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see that these promises were almost all, perhaps all, fulfilled in the time of the apostles. The verses you have quoted do not assert that these signs will always be granted to the end of time. On the contrary, in 1 Cor. xiii. 8-10 we are told that these signs will ultimately cease when Christianity is perfectly established. A celebrated Christian writer, St. Chrysostom, explains the reason by saying that, when a tree planted by the roadside is young, it requires to be protected by a fence, lest it should be trodden down and destroyed: but, when it has taken root and grown large, the fence must be removed lest it should hinder the further growth of the tree. So when the tree of the Christian faith was yet tender, it required to be fenced in with miracles, but after a time these were withdrawn lest they should hinder its growth. If all true Christians could now work miracles, people would say that there was nothing wonderful in the miracles of Christ and His apostles, and miracles would cease to be miracles. Moreover, in place of physical miracles we have now moral miracles, in the changed lives of men who become true Christians: and we have the fulfilment of prophecy as a better sign and proof of the truth of the Bible than any other that can be imagined 1.

1 There is probably much truth in the Rev. P. M. Zenker's suggestion that our inability to work miracles is largely due to our ολιγοπιστια (Matt. xvii. 20). He refers to Paludan Muller's The Visible and the Invisible. But the best answer is that
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[Another form in which this objection is often put is:—

63. M. Have you faith 1?

C. I trust that I have.

M. Then (Mark xvi. 17) prove your faith by drinking poison or taking up a deadly serpent.

C. What do you mean by faith? We Christians mean by it such faith as Abraham had, that is to say, faith in God. If therefore God commanded us to take up a deadly serpent or to drink poison, we should obey, as Abraham did in reference to Isaac. But I have no faith in you, that I should do that at your suggestion, for that would be to tempt the Lord our God, which is forbidden (Deut. vi. 16; Matt. iv. 7). You are playing the part which Satan tried to play (Matt. iv. 5, 6), and

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miracles were granted only (1) on the occasion of a new revelation (as that of Moses and Christ), and (2) at certain great crises in history, as in the time of Elijah. Hence we cannot expect them now, more than Abraham did. The Bishop of Lahore says: "I believe I am right in saying that Muhammadans themselves teach that one of the chief functions of miracles is to authenticate a new Revelation, to accompany Ilham. Throughout the Bible miracles are not scattered broadcast at all times, but group themselves at special epochs of progress in Revelation. It is in accordance with this law that, while granted for a time for the reason indicated, they then ceased, as was necessary for them to do in order to accord with their own function."
1 Mr. R. Maconochie, C.S.I., says, "Another form of this objection came before me as a magistrate. A Muslim asked a Catechist if he had faith. 'Yes.' 'Then' (taking off a pair of shoes and placing them before him), 'if you move those shoes an inch by faith, without touching them, I will become a Christian.'"

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