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sistent with my heavenly extraction; for great was their perverseness, that they conwhile you believe your teachers, who have so sidered them as spoken literally, and were sliamefully corrupted the oracles of Omnipo- astonished beyond measure at what he could tence, and filled your minds with the vain ex. mean, by saying he would give them “his pectations of a temporal kingdom, you cannot flesh to eat." Jesus, however, knowing how believe ou me. No man can believe on the unreasonable his bearers were, did not think Son of God, unless he be persuaded by the proper to explain himself more particularly Father. You need not be surprised at this ; at this time. But persisting in the same for however ye imagine that all men, at figurative manner of expression, he repeated the appearance of the Messiah will flock to
and affirmed more earnestly what he had him with great cheerfulness, and become the before asserted. Except, said he, ye be willing subjects of his kingdom, without any entirely united to me by a hearty practice extraordinary means of persuasion, the pro and belief of my doctrine, partake of the phets plainly foretel the contrary : for they merit of that sacrifice which I shall offer promise that men shall enjoy the teaching for the sins of the world, continue in the of the Father, in a far more eminent manner, communion of my religion, and receive during the Messiah's kingdom, than under spiritual nourishment, by the continual parany preceding dispensation; consequently ticipation of those means of grace which persuasion too, is necessary. You are not I shall purchase for you by my death, ye to understand that by being taught of God, can never enter the happy mansions of eteryou are to see with your bodily eyes the nity. “Whoso eateth my Aesh, and drinketh invisible Jehovah, because that privilege is my blood, hath eternal life ; and I will raise confined to the Son alone ; but that you are bim up at the last day. For my flesh is to be taught by the Spirit of God, whatever meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.” is requisite for your eternal interest in and John yi. 54, 55. by me, who am the way, the truth, and the life.
This is the bread which came down from
heaven; a kind of bread infinitely superior Having thus asserted the dignity of his to that of manna, both in its nature and mission, and demonstrated that it really efficacy. It is different in its nature from belonged to him, the blessed Jesus examined manna, because it is not to be eaten, as your the comparison between himself, considered fathers did that food in the wilderness; they as the bread from heaven, and the manga “ eat manna and are dead.” It is different in which Moses provided for their fathers in the its effect, because he that “eateth of this howling wilderness. The manna, said he, bread shall live for ever." which your fathers eat in the desert, could not preserve them from temporal death : but These particulars Jesus spake in the hearthe bread wbich came down from heaven will
ing of all the people, who attended the pub. render men immortal. “ I am the living
“ I am the living lic worship in the synagogue of Capernaum ; bread, which came down from heaven; if and though most of the metaphors were very any man eat of this bread, he shall live for
easy to be understood, yet they could not ever. And the bread that I will give is my comprehend what he meant, by “ eating flesh, which I will give for the life of the his fesh, and drinking his blood; a thing world.” John vi, 51.
not only prohibited by the law of Moses,
but also repugnant to the customs of civilized Though the divine Teacher, on this
nations." occasion, made use of no other expressions than what the Jews had been accustumed Many, therefore, who had followed him, to interpret in a figurative sense; yet so considered it as inconsistent, and abosolutely
Saviour's disciples, went out of the syna-
absurd, But Jesus answered, Are you of answered, “ Lord, to whom shall we go?
But Jesus, to convince him that he was
not ignorant of the most secret thoughts of I never meant that you should understand the heart, nor afraid that his enemies should the expression literally; my flesh in that be companions of his most retired actions, case, would be of no advantage to the chil told him, that one of the twelve was a wicked dren of men. The metaphor was only used man, and would be guilty of the vilest action. to vindicate that you must believe in the The prediction of Jesus was punctually doctrines which I preach; for the revealing of verified, when Judas Iscariot, one of the which, I was sent into the world by my twelve chosen disciples, basely betrayed his heavenly Father, in form like one of you. . great Lord and Master.
My doctrine may, perhaps, be ineffectual to some of you, because ye are desirous of perverting it, and from thence to form a
CHAP. XV. pretence for forsaking me. I well know the secret recesses of every heart; and therefore Pharisaical Superstition' severely repri
you, that no man can believe on me, manded. The great Redeemer continues except it was given him of my Father.
to display his Power and Benevolence
in Relief of several Objects of Affliction, The self-sufficient, self-righteous Jews Guardshis Disciples against the
prevailso offended at this discourse, that ing Errors and Fallacies of the Scribes many of them, who had hitherto been our and Pharisees. Proceeds on the Works
of his heavenly Father, gogue and never more came to hear him.
THE season of the grand passover apTI
proaching, Jesus went up to Jerusalem could have nothing more than an ideal foun to attend that solemnity. But the Jews, if they ack nowledged Jesus to be the being offended at this discourse in the syna
gogue of Capernaum, made an attempt aba ndon all their favourite hopes of power, 1 upon his life.' Our Lord, therefore, finding
refused to own bim for the great it impossible to remain at Jerusalem in safeRecl e emer of Israel they had sa long ty, departed from that city, and retired into expected.
When the Jews were departed, Jesus The pharisees were sensible they could not turned himself to his disciples, and with a perpetrate their malicious designs upon him look of ineffable sweetness, said to them, on that occasion ; they therefore followed "Will ye also go away ?" To this Peter him, hoping to find something by whicha
they might accuse him: and at length ven- parents ; making the interest of God absotured to attack him for permitting his disci. lutely different from that of his creatures. ples to eat with unwashed hands, because, Nay, ye teach, that it is no breach of the in so doing, they transgressed the tradition commandment for a man to suffer his parents of the elders.
to perish, provided he has given, what ought
to nourishi them, to the temple of Jerusalem. Moses had, indeed, required external Thus have you concealed, under the cloak of cleanness as a part of their religion ; but it piety, the most horrid, the most unnatural was only to signify how careful the servants crime any person can commit. of the Almighty should be to purify them. selves from all uncleanness both of flesh and Having thus reproved the pharisees, he spirit. These ceremonial institutions were, called the multitude to him, and desired in process of time, prodigiously multiplied, them to reflect on the absurdity of the preand the pharisees who pretended to observe cepts inculcated by the scribes. These hypoevery tittle of the law, considered it as a crites, said he, solicitous about trifles, neg. notorious offence to eat bread with unwashed lect the great duties of morality, which are hands, though at the same time, they suffer of eternal obligation. They shudder with ed the more weighty precepts of the law to horror at unwashed hands, but are perfectly be neglected and forgotten.
easy under the guilt of a polluted consci
ence, though they must be sensible that To expose the absurdity of such supersti “ not that which goeth into the mouth defil. tious customs, our Saviour applied to them eth a man : but that which cometh out of the word of the prophet Isaiah, “ This peo- the mouth, this defileth a man.” Matt. xv. 11. ple honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” Adding, that all The laughty pharisees were highly offendtheir worship was vain, and displeasing to ed at his speaking in a degrading manner of the Almighty, while they praised themselves, their traditions. And the apostles, who and imposed upon others the frivolous pre would gladly have reconciled their Master cepts of man's invention, and at the same time and the pharisees, insinuated to Jesus, that neglected the eternal rules of righteousness : he ought to have acted in another manner. and to remove all objections that might be To which our Saviour answered, “ Every brought against this imputation of gross plant which my heavenly Father bath not profaneness in the pharisees, he supported planted shall be rooted up.” Matt. xv. 13. it by a very remarkable instance.
As if he had said you have not cause to fear their anger, as both they and their doctrine
shall perish together, for neither of them commanded children to honour their parents came from God. Adding, “ Let them alone : and to maintain them, when reduced to they be blind leaders of the blind. And if poverty by siek ness, age, or misfortunes, the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into promising life to such as obey this precept, the ditch.” Matt. xv. 14. and threatening death to those who disregard it. But notwithstanding the peremp His disciples, not fully comprehending tory commandment of Omnipotence, you this doctrine, desired their Master to explain teach, that it is a more sacred duty to enrich it. This our Saviour complied with, and the temple, than to nourish their parents shewed them that meats, being of a corpo. reduced to the utmost necessity, pretending ral nature, could not defile the mind of that what is offered to the great Parent of man, or render him polluted in the sight of the Universe is much better bestowed, than the Almighty, unless they are used to what is given to the support of our earthly | excess, or in opposition to the commandment
God, said the Saviour of the world, hath sh
of God; and even then the pollution arose on me, O Lord, thou Son of David," have from the man, and not from the meat. But, mercy. I plead no merits ; as a worthless, on the contrary, that which proceeded out suffering wretch, I intreat only the bowels of the mouth of a man comes from his heart, of thy mercy ; I intreat it, for I believe thee and really polluteth his mind.
| to be the Son of David, the promised
Messiah, the much desired Saviour of the These doctrines of truth could not fail of world ; have mercy on me, for the case of irritating the pharisees, as they tended to my child and her distresses, are my own ; strip them of the mask with which they “ My daughter is grievously vexed with a concealed their deformity, and render them- deyil.” Matt. xv. 22. selves so venerable in the eyes of the vulgar; and therefore their plots were levelled against Is it not, at the first view, astonishing his reputation and life.
that such a petitioner should be rejected;
and rejected by a bountiful and merciful Jesus, to avoid their malice, retired to Redeemer, who kindly invited all that were the very borders of Palestine, to the coasts heavy laden to come to him ; who pro. of those two celebrated Gentile cities, Tyre mised never to cast out any that would and Sidon, proposing there to conceal him- | come, and whose business it was " to go self for a time; but he could not be hid. about doing good ?” It was impossible for the divine “ Son of righteousness” to be concealed where he We, however, find he answered this wocame with his healing wings, and message man not a word: he did not, in appearance, of peace, as it is for the sun in the firma take the least notice, either of her or her ment, when he riseth in all bis glory "s as a distresses. But this silence did not intimibridegroom cometh out of his chamber, and date her : she cried, she still besought, she as a giant rejoiceth to run his course." still importunately pressed her petition ; so For a certain woman of Canaan having that the very disciples were moved with her heard of him, determined to implore his cries, and became her advocates. They assistance. She was, indeed, one of the themselves, though Jews, besought their most abject sort of Gentiles, a Canaanite, Master to dismiss this petitioner, to grant her one of that detested race with which the | request, and to send her away. Jews would have no dealing, nor even conversation ; but notwithstanding all these But Jesus soon silenced them, by an andiscouraging circumstances, she threw her: swer agreeable to their own prejudices. self as an humble petitioner, on tbe bene- “ I am not sent (said he) but unto the lost volent mercies of the Son of God. Strong sheep of the house of Israel.” To this the necessity urged her on ; grief and insuper- disciples readily assented ; and as they had able distress caused her to be importunate. a high opinion of the Jews' prerogative, Alas! unhappy parent ! her only daughter, were so well satisfied with the answer, that her beloved child had an unclean spirit, | we hear them pleading no more for this lost, “ was grievously vexed with a devil.” this miserable Gentile.
When her .case was so urgent, and her 1 But this soothed not her griefs ; it was woes so poignant, who can wonder that she her own cause, and what is immediately was so importunate, and would take 110 our own concern animates us to the most refusal from this divine Person ; whon, she zealous application. Somewhat encouraged knew, was able to deliver her! Accord that she was the subject of discourse be. ingly she came ; she fell at his feet, shetween our Lord and his disciples, she venbesought him,she cried, saying,"Have mercy turned to approach the Saviour of the world,
though she well knew that the law actually After performing this miracle, Jesus reforbade such an intercourse; yet she came, turned to the sea of Galilee, through the she worshipped - this Son of David,” she region of Decapolis. In this country, a man confessed again bis divinity; and prayed, was brought to him who was deaf, and bad saying, “ Lord help me."
an impediment in his speecb. Objects
in distress were always treated with benevoThe compassionate Saviour now conde lence by the holy Jesus ; but as the people scended to speak to lier, but with words now thronged about bim, in expectation seemingly sufficient to have discouraged that he would soon establish his kingdom, every farther attempt; nay, to have filled he thought proper to take the man, with his her with bitter dislike to his person, though relations, aside from the multitude ; after she had conceived such high and noble no which he put his fingers in bis ears, and tions of his mercy and favour: “ It is not touched bis tongue, that the deaf man, who meet (said he) to take the children's bread, could not be instructed by language, might and cast it to doys." Matt.
26. know from whence all bis benefits flowed. It is not justice to deprive the Jews, wlio Hetben“ looked
He then“ looked up to heaven, and sighed, are the children of the covenant, the descen and said unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be dants of Abraham, of any part of those opened. And straightway his ears were blessings which I came into the world to opened, and the string of his tongue was bestow, especially to you, who are aliens loosed, and he spake plain. And he charged and strangers from the commonwealth of them that they should tell no man.” Mark Irael.
vii. 31, 35, 36.
But notwithstanding they were enjoined This answer, though severe, could not
to secrecy, the man, or bis relations, pubshake her humility, nor overcome her pa lished it in every part of the country, doubttience ; she weekly answered, “ Truth, less thinking they could not be too lavish in Lord ; get the dogs eat of the crumbs which
the praises of so great a Benefactor : espefall from their master's table.” Matt. xv.
cially as the modesty with which he had 27. Let me enjoy that kindness which the performed the cure abundantly demonstratdogs of any family are not denied ; from the ed that his sole view was the benefit of the plenty of miraculous cures, which thou be
human race. stowed on the Jews, drop this one to me who am a poor distressed heathen : for they round him in Decapolis ; for the fame of
This rumour gathered the multitude will suffer no greater loss by it, than the
bis miracles was extended to every corner of children from a family do by the crumbs which are cast to the dogs.
the country. He, therefore, to avoid the prodigious crowds of people, retired into a
desart mountain, near the sea of Galilee. Our Lord having put the woman's faith
But the solitary retreats of the wilderness to a very severe trial, and being convinced
were unable to conceal the beneficent Savithat she possessed a just notion of his
our of mankind. They soon discovered his and goodness, as well as of her own unwor
retreat, and brought to him from all quarthiness, wrought, with pleasure, the cure
ters the sick, the lame, the dumb, the she solicited in behalf of her daughter ; and at the same time, gave her faith the praises blind, and the maimed. The sight of so it so justly deserved. “Oh! woman, great mang objects in distress, so excited the
ompassion of the Son of God, that he grais thy faith ; be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole ciously released them from all their com. from that very hour.” Matt. xv. 28.
plaints. Miracles like these could not fail of astonishing the spectators, especially