Discussing the phenomenon of miracles from a standpoint...

Onlooker

Discussing the phenomenon of miracles from a standpoint which is neither that of Christian Science nor orthodox theology, Matthew Arnold laid stress on what is termed the "moral therapeutics" of Jesus. This declaration, though embodying what in Christian Science is regarded as a mere truism, does not seem to be regarded by the orthodox churches as an unquestionable truth, much less as an absolute basis for medical practice. Recent controversial writings have disclosed the fact that there are orthodox Christians who are not prepared to admit even that Jesus in no circumstances relied on material means, and the cases of the deaf and dumb man on the coast of Decapolis and of the blind men at Bethsaida and in Jerusalem, have been relied on to substantiate this. Now it seems so impossible for one moment to believe that the man who performed countless miracles, who raised the dead, fed the multitudes, walked on the water, stilled the tempest, and made the resurrection the final and most incontrovertible proof of the power of God in this world, was reduced in certain specific instances to the use of saliva as a medicament, that this suggestion may be dismissed as untenable. The position of those who frankly regard the miraculous element in the healing recorded in the New Testament as "Aberglaube invading" is at least logical; the position of those who, whilst straining at the Bethsaida gnat, swallow the Bethany camel, is simply unintelligible.

The truth probably is that, so far from relying in these cases on material means, Jesus was simply expressing, in a characteristic, Eastern fashion, his contempt for them. And that being so, it becomes of the first importance to discover whether his disciples ever departed from his method; whether Luke really did travel with Paul as a sort of physician-in-ordinary; and whether, in attempting to part the seamless garment, by separating the healing of sickness from the healing of sin. Christendom has been true to Christianity.

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