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envy, fretfulness, and despondency. The golden mean, therefore, would be preferred by every wise man, were he indulged with the choice of his own circumstances. At the same time, it may be proper to remark, that, as the Divine Ruler has not left the situations and fortunes of his creatures to their own choice, it is allowable that they should pray for such temporal blessings as are suited to their rank in society. The magistrate, whose respectability, authority, and influence, are essential to the order and peace of the community; the philanthropist, whose munificence softens and relieves the distresses of the suffering poor; the merchant and the manufacturer, whose success conduces to the support and comfort of the labouring classes, may reasonably ask for blessings which a person in an humble situation could not desire, without incurring the charge of ambition, and inordinate attachment to the present life.
It should not be forgotten, however, that, though the higher classes are permitted to disclose their wants at the throne of mercy, and to ask for blessings adapted to their elevated stations; it is incumbent on them to be watchful against those aspirings which betray a vain and worldly heart, and to chasten their wishes, and to regulate their prayers, agreeably to the sober dictates of moderation and piety
I have no doubt, my brethren, that, during the preceding observations, you have frequently adverted in your own minds to a much higher subject than that of your temporal supplies. You are aware that I allude to that bread which the Son of man hath given for the life of the world. To direct your attention, at the conclusion of this discourse, to such a topic, will not, I am persuaded, be unacceptable to you, who, amidst all your anxieties and cares, are chiefly desirous of that spiritual nourishment“ which endureth to everlasting life.”
When the miracle of the loaves excited the attention and surprise of the Jewish people, our Lord addressed them in this language; “ Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for that which endureth to everlasting life.” And in a subsequent part of his discourse, he solemnly affirmed, -—“I am the living Bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this Bread, he shall live for ever.”
As the spiritual and eternal life which Jesus Christ has procured, is infinitely superior to life in every other sense; so that spiritual food with which he condescends to supply us, is infinitely more excellent than all the dainties and luxuries of the world; for, “this is the true
Bread;' “the Bread of life;"_the Bread of Heaven.” The manna that was given in the desert, and the tables of shew-bread in the sanctuary, were, indeed, striking emblems of this celestial Bread; but they gave a very inadequate impression of its excellence. The manna vanished with the morning dew; the shew-bread was periodically removed; but this Bread continues for ever, imparting to believers in every age, life, nourishment, and vigour.
Spiritual life, in all its degrees, proceeds from Christ, who is, emphatically, the living Bread. The fatal tree of whose fruit our first parents ate, “ brought death into the world;" but this “Bread” gives life for evermore. By that, human nature was debased to the lowest wretchedness; by this, sinful creatures are exalted to the honour and felicity of angels. That depraved and impaired the moral powers; this renews and invigorates them, and renders them capable of serving God in the beauty of holiness. That produced a train of spiritual diseases; this is an absolutely perfect remedy. That contained the bitterness of death; but this the sweetness of eternal life.
Many who profess religion are, it is feared, very deficient in their regard for this “living Bread.” It is true, that they express some affection for Christ ; — that they evince some interest at the relation of his greatness and condescension; and that their sorrow and joy are occasionally excited by a tender representation of his love and his sufferings; yet, judging by their deportment, they do not appear to have any disposition to live upon these truths. Now, Jesus Christ says,—“He that eateth me shall live by me;" that is, ' He that by faith receives me as the Saviour of siņners; that regards me as the highest Object of his affections; and commits his soul to my hands; shall habitually live on me, and derive his greatest satisfaction from me.' This was the experience of St. Paul :-“The life that I live in the flesh, is by the faith of the Son of God.” All that is in Christ, -the glories of his Person, the union of his Divinity with our created nature, the excellence of his atonement, the merit of his righteousness, his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension to the right hand of God,-is an object of faith, and a source of ineffable pleasure to the genuine Christian. Upon these he meditates with the fullest complacency; he feels that they are the spring of his hope and his happiness. It is not enough for him to speak of these things in the language of cold approbation : they enter deeply into his experience; they are congenial to his spiritual taste; they
are the food of his soul. If they were taken from him, life would have no charms; religion no pleasures; and heaven no glory.
“If any man eat of this Bread, he shall live for ever.” The manna which was given to the Israelites ensured no blessing; it was accompanied with no promise; it exempted from no calamity. Hence, Jesus Christ said to the Jews, -"Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead; but this is the Bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.” Adopt what means you choose to nourish and strengthen your bodies, you cannot render them proof against the shafts of death. Does this suggestion produce no effect on you whose hopes and interests are confined to the present world? Do, you not know, that death, by a single stroke, will spoil all your labour, - terminate your favourite pursuits,-snatch from your aching eyes the delights for which you have bartered your souls-and trample on all your glory? No precaution can secure your lives from this humiliating issue. But, if any man eat of this Bread, he shall live for ever. Live for ever! What an exalted idea does this expression afford us! To live long in this world appears desirable, if such circumstances are anticipated as may render old age tranquil and honourable. But,