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tohtinued our great Redeemer, as 1 have often said, your nation obstinately and resolutely resists the light, and continues in unbelief, notwithstanding manifest and glaring evidences of divine power, which you have seen, and the glorious fruits which would follow on your believing; but think not, that your unbelief will prevent the rising glories of my spiritual kingdom; for many there are which my father hath given me, these shall be induced by the power of his spirit to come unto me, “ and him that cometh, 1 will in no wise east out: for I am come down from 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, that, of all which he hath given me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
As the greatest part of the Jews were desirous only of temporal privileges and advantages from the Messiah's kingdom, it is no wonder they should be offended at this doctrine; they could not bear the thought, that a man who declined all earthly honours, should be supposed to be the Messiah; nor could they tell what he meant by calling himself the bread of life. and asserting, that he came down from heaven. With murmuring and discontent, therefore... they hastily exclaimed. “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that 1he saith, I came down from heaven Po
To these degrading expressions, our Lord thought fit to reply, that no objections arising from the meanness of his birth and education, could invalidate the testimony of the miracles which he had wrought, or excuse their obstinacy and unbelief. But it was not strange, that they should oppose, and resist the truth, for it required the agency of divine power to teach them to understand what he meant by declaring himself the bread of life: and also it must be the mighty power of God, which enabled them to receive him, and live upon him as such. A believing in the son of God, as the only Saviour of sinners and resting upon him for life and salvation, and thereby partaking of the divine nature, and receiving spiritual nourishment from him, as the body does from corporeal bread, was not within the reach of the natural abilities of the unbelieving Jews, nor any of the human race, without divine assistance; and, therefore, our Lord told them, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me, draw him.” And he further proceeded to inform them, that it was related in their prophets, concerning the kingdom of the Messiah, that all the subjects of that kingdom should be taught of God, “Every man, therefore, that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” But, continued our great Redeemer, you are not to suppose, that men will be so favoured, as to see God with their corporeal eyes; “for him none hath seen, or can see:” but the happiness and glory of that kingdom will consist in believing on me, in such a manner as to receive me as the true bread of life: by this the believer will obtain a vital union with me, and draw spiritual nourishment from me; and by that means, grow up to everlasting life.
Our Lord, having thus declared himself to be the bread of life which came down from heaven, and shewn the way in which it is to be obtained, proceeded to examine the comparison between himself, considered as the bread from heaven, and the manna, which, in the time of Moses, the Israelites eat in the wilderness. “Your fathers,” said he, “ did eat manna in the wilderness & 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.”
Though the Jews were no strangers to a figurative way of speaking, yet such was their blindness and perverseness, that they understood those words, and theorest of Christ’s declaration in a literal sense, and inquired, with the utmost astonishment, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” But our Lord, knowing what manner of persons he was conversing with, did not think proper to explain his meaning in any other way of speaking ; but continuing in the same figurative way of expression, he repeated, and affirmed what he had before asserted, “Velily, verily, I say unto you,” said he, “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 will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed;" meaning, that no person can obtain that eternal life, which the gospel of CHRIST makes known, but by a vital faith, which receives the Son of God, and, partaking of his divine nature, draws spiritual neurishment and life from him. “He that eateth 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.” Our Lord proceeded to inform them, that this is the bread, which he had before told them came down from heaven, infinitely superior, in its nature and consequences, to that bread which their fathers eat in the wilderness; “ for they eat the manna and are dead; but whoso eateth this bread shall live for ever.” * , Such was the conference which our Saviour had with the Jews, in the Synagogue at Capernaum, which took its rise from the miraculous repast , which he had so lately provided for the multitude in the desert, and thence naturally turned on bread. Though the Jews were no strangers to a figurative way of speaking, and might have found the same mode of expression in their own prophets, yet they had no clear idea of his meaning, eating his flesh, and drinking his blood, they still understood literally; and, as it was a thing prohibited in the law of Moses, and abhorred by the most barbarous nations, they looked upon it with the utmost astonishment , and aversion; and many of his disciples, with a mixture of dissatisfaction and surprise, said, “This is a hard saying; who can hear it?” Our Lord, perceiving their discontent, said, Are ye offended because 1 told you my flesh was meat, and my blood was drink; what would you think if ye saw “the Son of man ascend up where he was before 2. It is the Spirit that quickeneth ; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you. they are Spirit, and they are life.” Thus, our Lord further explained: the meaning of what he had before advanced; as much as if he had said, When you see me ascend with this body into heaven, you will be convinced that I really descended from thence; and you will also perceive that you cannot eat my flesh, or drink my blood in a corporeal manner; I never intended you should think my words had any such meaning: my flesh in such case, could not be of any advantage to the sons of men; but the great blessings I have been relating, arise from receiving the doctrines I preach ; to reveal these, 1 laid aside the glory which I had with my Father ; , I took upon me the veil of flesh, and assumed the nature of man: it is, therefore, entering into the spirit of these doctrines, which will bring you to eternal life; but I know your hearts are so wicked, and your prejudicies so strong, that you will not receive them ; nor am I disappointed in you; for, I have told you before, that “no man can come unto me, except it be given him of the Father.” The Jews were so puzzled, confounded and offended at this discourse. that many who had professed themselves the disciples of Christ, departed out of the Synagogue and followed him no more... They did not understand his views, nor like his method of preaching ; nor could they perceive how a temporal kingdom, that idol of Jewish vanity, was likely at this rate to be established: and, therefore, they could no longer acknowledge Jesus to be the Messiah, whose appearance and reign they expected so vastly different. When the Jews were departed, our Lord turned himself to his disciples, with benignity of countenance, and with an air of condescending goodness, bid them remark how degrading and shameful it was for the sons of men; to consider, and reflect, on the perverseness and obstinacy of the unbelieving Jews; who thought themselves offended, and made it a crime, for asserting and speaking such divine immutable, truths, and knowledge to which “they deafened their ears,” and which affected so materially their future welfare and tranquility. , Divine truths demonstrated to them in supernatural miracles, heavenly goodness, and by the fulfilments of the predictions of the ancient prophets, out of all probability of doubt, . if they would only reflect and consider on the sacred writings, and how inconsistent it ought to appear to all, who were not blinded, nor led astray by evil-minded men, nor over fond of following implicitly, without considering the manifest contradictions, and absurdities contained in the dogmas of their Elders; whom they themselves despised by performing the least, and neglecting the most material rites which they o: Our blessed Redeemer, added, that by such an ungrateful corkluct towards his heavenly Father, they rendered themselves unworthy to partake the blessings arising from his divine and spiritual kingdom, to which they . turned their hearts, in defiance to the precepts and examples of the Son of Man; delighting in iniquity and walking in darkness; preferring the works of feeble men, to the paths of his heavenly kingdom, turning their hearts against his ministry, by entertaining such notions of the Messiah’s temporal kingdom, so inconsistant with the divine will of his heavenly Father; but that the time will come, when convinced of their iniquitous proceedings, they should atone for their transgressions, and the power of the Son of man will be fully known. Adding also, that because he permitted his disciples to eat with unwashen hands, which was contrary to the tradition of the elders. This practice was not forbidden in the law, but was an article of great consequence in the tradition of the elders, by which the Pharisees explained the law of Moses. Several instances of legal uncleanness were particularly stated, and forbidden by the Jewish legislature; but these and other ceremonial performances, were multiplied in the most extravagant and ridiculous manner in those traditions, which were held in such high veneration by the Pharisees. These people, who valued themselves on an exact and scrupulous performance of every tittle of the law, considered it as a notorious offence to eat bread with unwashen hands,though at the same time, they were scandalously carless in things of the highest importance. To shew the stupidity and folly of this conduct, our Lord answered the question of the Pharisees, by retorting on them the wickedness of their conduct in a scrupulous exactness and punctuality, in the observance of human traditions, and at the same time, neglecting the positive commands of God. “Why do you also,” said he, “transgress the commandments of God by your tradition ? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, it is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me:” that is, whatever I might have spared for the relief of my parents, I have dedicated to God, and thus suffer his parents to want, “not honouring his father and mother, he shall be free.”. Thus have you, continued our great Redeemer, set aside the immutable duties of natural religion, and dared to oppose and contradict the positive commandments of God, by your ridiculous and contemptible traditions: “ye hypocrites,” said he, “well did Isaiah prophecy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth
me with their lips; but their heart is far from me: but in vain do they worship me, preaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Our Lord having thus sharply rebuked the Pharisees, he turned to the ople and explained to them the nature of the argument, and desired them to reflect on the absurdity of the doctrine of the Scribes and Pharisees. “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man : but that which cometh out of the mouth that defileth a man,” said he 5 and appealed to the common sense and understanding of mankind, for the apparent iruth of this observation, desiring them to judge what contemptible hypocrites those persons must be, who could professedly neglect the great duties of morality, which are of universal and eternal obligations, and at the same time, value themselves on the exact and scrupulous performance of such a trifle as washing of hands. - The Pharisees were highly offended at our Lord, because he spak.c in a degrading manner of their traditions, of which having complained with some warmth, the disciples came and informed their master. Jesus, replied, that they need not give themselves any pain about the offence which that set of men had taken at his words, for both themselves and their doctrine would soon be destroyed, for neither of them were of God. “Every plant,” said he, “which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind sead the blind, they shall both fall into the ditch.” " But the disciples themselves did not fully understand, nor were they entirely satisfied with his doctrine; and Peter having desired his Lord to explain it to them, the divine instructor proceeded to inform them, that the meats being of a corporeal nature, could not defile the spirit of a man or render him polluted in the sight of God; no real guilt can be contracted this way, except the meats are used to excess, or in direct contradiction to the command of God; and then the pollution proceeds, from the man, who suffers himself to be prevailed on to transgress a positive command, and not from the meat, which, as the good creature of God, is lawful to be received. Thus, that which entereth in at the mouth, doth not defile. the man, but that which cometh out of the mouth, proceedeth from a wick‘ed heart, such as “evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts false witness, blasphemies: these are the things which defile a man; but to eat with unwashen hands, defileth not a man.” Discourses like these could not fail of exceedingly offending the proud, self conceited Pharisees, and raising their resentment to its highest pitch: for these, and such like observations of our Lord, tended to strip them of that outside shew of sanctity. and superior strickness, with which they veiled their deformity, and rendered themselves so venerable in the esteem of the 'vulgar Jews. These discourses therefore, and the general opposition the prond Pharisees met with from the Son of God, excited them, with the utmost pride and envy, not only to oppose his doctrines and degrade his miracles, but to attack his reputation and plot against his life. Our great Redeemer “thought it unnecessary to continue the contest with such hardened hypocrites, and des . opposers of the truth, and immediately departed out of the country. -- - - - - -
Jesus, at the repeated Request of the Woman of Canaan, cures her ' daughter: Restores the Facully of Speech to a dumb Man at Decapolis : Miraculously feeds the Multitude a second Time in the Desert: Warmly exhorts his Disciples, to beware of the Leaven of the Scribes and Pharisees: Restores Sight to a blind Man, near the City of Bethsada: After which, he departs into the Towns of CasaregPhilippi, where he approves and commends the Faith of Peter.
THE Lord of life having departed from Galilee, to evade the cru. el and malicious designs of the pharisees, he retired to the borders of Pales. tune, and approached near to those two famous maritime cities Tyre and Sidon: but so great was the veneration of the common people, such the fame he had acquired by his kind and beneficent actions, and so many the benefits which multitudes had received from his all-healing goodness, it was not possible he should be concealed. And though he was now in the territories of the Gentiles, he soon found himself solicited to lend that assiso: to the helpless and miserable, for which he was so famous in the land of Israel. -- " - ---- -The first, amongst the inhabitants of these Heathen cities, which implored the assistance of the Son of God was an unhappy parent, whose only daughler had an unclean spirit, and was “ grievously vexed with a devil.” Warious were the discouragements, which lay in the way of the afflicted matron; she was a Canaanite, one of that detested race with which the Jews would have no dealings, and with whom they disdained to converse, and had every reason to fear, that her petition would be disgusti to one of the most eminent of the sons of Israel ; but notwithstanding i these circumstances, she, as an humble petitioner, threw herself upon the tender mercies of the benwolent Son of God: strong necessity urged her on, grief and growing distress caused her to be importunate; such dreadful sorrow, such pressing distress surrounded her, it is no wonder that she would take no denial, but pursued, with repeated petitions, the only o who was able to help. Accordingly, in the deepest humility of mind, with the most respectful reverence and submission, and the most ardent, earnest, and powerful address, she came and fell at the feet of our great Redeemer; she besought him, and cried, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David.” The earnestness of this woman's petition, and her calling our Lord the “Son of David,” plainly indicate, that she believed him to be the Messiah : she seems to have received that faith, which was always. honoured by the Son of God, and always recommended the persons who possessed it to his first regard; and one wouid have of..." that such a 3. would not have been rejected by that bountiful and merciful Reeemer who “ went about doing good,” and who kindly invited the weary and heavy-laden, to come to him with the promise of relief. This woman, being a native of Syrophoenicia, was, no doubt, educated in. all the idolatrous superstition of the Greeks; but had been enabled to believe in the Son of God, and earnestly and vehemently to apply to him for relief. , And there is no reason to doubt, but that divine person, who had enabled her to believe his ability to heal her daughter, and thus, with all her heart and soul, to implore his assistance, beheld her with an eye of tender pity and stood determined to grant her request. But we find, that our Lord did not think proper to let her know his kind intentions towards her at first. He made no reply to her petition, nor did. he seem to take the least notice, either of her, or her distress ; but this silence, and seeming disregard, did not intimidate her so far as to induce her, to desist ; but excited her to press her petition with the more earnestness. She continued her cries with a vehemence which would take no denial, till