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conviction of the truth of my pretensions, and a desire to obtain the approbation of God, by doing what is right; but how can ye believe in me, who wish to receive honour from men, when ye know that by avowing such a faith ye would expose yourselves to the greatest disgrace?
45. Dp not think that I will accuse you to the Father.
There is no occasion for me to do it: for there is . another who will accuse you sufficiently.
There is one that accuseth you, even
Moses, in whom ye trust,
46. For had ye believed Moses ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.
Jesus refers probably to such passages as these which occur in the writings of Moses, although only the latter was delivered by Moses: "In the seed of Abraham shall all the families of the earth be blessed," Genes, xii. 3; and "A prophet shall the Lord your God raise unto you like unto me," Deut. xxiii. 18. Had they considered these passages as referring to Jesus, they must have admitted his pretensions.
47. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?
I have- no reason to be surprized at your disregarding my sayings, when ye neglect those of Moses, upon whose law ye build all your hopes.
"I. From this passage of scripture we may discern the folly of not coming to Christ, or of not believing in
him, whether we regard the evidence with which he1 is accompanied, or the advantages which result from him. The Jews were desirous of eternal life, and examined the writings of the Old Testament in order to know how they were to attain it; but they refused to receive Christ, who was authorized by God himself to give them the most satisfactory information, and the best directions upon this subject; thus preferring a doubtful to a certain guide, and exposing themselves to a loss which could not be repaired. And there are many at the present day, who profess to think a future life desirable, and take some pains to establish their faith in it upon what they call solid reasoning, yet reject the religion of Jesus, where alone the doctrine of a future life is clearly taught, and established upon incontrovertible evidence. In doing this they prefer uncertain reasoning to the immediate testimony of God, il* lustrated by the evidence of facts, and abandon a sure foundation to lean upon a broken reed. Let not this folly be yours, Christians; ever keep in mind the powerful motives which claim your attachment to Christ and his gospel; in him you have life; by him you will be saved; in that gospel you have the testimony of the Divine Being to the certainty of your future hopes J but you cannot expect the same from any other quarter. Abandon not such a guide, till you can find one equally qualified to conduct you, who, while he teaches you to look for eternal life, carries with him the testimony of God and the seal of heaven.
2. We learn what is necessary to prepare men for the reception of obnoxious truth; a mind strongly tinctured with love to God, and superior to the desire of human applause. Without these requisites, in vain is it that they search the scriptures; in vain is it that they have set before them the testimony of the wisest and best of men, and even that of God himself in the performance of miracles; their prejudices will triumph over all, as appears from the case of these Jews, who,. for want of this preparation, rejected the doctrine of Christ, although accompanied with every advantage which human and divine testimony could. give it.
The same causes which obstructed the reception of the gospel of Christ still operate likewise to obstruct the reception of other important truths, which expose men to like trials. They cannot bring their minds to submit to doctrines which are very opposite to those which they have been taught, although attended with the clearest evidence; they cannot expose themselves to reproach and obloquy, by embracing unpopular opinions, or by joining a despised and persecuted sect, although countenanced by the oracles of truth. That there are many who reject the plain doctrines of scripture from these motives, there can be no doubt; for we have the authority of Christ for supposing it, although it might be presumption in us, who know not the hearts of men, to charge any individual with the crime. This consideration furnishes ground of serious caution and alarm to us all. What we call commendable zeal in opposing error may be no more than obstinate prejudice, and a selfish concern to preserve our reputation. Let us endeavour to guard ourselves from so fatal a mistake, by learning to consider the approbation of God as the highest honour which we can enjoy, and to despise the favour of men, wherever it interferes with the dictates of truth and conscience.
John vi. 1—21.
1. After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, rather, "by the side of the sea of Galilee" which is the sea of Tiberias^ which was called by that name.
As the discourse of Christ in the last chapter was delivered in Jerusalem, and we here find him all at once in Galilee, at a great distance from Jerusalem, traversing the sea coast, without his removal thither, or any of the circumstances which attended it being mentioned, it has been supposed, with great probability,
by some commentators, that this chapter is out of its place, and that it ought to have followed, or rather, did originally follow, the fourth, which concludes with mentioning that Jesus came out of Judaea into Galilee. If this change be admitted, every thing will appear regular and connected. The fourth leaves Jesus in Galilee; this, which should have followed it, describes several transactions which took place while he was there. The fifth mentions his ascent to Jerusalem to a festival^ his cure of the infirm man at the bath of Bethesda, the offence which it gave to the Jews, because performed upon the sabbath, and his vindication of his conduct; and the seventh mentions his return to Galilee, because the Jews sought to kill him: but without the before mentioned change, there will appear to be great confusion in the history.
2. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles, which he did on them that were diseased.
3. And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.
The motive of Jesus for retreating to a mountain was probably to withdraw himself from the crowd, who might be disposed to be turbulent: many would not be inclined to follow him into a desert place.
4. And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.
This whole verse is supposed by Bishop Pearce to be an interpolation, introduced here by the mistake of some early transcriber, and afterwards retained in succeeding copies: for it has no connection with any thing that goes before or follows it in this chapter. A presumptive argument of the same kind is also derived from the silence of some of the early ecclesiastical writers
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respecting this passage; whereas if they were acquainted with it, it could not fail to be noticed by them *. It is from this verse that the most plausible argument has been drawn for proving that our Lord's ministry lasted during three years, since it extended to three passovers: but if the verse be spurious, the inference cannot be well founded.
5. When Jesus then lift up his eyes, and saw a great company come, "coming" unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?
6. And this he said to prove him, "to try him:" for he himself knew what he would do, "for he had determined what to do"
This question seems to have been put to Philip in particular, rather than to any other of the apostles, because he stood more in need of instruction than they, but yet was confident of his knowledge, John xiv. 8, 9. The answer which was made to the question of Christ served also to show how large the multitude was, and how much bread it would be necessary to provide for them.
7. Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.
Two hundred pennies make about six pounds nine shillings and two-pence of our money. This sum, in Philip's apprehension, would not purchase bread enough for such a multitude, so as to afford each individual ever so little: it would not have procured enough