Chap. ii. ver. 1, ii. ver. 2. "On the third day there was a marriage
in Cana of Galilee. And Jesus was called to the marriage. And the mother
of Jesus was there, and His brethren."
I said before that He was best known in Galilee; therefore they invite
Him to the marriage, and He comes; for He looked not to His own honor,
but to our benefit. He who disdained not to "take upon Him the form of
a servant" (Phil. ii. 7), would much less disdain to be present at the
marriage of servants; He who sat down "with publicans and sinners" (Matt.
ix. 13), would much less refuse to sit down with those present at the marriage.
Assuredly they who invited Him had not formed a proper judgment of Him,
nor did they invite Him as some great one, but merely as an ordinary acquaintance;
and this the Evangelist has hinted at, when he says, "The mother of Jesus
was there, and His brethren." Just as they invited her and His brethren,
they invited Jesus.
Ver. 3. "And when they wanted wine, His mother saith unto Him, They
have no wine."
Here it is worth while to enquire whence it came into His mother's mind
to imagine anything great of her Son; for He had as yet done no miracle,
since the Evangelist saith, "This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana
of Galilee." (c. ii. 11.)
[2.] Now if any say that this is not a sufficient proof that it was
the "beginning of His miracles," because there is added simply "in Cana
of Galilee," as allowing it to have been the first done there, but not
altogether and absolutely the first, for He probably might have done others
elsewhere, we will make answer to him of that which we have said before.
And of what kind? The words of John (the Baptist); "And I knew Him not;
but that He should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come, baptizing
with water." Now if He had wrought miracles in early age, the Israelites
would not have needed another to declare Him. For He who came among men,
and by His miracles was so made known, not to those only in Judaea, but
also to those in Syria and beyond, and who did this in three years only,
or rather who did not need even these three years to manifest Himself (Matt.
iv. 24), for immediately and from the first His fame went abroad everywhere;
He, I say, who in a short time so shone forth by the multitude of His miracles,
that His name was well known to all, was much less likely, if while a child
He had from an early age wrought miracles, to escape notice so long. For
what was done would have seemed stranger as done by a boy, and there would
have been time for twice or thrice as many, and much more. But in fact
He did nothing while He was a child, save only that one thing to which
Luke has testified (Luke ii. 46), that at the age of twelve years He sat
hearing the doctors, and was thought admirable for His questioning. Besides,
it was in accordance with likelihood and reason that He did not begin His
signs at once from an early age; for they would have deemed the thing a
delusion. For if when He was of full age many suspected this, much more,
if while quite young He had wrought miracles, would they have hurried Him
sooner and before the proper time to the Cross, in the venom of their malice;
and the very facts of the Dispensation would have been discredited.
"How then," asks some one, "came it into the mind of His mother to imagine
anything great of Him?" He was now beginning to reveal Himself, and was
plainly discovered by the witness of John, and by what He had said to His
disciples. And before all this, the Conception itself and all its attending
circumstances had inspired her with a very great opinion of the Child;
"for," said Luke, "she heard all the sayings concerning the Child, and
kept them in her heart." "Why then," says one, "did not she speak this
before?" Because, as I said, it was now at last that He was beginning to
manifest Himself. Before this time He lived as one of the many, and therefore
His mother had not confidence to say any such thing to Him; but when she
heard that John had come on His account, and that he had borne such witness
to Him as he did, and that He had disciples, after that she took confidence,
and called Him, and said, when they wanted wine, "They have no wine." For
she desired both to do them a favor, and through her Son to render herself
more conspicuous; perhaps too she had some human feelings, like His brethren,
when they said, "Show thyself to the world" (c. xvii. 4), desiring to gain
credit from His miracles. Therefore He answered somewhat vehemently, saying,
Ver. 4. "Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come."
To prove that He greatly respected His mother, hear Luke relate how
He was "subject to" His parents (Luke ii. 51), and our own Evangelist declare
how He had forethought for her at the very season of the Crucifixion. For
where parents cause no impediment or hindrance in things belonging to God,
it is our bounden duty to give way to them, and there is great danger in
not doing so; but when they require anything unseasonably, and cause hindrance
in any spiritual matter, it is unsafe to obey. And therefore He answered
thus in this place, and again elsewhere, "Who is My mother, and who are
My brethren?" (Matt. xii. 48), because they did not yet think rightly of
Him; and she, because she had borne Him, claimed, according to the custom
of other mothers, to direct Him in all things, when she ought to have reverenced
and worshiped Him. This then was the reason why He answered as He did on
that occasion. For consider what a thing it was, that when all the people
high and low were standing round Him, when the multitude was intent on
hearing Him, and His doctrine had begun to be set forth, she should come
into the midst and take Him away from the work of exhortation, and converse
with Him apart, and not even endure to come within, but draw Him outside
merely to herself. This is why He said, "Who is My mother and My brethren?"
Not to insult her who had borne Him, (away with the thought!) but to procure
her the greatest benefit, and not to let her think meanly of Him. For if
He cared for others, and used every means to implant in them a becoming
opinion of Himself, much more would He do so in the case of His mother.
And since it was probable that if these words had been addressed to her
by her Son, she would not readily have chosen even then to be convinced,
but would in all cases have claimed the superiority as being His mother,
therefore He replied as He did to them who spake to Him; otherwise He could
not have led up her thoughts from His present lowliness to His future exaltation,
had she expected that she should always be honored by Him as by a son,
and not that He should come as her Master.
[3.] It was then from this motive that He said in this place, "Woman,
what have I to do with thee?" and also for another reason not less pressing.
What was that? It was, that His miracles might not be suspected. The request
ought to have come from those who needed, not from His mother. And why
so? Because what is done at the request of one's friends, great though
it be, often causes offense to the spectators; but when they make the request
who have the need, the miracle is free from suspicion, the praise unmixed,
the benefit great. So if some excellent physician should enter a house
where there were many sick, and be spoken to by none of the patients or
their relations, but be directed only by his own mother, he would be suspected
and disliked by the sufferers, nor would any of the patients or their attendants
deem him able to exhibit anything great or remarkable. And so this was
a reason why He rebuked her on that occasion, saying, "Woman, what have
I to do with thee?" instructing her for the future not to do the like;
because, though He was careful to honor His mother, yet He cared much more
for the salvation of her soul, and for the doing good to the many, for
which He took upon Him the flesh.
These then were the words, not of one speaking rudely to his mother,
but belonging to a wise dispensation, which brought her into a right frame
of mind, and provided that the miracles should be attended with that honor
which was meet. And setting other things aside, this very appearance which
these words have of having been spoken chidingly, is amply enough to show
that He held her in high honor, for by His displeasure He showed that He
reverenced her greatly; in what manner, we will say in the next discourse.
Think of this then, and when you hear a certain woman saying, "Blessed
is the womb that bare Thee, and the paps which Thou hast sucked," and Him
answering, "rather blessed are they that do the will of my Father" (Luke
xi. 27), suppose that those other words also were said with the same intention.
For the answer was not that of one rejecting his mother, but of One who
would show that her having borne Him would have nothing availed her, had
she not been very good and faithful. Now if, setting aside the excellence
of her soul, it profited Mary nothing that the Christ was born of her,
much less will it be able to avail us to have a father or a brother, or
a child of virtuous and noble disposition, if we ourselves be far removed
from his virtue. "A brother," saith David, "doth not redeem shall man redeem?"
(Ps xlix. 7, Ps xlix. 7 LXX.) We must place our hopes of salvation in nothing
else, but only in our own righteous deeds (done) after a the grace of God.
For if this by itself could have availed, it would have availed the Jews,
(for Christ was their kinsman according to the flesh,) it would have availed
the town in which He was born, it would have availed His brethren. But
as long as His brethren cared not for themselves, the honor of their kindred
availed them nothing, but they were condemned with the rest of the world,
and then only were approved, when they shone by their own virtue; and the
city fell, and was burnt, having gained nothing from this; and His kinsmen
according to the flesh were slaughtered and perished very miserably, having
gained nothing towards being saved from their relationship to Him, because
they had not the defense of virtue. The Apostles, on the contrary, appeared
greater than any, because they followed the true and excellent way of gaining
relationship with Him, that by obedience. And from this we learn that we
have always need of faith, and a life shining and bright, since this alone
will have power to save us. For though His relations were for a long time
everywhere held in honor, being called the Lord's kinsmen, yet now we do
not even know their names, while the lives and names of the Apostles are
Let us then not be proud of nobleness of birth according to the flesh,
but though we have ten thousand famous ancestors, let us use diligence
ourselves to go beyond their excellences, knowing that we shall gain nothing
from the diligence of others to help us in the judgment that is to come;
nay, this will be the more grievous condemnation, that though born of righteous
parents and having an example at home, we do not, even thus, imitate our
teachers. And this I say now, because I see many heathens, when we lead
them to the faith and exhort them to become Christians, flying to their
kinsmen and ancestors and house, and saying, "All my relations and friends
and companions are faithful Christians." What is that to thee, thou wretched
and miserable? This very thing will be especially thy ruin, that thou didst
not respect the number of those around thee, and run to the truth. Others
again who are believers but live a careless life, when exhorted to virtue
make the very same defense, and say, "my father and my grandfather and
my great-grandfather were very pious and good men." But this will assuredly
most condemn thee, that being descended from such men, thou hast acted
unworthily of the root from whence thou art sprung. For hear what the Prophet
says to the Jews, "Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept (sheep)"
(Hos. xii. 12); and again Christ, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see
My day, and he saw it, and was glad." (c. viii. 56.) And everywhere they
bring forward to them the righteous acts of their fathers, not only to
praise them, but also to make the charge against their descendants more
heavy. Knowing then this, let us use every means that we may be saved by
our own works, lest having deceived ourselves by vain trusting on others,
we learn that we have been deceived when the knowledge of it will profit
us nothing. "In the grave," saith David, "who shall give thee thanks?"
(Ps. vi. 5.) Let us then repent here, that we may obtain the everlasting
goods, which may God grant we all do, through the grace and lovingkindness
of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost be
glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
John ii. 4.-"Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet
[1.] In preaching the word there is some toil, and this Paul declares
when he says, "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double
honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine." (1 Tim: v.
17.) Yet it is in your power to make this labor light or heavy; for if
you reject our words, or if without actually rejecting them you do not
show them forth in your works, our toil will be heavy, because we labor
uselessly and in vain: while if ye heed them and give proof of it by your
works, we shall not even feel the toil, because the fruit produced by our
labor will not suffer the greatness of that labor to appear. So that if
you would rouse our zeal, and not quench or weaken it, show us, I beseech
you, your fruit, that we may behold the fields waving with corn, and being
supported by hopes of an abundant crop, and reckoning up your riches, may
not be slothful in carrying on this good traffic.
It is no slight question which is proposed to us also to-day. For first,
when the mother of Jesus says, "They have no wine," Christ replies, "Woman,
what have I to do with thee? Mine, hour is not yet come." And then, having
thus spoken, He did as His mother had said; an action which needs enquiry
no less than the words. Let us then, after calling upon Him who wrought
the miracle, proceed to the explanation.
The words are not used in this place only, but in others also; for the
same Evangelist says, "They could not lay hands on Him, because His hour
was not yet come" (c. viii. 20); and again, "No man laid hands on Him,
because His hour was not yet come" (c. vii. 30); and again, "The hour is
come, glorify Thy Son." (c. xvii. 1.) What then do the words mean? I have
brought together more instances, that I may give one explanation of all.
And what is that explanation? Christ did not say, "Mine hour is not yet
come," as being subject to the necessity of seasons, or the observance
of an "hour"; how can He be so, who is Maker of seasons, and Creator of
the times and the ages? To what else then did He allude? He desires to
show this; that He works all things at their convenient season, not doing
all at once; because a kind of confusion and disorder would have ensued,
if, instead of working all at their proper seasons, He had mixed all together,
His Birth, His Resurrection, and His coming to Judgment. Observe this;
creation was to be, yet not all at once; man and woman were to be created,
yet not even these together; mankind were to be condemned to death, and
there was to be a resurrection, yet the interval between the two was to
be great; the law was to be given, but not grace with it, each was to be
dispensed at its proper time. Now Christ was not subject to the necessity
of seasons, but rather settled their order, since He is their Creator;
and therefore He saith in this place, "Mine hour is not yet come." And
His meaning is, that as yet He was not manifest to the many, nor had He
even His whole company of disciples; Andrew followed Him, and next to him
Philip, but no one else. And moreover, none of these, not even His mother
nor His brethren, knew Him as they ought; for after His many miracles,
the Evangelist says of His brethren, "For neither did His brethren believe
in Him." (c. vii. 5.) And those at the wedding did not know Him either,
for in their need they would certainly have come to and entreated Him.
Therefore He saith, "Mine hour is not yet come"; that is, "I am not yet
known to the company, nor are they even aware that the wine has failed;
let them first be sensible of this. I ought not to have been told it from
thee; thou art My mother, and renderest the miracle suspicious. They who
wanted the wine should have come and besought Me, not that I need this,
but that they might with an entire assent accept the miracle. For one who
knows that he is in need, is very grateful when he obtains assistance;
but one who has not a sense of his need, will never have a plain and clear
sense of the benefit."
Why then after He had said, "Mine hour is not yet come," and given her
a denial, did He what His mother desired? Chiefly it was, that they who
opposed Him, and thought that He was subject to the "hour," might have
sufficient proof that He was subject to no hour; for had He been so, how
could He, before the proper "hour" was come, have done what He did? And
in the next place, He did it to honor His mother, that He might not seem
entirely to contradict and shame her that bare Him in the presence of so
many; and also, that He might not be thought to want power, for she brought
the servants to Him.
Besides, even while saying to the Canaanitish woman, "It is not meet
to take the children's bread, and to give it unto dogs" (Matt. xv. 26),
He still gave the bread, as considering her perseverance; and though after
his first reply, He said, "I am not sent save unto the lost sheep of the
house of Israel," yet even after saying this, He healed the woman's daughter.
Hence we learn, that although we be unworthy, we often by perseverance
make ourselves worthy to receive. And for this reason His mother remained
by, and openly brought to Him the servants, that the request might be made
by a greater number; and therefore she added,
Ver. 5. "Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it."
For she knew that His refusal proceeded not from want of power, but
from humility, and that He might not seem without cause to hurry to the
miracle; and therefore she brought the servants.
Ver. 6, 7. "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 said unto them, Fill the waterpots with water; and they filled them
up to the brim."
It is not without a reason that the Evangelist says, "After the manner
of the purifying of the Jews," but in order that none of the unbelievers
might suspect that lees having been left in the vessels, and water having
been poured upon and mixed with them, a very weak wine had been made. Therefore
he says, "after the manner of the purifying of the Jews," to show that
those vessels were never receptacles for wine. For because Palestine is
a country with but little water, and brooks and fountains were not everywhere
to be found, they always used to fill waterpots with water, so that they
might not have to hasten to the rivers if at any time they were filed,
but might have the means of purification at hand.
"And why was it, that He did not the miracle before they filled them,
which would have been more marvelous by far? for it is one thing to change
given matter to a different quality, and another to create matter out of
nothing." The latter would indeed have been more wonderful, but would not
have seemed so credible to the many. And therefore He often purposely lessens
the greatness of His miracles, that it may be the more readily received.
"But why," says one, "did not He Himself produce the water which He
afterwards showed to be wine, instead of bidding the servants bring it?"
For the very same reason; and also, that He might have those who drew it
out to witness that what had been effected was no delusion since if any
had been inclined to be shameless, those who ministered might have said
to them, "We drew the water, we filled the vessels." And besides what we
have mentioned, He thus overthrows those doctrines which spring up against
the Church. For since there are some who say that the Creator of the world
is another, and that the things which are seen are not His works, but those
of a certain other opposing god, to curb these men's madness He doth most
of His miracles on matter found at hand. Because, had the creator of these
been opposed to Him, He would not have used what was another's to set forth
His own power. But now to show that it is He who transmutes water in the
vine plants, and who converts the rain by its passage through the root
into wine, He effected that in a moment at the wedding which in the plant
is long in doing. When they had filled the waterpots, He said,
Ver. 8-10. "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 worst; but thou hast kept the good
wine until now."
Here again some mock, saying, "this was an assembly of drunken men,
the sense of the judges was spoilt, and not able to taste what was made,
or to decide on what was done, so that they did not know whether what was
made was water or wine: for that they were drunk," it is alleged, "the
ruler himself has shown by what he said." Now this is most ridiculous,
yet even this suspicion the Evangelist has removed. For he does not say
that the guests gave their opinion on the matter, but "the ruler of the
feast," who was sober, and had not as yet tasted anything. For of course
you are aware, that those who are entrusted with the management of such
banquets are the most sober, as having this one business, to dispose all
things in order and regularity; and therefore the Lord called such a man's
sober senses to testify to what was done. For He did not say, "Pour forth
to them that sit at meat," but, "Bear unto the governor of the feast."
"And when the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made
wine, and knew not whence it was, (but the servants knew,) the governor
of the feast called the bridegroom." "And why did he not call the servants?
for so the miracle would have been revealed." Because Jesus had not Himself
revealed what had been done, but desired that the power of His miracles
should be known gently, little by little. And suppose that it had then
been mentioned, the servants who related it would never have been believed,
but would have been thought mad to bear such testimony to one who at that
time seemed to the many a mere man; and although they knew the certainty
of the thing by experience, (for they were not likely to disbelieve their
own hands,) yet they were not sufficient to convince others. And so He
did not reveal it to all, but to him who was best able to understand what
was done, reserving the clearer knowledge of it for a future time; since
after the manifestation of other miracles this also would be credible.
Thus when he was about to heal the nobleman's son, the Evangelist has shown
that it had already become more clearly known; for it was chiefly because
the nobleman had become acquainted with the miracle that he called upon
Him, as John incidentally shows when he says, "Jesus came into Cana of
Galilee, where He made the water wine." (c. iv. 46.) And not wine simply,
but the best.
[3.] For such are the miraculous works of Christ, they are far more
perfect and better than the operations of nature. This is seen also in
other instances; when He restored any infirm member of the body, He made
it better than the sound.
That it was wine then, and the best of wine, that had been made, not
the servants only, but the bridegroom and the ruler of the feast would
testify; and that it was made by Christ, those who drew the water; so that
although the miracle were not then revealed, yet it could not in the end
be passed in silence, so many and constraining testimonies had He provided
for the future. That He had made the water wine, He had the servants for
witnesses; that the wine was good that had been made, the ruler of the
feast and the bridegroom.
It might be expected that the bridegroom would reply to this, (the ruler's
speech,) and say something, but the Evangelist, hastening to more pressing
matters, has only touched upon this miracle, and passed on. For what we
needed to learn was, that Christ made the water wine, and that good wine;
but what the bridegroom said to the governor he did not think it necessary
to add. And many miracles, at first somewhat obscure, have in process of
time become more plain, when reported more exactly by those who knew them
from the beginning.
At that time, then, Jesus made of water wine, and both then and now
He ceases not to change our weak and unstable wills. For there are, yes,
there are men who in nothing differ from water, so cold, and weak, and
unsettled. But let us bring those of such disposition to the Lord, that
He may change their will to the quality of wine, so that they be no longer
washy, but have body, and be the cause of gladness in themselves and others.
But who can these cold ones be? They are those who give their minds to
the fleeting things of this present life, who despise not this world's
luxury, who are lovers of glory and dominion: for all these things are
flowing waters, never stable, but ever rushing violently down the steep.
The rich to-day is poor tomorrow, he who one day appears with herald, and
girdle, and chariot, and numerous attendants, is often on the next the
inhabitant of a dungeon, having unwillingly quitted all that show to make
room for another. Again, the gluttonous and dissipated man, when he has
filled himself to bursting, cannot retain even for a single day the supply
conveyed by his delicacies, but when that is dispersed, in order to renew
it he is obliged to put in more, differing in nothing from a torrent. For
as in the torrent when the first body of water is gone, others in turn
succeed; so in gluttony, when one repast is removed, we again require another.
And such is the nature and the lot of earthly things, never to be stable,
but to be always pouring and hurrying by; but in the case of luxury, it
is not merely the flowing and hastening by; but many other things that
trouble us. By the violence of its course it wears away the strength of
the body, and strips the soul of its manliness, and the strongest currents
of rivers do not so easily eat away their banks and make them sink down,
as do luxury and wantonness sweep away all the bulwarks of our health;
and if you enter a physician's house and ask him, you will find that almost
all the causes of diseases arise from this. For frugality and a plain table
is the mother of health, and therefore physicians have thus named it; for
they have called the not being satisfied "health," (because not to be satisfied
with food is health,) and they have spoken of sparing diet as the "mother
of health." Now if the condition of wants is the mother of health, it is
clear that fullness is the mother of sickness and debility, and produces
attacks which are beyond the skill even of physicians. For gout in the
feet, apoplexy, dimness of sight, pains in the hands, tremors, paralytic
attacks, jaundice, lingering and inflammatory fevers, and other diseases
many more than these, (for we have not time to go over them all,) are the
natural offspring, not of abstinence and moderate diet, but of gluttony
and repletion. And if you will look to the diseases of the soul that arise
from them, you will see that feelings of coveting, sloth, melancholy, dullness,
impurity, and folly of all kinds, have their origin here. For after such
banquets the souls of the luxurious become no better than asses, being
torn to pieces by such wild beasts as these (passions). Shall I say also
how many pains and displeasures they have who wait upon luxury? I could
not enumerate them all, but by a single principal point I will make the
whole clear. At a table such as I speak of, that is, a sumptuous one, men
never eat with pleasure; for abstinence is the mother of pleasure as well
as health, while repletion is the source and root not only of diseases,
but of displeasure. For where there is satiety there desire cannot be,
and where there is no desire, how can there be pleasure? And therefore
we should find that the poor are not only of better understanding and healthier
than the rich, but also that they enjoy a greater degree of pleasure. Let
us, when we reflect on this, flee drunkenness and luxury, not that of the
table alone, but all other which is found in the things of this life, and
let us take in exchange for it the pleasure arising from spiritual things,
and, as the Prophet says, delight ourselves in the Lord; "Delight thyself
in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart" (Ps. xxxvii.
4); that so that we may enjoy the good things both here and hereafter,
through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom
and with whom, to the Father and the Holy Ghost, be glory, world without
John ii. 11.-"This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana ofGalilee."
[1.] Frequent and fierce is the devil in his attacks, on all sides besieging
our salvation; we therefore must watch and be sober, and everywhere fortify
ourselves against his assault, for if he but gain some slight vantage ground,
he goes on to make for himself a broad passage, and by degrees introduces
all his forces. If then we have any care at all for our salvation, let
us not allow him to make his approaches even in trifles, that thus we may
check him beforehand in important matters; for it would be the extreme
of folly, if, while he displays such eagerness to destroy our souls, we
should not bring even an equal amount in defense of our own salvation.
I say not this without a cause, but because I fear lest that wolf be
even now standing unseen by us in the midst of the fold, and some sheep
become a prey to him, being led astray from the flock and from hearkening
by its own carelessness and his craft. Were the wounds sensible, or did
the body receive the blows, there would be no difficulty in discerning
his plots; but since the soul is invisible, and since that it is which
receives the wounds, we need great watchfulness that each may prove himself;
for none knoweth the things of a man as the spirit of a man that is in
him. (1 Cor. ii. 11.) The word is spoken indeed to all, and is offered
as a general remedy to those who need it, but it is the business of every
individual hearer to take what is suited to his complaint. I know not who
are sick, I know not who are well. And therefore I use every sort of argument,
and introduce remedies suited to all maladies, at one time condemning covetousness,
after that touching on luxury, and again on impurity, then composing something
in praise of and exhortation to charity, and each of the other virtues
in their turn. For I fear lest when my arguments are employed on any one
subject, I may without knowing it be treating you for one disease while
you are ill of others. So that if this congregation were but one person,
I should not have judged it so absolutely necessary to make my discourse
varied; but since in such a multitude there are probably also many maladies,
I not unreasonably diversify my teaching, since my discourse will be sure
to attain its object when it is made to embrace you all. For this cause
also Scripture is something multiform, and speaks on ten thousand matters,
because it addresses itself to the nature of mankind in common, and in
such a multitude all the passions of the soul must needs be; though all
be not in each. Let us then cleanse ourselves of these, and so listen to
the divine oracles, and with contrite heart hear what has been this day
read to us.
And what is that? "This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee."
I told you the other day, that there are some who say that this is not
the beginning. "For what," says one, "if `Cana of Galilee' be added? This
shows that this was `the beginning' He made `in Cana.'" But on these points
I would not venture to assert anything exactly. I before have shown that
He began His miracles after His Baptism, and wrought no miracle before
it; but whether of the miracles done after His Baptism, this or some other
was the first, it seems to me unnecessary to assert positively.
"And manifested forth His glory."
"How?" asks one, "and in what way? For only the servants, the ruler
of the feast, and the bridegroom, not the greater number of those present,
gave heed to what was done." How then did he "manifest forth His glory"?
He manifested it at least for His own part, and if all present hear not
of the miracle at the time, they would hear of it afterwards, for unto
the present time it is celebrated, and has not been unnoticed. That all
did not know it on the same day is clear from what follows, for after having
said that He "manifested forth His glory," the Evangelist adds,
"And His disciples believed on Him."
His disciples, who even before this regarded Him with wonder. Seest
thou that it was especially necessary to work the miracles at times when
men were present of honest minds, and who would carefully give heed to
what was done? for these would more readily believe, and attend more exactly
to the circumstances. "And how could He have become known without miracles?"
Because His doctrine and prophetic powers were sufficient to cause wonder
in the souls of His hearers, so that they took heed to what He did with
a right disposition, their minds being already well affected towards Him.
And therefore in many other places the Evangelists say, that He did no
miracle on account of the perversity of the men who dwelt there. (Matt.
xii. 38; ch. xiii. 58, &c.)