Obrazy na stronie

the Romanists themselves allow, more or less of reproof and repulse; and they themselves admit the appearance of such ; only they deny the reality. He so replied, they say, to teach us, not her, that higher respects than those of flesh and blood moved Him to the selecting of that occasion for the first putting forth of his divine power. Most certainly it was to teach this; but to teach it first to her, who from her wondrous position as the blessed among women' was, more than any other, in danger of forgetting it; and in her to teach it to all. “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 more became her to reverence and worship as her Lord.”? The true parallel to this passage, and that throwing most light on it, is Matt. xii. 46-50.

And yet doubtless any severity which this answer may wear in the reading, was mitigated by the manner of its speaking; allowing, as this plainly did, a near compliance with her request to look through the apparent refusal. For when she saith unto the servants, Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it,'3 it is evident she read, and, as the sequel shows, rightly read, a Yes in his apparent No. Luther bids us here to imitate her faith, who, nothing daunted by the semblance of a refusal, reads between the lines of this refusal a better answer to her prayer; is confident that even

(Ηom. xxi. η Joh.): 'Eβούλετο ... έαυτήν λαμπροτέραν ποιήσαι διά του Παιδός, therefore was it that Christ σφοδρότερον απεκρίνατο.

i Maldonatus : Simulavit se matrem reprehendere, cum minime 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.

2 Hom, xxi. in Joh.

3 The words are curiously like those of Pharaoh, when he designates Joseph to the Egyptians as the one who should supply all their needs (Gen. xli. 55); the occasions too, it will be observed, are not wholly dissimilar. Was the resemblance intentional ?

the infirmity which clave to it shall not defeat it altogether; is so confident of this, as to indicate not obscurely the very manner of its granting. And yet this confidence of hers in his new interposition, following so close as it does on that announcement of his, Mine hour is not yet come,' is not without its difficulty. Those words would seem to us, if they were not interpreted by the event, to defer not for a few minutes only, or for an hour, the manifestation of his glory, but to postpone it altogether to some remote period of his ministry. Indeed, bis hour'is generally, most of all in the language of St. John, the hour of his passion, or of his departure from the world (vii. 30; viii. 20; xii. 23, 27 ; xiii. 1 ; xvii. 1'). Here, however, and perhaps on one other occasion (vii. 6), it indicates a time close at hand. So she understood, and so she rightly understood it. Not till the wine was wholly exhausted would his hour' have arrived ; as yet this was not the case. When all other help fails, then and not till then the hour' of the great Helper will have struck. Then would be the time to act, when by the entire failure of the wine, manifest to all, the miracle would be above suspicion ; else in Augustine's words, He might seem rather to mingle elements than to change them.”

Very beautiful is the facility with which our Lord yields Himself to the supply, not of the absolute wants merely, but of the superfluities, of others; yet this, as I must believe, not so much for the guests' sake, as for that of the bridal pair, whose marriage feast, by the unlooked-for shortcoming of the wine, was in danger of being exposed to mockery and

1 It is ο καιρός there, η ώρα here.

? So the author of a sermon in the Appendix to St. Augustine (Serm. xcii.): IIâc responsione interim debemus advertere quod de nuptiali vino pars aliqua adhuc forte resederat. Ideo nondum erat Domini plena hora virtutum, ne miscere magis elementa quam mutare videretur (ne aqua vino admixta crederetur: Grotius]. Maldonatus: Cur ergo miraculum fecit, si tempus non venernt? Non venerat cum mater petivit; venerat cum fecit, modico licet intervallo. So Cyril, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euthymius.

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scorn. We may contrast this his readiness to aid others, with his stern refusal to minister by the same almighty power to his own extremest necessities. He who turned water into wine, might have made bread out of stones (Matt. iv.4)? ; but, spreading a table for others, He is content to hunger and to thirst Himself.

The conditions under which the miracle was accomplished are all, as Chrysostomo long ago observed, such as exclude every suspicion of collusion. And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the water pots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. They were vessels for water, not for wine; thus none could insinuate that probably some sediment of wine remained in them, wbich lending a flavour to water poured on it, formed thus a thinnest kind of wine; as every suggestion of the same kind is excluded by the praise which the ruler of the feast bestows upon the new supply (ver. 10). The circumstance of these vessels being at hand is accounted for. They were there by no premeditated plan, but in accordance with the customs and traditionary observances of the Jews in the matter of washing (Matt. xv. 2; xxiii. 25; Mark vii. 2-4; Luke xi. 38); for this seems more probable than that this 'purifying' has reference to any distinctly commanded legal observances. The quantity, too, which these vessels contained, was enormous; not such as might have been brought in unobserved, but two or three firkins apiece.' And the vessels were empty; those therefore who on that bidding had filled them, as they knew, with water, became themselves by this act of theirs witnesses to the reality of the miracle. But for this it might only have appeared, as in

Hilary (De Trin. iii. 5): Sponsus tristis est, familia turbatur, solleninitas nuptialis convivii periclitatur.

Augustine (Serm. cxxiii. 2): Qui poterat talia facere, digna indigere. Qui fecit de aquâ vinum, potuit facere et de lapidibus panem.

3 Hom. xxii. in Joh.



fact it did only appear to the ruler of the feast, that the wine came from some unexpected quarter; he knew not whence. it was; but the servants which drew the water,'' —pot, that is, the water now made wine, but who had drawn the simpler element on which the Lord put forth his transforming powers,—kneu.'

And He saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast.' It has been sometimes debated whether this governor' was himself one of the guests, set either by general consent or by the selection of the host over the banquet ; or a chief attendant, charged with ordering the course of the entertainment, and overlooking the ministrations of the inferior servants. The analogy of Greek and Roman usages 3 points him out as himself a guest, invested with this office for the time; and a passage in the Apocrypha* shows that the custom of selecting such a master of the revels was in use among the Jews. Indeed the freedom of remonstrance which he allows himself with the bridegroom seems decisive of his position, that it is not that of an underling, but an equal. It was for him to taste and distribute the wine ; to him, therefore, the Lord commanded that this

? The Vulgate rightly: Qui hauserant. De Wette: Welche das Wasser geschöpfet hatten. So the Ambrosian Hymn :

Vel hydriis plenis aquæ
Vino saporem infuderis,
Hausit minister conscius

Quod ipse non impleverat. So by Severus ; by Juvencus, who calls him summum ministrum ; by Kuinoel, and others.

3 This άρχιτρίκλινος will then answer to the Greek συμποσιάρχης, the rex convivii, or magister convivii, or modimperator, of the Romans. It was his part, in the words of Plato, faidaywyeiv ouuttólov (Becker, Charicles. vol. i. p. 465). He appears here as the προγεύστης. .

The word d'exiopixlivoç is late, and of rare occurrence; Petronius has triclinarches.

* Ecclus. xxxii. 1,2 : 'If thou be made the master of a feast (liyovuevoc), lift not thyself up, but be among them as one of the rest; take diligent care of them, and so sit down. And when thou hast done all thy office, take thy place, that thou mayest be merry with them, and receive a crown for thy well ordering of the feast.'

should be first brought, even in this little matter allowing and honouring the established order and usage of society, and giving to every man his due.

* And they bare it,' water now no more, but wine. Like other acts of creation, or, more strictly, of becoming, this of the water becoming wine, is withdrawn from sight. That which is poured into the jars as water is drawn out as wine; but the actual process of the change we toil in vain to conceive; and can only fall back on the profound maxim: Subtilitas naturæ longe superat subtilitatem mentis humanæ. And yet in truth it is in no way stranger, save in the rapidity with which it is effected, than that which is every day going forward among us; but to which use and custom have so dulled our eyes, that commonly we do not marvel at it at all; and, because we can call it by its name, suppose that we have discovered its secret, or rather that there is no secret in it to discover. He who each year prepares the wine in the grape, causing it to absorb, and swell with, the moisture of earth and heaven, to transmute this into nobler juices of its own, did now concentrate all those slower processes into a single moment, and accomplish in an instant what usually He takes many months to accomplish.' This analogy does not help us to understand what the Lord at this time did, but yet brings before us that in it He was working in the line of (above, indeed, but not across, or counter to his more ordinary operations, the unnoticed miracles of everyday nature. That which this had peculiarly its own, which took it out from the order of nature, was the power and will by which all the intervening steps of these tardier processes were overleaped, their methods superseded, and the result attained in an instant.?

? Voici le vin qui tombe du ciel, is the not uncommon exclamation of the French peasantry, when the rain is falling on their vineyards at the right season.

Augustine (In Ev. Joh. tract. viii.): Ipse enim fecit vinum illo die in nuptiis in sex illis hydriis quas impleri aquâ præcepit, qui omni anno facit hoc in vitibus. Sicut enim quod miserunt ministri in hydrias, in


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