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S E R M. positions of Science faljly so called\ which some 1 professing have erred concerning the Faith1, i Tim. vi. 20, 21. Obey the command of God himself by the Prophet Jeremy, Stand ye in the Ways and fee, and ask for the old Paths, where is the good Way, and walk therein, and ye shall find Rest for your Souls, Jerem. vi. 16. Or as St. Jude subjoins to what I just now read to you from him, Te, Beloved, building up yourselves on their most holy Faith, praying in the Holy Ghost: Keep yourselves in the Love of God, looking for the Mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal Life. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the Presence of his Glory with exceeding Joy; To the only wife God, our Saviour, be Glory and Majesty, Dominion and Power, both now and ever, Æten. Jude 20, 21, 24, 25.
The Mystery os the Marriage in Cana explained.
JOHN ii. 11.
'^this Beginning of Miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee.
TH E first and principal End designed by S E R M. our Blessed Saviour in the Miracles ^1L that he wrought, the Words immediately following my Text declare to have been the Manifestation of his Glory, in order to persuade and induce his Disciples to believe on him. But besides the Design of Miracles in general, we must also suppose that there was a further End proposed by our Saviour in the Choice of the Miracles he was pleased to make use of, to shew his Power. They were all of them intended, we need not doubt, both mystically to imply some hidden Truth which our Lord had a mind to reveal to those that had the Gift of discerning the Spirit of 1 the
S E R M. me Gospel; and also morally to propose some • Rules and Instructions for the Conduct of our Lives, and some good Example of Benefi* cence and Charity to our Practice and Imitation. It is with a View to the first of thefe two last mentioned Ends that I propose to con* sider this Pasiage of Scripture; i, e. not to exhort you to a Belks in Jesus from a Consideration of the Evidence that is given of his Truth by the Miracle it relates, (for this perhaps will be excused by those whose Faith is. already sufficiently confirmed) but my Meaning is, to explain what the Miracle in the inward or mystical Sense of it seems intended to imply.
For, doubtless, there was some Reason, why our Lord would begin his Miracles at & Marriage Feast, and why at such a Feast by the especial Act of turning Water into Wine 1 And by this I presume our Saviour intended to intimate the Improvements, the Benefits and Advantages arising to his Church, by Virtue of his Marriage or Union with it. And that his Union with the Church is what he himself represents as a Marriage, is so evident to any one that knows the Holy Scriptures, that it would be wasting of Time to produce any Proof. It is upon this Account that Christ is so often in Scripture called the s E R M" Bridegroom, andtheCburchas often hkSpouse or Bride. When our Blessed Lord therefore works his first Miracle, at the Celebration of a Marriage, which we know he himself had appointed as a Type of his own Marriage or Espoufals with the Church $ may we not suppose that the particular Miracle he was pleased to work was designed to signify or represent that the State of the Church, from the Time of his Marriage or Espoufals with her, should be much better and more improved than it was before? So far is certain j that if we make Use of this as a Key to open and discover the inward and hidden Sense of the Miracle: we shall find the several Circumstances of which the Miracle consists harmoniously agree.
It is particularly remarked in the Beginning of the Whole, that this Marriage was celebrated the third Day. But from what Day, the Day of the Marriage was the third, our Commentators find it very difficult to fettle. And yet we fee it is mentioned by the Evangelist as an Article of Importance, that it was upon a third Day from some other Event. The particular Mention therefore of the third Day may not improperly be understood to in* f timate
S E R M. timate that the Marriage of Christ and the i Church was celebrated in the third Age or Period of the World. For the first Age was before the Law, the second under it, and the third was the Christian. The Circumstance of the Time therefore exactly corresponds. Let us next consider the Miracle itself, and see whether that will agree as well.
Now the Miracle itself was the turning of Water into Wine j which, if we consider it, will appear not only to be an Improvement of the Element, but to be also a fit and proper Emblem of the Improvement of the Church under the Gospel State. The legal Dispenfation we conceive to be here intended by the Water; the Cession of the Law to the Dispenfation of the Gospel, by the Change of the Water into Wine. And what can better represent the State of the Church under the Law of Moses, than the Element of Water? Water is what we always use to Wash and cleanse ourselves from all our external Pollutions and Filth. And what further Virtue, I beseech you, had the Law, than what the Epistle to the Hebrews intimates, viz. that of fanSiifying only to the purifying of the Fle/h? Heb. ix. 13. By the Water then, which is the Subject of our Saviour's Power and Might, the