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We need not wonder to find the Lord of life at that festival; for he came to sanctify all life—its times of joy, as its times of sorrow; and all experience tells us, that it is times of gladness, such as this was now, which especially need such a sanctifying power, such a presence of the Lord. In times of sorrow, the sense of God's presence comes more naturally out: in these it is in danger to be forgotten. He was there, and by his presence there struck the key-note to the whole future tenor of his ministry. He should not be as another Baptist, to withdraw himself from the common paths of men, a preacher in the wilderness : but his should be at once an harder and an higher task, to mingle with and purify the common life of men, to witness for and bring out the glory which was hidden in its every relation*. And it is
which Jesus did, forsook the bride and followed him, The author of the Prologue to St. John, attributed to St. Jerome, relates: Joannem nubere volentem à nuptiis per Dominum fuisse vocatum, though without more close allusion to this miracle. The Mahometans have received this tradition that John was the bridegroom from the Christians. (See D'HERBELOT's Biblioth. Orient., s. v. Johanna.) Nicephorus tells the story with this variation, that it was not St. John, but Simon the Cananite, who on this hint followed Jesus; but the Krvavitys attached to his name, (Matt. x, 4,) and which is probably the only foundation for this assumption, does not mean, of Cana, but rather is of the same significance as Zn.wtiis, the title which elsewhere (Luke vi. 15; Acts i. 13,) is given him. He had belonged to these zealots till his zeal for freedom, which hitherto had shewn itself in those stormy and passionate outbreaks of the natural man, found its satisfaction in him who came to make free indeed. Yet see what Mr. Greswell says, (Dissert., v. 2, p. 128, seq.,) against taking Zylwtiis = Kavavitns.
* Augustine, or another under his name (Serm. 92, Appendix): Nec dedignatus est conversationem hominum, qui usum carnis exceperat. Nec secularia instituta contempsit, qui ad hæc venerat corrigenda. Interfuit nuptiis, ut concordiæ jura firmaret. Tertullian, in his reckless method of snatching at any argument, finds rather a slighting of marriage than an honouring it in the fact that Christ, who was present at so many festivals, was yet present only at one marriage. Or this at least he will find, that since Christ was present but at one marriage, therefore monogamy is the absolute law of the new covenant. His words are strong (De Monogamiâ, c. 9): Ille vorator et potator homo, prandiorum et cænarum cum publicanis frequentator, semel apud unas nuptias cænat, multis utique nubentibus. Totiens enim voluit celebrare eas, quotiens et esse, T.M.
not, perhaps without its significance, that this should have been especially a marriage, which he “ adorned and beautified with his presence and first miracle that he wrought.” He foresaw that some hereafter should arise in his Church who would despise marriage, or if not despise, yet fail to give the Christian family all its honour*. They should find no countenance from him f.
The presence at that feast of himself and his disciples, who were just arrived from a journey, and whose presence might therefore have been in some degree unlooked for, may have increased beyond previous calculation the number of the guests: and so the provision made for their entertainment may have proved insufficient. We gather from ver. 5, where the mother of the Lord gives commandment to the servants,
• EPIPHANIUS, Hæres., 67. Augustine (In Ev. Joh., Tract. 19): Quod Dominus invitatus venerit ad nuptias, etiam exceptâ mysticâ significatione, confirmare voluit quod ipse fecit.
How precious a witness have we here in the conduct of our Lord against the tendency which our indolence ever favours, of giving up to the world, or still worse, to the devil, any portion or passage of man's life, which, in itself innocent, is capable of being drawn up into the higher world of holiness, as it is in danger of sinking down and coming under the law of the flesh and of the world! How remarkable a contrast does Christ's presence at this wedding feast with his mother and his disciples offer to the manner in which a man even of St. Cyprian's practical strength and energy, gives up these very marriage festivals as occasions where, from the still surviving heathenism of manners, purity must suffer—where the flesh must have its way; so that his counsel is, not to dispute them with the world, not to vindicate them anew for holiness and for God, but only to give them up, and to avoid them altogether (De Hab. Virg., c. 3): Et quoniam continentiæ bonum quærimus perniciosa quæque et infesta vitemus. Nec illa prætereo quæ dum negligentiâ in usum veniunt, contra pudicos et sobrios mores licentiam sibi de usurpa. tione fecerunt. Quasdam non pudet nubentibus interesse. And presently, after describing the disorders of such seasons, he adds, c. 4: Nuptiarum festa improba et convivia lasciva vitentur, quorum periculosa contagio est. Compare the picture which Chrysostom gives of marriage festivals in his time, (v. 3, p. 195, Ben. Ed.)-melancholy witnesses, yet not, as some would have us believe, of a Church which had fallen back into heathen defilements, but of one which had not as yet leavened an essentially heather, though nominally Christian, society, through and through with its own life and power.
that she was in an house where it was not unseemly for her to mingle, and in some sort to interfere, with the domestic arrangements. It is very possible she may have been akin to one of the parties *. “When they wanted wine," she was evidently distressed at their embarrassment, and would willingly have removed it. Yet what exactly she should have expected from her divine Son, when she betook herself to him saying, “They have no wine,” is hard to determine. We know that this was his first miracle, the “beginning of miracles,” (ver. 11,) so that she could not, from already having witnessed displays of his power and grace, have now been emboldened to look for more in the same kind. Some, indeed, as Maldonatus mentions, and with whom he is inclined to consent, do not take so absolutely the statement which is there made, but with this limitation understood ;-This was the first of his miracles in which he showed forth his glory; other such works he may have performed in the smaller circle of his family, and thus have prepared those who laid up such things in their hearts for something of the like kind now. But without evading in this way the plain meaning of the words of the Evangelist, we may well understand how she, who more than any other had kept and pondered in her heart all the tokens and prophetic intimations of the coming glory of her Son, may have believed that in him was a latent power equal to the present need, and which he could put forth at his will, however he had restrained it until nowf. Others assume that she had no definite purpose in thus speaking, but only that as she had ever found him a wise counsellor in the least as well as in greatest things, so she turned to him now 1. Bengel's explanation is curious, that
*. Lightfoot supposes that it was a marriage in the house of Mary, (John xix. 25,) wife of Cleophas. . For the arguments see his Harmony, in loc., and MR. GRESWELL’s Dissert., v. 2, p. 120.
So Theophylact, Euthymius, and Neander. (Leben Jesu, p. 370.)
So Cocceius : Verba nihil aliud portendunt quàm. Mariam tanquam · solicitam et parentem operuisse ipsi defectum vini, ex condolentiâ nimirum.
it was a suggestion to him that they should leave, and thus by their example break up the assembly before the embarrassment of their hosts should appear*.
The Romanist expositors have been very anxious to rid our Lord's answer, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?" of every shadow of rebuke or blame. Whole essays have been written with this single purpose. Now it is quite true that in the address “Woman” there is nothing of the kind — nothing of severity or rebuke, however it may have something of such a sound to an English ear. We find our blessed Lord, even at the moment when probably he was addressing to his mother the last words that he spake to her on earth, when commending her to the care of the beloved disciple, using the same language, “Woman, behold thy son.” (John xix. 26.) So far from any harshness, the compellation has something solemn in it, and always must have, where the dignity of woman is felt and recognized. But it is otherwise with the words following, “What have I to do with thee tau If we compare them with the same or similar expressions elsewhere, the meaning of them will come clearly out, and it is this, “Let me alone; what is there common to thee and me? we stand in this matter on altogether different grounds." All expositors of the early Church | have allowed, even by the
* Velim discedas, ut ceteri item discedant, antequam penuria patefiat, Calvin has a still more curious reason for this suggestion : Ut piâ aliquâ exhortatione convivis tædium eximeret, ac simul levaret pudorem sponsi.
t T =uoi sai goi; Cf. Judg. xi. 12;1 Kin. xvii. 18; 2 Kin. ii. 13, (LXX.,) where the same phrase is used; it is elliptic, and the word KOLVÒy may be supplied. Thus in the second of these passages, “ What is there in common to us twain, to me a sinful woman, and thee a man of God, that we should have thus come together to my harm?” And in the third, “What have we in common, I, a prophet of the true God, and thou, the son of that idolatrous king Ahab, that thou shouldst ask counsel of me?” Cf. Josh. xxii. 24; 2 Sam. xvi. 10 (LXX.); Matt. viï. 29; Mark i. 24; Luke viïi. 28. It is only out of an entire ignorance of the idiom that their explanation could have taken rise, who understand the words, " What is that to thee and me? What concerns it us twain that there is no wine?”
Two examples for many. Irenæus (Con. Hær., 1. 3, c. 16): Properante
less of reproof an admit that there ne reality. Christ
confession of the Romanists themselves, that there is more or less of reproof and repulse in these words ; and they themselves are obliged to admit that there is the appearance of such ; but at the same time they deny the reality. Christ so spake, they say*, to teach, not her, but us, that they were higher respects than those of flesh and blood, even the everlasting interests of God's kingdom, which moved him to the choosing the present moment for the first putting forth of his divine power. This is most true, that it was to teach this; but to teach it first to her, who from her wondrous position as the mother of the Lord, was in chiefest danger of forgetting itt. “She had not yet,” says Chrysostom, “that opinion of him which she ought, but because she bare him, counted that, after the manner of other mothers, she might in all things command him, whom it was more fitting for her to reverence and worship as her Lord.” ; Yet whatever amount of rebuke was intended, any harshness which the reply may have in the reading we cannot doubt was mitigated by the manner of its speaking, by the way, too, in which the Lord suffered a near compliance with her request to shine through the apparent refusal. For when
Mariâ ad admirabile vini signum, et ante tempus volente participare compendii poculo, Dominus repellens ejus intempestivam festinationem, dixit, Quid mihi et tibi est, mulier? nondum venit hora mea, expectans eam horam quæ est à Patre præcognita. He means by the compendii poculum, the cup of wine which should not be the result of the slower and ordinary processes of nature, but made per saltum, at a single intervention of divine power, therefore compendiously. Cf. 1. 3, c. 11, and Chrysostom (Hom. 21 in Joh.): 'Eloúleto . . . ?autiiv daut potépav monoal dia toll taldós, therefore was it that Christ opodpótepov drekpivato.
• Maldonatus: Simulavit se matrem reprehendere, cùm minimè reprehenderet, ut ostenderet se non humano, non sanguinis respectu, sed solâ caritate, et ut sese, quis sit, declaret, miraculum facere. St. Bernard had gone before him in this explanation: it was, he says, for our sakes Christ so answered, ut conversos ad Dominum jam non sollicitet carnalium cura parentum, et necessitudines illæ non impediant exercitium spirituale.
+ Hom. 21 in Joh. The true parallel to this passage, and that throwing most light on it, is Matt. xii. 46-50.