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beyond what were manifested to the people at large.
Ver. 26. We may observe that to those, who asked him of his coming to Capernaum, Jesus cared not to explain his miraculous passage over the water, but seized every opportunity of instructing them in the things that pertained to eternal life; thereby setting us an example, that we likewise should put away all vanity and self-love, and whatever we do, should do all for the glory of God alone. The people who had so lately witnessed his miraculous power, instead of making it a sure ground of faith and obedience, seem to have looked only to its temporal fruit in satisfying the wants of the body. But Jesus reproving their low and fleshly spirit, directs them not to be careful about the perishable food of a perishable body; but to seek that knowledge, which is the proper food of the mind, and endureth unto everlasting life. This food he offered to give them, his miracles being the seal and stamp of his authority derived from God the Father. They ask him therefore what it was incumbent on them to do as the servants of that God, whom they professed to obey. Jesus replied, that they were to believe in him, whom God had sent to instruct them. Hereupon we again find them asking for a sign. Not satisfied with the miracle he had so lately wrought in the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, they ask him to make bread descend from above, like the fall of manna, which in their scriptures is called “bread from heaven *.” To which Jesus again replies, that Moses gave not to their fathers the bread of heaven properly so called; for the true bread of heaven is he, who came down from heaven, and giveth everlasting life to all that receive him. “I am the bread of life,” saith he, and he that feedeth upon this bread shall want nothing. And though some among those who saw him, would not be persuaded, yet of those, who were well disposed, none should be rejected; for he came down from heaven to execute the gracious design of the Father, that through him all mankind might be raised to everlasting life. The Jews therefore, offended that he should declare himself to be the true bread which came down from heaven, and thus undervalue the manna which had been given to their fathers, and make himself superior to Moses their lawgiver, began to call in question the pretensions of Jesus, who, instead of descending visibly from the sky,
had been born and bred among their own people. But Jesus forbids their murmuring, inasmuch as he assumed nothing to himself, but came to execute the will of God, who sent him. The very conditions of attaining “that glory which shall be revealed,” are derived from God. By God's word must men be taught, by God's Spirit they must be drawn, before they can come to Christ : that is, they must have teachable dispositions, and religious minds, before they can be admitted into the number of those disciples, whom Christ “ will raise up at the last day;" with much earnestness it is repeated, that whoever believeth in Christ, whoever trusts with humble confidence in the promises of the Gospel, and regulates his conduct by its precepts, the same shall assuredly enjoy everlasting happiness in the world to come. As nothing can be more important, so nothing can be more explicit than our Saviour's declaration upon this subject; “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me hath everlasting life *". It may be, that the magnitude of the object, so far exceeding the comprehension of the human mind, produces in us less effect than might be expected. But however imperfect be our sense of its full meaning, we see enough to awaken in every sincere heart a resolution to resist, to the utmost of our power, any temptation that would separate us from the love of Christ, who is our glory and our hope. His flesh, which should be sacrificed on the cross, and his blood which should there be poured out, would constitute that living bread, and that expiatory libation, of which as many as partook, should obtain remission of their sins, and have everlasting life. For, as it is argued in the Epistle to the Hebrews, “ without shedding of bloođ is no remission.--So also Christ having been offered once for all to bear the sins of mankind, shall the second time, without a sin offering, be seen unto salvation by those that look for him *.” In a similar sense Christ himself declares, that “ except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” Of ourselves we can have no title to enter into the kingdom of God; but we must be first purified by the Spirit, and justified by the sacrifice of Christ, and then we may enter therein. “ How can this man give us his flesh to eat ?" said the Jews. These things are indeed mysteries, which no man can fully understand till the revelation of the great day. But without fully understanding them, we can believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and believing, we can trust in his promises, and wait for his mercies, and do his commandments; and this is all that is required of us. God, on his part, will not fail to make good his promises, and to justify his ways unto man.
* Ver. 47.
Ver. 60. Some of his disciples thought it a hard saying, that the descent of Christ upon earth should be compared to the fall of manna in the desert; and that as many as eat of his flesh, embracing his doctrine, should live for ever. Upon which he tells them that he not only came down from heaven, but that they should see him ascend up again to heaven, from whence he came; moreover, that as it is the Spirit that giveth life, so his doctrines are spirit and are life.
Ver. 66. Many of Jesus's disciples, when they found that his discourse was directed to spiritual things, teaching them to disregard the flesh that “ profiteth nothing,—went back, and walked no more with him.” For such is the weakness of men, that they still prefer the riches and honors of the world, before 'the blessings that are promised to holiness and righteousness.