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"THE BREAD OF LIFE."
THE New Testament knows nothing about, so called, abstract Truth. It abhors abstractions, as non-entities. It treats of things: its terms therefore are always concrete. From beginning to end, the Religion of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is strictly Substantive. The end of which is the organic development of the One Absolutely Living Substance, in the New Nature of believers.
I. As is the man, such must be his bread. "The first man is of the earth, earthy;" and must have earthy bread. The bread which cometh forth out of the earth, is full of earth, and for the earth first, for the living earthy body, and finally for the dead earth once more, when the body relapses to its origin, "earth to earth." It is "the
bread that perisheth;" and all who live thereby perish. It is the bread of death, in distinction from "True Bread," Which is Living Bread.
II." The Bread of God" is as full of God, as "The Bread
the bread of the earth is full of earth. of God" is God our Bread. As it is written, Man liveth by that which proceedeth out of the mouth of God. The world, and all things that are therein, subsist by the mediation of the sun. Grass, and herbs, and trees, and all creatures, live not by the earth alone, but chiefly by solar heat and light. The sun is essential bread to all nature; and is ever and ever coming down to give life unto the world.
III.-But immortal spirits want a very different Bread. Spirits want spirit-bread. If the fallen spirits of men are ever to become divine-natured spirits, they must not only eat spirit-bread, but Divine Spirit-Bread. fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. But "the Bread of God," "cometh down from Heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die."
IV.-The Bread of God is the one only living
and true Substance.
It is that Which is, and
Which was, and Which always will be. Remember: "The Bread of God is He Which cometh down from Heaven," namely, "The Same Which was in the beginning with God, and was God." We are distinctly taught then, that the Lord, when insisting on the necessity of our eating His flesh, alludes not to His natural flesh. His natural flesh did not come down from Heaven, but was taken from the Virgin's womb. The flesh, therefore, which our souls must eat or perish, is His Divine flesh,-that very "Bread of God," which came from Heaven. This Divine Bread, the Lord's flesh, is the Only Substance that has Life in Itself; and therefore, the Only, Eternal Substance. It is "He," Jehovah's Christ, "the Only Begotten of the Father, full of Grace and Truth."
V. The sun's nature really becomes organized in the things which grow out of the earth, and in all creatures which live on the earth. Witness all vegetable substances, all flesh and bones, which are chiefly composed of flame, or solar properties. So . the Divine Spirit, given forth from Jesus, glorified, becomes organized in all souls who receive Him as "the Bread of God." They are made partakers of the Divine Nature, and consequently inherit
Eternal Life. For immortality is inherent in God only.
VI. Suppose the sun were simply a globe of light, revealing the defects, and the barrenness of the earth, but not imparting himself, always shining before our eyes, as a model of Beauty, but never giving out his own energy to make the earth beautiful-what would the earth be the better for such a model! Though myriads of eloquent tongues should be appointed to direct attention to such a sun, and to extol his beauty, in spite both of teaching and example, the world would abide a cold desert to eternity. O ye miserable preachers of virtue, learn a lesson. You think you do well to eulogize the perfection of Christ before the people; but wherein are the people the better? The lowest and most immoral of the people have no doubt of the perfection of Christ. You may set the most life-like picture of a healthy man before the sick man's eyes; but the grand question abides, How is the sick man to get health? The world needs a self-imparting sun. Sinful souls could tell you that they are only mocked by a Divine Example.—' If that is all that you can preach to us, you may as well give over preaching. If you can tell us how our souls can be changed into new creatures, we
will then confess that you have a real Gospel for us. But as for your virtue-gospel, although you make it sound very much like Gospel, with its frequent allusions to the Blessed Pattern of our Lord's Life, it leaves us with unchanged souls. You are artist-preachers, you bring to our hunger the picture of bread, most exactly and elegantly done, we grant, but then we want bread. We are actually needy, and we want actual bread. In other words, we want to hear of an actual Saviour; of One Who not only is perfect Himself, but Who can, and will, impart His own Divine Spirit to us, to make us like Him. Nothing will avail us, short of being "new creatures;" speak to us, therefore, of a Saviour Who can create us anew in Himself.'
Such is the Saviour of the New Testament, no mock Saviour, but One Who gives His own flesh for the life of the world. "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus." Eph. ii. 10. "The new man is created after God, in righteousness and true holiness." Eph. iv. 24.
VII. With the sun in the firmament for a symbol, it ought not to be difficult to conceive the universality of "the Bread of God." As the sun waits upon sown seed, so does the Only Vital Substance, wait upon "every creature," to quicken