849. After this I heard a hostile murmur from the lower regions, and with it these words, "Work miracles and we will believe."
I answered, "Are not these things miracles?"
They replied, "They are not."
I asked, "What then, are miracles?"
They said, "Show and reveal future events, and we will have faith."
But I said, "Such things are not granted by the Lord, because so far as a man knows what is to come his reason and understanding, with his prudence and wisdom sink into inertness and become torpid and collapse."
Again I asked, "What other miracles shall I work."
Then arose the cry, "Such as Moses wrought in Egypt."
And I replied, "Perhaps you would harden your hearts thereat, like Pharaoh and the Egyptians."
The answer was "No."
Again I said, "Assure me that you will not dance about a golden calf and worship it, as the posterity of Jacob did a single month after they had seen all Mount Sinai burning, and had heard Jehovah Himself speaking out of the fire, thus after the greatest of all miracles. ("A golden calf" means in the spiritual sense the pleasures of the flesh.)
An answer came from the lower regions, "We will not be like the posterity of Jacob."
At that moment I heard it said to them from heaven, "If you believe not Moses and the Prophets, that is, the Word of the Lord, you will not believe on account of miracles, any more than the posterity of Jacob did in the desert, or any more than they believed when with their own eyes they saw the miracles wrought by the Lord Himself when He was in the world."