THE SPIRITUAL PHILOSOPHY OF CHRIST. 375
could not doubt. To them it was the power of God, working through miracle. It was to them a sign and symbol of puissance and authority. To doubt the word of one who was able to work such wonders was to doubt the evidence of their senses. Without that evidence the spiritual doctrines of Jesus would have been to them without sanction of authority. Logic and reason would have been wasted on the people of that age. Their belief that the signs and wonders were wrought in defiance of natural law was the only circumstance that could command their respect. Their idea was that the only way in which God could manifest his power was by some signal violation of his own laws. To attempt to show them that Christ healed the sick by a strict observance of natural law would have been as futile as to attempt to teach a new-born babe the principles of the differential calculus. To convince them of the fact would be to destroy their faith in the power of God. Jesus taught them all that they could understand, all that it would benefit the world to know in that era of civilization. He was working, not only for the people of his own time, but for all future generations. He laid his foundations broad and deep, and with the most consummate wisdom. He not only conferred the benefits of his power upon the people of his own race and country, but he left indubitable evidences of the truth of his history and of his doctrines for all future generations.
Conceding, for the sake of the argument, that Jesus possessed the power to work a miracle, that is, to work outside of the domain of natural law and in defiance of it, his consummate wisdom in refraining from the exercise of that power is now manifest. If he had wrought his wonders by miracle, only the eye-witnesses of his works would have been benefited ; for there would have been no means provided by which future generations could verify his history. But if he performed his works by and through the operations of natural law, it only remains for science to rediscover that law, in order to demonstrate the truth of his history. His consummate wisdom is, therefore, manifest