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XIII.

tain the Decency of an hofpitable Entertain- SER M. 71 ment, she fues to our Lord for a supply of Wine, when what was provided in the House was failed; Jefus faith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine Hour is

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not yet come. This being an Answer that
feems to incline towards Harfhnefs 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 Jefus 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, fince
thy Relation to me, as Mother, continues no
more: Thou haft 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, a dearer Friend,
for whom, by the exprefs Decree of God, both
Father and Mother and all must be left. The
Wife I have chofen is infinitely nearer and
dearer to me, than any Relation, meerly hu
*Greg. Nyff

A

man,

SERM.
XIII.

man, can be conceived. I came down from Heaven to espouse her to myself, and left my Father's Bofom and Throne purely for her fake. For her fake thou knoweft I have already taken on me my Office and Ministry, and therefore doft thou not think, that mine Hour is now come, to cleave unto her, and confequently to bid adieu to thee? Thou thinkeft 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 fake of fupplying 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 defire 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 fo much to celebrate their Marriage as to folemnize my own.

This may poffibly be our Saviour's Meaning in the short Anfwer he returned to Mary: And this being understood, every thing relating to the Mystery of the Miracle feems fufficiently explained. What then remains, but,

XIII.

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but by way of a practical Application at laft, SER M. to infer the Obligations that lye upon Chriftians (who are Members of this Spouse, whom Jefus 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 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 Difpenfation, which prescribes to you nothing, but what it affords you fufficient Grace and Strength to go through. See then that you J make use of the Abilities that are indulged you; fince if Grace be offered, and you accept 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 Excufe, that the Commands were burthenfome, and their Abilities weak: But negligent Christians have no fuch Plea, because their Duty is easy, and their Afsistance great. The Law burthened Men with carnal Ordinances, and Ceremonies in themselves unprofitable: Ordinances which had indeed a Spiritual Meaning, but fuch as but few that were concerned in them ever understood.

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SERM. Their Ceremonies alfo, though they were XIII. of Use so far as they were typical; yet the Shadow was fo thick that the Substance itself could hardly be difcerned: Whereas the Gospel propounds to us a Service rational, fpiritual, and pure. It leaves no Cloud to intercept our Sight: But carries us to Jefus Chrift directly, who is himself the Antitype, the Accomplishment, 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 Defects in the Law of Mofes, which in the Religion of Christ are fully fupplied, were the great Motive of all Obedience, a fufficient Reward; and the great Encouragement to all Endeavours, a Strength able and fufficient to perform. The Rewards promifed to the Jews upon Obfervance of the Law, were merely temporal ; all limited to the prefent Life; fuch as the Enjoyment of their Land in Plenty and Peace, Victory and Triumph over their Enemies, and Length of Days to enjoy those Bleffings. Not a fingle Promife does Mofes give of Happiness or Life in the World to come; whereas Chriftians, to excite and encourage

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XIII.

courage them to Obedience, have a full Af-SER M.
furance of Life and Immortality, which Chrift
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 fo much is Chrift the Mediator of a
better Covenant, which was established upon
better Promifes, Ch. viii. 6.

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But the other Defect which was fupplied
by Chrift, and which was chiefly fignified
by the Miracle we have been confidering, is
the great Encouragement we have given us
to aim at these Rewards by the Promife of
God's holy Spirit to affift us. The Law, it
is true, fhewed 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 Mofes; but
Grace and Truth, both came by Jefus Chrift,
John i. 17. The Law only fhewed and
threatened Sin, but did not inwardly affift
and rescue us from it: It condemned Men
for what they did; but brought no Grace
to strengthen them against it.
St. Paul speaking in the Perfon
difpofed, but unregenerate Jew,

Therefore

of a well
fays, To

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