Evelyn Simpson, Helen Gardner, and T. S. Healy (eds), Selected Prose

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10. [Miracles]

Nature is the Common law by which God governs us, and Miracle is his Prerogative. For Miracles are but so many Non-obstantes upon Nature. And Miracle is not like prerogative in any thing more than pg 81in this, that no body can tell what it is. For first, Creation and such as that, are not Miracles, because they are not (to speak in that language) Nata fieri per alium modum. And so, only that is Miracle, which might be done naturally, and is not so done. And then, lest we allow the Divell a power to do Miracles, we must say, that Miracle is contra totam Naturam, against the whole order and disposition of Nature … I can change some naturall things (as I can make a stone fly upward) a Physician more, and the Divell more than he; but only God can change all. And after that is out of necessity established, that Miracle is against the whole Order of Nature, I see not how there is left in God a power of Miracles. For, the Miracles which are produced to day, were determined and inserted into the body of the whole History of Nature (though they seem to us to be but interlineary and Marginall) at the beginning, and are as infallible and certain, as the most Ordinary and customary things. Which is evicted and approved by that which Lactantius says, and particularly proves, that all Christs Miracles were long before prophecied. So that truly nothing can be done against the Order of Nature. For, Saint Augustine says truly, That is Naturall to each thing, which God doth, from whom proceeds all Fashion, Number and Order of Nature: for that God, whose Decree is the Nature of every thing, should do against his own Decree, if he should do against Nature. As therefore if we understood all created Nature, nothing would be Mirum to us; so if we knew Gods purpose, nothing would be Miraculum.

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