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    The word miracle in the New Testament is from two words, dunamis and semeion. Dunamis, according to Greenfield, signifies “Great power, mighty work;” and semeion, “Remarkable event, extraordinary phenomenon, wonderful work, miraculous operation,” etc.MIRP 33.1

    Robinson in his Greek Lexicon gives “semeion, supernatural event or act, a token, wonder, miracle, by which the power and presence of God is manifested, either directly or through the agency of those whom he sends.”MIRP 33.2

    Also the Religious Encyclopedia: “In a more accurate and philosophical sense, a miracle is a work effected in a manner unusual, or different from the common and regular method of providence by the power of God himself, for the proof of some particular message.”MIRP 33.3

    And Webster has, “Miraculous; performed supernaturally, or by a power beyond the ordinary agency of natural laws.”MIRP 33.4

    Taking the above reliable definitions, together with the Bible, as our standard with which to judge some of the facts of this dispensation, and there can be no doubt that miraculous powers have been perpetuated even to the present time. It is true that they were nearly extinguished about the close of the second century, but there were genuine miracles all through the period of the martyrdom of God’s people, as will be hereafter shown in this work.MIRP 33.5

    By a careful examination of history we find that miraculous powers have been manifested more or less, according to the faith and piety of the church in all ages.MIRP 34.1

    The counterfeit miracles of the Catholics, Mormons, and Spiritualists have caused much prejudice against everything that claimed to be miraculous; but when rightly considered, the counterfeit is an intimation that the true coin does exist. True and false miracles have existed at the same time in all ages. When Moses performed miracles by the power of God, how soon they were counterfeited by the power of Satan. See Exodus 7:8-12. The apostle Paul declares that such counterfeits will continue in the last days [2 Timothy 3:1-8], and thereby men will resist or oppose the truth. It has ever been the object of Satan to reproach the truth and bring the work of God into disrepute. For this object he moved upon the damsel to follow Paul and Silas many days, crying, “These men be the servants of the Most High God, which show unto us the way of salvation.” Acts 16:17. Paul was grieved that one of Satan’s agents should pretend to be on the side of truth, only to reproach it. So now may those who contend for the ancient faith grieve that Mormons and Spiritualists have professed faith in spiritual gifts. But shall we reject the true because of Satan’s counterfeit? By no means. Do men reason that because counterfeit bank bills are common, therefore none are genuine? If a man should reason thus he would be thought insane.MIRP 34.2

    Upon the subject of detecting false miracles we insert the following appropriate remarks from one of the best church historians:MIRP 35.1

    “It has ever been one of the greatest trials to men really led by the Spirit of God—besides the open opposition of the profane—to be obliged to encounter the subtile devices of Satan, who often raises up pretended illuminations, and so connects them with delusion, folly, wickedness and self-conceit, that they expose true godliness to the imputation of enthusiasm, and to contempt and disgrace. The marks of distinction are plain to minds which are serious and of tolerable judgment and discretion; but, men, void of the fear of God will not distinguish. We see here an instance of what has often been repeated from that day to the present in the church of Christ; and Christians should never fail to do now, what they then did,—namely, they should examine, expose, condemn, and separate themselves from such delusions.”MIRP 35.2

    “Miltiades was usefully engaged in discriminating the genuine influences of the Holy Spirit from the fictitious,—of which unhappy instances had then appeared. False prophets evinced at first the most stupid ignorance, and afterwards a distempered imagination and furious frenzy. Miltiades showed that the influence of the Holy Spirit described in Scripture, was sober, consistent, reasonable. There is no new thing under the sun: impostures and delusions exist at this day;—and why should it not be thought as reasonable now as it was then—to discriminate genuine from fictitious or diabolical influences, by laying down the true marks and evidences of each, instead of scornfully treating all alike as enthusiastic? The extraordinary and miraculous influences chiefly come under Miltiades’ inspection; for these were at that time very common in the Christian church; so were delusive pretenses also.” Milman’s Church History, pp. 90, 92, 93.MIRP 35.3

    We have a good example of trying spirits, by the reformers. D’Aubigne relates that on one occasion “Melancthon drew back, alarmed and astonished. ‘There are indeed spirits of no ordinary kind in these men,’ said he; ‘but what spirits? none but Luther can solve the doubt. On the one hand let us beware of quenching the Spirit of God; and on the other, of being seduced by the spirit of the Devil.”MIRP 36.1

    Luther was called, and he at once exposed them. “The sacred writings,” said Luther, were treated by them as a dead letter, and their cry was, ‘The Spirit! the Spirit!’ But assuredly, I, for one, will not follow whither their spirit is leading them! May God, in his mercy, preserve me from a church in which there are only such saints. I wish to be in fellowship with the humble, the weak, the sick, who know and fell their sin, and sigh and cry continually to God from the bottom of their hearts to obtain comfort and deliverance.”MIRP 36.2

    That spiritual gifts were to continue through the Christian age, can be as easily shown from the Bible, as that faith, prayer, the ordinance of baptism, or the gospel itself was to be perpetuated. Our Saviour declares (see Dr. Geo. Campbell’s translation) that “these miraculous powers shall attend the believers,” even unto the end of the world. Compare Mark 16:15-18, with Matthew 28:19, 20. As sure as the commission to preach the gospel extends to the end of the world, so sure the promise of the signs following extends to all believers without limitation.MIRP 36.3

    In 1 Corinthians 12, the apostle dwells especially upon the subject of spiritual gifts, and we may expect that he will enlighten the church both as to their object and perpetuity. He commences with, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant,” and closes up with, “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.” Chap 14:37-39.MIRP 37.1

    With such an introduction, and close, we are assured of having a clear and reliable exposition of the subject of spiritual gifts. As to their object, he says in verse 7, it is “to profit withal,” and in verse 25, “that there should be no schism in the body.” In chap 14:3, of the gift of prophecy, he says it is for “edification and exhortation and comfort.” And in Ephesians 4:11-13, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”MIRP 37.2

    These reasons are as applicable to the church now as ever. Profit, exhortation, comfort, and edification, are needed now. The necessity for preventing schisms, perfecting saints, and unity in the faith, was never greater than at the present time.MIRP 37.3

    The “Bible-alone” system has been preached from Luther’s time, and still sects are multiplying. Even those who profess to reject all creeds but the Bible, are dividing and scattering. The fact is, they do not go by the Bible. Instead of “earnestly contending for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints,” they earnestly contend against it. If churches would really and truly take the Bible as their guide, being true believers, the Lord would work with them, confirming the word with signs following. But it happens now quite generally as with one class anciently, not many mighty works are done among them because of their unbelief. See Matthew 13:58.MIRP 38.1

    “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” Mark 9:23.MIRP 38.2

    “And all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” Matthew 21:22.MIRP 38.3

    “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” Mark 11:24.MIRP 38.4

    “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” John 14:12-14.MIRP 38.5

    “Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” 1 John 3:22.MIRP 38.6

    “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us. And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” 1 John 5:14, 15.MIRP 39.1

    These scriptures show that all blessings which are for the edification and profit of the believers, are placed within their reach. “Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees, And looks to that alone; Laughs at impossibilities, And cries, It shall be done.”MIRP 39.2

    We close this point with the following from Dr. A. Clarke. He says:MIRP 39.3

    “We must approach God in prayer, fully expecting, if we ask such things as we are authorized by his word to ask, and are earnest, importunate, and persevering in asking them, that we shall certainly receive what we ask, as our Lord declares in the next words; even if the granting of our petitions imply God’s doing what is really extraordinary, he having, in all ages, on certain occasions, done what was truly miraculous, in answer to the prayers of his faithful people; innumerable instances of which, especially with respect to recovery from sickness, may easily be produced. For instances, see the Arminian Magazines, Vols. 5, 8, and 9.”—Comments on Mark 11, 22-24.MIRP 39.4

    We now come to notice that part of the apostle’s discourse which relates to the perpetuity of spiritual gifts. He declares positively that they shall cease “when that which is perfect is come,” and explains that the “perfect” comes when we shall see face to face, and know as we are known. 1 Corinthians 13:8-12. The apostle here, A. D. 59, points forward to the time when the gifts should cease, and as no event has yet occurred that can possibly be termed the “coming” of the “perfect,” we are shut up to the conclusion that spiritual gifts are perpetuated beyond the present time.MIRP 40.1

    By 1 Corinthians 12:28, we learn that God has “set,” fixed or placed (see Macknight’s Translation), miracles and gifts of healing in the church in connection with teachers. In versed 8, 9, the gifts of wisdom, knowledge, and faith, are mentioned. Will any deny that these last are still needed in the church? If not, they must admit that so much of what God set in the church is perpetuated, and as miracles, gifts of healing, etc., are nowhere excepted, we must conclude that they also remain.MIRP 40.2

    The perpetuity of the gift of prophecy may be shown from the expression, “Despise not prophesyings.” 1 Thessalonians 5:20. This text has reference to the last days, the time when they shall say “peace and safety,” just before the sudden destruction at the second advent of Christ. Verses 2, 3. It applies to those who shall be “alive and remain,” when Jesus comes. See chap 4:17. The whole testimony appears to be given in the Spirit of prophecy, and “calls these things that are not as though they were.”MIRP 40.3

    “Prophesyings” is from the Greek, [propheteia], and signifies, according to Greenfield, “The exercise of the gift of prophecy,” or “The gift of speaking through divine inspiration.” It does not mean, “Despise not the prophecies,” but despise not the exercise of the gift of prophecy. The first would refer to prophecies already given, but the latter signifies the act of prophesying. The next sentence, “Prove all things,” etc., shows that both true and false prophets will exist at the same time. In 2 Thessalonians 2:9, we read of “lying wonders,” or miracles by the power of Satan. If then Satan is permitted to manifest such power, may we not conclude that God will “raise up a standard against him,” by working for his own glory? If the text proves anything, it is that Satan’s miracles have not ceased, and of course the genuine must somewhere exist.MIRP 41.1

    Our next argument for the perpetuity of miraculous powers is founded on the prophecy of Joel. “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.” Joel 2:28-32.MIRP 41.2

    This prophecy covers the gospel age, embracing the signs of Christ’s second advent, and the “great and terrible day of the Lord.” The pouring out of the Spirit, the development of the gifts, and the great signs of the end, all occur in the period termed “those days.” It is emphatically a prophecy of the gospel age. When the Spirit was poured out on the day of pentecost, Peter justified the wonderful manifestation by this prophecy, quoting and applying it in a manner which shows that he understood that the gifts were to be expected throughout the dispensation, and especially in the “last days.” “The remnant whom the Lord shall call,” must refer to the true believers of the last generation.MIRP 42.1

    In Revelation 12:17, we learn that the “remnant” “have the testimony of Jesus.” By comparing Revelation 19:10; 22:9; and 1 Corinthians 1:5-8, we learn that the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy,” that the ancient prophets had that testimony—and that those who are waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,” “come behind in no gift,” by which they will be confirmed, unto the end, that they may be blameless when Christ appears.MIRP 42.2

    The church will come fully out of the wilderness. The gospel age is not to open with power and glory, and close up in obscurity. When our Saviour comes he will find such a church as he left. The prophecies, both of the Old and New Testaments, abundantly prove that great power will be given to God’s people in the closing scenes of this age.MIRP 42.3

    The perpetuity of the gifts may also be argued from the fact that the New Testament, as well as the Old, furnishes rules for detecting counterfeit manifestations. If there was no genuine, the counterfeit would cease to exist, and no rules for trying the prophets would be needed. The expression “Beware of false prophets,” implies the existence of the true; or otherwise it might read, “Beware of all prophets.”MIRP 43.1

    Some of the Bible rules which we deem sufficient to try all supernatural manifestations are the following:MIRP 43.2

    1. Though a prophet should give a sign or wonder amounting to an absolute miracle, yet if its tendency and object is to lead away from the one living and true God and his word, he may be safely rejected. Deuteronomy 13:1-3.MIRP 43.3

    2. If the word of a prophet fail in a single instance, he is not of God. Deuteronomy 18:21, 22.MIRP 43.4

    3. False prophets generally prophesy peace, even to the evil doers. Jeremiah 28:8, 9.MIRP 43.5

    4. Prophets are to be known by their fruits. The whole tendency of the teaching of a true prophet is good. It cannot be otherwise. And as all prophets are either of God or the Devil, the results of their teachings will be as opposite as the nature of the beings by whose power they prophesy. Matthew 7:15-20; 12:30, 33.MIRP 43.6

    5. That which is in favor of all goodness, righteousness, and truth, and doth manifest and reprove sin and error, is the fruit of the Spirit of God. Ephesians 5:9-13.MIRP 43.7

    6. A false prophet, not knowing God, will not hear, nor acknowledge, his apostles. 1 John 4:6; 1 Corinthians 14:37.MIRP 43.8

    7. He that does God’s will has the promise that he shall know whether a doctrine is of God or men. John 7:17. Christ’s sheep will not follow a false shepherd. John 8:47; 10:26, 27.MIRP 44.1

    8. Those who have the Spirit of God will discern the things which come from God, and cannot be deceived. Matthew 24:24; 1 Corinthians 11, 12-14.MIRP 44.2

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