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interrupted, and finally rejected by a considerable number of those who heard it, or at least with their outward ears. But people ought in the present age of the world to make a more judicious estimate of that doctrine; considering the improvement in knowledge that has occurred between the time of the Saviour's first coming and the present: and that they do so in some cases, is no more than might be hoped and expected. For a bare assent to the doctrine, or a listless and indifferent acceptance of the new privciple of life, which is hid in Christ,“ will not profit any more than the old, which was rather death hid in the law.” (Rom. vii. 5, 13, &c.) That heavenly principle will be “ like grass growing upon the house-tops ; which withereth before it be plucked up: whereof the mower filleth not his hand, neither he that bindeth up the sheaves his. bosom :” (Ps. cxxix. 6, 7:) it will be like manna gathered contrary to the divine ordinance : which would not keep till the morning (Exod. xvi. 20) its own self, nor those who ate it more than a few days, if it be not gratefully received, as I shall have farther occasion to observe.
But if we would inquire why that extraordinary aliment the manna, which God was pleased to send his people under the conduct of Moses, did not avail to the life of its partakers like the flesh of Christ, seeing that was also an heavenly diet, or, as it is said, angels' food, (Ps. lxxviii. 26,) and might therefore have been endued with the same immortalizing quality, -we should find two reasons for this difference: first, that such superior virtue as we find in the flesh of Christ was the will of God ordained and established in his only begotten Son; “ for him hath God the Father sealed ;” next, some precious accompaniments to the same, which we apprehend to have been wanting to the manna in the wilderness, if it was angels' food. Only on the dispensation of carnal food there is more to be considered than occurs so often as it should to those
who are blessed with its daily enjoyment. Bread, literally understood as the staff of our visible life, may be so indeed, if it shall please God; or if it please him rather, it may be much otherwise. For he who gives the staff of bread," can also make it a very treacherous staff, or make it any thing else that he likes; as he tells the untractable Israelites by his servant, that he will make it any thing but good to them, if their stubbornness be not to be subdued by milder correctives. “And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary to me; (says he) then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy. And when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied.” (Lev. xxvi. 23, &c.)
It must be a grievous chastisement indeed; when people are put on a short allowance of bread or biscuit, and that perhaps very unwholesome: as people are sometimes made to feel, and especially “they that go down to the sea in ships, and occupy their business in great waters ;" (Ps. cvii. 23;) or much oftener however than we, who live ashore, and are allowed to occupy our business more agreeably, if not more advantageously-it may be in the pleasant fields, without any extraordinary desert, perhaps, on our part. But sometimes this chastisement will come home to people of all sorts,-in the fields, as well as in
and to other cities and states also in their turn, as well as to Jerusalem and its surrounding territory: and that it did at last according to the divine threatening by Moses and others; by such others I mean, as Ezekiel for instance, by whom he says, “Behold I will break
the staff of bread in Jerusalem : and they shall eat bread by weight, and with care; and they shall drink water by measure, and with astonishment,—that they may want bread and water, and be astonished one with another, and consume away for their iniquity.” (Ezek. iv. 16, 17.) This was bringing the denunciation by Moses on another step; it was but one more, and then, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, behold
house is left desolate. For there shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time; no, nor ever shall be:" (Matt. xxiii. 37, 38; and xxiv. 21:) when this wretched city—the city of the Great King that had been, having opposed and rejected his last merciful call by an only Son, and murdered him as he predicted, (Ib. xxi. 39,) is soon taught by its enemies what a Saviour it had lost in him.
Hence it will appear, that beside the general aliment of bread, some certain circumstances and accompaniments may be necessary, to make bread what it should be; as implied in that saying, “ Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceedeth out of the mouth of God;” (Matt. iv. 4;) and, that without the favour of God we cannot always reckon on this common article of bread either. But, supposing this to be once had, it may be well to consider reverently and attentively of
§ 2. Those Circumstances and Accompaniments of our daily food of either sort, that is, either for 1, the body, or 2, the soul, and partly for both; which we pray for in the Lord's Prayer, and hope for in the Lord's Supper. These are other bountiful dispensations of divine Providence added to bread; not of flesh twice a day with it, as “bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening," (Kings I. xvii. 6,) but of other things more availing, as for example:
1. Accompaniments for the first mentioned sort, namely, temporal, or food for the body: which is no mean endow
ment with only the common requisites of a sound constitution within—to digest, and without to secure it. For food taken and not digested, is rather more harm than good to the receiver; and receiving is also not much good, if we cannot keep what we receive. Therefore
1, As an incidental or foreign qualification of food for the body, a wise and vigorous Government is greatly to be desired, that every one may be so far able to enjoy what he has, whether it be daily bread only, or bread with flesh, or even with a dessert ;-sitting, as the prophet shadows it, very comfortably, every man under his vine and fig-tree, without fearing any molestation. (Mic. iv. 4.) But the dispensations chiefly required, if only to make our common bread or diet palatable and conducive to the agreeable ends, for which it is calculated are rather of the constituent than of the incidental class, and equally implied in the forementioned saying—“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." These are vital dispensations, affecting us more deeply than aught that we eat or drink; and it is only by their favourable presence, or the grace of God, that people can be assured of the wholesomeness of their daily bread, and that the same is given to them for good, and not for evil, when it is given by the direction of almighty Providence: as for example,
2, The Love of God: when we shall endeavour to conciliate the favour of the Almighty by bonouring his gifts, and making a right use of them; which is indeed the only way to honour them effectually: for then we may understand it to be the divine pleasure, that our bread should be good to us by the good way in which it is taken and enjoyed. “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose :” (Rom. viii. 28:) and “THIS IS THE LOVE OF GOD, THAT WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS.” (John I. v. 3.) Then every morsel that he gives us will be received with pleasure and thanksgiving: then shall we be far enough from loving any other object extravagantly, and from the chance of indulging at the table to excess, or disgracing the same, and insulting divine Providence by putting the bottle to our neighbour, and making him drunk, with a view to expose him. (Hab. ii. 15.) In the same manner,
3, As nothing can be enjoyed heartily that is not procured honestly, the Love of our neighbour might also furnish a pleasing assurance, and be an excellent digestive for our bread, with a pledge for our cup that we may safely rely on. This wholesome principle would contribute more to the satisfaction and benefit of our repast, than any of the choicest viands; as Solomon observes, “The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul: but the belly of the wicked shall want:" (Prov. xiii. 25 :) and as David says, “A small thing that the righteous hath is better than great riches of the ungodly.” (Ps. xxxvii. 16.) These axioms are unquestionable verities; which we derive from two of the most experienced men and wisest kings, for a father and son, that ever lived and reigned upon earth. They were both eminent in the church before it came to be quite Christian; being still however in rather Christian circumstances : I say, rather; because the circumstances of the church were never purely Christian at any period between its flourishing in Paradise, and its restoration by Jesus Christ; when, that is at both periods, all its worldly wealth consisted in daily bread. Therefore
4, Another favourable circumstance or accompaniment for our ordinary food, if not for our extraordinary likewise, appears in a contented Mediocrity. When we pray our heavenly Father, “Give us this day our daily bread,” we mean generally the staff of our outward and visible life, the quantum or sufficiency of which, as well as of the spiritual sort, is implied in the style of the petition; also for our own kind, for “us” men, only, I presume: and not to include our fellow servants of the an