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XIII.

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tain the Decency of an hospitable Entertain- SERM.
ment, she sues to our Lord for a supply of
Wine, when what was provided in the House
was failed ; Jesus faith unto her, Woman,
what have I to do with thee? Mine Hour is
not yet come. This being an Answer that
seems to incline towards Harfhness and Seve-
rity; it has pretty much perplexed our Com-
mentators, how to account for it: But if we
bear in Mind this nearer Relation of Jesus to
his Church, and read it; with one of the an-
cient Fathers *, with a Point of Interrogati-
on ; we may conjecture a little at our Lord's
Intention. Woman, what have I to do with
thee? Is not mine Hour yet come? For fo the
Greek will bear to be rendered, and when fo!
fendered may be paraphrased thus. Woman,
for now I must call thee by that Name, since
thy Relation to me, as Mother, continues no
more: Thou hast born me, it is true, and
nourished me up, with all imaginable Ten-
derness and Care : But thou knoweft there is
a nearer Relation of Wife, à dearer Friend,
for whom, by the express Decree of God, both
Father and Mother and all must be left. The

Wife I have chosen is infinitely nearer and * dearer to me, than any Relation, meerly hu* Greg. Nyf

man,

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XIII.

SERM.

man, can be conceived. I came down from Heaven to espouse her to myself, and left my Father's Bosom and Throne purely for her fake. For her fake thou knowest I have al. ready taken on me my Office and Ministry, and therefore doft thou not think, that mine Hour is now come, to cleave unto her, and consequently to bid adieu to thee? Thou thinkest I am here at a Wedding Feast only with a view to pay a Compliment to the Bridegroom and Bride: And therefore as thou art fenfible of the Power that is in me, thou wouldst have me exert it for the sake of supplying them with a little Wine: But know that I came here with a deeper Design than is apprehended by either yourself or your Friends. It is my own Nuptials I design to honour, and therefore if you desire or expect me to do any Miracle here, leave me to act in my own Method and Way; and take Notice, that whatever I think fit to do, I shall do not so much to celebrate their Marriage as to solemnize my own.

This may possibly be our Saviour's Meaning in the short Answer he returned to Mary: And this being understood, every thing relating to the Mystery of the Miracle seems sufficiently explained. What then remains,

but,

XIII.

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but by way of a practical Application at last, SERM.
toʻinfer the Obligations that lye upon Christi-
áns (who are Members of this Spouse, whom
Jesus has thus united to himself) to bless his
Name for the Mercy he has vouchsafed us,
in appointing our Lot in these Times of Grace,

and caufing us to be born in the Days of 3 Light ? Let me remind you then, that you

have the Happiness to live, not under a Law
that requires of you Duties you are not able
to perform ; but under a mild and gracious
Dispensation, which prescribes to you nothing,

but what it affords you sufficient Grace and į Strength to go through. See then that you

make use of the Abilities that are indulged
you ; since if Grace be offered, and you ac-
cept it not ; you are in a worse Condition
than those, who had not those Means allowed
them. They that failed of performing the
rigorous Judgments of the Law, can plead
in their Excuse, that the Commands were
burthensome, and their Abilities weak: But
negligent Christians have no such Plea, because
their Duty is easy, and their Aflistance great.
The Law burthened Men with carnal. Ordi.
nances, and Ceremonies in themselves unprofi-
table : Ordinances which had indeed a
Spiritual Meaning, but such as but few that
were concerned in them ever understood.

Their

XIII.

SER M. Their Ceremonies also, though they were

of Use fo far as they were typical ; yet the Shadow was so thick that the Substance itself could hardly be discerned : Whereas the Gospel propounds to us a Service rational, spiritual, and pure. It loaves no Cloud to intercept our Sight: But carries us to Jesus Christ directly, who is himself the Antitype, the Accomplisoment, and the End of the whole Law. So that the Revelations of the Divine Will, which, to the Jews, were all along imperfect and dark, are to us Christians become clear and intelligible, perfect and full.

But the two principal Defeats in the Law of Moses, which in the Religion of Christ are fully supplied, were the great Motive of all Obedience, a sufficient Reward ; and the great Encouragement to all Endeavours, a Strength able and fufficient to perform. The Rewards promised to the Jews upon

Observance of the Law, were merely temporal ; all limited to the present Life ; such as the Enjoyment of their Land in Plenty and Peace, Victory and Triumph over their Enemies, and Length of Days to enjoy those Blessings. Not a single Promise does Moses give of Happiness or Life in the World to come ; whereas Christians, to excite and en.

courage

XIII.

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çourage them to Obedience, have a full Al-SERM.
surance of Life and Immortality, which Christ
has fince brought to Light through the Gospel,
2 Tim. i. 10. So much is the Gospel the
bringing in of a better Hope, Heb. vii. 19.
and so much is Christ the Mediator of a
better Covenant, which was established upon
better Promises, Ch. viii. 6.

But the other Defect which was supplied
by Christ, and which was chiefly signified
by the Miracle we have been considering, is
the great Encouragement we have given us
to aim at these Rewards by the Promise of
God's boly Spirit to assist us. The Law, it
is true, shewed and convinced Men what
they should do ; but there it stopped : It
went not on to Promise any inward Grace
and Help, to enable them to be as good as
they were required to be. The Law, and
the Law only, was given by Moses ; but
Grace and Truth, both came by Jesus Chrift,
John i. 17.

The Law only thewed and threatened Sin, but did not inwardly afsift and rescue us from it : It condemned Men for what they did ; but brought no Grace to strengthen them against it. Therefore St. Paul speaking in the Person of a well disposed, but unregenerate few, says, To

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WILL

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