and during the last century and a half there has perhaps not been a single instance of this particular kind of wickedness. "*

Any explanation which will account for a popular illusion or a prevalent superstition will account for all the phenomena of witchcraft. The power of such an illusion has often been manifested in the world; perhaps no one has satisfactorily explained the causes. The effect of it is easily understood. It is a species of insanity. It indisposes the mind for calm and sober thought. It gives reality in the view of the mind to that which is desired. It blunts the moral sense, and dims the perception of truth, and perverts all just notions of testimony. It gives reality in the view of the mind to that which is the creation of the imagination, and, under the force of the illusion, annihilates for the time all the ordinary feelings of kindness and humanity. It will lead to the endurance of suffering—to the spirit of martyrdom —on the part of those who embrace the illusion, and it will make them regardless of the severest sufferings of those—though of the tenderest years, and of the gentle sex—on whom the suspicion falls. To pity them in their tortures would be a crime; to aggravate their sufferings would be a merit. In witchcraft it would be a crime of the highest nature to pity those who are in league with the devil; to punish them is to punish the devil himself, and no amount of suffering could be beyond his desert.

(e) It is apparent, therefore, that there is a broad line of distinction between the miracles of the Bible, and witchcraft, necromancy, sorcery, and divination, and that the explanation which would meet the one would not affect the other. It is apparent, also, that in the one case —the case of witchcraft, necromancy, and sorcery, there may be a * History of England, vol. iv., p. 155.

change in the public mind that will effectually banish all belief in these things, that will not necessarily, or in fact, affect the public faith in miracles. That state of the public mind—that phenomenon—is, in fact, reached now. The progress of Rationalism has been such for the past hundred years as almost entirely to banish all belief in witchcraft and necromancy from the world; it has not been shown that the change of mind on that subject has in reality affected the faith of man on the subject of miracles, or that they have, in fact, reasoned from the one to the other. Indeed, it may be assumed as undoubtedly true that those who have become skeptical in this age on the subject of miracles are not conscious to themselves that they have been led to reject the evidence for miracles because they have seen reason to reject the belief in witchcraft, or because the sentiments of the world have changed on that subject. This fact I adverted to in the Lecture on Miracles, and I can not but regard it as a remarkable feet. I do not know that even skeptics in religion, or Rationalists in any form, have urged this as an objection to the faith in miracles, or have stated it as a proposition, as indicating their own state of mind on the subject, that because witchcraft, necromancy, and sorcery are delusions, therefore the miracles of the Bible and all pretended miracles are false. The world at large would not see any connection between such premises and such a conclusion. Skeptics themselves would perceive that the world would not admit the force of such reasoning. As a matter of fact, no such conclusion has been reached from these premises. So far as appears, the faith of mankind in the miracles of the Bible has not been affected by the change which has occurred in regard to the belief in witchcraft, necromancy, and divination. The change adverted to, especially in regard to witchcraft, is a change which has occurred in the Church not less than in the world; for the belief in witchcraft pervaded the whole Church, Catholic and Protestant alike, two centuries ago, and the Church, as is often urged by infidels, and as a matter of fact, was most firm in the belief of witchcraft, and most active in the persecution of those who were supposed to be under its influence (see Lecky, vol. i., p. 28-34), and yet the Church, while it has changed its belief wholly on that subject, has not changed its faith in the belief of the miracles of the Bible, and it is certain that infidelity would make no impression on the Church by arguing from the one to the other.

The reasons of this are now plain. The sphere of witchcraft, necromancy, sorcery, and divination, and the sphere of miracles, is widely different. All, indeed, pertain to the supernatural, but they do not so pertain to it that the one affects the other. The one—witchcraft, necromancy, divination, sorcery—is an alliance with inferior spirits; not with God. It is for purposes of mischief; never for good. The power which it summons, and with which it combines, is an evil—a malignant power. The facts in the case are susceptible of explanation from natural causes. The effects on a community can be traced to a popular illusion. The whole operation—the agents employed, the manner in which they are supposed to effect their marvels, and the effects themselves, are all beneath the dignity of philosophy, beneath religion, beneath God, and beneath the rules of sober reasoning. In reference to the great change produced in the world in our age on the subject of witchcraft, there is undoubtedly much force in the following remarks of Lecky, and those remarks may furnish one cause to show why faith in the miracles of the Bible has not been extensively affected by this change of belief. He says, " If we ask why it is that the world has rejected what was once so uersally and so intensely believed—why a narrative of an old woman who had been seen riding on a broomstick, or who was proved to have transformed herself into a wolf, and to have devoured the flocks of her neighbors, is deemed so entirely incredible, most persons would probably be unable to give a very definite answer to the question. It is not because we have examined the evidence and found it insufficient, for the disbelief always precedes, when it does not prevent, examination. It is rather because the idea of absurdity is so strongly attached to such narratives that it is difficult even to consider them with gravity" (vol. i., p. 34). It will instantly occur to the mind that no such process of thought can be applied to the healing of the sick, to the restoration of the blind to sight, or to the raising of the dead.

I infer, therefore, that the process of thought by which the world has been delivered from faith in witchcraft, necromancy, sorcery, and divination, is not applicable to the miracles of the New Testament, and that the miracles of the Bible can not be disposed of in the way in which the belief in witchcraft, necromancy, and sorcery has been.

(3.) The third point in the argument relates to the inquiry whether the miracles of the Bible can be disposed of in the manner in which the miracles alleged to have been wrought in the early Christian Church after the time of the apostles, and at subsequent periods, can be. This inquiry would also embrace the Roman Catholic miracles which are claimed to be wrought in our own times as proofs of the divine origin of the Roman Catholic faith, and in defense of the Roman Catholic Church.

The inquiry is, whether what would be a proper explanation of the one would also apply to the other; whether, on the supposition that these claims in regard to the miracles of the Church subsequent to the times of the apostles are false, the same process of reasoning would show that the miracles of the Bible are false 1 In other words, the inquiry is, whether, on the supposition that the world will settle down into a uersal skepticism in regard. to the miracles alleged to have been wrought since the time of the apostles, and especially those claimed to have been wrought in the Roman Catholic Church, as it probably will, the process of thought by which that conclusion will be reached will carry with it necessarily a uersal skepticism in regard to the miracles of the Bible ? It is clear that if the same explanation can be given to the one as to the other, the conclusion will be inevitable that they are equally false; if there is no stronger testimony in the one case than in the other, on the supposition that the world has been under a delusion in reference to the facts alleged, then the same conclusion in regard to both classes of miracles is inevitable. It is a great question, therefore, whether the present tendency of the world to Rationalism, as affecting this point, as it undoubtedly exists in the scientific world, in the Protestant churches, and even, as we have seen, in the Roman Catholic communion, is in fact a tendency toward Rationalism or skepticism on the whole subject of miracles, and will lead to the denial of miracles altogether.

It is not necessary to advert farther to the great change which has occurred in the world in reference to the miracles which were alleged to have been wrought in the times subsequent to the apostles. Up to a recent period, the inquiry in ecclesiastical history has been, not whether such miraculous powers existed in the Church, but at what exact point that power ceased. The general impression among Protestants has been, that that power ceased when miracles were no longer necessary for the defense and the diffusion of Christianity. The prevailing opinion on the subject has been undoubtedly expressed by Archbishop Tillotson: " That on the first planting of the Christian religion in the world, God was pleased to accompany it with a miraculous power ; but after it was planted that power ceased, and God left it to be maintained by ordinary ways. "*

It would not conduce to any proper view of the point before us to state farther the changes which have occurred in the opinions of men on the subject; to inquire at what time the power of working miracles in the Church, if it ever existed, ceased; or to consider the question whether such miraculous powers existed or not. The sole inquiry is, whether the miracles of the Bible can be disposed of in the same way as the alleged miracles in the Church subsequent to the time of the apostles; whether an absolute skepticism in regard to the latter of necessity involves an absolute skepticism in regard to the former; whether the two stand or fall together ?

* Sermons, vol. iii., p. 488, ed. 1735.

On this inquiry I submit the following remarks:

First. If miracles were actually wrought in the primitive Church subsequent to the time of the apostles, and continue to be wrought still in the Roman Catholic Church, this would not prove that the miracles of the Bible were false. That one thing has been done does not prove that another has not been. Moreover, in such a case and on such an admission, the possibility of miracles would be established, and the presumption, therefore, would be that they may have occurred as recorded in the Bible. Indeed, if they have occurred in such numbers as it has been claimed that they have done in the Church, then, so far from its being true, as Mr. Hume alleges, that " a uniform experience has established the stability of the laws of nature," the very reverse of this has been established. The admission of the fact of such miracles would destroy the whole argument of Mr. Hume.

Second. If the miracles referred to were not wrought in the primitive Church, and if they are not wrought in the Roman Catholic Church, that does prove that the miracles of the Bible are false. Obviously it may be possible to account for the prevalence of a belief in false miracles, and for well-executed impostures in one case, by explanations which would not be applicable to the other. Illusions in one instance do not prove that illusions extend to every thing ; imposture in one case does not prove that it exists in all cases; that there are deceivers at one time and in one place does not prove that they exist at all times and in all places; the fact that there is counterfeit coin does not prove that there is no genuine coin; that there are false religions in the world does not prove that there is no religion that is genuine. It is clear that the pretended miracles in the primitive Church, and in the Roman Catholic communion, should be examined on their own merits, and be embraced or rejected as the evidence in the case shall demand. If there is reason to reject them, that fact does not prove that there may not be reasons why the account of other miracles should not be embraced as true. No amount of testimony in regard to the alleged fact that the dead were raised subsequent to the time of the apostles, whether for or against such claims, could demonstrate that Lazarus was not raised from the dead; nor should Rationalism and skepticism make a hasty stride from one to the other.

Third. It is possible to account for all that is said to have occurred in the primitive Church after the time of the apostles, and in the Roman Catholic Church, without supposing that there were real miracles wrought. It might be that tricks and jugglery were practiced; it might be that there was collusion and concert in performing the alleged miracle; it might be that the witnesses did not say that they saw

T

the miracles, but that they were reported to have occurred; it might be that no record was made at the time, but that the belief grew up in a subsequent age; it might be that the alleged miracles were manifestly wrought to sustain a particular form of religion, or a party in the Church, or the claims of a priesthood to a divine appointment, or the truth of a particular doctrine, or to honor a particular saint; it might be that there were rival churches, and that the miracles were manifestly wrought to sustain the one against the other; it might be that there was a susceptibility in the public mind, or in the prevalent belief of the age, which received such accounts without calling them in question; it might be that the belief in the miracles was on the same ground as the belief in prevalent superstitions—as of ghosts, apparitions, witchcraft, table-turning, and spirit-rapping; it might be that the alleged witnesses were not credible witnesses, and that they were never subjected to any test or trial which would show that they were sincere witnesses for truth, and were not impostors. Without affirming now that these things were so, it is affirmed that it is conceivable that they might be so; and the world is undoubtedly coming to that belief in regard to all the pretended miracles in the Roman Catholic Church ; all the marvels of the Middle Ages; and to no small part, at least, of the alleged miracles of the primitive Church after the time of the apostles.

Fourth. The philosophical mode of accounting for the alleged miracles of the primitive Church after the time of the apostles will not explain the facts in regard to the miracles of the New Testament. This remark, for the purpose of the argument, and without in any way affecting injuriously the general conclusion, may be confined to the alleged miracles in the period immediately succeeding the apostles— for it is there that the strength of the argument must lie. If those miracles are disposed of there can be no difficulty in regard to those that follow.

The following facts, then, have been established so as to admit of little or no doubt in regard to those miracles:

(a) That the "apostolic fathers"—as they are commonly called— those who lived in the time of the apostles, and who had, some of them at least, conversed with the apostles, advance no claim to any such miraculous powers, and make no affirmation that such miracles were wrought by any in their own age who were not apostles. Those "fathers" embrace Barnabas, Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, and Hernias, some of whom survived for half a century after the death of the last of the apostles.* " Here, then," says Middleton (p. 9), " we have

* For the proof of what Is affirmed here and in the remainder of this argument about the alleged miracles in the Church, I refer to the work of Middle

an interval of about half a century, the earliest and purest of all Christian antiquity after the days of the apostles, in which we find not the least reference to any standing power of working miracles, as existed openly in the Church, for the conviction of unbelievers ; but, on the contrary, the strongest reason to presume that the extraordinary gifts of the apostolic age were by this time actually withdrawn."

(i) It is also true that none of the early " fathers" of the Church, succeeding this time, who declare that the power of working miracles existed in the Church, "have any where affirmed that either they themselves, or the apostolic fathers before them, were endowed with any power of working miracles" (Middleton, p. 21). They affirm, indeed, that "such powers were actually subsisting in their days, and were openly exerted in the Church; that they had often seen the wonderful effects of them; and that every body else might see the same, whenever they pleased," but they do not affirm that they had the power, or that they had seen the miracles, nor do they specify the names, the dates, or the persons by whom, or on whom, the miracles were performed. Origen, speaking of the miracle of casting out devils, says that "it was performed by laymen." Mr. Whiston remarks on this subject that "this gift was wholly appropriated by the Savior to the meaner sorts of Christians, with an exclusion even of the clergy, so that after the days of the apostles none of the sacred order ever pretended to it."*

Something, perhaps, may be learned respecting the character of those who pretended to work miracles from the uniform statements of the enemies of Christianity. It is certain that they were always regarded as pretenders and impostors, and were always charged with the practice of fraud. Thus Lucian says that "whenever any crafty juggler, expert in his trade, and who knew how to make a right use of things, went over to the Christians, he was sure to grow rich immediately by making a prey of their simplicity. "t In like manner Celsus represents all the Christian wonder-workers as mere vagabonds and common cheats, " who rambled about to play tricks at fairs and markets ; not in the circles of the wiser and better sort, for among such they never ventured to appear, but wherever they observed a set of raw young fellows, slaves, or fools, there they took care to intrude themselves and to display their arts."t Csecilius calls them " a lurking nation; shunning the light; mute in public; prating in corners. "§

In view of all the statements among the ancients respecting those

ton: A Free Inquiry into the Miraculous Powers which are supposed to have subsisted in the Christian Church from the Earliest Ages, by Canyon Middleton, D.D., ed. London, 1749. * Account of the Demoniacs, p. 52.

t De Mort. Pereg., t. ii., p. 568. i Orig. Con. Cels., 1. 6, p. 284.

5 Minuc. Fel., p. 7. Middleton, p. 22, 23.

who were supposed to work miracles, Middleton makes the following remarks : "The celebrated gifts of those ages were generally engrossed and exercised by private Christians, who used to travel about from city to city to assist the ordinary pastors of the Church and preachers of the Gospel in the conversion of the pagans, by the extraordinary gifts with which they were supposed to be endowed by the Spirit of God, and the miraculous works which they pretended to perform" (p. 24).

In accordance with this view, it is stated that the pretended power of working miracles was committed, not to those who were intrusted with the government of the Church—not to bishops, martyrs, and the chief defenders of the Christian cause, but to boys; to women; to private and obscure laymen ; to even those of abandoned moral character :

Chrysostom, t. ill., p. CO. I t intelligamns, qtuedam miracula etiam sceleratores homines facere, qualia sancti facere non possunt. Angus. Oper., t . L, p. 71.

(c) The character of many of the Christian fathers for credulity and for the want of veracity is such as to render their testimony on this point of great doubt and of little value. They undoubtedly adopted the principle that the Christian religion was true; that it was indispensable for the salvation of men; and that all means were to be employed to propagate it, to convince men of its truth, and to induce them to turn from idolatry to the service of the true God. If the result was reached, that result was, in their apprehension, of much more importance than the means of reaching it. In accordance with this, it is undoubtedly true that false histories were early forged; false and weak interpretations were given to the Scriptures; false narratives of events were given to the world—until the world became full of the legends of the saints and martyrs. If it be true that, as historians of ordinary facts and ordinary events, they report such facts accurately, it is also true that there were numberless narratives in those early ages which were based wholly on fiction, and true also that these were employed in the propagation of religion. Middleton (p. 36-71) has placed these facts beyond question, and these facts would go far to explain the accounts of the early miracles in the Christian Church.

(d) It is a very material fact in regard to these pretended miracles, alike in the early Christian Church, in the Middle Agesj and in the modern Roman Catholic Church, that the testimony is not usually given by contemporaries, or those who lived at the time—so far as names and dates are concerned, but by writers of a later age. This is true alike of the pretended miracles of the early Christian Church, of the miracles of the heathen as referred to by the enemies of Christianity, of most of the miracles attributed to the sacred relics of the saints, and of most of the miracles of the "saints" who have been "canonized" in the Roman Catholic Church. Thus miracles are attributed to Pythagoras, not by his contemporaries, but by Porphyry and Iamblichus, who wrote his life three hundred years after his death; the prodigies in the History of Bome are recorded, not by persons who lived at the time, but by Livy, who lived many centuries afterward; the miracles ascribed to Apollonius of Tyana, of which so much has been made by the enemies of Christianity, were not recorded by any one living at the time, but the belief in them rests solely on the single assertion of his biographer, Philostratus, who lived a hundred years after the death of Apollonius; the accounts of the miracles of Gregory, bishop of Neocsesarea, called Thaumaturgus from the number and character of the miracles which he wrought, is found only in the writings of Gregory of Nyssen, who lived a hundred and thirty years after him; and a great part of the legendary miracles of the Popish "saints" depend for their credibility on the certificates presented at their " canonization," a ceremony which seldom takes place till a century after their deaths.

A single case will illustrate this point, and show its real force in the argument. It is that of Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the order of the Jesuits. His life, written by a companion of his, was published about fifteen years after his death. In that life, the author, so far from ascribing any miracles to Ignatius, carefully states the reasons why he was not invested with any such power. That life was republished fifteen years afterward, with the addition of many circumstances, which were the fruit, the author says, of farther inquiry and of diligent examination, but still with a total silence about miracles. When Ignatius had been dead nearly sixty years, the Jesuits, conceiving a wish to have the founder of their order placed in the Roman calendar, began, for the first time, to attribute to him the power of working miracles, and specified a large number which could not then be distinctly disproved, and which there was, in those who governed the Church, a strong disposition to admit on the slenderest proofs.*

It is clear that these circumstances constitute a broad line of distinction between these alleged miracles and the miracles of the New Testament, and that, so far as these cases go, the explanation of the one would in no manner constitute an explanation of the other.

(e) It is material, also, to remark, that a large part of the miracles alleged to have been wrought in the early Church, and nearly all of those wrought in the Roman Catholic Church, were wrought, not by

• The authority for these statements Is Paley—Evidences of Christianity, Works, ed. 1824, vol. i., p. 182,183.

the persons themselves while living, but by their relics, and many of them hundreds of years after the death of the "saints" themselves. The Ecclesiastical History of the Middle Ages and of the Romish Church is full of such wonders, and our own age has been edified with the accounts of numberless such miracles as were wrought by the " Holy Coat" at Treves. Even Augustine, the ablest and most clearheaded of the fathers, and a man of undoubted piety, solemnly asserts that in his own diocese at Hippo, in the space of two years, no less than seventy miracles had been wrought by the body of St. Stephen, and that in the neighboring province of Calama, where the relic had previously been, the number was incomparably greater. He gives a catalogue, of what he deems undoubted miracles, which he says he had selected from a multitude so great that volumes would be required to relate them all. In that catalogue we find no less than five cases of restoration of life to the dead (De Civit. Dei, lib. xxii., c. 8). In his Confessions (b. ix.,viii., 16) he relates the case of miracles wrought by the dead bodies of Gervasius and Protasius, which were discovered by Ambrose of Milan, and which were removed to the Ambrosian Basilica, particularly the restoring of sight to a blind man who was allowed to touch the bier with a handkerchief. Of this miracle, and of numerous others of a similar kind, he says, " Of which so great glory of the martyrs I also was a witness. I was there—was at Milan; I knew the miracles wrought, God bearing witness to ' the precious death of his saints,' so that through those miracles that ' death was precious' now not' in the sight of the Lord' only, but in the sight of men" (De Civit. Dei, lib. xxii., c. 8, 32). It is clear that whatever explanation is given of these miracles, the explanation would not be applicable to the miracles of the New Testament.

(/) It is farther to be remarked that the testimony on these subjects among the fathers, and in subsequent times, involved no sacrifices ; led to no persecutions; was not attended with the loss of place or property, or with peril of life.. All that is required in such cases is what Dr. Paley calls " an otiose assent." They are employed for the maintenance of doctrines already embraced; or in defense of a priesthood already established; or for the credit of an " order" of religionists, like the Jesuits; or in honor of a particular monastery; or to commemorate some particular virtues of a saint, or to attract men to his shrine. Such things require no sacrifices. They demand no abandonment of country, of friends, or of home. They lead to no perils by sea or land. They involve no dangers of persecution. They are not believed and defended with the apprehension of fearful tortures ; of being thrown to wild beasts; of being scourged or stoned; of being burned at the stake, or put to death on a cross. They belong to the same class of marvels, in this respect, as the belief in apparitions, ghosts, table-turning, spirit-rapping. Whether men would suffer persecution on their account might be a fair question; it is certain that they do not.

But it is hardly necessary to advert to the fact that all this is different from the miracles of the New Testament, and the treatment of the apostles consequent on their faith in those miracles. Those miracles, if real, decided the most important questions conceivable in regard to the destiny of mankind. The belief in them led to an entire change in the religion of the world. They were not wrought to establish any existing system of religion, but they led to the overthrow of all the systems of religion that did exist, in all lands, involving all that there was of property, and position, and influence, and traditionary sacredness in those religions; all that there was that was mighty, and sacred, and venerable in a priesthood; and all that was held sacred in the laws. The belief in those miracles involved the necessity of parting with friends; of encountering the perils of land and ocean; of meeting with opposition, contempt, persecution, and death in its most terrific forms; of bidding adieu to all that was attractive in this life, and of enduring all that could be made fearful to human nature while living, and all in death that could be made terrible.

I infer, therefore, that the explanation which must be given of the miracles of the early Church after the time of the apostles, of the miracles of the Middle Ages, and of the miracles of the Roman Catholic Church, is not a philosophical explanation of the miracles of the Bible.

(4.) The fourth point in the argument relates to the inquiry whether the miracles of the Bible can be disposed of in the same way as the miracles alleged to have been wrought among the heathen; or, more generally, the miracles which are referred to by those who reject the claims of the Bible. These may, of course, embrace a part of those which have already been referred to, but they may properly, so far as they are appealed to by the rejectors of the Bible, be again noticed with reference to their direct bearing on the argument.

It would have been wiser undoubtedly for the rejectors of the miracles of the Bible to base the argument for their rejection on general principles and on abstract reasoning, and not to peril their argument by bringing other miracles into comparison with those of the Bible. Mr. Hume's celebrated Essay on Miracles would have been stronger by far if he had omitted all reference to other miracles in comparison with those in the Bible. It is, therefore, an advantage in the argument for the miracles of the Bible that an attempt has been made to bring others into comparison with them. If, now, an explanation can be given of those alleged miracles which can not be applied to those in the Bible, or which will not satisfactorily account for them, the argument for the reality of those miracles will remain in all its proper force.

In such an argument on the part of those who reject the miracles of the Bible, they who make the appeal have, as Dr. Paley has remarked, an undoubted right to select their own examples. We may presume that they would select the strongest instances which the world has furnished to bring into comparison with the miracles of the Bible, and all the proprieties of the case will be complied with if, in the argument, the attention is confined to those examples to which they have referred. The friends of religion can not be supposed to be bound to furnish, if they could, stronger instances than those which have been actually selected.

In particular, it may be presumed that Mr. Hume would select those which, for his purpose, could be best brought Into comparison with the Scripture miracles. Of the rejectors of revelation, few, if any, have been more acute and learned than he; none probably have had a larger acquaintance with history, or could make a better selection of the miraculous events on which the argument might be made to rest.

From the wide range of pretended miracles in the world; from the almost innumerable cases of such pretensions; from those marvels which have been regarded as miracles in the heathen world, in the early Christian Church after the time of the apostles, in the Middle Ages, and in the Roman Catholic Church in more modern times, he has selected three on which he seems willing that the argument shall rest. They are the following:

I. The cure of a blind and a lame man of Alexandria, by the Emperor Vespasian, as related by Tacitus;

II. The restoration of the limb of an attendant in a Spanish church, as told by Cardinal de Betz ; and,

III. The cures said to have been performed at the tomb of the Abbe Paris in the early part of the last century.

The circumstances in these cases, and the argument, can be best expressed in his own words : " One of the best attested miracles in all profane history is that which Tacitus reports of Vespasian, who cured a blind man in Alexandria by means of his spittle, and a lame man by the mere touch of his foot; in obedience to a vision of the god Serapis, who had enjoined them to have recourse to the emperor for these miraculous cures. The story may be seen in that fine historian, where every circumstance seems to add weight to the testimony, and might be displayed at large with all the force of argument and eloquence, if any one were now concerned to enforce the evidence of that exploded and idolatrous superstition. The gravity, solidity, age, and probity of so great an emperor, who, through the whole course of his lite, conversed in a familiar manner with his friends and courtiers, and never affected those extraordinary airs of divinity assumed by Alexander and Demetrius; the historian a contemporary writer, noted for candor and veracity, and, withal, the greatest and most penetrating genius, perhaps, of all antiquity, and so free from any tendency to credulity that he even lies under the contrary imputation of atheism and profaneness; the persons from whose authority he related the miracle, of established character for judgment and veracity, as we may well presume — eye-witnesses of the fact, and confirming their testimony after the Flavian family was despoiled of the empire, and could no longer give any reward as the price of a lie—utrumque, qui interfuere, nunc quoque memorant, postquam nullum mendacio pretium — to which if we add the public nature of the facts as related, it will appear that no evidence can well be supposed stronger for so gross and so palpable a falsehood.

"There is also a memorable story related by Cardinal de Ketz which may well deserve our consideration. When that intriguing politician fled into Spain to avoid the persecution of his enemies, he passed through Saragossa, the capital of Aragon, where he was shown in the cathedral a man who had served seven years as a door-keeper, and was well known to every body in town that had ever paid his devotions at that Church. He had been seen for so long a time wanting a leg, but recovered that limb by the rubbing of holy oil upon the stump; and the cardinal assures us that he saw him with two legs. This miracle was vouched by all the canons of the Church; and the whole company in town were appealed to for a confirmation of the fact, whom the cardinal found, by their zealous devotion, to be thorough believers of the miracle. Here the relater was also contemporary to the supposed prodigy, of an incredulous and libertine character, as well as of great genius; the miracle of so singular a nature as could scarcely admit of a counterfeit, and the witnesses very numerous, and all of them in a manner spectators of the fact, to which they gave their testimony. And what adds mightily to the force of the evidence, and may double our surprise on this occasion, is that the cardinal himself, who relates the story, seems not to give any credit to it, and consequently can not be suspected of any concurrence in the holy fraud. He considered justly that it was not requisite, in order to reject a fact of this nature, to be able accurately to disprove the testimony and to trace its falsehood through all the circumstances of knavery and credulity which produced it. He knew that, as this was commonly altogether impossible at any small distance of time and place, so was it extremely difficult, even where one was immediately present, by reason of the bigotry, ignorance, cunning, and roguery of a great part of mankind. He therefore concluded, like a just reasoner, that such an evidence carried falsehood upon the very face of it, and that a miracle supported by any human testimony was more properly a subject of derision than of argument.

" There surely was never a greater number of miracles ascribed to one person than those which were lately said to have been wrought in France upon the tomb of Abbe" Paris, the famous Jansenist, with whose sanctity the people were so long deluded. The curing of the sick, giving hearing to the deaf, and sight to the blind, were every where talked of as usual effects of that holy sepulchre. But, what is more extraordinary, many of the miracles were immediately proved upon the spot, before judges of unquestioned integrity, attested by witnesses of credit and distinction, in a learned age, and on the most eminent theatre that is now in the world. Nor is this all; a relation of them was published and dispersed every where; nor were the Jesuits, though a learned body, supported by the civil magistrate, and determined enemies to those opinions in whose favor the miracles were said to have been wrought, ever able distinctly to refute or detect them. Where shall we find such a number of circumstances agreeing to the corroboration of one fact ? And what have we to oppose to such a cloud of witnesses but the absolute impossibility or miraculous nature of the events which they relate ? And this surely, in the eyes of all reasonable people, will alone be regarded as a sufficient refutation."*

Of the first of these alleged miracles, the account by Tacitus is as follows:

" One of the common people of Alexandria, known to be diseased in his eyes, by the admonition of the god f-erapis, whom that superstitious nation worship above all other gods, prostrated himself before the emperor, earnestly imploring from him a remedy for his blindness, and entreating that he would deign to anoint with his spittle his cheeks and the balls of his eyes. Another, diseased in his hand, requested, by the admonition of the same god, that he might be touched by the foot of the emperor. Vespasian at first derided and despised their application ; afterward, when they continued to urge their petitions, he sometimes appeared to dread the imputation of vanity; at other times, by the earnest supplication of the patients, and the persuasion of his flatterers, to be induced to hope for success. At length he commanded an inquiry to be made by the physicians whether such a blindness and debility were vincible by human aid. The report of the physicians contained various points; that in the one the power of vision was * Essays, vol. ii., p. 115-118.

not destroyed, but would return if the obstacles were removed; that in the other, the diseased joints might be restored if a healing power were applied; that it was, perhaps, agreeable to the gods to do this; that the emperor was elected by divine assistance; lastly, that the credit of the success would be the emperor's, the ridicule of the disappointment would fall upon the patients. Vespasian, believing that every thing was in the power of his fortune, and that nothing was any longer incredible, while the multitude which stood by eagerly expected the event, with a countenance expressive of joy, executed what he was desired to do. Immediately the hand was restored to its use, and light returned to the blind man. They who were present relate both these cures, even at this time, when there is nothing to be gained by lying."*

What, now, is the real force of the argument from this alleged miracle ? What were the facts in the case ? Was it believed by Mr. Hume ? Can it properly be brought into comparison with the miracles of the New Testament ?

It is plain that if the miracles in the case of Vespasian were actually wrought, this would not prove that the Savior did not restore Bartimeus to sight, or heal the impotent man at the pool of Bethesda. There would be no incompatibility between the miracles, for there is no necessary conflict. Suppose that in one case a miracle was wrought as a work of benevolence, and in another for the establishment of the truth of a divine mission, there evidently would be no such conflict between the two as to prove that either was false.

In reference to these alleged miracles of Vespasian, it is to be remarked (a) that the account by Tacitus was given twenty-seven years after they were said to have occurred; (4) that he recorded in Home what was said to have occurred in Alexandria; (c) that he did not profess to have seen the miracles himself, but wrote from report; (rf) that he manifestly did not believe in the reality of the miracles; (c) that the whole affair is liable to a strong suspicion that it was the work of illusion and deception. In other words, all that there was in the case can be explained on the supposition that there was collusion between the patients, the physician, and the emperor. This explanation is admissible for these reasons: (1.) It was not uncommon, then, to believe that such miracles could be wrought, just as in later times in England it was believed that scrofula, or the " king's evil," could be cured by the touch of the king.t (2.) It would be for the interest and

* Tacit., Hist., lib. iv.

t Charles the Second, in the course of Ms reign, " touched" near a hundred thousand persons. In 1682 he performed the rite eight thousand five hundred times. James the Second, in one of his progresses, touched eight persons in

credit of the emperor that snch a belief should be entertained in regard to him. (3.) The miracles were achieved in the midst of the emperor's flatterers and followers ; in a city and among a people devoted to his interest, and to the worship of the god Serapis; and where it would have been treason and blasphemy to have contradicted the fame of the cure, or to have questioned it. (4.) It is to be observed, also, that the report of the physicians is just such a report as would be made in a case in which no external marks of the disease existed, and which, consequently, was capable of being easily counterfeited, to wit, that in the one case the organs of vision were not destroyed, and that the weakness of the second was in the joints. (5.) There is little force in the remark of Tacitus that they who were present continued even then to "relate both these cures, when there was nothing to be gained by lying." The particular point of importance is the state of mind of the witnesses, and the circumstances at the time, and not whether the story would be likely to be repeated. It is also of importance to remark, that if there was nothing " to be gained by lying," it is a question of much more moment whether there was any thing to be lost, or any thing to be suffered by continuing to repeat the story. Would the witnesses have done it if it would have involved them in trouble and losses ; if it had subjected them to persecution; if it had exposed them to death in most horrid forms? (6.) To make this case parallel, therefore, with the miracles of the New Testament, all, or nearly all of these circumstances must be reversed. If these marvelous cures had been performed in the presence of cavilers and enemies ; if those who were present were incredulous, and had no previous disposition to believe such a fact; if every circumstance was watched with a jealous eye; if nothing was to be gained by it at the time or afterward; if the case was removed as far as possible from all appearance or possibility of collusion; if they who professed to be witnesses of the transaction,

the choir of the Cathedral of Chester. The reality of these cures—the efficacy of this touch—was attested by much stronger evidence than that adduced by Mr. Hume for the miracles of Vespasian ; than that referred to by the Cardinal de Retz; and than those performed at the tomb of the Abb6 Paris. "Theologians of eminent learning, ability, and virtue gave the sanction of their authority to this mummery, and medical men of high note believed, or affected to believe, in the balsamic virtues of the royal hand. We must suppose that every surgeon who attended Charles the Second was a man of high repute for skill; and more than one of the surgeons who attended Charles the Second has left us a solemn profession of faith in the king's miraculous power." William of Orange committed an almost unpardonable offense by "sneering" at the practice, and refusing to lend his sanction to it. "It is a silly superstition," said he, when, at the close of Lent, his palace waa besieged by a crowd of the sick. "Give the poor creatures some money, and sand them away."—Macaulay, History of England, vol. iii., p. 432-435.

and who gave circulation to the report on the strength of what they saw, gave up their former cherished hopes, changed their whole course of life, abandoned all their plans, and all the opinions in which they had been trained, and sacrificed their ease and their reputation; if they went forth on the ground of this to meet every form of trial, and bore patiently the most cruel tortures, and met death itself rather than change their testimony on the subject, and if the belief of such miracles actually changed the religions, the customs, and laws of the world, producing changes that could be traced through eighteen hundred years, making the world different from what it was, and modifying its customs and laws, then, and only then, would it be proper to allege that the miracles of Vespasian were an offset against the miracles of the New Testament.*

The second case referred to by Mr. Hume is the restoration of the limb of an attendant in a Spanish church, as told by Cardinal de Retz.

It is evident from the narrative, as given by Mr. Hume, that the cardinal who relates this story did not himself believe it; and it is manifestly adduced by him because the cardinal did not believe it, and with a design to leave the impression that all miracles should be treated with the same degree of incredulity. Undoubtedly there have been thousands of pretended miracles in the Roman Catholic Church, as well as elsewhere, that should be treated in this manner, and that are precisely parallel with this. The reasoning, however, so far as there is any reasoning in the case, would not be far from that where, if a man saw one counterfeit note, he should infer that all notes were counterfeit, or where, if he met with one case of imposture in a community, he should infer that all the transactions in society were imposture and delusion. In fact, nothing can be more easy than to account for all that is here said by Cardinal de Retz. The substitution of an artificial leg would account for all that he says. What he says is, that the man, "who had served seven years as a door-keeper, and was well known to every body in town, had been seen for so long a time wanting a leg," but that 11 he saw him with two legs." He indeed affirms that he had "recovered that limb by the rubbing of holy oil upon the stump," and that " this was vouched by all the canons of the church;" but the only fact to which he bears testimony is, that "he saw him with two legs." There was, manifestly, no examination ; there was no comparison of the two: there is even no statement that he was seen walking; and every thing that the cardinal saw, and which is, therefore, the subject of his testimony, could be explained on the supposition that an artificial leg had been made to supply the place of the one that had been lost—a thing certainly not unusual, and not * Compare Paley's Evidences of Christianity, Works, vol. i., p. 198-201.

involving a miracle. It is to be remembered, also, as Dr. Paley has remarked, that "the ecclesiastics of the place would, it is probable, favor the story, inasmuch as it advanced the honor of their image and the church. And if they patronized it, no other person at Saragossa, in the middle of the last century, would care to dispute it. The story likewise coincided not less with the wishes and preconceptions of the people than with the interests of their ecclesiastical rulers, so that there was prejudice backed by authority, and both operating on extreme ignorance, to account for the success of the imposture."*

The only thing, in fact, remarkable about this case is, that a man of Mr. Hume's acuteness in argument should ever have referred to such a case as an offset against the miracles of the New Testament—the healing of the blind, the deaf, and the lame by the Savior; the stilling of the tempest on the Sea of Tiberias by his command; and the raising of Lazarus from the grave, and that he should have been willing to peril the cause of infidelity by an argument so manifestly weak.

The third case referred to by Mr. Hume is derived from the cures said to have been performed at the tomb of the Abbe" Paris.

The argument in the case, as stated by Mr. Hume, rests on these points: (a) The number of the miracles: "There surely never was a greater number ascribed to one person than those which were lately said to have been wrought in France upon the tomb of the Abbe' Paris.'' (A) The fact that these were " every where talked of as usual effects of that holy sepulchre." (c) The fact that these miracles were immediately proved to be true: " What is more extraordinary, many of the miracles were immediately proved upon the spot, before judges of unquestioned integrity, attested by witnesses of credit and distinction, in a learned age, and on the most eminent theatre that is now in the world." (d) The fact that the Jesuits, enemies of the Jansenists, in whose favor the miracles were said to have been wrought, " though a learned body, supported by the civil magistrate, and determined enemies to those opinions, were never able distinctly to refute or detect them."

In regard to this case, and the arguments in favor of these miracles, considered with reference to a comparison with those of the New Testament, the following remarks may be made ;

(1.) The number of the miracles said to have been wrought was, in fact, exceeding small. Mr. Hume says there " never was a greater number ascribed to one person." That, however, is not true, for a much larger number has been " ascribed" to Jesus of Nazareth. The number of cures at the tomb of the Abbe Paris, as actually recorded by historians, was nine only. These were all that the zealous and inde* Works, vol. i.,p. 202.

fatigable Moutgoron claimed to produce vouchers for, or claimed to have been proved to have been wrought at the tomb.* These were all that were pretended to be cured out of the crowds of the infirm and the sick who came or were brought to the tomb. It is true, indeed, that another author who has given a record of those miracles, referred to by Mr. Hume under the title of Recueil des Miracles de l'Abbe Paris (Essays, vol. ii., p. 441), has mentioned a much larger number, but they were miracles wrought, as he says, in the private chambers of the sick, by virtue of the relics of the Abbe", or by images of the saint, or by earth brought from under his monument.t As Mr. Hume confines the argument to miracles wrought at the " tomb," it is proper to notice those only.

What is particularly remarkable, however, in regard to these alleged miracles is the small number out of the whole that are claimed to have been cured. Many thousands of such persons — the afflicted in all forms — visited the tomb. Nine only are vouched for as actually cured. Now there has been no form of pretended miracles, or of deception and imposture in medicine, in which a greater proportion have not been restored to health—cured—than in this case. Under the application of mesmerism, or " quack" medicines of any kind, more marvels than these have been accomplished—more cures effected. Many more cases of cure—probably many more in proportion to the whole number — occurred undoubtedly in the "touch"for the "king's evil" during the time when faith was exercised in the efficacy of that " touch;" that is, there were more cases of cure where, under the influence of the imagination, persons were " touched;" or where the disease was imaginary and was thus removed; or where a restoration to health had been already commenced under the power of medicine, or the recuperating power of nature; or where, from any cause, a recovery to health was dated from such a touch. It is impossible to suppose that this superstition could have been kept up from age to age if such had not been the case. It is not difficult, in most or all of these cases, to account for these facts without supposing that the quack medicine has genuine restoring properties; that the nostrum is valuable; that mesmerism is founded in truth; or that there was real efficacy in the "touch" for the "king's evil." Many of these diseases would be healed by the mere course of nature; many were nervous complaints, and would be allayed and removed by a belief in the efficacy of the medicine; many would be healed under the influence of the imagina

* Mons. Montgoron, the reporter of these miracles, was, as Mr. Hume says (Kssays, vol. ii., p. 441), a " counsellor or judge of the Parliament of Paris, a man of figure and character, who was also a martyr to the cause."

t Dr. Campbell, Examination of Mr. Hume's Essay on Miracles.

tion; many would be cases which would not bear a rigid examination, but would be cases where the healing was apparent, and where there would be seen to be imposture at the foundation.

It is unnecessary to remark how unlike all this is to the miracles of the Savior. Many thousands of cases came before him. All—not the proportion of " nine" to thousands, but all, according to the account in the New Testament, were healed (Matt., v., 24; xii., 15; xiv., 14; xvii., 15; Luke, xxii., 51. Comp. Acts, iv., 14; v., 16; xxviii., 8).

(2.) Many of the cases at the tomb of the Abbe Paris were such as could be cured by natural causes. One of the cures referred to by Montgoron was that of Don Alphonzo de Palacios, who had lost one eye, and who was afflicted with an inflammation in the other. The inflamed eye was cured, but the lost eye was not restored to sight. Had the lost eye been restored to sight, there could have been no doubt that a miracle was wrought. An inflamed eye might be restored by natural causes. In another case—that of Peter Gantior—one of his eyes had been pricked with an awl. It is certainly possible that, while there was temporary blindness, nature would have restored the sight. Many of the cases at the tomb were cases of paralytic and dropsical disorders—cases where nature, in numerous instances, produces temporary if not permanent relief. It does not appear that any one of the "nine" was a case which could not be accounted for in that way.

(3.) It was a fact that many of the devotees at the tomb, and some of those who were asserted to have been cured, had been using medicines before, and continued to use them even when there. " That the Spanish youth had been using all the while a medicine prescribed by an eminent oculist was proved by the depositions of witnesses ; that Gantior had begun to receive his sight before he had recourse to the sepulchre was attested not only by his uncle, but even by himself, when, as the Archbishop of Sens informs us, he signed a recantation of what he had formerly advanced."*

(4.) None of the miracles at the tomb were instantaneous. All that Christ and his apostles wrought were. The blind saw at once; the lame man leaped as an hart when told to walk; the paralytic took his bed and walked immediately; the young man of Nain sat up instantaneously in the bier; Lazarus came forth, at the very moment of the command of the Savior, from the grave. Not so at the tomb of the Abbe Paris. " All the worshipers at the tomb persisted for days, several of them for weeks, and some for months successively, daily imploring the intercession of the Abbe', before they obtained relief from * Dr. Campbell, Hume's Essays, vol. ii., p. 588. t Id. lbid.

their complaints; and the relief which they received is, in most cases, acknowledged to have been gradual. "t

(f>.) In view of these facts, and of the strong presumption in the nature of the case that there might have been collusion and designed imposture practiced to establish and maintain the credit of the " saint" and of the tomb, we are prepared to see what is the real force of the remark which Mr. Hume so exultingly makes in the text of his Essay, and which he labors to confirm in a' note appended to it, that the testimony in this case was above suspicion, and that it could not be refuted. Thus he says, in the Essay, "What is more extraordinary, many of the miracles were immediately proved upon the spot, before judges of unquestioned integrity, attested by witnesses of credit and distinction, in a learned age, and on the most eminent theatre that is now in the world. Nor is this all; a relation of them was published and dispersed every where; nor were the Jesuits, though a learned body, supported by the civil magistrate, and determined enemies to those opinions in whose favor the miracles were said to have been wrought, ever able distinctly to refute or detect them."*

Thus he says, also, in a note: " Many of the miracles" [the word " many" here means nine] " of the Abbe Paris were proved immediately by witnesses before the officiating or bishop's court at Paris, under the eye of Cardinal Noailles, whose character for integrity and capacity was never contested even by his enemies." "No less a man than the Due de Chatillon, a duke and peer of France, of the highest rank and family, gives evidence of a miraculous cure, performed on a servant of his, who had lived several years in his house with a visible and palpable infirmity." "I shall conclude," says he, " with observing that no clergy are more celebrated for strictness of life and manners than the secular clergy of France, particularly the rectors or cure's of Paris, who bear testimony to these impostures. "t

The sum of the whole matter in regard to these alleged miracles is this: We may surely and safely admit all the facts which are alleged in the case. The facts are these: (a) That great numbers of persons, afflicted with various kinds of diseases, visited the tomb with the hope of a cure. (6) That we may suppose that a part or all the cases of those who are alleged to have been healed were cases of real disease, or were not feigned. (c) That there was, in a few instances, a real and permanent restoration to health. (d) That this occurred at the tomb of the Abbe Paris, or after visiting that tomb. (e) That the cases were examined before judges deemed competent to decide such matters. (/) That the witnesses were credible witnesses, and were, in many instances, above suspicion. (y) That it was impossible for * Essays, vol. ii., p. UT. t Id. Ibid., p. 242, 244.

the Jesuits to disprove these facts, and that they were constrained to admit that these cures were actually wrought.

The material point, however, is not reached and affected by these admitted facts—that all this was done by the saint; by his tomb; by his virtues; or by God in attestation of his virtues, or in defense of the party to which he belonged. If the remarks above made furnish a plausible, or Possible explanation of the facts in the case—of all that occurred—then the case does not amount to a miracle, and, therefore, whatever else may follow from it, it does not follow that Christ did not raise Lazarus from the dead, or that he himself did not rise.

And these are all. These are the strongest cases which have been referred to as parallel to those in the New Testament, and as having strength sufficient to neutralize the argument for the divine origin of Christianity as derived from miracles. These are selected from the wide range of supposed supernatural agencies in the heathen and in the Christian world: and it may be presumed that the best selection has been made. The inquiry as to the cases which should be selected embraced the entire period from the remotest ages to the time of Mr. Hume himself, and was made by one who was an accomplished historian, and who was, perhaps, as familiar with the facts of history as any man then living. Nothing new has been added to the argument since his time; no more decided cases of miraculous agency have been referred to; n<Jhe have been furnished in heathen lands, or in the Papal church, that would contribute more strength to the cause of infidelity. It may be assumed now that no stronger cases will occur in future times. If, therefore, these do not neutralize the force of the testimony in favor of the miracles of the New Testament, then that testimony remains in its full force.

The conclusion which we have reached is this : If the miracles of the Bible can not be resolved into facts to be explained by natural laws; if they can not be philosophically placed on the same foundation as witchcraft, divination, sorcery, mesmerism, and spirit-rapping, and explained in the same manner; if they can not be disposed of as the alleged miracles in the Christian Church after the time of the apostles may be; and if they are not on a level with the miracles referred to by skeptics as parallel cases, and are not to be explained in the same manner, then the argument for the miracles of the Bible which has been so satisfactory to a large part of the world for eighteen hundred years is as strong as it can be supposed to have been in the first century, and the evidence is to be regarded as placed on the same foundation as that for well-attested historical facts that have gone into the history of the world.

It is to be borne in mind that the real facts of history have gone into the history of the world, and have made the world what it now is. Those facts, and the proper influence of those facts, can not now be detached from history, or from the present condition of the world. The facts in regard to the miracles of Christianity, also, have gone into the history of the world, and can not be detached from it. The civilized world is what it is now, and the whole world will be what it will be in coming ages, because Christ was believed to have wrought miracles, and to have been raised from the dead. Those facts were attested by men who saw them; who recorded them; who had no special interest to promote by them; who abandoned all the opinions in which they had been trained because they believed in them; who sacrificed all their prejudices on the ground of that belief; who met reproach and calumny, persecution, peril, and death in its most fearful forms, in attestation of the truth of those miracles; who never wavered in their statements , who could never be induced by terrors or by bribes to give utterance to a doubt about the truth of those events; and ot whom not one—no, not one—ever breathed a suspicion that he had been himself deceived, or that those with whom he was associated had conspired to deceive the world. In a most intelligent age; in the very centre of learning; among the most cultivated people, and in cities where the talent and power of the world were concentrated, they bore their testimony, and their testimony was believed. The religion was propagated on the ground of these miracles. The religions of the world were changed, and a new order of things, sending its influence onward for eighteen hundred years, was instituted on that ground. Altars were forsaken; temples were abandonded; priests were disrobed; laws were changed; customs of long standing passed away on that ground. A new spirit was breathed into the literature of the world on that ground; and philosophy took a new form on that ground. Men were changed from vice to virtue on that ground; and thousands of martyrs from all ranks of people—the rich, the honored, the gay, the refined—on that ground sealed their faith with their blood. The alleged miracles of Vespasian and those at the tomb of the Abbe Paris have done nothing—literally nothing—permanently to affect the faith, the religion, the hopes, the intelligence, or the morals of mankind ; the miracles of Christ have changed the world. Myriads of the human race, among the most intelligent and pure, have believed that those miracles demonstrated that he came from God; there is nothing yet to lead us to doubt that this will be still more prevailingly the faith of the world in the ages to come, and that perpetuated faith in those miracles will determine the condition of the nations of the earth in the winding up of human affairs.

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CAESaR.

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HUME'S HISTORY OF ENGLAND. History of England, from the Invasion of Julius Caesar to the Abdication of James II.; 1688. By David Hume. A New Edition, with the Author's last Corrections and Improvements. To which is prefixed u short Account of his Life, written by Himself. With a Portrait of the Author. 6 Vols., 12mo, Cloth, $9 00; Half Calf, $19 80.

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