Useless Miracles

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 8
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As to "useless miracles "1-what would Mr. N. mean by a useful miracle? I suppose one that displayed God would be quite useless to him. He does not want a revelation from God. He is too competent to know Him to need it. Useful in his point of view would mean for some human profit; for moral degradation in reasoning cannot be separated from infidelity, which makes man its end and shuts out God. Now doubtless Jesus was healing all that were oppressed of the devil, for God was with Him. But surely it is conceivable that a miracle which showed that a divine Person was come amongst men; and rendering this sensible to them, might have some usefulness in it. All men are not so able to do without God and a positive revelation of Him as Mr. N. is. They have found it useful to them to have Him revealed, a delight to them even to hear His words. They have wondered at His condescension and grace in thus communicating with them. They have understood that, where that power is, a man can walk on the waves of this troublesome world, and are glad to know that, by keeping the eye steadily fixed on Him, they can do it too; they have found it so, and that, if forgetful of this grace and power they begin to think of difficulties, they begin to sink. They go out on His word to meet Him. They have been helped when they failed; and they believe that when indeed He shall rejoin His tossed people, they will be at land immediately. They see this all fully developed in the circumstances of the miracle-Christ, acknowledged as prophet, refusing to be king, and going up to be alone on high, the disciples having to struggle on without His presence, while at last He will return, and all will be rest from labor. They see even that the whole subject of John 6, where it is largely spoken of, shows Christ as the food of His people during this outward separation. He had been satisfying the poor with bread (see Psa. 132), but the time was not come for His being king; He satisfies the saints meanwhile with far better bread-Himself come down from on high, with His flesh too and His blood: so must He be eaten to live by Him. It is again a full development of the new thing, preceded by a complete picture of the historical positions Christ would take-prophet, priest, and king-each in its place connected with it. To Mr. N. it is a "useless miracle." I am sorry for him-yes, unfeignedly sorry.
Such wonderful testimony as "many saints coming out of their graves" after Christ's resurrection, surely was not useless to show that death was then overcome. In order to furnish such a testimony they must have appeared. Their doing so "to many" precluded the idea of its being the heated imagination of an individual, or the fraudulent story of a few favorers of Jesus's pretensions.
1. "What was I to say of useless miracles, like that of Peter and Jesus walking on the water-or that of many saints coming out of their graves to show themselves, or of a poetical sympathy of the elements, such as the earthquake and rending of the temple-veil when Jesus died?" (Phases, p. 131.)