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mistaken notions of what had | law for righteousness to every one happened to their fathers in the who believes. Others take up a wilderness and labours to raise profession of his name from a their grovelling minds from things licentious principle; they consider carnal to things spiritual-from the Christ as having purchased a disearthly to the heavenly manna-pensation for them to sin with imfrom a temporal to a spiritual de- punity-use his blood as an opiate liverance. "I am the bread of to still the just clamours of their life," says he: "Your fathers did consciences, and consider his imeat manna in the wilderness and puted righteousness as some how are dead. This is the bread which superseding the necessity of percometh down from heaven, that a sonal holiness. Such are continuman may eat thereof and not die. ally declaiming against every ap I am the living bread which came pearance of strictness as self-righdown from heaven: if a man eat teous, while they conform to the of this bread he shall live for ever: world in self-indulgence as part of and the bread that I will give is that liberty wherewith Christ hath my flesh, which I will give for the made them free. Let the reader life of the world."John vi. 48-51. therefore examine himself, as to As whatsoever was written afore his motive in professing the name time was intended for our admo- of Christ; and the rather as we nition, let us for a moment forget see from this passage, the ancient Jews and see what important instruction, we of modern times may deduce from this memorable piece of scripture history. And with a view to that, let it be remarked, that,
1. From the 26th verse of this chapter we see what unworthy ends men may propose to them selves in following Christ. Here is a vast multitude following him for loaves and fishes, who had no relish for his spiritual doctrine. This is not a thing peculiar to those carnal Jews. Since nominal Christianity has become the religion of the nations, there are thousands for one who follow him from no higher principles. Many make a trade of the Christian religion, whilst the chief ground of their attachment is, that by this profession they have their bread. Many take up the profession to gain a name among men, to establish their credit, and so to advance their worldly honour and interest-Some follow him from a principle of selfrighteousness, as giving them the best directions how to obtain eternal life by working the works of God, ver. 28. while they have no Rotion of him as the end of the
2. That Jesus knows all the thoughts, motives and intents of our hearts. None of this multitude openly professed to follow him for the loaves and fishes; but he saw into the inmost recesses of their souls, and discovered their motives. Many went still farther than these did, and professed to believe on him when they saw the miracles which he did; but Jesus did not commit himself unto them because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man, for he knew what was in man, ch. ii. 23-25. Hence speaking to the churches he says, the churches shall know, that I am he who searcheth the reins and hearts." Rev. ii. 23. Let the hypocrite in Zion therefore consider this, and be afraid; for he will bring every secret thought to judgment.
3. From this chapter we may also see the unreasonableness and inexcusableness of unbelief. This great multitude saw his miracles which he did on them which were diseased, ver. 2. Five thousand of them had also been fed by him with five loaves and two small fishes, ver. 9-14.
acts of divine power which none | leads us to the true source of
infidelity, which lies not so much
cause for this ignorance, ch. viii. 43. "Why do ye not understand my speech? even (says he) because ye cannot hear my word," i. e. do not relish it. In this chapter they declare their disgust at Christ's words, saying, "This is a hard saying, who can hear it?" ver. 60. and many of his professed disci ples being offended at his doctrine, went back and walked no more with him, ver. 66. Thus the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; why? because they are foolishness unto himand this is the condemnation that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, 1 Cor. ii. 14. John iii. 19. This shews us how faith is a matter of exhortation, and how all who hear the gospel are without excuse in rejecting it, because they do it through disaffection and not for want of evidence.
but the Creator of the world could perform; and they were not performed merely to raise their wonder without informing their judgments; but as confirmations of the truth of the doctrine which he taught them, chap. v. 36. His doctrine and miracles were such incontestible proofs of his divine mission as left them entirely inex-a cusable in rejecting him, ch. xv. 22-25. This appears farther from their partial convictions; for when they had seen the miracle which Jesus did, they were constrained to confess, "This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world." ch. vi. 14. Why then did they not subject themselves to his teaching, and hear him in all things whatsoever he said unto them? Why, because they saw nothing in his appearance or doctrine that suited their carnal inclinations nothing that answered their worldly preconceived notions of the Messiah and his kingdom. The miracle of feeding the multitude struck them with a temporary conviction, not of his true character and kingdom, but that he was the person whom they fondly expected should restore the kingdom to Israel; and in this view they were for taking him by force and making 4. We may observe here that him an earthly king, ver. 15. But our Lord sets himself forth as the no sooner does he begin to preach true bread in allusion to and as to them about spiritual things, and the antitype and truth of the particularly of his giving eternal manna wherewith Israel were miralife to all that believe on him, than culously fed in the wilderness. they immediately demand a sign The Jews in seeking a sign of him that they might believe him, as if remind him of the manna wherehe had given them none hitherto ! with their fathers were fed in the Had he been of the world and desert, ver. 31. from which he takes spoken of the world they would occasion to show them that He was have heard him, and believed him the true bread pointed out by that without any farther sign ch. v. 43. manna, and infinitely excelling it because such doctrines would be in every respect. For first; the suited to their carnal inclinations, manna came only from the lower and consequently would go easily heavens, the atmosphere which down; but as to the spiritual doc-surrounds the earth; hence he says trines of the gospel, they always "Moses, gave you not that bread wanted farther evidence, and could from heaven," i. e. the highest never be satisfied with signs. This heavens; but Christ came down
from the highest heavens where he had glory with the Father before the world was, see ver. 32, 33. Again, The manna satisfied their bodily appetite only for a little time; they soon hungered again; But Jesus says, "I am the bread of life, he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that be lieveth on me shall never thirst," ver. 35. Thirdly, The manna was granted only to their fathers, and that while in the desert; none of the gentile nations had any share of it; but Christ the true bread of God, giveth life unto the world, ver. 33. for with respect to the salvation by Christ, there is no dif ference of Jew and Gentile. Lastly, The manna only sustained their natural lives for a little while; they soon died, and many of them as a punishment too of their sins under the just displeasure of God. "Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness and are dead." ver. 49. But Christ is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die-This eating implies our enjoyment but live for ever, ver. 50, 51. and be raised up to eternal life at the last day, ver. 40, 54, 58. a life in God's favour here by the conscious sense of the remission of sins -a life of holiness and conformity to Christ and an eternal life of glory and happiness from the dead. 5. Christ intimates that he should become proper food for the souls of men by being crucified, and by shedding his blood for them. "The bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world," ver. 51. and he speaks of his blood as drink indeed, ver. 53-55. Hereby they have fellowship with God in feeding upon his sacrifice wherein he for ever rests well-pleased. This is that which is signified in the Lord's Supper by eating the bread and drinking of the cup. When believers come together into one place, they cannot truly eat the Lord's supper, but in so far as they
feast with God on the sacrifice of Christ.
6. We may observe from the metaphor of eating Christ's flesh and drinking his blood, that faith in him is not a mere empty specu♫ lation; but, that where it is genuine it must ever be accompanied with a real enjoyment--an enjoyment answerable to eating and drinking, and infinitely superior to any earnal gratification. How does a crî-' minal, who is under sentence of death, feast in his mind upon a pardon? How does a lover feast upon the charms and endearments of the beloved object? How does the mind feast upon the certain prospect of good things to come?" Such are the enjoyments of faith in eating Christ's flesh and drinking his blood. This we find was the case with the first Christians; and it must also be so with us if we have like precious faith with them. Faith, love, and hope, are indeed not the same; they are three, but they are inseparable.
of Christ as our own. For as it is by means of the food we eat that our animal frame is supported, invigorated and maintained, so also is the spiritual life nourished, and promoted by realizing perceptions of the excellent knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord. Hence the remarkable declaration of the apostle, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Gal. ii. 20. Can we adopt the same language?
7. Consider the hearty invita tion, given to all that hear the gospel, to come to Christ. unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea come, buy wine and
leads us to the true
acts of divine power which none
De fulfilled, which were
ten in the Psalms concerning me." Luke xxiv. 44. This seems the more wonderful, because there are many portions of the Psalms, that must be strangely overstrained to make them applicable to the son of Jesse; particularly the piercing his hands and feet!" the dislocation of all his joints, and his being " poured out like water," with the "parting of his gar ments," and "casting lots for his vesture!" in the 22nd Psalm: and'
this de Father me; and I will in “It is They La segon a God." Every the bath heard de Facher cometh ... Hence the
that spread the
giving him " gall and vinegar" in his thirst! in the 69th and many other passages; where our graci ous Redeemer is so clearly pointed out, that he may run that readeth:" and indeed the numerous profes sions of perfect rectitude, and ar dent, and unceasing delight in God, desh the whole of our sal- with which David's own Psalms Avda de plat, its execu- abound; can only be applied to wey, redounds himself in a very qualified sense; wwwgn, rich, and and do not appear half so suitable, hat according as it is and beautiful, as when they are reat glorieth, let him ferred to the Saviour; then we see red-for " of him, a propriety in them, and an im. vadigd do, and to him, are portance, which they evidently do * M whom be glory for not possess in their application to
The mourning and woe
sions used, may be expounded in the same manner." And the famous Dr. Horsley, Bishop of Rochester, says, "There is not a passage of the book of Psalms, in which the pious reader will not find his Saviour, if he reads with a view of finding him: the misapplication of the Psalms to the literal David, has done more misto chief than the misapplication of any other parts of scripture among Christians." Yet some of the most teemed Expositors confine their vs to David so very much (exin those parts where they are 'n absolute necessity of re› Christ;) that an undue O these may be the reason Psalms are so misunderstood by many preachers.
rsonal) It is certainly true that some O sin of his passages, as those for instance, er; yet we should that you have referred to in Ps. made sin" for cxix. 67, 176. do not appear proJehovah "caused to meet per to apply to Christ; and we pon him the iniquities" of all his should not overstrain them to make chosen people: so that he may them do so; but (if the above is say with propriety, as our surety correct) I rather think, that if we and substitute; as in Ps. xl. 12. knew more of the mind of the Innumerable evils have encom- Spirit, we should see more of Christ passed me about, mine iniquities even in such passages, than at first have taken hold upon me, so that sight we are aware, especially as I am not able to look up: they are there are parts of this beautiful more than the hairs of my head; Psalm, that evidently apply chiefly for therefore my heart faileth me," &c. to him; and there does not appear Strong as this language undoubt to be ny change of speaker tedly is, it is not too strong for the through the whole; though I would occasion; and it is only to turn rather confess ignorance, and pass our eyes to the garden, and think them over, than torture the holy of the agony, and we shall see its oracles, as some have done, to complete accomplishment. make them speak according to Indeed, as Bishop Horne ob- their mind; for "what we know serves on the Psalms; (preface p.not now, we shall know hereafter.' 13.)" When we are taught to con- John xiií. 7. sider one verse of a Psalm as Spoken by the Messiah, and there is no change of person through the Psalm; what can we conclude, but that he is the speaker through the whole; and if Christ be the speaker of one Psalm; what should hinder, but that another, where the same kind of sense is evidently described, and the same expres
The truth appears to be, as a very worthy and highly esteemed Baptist minister in London, whom I well know, once observed, "To read the Psalms with understanding, we should always recollect, that David was a prophet, and an eminent type of our Lord Jesus Christ; and what he wrote, was partly in his own person;-partly