George Whitefield Sermon 36

The Marriage of Cana

John 2:11, "This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and

manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him."

I have more than once had occasion to observe, that the chief end St.

John had in view, when he wrote his gospel, was to prove the divinity of

Jesus Christ, [that Word, who not only was from everlasting with God, but

also was really God blessed for evermore] against those arch-heretics Ebion

and Cerinthus, whose pernicious principles too many follow in these last

days. For this purpose, you may take notice, that he is more particular

than any other Evangelist, in relating our Lord's divine discourses, and

also the glorious miracles which he wrought, not by a power derived from

another, like Moses, and other prophets, but from a power inherent in


The words of the text have a reference to a notable miracle which

Christ performed, and thereby gave proof of his eternal power and Godhead.

"This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested

forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him."

The miracle here spoken of, is that of our Lord's turning water into

wine at a marriage feast. I design, at present, by God's help, to make some

observations on the circumstances and certainty of the miracle, and then

conclude with some practical instructions; that you, by hearing how Jesus

Christ has showed forth his glory, may, by the operation of God's Spirit

upon your hearts, with the disciples mentioned in the text, be brought to

believe on him.

FIRST, then, I would make some observations on the miracle itself.

Verse 1 and 2. "And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of

Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there. And both Jesus was called, and

his disciples, to the marriage." By our Lord's being at a feast we may

learn, that feasting upon solemn occasions is not absolutely unlawful: but

then we must be exceeding careful at such seasons, that the occasion be

solemn, and that we go not for the sake of eating and drinking, but to

edify one another in love. Feasting in any other manner, I think absolutely

unlawful for the followers of Jesus Christ: because if we eat and drink out

of any other view, it cannot be to the glory of God. The Son of man, we

know, "came eating and drinking." If a Pharisee asked him to come to his

house, our Lord went, and sat down with him. But then we find his discourse

was always such as tended to the use of edifying. We may then, no doubt, go

and do likewise.

We may observe farther, that if our Lord was present at a marriage

feast, then, to deny marriage to any order of men, is certainly a "doctrine

of devils." "Marriage (says the Apostle) is honorable in all." Our Lord

graced a marriage feast with his first public miracle. It was an

institution of God himself, even in paradise: and therefore, no doubt,

lawful for all Christians, even for those who are made perfect in holiness

through the faith of Jesus Christ. But then, we may learn the reason why we

have so many unhappy marriages in the world; it is because the parties

concerned do not call Jesus Christ by prayer, nor ask the advice of his

true disciples when they are about to marry. No; Christ and religion are

the last things that are consulted; and no wonder then if matches of the

devil's making (as all such are, which are contracted only on account of

outward beauty, or for filthy lucre's sake) prove most miserable, and

grievous to be borne.

I cannot but dwell a little on this particular, because I am persuaded

the devil cannot lay a greater snare for young Christians, than to tempt

them unequally to yoke themselves with unbelievers; as are all who are not

born again of God. This was the snare wherein the sons of God were

entangled before the flood, and one great cause why God brought that flood

upon the world. For what says Moses, Gen 6:2,3, "The sons of God (the

posterity of pious Seth) saw the daughters of men, (or the posterity of

wicked Cain) that they were fair, (not that they were pious) and they took

them wives of all which they chose:" not which God chose for them. What

follows? "And the Lord saith, My spirit shall not always strive with man,

for that he also is flesh;" that is, even the few righteous souls being now

grown carnal by their ungodly marriages, the whole world was altogether

become abominable, and had made themselves vessels of wrath fitted for

destruction. I might instance farther, the care the ancient patriarchs took

to choose wives for their children out of their own religious families, and

it was one great mark of Esau's rebellion against his father, that he took

unto himself wives of the daughters of the Canaanites, who were strangers

to the covenant of promise made unto his fathers. But I forbear. Time will

not permit me to enlarge here. Let it suffice to advise all, whenever they

enter into a marriage state, to imitate the people of Cana in Galilee, to

call Christ to the marriage; He certainly will hear and choose for you; and

you will always find his choice to be the best. He then will direct you to

such yoke-fellows as shall be helps meet for you in the great work of your

salvation, and then he will also enable you to serve him without

distraction, and cause you to walk, as Zachary and Elizabeth, in all his

commandments and ordinances blameless.

But to proceed. Who these persons were that called our Lord and his

disciples to the marriage, is not certain. Some (because it is said, that

the mother of Jesus was there) have supposed that they were related to the

Virgin, and that therefore our Lord and his disciples were invited on her

account. However that be, it should seem they were not very rich, (for what

had rich folks to do with a despised Jesus of Nazareth, and his mean

followers?) because we find they were unfurnished with a sufficient

quantity of wine for a large company, and therefore, "when they wanted

wind, the mother of Jesus," having, as it should seem by her applying to

him so readily on this occasion, even in his private life, seen some

instances of his miraculous power, "saith unto him, They have no wine." She

thought is sufficient only to inform him of the wants of the host, knowing

that he was as ready to give as she to ask. In this light the blessed

Virgin's request appears to us at the first view; but if we examine our

Lord's answer, we shall have reason to think there was something which was

not right; for Jesus saith unto her, ver. 4, "Woman, what have I to do with

thee?" Observe, he calls her woman, not mother; to show her, that though

she was his mother, as he was man, yet she was his creature, as he was God.

"What have I to do with thee?" Think you that I must work miracles at your

bidding? Some have thought that she spoke as though she had an authority

over him, which was a proud motion, and our Lord therefore checks her for

it, And if Jesus Christ would not turn a little water into wine, whilst he

was here on earth, at her command, how idolatrous is that church, and how

justly do we separate from her, which prescribes forms, wherein the Virgin

is desired to command her Son to have compassion on us!

But notwithstanding the holy Virgin was blamable in this respect, yet

she hath herein set rich and poor an example which it is your duty to

follow. You that are rich, and live in cieled houses, learn of her to go

into the cottages of the poor; your Lord was not above it, and why should

you? And when you do visit them, like the virgin-mother, examine their

wants; and when you see they have no wine, and are ready to perish with

hunger, shut not up your bowels of compassion, but bless the Lord for

putting it in your power to administer to their necessities. Believe me,

such visits would do you good. You would learn then to be thankful that God

has given you bread enough, and to spare. And I am persuaded, every mite

that you bestow on feeding the hungry and clothing the naked disciples of

Jesus Christ, will afford you more satisfaction at the hour of death, and

in the day of judgment, than all the thousands squandered away in balls and

assemblies, and such like entertainments.

You that are poor in this world's goods, and thereby are disabled from

helping, yet you may learn from the Virgin, to pray for one another. She

could not turn the water into wine, but she could entreat her son to do it:

and so may you; and doubt not of the Lord's hearing you; for God has chosen

the poor in this world, rich in faith: and by your servant prayers, you may

draw down many a blessing on your poor fellow creatures. O that I may ever

be remembered by you before the throne of our dear Lord Jesus! But what

shall we say? Will our Lord entirely disregard this motion of his mother?

No; though he check her with, "Woman, what have I to do with thee?" yet he

intimates that he would do as she desired by-and-by; "Mine hour is not yet

come." As though he had said, The wine is almost, but not quite out; when

they are come to an extremity, and sensible of the want of my assistance,

then will I show forth my glory, that they may behold it, and believe on


Thus, Sirs, hath our Lord been frequently pleased to deal with me,

and, I doubt not, with many of you also. Often, often when I have found his

presence as it were hidden from my soul, and his comforts well nigh gone, I

have went unto him complaining that I had no visit and token of his love,

as usual. Sometimes he has seemed to turn a deaf ear to my request, and as

it were said, "What have I to do with thee?" which has made me go sorrowing

all the day long; so foolish was I, and faithless before him: for I have

always found he loved me notwithstanding, as he did Lazarus, though he

stayed two days after he heard he was sick. But when my hour of extremity

has been come, and my will broken, then hath he lifted up the light of his

blessed countenance afresh; he has showed forth his glory, and made me

ashamed for disbelieving him, who often hath turned my water into wine. Be

not then discouraged, if the Lord does not immediately seem to regard the

voice of your prayer, when you cry unto him. The holy Virgin we find was

not; no, she was convinced his time was the best time, and therefore, verse

5, "saith unto the servants, (O that we could follow her advice!)

whatsoever he saith unto you, do it."

And now, behold the hour is come, when the eternal Son of God will

show forth his glory. The circumstance of the miracle is very remarkable;

ver. 6, "And there were set six water-pots of water, after the manner of

the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins a-piece." The

manner of this purifying we have an account of in the other Evangelist,

especially St. Mark, who informs us, that the Pharisees, and all the Jews,

except they wash their hands oft, eat not; and when they come from the

market, except they wash they eat not. This was a superstitious custom;

but, however , we may learn from it, whenever we come in from conversing

with those that are without, to purify our hearts by self-examination and

prayer; for it is hard to go through the world, and to be kept unspotted

from it.

Observe further, verse 7. "Jesus saith unto them," not to his own

disciples, but unto the servants of the house, who were strangers to the

holy Jesus, and whom the virgin had before charged to do whatsoever he said

unto them; "Fill the water-pots with water. And they filled them to the

brim. And he saith unto them, draw out now, and bear to the governor of the

feast. And they bear it." How our Lord turned the water into wine we are

not told. What have we to do with that? Why should we desire to be wise

above what is written? It is sufficient for the manifestation of his

glorious godhead, that we are assured he did do it. For we are told, verse

9, 10, "When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made

wine, and knew not whence it was (but the servants that 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 they have

well drank, that which is worse; but thou hast kept the good wine until


To explain this passage, you must observe, it was the custom of the

Jews, nay even of the heathens themselves, (to the shame of our Christian

baptized heathens be it spoken) at their public feasts to choose a

governor, who was to ever see and regulate the behavior of the guests, and

to take care that all things were carried on with decency and order. To

this person then did the servants bear the wine; and we may judge how rich

it was by his commendation of it, "Every man at the beginning, &c." Judge

ye then, whether Jesus did not show forth his glory, and whether you have

not good reason, like the disciple here mentioned, to believe on him?

Thus, my brethren, I have endeavored to make some observations on the

miracle itself. But alas! this is only the outward court thereof, the veil

is yet before our eyes; turn that aside, and we shall see such mysteries

under it, as will make our hearts to dance for joy, and fill our mouths

with praise for evermore!

But here I cannot help remarking what a sad inference one of our

masters of Israel, in a printed sermon, has lately drawn from this

commendation of the bridegroom. His words are these. "Our blessed Savior

came eating and drinking, was present at weddings, and other

entertainments, (though I hear of his being only at one;) nay, at one of

them (which I suppose is that of which I am now discoursing) worked a

miracle to make wine, when it is plain there had been more drank than was

absolutely necessary for the support of nature, and consequently something

had been indulged to pleasure and cheerfulness."

I am sorry such words should come from the mouth and pen of a

dignified clergyman of the Church of England. Alas! how is she fallen! or

at least, in what danger must her tottering ark be, when such unhallowed

hands are stretched out to support it! Well may I bear patiently to be

stiled a blasphemer, and a setter forth of strange doctrine, when my dear

Lord Jesus is thus traduced; and when those who pretend to preach in his

name, urge this example to patronize licentiousness and excess. It is true

(as I observed at the beginning of this discourse) our blessed Savior did

come eating and drinking; he was present at a wedding, and other

entertainments; nay, at one of them worked a miracle to make wine, (you see

I have been making some observations on it) but then it is not plain there

had been more wine drank than was absolutely necessary for the support of

nature; much less does it appear, that something had been indulged to

pleasure and cheerfulness.

The governor does indeed say, "When men have well drunken," but it no

where appears that they were the men. Is it to be supposed, that the most

holy and unspotted Lamb of God, who was manifested to destroy the works of

the devil, and who, when at a Pharisee's house, took notice of even the

gestures of those with whom he sat at meat; is it to be supposed, that our

dear Redeemer, whose constant practice it was to tell people they must deny

themselves, and take up their crosses daily; who bid his disciples to take

heed, lest at any time their hearts might be over-charged with surfeiting

and drunkenness; can it be supposed, that such a self-denying Jesus should

now turn six large water-pots of water into the richest wine, to encourage

excess and drunkenness in persons, who, according to this writer, had

indulged to pleasure and cheerfulness already? Had our Lord sat by, and

seen them indulge, without telling them of it, would it not be a sin? But

to insinuate he not only did this, but also turned water into wine, to

increase that indulgence; this is making Christ a minister of sin indeed.

What is this, but using him like the Pharisees of old, who called him a

glutton, and a wine-bibber? Alas! how may we expect our dear Lord's enemies

will treat him, when he is thus wounded in the house of his seeming

friends? Sirs, if you follow such doctrine as this, you will not be

righteous, but I am persuaded you will be wicked over-much.

But God forbid you should think our Lord behaved so much unlike

himself in this matter. No, he had nobler ends in view, when he wrought

this miracle. One, the evangelist mentions in the words of the text, "to

show forth his glory," or to give a proof of his eternal power and godhead.

Here seems to be an allusion to the appearance of God in the

tabernacle, which this same evangelist takes notice of in his first

chapter, where he says, "The Word (Jesus Christ) was made flesh, and dwelt

(or, as it is rendered in the margin, tabernacled) amongst us." Our dear

Lord, though very God of very God, and also most perfect and glorious in

himself as man, was pleased to throw a veil of flesh over this his great

glory, when he came to make his soul an offering for sin. And that the

world might know and believe in him as the Savior of all men, he performed

many miracles, and this in particular; for thus speaks the evangelist,

"This first," &c.

This then was the chief design of our Lord's turning the water into

wine. But there are more which our Lord may be supposed to have had in

view, some of which I shall proceed to mention.

SECONDLY, he might do this to reward the hose for calling him and his

disciples to the marriage. Jesus Christ will not be behind-hand with those

who receive him or his followers, for his name's sake. Those who thus honor

him, he will honor. A cup of cold water given in the name of a disciple,

shall in no wise lose its reward. He will turn water into wine. Though

those who abound in alms-deeds, out of a true faith in, and love for Jesus,

may seem as it were to throw their bread upon the waters, yet they shall

find it again after many days. For they who give to the poor out of this

principle, lend unto the Lord; and look, whatsoever they lay out, it shall

be repaid them again. Even in this life, God often orders good measure

pressed down and running over, to be returned into his servants bosoms. It

is the same in spirituals. To him that hath, and improves what he hath, for

the sake of Christ and his disciples, shall be given, and he shall have

abundance. Brethren, I would not boast; but, to my master's honor and free

grace be it spoken, I can prove this to be true by happy experience. When I

have considered that I am a child, and cannot speak, and have seen so many

of you come out into the wilderness to be fed, I have often said within

myself, what can I do with my little stock of grace and knowledge among so

great a multitude? But, at my Lord's command, I have given you to eat of

such spiritual food as I had, and before I have done speaking, have had my

soul richly fed with the bread which cometh down from heaven. Thus shall it

be done to all such who are willing to spend and be spent for Christ or his

disciples; for there is no respect of persons with God.

THIRDLY, Our Lord's turning the water, which was poured out so

plentifully, into wine, is a sign of the plentiful pouring out of his

Spirit into the hearts of believers. The holy Spirit is in scripture

compared unto wine; and therefore the prophet calls us to buy wine as well

as milk, that is, the spirit of love, which fills and gladdens the soul as

it were with new wine. The apostle alludes to this, when he bids the

Ephesians "not to be drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled with

the Spirit." And our Lord shows us thus much by choosing wine; to show

forth the strength and refreshment of his blood, in the blessed sacrament.

I know these terms are unintelligible to natural men, they can no more

understand me, than if I spoke to them in an unknown tongue, for they are

only to be spiritually discerned. To you then that are spiritual do I

speak, to you who are justified by faith, and feel the blessed Spirit of

Jesus Christ working upon your hearts, you can judge of what I say; you

have already (I am persuaded) been as it were filled with new wine by the

inspiration of his Holy Spirit. But alas! you have not yet had half your

portion; thee are only earnests, and in comparison but shadows of good

things to come; our Lord keeps his best wine for you till the last; and

though you have drank deep of it already, yet he intends to give you more:

He will not leave you, till he has filled you to the brim, till you are

ready to cry out, Lord, stay thine hand, thy poor creatures can hold no

more! Be not straitened in your own bowels, since Jesus Christ is not

straitened in his. Open your hearts as wide as ever you will, the Spirit of

the Lord shall fill them. Christ deals with true believers, as Elijah did

with the poor woman, whose oil increased, to pay her husband's debts; as

long as she brought pitchers, the oil continued. It did not cease till she

ceased bringing vessels to contain it. My brethren, our hearts are like

those pitchers; open them freely by faith, and the oil of God's free gift,

the oil of gladness, the love of God through Christ, shall be continually

pouring in; for believers are to be filled with all the fullness of God.

FOURTHLY, Our Lord's turning water into wine, and keeping the best

until last, may show forth the glory of the latter days of his marriage

feast with his church. Great things God has done already, whereat millions

of saints have rejoiced, and do yet rejoice. Great things God is doing now,

but yet, my brethren, we shall see greater things than these. It is meet,

right, and our bounden duty, to give thanks unto God, even the Father; for

many righteous men have desired to see the things which we see, and have

not seen them; and to hear the things which we hear, and have not heard

them. But still there are more excellent things behind. Glorious things are

spoken of these times, "when the earth shall be filled with the knowledge

of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." There is a general expectation

among the people of God, when the partition-wall between Jew and Gentile

shall be broken down, and all Israel be saved. Happy those who live when

God does this. They shall see Satan, like lightning, fall from heaven. They

shall not weep, as the Jews did at the building of the second temple. No,

they shall rejoice with exceeding great joy. For all the former glory of

the Christian church shall be nothing in comparison of that glory which

shall excel. Then shall they cry out with the governor of the feast, "thou

hast kept thy good wine until now!"

FIFTHLY, and lastly, This shows us the happiness of that blessed

state, when we shall all sit together at the marriage supper of the Lamb,

and drink of the new wine in his eternal and glorious kingdom!

The rewards which Jesus Christ confers on his faithful servants, and

the comforts of his love wherewith he comforts them, whilst pilgrims here

on earth, are often so exceeding great, that was it not promised, it were

almost presumption for them to hope for any reward hereafter. But, my

brethren, all the manifestations of God that we can possibly be favored

with here, when compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us, are

no more than a drop of water when compared with an unbounded ocean. Though

Christ frequently fills his saints even to the brim, yet their corruptible

bodies weigh down their souls, and cause them to cry, "Who shall deliver us

from these bodies of death?" These earthly tabernacles can hold no more:

But, blessed be God, these earthly tabernacles are to be dissolved; this

corruptible is to put on incorruption; this mortal is to put on

immortality: and when God shall cause all his glory to pass before us, then

shall we cry out, Lord, thou hast kept thy good wine until now. We have

drank deeply of thy spirit; we have heard glorious things spoken of this

thy city, O God! but we now find, that not the half, not the thousandth

part hath been told us. O the invisible realities of the world of faith!

Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither hath it entered into the

heart of the greatest saint to conceive how Christ will show forth his

glory there! St. Paul, who was carried up into the third heavens, could

give us little or no account of it. And well he might not -- for he heard

and saw such things as is not possible for a man clothed with flesh and

blood to utter. Whilst I am thinking, and only speaking of those things

unto you, I am almost carried beyond myself. Methinks, I now receive some

little foretastes of that new wine which I hope to drink with you in the

heavenly kingdom for ever and ever.

And wherefore do you think I have been saying these things? Many,

perhaps, may be ready to say, To manifest thy own vain-glory. But it is a

small matter with me to be judged of man's judgment. He that judgeth me is

the Lord. He knows that I have spoken of his miracle, only for the same end

for which he at first performed it, and which I at first proposed, that is,

"to show forth his glory," that you also may be brought to believe on him.

Did I come to preach myself, and not Christ Jesus my Lord, I would

come to you, not in this plainness of speech, but with the enticing words

of man's wisdom. Did I desire to please natural men, I need not preach here

in the wilderness. I hope my heart aims at nothing else, than what our

Lord's great fore-runner aimed at, and which ought to be the business of

every gospel minister, that is, to point out to you the God-man Christ

Jesus. "Behold then (by faith behold) the Lamb of God, who taketh away the

sins of the world." Look unto him, and be saved. You have heard how he

manifested, and will yet manifest his glory to true believers; and why

then, O sinners, will you not believe in him? I say, O sinners, for now I

have spoken to the saints, I have many things to say to you. And may God

give you all an hearing ear, and an obedient heart!

The Lord Jesus who showed forth his glory above 1700 years ago, has

made a marriage feast, and offers to espouse all sinners to himself, and to

make them flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone. He is willing to be

united to you by one spirit. In every age, at sundry times, and after

divers manners, he hath sent forth his servants, and they had bidden many,

but yet, my brethren, there is room. The Lord therefore now has given a

commission in these last days to others of his servants, even to compel

poor sinners by the cords of love to come in. For our master's house must

and shall be filled. He will not shed his gracious blood in vain. Come

then, come to the marriage. Let this be the day of your espousals with

Jesus Christ, he is willing to receive you, though other lords have had

dominion over you. Come then to the marriage. Behold the oxen and fatlings

are killed, and all things are ready; let me hear you say, as Rebecca did,

when they asked her, whether she would go and be a wife to Isaac; O let me

hear you say, we will come. Indeed you will not repent it. The Lord shall

turn your water into wine. He shall fill your souls with marrow and

fatness, and cause you to praise him with joyful lips.

Do not say, you are miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, and

therefore ashamed to come, for it is to such that this invitation is not

sent. The polite, the rich, the busy, self-righteous Pharisees of this

generation have been bidden already, but they have rejected the counsel of

God against themselves. They are too deeply engaged in going, one to his

country house, another to his merchandise. They are so deeply wedded to the

pomps and vanities of this wicked world, that they, as it were with one

consent, have made excuse. And though they have been often called in their

own synagogues, yet all the return they make, is to thrust us out, and

thereby in effect say, they will not come. But God forbid, my brethren,

that you should learn of them; no, since our Lord condescends to call

first, (because if left to yourselves you would never call after him) let

me beseech you to answer him, as he answered for you, when called upon by

infinite offended justice to die for you sins, "Lo! I come to do thy will,

O God!" What if you are miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, that is

no excuse; faith is the only wedding garment which Christ requires; he does

not call you because you already are, but because he intends to make you

saints. It pities him to see you naked. He wants to cover you with his

righteousness. In short, he desires to show forth his glory, that is, his

free love through your faith in him. Not but that he will be glorified,

whether you believe in him or not; for the infinitely free love of Jesus

Christ will be ever the same, whether you believe it, or so receive it, or

the contrary. But our Lord will not always send out his servants in vain,

to call you; the time will come when he will say, None of those which were

bidden, and would not come, shall taste of my supper. Our Lord is a God of

justice, as well as of love; and if sinners will not take hold of his

golden scepter, verily he will bruise them with his iron rod. It is for

your sakes, O sinners, and not his own, that he thus condescends to invite

you: suffer him then to show forth his glory, even the glory of the

exceeding riches of his free grace, by believing on him, "For we are saved

by grace through faith." It was grace, free grace, that moved the Father so

to love the world, as to "give his only begotten Son, that whosoever

believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life!" It was

grace, that made the Son to come down and die. It was grace, free grace,

that moved the Holy Ghost to undertake to sanctify the elect people of God:

and it was grace, free grace, that moved our Lord Jesus Christ to send

forth his ministers to call poor sinners this day. Let me not then, my

brethren, go without my errand. Why will you not believe in him? Will the

devil do such great and good things for you as Christ will? No indeed, he

will not. Perhaps, he may give you to drink at first of a little brutish

pleasure; but what will he give you to drink as last? a cup of fury and of

trembling; a never-dying worm, a self-condemning conscience, and the bitter

pains of eternal death. But as for the servants of Jesus Christ, it is not

so with them. No, he keeps his best wine till the last. And though he may

cause you to drink of the brook in the way to heaven, and of the cup of

affliction, yet he sweetens it with a sense of his goodness, and makes it

pleasant drink, such as their souls do love. I appeal to the experience of

any saint here present, (as I doubt not but there are many such in this

field) whether Christ has not proved faithful, ever since you have been

espoused to him? Has he not showed forth his glory, ever since you have

believed on him?

And now, sinners, what have you to object? I see you are all silent,

and well you may. For if you will not be drawn by the cords of infinite and

everlasting love, what will draw you? I could urge many terrors of the Lord

to persuade you; but if the love of Jesus Christ will not constrain you,

your case is desperate. Remember then this day I have invited all, even the

worst of sinners, to be married to the Lord Jesus. If you perish, remember

you do not perish for lack of invitation. You yourselves shall stand forth

at the last day, and I here give you a summons to meet me at the judgment

seat of Christ, and to clear both my master and me. Would weeping, would

tears prevail on you, I could wish my head were waters, and my eyes

fountains of tears, that I might weep out every argument, and melt you into

love. Would any thing I could do or suffer, influence your hearts, I think

I could bear to pluck out my eyes, or even to lay down my life for your

sakes. Or was I sure to prevail on you by importunity, I could continue my

discourse till midnight, I would wrestle with you even till the morning

watch, as Jacob did with the angel, and would not go away till I had

overcome. But such power belongeth only unto the Lord, I can only invite;

it is He only can work in you both to will and to do after his good

pleasure; it is his property to take away the heart of stone, and give you

a heart of flesh; it is his spirit that must convince you of unbelief, and

of the everlasting righteousness of his dear Son; it is He alone must give

faith to apply his righteousness to your hearts; it is He alone can give

you a wedding garment, and bring you to sit down and drink new wine in his

kingdom. As to spirituals we are quite dead, and have no more power to turn

to God of ourselves, than Lazarus had to raise himself, after he had lain

stinking in the grave four days. If thou canst go, O man, and breathe upon

all the dry bones that lie in the graves, and bid them live; if thou canst

take thy mantle and divide yonder river, as Elijah did the river Jordan;

then will we believe thou hast a power to turn to God of thyself: But as

thou must despair of the one, so thou must despair of the other, without

Christ's quickening grace; in him is thy only help; fly to him then by

faith; say unto him, as the poor leper did, "Lord, if thou wilt," thou

canst make me willing; and he will stretch forth the right-hand of his

power to assist and relieve you: He will sweetly guide you by his wisdom on

earth, and afterwards take you up to partake of his glory in heaven.

To his mercy therefore, and Almighty protection, do I earnestly,

humbly, and most affectionately commit you: the Lord bless you and keep

you; the Lord lift up the light of his blessed countenance upon you, and

give you all peace and joy in believing, now and for evermore!