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draw him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
Contend not too eagerly with those who reject me; for none can become my disciples but those whom God hath inclined to do so, by giving them just views of himself. If, therefore, my followers be few, it is the will of Heaven that this should be the case. The last clause of the verse, “And I will raise him up at the last day,” Bishop Pearce supposes to be an interpolation, on account of its having no connection with the rest of the verse, and interrupting the course of reasoning. If it be genuine, it must be regarded as an assurance on the part of Christ of the great things which he will do for those few who become his disciples. The drawing here spoken of does not imply violence or compulsion, but only such influence as arises from knowledge, and consists in the force of motives.
45. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God.
That is, all shall be instructed by God in the times of the gospel ; although it will still depend upon their own will whether that instruction shall produce its proper effect. Our Lord is here supposed to refer to two passages in the prophets, Is. liv. 13, where God, speaking by the prophet of the favoured condition of the Jews at a future period, says, “ And all thy child. ren shall be taught of the Lord;” and Jer. xxxi. 34, " And they shall teach no more every man his neigh. bour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest, saith the Lord,” The teaching referred to by our Lord in these passages signifies no more than advantages for acquiring knowledge, and not knowledge actually acquired : for it appears from the next clause that some refused to receive what was offered to them.
Every man therefore, that hath heard and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
Every one who heareth the instructions of the Father, so as to observe them, will become my disciple; but the number of such is small. Lest any one should imagine that by hearing and learning of the Father he meant immediate communications from heaven, such as a scholar receives from the mouth of a master, he takes care to add that this was a privilege peculiar to him
46. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, or, " from God," he hath seen the Father,
Other persons were instructed by the doctrine and miracles of inspired men, but Jesus, by personal intercourse with the Deity.
47. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
The faith here referred to must be a practical faith; for it is to that alone that eternal life is promised in other parts of the gospel.
48. I am that bread of life, or, “the bread of life.”
49. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
50. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die.
51. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread he shall live for ever.
The Jews who now followed Christ were offended with him for saying that he came down from heaven; yet we find that he here repeats the expression, without taking any pains to explain it; whence it appears that he did not wish to give them satisfaction by removing their difficulties, but rather intended to disgust them, and to drive them away; plainly perceiving that these men followed him not for the sake of instruction, but for the purpose of gratifying their appetites, and that he should derive no honour from such disciples. This design is still more evident from the words which fol. low, in which there are expressions still more figurative and harsh than in the preceding verses. In the preceding language, however, there is nothing which may not be easily understood by those who consider the occasion on which it was used, and the claim which Christ laid to a divine mission, and whose minds are not wholly sunk in sensuality like these Jews. For, to come from heaven, is the same thing as coming from God. Nor is there any material difference in the sense, when the phrase is altered to coming down or descending from heaven; for it may be only an allusion to the supposed situation of heaven, which is conceived to be above us; or to the high authority by which Jesus acted: for he who brings a message from a superior Being, or superior place, is in common language said to come down from that person or place, although there has been in fact po real descent. So Christ, who was sent from God, may be said to come down from
world, and was never out of it till he was taken up after his resurrection. But to men who did not consider that Christ professed to come from God, and looked for nothing but a literal meaning in his words, this language was unintelligible. He now proceeds to give them something still more perplexing to their narrow minds,
And the bread that I will give is my flesh, or, “ my body,” which I will give for the life of the world.
.52. The Jews therefore strove amongst themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
To us, who know that Christ voluntarily laid down his life upon the cross, in order that he might be raised from the dead, and might hereby establish the doc. trine of a resurrection to eternal life to all the righteous, and that he furnishes men with the best motives for observing that conduct which will be rewarded with eternal life, it is easy to understand how Christ gave his flesh, or his body, which is the same thing, for the life of the world. But that expression could not well be comprehended by those who knew nothing of the future death of Christ, and of the happy consequences which would result from it. .
53. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
As if he had said, I have already told you that my death will be the means of salvation to mankind; I now add that if that death, which must be accomplished by violent means, so as to occasion the shedding of my blood, should be so unpalatable and offensive to you, as to prevent you from believing in me, and to drive you from me, you will not partake of that eternal life which I procure for my followers,
54. Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
That is, whosoever is not offended with my violent death, but believes in me, shall be intitled to eternal life. The preceding verse threatened death to the unbeliever; this promises life to the believer.
55. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed, rather " my flesh is true meat, and my blood is true drink ;" in opposition to common meat and drink.
My death, especially my violent death, when properly considered, in all its consequences, will be the source of a better life than that which common food supports.
56. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood dwelleth in me, or, " is in me," and I in him, or, “as I am in him."
That is, as I am in the person who eats my flesh and drinks my blood, so he is in me; by which language Christ means no more than that there is as intimate an union between himself and his disciples as there is between the thing eaten and the body into which it is received. · 57. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth me even he shall live by me.
As God hath given me life, so I give life to those that believe in me, and hereby confer upon others a like benefit to that which has been conferred upon me. .: 58. This is the bread which came down from heaven; this alone deserves the name of bread from 'heaven; not as your fathers did eat manna and are dead; he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. · 59. These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.