In taking leave of his disciples, Jesus said: "And these...

Victoria (B. C.) Colonist

In taking leave of his disciples, Jesus said: "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." This is what is stated in the closing chapter of St. Mark's gospel. If the minister of any Protestant denomination should claim that he could do these things, his orthodoxy or his sanity, and perhaps both, would be called in question. Now and then one meets a minister who boldly says these words are an interpolation, and that St. Mark is not responsible for them. On the other hand, they are quite in keeping with the works attributed to Jesus and to the apostles. The custom has been to allege that "the age of miracles is past," but there are too many well-attested instances to the contrary to warrant any such assumption. There were no forces or influences available to humanity nineteen hundred years ago that are not available now. The failure of people to utilize them is the fault of the people themselves.

Let us for a moment consider the incidents which the church concedes were miraculous. Take for example that incident in Cana of Galilee, when the water was turned into wine. Presumably the marriage feast at which this took place was not a very conspicuous affair socially. If they had had newspapers in those days with society columns, it is doubtful if the event would have been mentioned as a social item. At this feast water was converted into wine. It is quite improbable that any one who was not present would have believed this story, and that many who were there would have thought there was some deception about it. One can easily imagine how others would have laughed at the story; that is, those who represented the ecclesiasticism and learning of the day, assuming of course that they heard of it, which is in the last degree improbable.

To get an appreciation of our own attitude toward the so-called miraculous, we must try to get in touch with the attitude of intelligent contemporaries toward the miracles of Jesus. Suppose that in this morning's Colonist you should read that water had been turned into wine somewhere in Canada. Would you believe it? The chances are that you would not; you would probably ask what the paper meant by printing such stuff. You would, if you are inclined to look at things from a religious point of view, be of the opinion that it was very wrong to print such an item. It is very improbable that sufficient evidence could be produced to make you believe the thing happened. It is not suggested that such a thing could happen; that would be to take for granted what remains to be proved. The suggestion is that you may be able to judge from this supposed incident how the great majority of those who heard of the Cana miracle would regard it, if they thought it worthy of attention at all.

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