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WATER MADE WINE.
And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee;
and the mother of Jesus was there: and both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee ? mine hour is not yet come.
His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. 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 waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, and saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse : but thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.—John 11. 1–11.
I HAVE undertaken this series of lectures, on the miracles wrought by our Lord. Each of these is
full of instruction. I have selected the present, because it is the first, and not on any other ground, or because of any peculiar appropriateness in it.
I will preface each of my lectures by some introductory remarks on some branch of the evidence that may be adduced from the miracles. In my first I will give a brief exposition of what is meant by a miracle, and notice how a miracle is defined and designated throughout the word of God.
There are three great expressions by which miracles are designated—the first, a “miracle,” or “wonder ;” the second, a “sign;" and the third, a “power.” Very often our translation renders the same original word, dúva uers, in the plural—works, powers, miracles; but this is a rather loose way of translating it: each word is perfectly clear and well defined, wherever it is employed. The first epithet is that of der." This presents the miracle in one of its aspects, but in its weakest and poorest aspect, and implies simply the impression which the performance of a miracle may make upon the senses of him that sees it. It merely implies that, by the act just witnessed, wonder, awe, amaze
ment is created; all that it is designed in this character to do is to break the slumber of the senses, to disturb the continuity of apathy, and to rouse man to a perception of a presence greater and mightier than himself. Hence, the very first result of the performance of a miracle is, the arrest of the attention, the awakening of the thought of those that are present, and in the midst of whom the miracle is done.
The second name given to a miracle is a higher and more expressive one—a “sign.” All signs are not miracles, but all miracles are signs. A sign means a substance.
say there is a sign, we imply that there is something that is signified. When, therefore, a miracle is performed, it is, in this light, a sign of the presence of God. As a wonder, it startles; as a sign, it teaches; the one strikes, the other speaks ; and hence, a miracle is not only startling to the senses, but it is significant and instructive to the mind : in other words, it not only creates awe, amazement, arrest, but it conveys meaning and instruction, the chiefest point of which is, that men may here trace the finger, the foot-prints, and the marks of Deity. The third name by ch a miracle is known in Scripture is, a “ power."
power.” The word is sometimes rendered “ works,” sometimes "mighty works,” and sometimes it is rendered “powers ;" and it is so called, because a miracle is the manifestation of power; not necessarily of a greater power than is already manifested in creation, as I shall explain, but the manifestation of that power in a new formula, in an unexpected shape, in a way in which we have not seen it so manifested before, and which, therefore, is more completely fitted to arrest the mind. Let me show
how these three names can be applied to the miracle which I have now read. First, I said a miracle is called a wonder. At the tenth verse of this chapter, we read of the sense of wonder in the mind of the chief
person at the feast. “ And he saith, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse : but thou hast kept the good wine until now." “ There is some mysterious change,” he says; “this is a new phenomenon; I am astonished, surprised; something more than usual is here.” The“ power” of the miracle was felt when that which was water blushed into wine, as the Lord looked upon it. The miracle was also a “sign,"