18. To pretend that the supernatural is the necessary foundation of all religion, that it is the key to the whole arch of the Christian edifice, is to sustain a dangerous thesis. If one makes the truth of Christianity rest solely upon the base of miracle, he gives it but a fragile support, from which stones are detached every day. This belief, of which some eminent theologians are defenders, conducts rightly to the conclusion that, in a given time, no religion will be possible, not even the Christian religion, if that which is regarded as supernatural be demonstrated as natural; for so many arguments will be heaped against it that no one will be able to maintain the miraculous character of any fact after its naturalness has been proved. Now, the proof that a fact is no exception to natural laws is, that it can be explained by these laws, and that, being able to be reproduced by the intermediation of any individual whatever, it ceases to be the exclusive property of saints. It is not the supernatural which is essential to religion, but the spiritual principle which has been so mischievously confounded with the marvelous, and without which religion is impossible.
Spiritism considers the Christian religion at a more elevated point; it gives to it a more solid base than miracles, that is, the immutable laws of God, which rule the spiritual equally with the material principle. This base bids defiance to time and science alike; for time and science will at length sanction it.
God is no less worthy of our admiration, gratitude, or respect, because he does not derogate his laws, grand beyond all else in their immutability. He needs not the supernatural as an element in his worship. Nature is sufficiently imposing of itself, without any additions, to prove the existence of the Supreme Power. Religion will find each time less incredulous ones, the more reason sanctions it. Christianity can lose nothing by this sanction: it, on the contrary, gains by it. If anything has destroyed it, in the opinion of certain people, it is the abuse of the marvelous or supernatural.
19. If we take the word “miracle” in its correct etymological sense, — in the sense simply of a wonder, — we behold incessant miracles before our very eyes. We breathe them in the air; they crowd upon our steps: for all nature is a wonder.
Can one give to the people, to the ignorant, to the weak-minded, an idea of God’s power, without showing them infinite wisdom presiding in all things? — In the admirable organisms of all that live, in the fructification of plants, in the appropriation of every part of every being to its needs, according to the place of its abode. It is necessary to make them behold the divine action in producing a blade of grass, in the expanding flower. We must show them his goodness in the sun which vivifies all things, his goodness in his solicitude for all creatures however small or feeble they may be, his foresight, in the reason of existence of everything, none of them useless, his wisdom in the good which proceeds from momentary and apparent evil. Make them comprehend that evil is really man’s own work, and that God has made everything good. Seek then, not to frighten them with pictures of endless flame, causing them to doubt the goodness of God; encourage them with the certainty of their ability to repair all the wrong they have done; show them the discoveries of science as revelations of divine law, and not as the work of Satan; finally, teach them to read the book of nature, incessantly open before them as an inexhaustible volume, wherein the wisdom and goodness of the Creator are inscribed on every page. Then they will comprehend that a Being so great, occupying himself with all, watching over all, foreseeing all, must be sovereignty powerful. The laborer will behold him while he ploughs a furrow, and the unfortunate will bless him in affliction, for he will know that unhappiness is his own fault. Then will man be truly religious, rationally so, which is far better than to encourage faith in stories of images which sweat blood, in statues which wink their eyes and shed tears.