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ther. 43. Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. - 44. * No man can come to me, except the Father which hath' sent: me draw him; and I will raise him up at the last day: ye need not object my birth on earth, and the meanness of my relations, as things inconsistent with my heavenly extraction, for I assure you, that while you believe your teachers who have greatly corrupted divine revelation, and entertain the prejudices wherewith they have filled your , minds, and follow the sensual inclinations which have hitherto governed you, you cannot believe on me. No man can believe on me, except the Father who hath sent me draw him, that is, persuade him. Jesus added, ye need not be surprised when I tell you, that no man can believe on Messiah, except the Father draw him. For though you may imagine that all men will flock with great cheerfulness to him, and yield themselves his willing suba jects, without any extraordinary means made use of to persuade them, the prophets insinuate the contrary, when they promise that under the dispensation of the Messiah, men shall enjoy the teaching of the Father in a far more eminent manner than under
. . in any
* Ver. 44. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me, draw bim ) Le Clerc thinks the metaphor of drawing men to Christ, is taken from the practice of leading cattle about, with cords fastened to their heads or necks. Applied to reasonable agents, the expression does not import any force or constraint, as is plain from Jer. xxxi. 3. where God says to Israel, with loving-kindness have I drawn thee, that is, by the mani. fold benefits, which I have bestowed on thee, and particularly by the develation of my will committed to thee, I have prevailed with thee to obey me. Thus also our Lord uses the expression, John xii. 31. And I, if I be lifted un from the earth, will draw all men unto nie; that is, being put to death on the cross, and raised from the dead, and exalted into heaven, and preached through the world, I will by my word and Spirit persuade many to accompany me into heaven. See also Solom. Song i. 4. Hos. xi. 4. Wherefore, by the Father's drawing mon to Christ, we may understand his persuading them to believe on him, by the several proofs wherewith he has supported the mission of his Son. Accordingly, in the following verse, the effect which the Father's drawing hath upon men, is described by their bearing and learning of the Father. And what confirms this interpretation is, that our Lord himself ascribes the whole of the evidences of his mission to the Father; for he calls his doctrine the word which bis Fatber had given bin, John xvii, 8. and says expressly, that his miracles were done by the Fatber, John xiv. 10. Nevertheless, in the Father's dracving men to Christ, there is somewhat more included that merely his establishing the mission of his Son by sufficient evidence; far in this sense he as really draws those who do not believe, as those who do believe, contrary to the text, which rays that every man wbe bath heard and learned of the Father, that is, who is drawn by him, cometh to Christ. I think it is plain, therefore, that by the Father's drawing men, we are likewise to understand, his supplying whatever influences of bis Spirit and grace are necessary, to impress the evidences of religion on mens minds, in such a manner as to work conviction. To conclude, as conviction supposes teachableness of disposition, and a love of truth, his drawing men to Christ must imply his bestowing on them dispositions and affections which qualify them for being drawn by him. See verse 65.'
AND COMMENTARY Sect. 62. any precedent dispensation, (see Isa. liv. 13. Jer, *xxi. 34. Micah iv, 2.) 45. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. · Before the advent of Christ, the Father spake to the world concerning bim by the prophets; and when he appeared in the human nature on earth, he demonstrated the truth of his mission by the testimony of John, and by voices from heaven declaring him to be his beloved Son, and commanding all men to hear him. He did the same likewise by the doctrines which he inspired Jesus to preach, by the miracles which he gave himn to perform, and by the influences of the Spirit which he impowered him to dispense. Every one therefore that hath heard and understood what the Father has said concerning Messiah, whether by the prophets, or by John B.iptist, or by the voices from heaven, or by my doctrine, miracles and Spirit, and has learned thereby to form a just notion of Messiah, will believe on me as the Messiah. 46. Not that any man hath seen the Fother, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father: when I speak of mens hearing and learning of God, I do not mean that they can see God personally, and be taught of him in the manner that a scholar is taught of his master. No man has seen the Father personally, except the Son whom the Father has sent, and whose peculiar privilege it is to have been taught immediately of the Father, the doctrine which he preaches to men. 47. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. 48. I am that bread of life: because I have been personally taught of the Father the doctrines which I preach, he that believeth on me hath everlasting life begun in him, and is as sure of being raised to the perfect enjoyment thereof, as if he had it already in his possession. The reason is, by my doctrine Ideliver believers from their sinful-inclinations which are the seeds of corruption, and cherish in them gracious dispositions, which are the principles of eternal life, In respect of my doctrine, therefore, I am undoubtedly that bread of life which I spake to you of before. Thus Jesus explained the nature of the dignity which he had assumed to himself in the foregoing part of his discourse, (ver. 33, 35, 40.) and demonstrated that it really belonged to him. Next, he ran a compari. son between himself considered as the bread from heaven, and the manna which Moses provided for their fathers in the desert, and which they admired so greatly. He told them that the manna had not preserved their fathers either from the temporal or eter. mal death, whereas he was come down bread from heaven to make men immortal. 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.
But • Ver. 50. And not die.] The opposition between xao amefavox in verse 19.
But because it was a matter of infinite importance to his hearers, that they should form a just notion of his ability to save them, and believe in him as the Saviour of the world, he affirmed the third time, that he was himself the living bread which came down from heaven to make men immortal, and that all who did eat of it should live for ever, because he was about to give them his flesh to eat, by making it an expiation for the sins of the world. 51. 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 (i agres in this discourse might be better translated according to the Hebrew idiom, the meat) that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. All the terms made use of by our Lord on this occasion were such as the Jews had been accustomed to interpret figuratively, for, which reason they might easily have understood them. Nevertheless, taking them in a literal sense, they were astonished beyond measure, and fell into keen disputes about the meaning of them, 52. The Jews therefore strove amongst themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 53. Then Jesus said unto them, V'erily, verily, I say unto you, + Except ye cat the flesh of the Son of
and yet a modern in this, is elegant, and shews that in the former the spiritual death is meant, as well as the natural.
• Ver. 51. Living brend. There is a beautiful gradation observable in our Lord's discourse. The first time that he called himself the bread of life, ver. 35. he assigned the reason of the name somewhat obscurely. He sbat cometh to me shall never hunger, and be that believeth on me shall never thirst. The second time that he called himself the bread of life, verse 4*, he spake to the same purpose as before, but more plainly : He that believeth on me, batb everlasting life; therefore I am the bread of life. And by connecting this with his affirmation, ver. 46. that he was the only teacher of mankind that had ever personally seen and been taught of the Father, he insinuated that he gave life to men by his doctrine, baing on that account also the bread of life. The third time he called himself bread, he added to the name the epithet of living, not only because he gives life to men by raising them from the dead, and making them eternally happy, but because he giveth them this life by means of his human nature, which was not an inanimate thing like the manna, but a living substance. For he told them plainly that the bread or meat which he would give thein was bois flesh, cubich be would give for the life of the cuorld, and spake of men's eating it, in order to its having that effect But the meaning of this expression he had directed them to before, wlien in calling himself the bread of life, he always joined believing on bim, as necessary to mens living by bin. Wherefore, to eat, in the remaining part of his discourse, is to believe
† Ver. 53. Except se eat the flesh of ihe Son of men, and driné bis blood. The flesh of Chrisi seems to be put here for the whole of his human nde tuire, (sce ver. 51.) as it is elsewhere in scripture, John i. 14. Rom. i. 3. Wherefore, by eating his flesh and drinking his blood, is not meant any corporeal action, but mene receiving with thankfulness those blessings, to confer which our Lord assumed the human nature; and consequently their believing the revelation he came to make concerning the merciful councis of God: or, as he himself expresses it, ver. 63. the word that be spake to VOL. II.
man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. To use Dr Clarke's words here : “ Jesus knowing how unreasonable his hearers were, did not think fit to explain himself more particularly at this time, but persisting in the same figurative way of expressing himself, he repeated and affirmed more earnestly what he had asserted before. Except ye be entirely united to me by a hearty belief and practice of iny doctrine, and partake of the merit of that sacrifice which I shall offer for the sins of the world, and continue in the communion of my religion, and receive spiri. tual nourishment by the continual participation of those means of grace which I shall purchase for you by my death, ye can never attain eternal life."--54. Whoso ealeth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day; he has the principles of eternal life implanted in him, and shall enjoy it, because I will raise him up at the last day. 55. For my Nesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed: my flesh and blood (see on ver. 53.) are the true nutriment of the soul. For they feed it, and make it to grow: they give vigour to all its faculties, preserve it continually alive, and make it fit for hea. ven. 56. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelletk in me, and I in him ; we are most intimately connected together in the closest friendship, and therefore whatever blessings I can bescow, whether by my own power, or by my interest with the Father, or by the influences of my Spirit, my friends shall enjoy them in full perfection. The expression of persons dwelling in each other, occurs often in John's writings, and denotes the closest
thern, especially concerning his incarnation, and his dying to make atonement for sin. ''These articles of the Christian faith being particularly 'understood here give propriety to the metaphors of eating Christ's flesh and drinking his biood, by which the whole of that faith is denominated. The reason is, of all the discoveries made by Christ, those concerning his incarnation, and the nature and ends of his own death, received and meditated upon with a lively faith, afford sovereign and salutary nourishment unto the minds of sinners. They are as effectual for sustaining the spiritual life in the soul, as flesh fitly prepared is for nourishing the animal life in the body, Dr Waterland, in his treatise on the eucharist, says, that by mens eating Christ's flesh and drinking his blood, is to be understood not faith, but its consequences ; that is, mens partaking of the fruits of Christ's passion and death. And this interpretation he supports by the universality of the declaration, establishing the necessity of eating Christ's fesh, and by observing that to believe is not to eat and drink the fruit of Christ's passion, but is preparatnry thereto as the means to the end. According to this gloss our Lord's meaning was, Except ye shall share in the atonement to be made by my sufferings, ye have no life in you, and so shall die eternally. But with respect to the universality of the proposition on which the doctor chiefly insinisy ji may be replied, that here, as in many other instances, an universal affirmation or negation, is to be limited by the nature of the subject to which it is applied. Excape ye, to whom my doctrine is preached, believe it, ye have no life in you. As for the other arguments offered in the treatise just now mentioned, they cannot be orged against this explication,
union of affections and interests. Wherefore, according to the grand figure made use of by the apostle Paul, it signifies that he who truly believes on Christ, is so united to him as to be a member of his body, and consequently a partaker with him of his life and immortality, and of all the happiness which he himself enjoys, or is able to communicate. 57. As the living Fother hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me : as it is my meat and my drink to do the will of the Father, who is the author of life and happiness, as I nourish and delight my mind with the punctual execution of all the orders he gave me when he sent me into the world, so he that eateth me, he that believes my doctrine and obeys my precepts, shall find therein eternal nourishment and refreshment to his soul. Or the meaning may be, as I shall live after I am put to death, because I am sent by the Father, the author of life, and because he dwells in me, and I in him ; so he that eateth me, and thereby has me dwelling in him, shall after he dies be raised again' by me. 53. This is that bread which came down from heaven: this is the bread which, in the beginning of my discourse, I told you was come down from heaven, (ver. 33.) a kind of bread infinitely superior to the manna, both in its nature and efficacy; for it is to be eaten by you, not as your father's did eat manna and are dead: it is neither to be eaten the same way that your fathers did eat the manna, nor with the same effect, but he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. (See ver. 50.)-- 59. These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum: he spake them openly, in the hearing of all the people who attended at public worship in the synagogue.
Most of the metaphors in this discourse, and particularly that of food to signify doctrine, and of eating and drinking to signify believing, were abundantly easy, and might have been understood at the very first by the Jews, being found in their scriptures and used in their schools. Only not being able to comprehend what he meant by his flesh, they took the whole literally, and were so offended at the thought of eating his flesh and drinking his blood, a thing not only prohibited by the law of Moses, but repugnane to the customs of all civilized nations, that many of them who were his disciples, when they heard it, said it was absurd. 60. Many therefore of his disciples, when they heard this, said, This is an hard saying, who can hear it? who can believe and obey it?–61. When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? 62. What, and if Ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? Are ye offended because I said my flesh is bread, and that it came down from heaven, and that you must eat my flesh and drink my blood in order to your having eternal life? What if ye shall see