Obrazy na stronie

any time thus assailed, can betake himself to an impregnable inner citadel, from whence in due time to issue forth and repossess even those exterior defences, who can fall back on those inner grounds of belief, in which there can be no mistake, that testimony of the Spirit, which is above and better than all*.

And as it is thus with him, who entirely desiring to believe, is only unwillingly disturbed with doubts and suggestions, which he would give worlds to be rid of for ever, so on the other hand the expectation that by arguments thrown apparently into forms of strict reasoning there is any compelling to the faith one who does not wish to believe, is absurd, and an expectation which all experience contradicts. All that he is, and all that he is determined to be, has bribed such an one to an opposite conclusion. Rather than believe that a miracle has taken place, a miracle from the upper world, and connected with doctrines of holiness, to which doctrines he is resolved to yield no obedience, he will take refuge in any the most monstrous supposition of fraud, or ignorance, or folly, or collusion. If no such solution presents itself, he will wait for such, rather than accept the miracle, with its hated adjunct of the truth which it confirms. In what different ways the same miracle of Christ wrought upon different spectators! He raised a man from the dead; here was the same outward fact for all ; but how diverse the effects !—some believed, and some went and told the Pharisees. (John xi. 45, 46.) Heavenly voices were heard,--and some said it thundered, so dull and inarticulate were those sounds to them, while others knew that they were voices wherein was the witness of God to his own Son. (John xii. 28–30.)

Are then, it may be asked, the miracles to occupy no place at all in the array of proofs for the certainty of the

• See the admirable words of Calvin, Instit., 1. 1, c. 7, § 4, 5, on the Holy Scripture as ultimately αυτόπιστος.

things which we have believed ? On the contrary, a most important place. We should greatly miss them if they did not appear in sacred history, if we could not point to them there; for they belong to the very idea of a Redeemer, which would remain most incomplete without them. We could not ourselves, without having that idea infinitely weakened and impoverished, conceive of him as not doing such works; and those to whom we presented him might make answer, - Strange, that one should come to deliver men from the bondage of nature which was crushing them, and yet himself have been subject to its heaviest laws,-himself wonderful, and yet his appearance accompanied by no analogous wonders in nature,—claiming to be the Life, and yet himself helpless in the encounter with death ; however much he promised in word, never realising any part of his promises in deed, giving nothing in hand, no first fruits of power, no pledges of greater things to come.” They would have a right to ask, “ Why did he give no signs that he came to connect the visible with the invisible world? why did he nothing to break the yoke of custom and experience, nothing to show men that the constitution which he pretended to reveal has a true foundation * ?" And who would not feel that they had right in this, that a Saviour who so bore himself during his carthly life, and his actual daily encounter with evil, would have been felt to be no Saviour? that he must needs show himself, if he were to meet the wants of men, mighty not only in word but in work? When we object to the use that has been often made of these works, it is only because they have been forcibly severed from the whole complex of Christ's

apart from these; it is only because, when on his head who is the Word of God, are “many crowns,” (Rev. xxix. 12,) one only has been singled out in proof that he is King of kings, and Lord of lords. The miracles have been spoken of

• Maurice's Kingdom of Christ, v. 2, p. 264.

as though they borrowed nothing from the truths which they confirmed, but those truths every thing from them; when

the miracles proving the doctrines, and the doctrines approving the miracles *, and both held together for us in a blessed unity, in the person of him who spake the words and did the works, and through the impress of highest holiness and of absolute truth and goodness, which that person leaves stamped on our souls ;--so that it may be more truly said that we believe the miracles for Christ's sake, than Christ for the miracles' saket. Neither when we thus affirm that the miracles prove the doctrine, and the doctrine the miracles, are we arguing in a circle : rather we are receiving the sum total of the impression which this divine revelation is intended to make on us, instead of taking an impression only partial and one-sided.

[blocks in formation]

* See Pascal's Pensées, c. 27, Sur les Miracles. .

+ Augustine was indeed affirming the same when against the Donatists, and their claims to be workers of wonders he said (De Unit. Eccles., c. 19): Quæcunque talia in catholicâ [ecclesià) fiunt, ideo sunt approbanda, quia in catholicâ fiunt, non ideò manifestatur catholica, quia hæc in eâ fiunt.



John ii. 1–11.

This beginning of miracles" is as truly an introduction to all other miracles which Christ did, as the parable of the Sower is an introduction to all other parables which he spoke. (Mark iv. 31.) No other miracle would have had so much in it of prophecy, would have served as so fit an inauguration to the whole future work of the Son of God. For that work might be characterized throughout as an ennobling of the common and a transmuting of the mean—a turning of the water of earth into the wine of heaven. Yet not to anticipate remarks which will find their fitter place, when the circumstances of this miracle have been more fully considered, what is this “third day,” which St. John gives as the date of this present miracle? It is generally, and, I believe, correctly, answered, the third after the day on which Philip and Nathanael, of whose coming to Christ there is mention immediately before, (i. 43,) had attached themselves to him. He and his newly-won disciples would have passed without difficulty from the banks of Jordan to Cana* in two days, and thus might have been easily present

• Among the most felicitous and most convincing of Robinson's slighter rectifications of the geography of Palestine, (Biblical Researches, v. 3, pp. 204 —208,) is that in which he reinstates the true Cana in honours which had long been usurped by another village. It would seem that in the neighbourhood of Nazareth are two villages, one of which bears the title of Kefr Kenna, and is about an hour and an half N.E. from Nazareth; the other, Kâna el-Jelîl, about three hours' distance, and nearly due north. The former, which has only greater nearness in its favour, is now always shewn by the monks and other guides to travellers as the Cana of our history, though the name can only with difficulty be twisted to the same, the Kefr having first to be dropped altogether, and in Kenna, the first radical changed and the second

at the “marriage," or, better, the marriage festival, upon the third day after that event. But besides the Lord and his disciples, the mother of Jesus was there” also. It is most likely, indeed there is every reason to suppose, that Joseph was now dead ; the last mention of him occurs on the occasion of the Lord's visit as a child to the Temple ; he had died, probably, between that time and Christ's open undertaking of his ministry. The disciples called are commonly taken to be the five* whom he had so lately gathered, Andrew and Peter, Philip and Nathanael, (Bartholemew?), and the fifth, the Evangelist himself. For St. John is generally considered to have been the second of the two scholars of the Baptist mentioned i. 35, 40, of whom Andrew was the other, both from all the circumstances being detailed with so great minuteness, and it being so much in his manner to keep back his own personality under such language as there is used (xiii. 23 ; xviii. 15; xix. 26, 35.) If this was so, he would then be an eye-witness of the miracle which he is relatingt.

left out; while “Kána el-Jelil” is word for word the “ Cana of Galilee” of Scripture, which exactly so stands in the Arabic version of the New Testament. In addition, he decisively proves that the mistake is entirely modern, since it is only since the sixteenth century that Kefr Kenna has thus borne away the honours due rightly to Kảna el-Jelil. Till then, as he shews by numerous references to a line of earlier travellers and topographers reaching through many centuries, the latter was ever considered as the scene of this first miracle of our Lord. It may have helped to further the mistake, and to win for it an easier acceptance, that it was manifestly for the interest of guides and travellers who would spare themselves fatigue and distance, to accept the other in its room, it lying directly on one of the routes between Nazareth and Tiberias, and being far more accessible than the true. The Cana of the New Testament does not occur in the Old, but is mentioned twice by Josephus, who also takes note of it as in Galilee. (Vita, N 16. 64; Bell. Jud., 1. 1, c. 17. $5.) The Old Testament has only Kanah in Asher, (Josh. xix. 28,) S.E. of Tyre.

• Yet later considerations on the first miraculous draught of fishes will leave it not unlikely that “disciples” here may mean only the two among the five who do not appear there, namely, Philip and Nathanael.

+ A late tradition makes St. John not merely an eye-witness, but to have been himself the bridegroom at this marriage, who, seeing the miracle

« PoprzedniaDalej »