Again, if we take into consideration the fact that in not a few cases madness is produced by moral causes, by yielding to certain temptations, as, for instance, to drunkenness, there will be still less difficulty in believing that madness, arising from the action of an evil being, may be the punishment of yielding to the seductions of that evil being.
The miraculous cure of demoniacal possession presents, I need hardly say, less physical difficulty than any other cure performed by our Lord. Assuming the presence of an evil spiritual existence in the possessed person coming face to face with the most exalted spiritual Power and Goodness, the natural result is that the one quails before the other.
But, in truth, all the difficulties respecting possession arise not so much from our ignorance, as from our dogmatism. We assert the dogma, or at least we quietly assume the dogma, that there are no spiritual or intellectual beings between ourselves and God; or, if we shrink from an assertion which so nearly implies our own omniscience, we lay down that these superior beings, of whose laws we know nothing, can only act upon us in ways precisely similar to those on which we act upon one another.
Another objection which the author of “Supernatural Religion” urges against the credibility of our Lord’s miracles, is that they were not performed before what he considers competent witnesses.
“Their occurrence [he
writes] is limited to ages which were totally
ignorant of physical laws.” (Vol. i. p. 201.)
Again, he speaks of the age as one
“in which not only the grossest superstition and credulity prevailed, but in which there was such total ignorance of natural laws that men were incapable of judging of that reality [i.e. of miracles].” (P. 204.)
“The discussion of miracles, then, is not one regarding miracles actually performed within our own knowledge, but merely regarding miracles said to have been performed eighteen hundred years ago, the reality of which was not verified at the time by any scientific examination.” (P. 208.)
From this we gather that the author of “Supernatural Religion” considers that the miracles of Christ should have been tested by scientific men; but we ask, By what scientific men? It is clear that if the testing was to have been satisfactory to those who think like the author of “Supernatural Religion,” they must have been scientific men who approached the whole matter in a spirit of scepticism. Our Blessed Lord (I speak it with all reverence), if He cared to satisfy such men, should have delayed His coming to the present time, or should have called up out of the future, or created for this purpose, men who had doubts respecting the personality of God, who held Him to be fitly described as the Unknown