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by B. B. Warfield
The whole religion of the heathen turned on [a belief in miracles]; what they kept their gods for was just miracles. As Theodore Mommsen puts it in a single sentence: "The Roman gods were in the first instance instruments which were employed for attaining very concrete earthly ends" -- and then he adds, very significantly, "a point of view which appears not less sharply in the saint-worship of present-day Italy." "The power," says Trede, "which in the Roman Empire set the state religion going, as well as the numerous local, social, and family cults, was belief in miracles. The gods, conceived as protecting beings, as undoubted powers in the world, but as easily offended, were, by the honor brought to them in their worship, to be made and kept disposed to interpose in the course of nature for the benefit of their worshippers, in protecting, helping, succoring, rescuing them; that is to say, were to work miracles. Belief in miracles was involved in belief in the gods; only denial of the gods could produce denial in miracles."
- B. B. Warfield, Counterfeit Miracles (p. 75), original © 1918, reprinted by the Banner of Truth Trust 1995
Translated by Grace Tang and Revised by Jean Heidel, members of the New Hope Christian Fellowship translation team