Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

anything definite regarding the facts of the Christian religion.

It is, indeed, as certain as anything in the past can be, that the Apostles taught the Resurrection of our Saviour as a fact, which they were cognisant of by their bodily senses, and as sure of as they were of their own existence; and not only did the twelve witness this fact, but St. Paul affirms that five hundred brethren beheld the risen Lord, most of whom were still living at the time he wrote. Building upon this undoubted foundation, we hold that he who denies the Resurrection of our Lord denies a historical fact, resting upon indubitable evidence; nay, he does violence to his own moral nature, for he forces his mind into an unnatural posture, before he can extort from his understanding a verdict so opposed to the laws of evidence. We maintain that an unbeliever who has so warped his mind as to deny the Resurrection, after studying the subject in all its bearings, must have arrived at that point where the confines of truth and falsehood are lost, and the power of discerning moral evidence is fatally impaired.

CHAPTER III.

THE MIRACLES OF CHRIST IN KEEPING WITH HIS

CHARACTER AND CLAIMS.

V E now pass from the Resurrection of Christ

to the miracles He is recorded to have wrought, and, supposing that the former is proved, we hold that the latter can readily be shown to follow as a natural sequence. The Resurrection of our Lord at once stamps Him as a being transcendently glorious : it does not in itself prove Him to be divine, because He was not the first or only one recorded in the Bible to have risen from the grave, but it puts God's stamp upon the truth of His teaching, and the validity of His claims; for who can suppose for a moment the Most High would have wrought so great a miracle on behalf of one whose teaching was untrue, or even partially true, or who laboured under an illusion as to his person and mission ? Would not that be making Almighty

God an accessory to a scheme for duping mankind ? The thing is revolting. If God suspended the fundamental laws of nature, and unbarred the gates of death for the sake of Him who claimed to be His only begotten and well-beloved Son, it was to ratify these claims, and demonstrate them for all time to be absolutely true; for it must be remembered that the fact of the resurrection stood in unique relation to Christ; He had staked His character, so to speak, upon that great event; He had repeatedly foretold it to His disciples, and spoken of it in connection with His Crucifixion as the supreme work of His life, and the accomplishment of the grand purpose of God, foretold in the Scriptures, for the redemption of mankind. Christ Himself submitted, so to speak, the genuineness of His work to this crucial test. Had He remained in the tomb, mankind would have known that one more fanatic had been exposed; but in His glorious resurrection and ascension to heaven the stamp of Divine authority was placed for all time upon the work and words of our Redeemer.

When this view of the Resurrection is once admitted into the mind, the miracles of Christ

appear the natural outcome of His work. They appear entirely in keeping with His person and character. Surely, if He was the Son of God in that transcendent sense He claimed—a sense so far above what any mere human being could aspire to, that the Jews founded upon it a charge of blasphemy, and adjudged Him to death on that account alone, then it would be most reasonable that He should show that power over nature which His disciples had a right to expect. And we find accordingly that Christ constantly appeals to His works on behalf of. His Messiahship. His language was—“If ye believe not Me, believe My works,” and this appeal sufficed for the common people, for they followed him in crowds, marvelling at the wonderful works He did, and acclaiming Him “the Son of David.” The whole Gospel narrative becomes unintelligible without these miracles. It is impossible to believe that one brought up in the house of a carpenter till He was thirty years of age could in three short years have convulsed Palestine, and founded a new religion of such marvellous vitality, without miracles. Had He done so much merely by delivering moral aphorisms, it would have been the greatest miracle the world ever saw!

Then, the miracles of Christ are unlike the creations of human fancy; they are not vain displays of power, like the legends of superstition, but are all wrought for healing and beneficent purposes. They are never obtruded merely to frighten bystanders, or even silence gainsayers ; they are never associated with the semblance of boasting, or with any of those motives which mere human fancy draws upon to account for miracles; they fall with perfect appropriateness into the scheme of His life; they are like Christ, and like Christ only of all beings that have appeared upon this earth; and we deny that all the genius of man could have invented such a set of miracles as are recorded in the New Testament, or grouped them in such a harmonious manner around the person of our Redeemer. His miracles, like His sayings, are Christlike, and have no parallel in the history of mankind; and His whole personality is so unique that it is folly to talk of it as an emanation from the brains of His followers.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »