15. As to miracles, properly speaking, nothing being impossible with God, he can perform them without doubt. Has he done it? Does he ever act contrary to the laws which he has established? It does not belong to man to prejudge the acts of divinity, and to subordinate them to the feebleness of his understanding. However, we have for criterion of our judgment, in regard to divine things, the attributes even of God. To sovereign power he joins sovereign wisdom, whence it is necessary to conclude that he does nothing uselessly.
Why then should he perform miracles? In order to attest his power, it is said. But the power of God, is it not manifested in a much more striking manner by the magnificent whole of the works of creation, by the foreseeing wisdom which presides in the smallest as well as the largest of his works, and by the harmony of the laws which rule the universe, than by a few little and puerile modification which all tricksters know how to imitate? What would we think of a learned mechanic who, in order to prove his skill, should disarrange the clock which he had constructed, a masterpiece of scientific skill, in order to prove that he can deface that which he has made? On the contrary, is his knowledge not displayed by the regularity and precision of its movements?
The question of miracles, then, is not, properly speaking, in the province of Spiritism; but, sustaining itself by the reasoning that God makes nothing uselessly, this idea can be educed: that, miracles not being necessary to the glorification of God, nothing in the universe is diverted from the general laws. God does not perform miracles; since his laws are perfect, he has no need to derogate them. If there are some facts which we do not understand, it is because we have not the necessary knowledge to comprehend them.
16. The admission that God may be able, for reasons which we cannot appreciate, derogate the laws which he has established, would make these laws no more immutable; but at least it is rational to think that God alone possesses this power. One could not admit, without denying totally that he is omnipotent, that it is allowed to the spirit of evil to eclipse the work of God by performing mighty works which may deceive even the very elect. This would imply the possession of a power equal to his own. That is a doctrine, however, which is or has been taught. If Satan has the power to interrupt the course of natural laws, whose work is the divine one? If Satan does it without the divine permission, he is more powerful than God. Moreover, God is not omnipotent if he delegates to him this power, as they pretend he does, in order to induce men more easily to commit wrong; and this theory denies sovereign goodness. In both cases it is a denial of one of the attributes of the Creator, without which he could not be God.
As to the Church, how does it distinguish the good miracles which come from God from evil ones which emanate from Satan? How can one draw the line between them? Let a miracle be official or not, it is not at least a derogation of the laws which emanate from God alone. If an individual is cured, as is said, miraculously, let it be by God or Satan, he is no less cured. It is necessary to have a very poor idea of human intelligence in order to expect that such doctrines can be accepted in our day.
The possibility of certain reputed miraculous facts being recognized, it is just to conclude, that, notwithstanding they are from the source which is attributed to them, they are natural effects which spirits or incarnated beings can employ, like all things, as their own intelligence or scientific knowledge allows them, for good or evil, according to their goodness or perversity. A perverted being can then do things which pass for prodigies to the eyes of the ignorant, by putting to profit his knowledge; but, when effects are good, it would be illogical to attribute to them a diabolical origin.
17. But it has been thought that religion leans upon facts which never have and never can be explained. Perhaps they never have been; but that they never can be, is another question. Does anyone know what knowledge and discoveries may be ours in the future, without alluding to the miracle of creation, the grandest of all beyond dispute, and which is now acknowledged to be within the domain of universal law? Can we not see already, under the empire of Spiritism, magnetism, somnambulism, the ecstasies, visions, apparitions, clairvoyance, instantaneous cures, trances, oral and other communications with beings of the invisible world, phenomena known from time immemorial, considered formerly as miraculous, now being demonstrated as belonging to the natural order of things in harmony with the universal laws of being? Sacred books are full of accounts of these things, which are qualified as supernatural; but, as analogous facts are found in all religious works of antiquity, some of which are more marvelous than any biblical accounts, if the truth of a religion depended upon the number and nature of these facts, Christianity could at once be swept away by Paganism.