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§ 94. Christ’s Distinction between the material Element of Miracles and their essential Object.—John, vi., 26.

Christ himself distinguishes the material part of the miracle, i. e., its effect in satisfying a momentary want, and its formal part, as a sign to point from objects of sense to God, and to accredit himself as capable of 138satisfying all higher spiritual wants. To those who embraced the miracles in this latter sense, properly as σημεῖα, he freely communicated himself; and, on the other hand, he must more and more have alienated himself from those who attached themselves to him only from a momentary interest of the former kind. He, therefore, reproached those who eagerly sought him after the feeding of the five thousand, by saying that they did not seek him because they “had seen the miracles” (i. e., as signs to lead them to something higher), but simply because their human wants had been satisfied—“Ye did eat of the loaves and were filled.” The light of his works (he told them) was not sufficient to lead them to believe on him, inasmuch as they lacked—what was essential to faith—a sense for the Divine. The gratification of their natural senses was all they sought. In the spirit in which they were, faith was impossible; their preponderating worldliness of mind, subjugating the better tendencies of their nature, left room for no sense of higher wants, and prevented them from feeling the inward “drawing of the Father.”209209   John, vi., 36, 44.


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