IV. THE MIRACLES WROUGHT BY JESUS CHRIST WERE NOT PERFORMED BY HIS OWN POWERS, BUT OBTAINED FROM HIS FATHER, BY HIS PRAYERS.
41. Berruyer says that Jesus Christ wrought his miracles in this sense alone, that he operated, with a beseeching power, by means of his prayers : ” Miracula Christus efficit, non precatio …………prece tamen et postulatione……….. eo unice sensudicitur Christus miraculorum effector.” In another place, he says that Christ, as the Son of God (but the Son in his sense that is, of one God, subsisting in three Persons) had a right, by his Divinity, that his prayers should be heard. Remark the expression, ” his prayers.” Therefore, according to Berruyer, our Saviour did not work miracles by his own power, but obtained them from God by his prayers, like any other holy man. This doctrine, however, once admitted, we should hold, with Nestorius, that Christ was a mere human person, distinct from the Person of the Word, who, being God, equal to the Father, had no necessity of begging the Father to grant him power to work miracles, since he had all power himself. This error springs from the former capital ones we have refuted that is, that Christ is not the Word, but is that Son of God existing only in his imagination, his Son merely in name, made in time by God, subsisting in three Persons, and, also, that in Christ it was not the Word that operated, but his Humanity alone : ” Sola humanitas obedivit, sola passa est,” &c.
42. He was just as much astray in this proposition, that Christ wrought miracles merely by prayer and supplication, as he was in his previous statements. St. Thomas, the prince of theologians, teaches, ” that Christ wrought miracles by his own power, and not by prayer, as others did” (1). And St. Cyril says, that he proved, by the very miracles he wrought, that he was the true Son of God, since he performed them not by the power of another, but by his own : ” Non accipiebat alienam virtutem.” Only once, says St. Thomas (2), did he show that he obtained from his Father the power to work miracles; that was in the resurrection of Lazarus, when imploring the power of his Father, he said : ” I know that thou nearest me always, but because of the people who stand about have I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me” (John, xi, 42). But, as the holy Doctor remarks, he did this for our instruction, to show us that in our necessities we should have recourse to God, as he had. St. Ambrose, then, tells us not to imagine, from this fact of Lazarus, that our Saviour prayed to his Father for power to perform the miracle, as if he had not power to work it himself; that prayer, he says, was intended for our instruction : ” Noli insidiatrices aperire aures, ut putcs Filium Dei quasi infirmum rogare, ut impetret quod implere non posit…… ad præcepta virtutis suæ nos informat exemplo” (3). St. Hilary says just the same; but he also assigns another reason : Christ, he says, did not require to pray, but he did so to make us believe that he was in reality the Son of God : ” Non prece eguit, pro nobis oravit, ne Filius ignoraretur” (4).
43. St. Ambrose (5) remarks, that when Jesus Christ wished, he did not pray, but commanded, and all creatures obeyed the sea, the winds, and diseases. He commanded the sea to be at rest, and it obeyed : “Peace, be still” (Mark, iv, 39). He commanded that disease should leave the sick, and they were made whole : ” Virtue went out from him, and healed all” (Luke, vi, 19). He himself tells us that he could do, and did, every thing equal to his Divine Father : ” For whatsoever things he (the Father) doth, these the Son also doth in like manner For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and giveth life, so the Son also giveth life to whom he will” (John, v, 19, 21).
(1) St. Thom. 3, p. q. 44, art. 4. (2) Idem, ibid, qu. 21, art. 1, ad 1. (3) St. Ambros. in Luc. (4) St. Hilar. l. 10, de Trinit. (5) St. Ambros. l. 3, de Fide, c. 4.
St. Thomas says (6), that the miracles alone which Christ wrought were sufficient to make manifest the Divine power which he possessed : ” Ex hoc ostendebatur, quod haberet virtutem coæqualem Deo Patri.” This was what our Lord said to the Jews when they were about to stone him : ” Many good works have I showed from my Father; for which of those works do you stone me ? The Jews answered him : For a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy, and because that thou, being a man, maketh thyself God. Jesus answered them : You say : Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God ? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not; but if I do, though you will not believe me, believe the works,” &c (John, x, 32, &c.) We have said enough on this subject.