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He, that made the Glory of God and the Good of Souls his aim, was obliged to set out warily, and stop, as much as might be, the Mouth of Prejudice and Cavil. And nothing could go farther toward fixing him a general Reputation, than Modesty. To put himself forward of his own accord, or to yield to a Mother's first Motions, might look like an Eagerness to catch at Admiration and Applause, to fall in with an intemperate Zeal for advancing his own Honour, and a fhewing what he could do, rather than discerning what was fit to do. And therefore in this the Humility and Wisdom of the Blessed Jesus appeared, that he tempered his Goodness with Discretion, drew back upon the Instance of his dearest Relation, and stood upon the Reserve, for a more convenient Opportunity.
2. For answer that Request he did afterwards, and that with very good reason too. Some, from the Pro
priety of the Greek Expression, have sup'Psichorro og obro, V. 3.
posed his Mother to speak, before the
Wine was out, and when it grew so low, that she plainly saw there would not be enough. Now the Custom of our Saviour's Miracles is, to come in to Mens Succour, when human Helps are either past and ineffectual, or not to be had at all. The necessity therefore of that supernatural Supply intended them, was fit to be felt and manifeft; in order to recommend the Benefit it self, and to give the manner of their attaining it, a power of making the deeper Impression upon their Minds.
Nor is it unreasonable to imagine, that Affection, and Respect, and an Inclination to repair the Concern of a lately reproved Mother, might work upon the Sweetness of his Temper. Less so still, to say, that the Vindication of his own Honour demanded this Miracle from him. For, when the Servants had been charged with Obedience to his Directions, Mat73 ters were gone too far to retreat, without incurring the Reproach of Weakness, and disappointing the Expectations, that had been raised of him. This Reason futes very well with that of his declining it before. For, having guarded against all Imputation of Forwardness and Vain-glory, it was then pru- . dent to justifie his Power. The failing in which might have proved of as ill Consequence, as the attempting it sooner, without a pressing Necessity. In this we can only offer a probable Account. The Next thing furnishes surer Grounds to go upon,
2. The prudent manner of working this Miracle, apparent in the Care our Lord took, so to order all the Circumstances of it, that there could remain no doubt, concerning the Reality of so wonderful a Change.
And this appears, First, from the Persons chosen to affift in it. For, though the same Almighty Power, which every Year turns Water into Wine, by the impregnating Warmth of the Sun, concocting the Juices of the Earth, and the Sap of the Trees that produce it, could have done so by this, in a moment of time, without any Helper: Though he could with the same ease have created Wine out of nothing, and filled the empty Veffels with a Word of his Mouth ; Yet was he pleased to use the Ministry of Others, the Servants of the House, and such as could not be thought in any Confederacy with him. These poured the Water in with their own Hands; These therefore were so many unexceptionable Witneffes, that what themselves knew to be common Water, was quickly after, by the same Hands, drawn out generous Wine.
2. The same prudent care appears, Secondly, in the Vessels singled out for that purpose. Which, the Sixth Verse tells us, were Six Water-pots of Stone, after the
Sacr. tom. 9.
manner of purifying the Jews. A Remark of great Chrys. in Joh.
Weight and Significance, in this Affair.
For the Jews, being commanded frequent Jansen Conc.
Washings, to take off those Legal PolEv. cap. 18.
lutions, which there was no avoiding in Harm. cap. 22•
their daily Conversation ; and they bede Hydr. Critic. ing nice in these Washings, even to a
Superstition ; Every Man took care to provide himself with large Vessels, that he might never want Water at home, for any the niost sudden Emergency. Now this being designed for a Holy Use, it was reckoned a Sin and heinous Profanation, to put any thing but Water, into those Vessels. So that here was no room for suspecting any thing of Wine, in those Pots of Stone before. 3. It appeared, Thirdly, in ordering those Servants
to bear to the Governor of the Feast. For
such a one it was the Custom of those Countries to have. A Person of Sobriety and Gravity, whose business it was, to see the Entertainment managed by his Directions; and to keep all, even the Guests themselves, within the Rules of Decency. His Judgment and Palate therefore is referred to, as more accurate, and less vitiated. These Circumstances all conspired to advance the Credit of the Miracle. And they are all agreeable with the general Method of our Lord; who does not, upon these occasions, aim at Pomp and Shew, but Proof and Attestation ; and labours not to astonislı Men, except in order to persuading and convincing them. Thus he did, and thus it became him to do, who honoured not himself, but the Father that sent hiin; and fought not his own Praise, but the Good and Salvation of those, to whom he was sent.
4. Once more. I observe the Excel
lence of this Miracle, from the Quantide Hydr. Capaty, and the Goodness, of the Wine. Qf
See Matth. Hoft.
cit, tom. 9.
So that, you
Psal. cxlv. 16.
the Former the Sixth Verse, of the Latter the Ninth and Tenth give us a particular account. fee, As all other Considerations concur to recommend this Wonder ; the Plenty, the Perfection of it, and the Bounty of the Worker, do so likewise. Even of that God, whose Power is never stinted ; at whose Disposal all Creatures are, and who, with the but opening of bis Hand, satisfies the desire of every living thing.
III. The Efficacy of this Miracle comes, in the Last place, to be considered. Of which S. John says, that in this beginning of Miracles Jefus manifested forih bis glory, and his Disciples.believed on him. The importance whereof may probably be best understood, by taking notice of a particular Signification, put by the Jews upon the Word Glory. Whereby they intended the visible Marks of God's special Presence with, and Residence among them, in the Tabernacle first, and afterwards the Temple. Hence their Ark is called the Ark of the Testimony, the Dwelling or Tabernacle of God. And when that Ark fell into the Enemies hand, the name of a Child designed to intimate so fad a Calamity, is I-chabod: The Glory is not : because, says the Text, the Ark of God was taken. Hence David begging to be restored to the place of publick Worship, the Temple at Jerusalem, expresses that Happiness, by seeing God's Glory; and St. Paul fays, that over the Tables of the Covenant were the Cherubims of Glory Shadowing the Mercy-feat.
But the fame Apofle calls all those things a Figure, and a Shadow of Christ. Whose Incarnation S. John is therefore thought to describe with a peculiar Elegance, when saying, that the Word was made Flesh, and set up bis Tabernacle among us, resided in our Nature, and John i. 14,
1 Sam. iv. 21.
Pfal. Ixiii. 2.
Hebr. ix. 40
'Εσκήνωσεν α suiv.
Then he goes
made a humane Body his Veil ; In all which Phrases there is a Correspondence, and Allusion to that Veil in the Temple, which separated the visible Tokens of God's Presence from common Sight. on, And we bebeld bis Glory, a Divine Presence, not like that under the Law, of Rigor and figurative Importance, but such as brought Grace instead of Severity, and Truth instead of Shadows. The word Glory then, applied to Christ, denotes the same God to have exhibited himself to us in this Person, who formerly exhibited himself to the Jews in their Temple.' And, by manifesting forth this Glory, we are to understand, that Christ did something, which plainly proved his Power to be Divine; and argued the actual Presence of God with, and in, his humane Body.
And, Who indeed less than God could have the Creatures of this lower World so absolutely at his Disposal, as to make them start from their fix'd Laws of Being, and change their Natures and Qualities in an instant? He only could repeal these Laws, who made them. He only could alter their Forms, who at first appointed them. And when this was done, without invoking the Aid of any Higher Power, it was an evidence of no Higher Power to have recourse to. It Thewed the Authority, by which he did it, to be supreme, as well as the Creatures such Authority was exercised upon, to be entirely his own.
I only add a few Practical Reflections, and will be brief in each of thenı.
1. The First. our Church hath drawn for me, in one of her excellent Offices; It is the Honour due to a Married State. Had this been unbecoming the Purity of his most sanctified Disciples, would our most Holy Master, think you, have graced such a Solemnity with his own Presence? Would that Pattern, that Fountain of all Purity, have chosen a polluted Ordinance, for the Occasion of his first Miracle,