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SECTION LXXX.

Our Lord, being followed by the multitude to Capernaum, cautions them

against those worldly views with which they sought him, and declares himself to be the bread of life. JOHN vi. 22-40.

22 O n the morrow, the multitude, who continued on the other

side of the sea, as they saw there was no other vessel there, : but that one into which his disciples entered, and that Jesus did : * not go with his disciples into the vessel, but that his disciples 23 went away alone : (Though there came other vessels from Tibe

rias nigh to the place where they had eaten bread after the Lord 24 had given thanks :) The multitude therefore, when they saw • that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, went also them

selves aboard the vessels, and came to Capernaum, seeking for 25 Jesus. And when they had found him on the other side of the 26 sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither ? Jesus

answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, You seek

me, not because you have seen the miracles, but because you have 27 eaten of the loaves and were filled. Labour not to procure the

meat which perishes, but that meat which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give you; for him has God the Father

sealed* 28 They therefore said unto him, What must we do, that we may 29 so work the works of God ? Jesus replying said unto them, This

is the work of God, that you believe on him whom he has sent. 30 Then they said to him, What sign therefore shewest thou, that 31 we may see it, and believe thee? What dost thou perform ? Our

fathers did eat manna in the wilderness ; as it is written (Psalm 32 lxxviii.24.) “He gave them bread from heaven to eat." Then Jesus

said to them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not

that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread 33 from heaven. For that is the bread of God which descendeth 34 from heaven, and giveth life to the world. They therefore said to 35 him, Lord, give us evermore this bread. Then Jesus said to them,

I am the bread of life ; he that comes to me shall never hunger; 36 and he that blieves in me shall never thirst. But I have told you, 37 that you have even seen me, and yet you believe not in me. All

that the Father giveth me, will come to me; and him that cometh 38 to me, I will by no means cast out. Because I came down from

heaven not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the will of the Father who sent me, That of all

whom he has given me, I should lose none ; but should raise it 40 up at the last day. Even this is the will of him that sent me, That

every one who views the Son with an attentive eye, and believes on him, should have eternal life ; and I will raise him up at the last day.

* Authorized by proper credentials, or miraclous powers.

REFLECTIONS How gratefully should we acknowledge the divine goodness, in giving this true bread from heaven for the life of the world ; and how solicitous should we bè, that by a true faith we may feed upon it! In the midst of many ensnaring circumstances, let us be strictly watchful over ourselves, that the vigour of our pursuits and labours may not be laid out on the meat which fierishes, to the forgetfulness of that which endures to eternal life : but acknowledging those authentic seals by which Christ is marked out to that important trust, may we apply to him as sent of God the Father to be the Author of eternal salvation, and come to him to be partakers of his saving benefits!

It must surely grieve us to observe the neglect and contempt with which he is too frequently treated ; but it may comfort us that there yet remains a remnant according to the election of grace. All that the Father giveth him, will come to him ; and blessed be God that this appears to be no inconsiderable number. Secret things belong to the Lord our God ; let it therefore be our care to make first our calling, and then by a happy consequence, our election sure. Whatever discouragements may arise in our way, may we fly to cast ourselves at the foot of Christ; and then we may be sure he will never on any consideration cast us out, but will receive us in the arms of his almighty compassion, and, having sheltered and maintained us in his house on earth, will at length conduct us safely to the presence of his glory, and to the blessed abodes of complete felicity! .

SECTION LXXXI.

Christ enlarges on the necessity and benefit of feeding upon him as the

bread of life. JOHN vi. 41-58.

41 THEN the Jews who were about him murmured, because he 42 1 said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. And

they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and

mother we have known ? How therefore cloes he say, that I came 43 down from heaven ? Jesus therefore replied, and said unto them, 44 Do not murmur among yourselves : No man can come to me,

unless the Father who hath sent me draw him ; and then I will 45 raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets ( Isa.

liv. 13. and Jer. xxxi. 34.) " and they shall all be taught by God."

Therefore every one who has heard and learned from the Father, 46 comes unto me. Not that any one hath seen the Father, except 47 he whois from God. He hath seen the Father. Verily, verily,

I say unto you, that he who believes on me hath everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilder50 ness, and are dead : But this is the bread, which cometh down 51 from heaven, that any one may eat of it, and not die. I, who

came down from heaven, am the living bread: if any one eat of

this bread, he shall live for ever. And the bread which I will give, 52 is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews

therefore contended with each other, saying, How can this rnan

53 give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said to them, Verily, verily,

I say unto you, Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and 54 drink his blood, you have no life in you. He that eats my flesh,

and drinks my blood, hath eternal life ; and I will raise him up at 55 the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink 56 indeed. He who eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, abides in 57 me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live

by the Father; so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven ;. not as it was with

your fathers who did eat manna, and are dead ; but he that eats this bread, shall live for ever.

REFLECTIONS. The hearers of Christ murmured, and perversely objected against his doctrine. Let not ministers now wonder, if the like capricious humour sometimes prompts their hearers to seek occasion of offence where there is none : let them learn of their great Master in meekness to instruct those that oppose themselves, if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth. Our Lord expressly asserts the necessity of being taught and drawn by the Father, in order to our knowing him, and coming to him. Let us therefore humbly seek these influences ourselves, and fix our dependence upon them in all our attempts upon others for their conversion and edification.

Christ here gives us line upon line, and precept upon precept, to illustrate and enforce this important doctrine of the necessity of re- ' garding him as the bread of life, and of feeding by faith on his flesh and blood, which he has given for the life of the world. Let us, as we desire any part in his saving blessings, most thankfully receive his flesh as ineat indeed, and his blood as drink indeed. May God be merciful to those that call themselves Christians, and yet are strangers to such a believing intercourse with Christ, and to the derivation of spiritual life from him ! If this be enthusiasm, it is the enthusiasm of scripture ; and the denial or forgetfulness of these important doctrines, is like a fatal palsy to the soul, which chills, as it were, all its nerves, and destroys at once its sensibility and vigour, its pleasure and usefulness.

To represent and inculcate these great truths, our Lord afterwards instituted the sacrament of his supper, in which we not only commemorate his sufferings, but our own concern in them. It is the language of every intelligent approach to it, that we acknowledge the life of our souls to depend on the merit of his atonement, and thie conimunications of his grace. This is eating his flesh, and drinking his blood : may we be nourished by it to eternal life! Then though this mortal part of our nature drop into the dust, our souls will live and triumph ; nor shall our bodies finally perish, but be raised up by Christ in the great day to take their part in the full joy of our Lord. There these intermediate ordinances shall cease, and copious, uninterrupted streams of divine teachings, and divine influences, shall sweetly flow in upon our ever improving, active, rejoicing minds!

SECTION LXXXII.

Christ explaining the foregoing discourse in a spiritual sense, is forsaken

by many of his disciples ; and while the apostles assure him of their fic delity, he intimates the treachery of Judas. John vi. 59, &c.

59 THESE things he spake in the synagogue, as he was teaching 60 1 in Capernaum. Many therefore of his disciples, having 61 heard it, said, This is a dfficult discourse, who can hear it? But

Jesus knowing in himself that his disciples murmured about it, 62 said unto them, Does this offend you? What then, if ye shall see 63 the Son of man ascending up where he was before ? It is the Spir

it that quickens, the flesh profits nothing: the words which I

speak unto you are spirit, they are to be taken in a spiritual 64 sense, and, then you will find they are life to your souls. But there

are some of you who believe not. For Jesus knew from the be

gining, who they were that believed not, and who it was that should 65 betray him. And he said, For this reason I told you, that no man

can come unto me, except it be given him of my Father. 66 From this time many of his disciples went back, and walked no 67 more with him. Jesus therefore said unto the twelve apostles, 68 Will you also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, 69 to whom should we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. We

believe, and know, that thou art the Messiah, the son of the living 70 God. Jesus answered them, Have I not chosen all of you twelve

to a station of importance in the church? yet one of you is a devil. 71 This he spake concerning Judas Iscariot (the son of Simon; for

he, at that time, had thoughts of betraying him, though he was one of the twelve.

REFLECTIONS. We have, through the divine goodness, been made acquainted with those gospel truths, in their full evidence, and mutal connection, which were more obscurely hinted to those who attended on Christ's personal ministry : may we therefore hearken to the spiritual sense of this sublime and excellent discourse! And as the credible account of his ascension into glory is now added to the rest, let us receive the whole of his doctrine with the most humble submission : earnestly entreating the influences of divine grace, that we may not only be drawn to Christ, but be so firmly attached to his interest, that whoever else forsake him, we may never go away. On the contrary, may we rather collect an argument from their ingratitude and folly, more strenuously and more affectionately to adhere to him ! Indeed to whom should we go but to him? He has the words of eternal life. From him therefore, in all lowly subjection of soul, may we learn those lessons on which our everlasting happiness depends !-May we never, like Judas, conceal a treacherous and disaffected heart, under the specious appearance of piety and goodness ? This would be only imposing on ourselves; for his penetrating eye can never be deceived. May we approve the in

tegrity of our souls in his sight, and repose an unlimited confidence in him, as one whom we believe and know to be a divine Saviour, Christ the Son of the living God !

SECTION LXXXIII.

Our Lord vindicates his disciples in neglecting the traditions of the Phar.

isées, and condemns those corrupt teachers for preferring them to the divine precepts. MATT. XV. 1-9. MARK vii. 1-13.

THERE were then gathered unto Jesus the Pharisees, and some

1 of the Scribes, who were of Jerusalem, and came from thence, to watch and ensnare him. And seeing some of his disciples eat bread with, what they counted, polluted (that is, with unwashed) hands, they found fault with them; for the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat without washing their hands often, holding the tradition of the elders. And [when they come from the market, they eat not, till they 'have washed their whole body. And there are many other things, which they receive and maintain, by the authority of the same tradition, a's the washing of cups and pots, and brazen vessels, and the couches*.

Then the Pharisees and Scribes, came to Jesus and asked Him, Why do not thy disciples walk according to the tradition of the elders, 'but transgress it'; for they eat with unwashed hands? And he answering said unto them, Why do you also 'transgress, even the command of God himself out of regard to your own vain traditiont? For instance you well know that God has commanded by Moses, saying, “ Honour thy father and thy mother :" Whoso curseth father or mother let him surely die.” But what you'teach is contradictory to this divine command ; for you assert, that any one may say to his father or mother when in distress, " Let that be CORBAN,” that is to say, let it be reckoned as a gift, dedicated to the altar, by which thou mightest otherwise, receive advantage from me, and he shall then be free from the command, and not be under any obligation to honour and relieve his father or his mothert. And thus 'out of regard to such a rash and impious vowll, you no more permit him to do any thing for his father or his mother. And thus you have invalidated the word, and the command of God, by your tradition, which you have delivered o.. O you hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophecy of you, saying, (as it is written, Isa. xxix. 13.) « This people draweth near to me with their mouth, " and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far estranged ** from me.” Yet" In vain do they worship me, while they teach

* Viz. Those on which they were used to lie at their meals.

+ MARK, “ you fairly make void the command of God that you may observe your traditions."

# The plain meaning is, the Pharisees encouraged their disciples to refuse relief to their parents when in distress, under a pretence that their property was conseciated to God. ED.

|| Capellus has produced many passages from the Talmud to shew the superstitious regard the Jews had to such unnatural vows, as well as the ridiculous ways they sometimes took to evade them.

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