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§ 97. Transition from the Natural to the Supernatural in the Miracles.

IT has been asserted in modern times, that in order to receive miracles at all, we must conceive them as directly and abruptly opposed to nature, and admit no intermediate agencies whatever. But we cannot be confined to this alternative by men who wish to caricature the views which we maintain. Abrupt contrasts may be set up in abstract theories; but in real life we do not find them. There are always intermediate agencies and points of transition. And why should this not be the case in the opposition between the natural and the supernatural? We think that we have already shown that the higher unity of the Divine plan of the world embraces miracles as well as the ordinary developement 141of nature. We hold ourselves justified, therefore, in distinguishing, with regard to the marvellous part of the miracles, certain steps of transition from the natural to the supernatural. Not that we can separate these gradations so nicely as to constitute a division of the miracles thereby; but we can trace an important harmony with the universal laws of the Divine government of the world in the fact that here, too, there are no sudden leaps, but a gradual transition by intermediate steps throughout.

Looking at all the miracles, there are some in regard to which it may be doubted whether they belong to the class of natural or supernatural events; on the other side, there are some in which the creative power is exhibited in the highest degree, and which. bear no analogy whatever to the results of natural causes. Between these extreme classes, there are many miraculous works in which the supernatural can be made vividly obvious by means of natural analogies. To these last belong most of the miracles which Christ wrought upon human nature; while those wrought upon the material world, rejecting all natural analogies, may be ranged under the second extreme class above mentioned. The latter are very few in comparison with the former, and far less intimately connected with Christ’s peculiar calling.


I. The Healing of Diseases.

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