Perhaps a slight glance at instances of extraordinary interventions of the supernatural from the earliest times, tending to show the extreme probability of their survival on rare occasions even to the present day, might be a prudent and cautious introduction to the subject only he could not think of any, and, after all, it might weary the Doctor.
Her historians, considering the orderly course of political affairs, the manifest uniformity in the acts of men, and that there was no event occurring before their eyes for which they could not find an obvious cause in some preceding event, began to suspect that the miracles and celestial interventions, with which the old annals were filled, were only fictions.
They were the immediate, the inevitable consequences of the physical changes, and therefore, like them, the necessary issue of law. Is the world, then, governed by law or by providential interventions, abruptly breaking the proper sequence of events?
It is true that another question arises: has not a religion which has separated itself from special miracle, from local interventions of the supernatural, and from mystery, lost its savor and its efficacy? For the sake of satisfying a thinking and instructed public, is it wise to sacrifice the influence of religion over the multitude? Answer. A pious fiction is still a fiction.
In the insect world such interventions are comparatively frequent, and much can be gained from their study; for this world being more densely peopled and more complex than others, certain special desires of nature are often more palpably revealed to us there; and she may even at times be detected in the midst of experiments we might almost be warranted in regarding as incomplete.
As he rejects spontaneous generation, and admits of intervention at the beginning of organic life, and probably in more than one instance, he is not wholly excluded from adopting the middle view, although the interventions he would allow are few and far back. Yet one interposition admits the principle as well as more.
So, while conceiving no improbability of "interventions of Creative mind in Nature," if by such is meant the bringing to pass of new and fitting events at fitting times, we leave it for profounder minds to establish, if they can, a rational distinction in kind between his working in Nature carrying on operations, and in initiating those operations.
After gaining the doubtful assent of the Directory, Bonaparte had to face urgent financial difficulties. The dearth of money was, however, met by two opportune interventions. The first of these was in the affairs of Rome. Berthier was at once ordered to lead French troops against the Eternal City. The practical side of the liberating policy was soon revealed.
The sick who were placed in the benevolent institutions were, at the best, rather under the care of kind nurses than under the advice of physicians; and the consequences are seen in the gradually increasing credulity and imposture of succeeding ages, until, at length, there was an almost universal reliance on miraculous interventions.
Even in the darkest ages intelligent Christian men must have had misgivings as to these alleged providential or miraculous interventions. There is a solemn grandeur in the orderly progress of Nature which profoundly impresses us; and such is the character of continuity in the events of our individual life that we instinctively doubt the occurrence of the supernatural in that of our neighbor.