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Religious Thoughts

Writings by George Burgess (1829-1905)

MIRACLES

Webster explains a Miracle to be a Deviation from the ordinary laws of “Nature”.

The following Statements occur in the old Bible, and New Testament, and in the Concordance, the word “miracles” stand at their head.

  • Exodus 7-10, “Aaron’s Rod swallowed up their Rods”.
  • Exodus 14-21, “The Lord divided the Ted Sea, for the Israelites to cross”.
  • Exodus 15-21, “”Moses cried unto the Lord who then caused the bitter waters of Marah to become sweet”.
  • Exodus 17-6, “Moses smote the Rock in Horeb, bringing forth water”.
  • Numbers 16-32, “The Lord made a New thing, and the earth opened her mouth and swallowed up Korah and Dathan and their houses, and all their goods”.
  • Numbers 21-8, “Men bitter by fiery Serpents, looked on Moses fiery Serpent of brass, and lived”.
  • Joshua 10-12, “Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, and the Sun stood still”.
  • Judges 16-30, “Samson pulling down the pillars at Tarmath, with his hands upholding a building with 3000 people upon its roof”.
  • Kings 13-6, “Jehoash’s withered arm, at once, restored”.
  • Kings 18-38, “Elijah prays, and brings down fire from the Lord, for the sacrifice”.
  • Kings 20-11, Elijah, and the Chariots and horses for fire, “and Elijah taken up in a whirlwind of heaven”.

In the old Bible the above strange events are said to be the Lord’s work. That would seem to remove from them the miraculous meaning. Still, such events would appear as miracles to men from that far off time. It would be difficult to give us accuracy concerning its events. For even now Superstition still lives, but in that age it lived, and ruled the Rulers, and Kings, and the People. The Statements, as proof of facts have not been much believed in, by men of scientific-searching types of mind during the latter half of the nineteenth century.

But if men believe less in statements which run across Natural Laws, still their reverence for, and faith in, the Living God ruleth all beings, and all worlds, according to their natural order, do not diminish at all, but increase more and more.

IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

  • Matthew 8-3, “Jesus cleansed the Leper”.
  • Matthew 8-13, Jesus healing the Centurion’s Servant, without seeing him.
  • Matthew 8-15, “Jesus healing Peter’s Mother-in-law from a fever, by a touch”.
  • Matthew 8-26, “Jesus rebuked the winds, and the sea, and there was a great calm”.
  • Matthew 9-23, “Jesus enabling the Dumb to speak”.
  • Matthew 14-17, 20 – “Jesus feeding 5000 people on 5 loaves, and 2 fishes”.
  • Mark 5-12, “Jesus casting out the Legion of devils”, “and all the devils besought him, saying, send us into the swine”, “about 2000”, which ran into the sea “and were choked by the sea”.
  • John 5-9, “Jesus curing the 38 years Impotent man”.
  • John 11-44, “Jesus raising dead Lazarus to life”.
  • Acts 3-6, “Peter healing the lame man at the Temple”.
  • Acts 5-5, “Peter and the sudden deaths of Ananias and Sapphire”.
  • Acts 9-40, “Peter raising dead Dorcas to Life”.

Unlike the old Bible, the foregoing New Testament reading speak of the “miracles” as being through faith in Jesus, the acts of men, namely, of the “Son of Man”, and his disciples.

According to the New Testament text, it may be noted, that the “multitudes” who sought the aid of Jesus were considered by him as being punished for their sins, and his miracles meant “Thy sins are forgiven thee, sin no more”, or “Behold thou are made whole, sin no more, lest a worse thing come into thee”. Few indeed sought to know if Jesus has any Spiritual, or Future life mission. Even the Capernaum Centurion, a man high in “authority” appears to have only sought Jesus for the one purpose of curing his Servant, who was “grievously tormented”. This done, the Centurion and Jesus seem to have parted, possibly forever.

The benefit of miracles seems to have been wholly confined to this world along with the aim to convince the Jews that Jesus was their “Messiah”.

It is especially important to remember that the statements concerning Jesus “working miracles, healing the impotent, sending the cast out devils into the swine, and raising the dead to life” etc. come from Matthew, Mark and others, and not from Jesus himself. Jesus never wrote anything about himself, and as far as we know, he never wrote anything at all, so hat we have no proof that we would assent to the unreasonable declarations of a few well-meaning men, possessed by Superstition, and who did not write about him until he had “gone the way of all the earth”. Therefore, it is probable that Jesus never knew that any man would ever write about him, and he was not responsible for the many unreasonable things written about him in the four Gospels, and elsewhere.

It is admitted that, according to the Gospel writers, Jesus himself, and his disciples – all, were subjects of that Superstition, which thought that personal, evil spirits, or devils, in various numbers, lived within men. And it is quite probable that Jesus was a subject of the prevailing superstition. Still, we have no (written) word concerning it, from Jesus himself. David, Solmon, Paul, Cicero, Mahomet, Luther, Calvin, John Wesley, Dr Martinean, Henry Ward Bucher, Dr Joseph Parker and multitudes of others have left us their written opinions, and their records, and their histories. But Jesus appears to have left the world without giving it one, written, word concerning his birth, his history, his life, or his works. And in this respect, Jesus appears to have been a silent being. And the Fact itself, historically, is Remarkable, and Startling!

It is not surprising, that the alleged miraculous powers, passed away when Jesus, and his disciples passed away. Such powers have not been possessed by Christians during the passing away of all the later long centuries.

The roots of all the Gifts, and capabilities, and possibilities of man were within his being from his beginning. Therefore, if miracles were possible by men 2000 years abo, they would be possible now. But all men, of right minds, know that miracles are not possible now, therefore it is fair to conclude that they could not be possible 2000 years ago, nor at any other age of the world’s history. History may easily prove the far off existence of a marked, real, Personality. But if acts are ascribed to the Personality which are beyond the powers of Human Nature then the existence of those acts are naturally doubted. And Time, usually proves that those acts only lived in the visions of Superstition.

Since those times, of the earliest disciples of Jesus, gradually the growing knowledge of the Science, and processes of the human constitution bodily and spiritually, as removed the delusion that men were ever possessed by personal evil spirits, living within them, and also removed the delusion that “all manner of diseases” were ever cured by miracles. The foremost, and progressive preachers of the last quarter of the nineteenth century have omitted to say much about, or to be influenced by, the New Testament miracles. They have exercised too much good sound common sense to so waste their time. But instead, they have spoken forth food, strong, earnest, developing Truth. There is no miracle, nor mystery in Godliness. Godliness has its root set right in the central being of mankind. Man is naturally both human and divine. Therefore, naturally he is inclined to live a good human, and divine life. And that life is Godliness. All goodness is Godliness.

A people in this age will not seek miracles to sure their Bodies, they know that they will never fine them. And, in this latest, and best, generation, people do not desire to grow Godly by the aid of miracles, they can grow both Godly, and manly, very much better without them.

And God’s changeless Laws, of all the moving Worlds, and of all the processes of Human Life, give no sign that miracles ever were probable, and needful, or that they ever will be probable, or needful, to come to the help of man.

George Burgess, January 1901

MENU - Religious Thoughts by George Burgess
January 1899 REWARDS & PUNISHMENT
February 1899 JESUS
February 1899 THE DEATH OF JESUS
February 1899 DID JESUS DIE INSTEAD OF MANKIND?
March 1899 SACREFICE
April 1899 A FUTURE LIFE
April 1899 THE CONDITIONS OF THE FUTURE LIFE
May 1899 SHALL WE HAVE FOODS IN THE SPIRIT-WORLD?
June 1899 CONVICTION
June 1899 REPENTANCE
June 1899 FORGIVENESS
June 1899 DURATION OF PUNISHMENT
June 1899 THE DURATION OF GOOD REWARDS
June 1899 SOME THINGS I BELIEVE
July 1899 UNIVERSAL SALVATION
July 1899 GOD
July 1899 SIN
August 1899 BODILY - LIFE & DEATH
August 1899 CONVERSION
August 1899 PRAYER TO GOD
  WHAT PRAYER CANNOT DO
  WHAT PRAYER CAN DO
  PRAYER IS REASONABLE
  PERSONAL PRAYER
  PRAYER THAT CANNOT PREVAIL
  PREVAILING PRAYER
March 1900 HAPPINESS
June 1900 THE PARENTAGE OF JESUS
January 1901 MIRACLES
February 1901 RESURRECTION