Page:Passages from the Life of a Philosopher.djvu/504

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and it would be arrogance to suppose that the reach of man's power is to form the limits of the natural world. The universe offers daily proof of the existence of power of which we know nothing, but whose mighty agency nevertheless manifestly appears in the most familiar works of creation. And shall we deny the existence of this mighty energy simply because it manifests itself in delegated and feeble subordination to God's onmipotence?

There is nothing in the nature of a miracle that should render it incredible: its credibility depends upon the nature of the evidence by which it is supported. An event of extreme probability will not necessarily command our belief unless upon a sufficiency of proof; and so an event which we may regard as highly improbable may command our belief if it is sustained by sufficient evidence. So that the credibility or incredibility of an event does not rest upon the nature of the event itself, but depends upon the nature and sufficiency of the proof which sustains it.

Mill, in speaking of Hume's celebrated principle, "that nothing is credible which is contradictory to experience, or at variance with the laws of nature," calls it a very plain and harmless proposition, being, in effect, nothing more than that whatever is contradictory to a complete induction is incredible.

Admit the existence of a Deity, and the possibility of a miracle is the natural consequence. No doubt our examination of the evidence which sustains an unusual phenomenon should be most carefully conducted; but we must not measure the credibility or incredibility of an event by the narrow sphere of our own experience, nor forget that there is a Divine energy which overrides what we familiarly call the laws of nature.

If a miracle is not a suspension or a violation of the laws of nature, it may fairly be asked, What is it?

If we define a miracle as an effect of which the cause is unknown to us, then we make our ignorance the source of miracles! and the universe itself would be a standing miracle.