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from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one that seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
For I came down from
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 be, that by a true faith we may feed upon it! In the midst of so 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 perishes, 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, (Rom. xi. 5.) 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, (Deut. xxix. 29.) let it therefore be our care to make first our calling, and then, by a happy consequence, our election sure, (2 Pet. i. 10.) Whatever discouragements may arise in our way, may we fly to cast ourselves at the foot of Christ; and then we may be sure that 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.
JOHN VI. 41-58.
THE Jews then murmured at him, because he 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 know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father cometh unto me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
The Jews therefore strove amongst themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that cateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in 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. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.
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; (2 Tim. ii. 25.) 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 dependance 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 regarding 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 meat 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 the communications 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.
JOHN VI. 59-71.
THESE things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. Many therefore of his disciples, when they heard this, said, This is a hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What, and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.
We have, through the Divine goodness, been made acquainted with those gospel-truths, in their full evidence, and mutual 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 intreating 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
HARMONY OF THE FOUR GOSpels.
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 integrity 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!