Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

other would have manifested forth the glory of God; He only, being God, could manifest forth his own. As God He

rays forth light from. Himself, and this effluence is ' his glory' (John i. 14; Matt. xvi. 27; Mark viii. 38). The Evangelist, as one cannot doubt, has Isai. xl. 5,—and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,'—in his eye, claiming that in this act of Christ's those words were fulfilled. Of this 'glory of the Lord' we hear continually in the Old Testament: thus Ezek. xi. 23; xxxix. 21; xliii. 2. This glory of his, while He tabernacled as the Son of Man upon earth, was for the most part hidden. The veil of flesh which He had consented to wear concealed it from the sight of men. But now, in this work of grace and power, it burst through the covering which concealed it, revealing itself to the eyes of his disciples ; they beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father.' And his disciples believed on Him' (cf. xvi. 30, 31). The work, besides its more immediate purpose,

1 We should not fail to put into connexion the éparépwoe of this Christ's first miracle, and the spavipwor of his last (xxi. 1, 14). It is much to be regretted that the same English word has not on both occasions been used.

* The Eastern Church counted the Baptism of Christ, being his recognition before men and by men in his divine character, for the great manifestation of his glory to the world, for his Epiphany, and was wont to celebrate it as such. But the Western, which laid not such stress on the Baptism, saw his Epiphany rather in the adoration of the Magians, the first-fruits of the heathen world. At a later period, indeed, it placed other great moments in his life, moments in which his divine majesty, his doša, gloriously shone out, in connexion with this festival ; such, for instance, as the Baptism, as the feeding of the five thousand, and as this turning of the water into wine, which last continually affords the theme to the later writers of the Western Church for the homily at Epiphany, as it gives us the Gospel for one of the Epiphany Sundays. But these secondary allusions belong not to the first introduction of the feast, so that the following passage should have prevented the editors of the new volume of St. Augustine's sermons (Serm. Inediti, Paris, 1842) from attributing the sermon which contains it (Serm. xxxviii. in Epiph.) to him: Hodiernam diem Ecclesia per orbem celebrat totum, sive quod stella præ ceteris fulgens divitibus Magis parvum non parvi Regis monstravit hospitium, sive quod hodie Christus primum fecisse dicitur signum, quando aquas repente commutavit in vinum, sive quod a Joanne isto die creditur baptizatus et Patris consonâ voce Dei filius revelatur. In his genuine sermons Augustine knows only of the adoration of the Wise Men as the scriptural fact which the Epiphany commemorates.

had this further result; it confirmed, strengthened, exalted their faith, who, already believing in Him, were thus the more capable of receiving an increase of faith,—of being lifted from faith to faith, advanced from faith in an earthly teacher to faith in a heavenly Lord' (1 Kin. xvii. 24).

This first miracle of the New Covenant has its inner mystical meaning. The first miracle of Moses was a turning of water into blood (Exod. vii. 20), nor was that without its symbolic fitness; for the law, which came by Moses, was a ministration of death, and working wrath (2 Cor. iii. 6-9). But the first miracle of Christ was a turning of water into wine, this too a meet inauguration of all which should follow, for his was a ministration of life; He came, the dispenser of that true wine that maketh glad the heart of man (Ps. civ. 15). Yet as Moses there, where he stands in contrast to Christ, has a change to the worse, so in another place, where he stands as his type, he has, like Him, a change to the better (Exod. xv. 25), changing the bitter waters to sweet; thus too Elisha (2 Kin. ii. 19-22); while yet the more excellent transmutation, which should be not merely the rectifying of qualities already existing, but the imparting of new, was reserved for the Son; who was indeed not a betterer of the old life of man, but the bringer in of a new; who did not reform, but regenerate. This prophetic aspect of the miracle we must by no means miss. He who turned now the water into wine, should turn in like manner the poorer dispensation, the thin and watery elements of the Jewish religion (Heb. vii. 18), into richer and nobler, into the gladdening wine of a higher faith. The whole Jewish dispensation in its comparative weakness and poverty was aptly symbolized

1 This is plainly the true explanation (in the words of Ammonius, προσθήκην εδέξαντο τινα της εις αυτόν πίστεως, of Grotius, Credidisse dicuntur qui firmius credunt); not that which Augustine (De Cons. Evang. ii. 17), for the interests of his Harmony, upholds ; namely, that they are called disciples' by anticipation; because subsequently to the miracle they believed (non jam discipulos, sed qui futuri erant discipuli intelligere debemus); as one might say, The Apostle Paul was born at Tarsus.

by the water; and only in type and prophecy could it point to Him, who should come “binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine;' who washed his garments in wine and his clothes in the blood of grapes' (Gen. xlix. II; cf. John xv. I), and who now by this work of his gave token that He was indeed come, that his people's joy might be full. Nor less do we behold symbolized here, that whole work which the Son of God is evermore accomplishing in the world,-ennobling all that He touches, making saints out of sinners, angels out of men, and in the end heaven out of earth, a new paradise of God out of the old wilderness of the world. For the prophecy of the world's

1 Corn. a Lapide: Christus ergo initio suæ prædicationis mutans aquam in vinum significabat se legem Mosaicam, instar aquæ insipidam et frigidam, conversurum in Evangelium gratiæ, quæ instar vini est, generosa, sapida, ardens, et efficax. And Bernard, in a preëminently beautiful sermon upon this miracle (Bened. ed. p. 814): Tunc [aquaj mutatur in vinum, cum timor expellitur a caritate, et implentur omnia fervore spiritûs et jucundâ devotione; cf. De Divers. Serm. xviii. 2; and Eusebius (Dem. Ευang. ix. 8): Σύμβολον ήν το παραδοξόν μυστικωτέρου κράματος, μεταβληθέντος εκ της σωματικωτέρας επί την νοεραν και πνευματικής ευφροσύνην του πιστικού της καινής Διαθήκης κράματος. Augustine is in the same line, when he says (In Ev. Joh. tract. ix.): Tollitur velamen, cum transieris ad Dominum, et quod aqua erat, vinum tibi fit. Lege libros omnes propheticos, non intellecto Christo, quid tam insipidum et fatuum invenies? Intellige ibi Christum, non solum sapit quod legis, sed etiam inebriat. He illustrates this from Luke xxiv. 25-27. Gregory the Great (Hom. vi. in Ezek.) gives it another turn : Aquam nobis in vinum vertit, quando ipsa historia per allegoriæ mysterium, in spiritalem nobis intelligentiam commutatur.—Before the rise of the Eutychian heresy had made it perilous to use such terms as κράσις, ανάκρασις, μιξις, to designate the union of the two natures in Christ, or such phrases as Tertullian's Deo mixtus homo, we sometimes find allusions to what Christ here did, as though it were symbolical of the ennobling of the human nature through its being transfused by the divine in his

person.

Thus Irenæus (v. 1, 3) complains of the Ebionites, that they cling to the first Adam who was cast out of Paradise, and will know nothing of the second, its restorer: Reprobant itaque hi commixtionem vini cælestis, et solam aquam secularem volunt esse,—so Dörner (Von der Person Christi, p. 57) understands this passage : yet possibly he may refer there to their characteristic custom of using water alone, instead of wine mingled with water, in the Holy Communion: the passage will even then show how Irenæus found in the wine and in the water, the apt symbols of the higher and the lower, of the divine and human.

2

regeneration, of the day in which his disciples shall drink of the fruit of the vine new in his kingdom, is here. In this humble supper we have the rudiments of the glorious festival, at the arrival of which his hour' shall bave indeed come, who is Himself the true Bridegroom, even as his Church is the Bride.

Irenæus associates this miracle and that of the multiplying of the loaves;' and, contemplating them together as a prophecy of the Eucharist, finds alike in each a witness against all Gnostic, as Chrysostom against all Manichæan, notions of a creation originally impure. The Lord, he says, might have created, with no subjacent material, the wine with which He cheered these guests, the bread with which He fed those multitudes; but He rather chose to take his Father's creatures on which to put forth his power, in witness that the same God, who at the beginning had made the waters and caused the earth to bear its fruits, did in those last days give by his Son the cup of blessing and the bread of life.3 i Con. Her. iii. 11.

2 Hom, xxii. in Joh. 3 The account of this miracle by Sedulius is a favourable specimen of his poetry :

Prima suæ Dominus, thalamis dignatus adesse,
Virtutis documenta dedit; convivaque præsens
Pascere, non pasci, veniens, mirabile! fusas
In vinum convertit aquas; dimittere gaudent
Pallorem latices ; mutavit læsa [læta ?] saporem
Unda suum, largita merum, mensasque per omnes
Dulcia non nato rubuerunt pocula musto.
Implevit sex ergo lacus hoc nectare Christus,
Quippe ferax qui Vitis erat, virtute colonâ
Omnia fructificans, cujus sub tegmine blando

Mitis inocciduas enutrit pampinus uvas.
It was a favourite subject for earliest Christian Art.

On many old sarcophagi Jesus is seen standing and touching with the rod of Moses, the rod of might usually placed in his hand when He is set forth as a worker of wonders, three vessels,-three, because in his skill-less delineations the artist could not manage to find room for more.

Sometimes He has a roll of writing in his hand, as much as to say, This is written in the Scripture; or the governor of the feast is somewhat earnestly rebuking the bridegroom for having withheld the good wine to the last having himself tasted, he is giving to him the cup, to convince him of his error (Münter, Sinnbild. d. alt. Christ. vol. ii. p. 92).

.

2. THE HEALING OF THE NOBLEMAN'S SON.

John iv. 46-54

THE difficulties of the three verses which

go

before this miracle (ver. 43-45), and which, so to speak, account for the Lord's renewed presence at Cana, are considerable, and the explanations of these difficulties very various. But it is unnecessary to enter here on this tangled question, and it will be sufficient to take up the thread of the narrative at ver. 46: So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where He made the water wine.' It is altogether in St. John's manner thus to identify a place or person, by some single circumstance which has made them memorable in the Church for ever; thus compare vii. 50; xix. 39; again, i. 44 ; xii. 21; and again, xiii. 23, 25; xxi. 20. • And there was a certain nobleman,'

1 The precise meaning of Bacılıkóç here can never be exactly fixed; Chrysostom (Hom. xxxv. in Joh.) can only suggest a meaning ; so that even in his day it was obscure to them with whom Greek was a living language. Three meanings have been offered. Either he is one of the king's party, a royalist, one of those thåt sided with the faction of the Herods, father and son, and helped to maintain them on the throne, in factó an Herodian' (Lightfoot); or, with a narrower signification, he is one attached to the court, “a courtier,' so in the margin of our Bibles ; aulicus, or as Jerome (In Esai. lxv.) calls him palatinus (regulus qui Græce dicitur Baotlıcós, quem nos de aulâ regiâ rectius interpretari possumus palatinum (80 Plutarch, Sol. xxvii.; Adv. Col. xxxiii.; Josephus, B. J. vii. 5. 2); or Bagidekóç may mean one of royal blood ; in Lucian it is four times applied to kings, or those related to them. Perhaps no better term could be found than 'nobleman,' which has something of the doubtfulness of the original which it renders. I borrow from Malan (St. John, translated from the eleven oldest Versions) the following list of renderings: Syriac, king's servant;' Armenian, one of the royal

« PoprzedniaDalej »