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Ratepayers' Association.

Borough Member and the Budget.




I EUROPEAN POLITICS: MIRACLES. As we look upon the history of the world, and reflect upon tte present circumstances of the human race, and then compare all with the written statements of the Bible, we are compelled to say it is marvellous. When the Jews rejected Jesus it was considered by Him in the light of the prediction of the psalm (cxviii.) that the builders would reject the Stone, and it was recognised as being "mar- vellous." Prophecy is marvellous. And pro- phecy is only found in the Bible. The Bible is a miracle. It is a miraculous I history. It is built upon miracles. Its history is inseparable from miracles. To doubt its miracles is to confuse its history. Miracles are all over the Bible pages. They are in Genesis, and with Moses, and under the monarchy, and with the Apostles. Yet miracles, as generally understood (apart from prophecy) are not with everybody nor at all times. We learn that John the Baptist did no miracle. There are no recorded miracles during the youth and early manhood of Christ. This shows the difference between the Bible and a mere man-written book, for in the apocryphal gospels there are over fifty miracles (says Warington in his able little treatise, "Can we believe in Miracles "), which are not mentioned in the New Testa- ment. There is mention in these apocryphal gospels of about fifty in Christ's childhood, and only one to his public ministry. But in the New Testament there are about thirty to forty in his public ministry. In the apostolic writings we find it incidentally mentioned that miracles were an usual accompaniment of the apostles' teaching (Rom. xv. 18, 19; I. Cor. xii; 2 Cor. xii. 12; Gal. iii. 5). This proves that these miracles were not counted mythical or imaginations of men, neither were they legends or distorted traditions of bygone events. They were either true or false. To successfully attack the Bible you must de- molish its miracles, because the long past and the nearer present are based on miracles. The whole Mosaic system was based upon the won- derful events that took place in the sight of the whole Israelitish nation at and after the period of the Exodus until the people dwelt in Canaan. So the whole superstructure of the Christian faith is built on the miracle of the resurrection of Christ by God. "If Christ be not risen, your faith is vain" (1 Cor. xv.). But can we touch its miracles? Before we can, we have to fight the wonderful record of these miracles—the Bible. Rosseau pertinently puts it thus: "It is more inconceivable that a number of persons should agree to write such a history than that one only should furnish the subject of it. The Jewish authors were incapable of the diction, and strangers to the morality con- tained in the gospels, the marks of whose truths are so striking and inimitable, that the inventor would be a more astonishing charac- ter than the hero." We would have a great difficulty to demolish the ever-increasing testimony of external evi- dence to the truthfulness of the Bible. This evidence in the form of the result of recent excavations in the East, and deposited in the museums of the nations to-day is very power- ful. So is the internal evidence, of which pro- phecy illustrated in diversified fulfilment is but one item. When it is said that science declines to accept miracles, it should be re- membered that evidence corroborates them; for instance, look at the choice of Palestine as the best place from which to emanate blessings to all the earth. This choice was in Abraham's days, a period when geography was not known as it is to-day. We must re- member as well that, scientists of repute are prepared to accept the idea that science and miracles are not contradictory. Huxley was one of such teachers of science. DEFINITION. The BilJle explanation of a miracle istlwt it is a wonder, a mighty deed and a sign. By a wonder or marvel there is something that strikes attention. It is the outside of the act. By a mighty deed, work, or power we learn the cause or the agency at work—Divine action. By a sign we are told the aim or pur- pose for which the deed is done. These three items are ttire- different aspects of a Bible miracle. Simon the Sorcerer was able to do wonders, but lie had not the Divine power. He wanted to buy the gift of God. The magi- cians in the court of Pharaoh were able to do some wonders, but at last they had. to confess that Moses and Aaron could do greater works than they, and therefore the cause was that the mighty deeds of Moses were the finger of God. Christ claimed that his works were also the finger of God. A finger is part of the hand by which work is done, and it is also the member by which we point to something else. Moses looked at the burning yet unconsumod bush. It was a, marvel that attracted atten- tion. He then learnt there was within the busli a Divine power, and that it was a sign of a Divine purpose. Bible miracles are always claimed as Divine "power manifestations. They are not mere wonders. They are always fur a purpose. They are never done for a mere "show off. It is special circumstances that cause them to be done. They are an attesta- tion of revelation, and communication. The covenant with Abraham was confirmed by fire. The Aaronic priesthood was divinely and visibly sanctioned. The cessation of the plague at David's intercession was shown to be of God by a miracle. Fire from heaven consumed the sacrifices at the dedication of Solomon's temple. The Mosaic Institution I a s not being of Moses. It was a new system claimed to be divine.. and the claim was divinely en- dorsed. Christ came with a new system to ie- place an accepted divine one, and it was rea-' sonable that such a claim should reeeive—if true—God's endorsement. This Christ's miracles claimed to be. But it is remarkable that if anyone desired to see a nuTT.C-le to satisfy his fleshly curiosity, just as he might see an entertainment, then that desire was not satisfied. Christ's appeal then was to such a class, the Scriptures. How could the apostolic enterprise initially succeed to either Jew or Gentile, unless miracles were performed to demonstrate that it was of These miracles were an earnest or a token of divine approval. The New Testament is to-day an earnest- or token to those who understand its purport. Warington uses the Mont Cenis Tunnel as a very pert illustration. First as a wonder only: we may he told that it is a cavity of seven miles in length, under a mountain. That this cayity,started from opposite ends of a. moun- tain, and in fifteen years they met exactly. We know that Nature produces cavities, but not like this. On our first hearing of such a circumstance, it would be counted a hoax, till we are told of the agency or power that caused the cavity; this power was man. We might still think it improbable till we are told the aim (or "sign"), which was—profit to cer- tain people. We want the three items in order to thoroughly believe. Never in the New Testament, and but rarely in the Old, is a miracle termed a marvel alone. It generally has associated with it the word "sign" or "mighty work." But in both Old and New, several times we have all three terms associaiied together. A marvel is something that is beyond usual, human experience (Deut. iv. 32, 34). "If I had not done among them the works which no other man did" (John xv. 24). Are we to deny the possibility of anything occurring which is beyond our experience? Experience in- creases, which means observation increases. This is the basis of research or science. If it is said that there is nothing new under the sun, the answer obviously is, but what about its manifestation ? Past universal experience does not forbid research, which implies the past is no absolute barrier to the present. Are miracles contrary to experience? Though be- yond, yet they are not -exactly contrary, but in harmony in a sense with past experience. (To be continued, God willing.)



I Llannon Parish Council.…

"Wars of the Roses."II

ILate Chief Constable.


Sanatorium for Consumption.