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David Hume was the point man behind the current false Skeptical dichotomy between the natural and the supernatural.
Evidences of the authenticity, inspiration, and canonical authority of the Holy Scriptures.
Also known as General Assembly's Missionary Magazine, or Missionary Magazine; or, Evangelical intelligencer.
There is not, to my knowledge, in the whole range of literature an evasion like that in Hume's Essay on Miracles. Now, I accept Hume's law; but I decline to have the Christian miracles represented by those which he adduces. An Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth, in opposition to sophistry and scepticism. Hume's celebrated argument against the credibility of miracles is a fallacy which results from losing sight of the distinction between Testimony and Authority, between Veracity and Competency.
Contents, Preface, and Contrast between the death of a Deist and a Christian, David Hume and Samuel Findley. A philosophical theory which denies the miracles of the Bible is certainly not in accordance with the inductive philosophy of the great Bacon, nor in harmony with his axiomatic saying that "the imperfect sciences lead away from God, and the perfect sciences lead back to him." Such sophistry is essentially atheistic, because in favor of second causes, termed by it "fixed laws," it is insensible to the moral government of an infinite, eternal, and almighty Supreme Being over an infinite universe of material and moral existence. A Dissertation on Miracles: containing an examination of the principles advanced by David Hume in an Essay on Miracles, with a correspondence on the subject by Mr. Here is then, by his own reasoning, proof against proof, from which there could result no belief or opinion, unless the one is conceived to be in some degree superior to the other.
While scholars have tended to stress Campbell's view of testimony as an autonomous source of knowledge, there is much else in the book worthy of at least as much notice, including a thorough discussion of Hume's attempt to draw a parallel between pagan and popular miracle accounts and the gospel miracles. The works of Adams, Campbell, and John Douglas, taken together, provide a thorough response to Hume's essay; but it was Campbell to whom Hume was referring when he remarked to a friend that "the Scotch theologue" had beaten him. Campbell was not only a theologian but also an authority on rhetoric, so it is no surprise that his Dissertation contains many memorable passages, such as this one from the Introduction (p. God has neither in natural nor in revealed religion left himself without witness; but has in both given moral and external evidence, sufficient to convince the impartial, to silence the gainsayer, and to render inexcusable the atheist and the unbeliever.
Once more; this argument is built on an ignorance of the nature of testimony, and it is surprising, that this error has not been more strikingly exposed. It maybe observed of Hume and of other philosophical opposers of our religion, that they are much more inclined to argue against miracles in general, than against the particular miracles, on which Christianity rests. The Criterion: or, miracles examined, with a view to expose the pretensions of pagans and Papists.
Professor in the History and Philosophy of Science department at the University of Pittsburgh. Remarks on An Essay concerning miracles, published by David Hume, Esq; amongst his philosophical essays. The celebrated argument of Hume against Miracles—that they are contrary to Experience, while the untruth of Testimony is not—contains several fallacies. Letters on the Evidences, doctrines and duties of the Christian religion addressed to a friend 6th edition with many additions and corrections.
Abstract: "David Johnson seeks to overthrow one of the widely accepted tenets of Anglo-American philosophy - that of the success of the Humean case against the rational credibility of reports of miracles.
Essays on the principles of morality and natural religion: Corrected and improved, in a third edition. History the interpreter of prophecy, or, a view of scriptural prophecies and their accomplishment in the past and present occurrences of the World. The View is of much more than merely historical value; because it gives a minute account of numerous responses to the deists, it contains a comprehensive defense of Christianity against all of the objections that its most determined adversaries in the Enlightenment could raise. They [the deists] have appealed to the bar of reason; the advocates for Christianity have followed them to that bar, and have fairly shewn, that the evidences of revealed religion are such as approve themselves to impartial reason, and, if taken together, are fully sufficient to satisfy an honest and unprejudiced mind.
A Course of Lectures, containing a description and systematic arrangement of the several branches of divinity accompanied with an account of the progress, which has been made at different periods in theological learning by Herbert Marsh. A miracle, seen from this point of view, is not an exception to the exceptionless; it is, instead, an occasion when nature is not left to itself.


In Part II he considers auxiliary evidences such as prophecy, the character of Christ, and the propagation of Christianity. ADVERTISEMENT: "In drawing up the following Analysis, the Editor had no other object in view, than to obtain a more general discussion of this most important of all questions -- Is Christianity true?
The chosen Challenge must be specified on the Official Entry Form when submitting your essay. No matter how well-written and researched, essays submitted on non-science topics are disqualified.
Enter your name and other personal information only on the designated fields in the Official Entry Form. Your essay will be judged not only on the science, but also on creativity, spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Adams's work, now inexplicably forgotten by most apologists and neglected by Hume scholars, is one of the earliest and ablest rejoinders to Hume's attack.
The nature of the evidence required for the Christian miracles once fairly stated, those miracles are quietly put by him out of court. I can find no word, no figure of speech, no parallel case, by which adequately to represent its enormity. His wonders I shall indeed take up, and shall point out that their evidence falls infinitely short of that for the true miracles. He argues, that it is contrary to all experience that a Law of Nature should be broken, but it is not contrary to experience that human testimony should be false; and therefore we ought to believe that any amount of Testimony is false, in preference to admitting the occurrence of a miracle, as this would be a violation of Law. Those countries have made the greatest attainments which have most largely enjoyed the advantages of an open Bible, an evangelical ministry, Sunday-schools, Bible classes, institutions of Christian learning and benevolence, a free religious press, liberty of conscience, and other blessings bestowed by the gospel of Christ. What would have been the conclusions of the teachers of such false doctrine a few centuries ago concerning the now familiar wonders effected by the forces of electricity, galvanism,,magnetism, and caloric?
To prove this point is indeed 'a very bold attempt.' Yet that this attempt is not altogether so arduous as, at first hearing, he will possibly imagine, I hope, if favoured a while with his attention, fully to convince him.
In a manner unattempted in any other single work, he meticulously examines all the main variants of Humean reasoning on the topic of miracles: Hume's own argument and its reconstructions by John Stuart Mill, J. But as Leland's survey runs to over 900 pages, there is no lack of material on other deists such as Blount, Toland, Collins, Morgan, Tindal, Annet, Chubb, and Hume, in each case citing copiously from the responses given to them. Should it be surprising that we would experience something completely unprecedented when God reaches into the order of nature? That there is not satisfactory evidence that persons professing to be original witnesses of other miracles, in their nature as certain as these are, have ever acted in the same manner, in attestation of the accounts which they delivered, and properly in consequence of their belief of those accounts. Paul, Evinced by a comparison of the Epistles which bear his name with the Acts of the apostles, and with one another.
Paley's work in the Analytical Review, the Editor of this pamphlet had never heard of, till after he had finished his own Analysis. Natural theology, or, Evidences of the existence and attributes of the Deity: collected from the appearances of nature, with illustrative notes by Henry, Lord Brougham and Sir C. The DuPont Challenge is proudly sponsored by the DuPont Center for Collaborative Research & Education.
Adams pursues Hume courteously (Hume is said to have remarked that Adams had treated him better than he deserved) but also relentlessly, reading him closely, criticizing his reasoning, and rebutting him point by point. The Christian has to produce testimony to miracle whose falsehood would be a mightier wonder than the miracle attested, and Hume has to weigh miracle against miracle. If we suppose a man of the highest character put on trial for his life, informed of the law by which he is to be judged, then bidden to stand aside until some one who claims a distant relationship to him, and has no character to plead, is tried in his stead, and lastly recalled to be told that he is capitally condemned, we shall have no more than faintly shadowed forth the outrageousness of Hume's proceeding. But, first, I shall exercise the right which is manifestly mine to choose an instance in which false evidence would be a greater wonder than actual miracle. We answer, that the miraculous character of an event is not a matter of Intuition, but of Inference; hence, it is not to be decided by Testimony, but by Reasoning from the probabilities of the case, the only question being whether, in view of all the circumstances, the Conclusion is competent that the occurrence was supernatural. If pseudo scientists and philosophers, who have arisen since the decay of the schools of Hume, Gibbon Voltaire, Rousseau, Paine, and the French Encyclopedists, to plague this century with specious infidelity un-der the names of "Socialism," "Natural Selectivism," "Evolutionism," "Potential Atomism," "Positivism, "Survivalism of the Fittest," "Materialism," "Rationalism," "Humanitarianism," and like "isms," such as Charles Darwin, Auguste Comte, Herbert Spencer, Lange, Professor Huxley, Dr.
It is also a doubtful philosophy which reverses the natural relations of science to religion, and asserts that because the idea of an infinite, eternal, almighty, omniscient, and omnipresent God cannot be fully comprehended by any finite intellect, therefore God is unknowable, and is not an object of belief or worship to man; and that what is termed humanitarianism, or the discharge of moral duty toward his fellow, is the only possible religion of man. We must prove all things, as we are expressly enjoined in holy writ, if we would ever hope to hold fast that which is good. Now the truth is, that testimony, of itself and immediately, proves no fact whatever, not even the most common. The paper changed names several times, and in 1869 joined with the Free Christian Commonwealth in Louisville, Kentucky.
Miracles are referred to without any regard to their character and purpose; and Testimony, without any consideration of its nature and circumstances.
Students of the history of apologetics will want to supplement their reading of Leland with other works, such as the second volume of John Hunt's Religious Thought in England and Sir Leslie Stephen's unsympathetic but extensive discussion of the deist controversy in his History of English Thought in the Eighteenth Century. As the world population continues to grow and become more connected than ever, The DuPont Challenge asks students to consider most important challenges by researching and writing a 700-1,000-word science essay.


This, I say, is what the law on the case, as laid down by Hume, required; this is what, in his own court of evidence, Hume prescribed. Hume does not ask what proof is offered that the Christian miracles took place; he calls to the bar certain "miracles" with which Christianity has nothing to do, enters upon their evidence, condemns them as falsities, and then calmly informs the court that the Christian miracles are disproven.
The Testimony relates only to the happening of the event considered merely as an external phenomenon; the question respecting the nature of this event, whether it is, or is not, a violation of Physical Law, whether it is an effect of this or that Efficient Cause, cannot be determined by Intuition and Testimony, but is a matter for Judgment founded on Reasoning, in view of all the circumstances of the case.
Tyndall, Stuart Mill and their confreres, have rejuvenated from the antique theory of "Potential Matter," broached by old Democritus; the falsehoods they inculcate will perish before the influence of science enlightened and guided by Christian faith.
Testimony can do nothing more than show us the state of another's mind in regard to a given fact. To which are added supplementary dissertations and a treatise on animal mechanics by Sir Charles Bell. He may stand aside; here is a miracle performed by the god Serapis, — a bull with some speciality about the tail, — through instrumentality of Vespasian, and we shall take it up instead.
The falsehood or mistake of that testimony would, I submit, be a greater miracle than its literal correctness. If doubtful of our own Competency to form a correct opinion on this point, we may defer to the Authority of another, who is familiar with the kind of Reasoning by which such questions are settled. In the light of such illumination, how flimsy is the sophistry which assails the miracles mentioned in the Old and New Testaments as proofs of their divine authenticity and inspiration! As a musical instrument responds to a master's touch, so does the human soul to the love of God in Christ, when communicated to it by the Holy Spirit. In the early 1900's it was still a leading Presbyterian paper and contained stories and anecdotes, articles on such topics as "The Alcoholic problem," "Practical Suggestions for Church Work," "Saving Faith," "The Anti-opium Campaign in China," "Work Among the Negroes," and "The Pioneer Woman Physician." Cf.
The improbability of the Christian miracles is not greater than arises from the assumed absence, not in all ages of the globe, but in the previous ages of human history, of such signs of a Divine mission; and this is very much less than the improbability of a useless deviation from the course of Nature.
Of the Credibility of the Miracles Recorded in the New Testament, and the Conclusions to be Drawn from Them. These last, Hume informs us, "might, with some appearance of reason, be said to surpass in evidence and authority" the miracles of the Saviour.
Now we have abundant evidence from experience, that no event whatever, regarded simply as an external phenomenon, can be so strange and marvellous that sufficient Testimony will not convince us of the reality of its occurrence. Those miracles are recommended to religious belief, not only by the intrinsic evidence of purity and truth afforded by the Holy Scriptures which narrate them, but also by their moral adaptation to the psychical, moral and intellectual organization of man, which aesthetically perceives and acknowledges their reality, appropriateness, invigorating, comforting and purifying power, and that they accord with an enlightened conscience. The improbability of the Christian Testimony being untrue is, not that of any testimony being untrue, but of such testimony being untrue, from such persons, in such circumstances; and that not in one case, but in many, men living and dying for the truth. Howard Knott, Dictionary of American Biography: "While engaged in tutorial work he prepared what was originally intended as a text-book on evidence, published in 1842 as A Treatise on the Law of Evidence. To the contemporaries of our Saviour, not even bringing a dead man to life would have appeared so incredible as the transmission of a written message five thousand miles, without error, within a minute of time. Religious faith in them cannot be disturbed by the shallow argument, that "a miracle is a deviation from the known laws of nature," and therefore incredible when such a proposition ignores the action of almighty power, having at its disposal infinite means, originating, necessarily controlling, and possibly modifying, for the purposes of moral government, known second causes or physical laws, and employing other physical resources of infinite variety and extent.
The profession at once hailed it as the ablest extant work on the subject, distinguished alike for its deep learning, clarity of style, and practical utility. Our folly would be unexampled and inconceivable if we did not insist upon putting aside his instances of miracle, and claiming what he has himself accorded us, the right to select a crucial instance of our own. They are not to be regarded as violations or suspensions of the laws of Nature, nor as effects without adequate causes; but as superhuman works attesting and promoting a Divine mission.
We shall prove the negative if we can make it appear that certain persons falsely or mistakenly alleged themselves to have derived advantage from touching the tomb of Abbe Paris." Such is literally Hume's mode of applying his theory that the occurrence of a miracle must be a greater wonder, and, therefore, less credible, than the falsehood or mistake of any conceivable testimony to the miracles related in the Gospels. Why do we decide, then, that the raising of Lazarus was, and the transmission of intelligence by telegraph is not, a miracle? Their reality must depend on the only evidence by which past events can be known—the testimony of contemporaries, and the continuance of effects in no other way to be accounted for. In its completed form it came to be regarded as the foremost American authority, and passed through numerous editions under successive editors." Learn more about Greenleaf here. Evidently not by Intuition, but by reasoning from the very different circumstances of the two cases. It is not contrary to Experience, that lower lessons should be followed by higher, that preparation should lead on to completion, that extraordinary power should accompany extraordinary wisdom and goodness. The fact, that the eyes of the blind were opened, or a storm was reduced to a calm, or the dead were raised, is established by Intuition and Testimony, which have established many other facts quite as wonderful; the character of this fact, whether miraculous or not, is to be settled in a very different manner. We say, then, that Hume's argument, which is based exclusively upon an appeal to experience and Testimony, is totally inapplicable to the question respecting the credibility of a miracle.



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