Abbildungen der Seite

own hand, knows to be best for manifesting His glory to us. Neither must we doubt, if, when the answer does as it were begin to come, it come in an unpromising shape; come as something very different from what we had desired. We must not only wait patiently upon the Lord, but remember also, that “ godliness is great riches, if a man be content with that he hath!.” We must not doubt or murmur, if, when we call for wine, water be first brought. Yet a little while, and the water shall be made wine: our weakness become strength; our poverty prove great riches; our troubles change to triumphs.

Another observation occurs, as evidently suggested by the narrative contained in the Gospel of this day. It is not merely the common remark, that the state of matrimony was sanctioned by our Lord's attending at a marriage feast, but, further, that His sanction is given, as it was on other occasions, to the rejoicing with them that do rejoice. “ Both Jesus was called,

i Offertory

and His disciples to the marriage.” Our Lord, by attending, set the example of not clouding and marring the innocent mirth of social life by an over-severity or moroseness: of not condemning our neighbour by a shew of self-denial, and a will-worship of our own devising. It is remarkable that many of the religionists, who argue in the way just now noticed about the unrestricted method of God's working for the good of our souls, themselves make and bind on men sore burdens and heavy to bear. They will make light of Baptism and of the Lord's Supper, and of all rites and ceremonies of the Church; and think an Order of Ministers and Forms of Prayer superfluities : but they will, for all that, insist on praying, and preaching, and exhorting, and being, as they term it, “instant in season and out of season," without regard to time, place, or person. Professing to do away with forms,

they are the greatest of all formalists; condemning whoever will not speak, think, act, and look as they do. They mar the order of


the Church, and they mar the order of social life. Not so our Blessed Lord : HE quenched not smoking flax, He broke not bruised reeds: He came, not to destroy, but to save and to bless. And such is the office of His Holy Church and Religion. It sanctifies all the relations and concerns of life. The Church takes little children, and puts them in Christ's arms; she hallows marriage, and at the marriagefeast calls upon Christ to be present: she comforts on the bed of sickness: she decks the grave with flowers of hope: she always rejoiceth in Christ her Saviour.

But it is time to draw to a conclusion. If we will but observe the various circumstances of our Lord's Epiphany or Manifestation of Himself, from His Birth at Bethlehem to the Marriage at Cana in Galilee, we shall see how (to adopt the language of an old Father) He came to save all by Himself. “He came sanctifying every age by the likeness it bare to Himself. For He came to save all by Himself: all who by Him are born anew

[ocr errors]

to God: infants, and little ones, and children, and youths, and elders. So He came through every age; and to infants was made an infant, sanctifying infants ; among little children, a little child, sanctifying those of this age, and made also to them an example of piety, and righteousness, and subjection; among young men, a young man, becoming an example to young men, and sanctifying them to the Lord, &c. &c."

As we proceed, in the order of the Church Services, with the history of His life from this time till Easter, we shall also see how He sanctified ripe manhood by doing the will of His Father which sent Him. Seeing then that He thus came to save all by Himself, and to be an example unto all; it remains for us all, young and old, of all ages, of all ranks, at all times, to set the Lord always before us, serving Him faithfully, according to our age, and rank, and condition : believing in Him, as did the Virgin Mary; doing whatsoever

m St. Iren. Hæres. lib. ii. c. 22.

He saith unto us, as did the servants ; taking thankfully whatsoever He gives, give it how He will: not reasoning, but obeying : so, at His next Epiphany, at the last day, great as may have been our joy and peace even now in believing, they then shall be great beyond expression by the tongue, or conception by the heart, of man : faith and hope shall be exchanged for the substance of good things; triumph shall take the place of trial ; Sacraments shall be exchanged for the sight and knowledge of God, even as also we are seen and known by Him; the shadows and confusion of earth, for the realities and peace of Heaven; even as the newdrawn water was changed into good old wine, at the marriage feast in Cana of Galilee, by the Bridegroom of the Church.

« ZurückWeiter »