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each of us must appear, and each of us be assigned to the company of Herod, or of John, for eternity; — to which of them, will be decided by the question, Am I a friend of Christ? How this question would be answered, if we were pressed to a decision now, may be seen by this consideration: If called suddenly to a dying man who should ask, "What must I do to be saved?" could I, from my own experience, say, Behold the Lamb of God? If not, the forerunner has spoken to us, the Lamb of God has been offered for us, thus far, in vain. If we cannot point a dying sinner to Christ, what shall we do when we are dying? How can we hope to cast our anchor then within the veil, WHITHER THE' GREAT 'FORERUNNER HATH FOR US ENTERED '?




JOHN II. 1, 2.





In a humble town of Palestine, more than eighteen hundred years ago, a marriage took place which has been more widely known, and more permanently remembered, than the nuptials of any other human pair. More eyes have read the account of it, more ears have listened to the story of its interesting incidents, than all the royal weddings of the world can boast; and hearts which were never filled with emotion by hearing of oriental nuptials, have been interested by the account of this wedding. It will continue to be read and pondered when the impressions of every brilliant, imposing pageantry have passed away; nor will any future marriage occupy such a place in history.

The cause of the celebrity given to this wedding

at Cana was simply this-that the Saviour was invited to be present. It is the only marriage ever mentioned to which the parties called him. “And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage." The mother of Jesus seems to have been there as a matter of course. It was not a matter of course that her Son should be invited; but, for some reason, an invitation was extended to him, and not only so, but (as we may suppose, from regard to him) three strangers from other places, Andrew, Peter, and Philip, who had attached themselves to him as his personal friends and disciples, were invited to attend. It is no unwarrantable presumption that this bridegroom and bride were friends of Christ; we may, accordingly, reckon them with those whose charac ters or actions we are considering in these dis


The account of this wedding is given for the purpose of relating the beginning of the Saviour's miracles. For some reason, the wine was deficient. We are not informed whether this was owing to the failure of a tradesman to keep an engagement, or to a mistake on the part of the provider, or to an unexpected increase in the number of guests. The mother of Jesus told him of the casualty, with the view of obtaining a supply by his miraculous power. His answer had nothing disrespectful in it. The appellation, Woman,' was the common oriental form

of address, even to persons of high degree; and the Saviour uses it when, on the cross, he turned the attention of his mother to John, saying, "Woman, behold thy Son." The expression, "What have I to do with thee?" does not have, in the original, precisely the tone which the English words seem to express; but the translation is as near as any English phrase could approach to the exceedingly condensed form of expression. It was a mode of signifying an unwillingness to be interfered with, or dictated to, joined with some disapprobation. But in the case before us, the intimation annexed, that Christ would work a miracle, the time of which had not yet come, softens the disapprobation. There was evidently good reason for such disapprobation on the part of Christ. His mother sought to make an irreverent use of his divine power. She did not seek for a miracle that God might be honored, nor that the spectators might receive spiritual benefit; but she applied to her Son in some such way as she would have applied to a magician. All that she thought of was the consternation of her friends at finding that the principal means of entertaining the company had failed, and, therefore, she requested her Son to exert his miraculous power, and help them out of their difficulty. That this was her purpose in what she said to Christ, and not merely to make the casual remark, that the wine had failed, we learn

from her secret admonition to the servants, "Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it," showing that she still expected him to work a miracle.

It was derogatory to the Saviour's character and office, that he should be a repairer of accidents, and put forth divine power merely to gratify wishes which had no higher end than relief from awkward embarrassments. Such was the limit of his mother's motives, and the Saviour stands before us in the true dignity of his nature and office, in reproving such motives. Whatever he may see fit to do afterward, let no one think that he is a mere convenient servant. He went to that wedding to work a miracle. He reproved the improper feelings and motives of his mother, and yet informed her that he should, in time, accomplish his purpose. Strange, that, after reading and considering this, so large a portion of our race have insisted on using Mary's advocacy with her Son in heaven, saying, Mother, command thy Son; and this addressed to one who showed herself to be an erring mortal, deserving of the Saviour's calm, respectful, dignified reproof.

Jesus proceeded to do as he had purposed, and changed a large quantity of water into wine. Six water pots of stone, used instead of cisterns or reservoirs, holding each about nine gallons of our measure, and kept near at hand, on account of the superstitious or ceremonial habits of the people to wash

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