« PreviousContinue »
man, by being sincere and pious in all our words and actions; then shall we meet with the <pprobation of God;-conscious rectitude will give peace to our minds; and heaven will be our reward !
It is to be remarked, that nothing farther was re. quired of these first disciples of our LORD, than a belief that he was the Messial, the Son of GOD; and a humble and teachable disposition.
TOUR LORD'S FIRST MIRACLES.
From John, Chap. ii.
And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the rother of Jesus said unto him, They have no wine.
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to da with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother with unto the servants, Whatsover he saith unto you, do it.
And there were set there six water pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, contain: ing two or three firkins apiece.
Jesus saith unto them, Fill the water pots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.
Ard he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.
When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was (but the servants which drew the water knew), the governor of the feast called the bridegrooin, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning
doth set forth good wine ; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept ihe good wine until now,
This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manitested forth his glory: and his disci. ples believed on him.
After this, Jesus went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples, and they continued there not many days.
And the Jews passover was at hand, and Jesus went op to Jerusalem. Now, when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, on the feast day, many believed in his Daime, when they saw the miracles which he did.
But Jusv. did not coinmnit himself unto them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify
man; for he knew what was in man.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
1: is supposed that Mary was related to the persone whose, marriage our blessed Lord honoured with his presence, and that it was on this account he and his dise' ciples were invited. There is reason to think that the bridegroom was not in very affluent circumstances, by the small quantity of wine he provided ; and Mary seems by her solicitude to procure a supply, to have, been concerned in the management of the feast. The answer which Jesus made, when she intimated a desire that he would work a miracle for this purpose, though intended to reprove her for dictating to him in a matter wherein he was to act by divine power, was neither severe nor undutiful: for it was the custom of those times, for the best-bred people to address ladies of the first distinction in that manner. Our SAVIOUR, by re
proving his mother, might also have a view to the idolatrous honours which would afterwards be paid to her by some mistaken Christians. His thus forbidding her to interfere in those matters whi' ed to his divine nature, proves that Mary, though a very good woman, was never designed by God as a mediatrix or: intercessor for mankind; and the meekness with which she received his reproof, evinces that she was conscious she had been guilty of an impropriety, and had no right to assume authority over Jesus, when he was acting as the Son of God: to call her the Mother of God and the Queen of Heaven, is blasphemy.
Mary did not regard this rebuke as a denial; for it is plain, from the'directions she gave to the servants, that she still expected a miracle would be wrought. Our Lord, on this occasion, gave an endearing instance of his social and obliging temper, and taught his followers not to censure others for innocent liberties, at proper seasons of festivity. He likewise reflected great honour on the marriage state, by choosing this occasion for the first public manifestation of his divine power of working miracles.
What was the size of those water-jars is uncertain; but it is supposed each held four gallons and a half, amounting in the whole to fifty-four gallons : this, when converted into wine, was a liberal supply; and its flavour was so uncommonly good, that the governor of the feast (supposed to have been either the principal guest, or a priest or Levite) wondered that the bride. groom had not produced it at first, according to the usual custom; that those who observed the rules of temperance, and would not continue drinking till they lost their taste and discernment, might be honoured with the best.
The wine was not given, as we may reasonably subpose, to be all drank at this festival, but as a gift to the new-married couple for future occasions. Had not the
guests in general behaved with sobriety, we may be ' sure this miracle would not have been wreught, because
Christ would have brought disgrace upon himself as a Divine Teacher, had he exerted miraculous power in order to minister to riot and intemperance. - In performing this miracle our Lord made use of no outward action.
It does not appear that he touched the water ; yet it is plain that he knew the
instant in which the alteration took place. Now the changing of the nature of any thing is equal to the act of crea. tion, and could not be performed by any power but that of the SUPREME BEING. As MAN, therefore, CHRisT could not have wrought any miracle himself, but would, on such occasions as these, have said, as Moses and the Prophets did, when the LORD revealed to them that he would alter the course of nature, ** Thus saith the Lord," " The Lord will do so and so,;"> but our SAVIOUR, as we find, professed to have the power of God in himself, and acted with authority, as the Image of God upon earth.
The Evangelist points out the design and intent of our Saviour's miracles, namely, to prove that he was the Son of God, and to confirm the faith of his disciples on rational grounds.
Capernaum, to which Jesus went, attended by his mother, his near relations, and his disciples, those who followed him to learn his doctrine, lay near the north part of the sea of Galilee. Here, as we find, they con. tinued but a few days. "The reason of their leaving it so soon was, that our Lord, who observed a religious regard to the ceremonial as well as the moral Law of
Moses, résolved to go up to Jerusalem to worship; for it was commanded, that all the men of the Jewish nafion should appear before the LORD three times a year*.
We are told, that Jesus wrought miracles at Jerusa. lem; but the particulars of them are not transmitted to us, only we understand, that they were received as proofs of his divine mission; some, perhaps, esteeming him as a Prophet, others as the MESSIAH: but JESUS knowing their hearts, that some would prove treacherous, others fearful, and that those who looked for a temporal prince, might raise a tumult and distulb the state, resolved not to trust in them. Our SAVIOUR, on this 'occasion, gave a proof that he was of quick discern. ment, and possessed of the spirit of understanding and knowledge, since without these he could not have thas penetrated into the minds of men.
"As we cannot, like our blessed LORD, discover what is in man, let us, in our intercourse with the world, act with prudent caution, studying to observe a happy medium between that universal suspicion which some persons entertain of all mankind, to the exclusion of friendship; and that undistinguishing eagerness and
*It is related by St. John, that our Saviour cleansed the Temple at the first Passover he attended, after his entrance on his ministry; but as the circumstances of this passage exact y agree with what is related as happening at the last Passover before his death, I thought
best to omit saying any thing on the subject here, and confess myself at a loss to decide whether our LORD cleansed the Temple twice or not. This matter has been fully argued by controversial writers; but works of this nature are too apt to unsettle the minds of ordinary eaders, and to create doubts instead of satisfying them.
See Sect. xviii.