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LECTURE THE FOURTH.

FOURTH ARGUMENT FOR THE REAL PRESENCE, FROM THE SIXTH

CHAPTER OF ST. JOHN ; FROM THE ANALYSIS OF OUR SAVIQUR'S ANSWER TO THE JEWS, AND THEIR INCREDULITY.-FIFTH ARGUMENT ; FROM HIS CONDUCT TO HIS DISCIPLES AND APOS

TLES-OBJECTIONS TO THE CATHOLIC INTERPRETATION OF THIS

CHAPTER ANSWERED.

To complete our examination of our Saviour's discourse, nothing remains but to analyze the expressions whereby he answers the Jews, and his conduct towards his followers; then to reply to such objections as are brought against the Catholic explanation of this chapter. I will endeavour to be as brief as the subject will permit.

1. Our Lord commences his answer to the Jews, who had asked, “ how can this man give us his flesh to eat?” by laying down his doctrine in the form of a precept, and that in the strongest man. ner. I say in the strongest manner, because the most marked and expressive way in which a precept is ever given in Scripture, is by placing it in a double form, as negative and positive. The words of Jesus Christ are these : « Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye did not so much solicit an explanation, as ridicule his words.

3. But passing over these two important differences between this example and Jo. vi. the real motive of our Saviour's not explaining himself here appears manifest, if we consider his situation and his design. Upon perusing this interesting chapter, it has often struck me as one of the most beautiful instances on record, of his amiable ingenuity in doing good. He desired to make an opening for his religion among the Samaritans. But had he presented himself among them uncalled, had he commenced his preaching of his own accord, he could have only expected to be rejected, to be ill-treated as a Jew, and punished as a religious innovator. He wishes, therefore, to be invited by the Samaritans themselves, and he selects the most favourable moment and means, for effecting his purpose. He dismisses all his disciples to the city of Sichem, and seats himself at the well, where he was sure to find some of the inhabitants, and where the rules of hospitality in the east, would give him a right to enter into conversation. A female accordingly comes, and he uses this right by asking her for water. Nothing can be more beautifully natural than the dialogue which follows this request, every reply of our Saviour's, in particular, is most aptly directed to his great objeet, which was not to instruct, but to excite the woman's interest in his regard, to stimulate her curiosity concerning him, (and her language at v. 11 showed that he had inspired her with respect,) and to make her his instrument for the consequences which followed. When he had wrought up these feelings to the highest point, till she asked (v. 15) at length, that he would give her the water whereof he spoke, he most ingeniously leads her to a still more interesting, and to her, intensely trying topic, by the natural suggestion that her husband ought to be present.* I am not giving you a commentary, and therefore must suppress many reflections, only to state that the knowledge which Jesus evinced of her most private domestic affairs, convinced her that he was a prophet. (v. 19.) This leads the way to a controversial discussion on the difference of the two religions; she appeals to the Messiah for a decision, and thus gives him an opportunity of crowning her curiosity and astonishment, and of effecting all his wishes, by the concluding words, “I am he who am speaking with thee.” (v. 26.) She acts exactly as he evidently desired; she runs into the city to communicate her curiosity to her fellow-citizens, they come out to invite him in, he tarries there two days, and many believe in him. (vy. 39-42.)

* It seems plain that the woman fancied our Lord to insinuate that he could lead her to some running spring, which would save her the daily trouble of going so far, and drawing so deep. (v. 15.) She asks, therefore, was he greater than Jacob, who had been able to find no better well than that. (v. 12.)

It is evident, from this rapid sketch, that the object of our Saviour, in this conference, was not to satisfy, but to excite curiosity; not to instruct, but to provoke inquiry. Had he answered the woman's question, by saying that he spoke of grace and not of water, before he had made her confess, from her own conviction, that he was a prophet, she would most probably have left him in disappointment, and with ridicule or disgust; the great object for which he had sought and undertaken the interview, would have been frustrated, and the mission to the Sichemites unaccomplished. Long before the end of the conference, certainly long before he left the city, the woman would know that he spoke nót of earthly, but of spiritual waters. In fact, when she runs into the city, she does not say, “Come and see a man who has promised to give us a fountain of running water, more commodious and more perennial than even the well of Jacob;"> though this would have been truly interesting motive to induce the citizens to invite him in; but, • Come and see a man who hath told me all things whatsoever I have done. Is not he the Christ?" (v. 29.) The discovery that Jesus was the Messiah, had absorbed, as he desired, every other consideration. LECTURE THE FOURTH,

FOURTH ARGUMENT FOR THE REAL PRESENCE, FROM THE SIXTH

CHAPTER OF ST. JOHN ; FROM THE ANALYSIS OF OUR SAVIQUR's ANSWER TO THE JEWS, AND THEIR INCREDULITY.-FIFTH ARGUMENT; FROM HIS CONDUCT TO HIS DISCIPLES AND APOSTLES-OBJECTIONS TO THE CATHOLIC INTERPRETATION OF THIS

CHAPTER ANSWERED.

To complete our examination of our Saviour's discourse, nothing remains but to analyze the expressions whereby he answers the Jews, and his conduct towards his followers; then to reply to such objections as are brought against the Catholic explanation of this chapter. I will endeavour to be as brief as the subject will permit

. 1. Our Lord commences his answer to the Jews, who had asked, “how can this man give us his flesh to eat ?" by laying down his doctrine in the form of a precept, and that in the strongest man.

I say in the strongest manner, because the most marked and expressive way in which a precept is ever given in Scripture, is by placing it in a double form, as negative and positive. The words of Jesus Christ are these: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye

ner.

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