Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

866

MILDEW MILETUS. The Arabic applies the word yirakon to human beings, the Hellespont, the Propontis, and the Euxine, which as well as to corn, and thus describes the disease called enabled them to secure the greater part of the trade in in Europe yellow jaundice. Forskal was informed, in slaves, which, in ancient times, were principally furArabia, by a Jew, that it was the general opinion there nished by the country round the Euxine, as well as the that it is a mild breeze, dangerous to the corn, by which trade in corn, fish, and furs. She was likewise celebrated the ears are turned yellow. See AGRICULTURE.

ICULTURE.

| for her numerous works of art, the magnificence of her

festivals, and the luxury, refinement, and opulence of her MILE, uidcov. (Matt. 5. 41.) This refers to the people. Among her most illustrious citizens were Thales, Roman milliare, or mile of a thousand paces, whence its one of the seven wise men; IIecatæus, one of the most name; the milliare is usually estimated at one thou- ancient historians; the philosophers Anaximander and sand six hundred and eleven yards, the English mile Anaximenes; Timotheus, the celebrated musician and containing one thousand seven hundred and sixty. poet. In fact, Miletus was the Athens of Ionia. The Romans commonly measured by millia, or miles, Miletus is now a mean, deserted place, which still, and the Greeks by stadia, or furlongs.

however, bears the name of Palat, or Palatia, the Palaces. Dr. Chandler gives us the following description of its

present condition:-“The principal relic of its former MILETUS, Mixntos, a sea-port of Asia Minor, in magnificence is a ruined theatre; which is visible afar the province of Caria, and the capital of Caria and Ionia, off, and was a most capacious edifice, measuring four stood near the mouth of the Meander, sixty-five miles hundred and fifty-seven feet long. The external face south of Smyrna. It was here that St. Paul delivered to of this vast fabric is marble. On the side of the theatre the elders of the church of Ephesus that affecting dis- next the river is an inscription in characters rudely cut, course which is recorded in Acts 20. 17-35. There was in which the city Miletus is mentioned seven times. another Miletus in Crete, where St. Paul left Trophimus This is a monument of heretical Christianity. One sick. (2Tim. 4. 20.)

| Basilides, who lived in the second century, was the Miletus was once powerful and illustrious: it was the founder of an absurd sect, called Basilidians, and Gnosfirst settled of the Greek colonies in Ionia, and claimed tics, the original proprietors of the many gems with to be the mother of not fewer than seventy-five cities in strange devices and inscriptions, intended to be worn as Pontus, Egypt, and various other parts. It was styled amulets or charms, with which the cabinets of the curious the head and metropolis of Ionia, the bulwark of Asia; now abound. One of their idle tenets was, that the but, like other great cities, underwent many vicissitudes. appellative Jehovah possessed signal virtue and efficacy. Having joined in the revolt of the Ionian cities against They expressed it by the seven Greek vowels, which the Persian king, it was besieged and taken by the Per- they transposed into a variety of combinations. This sians, in the reign of Darius Hystaspes, (B.C. 493,) when superstition appears to have prevailed in no small degree the inhabitants were obliged to quit their city; but being at Miletus. In this fragment the mysterious name is afterwards allowed to return, Miletus again rose to great frequently repeated, and the Deity six times invoked: wealth and distinction. It opposed a vigorous resist- Holy Jehovah, preserve the town of the Milesians, and ance to Alexander the Great; but, instead of punishing, all the inhabitants. The archangels also are summoned the conqueror magnanimously restored the city to her to be their guardians, and the whole city is made the ancient freedom. It appears to have also been indul- author of these supplications; from which, thus engraved, gently treated by the Romans; and it continued to be a it expected, as may be presumed, to derive lasting proconsiderable city till it fell, in the thirteenth century, sperity, and a kind of talismanic protection. The whole into the hands of the Ottoman Turks, when it sank into site of the town, to a great extent, is spread with rubbish ruin; and its harbour being neglected, has been long and overrun with thickets. The vestiges of the heathen almost filled up.

city are pieces of wall, broken arches, and a few scatThe citizens of Miletus early distinguished themselves tered pedestals and inscriptions, a square marble um, by their skill in navigation, and still more by the number and many wells. One of the wells has belonged to a of the colonies they had established along the coast of statue of the Emperor Hadrian, who was a friend to the

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

Milesi ans, as appears from the titles of Saviour and verse, Job is speaking of his death. "Wilt thou bring Benefa ctor given him. Another supported the statue of me unto dust again?'. But what has the pouring out of the Emperor Severus, and has a long inscription with milk to do with death? The people of the East pour this curious preamble: "The senate and people of the milk upon their heads, after performing the funeral city of the Milesians, the first settled in Ionia, and the obsequies. Has a father a profligate son, one he never mother of many and great cities, both in Pontus and expects to reclaim, he says, in reference to him, 'Ah! Egypt, and various other parts of the world. From the I have poured milk upon my head;' that is, 'I have number of forsaken mosques, it is evident that Moham- done with him; he is as one dead to me.'—“And curdled medanism has flourished in its turn at Miletus. The me like cheese.' The cheese of the East is little better history of this place, after the declension of the Greek than curds; and these are also used at the funeral empire, is very imperfect. The whole region has under- ceremonies." gone frequent ravages from the Turks, while possessed of In Job 21. 24, we read, “His breasts are full of milk, the interior country, and intent on extending their con- and his bones are moistened with marrow.” The margin quests westward to the shore. One sultan, in 1175, of our version has, for “breasts," “milk-pails;" and sent twenty thousand men, with orders to lay waste the Roberts informs us, “Of a man who is very rich it is Roman provinces, and bring him sea-water, sand, and an common to say, 'His chatties (vessels) are full of milk.' oar: all the cities on the Meander and on the coast | But of a good king, or governor, it is said, 'He nourishes were then ruined. Miletus was again destroyed towards like the king whose breasts are full of milk. "Yes; he the end of the thirteenth century by the conquering | so rules, that the hearts of the goddess of the earth are Othman."

full of milk.'”

Milk and honey in figurative language are the emblems MILITARY DISCIPLINE. See Arms, Armour, of fertility; and Bochart observes that this phrase occurs ARMY.

about twenty times in the Scriptures. Milk sometimes

denotes the unadulterated word of God, as in 1 Peter MILK, an hhalab. (Gen. 18. 8; 49. 12; Judges 2. 2, compared with Isaiah 55. 1. St. Paul compares 5. 25.) Milk, principally that of sheep and goats, forms some of his converts to little children, to be fed with an important part of the diet of people in the East, and milk, and not with solid food. (1 Cor. 3. 2; Heb. 5. 12.) enters largely as an ingredient into the composition of A land flowing with milk and honey, as Canaan is de. their prepared dishes. The word on hhamah, usually scribed to be, (Josh. 5. 6,) is a country of extraordinary rendered “butter," in our version, equally applies to fertility. By the Prophets, the kingdom of the Messiah thick curdled milk or cream, in various states of consist- / is represented as a time of great abundance, “when the ence. The Arabs make much use of butter-milk; and hills shall flow with milk," (Joel 3. 18;) and Isaiah says coagulated sour milk, diluted with water. Although to the Church, ch. 60. 16, “ Thou shalt also suck the unpleasant at first to strangers, the natives swallow it milk of the Gentiles, and shalt also suck the breast of with avidity. From the frequent mention of milk in kings.” the Scriptures, it is evident that its use must have been very common among the Hebrews.

MILL, On7 rachaim. (Exod. 11.5; Numb. 11.8.) In the present made by Jacob to Esau, (Gen. 32. 15,) Fine meal, that is, corn or grain ground or beaten fine, we read of “thirty milch camels with their colts.” Milch is spoken of as far back as the time of Abraham, (Gen. camels, among the Arabs, constitute a principal part of | 18. 6,) hence mills and mortars must have been known their riches. Niebuhr relates that among other dishes at that time. The mill common among the Hebrews presented to him by the Arabs at Menayre, there was also camel's milk; that it was indeed considered cooling and healthy in these hot countries, but that it is so clammy, that when a finger is dipped into it, and drawn up again, the milk hangs down from it like a thread. Another traveller, in his Account of Morocco, states, that "the Moors also drink camels' milk; and when they have milked them for a short time, they suffer the young camels to suck, and then begin to milk again, partly to share it with the young camels, and partly to make the camels give the milk better."

In Proverbs 27. 27, goat's milk is referred to: “ And thou shalt have goat's milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance of thy maidens." Russell informs us that goats are chiefly kept for this purpose, that they yield it in no inconsiderable quantity, and that it is sweet and well tasted. This at Aleppo is, however, chiefly from the beginning of April to September; the people being generally supplied the other part of the year with cow's milk, such as it is; for

The Eastsrn Eazd-mill. the cows being commonly kept at the gardens and fed with the refuse, the milk generally tastes so strong of scarcely differed at all from that which is used at the garlic or cabbage leaves as to be very disagreeable.” present day in Egypt and the East. It consisted of tiro Butter and cheese are usually made of the milk of goats circular stones two feet in diameter and half a foot in and sheep, and cow's milk, where it is to be had, is held | thickness. The lower one, called 'nan tachtiy, and in comparatively little esteem.

775 pelach, (Deut. 24. 6,) or Dinan na pelach tachIn Job 10. 10, it is said, “ Hast thou not poured me thith, (Job 41. 24,) exhibited a slight rise or elevation out as milk, and curdled me like cheese?” Roberts in the centre, and was fixed in the floor; the upper one, remarks, “Much philological learning has been brought called a37 recheb, (Judges 9. 53,) was moveable, and to the explanation of this passage. In the preceding in order to make it fit the nether one precisely, was

[graphic]
[blocks in formation]

slightly hollowed. In the middle of it was a hole, dust, О virgin daughter of Babylon; sit on the ground: through which the corn to be ground was admitted there is no throne, o daughter of the Chaldæans. Take The upper stone had a handle attached to it, by which the millstones, and grind meal," but not with the wonted it was moved upon the lower, and the corn and grain song: “Sit thou silent, and get thee into darkness," were in this way broken. There were sieves attached (47. 1,2,5,) there to conceal thy vexation and disgrace. to the mill which separated the flour from the bran; the | Sir John Gardner Wilkinson describes the mills used bran was put into the mill again and ground over. The by the ancient Egyptians for grinding corn as consisting sieves were made of reeds; those made of horse-hair of two circular stones, nearly flat, the lower one fixed, were a later invention. Sir John Chardin remarks, that | while the other turned on a pivot or shaft rising from the persons employed in grinding are generally female the centre of that beneath it; and the grain, descending slaves, who are least regarded or are least fitted for any- through an aperture in the upper stone immediately thing else; for the work is extremely laborious, and above the pivot, gradually underwent the process of esteemed the lowest employment about the house. Thus grinding as it passed. It was turned by a woman, it is said, 'And all the first-born in the land of Egypt seated, and holding a handle fixed perpendicularly near shall die, from the first-born of Pharaoh that sitteth the edge. Roberts also describes the mill in India as upon his throne, even unto the first-born of the maid consisting of “two circular stones about eighteen inches servant that is behind the mill."" (Exod. 11. 5.) | in diameter, and three inches thick. The top stone has

The manner in which the hand-mill is worked in a handle in it, and works round a pivot, which has a Palestine is thus described by Dr. Edward Daniel hole connected with it to admit the com. The mortar Clarke: “Scarcely had we reached the apartment pre | also is much used to make rice flour. It is a block of pared for our reception, when, looking from a window wood, about twenty inches high, and ten inches in diainto the court yard belonging to the house, we beheld meter, having a hole scooped out in the centre. The two women grinding at the mill, in a manner most for- pestle is a stick of about four feet long, made of ironcibly illustrating the saying of Our Saviour: Two wood, having an iron hoop fixed to the end." See women shall be grinding at the mill, the one shall be | AGRICULTURE; MORTAR. taken and the other left.' They were preparing flour to make our bread, as it is always customary in the country when strangers arrive. The two women seated upon the 1 MILLET, 1777 dochan. (Ezek. 4.9.) It has been ground opposite to each other, held between them two a subject of controversy whether millet or dourra be the round flat stones, such as are seen in Lapland, and such | dochan mentioned in the above passage, though the as in Scotland are called querns. In the centre of the rendering of our version is supported by Hiller and upper stone was a cavity for pouring in the corn, and Celsius. Millet (Panicum miliaceum of Linnæus) by the side of this an upright wooden handle for moving cultivated not only in the East, but in the South of the stone. As this operation began, one of the women | Europe. The plant rises with a reed-like channelleu opposite received it from her companion, who pushed it stalk, from three to four feet towards her, who again sent it to her companion; thus high; at every joint there is communicating a rotatory motion to the upper stone, one seed-like leaf, joined on their left hands being all the while employed in sup the top of the sheath, which plying fresh corn, as fast as the bran and flour escaped embraces and covers that joint from the sides of the machine.”

of the sheath below the leaf When they are not impelled, as in this instance, to and is clothed with soft leaves; unusual exertion by the arrival of strangers, the women , the stalk is terminated by a grind their corn in the morning at break of day; the large loose panicle, hanging noise of the mill is then to be heard everywhere, as they on one side. In the East bake their bread every day, and commonly grind their millet is used as bread-corn, corn as it is wanted. The females engaged in this ope- | but in Europe it is almost exration beguiled the period of toilsome exertion with a clusively employed to feed anisong; and we learn from an expression of Aristophanes mals; poultry are fond of the preserved by Athenæus, that the Grecian maidens also grain, and cattle are partial to accompanied the sound of the millstones with their voices. its straw. The dourra, (HolThe noise of the millstone is therefore, with great pro | cus sorghum,) which may be priety, selected by the prophet as one of the tokens of distinguished on the Egypa populous and thriving country: Moreover, I will take tian monuments, is still exfrom them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, tensively cultivated in Pale

Millet. the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, stine, Syria, Arabia, Egypt, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle, and Nubia. In the countries south of Egypt wheat is and this whole land shall be a desolation.” (Jerem. scarcely known, and dourra forms the principal product, 25. 10,11.) The custom of daily grinding corn for the constituting the chief food of man and beast. Besides family, shows the propriety of the law: “No man shall being made into bread, much of it is also consumed In take the nether or the upper millstone to pledge, for he the form of pap, seasoned with salt, and sometimes the taketh a man's life to pledge;" because if he take either grains are boiled and eaten like rice. When made into the upper or the nether millstone, he deprives him of | bread it is mixed with oil, butter, camels milk, ama his daily provision, which cannot be prepared without other unctuous substances, and is almost the only topu them. The fact that it was performed only by women eaten by the common people of Arabia Felix. Niebum and menials, displays also the vindictive contempt which found it so disagreeable that he would willingly have suggested the punishment of Samson, the captive ruler preferred plain barley bread; but Rauwolf seems to have of Israel, whom the Philistines, with barbarous con- been of a different opinion, or was not so difficult to tumely, compelled to perform the meanest service of a | please. “Of this grain," he observes, “they bake very female slave; they sent him to grind in the prison. well-tasted bread and cakes, and some of them (Judges 16. 21.) The prophet Isaiah, speaking of the rolled very thin, and laid together after the manner judgment upon Babylon, says, “Come down, and sit in the letter; they are about five inches broad, six long, au

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

two thick, and of an ashen colour.” The grain, however, to the Syriac and Chaldee, it is the same as Armenia; is greatly inferior to wheat or barley, and must therefore but perhaps only a single province may be here intended, form an indifferent species of bread.

since 4778 Ararat is particularly mentioned. Sir John Gardner Wilkinson, in his enumeration of

MINNITH, D'ja (Judges.11. 33,) was a city bethe products of ancient Egypt, as evinced by paintings and seeds preserved in the tombs, having noticed wheat,

yond Jordan, in the land of the Ammonites, situate at a beans, lentiles, all which are mentioned in Ezekiel

short distance from Heshbon. It was celebrated for fine 4. 9; remarks, “Another species of grain, with a

wheat according to Ezekiel 27. 17, but nothing is now single round head, was plucked up by the roots, but

known of it. formed in the Thebaid, at least, a much smaller proportion of the cultivated produce of the country. Its MINSTREL, jaja minaggin, (2Kings 3. 15;) height far exceeds the wheat, near which they represent avantns. (Matt. 9. 23.) In these two passages menit growing; and its general appearance cannot better tion is made of minstrels in a manner that calls for some answer to any of the order of gramina than to the elucidation. In the first Elisha says, “Now bring me a sorghum or Egyptian dourra." And in another place minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, he observes, “Besides wheat, other crops are repre that the hand of the Lord came upon him," and he sented in the paintings of the tombs; one of which, a delivered a prophecy of a supply of water to his countall 'grain, is introduced as a production both of Upper | trymen, and the destruction of the Edomites. The and Lower Egypt. From the colour, the height to other passage refers to the raising of Jairus' daughter, which it grows, compared with the wheat, and the and affords another proof of the unchangeableness of appearance of a round yellow head it bears on the top customs in the East. of its bright green stalk, it is evidently intended to Music was often employed among the Hebrews, more represent the dourra, or Holcus sorghum. It was not particularly for purposes of a sacred character, and we reaped by a sickle, like the wheat and barley, but men, may suppose that the prophet Elisha commanded the and sometimes women, were employed to pluck it up; minstrel to sing with his music, a hymn to Jehovah, which being done, they struck off the earth that adhered setting forth his being a God that gave rain, that preto the roots with their hands, and having bound it in | served such as were ready to perish, the giver of victory, sheaves, they carried it to what may be termed the | and whose power was equally operative in every place. threshing floor, when, being forcibly drawn through an The coming of the spirit of prophecy upon Elisha, instrument armed at the summit with metal spikes, the enabling him to declare a speedy copious fall of rain, grain was stripped off, and fell upon the well-swept area and a complete victory over the enemies of the Israelites below; a satisfactory illustration of which is given in immediately upon the submissive compliance of the one of the agricultural scenes of a tomb at Eilethyas.” idolatrous prince Jehoram with the requisition of the

prophet; and such a hymn in praise of the God of Israel, MILLO, sisa (2Sam. 5. 9.) Some writers are

appears as probable an interpretation, as the supposing

he desired the minstrel to play some soft composing tune of opinion that this was a valley in Jerusalem, which

to calm his ruffled spirits, and to qualify him for the separated ancient Jebus from the city of David, but was

reception of the influences of the spirit of prophecy. afterwards filled up by David and Solomon; others say

Singing was and is so frequently joined with the sound it was a place in Jerusalem adjacent to the city of

of musical instruments, that it will generally be supDavid: but from the devastation which Jerusalem has

posed the minstrel sang as well as played before Elisha, so repeatedly suffered, the truth cannot now be deter

and especially when it is recollected that songs in the mined. All that is really known is the fact that David

East are frequently extemporaneous. It is natural, began to build about Millo, and gave the command of the

therefore, to infer that the prophet required something place to Joab. (1Chron. 11. 8.) There is also mention

to be sung suitable both to his character and to the made, in the reign of Hezekiah, of “Millo, in the city

occasion. of David," and which therefore must have been either

In the passage in the New Testament it is said, “ And upon Mount Zion, or some place adjacent. (2Chron.

" when Jesus came into the ruler's house, [he] saw the 32. 5.)

minstrels and the people making a noise.” This may be We also read of the house of Millo as the name of a

illustrated by the present usages in Egypt, where it is family. In Judges 9. 6 it is said: “And all the men of

customary for the lower class of people, upon the occaShechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo,

sion of a death, to call in women who play on the tabor, and went and made Abimelech king by the plain

and whose business it is, like the hired mourners in of the pillar that was in Shechem;" from which it

other countries, to sing elegiac airs to the sound of that has been concluded that the “men of the city” were the inferior inhabitants, and “the house of Millo” some

instrument, which they accompany with the most fright

ful distortions of their limbs. These women attend the powerful family who were the governors of the place;

corpse to the grave, intermixed with the female relations both of whom on this occasion met in the senate-house,

and friends of the deceased, who commonly have their to set the crown upon the head of their favourite.

hair in the utmost disorder, their heads covered with MINCING, 720 taphaph. (Isai. 3. 16.) This dust, their faces daubed with indigo, or at least rubbed phrase occurs in the prophet's description of the beha with mud, and howling like maniacs. Such were the viour of the “ daughters of Jerusalem." The Hebrew minstrels whom Our Lord found in the house of Jairus, word, as well as the Arabic taf, refers to the taking round the bed on which the dead body of his daughter small and quick steps, the affected pace of a coquettish | lay. The instruments employed on such occasions by woman. The passage might be rendered, “they walk the minstrels appear to have been pipes, as the Greek and trip along."

word avıntys denotes. The noise and tumult of these

hired mourners, and the other attendants, is excessive, MINISTER. See PRIEST.

and it appears to commence immediately after the perMINNI, ' (Jerem. 51. 27,) is the name of an son expires. “The moment,” says Sir John Chardin, ancient kingdom, the king and troops of which assisted “any one returns from a long journey, or dies, his the Medes and Persians to destroy Babylon. According family burst into cries that may be heard twenty doors

[blocks in formation]

off; and this is renewed at different times, and continues may be both unusual and magnificent which are not several days, according to the vigour of the passions. miraculous. The appearance of a comet is unusual, and Especially are these cries long and frightful in the case a violent thunder-storm is magnificent; but in neither of death." See MOURNING WOMEN; MUSIC AMD MUSI the one nor the other is there a suspension or alteration CAL INSTRUMENTS.

of any of nature's laws. All the various appearances,

indeed, which material or mental phenomena may, MINT, ndovojov, (Matt. 23. 23; Luke 11. 42,) is according to those laws, assume, we are perhaps far from a well-known garden-herb. The Jewish writers men | knowing. But it is one thing to assume an appearance, tion mint as one of the herbs to be tithed, and subject to which, although a variety, is obviously, from its analogy, the law of the seventh year; and it seems that it was resolvable into a general law, and another, to suspend strewed on the floors of their houses and in their syna- or reverse the law; and it is by this total alteration of gogues, probably on account of its agreeable smell. what, from ample experience and induction, even we, with Mint is placed by Theophrastus among those herbs all our ignorance, can safely pronounce to be a law of which, from their daily use in domestic economy, were nature, that a miracle must be distinguished from every distinguished by the common appellation of λαχανα, other phenomenon. We ascertain these laws by an or pothérbs, and were, therefore, largely cultivated by experience so extensive and uniform, that it produces a the ancient gardener and husbandman.

certainty of expectation scarcely inferior to the certainty accompanying the testimony of our senses: this undoubted

permanency being the foundation of all those rules of MIRACLE, nain mophith. (Exod. 7. 9.) Some conduct in the affairs of life, which are the same in all of the strongest arguments for the Divine authority both generations, and implied in all the most brilliant disof the Jewish and the Christian religion, arise from the coveries and profound calculations in the science of miracles that were wrought to confirm them, the subject physics.” of miraculous interposition is therefore one of great im- “No event,” says Bishop Gleig, “ can be justly deemed portance, and must ever deserve the particular attention miraculous merely because it is strange, or even to us of the Biblical student. Happily for Christians of the unaccountable; for it may be nothing more than the present day, the doctrine of miracles has been investi regular effect of some physical cause operating according gated by a host of able writers during the last and pre- | to an established though unknown law of nature. In sent century, among whom we may especially mention this country earthquakes happen but rarely, and at no the names of Campbell, Douglas, Farmer, Paley, Gre- stated periods of time; yet an earthquake is as regular gory, and Chalmers, by whom it has been placed in such an effect of the established laws of nature as the bursting a luminous point of view that little remains to be added of a bomb-shell, or the movements of a steam-engine. by any subsequent writer, and we therefore content our. It is therefore necessary, before we can pronounce an selves with giving a brief statement of their views. . event to be a true miracle, that the circumstances under

(1.) Definition of Miracles.A miracle may be de which it was produced be known, and that the common fined as an effect or event contrary to the established course of nature be in some degree understood; for in all constitution or course of things, or a sensible suspension those cases in which we are totally ignorant of nature, it or controlment of, or deviation from, the known laws of is impossible to determine what is, or what is not, a devi. nature, wrought either by the immediate act, or by the ation from her course. Miracles, therefore, are not, as assistance, or by the permission of God, and accompa- some have represented them, appeals to our ignorance. nied with a previous notice, or declaration, that it is They suppose some antecedent knowledge of the course performed according to the purpose, and by the power of nature, without which no proper judgment can be of God, for the proof or evidence of some particular formed concerning them; though with it their reality doctrine, or in attestation of the authority or Divine may be so apparent as to leave no room for doubt or mission of some particular person.

disputation. Thus, were a physician to give instantly In judging of miracles, there are certain criteria, pecu sight to a blind man, by anointing his eyes with a che liar to the subject, sufficient to conduct our inquiries, mical preparation, which we had never before seen, and and warrant our determination. Miracles assuredly do to the nature and qualities of which we were absolute not, as a sceptic has asserted, appeal to our ignorance, strangers, the cure would to us undoubtedly be wonderful; for they presuppose not only the existence of a general but we could not pronounce it miraculous, because it order of things, but our actual knowledge of the appear- | might be the physical effect of the operation of the ance which that order exhibits, and of the secondary unguent on the eye. But were he to give sight to his material causes from which, in most cases, it proceeds. patient merely by commanding him to receive it, or by If a miraculous event were effected by the immediate | anointing his eyes with spittle, we should with the hand of God, and yet bore no mark of distinction from utmost confidence pronounce the cure to be a miracle; the ordinary effects of his agency, it would impress no because we know perfectly that neither the human voice, conviction, and probably awaken no attention. Our nor human spittle, has, by the established constitution of knowledge of the ordinary course of things, though things, any such power over the diseases of the eye. limited, is real; and therefore it is essential to a miracle, No one is now ignorant, that persons apparently dead both that it differ from that course, and be accompa are often restored to their families and friends by being nied with peculiar and unequivocal signs of such dif treated, during suspended animation, in the manner ference.

recommended by the Humane Society. To the vulgar, - “ Thus,” observes Dr. Cook, “ the production of grain and sometimes even to men of science, these resuscitaby vegetation is according to a law of nature; were it to tions appear very wonderful, but as they are known to fall like rain from the clouds, there would be a miracle. be effected by physical agency, they can never be consiOr, it is a law of nature that the dead return not to life; dered as miraculous deviations from the laws of nature, were a dead person to become alive again, there would though they may suggest to different minds very different be a miracle. It is thus carefully to be distinguished, notions of the state of death. On the other hand, no one although the distinction be not often observed, from | could doubt of his having witnessed a real miracle, who events of extraordinary magnificence or unusual occur- had seen a person that had been four days dead, come rence. A miracle, indeed, must be unusual; but events alive out of the grave at the call of another, or who had

« FöregåendeFortsätt »