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St. John ii. 11. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth His glory ; and His disciples believed on Him. The glory of the Incarnate Word had abeady been set forth in mysteries above the order of nature; an angel had announced to Mary her conception of that loly thing which was to be called the Son of God. The birth was beyond the birth of men, from the ^omb of a pure virgin. An angel told the glad news of a Saviour's birth to the shepherds, as they kept their watch by night, and a company of the heavenly liost hymned the praise of that bright Morning Star as He rose on earth to be the '' Sun of Righteousness with healing on His wings.'' A star led the ^Eastern sages to His cottage home; an angel guided His infant flight into Egypt; an utterance from teaven pronounced Him to be the Beloved Son of God; and the Spirit of His Father took outward
68 SERMO IX. form and rested dovelike on His head. Then followed the Tempter^s bold assault ; when alone in the desert^ after forty days and forty nights of utter fastings the Son of Man met the Old Serpent face to hee; and they two wrestled together like mighty giants contending for the mastery, one in fierce onslaught of spite, and malice, and cunning envy, the other vs^ calm self-possession, strong in truth and holiness, til^ man in Christ prevailed, and tore the chaplet o*
victory from the brow of Satan. All this and muct^ more than this was wonderfiil beyond mere earthl^^ wonders ; but still it was not so that the Lord Jesu^^ in His own person inaugurated His public ministry-.^ Before He commenced that He confirmed His mission by miracles. He shewed His credentials from heaven, for the heavenly work which He was to do on earth. And therefore it is said of His first miracle, that He thereby manifested forth His glory, and, as a consequence of that manifestation. His disciples believed on Him. They had believed enough to become His disciples; they believed more, to see that He was more than they at first believed. He manifested forth His glory. Moses commenced the exercise of His call, as the Jewish lawgiver, by performing miracles. But Moses is never said to have manifested forth his glory. There is a vast difference in this respect between Christ and Moses — the Son and the servant. God manifested His glory
3EBM0 IX. 59 through Moses^ Christ manifested His own glofjr 9b the Word Incarnate, by miracles. Some there are who deny miracles altogether, as implying an imperfection in God^s original dispensations, or as being easily brought under some law of nature, not hitherto noticed as such, or as unworthy of the acceptance of reasonable beings like men. All which objections, as others like them, I conceive to be utterly groundless, and will only say that if we g^rant a revelation at all, a revelation without a miracle would be wonderful beyond all miracles ; for by no conceivable way, as far as man's experience stretches, could it commend itself to the free judgment of mankind.
The Lord Jesus, the maker of men, and knowing ^what is in man, when He set forth on His solemn Gospel-work, manifested Himself as the appointed Teacher, come from God, by miracles. And the first ^which He performed was that of turning water into wine at the marriage-feast of some humble friend or earthly relative at Cana in Galilee. It may here be remarked that this miracle is not capable of being resolved into some natural, though uncommon, phenomenon. o animal magnetism, no mere mesmeric power, can here avail the sceptic. He must accept it, or deny it, and with it deny the Gospel. This is one of those works which none other man has ever done before or since. Call it what you will, and think of
60 SERMO IX. it how you like, it still remains on record thattherein the Lord Jesus manifested forth His glory, and EU disciples believed on Him. His glory y what was that? o earthly gloiy,. O my brethren ; no mere human powers, but that heavenly glory of the Only-begotten of the Father, which had been veiled in the flesh of man; that heavenly glory which had shone in the pillar of * cloud upon the wandering Israelites; that heavenlj glory which had dwelt in the secret tabernacle of th* Most High, and in the holiest of holy places whiJ^ the temple of Solomon stood; that heavenly glor^ which is incommunicable to man, which is God's alone ^ that glory which Christ had with the Father befor^ the world was; that glory which did, as St. JohD^ tells us, pitch its tent in human nature, hiding the ^ full splendours of its brightness, that mortal men might gaze upon its softened light and wonder and worship, when its beams broke now and then from
out the veil. This is that glory which the Lord Jesus manifested. Thus it was that He half concealed and half revealed Himself, leading on His simplehearted, honest followers through respect to honour, through honour to admiration, through admiration to faith, through faith to hope, through hope to love, and through all to worship. He manifested forth His glory. This is His Epiphany to His early followers. He shewed them of His hidden powers ;
SERMO IX. 61 His more than human authority; His Godlike wisdom ; His claim upon their trust; His right to their obedience; His title to their service and duty. He manifestedforth His glory ; He shewed them a glimpse of His divine nature ; He did what God alone could do. Without the instrumentality of means^ without chemical apparatus^ without time or trouble, in a xnoment, by His will. He changed the water into wine. There was no collusion, no deceit about it. Me was poor, and His friends were poor : and the ruler of the feast imderstood hot how it came about. It was no poor substitute, it was better than the wine that had been given ; it was no niggard gift, just to
le tasted and not judged of, for there was a gre^t plenty. The water as it stood in the pitchers turned to the juice of grapes. God was made manifest in man, and sanctified by His blessing the marriage feast. The Man of sorrows entered into the joy of those that were rejoicing, and His disciples believed mi Sim. As I said before, they had believed somewhat, now they believed more. Thus it ever is that the Lord Jesus leads on His followers ^<w» faith to faith. He does, as it were, say to them, when He is taking them by the hand for their instruction in the gospel of peace, ^' Come and see where I dwell, be with Me awhile in quiet and alone.'" Then after a time, He says, '^ Follow Me where I walk, take the same line of living, look to My pattern, do as I do.'* By and bye
62 SEBMO IX. He bids them come with Him and see the marvellous working of His divine power, till their belief in Him is strengthened and confirmed, and they own Him for their Lord and their God. His disciples believed on Him not all at once, and to
the full extent. There is for men a growth of firith and a growth of holiness. Do not think that becaofle you have been sealed to the discipleship of Christ afc baptism, you are therefore perfect Christians, and have no need of further advances in religion or increases of grace. There is need of continual renewing. This life is, to every one, a time of discipline, of trial, o^ education. I do not here mean after the world * fashion, where men add art to art and science ^^ science, ever learning but never coming to the kno^^ ledge of the truth as it is in Jesus, but I mea^ spiritual education, trial, discipline. All good anC^ wise men have always found it so. There are at times^ for the meekest of penitents and the best of saints, misgivings to be set at rest, doubtings to be quelled, desires to be checked, fears to be overborne by faith. The learning of a highly cultivated age is full of stumbling-blocks; the discoveries of the laws of nature turn the unstable heart earthward rather than heavenward. The simple belief of a child is easier, and may be nobler, than the learned creed <rf a scientific man. The one is free from many trials and temptations, he sees God at hand and near, in every-
SEBMO IX* 63
thing, while the knowledge of the other up, and sets God afar off behind a long series of second causes, till the vision of the Son of Man, God manife%t in the flesh, is dimmed in the great distance, or haply lost through unbelief at last. His disciples believed on Him. May the Spirit of Christ prevail against unbelief in the hearts of all around us ! May the Lord our Saviour manifest forth His glory in this parish and in this neighbourhood.
May it be seen and acknowledged that God is our Redeemer, that His grace has brought us out of the bondage of our sins, that His light has driven the dark shadow of ignorance and impiety from our dwelling places ! The world, indeed, may give us pleasures, many of which may be innocent, but the presence of Christ alone can make them holy pleasures. Too often, alas I the world gives us false pleasures, empty, vain, and, as it were, insufficient as water for the satisfying of the soul. It is Christ alone who can turn the water into wine, and make all things work together for good to them that love God. It is but lost labour, O children of this world, that ye hafite to rise up early and so late take rest. It is but lost labour that from month to month you pursue pleasure as the child follows the butterfly, enticed by its bright colours and mocked by its uncertain flight. It is but lost labour that you pour into your thirsty
64 SERMO IX. hearts the dreams and fancies of the fleshly mind He that drinketh of such waters shall surely thirst again^ and the fainting spirit will at last cry oat^ '^Give me something better; I am weary of Tain babblings and old wives' fables^ I need a truer and a more than earthly sustenance/' There are some^ I doubt not, who have had this cry within them, and there may be others who have yet to hear it. To both, according to their need, the voice of Christ goes forth, IIo, every one that thmteth^ come, buy wine o/»A milk without money and without price I To every ot^* is the gracious message given, I will befotmd ofthe^ that seek Me. Invite the Lord Jesus to your heartl^ *» ask Him to the feast of joy, to the house of mourning'^ '
ask Him to the cottage of the poor, and the halls <^^ the wealthy. There He wiU come and turn water ^^^ into wine; there He will come and manifest fortk^:^^ His glory. You shall see that He is your God, an^^^ yet your Saviour. You shall feel that He is your^^=^ fellow man, and yet your King Almighty. You will ^^ have in your hearts that hynm of prayer, — "When other helpers fail and comforts flee. Help of the helpless, Lord abide with me.''
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