|Topic: Miracles||Type: Book||Author: B. B. Warfield|
"First of all," says he, "it is scarcely necessary to point out the symbolical and profound sense which all the mystics attach to the very fact of stigmatization."To bear the marks of the cross, of the crown of thorns, of the lance, or of the nails is to be thought worthy by Jesus to participate in His sufferings; it is according to the very words of a historian of mysticism, 'to ascend with Him to the Calvary of the crucifixion before mounting with Him the Tabor of the Transfiguration' 48[Görres, op. cit., vol. II, p. 189]. All the mystics, accordingly, suffer violent pains in their stigmata, and they hold these pains to be the essential part of their stigmatization, without which their visible stigmata would be in their eyes only an empty decoration. They experience under the cross, under the crown, under the nails, under the lance the same sufferings as Jesus; they really languish and die with Him; they participate in His passion with all the force of their nerves. We have seen Francis and Veronica suffer in their ecstasies all the pains of the crucifixion; they all do this. Catherine de Ruconisio experienced violent pains under the crown of blood which she let John Francis de la Mirandola see; Archangelica Tardera seemed at the point of rendering up her soul during the scene of her flagellation; and Catherine de' Ricci, on coming out of the swoon in which she was marked, 'appeared to her associates so wasted and so livid that she looked to them like a living corpse.' "In suffering thus the mystics persuade themselves not only that they draw near to Jesus, but that they are admitted by a kind of divine grace to perpetuate the sacrifice of their God, to expiate like Him sins of which they are personally innocent. These sharp pains of the thorns, these piercing sufferings of the nails and of the lance, are not, in their minds, pains lost for men; they redeem sins, they constitute pledges of salvation, they are for them the religious and metaphysical form of charity. 'These reparative souls which recommence the terrors of Calvary,' says a contemporary mystic 49[J. K. Huysmans, Sainte Lydwine, p. 101], 'these souls who nail themselves in the empty place of Jesus on the cross, are therefore in some sort express images of the Son; they reflect in a bloody mirror His poor face; they do more: they give to this Almighty God the only thing which He yet lacks, the possibility of still suffering for us; they satiate this desire which has survived His death, since it is infinite like the love which engenders it.' The stigmata are for these new crucified ones the external notification of their transformation into Jesus Christ; they proclaim that Archangelica Tardera, that Veronica Giuliani, that Catherine de' Ricci are so like to their God that they succeed Him in His sufferings; they are the visible seals of their sanctity." The connection of stigmatization with such doctrine is the sufficient proof that it is not from God 50[We are reminded by Mrs. E. Herman, however (The Meaning and Value of Mysticism, 1915, p. 159), that in one element of the faith of those "moderns" whom she represents, there is a return to this desire to help Christ save the world. Commenting on some remarks of Angela de Foligno, she says: "To those unacquainted with mediaeval religious literature this seems curiously modern in its implied insistence upon our obligation to ask a humble share in the atoning suffering, instead of acquiescing in a doctrine which would make a passive acceptance of Christ's sufferings on our behalf sufficient for the remission of sins." No sharing in Christ's atoning sufferings can be described as humble. It is not the "acceptance of Christ's sufferings" which is represented by the Scriptures and understood from them by evangelicals as "sufficient for the remission of sins." It is Christ's sufferings themselves which are all sufficient, and the trail of the serpent is seen in any suggestions that they need or admit of supplementing]. It is often urged in defense of the miraculousness of the stigmata that they have not yet been exactly reproduced in the laboratories 51[For example, A. Poulain, as cited; cf. A. M. Königer, as cited: "The analogous cases of suggestion from without (local congestion of blood, slight blood sweating, formation of blisters, and marks of burning) lie so far from the real stigmata, connected with lesion of the walls of the blood vessels (hemorrhages), that medical science knows as yet nothing else to do but to class this among the 'obscure neuropathic bleedings"']. It is not clear why a phenomenon so obviously pathological, and in many instances confessedly pathological, should be pronounced miraculous in others of its instances merely because the imitation of it produced in the laboratories is not exact. If, however, the precise thing has not been produced in the laboratories, something so like it has been that it is made quite clear that external suggestion is capable of producing phenomena of the same general order. William James may be appealed to to tell us the general state of the case. "I may say," writes he 52[The Principles of Psychology, ed. 1908, vol. II, p. 612. Compare the statement quoted by A. T. Schofield, The Force of Mind, 1908, pp. 61 f., from Professor Barrett, of Trinity College, Dublin, Humanitarian, 1905: "It is not so well known but it is nevertheless a fact, that utterly startling physiological changes can be produced in a hypnotized subject merely by conscious or unconscious mental suggestion. Thus a red scar or a painful burn, or even a figure of definite shape, such as a cross or an initial, can be caused to appear on the body of the entranced subject solely through suggesting the idea. By creating some local disturbance of the blood vessels in the skin, the unconscious self has done what it would be impossible for the conscious self to perform. And so in the well attested cases of stigmata, where a close resemblance to the wounds on the body of the crucified Saviour appears on the body of the ecstatic. This is a case of unconscious self suggestion, arising from the intent and adoring gaze of the ecstatic upon the bleeding figure on the crucifix. With the abeyance of the conscious self the hidden powers emerge, whilst the trance and mimicry of the wounds are strictly parallel to the experimental cases previously referred to"], "that there seems no reasonable ground for doubting that in certain chosen subjects the suggestion of a congestion, a burn, a blister, a raised papule, or a bleeding from the nose or skin may produce the effect." "Messrs. Delboeuf and Liégeois have annulled by suggestion, one the effects of a burn, the other of a blister." Delbceuf "applied the actual cautery (as well as vesicants) to symmetrical places on the skin, affirming that no pain should be felt on one of the sides. The result was a dry scorch on that side, with (as he assures me) no after mark, but on the other side a regular blister, with suppuration and a subsequent scar. This explains the innocuity of certain assaults made on subjects during trance. . . . These irritations, when not felt by the subject, seem to have no after consequences. One is reminded of the non-inflammatory character of the wounds made on themselves by dervishes in their pious orgies. On the other hand, the reddenings and bleedings of the skin along certain lines, suggested by tracing lines or pressing objects thereupon, put the accounts handed down to us of the stigmata of the cross appearing on the hands, feet, side, and forehead of certain Catholic mystics in a new light." Certainly the effects produced by external suggestion in the laboratories are very remarkable, and cannot fail to lead the mind in the direction of a natural explanation of the stigmata. When we see Doctor Rybalkin of St. Petersburg, by a mere command, produce a bad burn, which blisters and breaks and scabs, and slowly heals like any other burn; or Doctor Biggs of Santa Barbara a red cross on the chest which appears every Friday and disappears for the other days of the week 53[These cases, with others of the same kind, are cited by F. W. A. Myers, Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, vol. VII (1891-1892), pp. 337ff., who introduces them with the following remarks: "The subliminal consciousness, it will be seen, was able to turn out to order the most complicated novelty in the way of hysterical freaks of circulation. Let us turn to an equally marked disturbance of the inflammatory type, the production namely, of suppurating blisters by a word of command. This phenomenon has a peculiar interest, since, from the accident of a strong emotional association with the idea of the stigmata in the hands and feet, this special organic effect has been anticipated by the introverted broodings of a line of mystics from St. Francis of Assisi to Louise Lateau." Cf. the similar cases cited by G. Dumas, as cited, pp. 215 ff.]; we acquire a new sense of the extent of the possible action of the mind upon the body, and may perhaps begin to understand what can be meant when it is said 54[Myers, as cited, p. 333]: "That I should be able to hold my pen because I wish to do it, is ultimately just as great a mystery as that I should develop stigmata from meditating on the Crucifixion." To do them justice, there were not wanting Catholic writers before the days of this new experimentation who had more than a glimpse of the producing cause of the stigmata. Francesco Petrarch felt no doubt that Francis' stigmata were from God, but neither had he any doubthe says so himself, when writing, be it observed, to a physicianthat they were actually produced by the forces of his own mind working on his body. "Beyond all doubt, the stigmata of St. Francis," he writes 55[Letter to Thomas de Gardo, a Florentine physician, printed in the Eighth Book of his Correspondenceas cited by Dumas, as cited, p. 213], "had the following origin: he attached himself to the death of Christ with such strong meditations that he reproduced it in his mind, saw himself crucified with his Master, and finished by actualizing in his body the pious representations of his soul," Even Francis de Sales, though of course absolutely sure that the ultimate account of Francis' stigmata is that they represented "that admirable communication which the sweet Jesus made him, of His loving and precious pains," yet works out the actual mechanism of their production in elaborate but healthful naturalism. "This soul, then," he says 56[Traité de l'Amour de Dieu. Book IV, chap. xv (E. T. in Methuen's "Library of Devotion," On the Love of God, 1902, p. 196). Cf. Dumas, as cited, who, however, quotes more at large, including certain phrases (not found in the E. T.) which withdraw somewhat from the purity of the naturalistic explanation], "so mollified, softened, and almost melted away in this loving pain, was thereby extremely disposed to receive the impressions and marks of the love and pain of its sovereign Lover; for the memory was quite steeped in the remembrance of this divine love, the imagination strongly applied to represent to itself the wounds and bruises which the eyes there beheld so perfectly expressed in the image before them, the understanding received the intensely vivid images which the imagination furnished it with; and finally, love employed all the forces of the will to enter into and conform itself to the passion of the Well-Beloved; whence no doubt the soul found itself transformed into a second crucifixion. Now the soul, as form and mistress of the body, making use of its power over it, imprinted the pains of the wounds by which it was wounded in the parts corresponding to those in which its God had endured them" 57[The literature of Stigmatization is very large and varied; a guide to it may be found in the bibliographies attached to the appropriate articles in Herzog-Hauck, the New Schaff-Herzog, Schiele and Zschamack and The Catholic Encyclopedia. The essay by Dumas in the Revue des Deux Mondes for May 1, 1907, is exceptionally instructive. With it may be consulted the older discussions by A. Maury, in the Revue des Deux Mondes, 1854, vol. IV, and in the Annales Medico-Psychologiques (edited by Baillarger, Cerise, and Longet), 1855; and the more recent studies by R. Virchow, "Ueber Wunder und Medizin," in the Deutsche Zeitschrift für practiscke Medizin, 1872, pp. 335-339; Paul Janet, "Une Ecstatique," in the Bulletin de l'Institute psychologique for July, 1901, and The Mental State of Hystericals: A Study of Mental Stigmata, New York, 1901; and Maurice Apte, Les Stigmatisés, 1903; cf. also W. A. Hammond, Spiritualism and Allied Causes and Conditions of Nervous Derangement, 1876, pp. 329-362, and the short note in W. B. Carpenter, Principles of Mental Physiology, 1874, pp. 689--690. No general description is better than Görres's, as cited; and no general discussion supersedes Tholuck's, as cited. O. Stoll, Suggestion und Hypnotismus in der Völker-psychologie, 1904, pp. 520 ff., is chiefly useful for the setting in which the subject is placed]. With all its three hundred and more examples, however, it is, after all, a small place which stigmatization takes in the wonder life of the church of Rome. The center about which this life revolves lies, rather, in the veneration of relics, which was in a very definite sense a derivation from heathenism. Hippolyte Delehaye, it is true, puts in a protest here. "The cult of the saints," says he 58[Les Lëgendes Hagiographiques, 1905, p. 187. Cf. what is said by G. H. Gerould, Saints' Legends, 1916, p. 42], "did not issue from the cult of the heroes, but from the cult of the martyrs; and the honors paid to them from the beginning and by the first Christian generations which had known the baptism of blood, are a direct consequence of the eminent dignity of the witnesses of Christ which Christ himself proclaimed. From the respect with which their mortal remains were surrounded, and from the confidence of Christians in their intercession, there proceeded the cult of relics with all its manifestations, with its exaggerations, alas! only too natural, and, why should we not say it? with its excesses, which have sometimes compromised the memory which it was wished to honor." These remarks, however, do not quite reach the point. What is asserted is not that the Christians took the heathen heroes over into their worship, though there were heathen heroes whom the Christians did take over into their worship. Neither is it that they continued unbrokenly at the tombs of these heroes the heathen rites which they were accustomed to celebrate there, only substituting another name as the object venerated. It is that under the influence of these old habits of thought and action they created for themselves a new set of heroes, Christian heroes, called saints, and developed with respect to their relics a set of superstitious practices which reproduced in all their essential traits those to which they had been accustomed with respect to the relics of the heathen heroes. There is certainly a true sense in which the saints are the successors of the gods 59[L. Deubner, De Incubatione: "The religion of Christians had and has its own demi-gods and heroes; that is to say, its saints and martyrs"; G. Wobbermin, Religionsgeschichtliche Studien, 1896, p. 18: "The saints of the Christian Churches, and especially those of the Greek Church, present a straightforward development of the Greek hero cult. The saints are the heroes of the Ancients." Cf. P. Saintyves, Les Saints successeurs des Dieux, 1907, and especially Lucius, as cited; also M. Hamilton, as cited], and the whole body of superstitious practices which cluster around the cult of relics is a development in Christian circles of usages which parallel very closely those of the old heathenism 60[Cf. Friedrich Pfister, Der Reliquienkult im Altertum, 1902, pp. 429 ff.; E. Lucius, Die Anfänge des Heiligenkults in der christliche Kirche, 1904]. The very things which Delehaye enumerates as the sources of the later cult of the saints and the veneration of their relicsthe cult of the martyrs, the honor rendered to their remains, the confidence of Christians in their intercessionare themselves already abuses due to the projection into the Christian church of heathen habitudes and the natural imitation of heathen example. There are no doubt differences to be traced between the Christian and the heathen cult of relics. And these differences are not always to the advantage of the Christians. There is the matter of the partition of relics, for example, and the roaring trade which, partly in consequence of this, has from time to time been driven in them. The ancient world knew nothing of these horrors. In it the sentiment of reverence for the dead determined all its conduct toward relics. Christians seem to have been inspired rather with eagerness to reap the fullest possible benefit from their saints; and, reasoning that when a body is filled with supernatural power every part of the body partakes of this power, they broke the bodies up into fragments and distributed them far and wide 61[Cf. the account by Pfister, as cited, p. 323, and especially 430 ff.]. The insatiable lust to secure such valuable possessions begot in those who trafficked in them a callous rapacity which traded on the ignorance and superstition of the purchasers. The world was filled with false relics 62[Cf. Saintyves, as cited, pp. 33 ff. We are told that many of the bones of the eleven thousand virgin martyrs displayed at the Church of St. Ursula at Cologne are bones of men (A. D. White, Warfare, etc., vol. II, p. 29)], of which, however, this is to be saidthat they worked as well as the true 63[A. D. White records that Frank Buckland noted that the relics of St. Rosalia at Palermo are really the bones of a goat (Gordon's Life of Buckland, pp. 94-96); and yet they cure diseases and ward off epidemics]. So highly was the mere possession of relics esteemed that the manner of their acquisition was condoned in the satisfaction of having them. Theft was freely resorted toit was called furtum laudabile 64[Harbey, Supplément aux Acta Sanctorum, vol. I, 1899, p. 203 (cited by Günter). Cf. in general Saintyves, as cited, pp. 44 ff.]; and violent robbery was not unknownand that with (so it was said) the manifest approval of God. St. Maximinus, bishop of Trèves, died at Poitiers (of which town he was a native) on a journey to Rome, and very naturally was buried there. But the inhabitants of Trèves wished their bishop for themselves, and stole him out of the church at Poitiers. When the Aquitanians pursued the thieves, heaven intervened and drove them back home, not without disgrace, while the thieves were left scathless 65[H. Günter, Legenden-Studien, 1906, p. 109, note 6, citing the Vita S. Maximini, c. 9 (Scriptores rerum Merov., III, 78)], and furthered on their journey. All sorts of irreverent absurdities naturally found their way into the collections of relics, through an inflamed craving for the merely marvelous. The height of the absurd seems already to be reached when we read in Pausanias that in the shrine of " the daughters of Leucippus," at Sparta, the egg which Leda laid was to be seen 66[Pausanias, III, 16, 1 (Pfister, p. 325); also Delehaye, p. 186, with references given there]. The absurdity is equally great, however, when we hear of the Christians preserving feathers dropped from the wings of Gabriel when he came to announce to Mary the birth of Jesus; and it is only covered from sight by the shock given by the irreverence of it, when we read, of pilgrim monks boasting of having seen at Jerusalem the finger of the Holy Spirit 67[Henri Etienne, Apologie Pour Héradote, ou Traité de la Conformité des Merveilles anciennes avec les modernes, ed. le Duchat, 1735, chaps. XXIX-XXVIII, as cited by P. Saintyves, as cited, p. 46, who may be consulted (pp. 44-48) on the general subject]. Any ordinary sense of the ridiculous, however, should be sufficiently satisfied by the solemn exhibition in the church of Saints Cosmas and Damien at Rome of a "vial of the milk of the Blessed Virgin Mary." But Ossa is piled on Pelion when we learn that this is far from the only specimen of Mary's milk which is to be seen in the churches. Several churches in Rome have specimens, and many in Franceat Evron, and Soulac, and Mans, and Reims, and Poitiers, and St. Denis, and Bouillac, and the Sainte Chapelle at Paris; the Cathedral of Soissons has two samples of it; and the Cathedral at Chartres three. Then there is some more at Toledo and at the convent of St. Peter d'Arlanza in Spain, and of course in other countries as well. We are fairly astonished at the amount of it 68[Cf. Paul Parfait, La Foire aux Reliques, pp. 137-138]. This astonishment is only partly relieved when we are told that not all of this milk need be that with which the Virgin nourished her divine Son. The Virgin, it seems, has been accustomed all through the ages to give nourishment to her children in their times of deadly need, and even her statues and paintings May, on occasion, supply it 69[On Mary's milk, see the whole chapter on "Le Saint Lait d'Evron," in Paul Parfait, as cited, pp. 135-144. On what may lie in the background of this whole series of legends, see article "Milk," in Hastings's ERE, vol. VIII, pp. 633-637]. We are here in contact with a wide spread legend of mystical nourishment which was current toward the end of the Middle Ages. "Mary was looked upon," as Yrjö Hirn explains 70[The Sacred Shrine, 1912, p. 363], "not as an individual human being, but as an incarnation of an eternal principle which had exercised its power long before it became embodied in the figure of a Jewish girl. The Madonna's motherly care had previously been directed to all the faithful, who had been fed by her 'milk' in the same way as the Child of Bethlehem. In Mechthild's revelations it is even expressly said that the Madonna suckled the prophets before Christ descended into the world. Later, she fed, during His childhood, 'the Son of God and all of us,' and when He was full-grown she offered her milk to the Christian Church. All friends of God could get strength at her bosom. 'Eja, darnach sollen wir bekennenDie Milch und auch die BrüsteDie Jesus so oft küsste"' 71[These words are Mechthild's; and Hirn adds: "The idea that the Madonna gives milk to all believers appears finely in a poem in the Swedish collection of Latin hymns, Piae, Cantiones, p. 161:
There is symbolism here, but mere symbolism. Therefore Hirn continues 72[P. 365]: "There is no question of symbolism when, in the miracle histories, it is related that the Madonna cured pious individuals with her healing milk 73[He gives a series of references to instances]. It is also told of some holy men that they were quite literally refreshed by Mary's breast. The pious Suso relates without reserve, and in a description of great detail, how he tasted 'den himmlischen Trunk' 74[Deutsche Schriften, I, p. 74]; and Bernard of Clairvaux, who merited the Virgin's gratitude more than any other man, was rewarded for all his panegyrics and poems by Mary visiting him in his cell and letting his lips be moistened by the food of the heavenly Child" 75[Acta Sanctorum, 38, pp. 207-208]. "Thus," explains Heinrich Günter 76[Legenden-Studien, 1906, pp. 165 f. Compare Die christliche Legende des Abendlandes, 1910, p. 43: "That the legend [of Mary] praises the Mother of Pity also as the succorer of the sick is a matter of course. But the mysticism of the Mary legend brought a new means of healing, in that it makes Mary give her breast to the sick." Cf. the curious details on p. 85. In the notes accompanying the passage quoted from the Legenden-Studien, Günter shows how wide spread and how full of variants such legends were. In one MS. the motive is varied in a threefold way: a cleric in his illness had bitten off his tongue and lips, and was suddenly healed by Mary's milk; a monk thought already dead was healed; another monk had his experience only in a dream, but with the same effect. Noting that the milk with which Fulbert, bishop of Chartres, was sprinkled and healed., is said in one MS. to have been gathered up and saved as a relic, Günter infers that the milk relics date from this epoch. This is how the story of Fulbert is told in Sablon, Histoire et Description de la Cathédrale de Chartres: "St. Fulbert, Bishop and Restorer of this Church, having been visited by God with an incurable fire which parched him and consumed his tongue, and seized with an insupportable pain which permitted him no rest through the night, saw as it were a noble lady who commanded him to open his mouth, and when he had obeyed her she at once ejected from her sacred breasts a flood of celestial and savory milk which quenched the fire at once and made his tongue more well than ever. Some drops had fallen on his cheeks, and these were afterwards put into a vial and kept in the treasury"], following out the same theme, "in the age of the Mary legend, the Virgin also had to become a miraculous nourisher, and thatin accordance with the exaggerated imagination of the timeswith her own milk. A monk gets sick; mouth and throat are so swollen that he can take no nourishment; the brethren expect the end. Then Mary appearsvisible only to the sick manand gives him her breast and announces to him his early recovery. Among the mystical women of the convent of Töf the same thing happened to Sister Adelheit of Frauenberg; she narrates it herself: Mary says to her . . . '"I will fulfil your desire and will give you to drink of the milk with which I suckled my holy Child," and she put her pure, soft breast into my mouth; and when this unspeakable sweetness was done to me I was on the point of weeping.'" As Mary, although the chief, is not the only sustainer of God's people, so, in the incredible materialism of mediaeval thought, it is not she alone whose milk has been given to succor them in their extremities. One and another of the saints, without careful regard to sex, have been recorded as performing the same service. Lacking another, Christina Mirabilis was fed from her own virgin breast 77[Günter, Legenden-Studien, p. 178; Die christliche Legende, p. 85, 162]. Even the veins of saints, in token of their functions as sustainers of God's people, have flowed with milk as well as with blood 78[Günter, Legenden-Studien, p. 59]. This was the case, for example, with Pantaleon, and there was preserved in Constantinople a vessel containing the combined blood and milk which had issued from his martyred body. "Every year," we read 79[Ibid., p. 208], "they changed places; when 'once in our time, under the Emperor Michael (that is, Paleologus, 1259-82), the blood remained on top, it was a year filled with troubles.'" Pantaleon was a great saint, and his preserved blood even acted as a palladium, giving oracles of weal or woe to the fortunate cities which possessed it. As soon as the famous liquefying blood of Januarius appeared at Naples, Günter tells us, "the blood of Pantaleon, too, all at once spread over all Italy, everywhere exhibiting the same qualityin Naples itself in three churches, in Ravello, Bari, Vallicella, Lucca, Venicewithout San Gennaro, however, suffering in the least by the concurrence." The celebrated miracle of the liquefaction of the blood of Januarius is not then unexampled. In the single Church of the Holy Apostles at Rome you may see the perpetually liquid blood of St. James the Less, and the miraculous blood of St. Nicholas of Tolentino, which exudes from his arms whenever they are separated from his body. And at the near by nunnery of St. Cyriacus, where Cyriacus's head is kept, that head has been said, since the time of Gregory IX (1241), to have become red with blood on the anniversary of the martyr's death, and the reliquary to have become moist 80[Ibid., p. 107; cf. the list of others of similar character in Th. Trede, Das Heidentum in der Römischen Kirche, I, 1889, pp. 158 ff.]. Of all the miracles of this kind, however, the liquefaction of Januarius's blood is the most famous. It is exhibited annually at Naples, on the day of the saint's festival. Günter speaks of it with the prudence which becomes a historian who is also a Catholic. "A problem before which criticism is compelled to pause," says he 81[Ibid.]. "The fact is assured; the explanation is not yet discovered. The historian may content himself with registering that the blood miracle first appears suddenly in the late Middle Ages, and that an older notice of a Neapolitan miraculous vial exists, which the popular belief brought into connection, however, with the magician Vergil." This vial enclosed in it an image of the city, and it was believed that so long as the vial remained intact, so would the city. It was esteemed, in other words, as the palladium of the city, as the vial of Januarius now is. Relics, however, have not been venerated for naught, and it is not merely such spectacular miracles which have made them the object of the eager regard which is paid them. As Pfister puts it 81A[Op. cit., p. 610]: "The basis of the Christian cult of relics, as in the case of the antique cult, lies in the belief that the men whose remains are honored after their death, were in their lifetime filled with special power by virtue of which they were in position to work extraordinary things: then, that this power still filled their remains, in the first instance, of course, their bodily remains, but, after that, all that had come into contact with the deceased." It was because much was hoped from these relics that they were cherished and honored; and since mankind suffers most from bodily ills the relics have naturally been honored above everything else as instruments through which bodily relief and bodily benefit may be obtained. Günter can write 82[Legenden-Studien, p. 106], no doubt: "In the times of the inventions and translations of the relics there were naturally innumerable relic miracles promulgated. It was not only that the 'blind saw, the lame walked, the lepers were cleansed, the deaf heard, and the dead were raised,' when they were brought to the graves of the saints; the sanctuaries and healing shrines had something greater still in the incorruptibility of the bodies of the saints 83[J. B. Heinrich, Dogmatische Theologie, vol. X, p. 797, makes much of this: "A miracle which belongs peculiarly to them, wrought not by but on the holy bodies, is their incorruptibility through the centuries. No doubt this incorruptibility can in many cases be explained by purely natural causes; but in many cases the miracle is obvious. It is especially evident when a portion only of the holy body remains uncorrupted, particularly that portion which was peculiarly placed at the service of God during life, as the tongue of St. John of Neponac, the arm of St. Stephen of Hungary, the heart of St. Teresa, etc. And especially when, with the preservation of the body there is connected a pleasant fragrance instead of the necessarily following penetrating corpse odor, or when everything was done, as there was done with the body of St. Francis Xavier, to bring about a speedy corruption." It is astonishing what stress is laid on this incorruptibility of the body of the saints. Thus Herbert Thurston (Hastings's ERE, VIII, 149) thinks it worth while, in a very condensed article on Lourdes, to record, of Bernadette Soubirous: "It is noteworthy that, though her body at the time of death (1879) was covered with tumors and sores, it was found, when the remains were officially examined in 1909, thirty years afterwards, entire and free from corruption (see Carrière, Histoire de Notre-Dame de Lourdes, p. 243)." On this matter see A. D. White, A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology, 1896, II, pp. 10, 11, who sets it in its right light, and mentions similar instancesof those who were not saints], or of their severed limbs, or in astonishing manifestations of power and life of other kinds. Gregory's Gloria martyrum and Gloria confessorum, and the activity of the miraculous goldsmith of Limoges, and of the later bishop of Noyon, Eligius, served almost exclusively to glorify the graves of the saints. Eligius was endowed from heaven especially for the discovery of relics. He himself, when his grave was opened a year after his death (December 1, 660) was wholly uncorrupted, just as if he were yet alive; beard and hair, which according to custom had been shaved, had grown again." But Günter requires to add: "It is in their power to help (Hilfsmacht) that, on the basis of old experiences, the significance of the graves of the saints for the people still lies, down to today." In point of fact the great majority of the miracles of healing which have been wrought throughout the history of the church, have been wrought through the agency of relics 84[Accordingly, Percy Dearmer, Body and Soul, 1912, p. 262, says: "For the greater part of Christian history faith healing was mainly centered in relics, so that probably more people have benefited in this way than in any other." Speaking particularly no doubt of the ancient church, but in terms which would apply to every age, Heinrich (op. cit., X, p. 796) observes: "Now, however, these miracles are regularly wrought at the graves, in the churches, and often precisely by the relics of the saints," and he is led to add two pages further on (p. 798): "There is scarcely another doctrine of the church which has been so approved, established by God Himself, as the veneration of the saints and relics"that is to say by miraculous attestation]. Not merely the actual graves of the saints, but equally any places where fragments of their bodies, however minute, have been preserved, have become healing shrines, to many of which pilgrims have flocked in immense numbers, often from great distances, and from which there have spread through the world innumerable stories of the most amazing cures, and even of the restoration of the dead to life. We are here at the very center of the miracle life of the church of Rome 85[For the literature of pilgrimages, see the bibliography attached to the article "WaIlfahrt und Wallfahrtsorten," in Schiele and Zschamack's Religion]. We have pointed out the affiliation of this whole development of relic veneration with heathenism. We are afraid that, as we survey its details, the even uglier word, fetichism, rises unbidden to our lips: and when we find J. A. MacCulloch, for example, writing of miracles at large, speaking incidentally of "the use of relics" as "at bottom a species of fetichism" 86[Hastings's ERE, vol. VIII, pp. 684 f. It is a refreshing note that Meister Eckhard strikes, proving that common sense was not quite dead even in the opening years of the fourteenth century, when he asks, "What is the good of the dead bones of saints? The dead can neither give nor take"], we cannot gainsay the characterization 87[W. R. Inge, Christian Mysticism, 1889, p. 262 and note 2, is prepared to maintain that "a degraded form" of fetichism is exhibited in much else in modern Roman Catholicism than its relic worship. He finds it exhibited, for example, "by the so called neo-mystical school of modern France, and in the baser types of Roman Catholicism everywhere." He adduces in illustration Huysmans two "mystical" novels, En Route and La Cathédrale, and comments as follows: "The naked fetichism of the latter book almost passes belief. We have a Madonna who is good natured at Lourdes and cross grained at La Salette; who likes 'pretty speeches and little coaxing ways' in 'paying court' to her, and who at the end is apostrophised as 'our Lady of the Pillar,' 'our Lady of the Crypt. It may, perhaps, be excusable to resort to such expedients as these in the conversion of savages" (Query: Is it?); "but there is something singularly repulsive in the picture (drawn apparently from life) of a profligate man of letters seeking salvation in a Christianity which has lowered itself far beneath educated paganism." "Our Lady of the Pillar," "Our Lady of the Crypt," are two images of Mary venerated at the cathedral at Chartres, information concerning which is given in the article entitled "The oldest of our Lady's Shrines: St. Mary's Under-Earth," in The Dolphin, vol. VI (July-December, 1904), pp. 377-399. On Mary's shrines in general, see below. Those who have read Huysmans's La Cathédrale should read also Blasco Ibañes's La Catedral, and perhaps Evelyn Underhill's The Lost Word, that the lascinations of cathedral symbolism may be viewed from several angles]. Heinrich, naturally, repels such characterizations. There is no heathenism, fetichism, in the cult of relics, he insists 88[Op. cit., vol. X, P. 799. Yet it is not merely God who is venerated in the saints, he says; there is an honor due to the saints in themselves, and accordingly Alexander VIII condemned the proposition: The honor that is offered to Mary as Mary is vain. On the other hand it is said that it is merely the saint and through him God that is venerated in the relic, according to the explanation of Thomas Aquinas: "We do not adore the sensible body on its own account, but on account of the soul which was united with it, which is now in the enjoyment of God, and on account of God, whose ministers they were." Why then continue to adore the body when it is no longer united with the soul, on account of its union with which alone it is adored?], because that cult is relative, and that with a double relativity. "Our cult terminates really on God, whom we venerate in the saints," he says, "and thus the cult becomes actually a religious one; it is a relative cult in a double relation: it does not stop with the relics but proceeds to the saints; it does not stop with the saints but proceeds to God Himself." We are afraid, however, that this reasoning will not go on all fours with Heinrich's fundamental argument for the propriety of venerating relics. "The veneration of the saint," he argues 89[P. 794], "terminates on the person as the total object, more particularly, of course, on the soul than on the body; for the formal object, that is, the ground of the veneration, is the spiritual excellences of the saint. . . . But during life the body also shares in the veneration of the person to which it belongs. It must, therefore, be esteemed holy also after death; the veneration always terminates on the person." We may miss the logical nexus here; it may not seem to us to follow that, because the body shared in the veneration offered to the saint while it was part of the living person, it ought thereforeHeinrich actually says "therefore"to share in this veneration when it is no longer a part of the living personany more than, say, the exuviae, during life, which, however, the relic worshippers, it must be confessed, do make share in it. But Heinrich not only professes to see this logical nexus, but hangs the whole case for the propriety of the veneration of relics upon it. In that case, however, the veneration of the relic is not purely relative; there is something in, the relic as such which calls for reverence. It is not merely a symbol through which the saint, now separated from it, is approached, but a part of the saint, though an inferior part, in which the saint is immediately reached. "The Christian," says Heinrich himself 90[P. 794], "recognizes in the body of the martyr, of the saint, more than a mere instrument of the soul; it is, as our faith teaches us, the temple of the Holy Spirit; it was the sacred vessel of grace in life; it is to be glorified in unity again with the glorified soul." Such scholastic distinctions as that between direct and relative worshiplike that between doulia, hyperdoulia, and latriaare, in any event, matters purely for the schools. They have no real meaning for the actual transactions, and nothing can be more certain than that throughout the Catholic world the relics, as the saints, have been continuously looked upon by the actual worshippers, seeking benefits from them, as themselves the vehicles of a supernatural power of which they may hopefully avail themselves 91[What Pfister says, p. 610, although not free from exaggerations, is in its main assertion true. In the Christian religion, he says, the presence in the relics of a supernatural, in a certain degree magical, power is accustomed to be emphasized even more than it is in the heathen. For, according to the Greek belief, the graves were thought of chiefly as the protection of the heroes, without the bones themselves being thought able to work miraclesfor they rest in the grave; the miracle, the help, comes in general from the hero himself, not from an anonymous, impersonal, magical power which dwells in the relics. According to the Christian belief the relics themselves, on the other hand, can perform miracles, and the power residing in them can by contact be directly transferred and produce effects. Thus artificial relics can be produced by contact with genuine ones. The habit of relic partition is connected with this: a part of the object filled with magical power may act like the whole. Compare Hirn, p. 490, note 2: "We deliberately leave out of consideration here the assertion of educated Catholics that in the relics was really worshipped the saint in the same way that God is worshipped in a picture or a symbol (cf. Esser, art., 'Reliquien,' in Wetzer-Welte, Kirchenlexicon). It cannot be doubted that relic worshipfor the earlier Christians as for the mass of believers todaywas based on utilitarian ideas of the help that might be had from the sacred remains"]. We have said that relics stand at the center of the miracle life of the church of Rome. Many are prepared to go further. Yrjö Hirn, for example, wishes to say that they stand at the center of the whole religious life of the church of Rome. He does not mean by this merely that all Catholic religious life and thought center in and revolve around the miraculous. This is true. The world view of the Catholic is one all his own, and is very expressly a miraculous one. He reckons with the miraculous in every act; miracle suggests itself to him as a natural explanation of every event; and nothing seems too strange to him to be true 92[See the characterization of the Catholic world view, by E. Schmidt in Schiele and Zscharnack's Religion, etc., vol. V, col. 1736]. It is a correct picture which a recent writer draws when he says 93[Baumgarten, in Schiele and Zscharnack's Religion, etc., vol. V, col. 2162]: "The really pious Catholic has a peculiar passion for miracles. The extremely numerous accounts of miraculous healings, not alone at Lourdes; the multiplied promises, especially in the little Prayer and Pilgrim Books, of physical healing of the sick in reward for many offered prayers and petitions; the enormous credulity of the Catholic people, as it is revealed to us in the Leo Taxil swindleall this manifests a disposition for miracle seeking which is altogether unaffected by the modem scientific axiom of the conformity of the course of nature to law." To say that relics lie at the center of the miracle life of Catholicism is not far from saying that they lie at the center of the Catholic religious life; for the religious life of Catholicism and its miracle life are very much one. Hirn is thinking here 94[The Sacred Shrine, chaps. I-IV], however, particularly of the organization of Catholic worship; and what he sees, or thinks he sees, is that the entirety of Catholic worship is so organized as to gather really around the relic chest. For the altar, as it has developed in the Roman ritual, has become, he says, in the process of the years, the coffin enclosing the bones of a saint; and that is the fundamental reason why the rule has long been in force that every altar shall contain a relic 95[Compare Smith and Cheatham, Dictionary of Christian Archaeology, I, pp. 62, 429; II, p. 1775, and especially I, p. 431: "As churches built over the tombs of martyrs came to be regarded with peculiar sanctity, the possession of the relics of some saint came to be looked upon as absolutely essential to the sacredness of the building, and the deposition of such relics in or below the altar henceforward formed the central portion of the consecration rite." The succeeding account of the ritual of the consecration should be read], and that a Gregory of Tours, for example, when speaking of the altar can call it, not "ara" or "altare," but "arca," that is to say, box or ark. Catholic piety, thus expressing itself in worship, has found its center in a sealed case; for the table for the mass is not a piece of furniture which has been placed in a building, but a nucleus around which the building has been formed, and the table for the mass has become nothing more or less than "a chest which guards the precious relics of a saint." Thus, "the ideas connected with the abode of the dead remain for all time bound up with the church's principal place of worship." "Saint worship has little by little mingled with the mass ritual, and the mass table itself has been finally transformed into a saint's shrine" 96[The literature of relics and relic veneration is sufficiently indicated in the bibliographies attached to the articles on the subject in the encyclopedias: Herzog-Hauck, New Schaff-Herzog, Schiele-Zscharnack. The exhibition of the Holy Coat at Trèves from August 20 to October 3, 1891, with the immense crowd of pilgrims which it brought to Trèves, created an equally immense literature, a catalogue of which may be derived from the Theologischer Jahresbericht of the time, and a survey of which will give an insight into the whole subject of the veneration of relics in the nineteenth century]. Enthroned though it thus be at the center of the miracle life, and with it of the religious life, of the church of Rome 97[The recent history of relic miracles in the United States is chiefly connected with the veneration of relics of St. Ann. Certain relics of St. Anthony venerated in the Troy Hill Church at Allegheny, PA., have indeed won large fame for the miracles of healing wrought by their means, and doubtless the additional relic of the same saint deposited in the Italian Church of St. Peter, on Webster Avenue, Pittsburgh, has taken its share in these works. But St. Ann seems to promise to be the peculiar wonder worker of the United States. The Church of St. Anne de Beaupré has, within recent years, become the most popular place of pilgrimage in Canada; until 1875 not over 12,000 annually visited this shrine, but now they are counted by the hundred thousand; in 1905 the number was 168,000. A large relic of St. Ann's finger bone has been in the possession of this shrine since 1670; three other fragments of her arm have been acquired since, and it was in connection with the acquisition of one of these, in 1892, that the cult and its accompanying miracles of healing were transferred to New York. St. Ann seems to be one of those numerous saints too much of whom has been preserved in the form of relics. Her body is said to have been brought from the Holy Land to Constantinople, in 710; and it is said to have been still in the Church of St. Sophia in 1333. It was also, it is said, brought by Lazarus to Gaul, during the persecution of the Jewish Christians in Palestine under Herod Agrippa, and finally found a resting place at Apt. Lost to sight through many years, it was rediscovered there in the eighth century, and has been in continuous possession of the church at Apt ever since. Yet the head of St. Ann was at Mainz up to 1516, when it was stolen and carried to Düren in the Rhineland, and her head, "almost complete"doubtless derived from Aptis preserved also at Chiry, the heir of the Abbey of Ourscamp. Churches in Italy, Germany, Hungary, and in several towns in France "flatter themselves that they possess more or less considerable portions of the same head, or the entire head" (Paul Parfait, Le Foire aux Reliques, p. 94, in an essay on "The Head of St. Ann at Chiry"). Despite all this European history, a relic of St. Ann was again brought from Palestine in the thirteenth century, and it was this that was given to St. Anne d'Auray in Brittany in the early half of the seventeenth century by Ann of Austria and Louis XIII. The origin of the pilgrimages and healings at St. Anne d'Auray was not in this relic, however, but antedated its possession, taking their start from apparitions of St. Ann (1624-1626). The relics which have been recently brought to this country are said to derive ultimately from Apt. Thence the Pope obtained an arm of the saint which was intrusted to the keeping of the Benedictine monks of St. Paul-outside-the-Wall, Rome. From them, through the kind offices of Leo XIII, Cardinal Taschereau obtained the "great relic" which was presented to St. Anne de Beaupré in 1892; and from thence also came the relic, obtained by Prince Cardinal Odeschalchi, and presented to the Church of St. Jean Baptiste in East Seventy-sixth Street, New York, the same year (July 15, 1892). Another fragment was received by the Church of St. Jean Baptiste on August 6, 1893; and some years later still another fragment was deposited in the Church of St. Ann in Fall River, Mass., whence it was stolen on the night of December 1, 1901.
'Super vinum et unguentum
the mamme dant fomentum,
fove, lacta parvulos"'].
"I have never heard such passion in my life. I began to watch presently, almost mechanically, the little group beneath the ombrellino, in white and gold, and the movements of the monstrance blessing the sick; but again and again my eyes wandered back to the little figure in the midst, and I cried out with the crowd, sentence after sentence, following that passioned voice:
"'Lord, we adore Thee!'
"'Lord,' came the huge response, 'we adore Thee.'
"'Lord, we love Thee,' cried the priest.
"'Lord, we love Thee,' answered the people.
"'Save us, Jesus, we perish.'
"'Save us, Jesus, we perish.'
"'Jesus, Son of Mary, have pity on us.'
"'Jesus, Son of Mary, have pity on us.'
"Then, with a surge rose up the plain song melody:
"'Spare, O Lord,' sang the people, 'spare Thy people! Be not angry with us forever.'
"' Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.'
"'As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, Amen.'
"Then again the single voice and the multitudinous answer:
"'Thou art the Resurrection and the Life!'
"And then an adjuration to her whom He gave to be our Mother:
"'Mother of the Savior, pray for us.'
"'Salvation of the weak, pray for us,'
"Then once more the singing; then the cry, more touching than all:
"'Lord, heal our sick!'
"'Lord, heal our sick!'
"Then the kindling that brought blood to ten thousand faces:
"'Hosanna! Hosanna to the Son of David!' (I shook to hear it.)
"'Hosanna!' cried the priest, rising from his knees, with arms flung wide.
"'Hosanna!' roared the people, swift as an echo.
"'Hosanna! Hosanna!' crashed out again and again, like great artillery.
"Yet there was no movement among those piteous prostrate lines. The bishop, the ombrellino over him, passed on slowly round the circle; and the people cried to Him whom he bore, as they cried two thousand years ago on the road to the city of David. Surely He will be pitiful upon this daythe Jubilee Year of His Mother's graciousness, the octave of her assumption to sit with Him on His throne!
"'Mother of the Savior, pray for us.'
"'Jesus, Thou art my Lord and my God.'
"Yet there was no movement. . . .
"The end was now coming near. The monstrance had reached the image once again, and was advancing down the middle. The voice of the priest grew more persistent still, as he tossed his arms, and cried for mercy:
"'Jesus, have pity on us, have pity on us!'
"And the people, frantic with ardor and desire, answered him with a voice of thunder:
"'Have pity on us! Have pity on us!'
"And now up the steps came the grave group to where Jesus would at least bless His own, though He would not heal them; and the priest in the midst, with one last cry, gave glory to Him who must be served through whatever misery:
"'Hosanna! Hosanna to the Son of David!'
"Surely that must touch the Sacred Heart! Will His Mother say one word?
"'Hosanna! Hosanna to the Son of David!'
"'Hosanna!' cried the priest.
"'Hosanna!' cried the people.
"'Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna! . . .'
"One articulate roar of disappointed praise, and thenTantum ergo Sacramentum! rose in its solemnity."
There was no miracle, and Benson thinks that that is sufficient proof that the miracles are not wrought by "suggestion." "If ever 'suggestion' could work a miracle," he says, "it must work one now." But this was only the day of preparation, and the fever planted in the blood was working. And the next day the miracles came 145[Ibid., p. 56]. "The crowd was still, very still, answering as before the passionate voice in the midst; but watching, watching, as I watched. . . . The white spot moved on and on, and all else was motionless. I knew that beyond it lay the sick. 'Lord, if it be possibleif it be possible! Nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done.' It had reached now the end of the first line.
"'Lord, heal our sick,' cried the priest.
"'Lord, heal our sick,' answered the people.
"'Thou art my Lord and my God!'
"And then on a sudden it came.
"Overhead lay the quiet summer air, charged with the supernatural as a cloud with thunderelectric, vibrating with power. Here beneath, lay souls thirsting for its touch of firepatient, desirous, infinitely pathetic; and in the midst that Power, incarnate for us men and our salvation. Then it descended swift and mightily.
"I saw a sudden swirl in the crowd of heads beneath the church steps, and then a great shaking ran through the crowd; but there for a few instants it boiled like a pot. A sudden cry had broken out, and it ran through the whole space; waxing in volume as it ran, till the heads beneath my window shook with it also; hands clapped, voices shouted, 'A miracle! A miracle!"'
The tension thus broken, of course other miracles followed. And Benson says he does not see what "suggestion" had to do with them!We feel no impulse to insist on the word, "suggestion" as if it were a magic formula, which accounts with completeness for all the cures wrought at Lourdes. We should be perfectly willing to admit, on good reason being given for the admission, that, after all the cures which can be fairly brought under this formula have been brought under it, a residuum may remain for the account of which we should look further. We do not ourselves think that we are much advanced in the explanation of these residuum cases, if they exist, by postulating "a transferrence of vitalizing force either from the energetic faith of the sufferers, or from that of the bystanders"as Benson intimates that Alexis Carrel was inclined to recommend 146[Ibid., p. v, cf. also Herbert Thurston, Hastings's ERE, vol. VIII, p. 150. This is apparently also what J. A. MacCulloch means when he says (Hastings's ERE, vol. VIII, p. 682): "Occasionally miracles at Lourdes are also wrought on more than neurotic diseases," and "they suggest an influx of healing power from without"]. At bottom, this is only a theory, and it does not seem to us a very complete theory, of how "suggestion" acts. Let us leave that to further investigation. For our part, we prefer just to leave these residuum cases themselves, if they exist, to this further investigation. We feel no necessity laid on us to explain them meanwhile. Bertrin makes himself merry 147[Op. cit., pp. 150 ff. Cf. John Rickaby, "Explanation of Miracles by Unknown Natural Forces," in The Month for January, 1877] over the appeal, for their explanation, to the working of "unknown forces" as a mere shift to avoid acknowledging the presence of the supernatural. But surely we cannot pretend to a complete knowledge of all the forces which may work toward a cure in such conditions as are present at Lourdes. Unknown forces are assuredly existent, and it is not unnatural to think of them when effects occur, the causes of which are unknown. Meanwhile residuum cases suggesting reference to them, if they exist at all, are certainly very few. Doctor E. Mackey in a very sensible article published a few years ago in The Dublin Review 148[October, 1880, pp. 386-398], seems inclined to rest the case for recognizing their existence on three instances. These are the cures of Pierre de Rudder, of a broken bone; of Joachine Dehant, of a dislocation; and of François Macary, of a varicose vein. "Such cases," he says 149[P. 398]; . . . "cannot cure themselves, and no amount of faith and hope that the mind of man can imagine will unite a broken bone, reduce a dislocation, or obliterate a varicose vein. Such cases cannot be paralleled by any medical experience, or imitated by any therapeutic resource, and are as far removed from its future as its present possibilities. To the skeptic we may give without argument the whole range of nerve disorders, but what explanation is there of the sudden and permanent cure of an organic lesion? What, but the working of the uncovered finger of God?" The cases selected by Doctor Mackey are famous cases. That of Pierre de Rudder may be said, in fact, to be Lourdes's star case, and is found duly set forth in detail at the head of well nigh every argument for the miraculousness of the Lourdes cures. Perhaps Doctor Mackey might just as well have contented himself with appealing to it alone. Its salient features are that what was healed in it was a fracture of long standing of both bones of the lower leg, just below the knee, the two parts of the broken bone piercing the flesh and being separated by a suppurating wound an inch long. The healing was instantaneous. We have never seen a satisfactory natural explanation of how this cure was effected. If the facts, in all their details as publishedsay in Bertrin's extended account,are authentic, it seems fairly impossible to imagine how it was effected. Doctor Rouby, it is true, offers a very plausible explanation of the healing, but, to make it plausible, he is compelled to assume that some of the minor details are not quite accurately reported 150[La Vérité sur Lourdes, pp. 123 ff.]. We prefer simply to leave it, meanwhile, unexplained. Do you cry out that we are bound to supply a satisfactory natural explanation of it, or else acknowledge that a miracle has taken place in this case? We feel no difficulty in declining the dilemma. The healing of Pierre de Rudder's leg is not the only thing that has occurred in the world of the mode of the occurrence of which we are ignorant. After all, inexplicable and miraculous are not exact synonyms, and nobody really thinks that they are. Is it wrong suddenly to turn the tables and ask those who would compel us to explain Pierre de Rudder's case, how they explain Charlotte Laborde's case, which is certainly far more wonderful than Pierre de Rudder's? Charlotte Laborde was a Jansenist cripple who had no legs at all, as two surgeons duly testified; and yet she literally had two good legs pulled out for heras anybody may read in Montgeron's veracious narrative 151[We take the account as given by A. Tholuck, Vermischte Schriften, I, p. 139]. No doubt it will be at once said that the thing never happened. Assuredly, it never did happen. But has everybody earned the right to take up that attitude toward it? We recognize, of course, that not all testimony to marvels can be trustedat least not in all the details. It seems indeed rather difficult to report marvels precisely as they happened, and few there be who attain to it 152[The shortcomings of the authorities at Lourdes in their reports of the cures may be read in The Dublin Review, October, 1908, pp. 416 ff., apropos of Doctor Boissarie's L' OEuvre de Lourdes, new ed., 1908. Cf. Paul Dubois, The Psychic Treatment of Nervous Disorders, p. 211: "I have detected in the physicians of the bureau of statistics, in spite of their evident good faith, a mentality of such a nature that their observations lose all value in my eyes"]. We have seen that even an Augustine cannot be implicitly trusted when he reports marvels as occurring within his own knowledge. Perhaps Doctor Rouby is right in suggesting that some slight errors of detail have crept into the report of Pierre de Rudder's case; and that this marvel too is one of the things that never happenedprecisely as it is reported. Our personal interest in such adjustments, however, is at best languid. In the nature of the case they are only conjectural. We are only beginning to learn the marvelous behavior of which living tissue is capable, and it may well be that, after a while, it may seem very natural that Pierre de Rudder's case happened just as it is said to have happened. We are afraid to alter the facts as witnessed even a little, in order to make them fit in better with the ignorance of today: and our guesses of today are sure to seem very foolish tomorrow. We do not busy ourselves, therefore, with conjecturing how Pierre de Rudder's cure may have happened. We are willing to believe that it happened just as it is said to have happened. We are content to know that, in no case, was it a miracle. We must endeavor to make clear the grounds on which this assertion is adventured. To do this we need to go back a little in the discussion. We take it up again at the point where we have said that bare inexplicableness cannot be accepted as the sufficient criterion of the miraculous. There are many things which we cannot explain, and yet which nobody supposes to be miraculous 153[Sir Francis Champneys, M.D., F.R.C.P., in The Church Quarterly Review, April, 1917, p. 44, says justly: "it is not safe to define a Miracle as something which cannot be understood; for, at that rate, what can be understood?"]. No doubt the appeal to "unknown laws," hidden forces of nature not yet discovered, may be made the mark of an easy ridicule. Yet we must not be stampeded into acknowledging as sheerly miraculous everything the laws of whose occurrencethe forces by which it is producedare inscrutable to us. Even if absolute inscrutability be meantinscrutability not to me (for my ignorance cannot be the measure of reality) but to any and every living man, or body of men, to any possible manmiracle cannot be inferred from this alone. Nature was made by God, not man, and there may be forces working in nature not only which have not yet been dreamed of in our philosophy, but which are beyond human comprehension altogether. Simple inexplicability, therefore, is not an adequate ground on which to infer miracle. There must be something else about an occurrence besides its inexplicableness to justify us in looking upon it as a direct act of God's. Clearly, when we are bidden to accept an event as miraculous merely on the ground of its inexplicableness, it is forgotten that no event is merely an inexplicable event. It is always something else besides; and if we are to pass upon its origin we must consider not merely its abstract inexplicableness but the whole concrete factnot merely that it has happened inexplicably, but what it is that has happened inexplicablythat is to say, not its bare occurrence, but its occurrence in all its circumstantials, the total thing which has occurred. The healing of Pierre de Rudder, for example, is not merely an inexplicable happening (if it be inexplicable) of which we need know no more than just that. It is the healing of a particular individual, Pierre de Rudder, in a complex of particular circumstances, the whole complicated mass of which constitutes the thing that has occurred. The cause assigned to the occurrence must satisfy not only its inexplicableness, but also all these other circumstances entering into the event as an occurrence in time and space. No event, occurring in time and spacein a complex, that is, of other occurrencesno matter how marvelous it may seem to be, how sheerly inexplicable on natural groundscan possibly be interpreted as a divine act, if there is anything about it at all in its concrete wholeness which cannot be made consistent with that reference. If, for instance, to take an example so extreme that it could not occur, but one that may serve all the better as, our illustration on that account, there were buried somewhere in the concrete wholeness of the occurrence the implication that twice two are five. It would be more inexplicable that God should not know His multiplication table than that any occurrence whatever, however inexplicable it may seem to us, should nevertheless be due to natural causation. God is not bare omnipotence; He is absolute omniscience as well. He cannot possibly be the immediate agent in an act in which a gross failure of "wisdom" is apparent, no matter how difficult it may be for us to explain that act without calling in omnipotence as its producing cause. Still less can He be supposed to be the immediate actor in occurrences in which immoralities are implicated; or, in which, in their wholeness, as concrete facts, there are embodied implications of, say, irreligion or of superstition. Whether we can see how such occurrences are wrought, or not, we know from the outset that God did not work them. It would be more inexplicable that God should be directly active in them than that they should be the product of natural causation, though to suppose this to be the fact would be to confound all our previous conceptions of natural causation. Charles Hodge speaks not a whit too strongly when he asserts 154[Systematic Theology, vol. I, p. 52] that "we are not only authorized but required to pronounce anathema an apostle or angel from heaven who should call upon us to receive as a revelation from God anything absurd or wicked." God, indeed, has Himself forewarned us here. He has said 155[DEU 13:2]: "If there arise in the midst of you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign and a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spoke unto you, saying, Let us go after other Gods, which you have not known, and let us serve them; you shall not hearken unto the words of that prophet or unto that dreamer of dreams." Conformity in their implications to what God has already revealed of Himself, He Himself makes the test of all alleged miracles. It would be more inexplicable that God by His action should confuse the revelation which He has made of His Being, of men's relation to Him, and of the duty of service which they owe to Him and to Him alone, than that inexplicable things should yet be produced by natural causation. It is a primary principle, therefore, that no event can be really miraculous which has implications inconsistent with fundamental religious truth. Even though we should stand dumb before the wonders of Lourdes, and should be utterly incapable of suggesting a natural causation for them, we know right well they are not of God. The whole complex of circumstances of which they are a part; their origin in occurrences, the best that can be said of which is that they are silly; their intimate connection with a cult derogatory to the rights of God who alone is to be called upon in our distresses,stamp them, prior to all examination of the mode of their occurrence, as not from God. We are far more sure that they are not from God than we ever can be sure, after whatever scrutiny, of precisely how they are wrought. It is doubtless something like this that is expressedit ought to be at least this that is meantby Émile Zola's crisp remark 156[Paris, p. 195]: "That two and two make four may have become tritebut nevertheless they do make four. It is less foolish and less mad to say so than to believe, for example, in the miracles of Lourdes." That God is one, and that He alone is to be served with religious veneration, is no doubt an old revelation. It is nevertheless a true revelation. And he who takes it as such can never believe that miracles are wrought at Lourdes. Of course, as R. H. Benson puts it 157[Lourdes, p. 39], "those who believe in God and His Son and the Mother of God on quite other grounds," may declare that "Lourdes is enough." But this is not to make the miracles carry the doctrine, but the doctrine the miracles, in accordance with J. H. Newman's proposition that it is all a matter of point of view, of presuppositions 158[See above, p. 59]. To those, on the other hand, who believe in God and His Son, as they have revealed themselves in the pages of Holy Scripture, but not in a Mother of God, standing between us and God and His Son, and usurping their place in our hearts and worship, Lourdes very distinctly is not enough. It would require something very different from what happens at Lourdes to make them see the express finger of God there. It is not He who rules there so much as that incoherent goddess who has announced herself to her worshippers with as fine a disregard of the ordinary laws of grammar and intelligible speech as of the fundamental principles of Christianity, in the remarkable words, "I am the Immaculate Conception," as if one should say, "I am the procession of the equinoxes," or "I am the middle of next week." "The whole place," says Benson 159[Lourdes, p. 82], "is alive with Mary." That is the very reason why we are sure that the marvels which occur there are not the direct acts of God, but are of the same order as the similar ones which have occurred at many similar shrines, of many names, in many lands, serving many gods. How close all these lie to one another is singularly illustrated by what we are told of a daughter shrine of Lourdes's own, in that Near East which is the meeting place of peoples and religions. At least, we read 160[P. Saintyves, Les Saints successeurs des Dieux, p. 11, note 1]: "The sanctuary of Feri Keuï at Constantinople, dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes, is a place of pilgrimage and a source of miraculous cures for Christians, Jews, and Mussulmans. Its silver whichedding was celebrated recently with an assemblage of people of the religions w live in the Turkish Empire." What Lourdes has to offer is the common property of the whole world, and may be had by men of all religions, calling upon their several gods 161[The bibliography at the end of Herbert Thurston's article "Lourdes," in Hastings's ERE, is a model list, and contains all that the student need concern himself about. The English reader has at his disposal: H. Lasserre, Miraculous Episodes of Lourdes, 1884; R. F. Clarke, Lourdes, and its Miracles, 1888; G. Bertrin, Lourdes; a History of its Apparitions and Cures, 1908; R. H. Benson, Lourdes, 1914; together with such illuminating articles as that of Professor George Buchanan in the Lancet of June 25, 1885; of a series of British physicians and surgeons in the British Medical Journal for June 18, 1910; of J. M. Charcot ("The Faith Cure") in The New Review, January, 1893, Vol. VIII, pp. 18-31; and of Doctor A. T. Myers, and F. W. H. Myers ("Mind Cure, Faith Cure and the Miracles of Lourdes") in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, vol. IX, 1893-1894, pp. 160-209. There are also three excellent articles by Catholic physicians accessible: Doctor E. Mackey, Dublin Review, October, 1880, pp. 386-398; Doctor J. R. Gasquet, Dublin Review, October, 1894, pp. 342-357; Doctor E. Berdoe, Nineteenth Century, October, 1895, pp. 614-618].
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