Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions Being a Comparison of the Old and New Testament Myths and Miracles with those of the Heathen Nations of Antiquity Considering also their Origin and Meaning
Page: 151Now this miracle, with those which have already been mentioned, and many others of the same kind which could be mentioned, has as authentic an attestation, if not more so, as any of the Gospel miracles. It has, for instance: The decree of a senate to confirm it; visible marks on the spot where it was transacted; and all this supported by the best authors of antiquity, amongst whom Dionysius, of Halicarnassus, who says that there was subsisting in his time at Rome many evident proofs of its reality, besides a yearly festival, with a solemn sacrifice and procession, in memory of it.[270:2]
With all these evidences in favor of this miracle having really happened, it seems to us so ridiculous, that we wonder how there could ever have been any so simple as to believe it, yet we should believe that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, after he had been in the tomb four days, our only authority being that anonymous book known as the "Gospel according to St. John," which was not [Pg 271]known until after A. D. 173. Albert Barnes, in his "Lectures on the Evidences of Christianity," speaking of the authenticity of the Gospel miracles, makes the following damaging confession:
"An important question is, whether there is any stronger evidence in favor of miracles, than there is in favor of witchcraft, or sorcery, or the re-appearance of the dead, of ghosts, of apparitions? Is not the evidence in favor of these as strong as any that can be adduced in favor of miracles? Have not these things been matters of universal belief? In what respect is the evidence in favor of the miracles of the Bible stronger than that which can be adduced in favor of witchcraft and sorcery? Does it differ in nature and degrees; and if it differs, is it not in favor of witchcraft and sorcery? Has not the evidence in favor of the latter been derived from as competent and reliable witnesses? Has it not been brought to us from those who saw the facts alleged? Has it not been subjected to a close scrutiny in the courts of justice, to cross-examination, to tortures? Has it not convinced those of highest legal attainments; those accustomed to sift testimony; those who understood the true principles of evidence? Has not the evidence in favor of witchcraft and sorcery had, what the evidence in favor of miracles has not had, the advantage of strict judicial investigation? and been subjected to trial, where evidence should be, before courts of law? Have not the most eminent judges in the most civilized and enlightened courts of Europe and America admitted the force of such evidence, and on the ground of it committed great numbers of innocent persons to the gallows and to the stake? I confess that of all the questions ever asked on the subject of miracles, this is the most perplexing and the most difficult to answer. It is rather to be wondered at that it has not been pressed with more zeal by those who deny the reality of miracles, and that they have placed their objections so extensively on other grounds."
It was a common adage among the Greeks, "Miracles for fools," and the same proverb obtained among the shrewder Romans, in the saying: "The common people like to be deceived—deceived let them be."