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be considered; they stand just as much in opposition to the view of their being mere signs, as having only a purely symbolical meaning. What we often hear expressed, that they are meant to represent allegorically the 'life' which the Son of God can give, is opposed by the decided explanations in John v. 20, 21, xi. 25, 26, 42.
In modern theology there has willingly been conceded a much closer connection between miracles and prophecy than its mere formal relationship,—a relationship on account of which, in Church dogmatics, prophecy itself has been called a miracle, and thus has been made the distinction of 'miracula potentiæ' and 'miracula præscientiæ;' in fact, prophecy and miracles are considered as both equally constitutive elements of revelation. Rothe has drawn the connection between them even closer; for he not merely acknowledges a general relation of miracles and of prophecy to revelation, but also a reciprocal relation of them, the one on the other. Without its connection with prophecy, a miracle would be a mute figure' (Zur Dogm. p. 83). But we may, and we ought to go still further, and maintain that there is a prophetical meaning in the miracle itself. We have to consider this in the expression onueiov. So much is evident, that nix in the Old Testament often represents a miracle, which is appointed to foreshadow a future event, and especially the certainty of its coming to pass ; as in 2 Kings xx. 8-11, and other places.
Many of our Lord's miracles also are onuela in this sense—in fact, those which He performed on the laws of nature. That in these there is room for a symbolical meaning is just as undeniable as natural. Only here it is not the prevailing one, much less the only justifiable one. The narratives in question are conceivable purely in the case that their prophetical character is acknowledged. Certainly we must guard our selves from the idea that this prophecy relates to an uncertain something that will happen in the future; the relation to the kingdom of heaven is here selfevident. The future of the kingdom of heaven is, however, that of its victory, especially of its victory over the enemy, and its dominion over all powers. Thus the miracles of Jesus are, in the fourth place, prophecies, founded on fact, of the future dominion of the kingdom of God on earth. Thus we stand at the actual threshold of our problem. We now purpose to show the motive of each single miracle of our Lord, and to place it thereby in the full light of probability.
THE MIRACLES OF JESUS.
THE MIRACLES OF JESUS CONSIDERED AS SIGNS OF THE
KINGDOM OF HEAVEN THAT IS AT HAND.
The number of narratives which can be placed under this point of view is inconsiderable; for how few miracles of Jesus can be considered as specially signs of the kingdom of heaven at hand! And here we wish to treat solely of those which come exclusively under this method of consideration, and which by its means alone become perfectly conceivable. Chronologically, these occur in the beginning of the public ministry of our Lord; and among them will therefore be found that miracle with which Jesus' power of working miracles commenced. It may be that we can thus explain the passage in John ii. 11, where the evangelist wishes to point out the turning of water into wine at Cana as the very first miracle which Jesus performed. We cannot, however, determine to which of the miracles of the class in question should be assigned the first place in point of time, with the same certainty with which we can decide on that which concluded the Lord's work. The balance of probability will, however, incline in favour of the incident in the house of Simon Peter, if the improbability is considered in relation to the manifestly high value set on it by all three evangelists.
* It is customary to consider the healing of Malo is, who was wounded by Peter at Gethsemane, as the last miracle of Jesus; in one sense justly so. But we cannot reckon this event as part of His peculiar work of performing miracles, for the Lord had already concluded this, as well as His ministry of teaching. It seems significative that Jesus, in the last moment that His hands were still free and unbound, should have used them in stretching And these must have been quite special ones; for the sickness in question demanded in itself them out to bless,—Suffer ye thus far' (Luke xxii. 51), allow me still liberty until I have done this ;—but His rebuke to His disciples, however manifold was the motive for it, contains also especially the important point that Jesus was compelled by this action to take up again a power which He had laid down. This miracle is therefore singular; it does not come under any of the groups we have pointed out, but is only to be seen in its true light, by its connection with the history of the Passion.
THE HEALING OF PETER'S MOTHER-IN-LAW.-MATT. VIII.
14; MARK I. 29; LUKE IV. 38.
The very humbleness of the occurrence deeply attracts us; it contains points of importance peculiar to itself. In the first place, there is the fact that this is the only case, in the whole extent of the working of the miraculous power of our Lord, in which He performed his operation silently and still. At other times, He always opens His mouth to say some words while He cures; but here He works without a word. Thus we have a sign in the strictest and most literal sense, and are therefore compelled to show what is the plain meaning of this sign. How is this deed conceivable? What was it that caused Jesus to employ in this case His miraculous power, and here perhaps for the first time? We are informed by Mark and Luke, that our Lord was made aware of the illness of the woman: They tell Him of her;' "They besought Him for her.' But He who was in no way moved by the pleading of Mary at Cana, would also here have paid no attention to the remark, unless He had had His own motives for miraculous assist
the interposition of the physician of Israel much less