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Cart@u 'ove-the wine falling short, which implies that there had been wine already used; and even, when it failed, it could have been supplied from the neighbourhood, as Cana was not far from Bethsaida, and as wine was a common beverage in those countries. It was not then, as it was afterwards in the wilderness, that the multitude could not be provided by human means, without the intervention of Almighty power; since here they were in an inland and frequented place, and might have had their demands satisfied perhaps from no greater distance than the next town. And if the philosophic observation about nature be true, much more will it hold with respect to providence, that it does nothing in vain.' Besides, the conversation between Jesus and his mother, on this occasion, seems to carry with it some weight, as if she at this time expected some great and solemn thing, and looked for the exhibition of some glorious manifestation of power. This indeed is not to be doubted, from what we are elsewhere told of Mary, that she kept all these sayings, and pondered them in her
heart, her son having held frequent conversations with her about his doing his Father's business. And to mention no more particulars, the account given of this mysterious transaction by St John, deserves consideration, * This beginning of miracles did Jesus,' &c. The Greek word ompelwy, which is here translated miracles, properly signifies signs, by which something is demonstrated. Thus it is used by Moses', 'And let them be’ens omuesce for signs, &c. according to the Septuagint. So again ’, the bow in the cloud is said to be
1 St Luke ii. 51.
onusov, a sign or token of the covenants, &c. So likewise the two miracles recorded by Moses », are called onperia, signs. And in the New Testament the word is used in the same sense. Thus * we find the Jews asking Tonusov, what sign shewest thou, &c. And again ", • Jesus said, ex
cept ye see onuna nau tepata, signs and wonders, &c. In many other places, it is distinguished from miracles and wonders, as ", Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God by miracles, wonders, and
postols, signs ?,' &c.
This transaction, then, at Cana, being made the apx, the beginning, the source, principle, chief of SIGNS, to be exhibited by Jesus, carries with it a particular signification, and may well be interpreted to have a mysterious or symbolical meaning; especially as connected with what follows, that by this beginning of signs, he “ MANIFESTED FORTH,' erhibited, displayed his Shechinah or glory, as we have remarked above. However, whether it be universally allowed or not, that this affair had
his affair had any such symbolical aspect, (as some no doubt for certain reasons will refuse such an interpretation), it is enough for us, that the blessed Jesus, before he left this world, did set apart the patriarchal elements of bread and wine to be his body and blood, that is to exhibit his presence to christians, as Melchisedec did to Abram; and not only so, but gave commission to his apostles, and (as is agreed upon by all parties) to their successors, to continue the same exhibition,
1 Gen. i. 14.
2 Gen. ix. 13. 3 Exod. iy. 8.
4 St John ii. 18. 5 St. John iv. 48.
Acts ii. 22. 7 See also Acts ii. 43. iv. 30. viii. 13. Rom. xv. 19. Heb. ii. 4. &c.
TO DO THIS,' that is, to make the same consecration, in the same manner, by blessing and giving thanks, of the same elements of bread and wine ; and that to be a perpetual display of his presence, ας την εμην αναμνησιν, (they are our Lord's own words'), 'to be my commemoration, or symbol of remembrance, that symbol, by which I am to be always present with you.
I do not propose at this time, as it is not the principal part of my present design, to enter into any disquisition concerning this mysterious sacrament; and I hope I have said nothing contrary either to the scripture accounts or primitive belief respecting it. Thus far I may be permitted, and shall take leave to say, that no point of christianity has been the subject of more debate and controversy than the sacrament of the eucharist has been: Some requiring all christians, under pain of damnation, to stretch their faith concerning it to the exalted pitch of their own superstitious creeds:
I St Luke xxii. 19.
others again sinking it as low as the contrary extreme can reach, and bringing it down to a bare memorial. Were we to enquire into the causes of these differences, they would be found to proceed entirely from a superficial view of the institution, and from men's being at no pains to compare it (as being what we may call the chief, nay distinguishing ornament of the christian dispensation) with other divine appointments under the patriarchal and Jewish economy. Taking it in this light, in which I have represented it, as corresponding to the order of Mel'chisedec,' which we have seen consisted in bringing forth bread and wine, and blessing Abram, and consequently being an exhibition of Jehovah the Word, God manifested in the flesh, will not this establish the truth of Christ's presence, not properly in the sacrament, but in the church by the sacrament; a presence though not bodily, yet real and true, not by annihilating the substance of the elements, and transubstantiating them into that very body, which was taken from the virgin, but by the Divinity inhabiting, dwelling, residing upon them, as he inhabited the cherubim at the east of Paradise', as he stood upon Jacob's ladder, as he dwelt between the cherubim in the tabernacle 3, &c. as he was seen by Ezekiel standing over the cherubim 4, and by St John sitting upon a thrones. From all which it appears that this PRESENCE, SHECHINAH, or 'GLORY, is still with the christian church in the sacred symbols of bread and wine; and, that it was believed to be so in the 'pure ages of antiquity, appears from those many liturgies which go under the name of St James, St Clement, St Chrysostom, &c. which, though they have been condemned by a few among us of a different belief, have again and again been proved to be genuine and purged from all corruptions and interpolations of designing men.
i Gen. iii. 24. 3 2 Sam. vi. 2.
2 Gen. xxviii. 13.
4 Ezek. x, 18. 5 Rev. im 2.
It may be observed likewise, to strengthen this interpretation, that, as I have already remarked, the patriarchal altars were for the most part built in those places where Jehovah was seen by some visible exhibition; so that, in the history of these times, the presence of the Lord always deserved an altar, and an altar always implied the presence of the Lord. It is well known, that the christian church, from its first institution, had an altar ; 'We have an altar, says St Paul', from which they have no right to eat that serve the tabernacle. If then the christian church has an altar, is there any good reason to be assigned, why we should not believe, that we have the divine presence too? Should it be objected, that God is not seen by us now, as He was seen in the patriarchal times ; St Paul shall answer the objection, who tells us ", that we walk by faith, not by sight.' Besides, the patriarchal times were but the infancy
I Heb. xiii. 10.
2 2 Cor. v. 7.