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Title: Counterfeit Miracles
Author: Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield
Language: english
Category: Lecture
Keywords: Table of Contents
The Cessation of the Charismata
Patristic and Medieval Marvels
Roman Catholic Miracles
Irvingite Gifts

When our Lord came down to earth He drew heaven with Him. The signs which accompanied His ministry were but the trailing clouds of glory which He brought from heaven, which is His home. The number of the miracles which He wrought may easily be underrated. It has been said that in effect He banished disease and death from Palestine for the three years of His ministry. If this is exaggeration it is pardonable exaggeration. Wherever He went, He brought a blessing: One hem but of the garment that He wore Could medicine whole countries of their pain; One touch of that pale hand could life restore. We ordinarily greatly underestimate His beneficent activity as He went about, as Luke says, doing good.1 His own divine power by which He began to found His church He continued in the Apostles whom He had chosen to complete this great work. They transmitted it in turn, as part of their own miracle-working and the crowning sign of their divine commission, to others, in the form of what the New Testament calls spiritual gifts2 in the sense of extraordinary capacities produced in the early Christian communities by direct gift of the Holy Spirit. The number and variety of these spiritual gifts were considerable. Even Paul's enumerations, the fullest of which occurs in the twelfth chapter of I Corinthians, can hardly be read as exhaustive scientific catalogues. The name which is commonly applied to them3 is broad enough to embrace what may be called both the ordinary and the specifically extraordinary gifts of the Spirit; both those, that is, which were distinctively gracious, and those which were distinctly miraculous. In fact, in the classical passage which treats of them (I Cor. 12-14) both classes are brought together under this name. The non-miraculous, gracious gifts are, indeed, in this passage given the preference and called "the greatest gifts"; and the search after them is represented as "the more excellent way"; the longing for the highest of them—faith, hope, and love —being the most excellent way of all. Among the miraculous gifts themselves, a like distinction is made in favor of "prophecy" (that is, the gift of exhortation and teaching), and, in general, in favor of those by which the body of Christ is edified. The diffusion of these miraculous gifts is, perhaps, quite generally underestimated. One of the valuable features of the passage, I Cor. 12-14, consists in the picture given in it of Christian worship in the Apostolic age (14:26 ff.).4 "What is it, then, brethren?" the Apostle asks. "When ye come together, each one hath a psalm, hath a teaching, hath a revelation, hath a tongue, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. If any man speaketh in a tongue, let it be by two or at the most three, and that in turn; and let one interpret: but if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak...
Date/Time: 1918
Pages: 282
ID: 32073
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