The whole preaching of the Gospel to us Gentiles is summed up by the Prophet Isaiah, in words which express that God laid Himself open, as it were, to the inmost knowledge of those who knew not of Him so much, as that they ought to seek Him, and who sought Him not. Most literally God says in one pregnant word of the sacred language, "I gave Myself to be inwardly known m by those who asked not of Me ; I gave Myself to be found of those who sought Me not." All this agrees with the account which our Lord Himself gives of the unbelief of such as, having seen the miracle of the loaves, murmured against His teaching, " I am the Living Bread which came down from Heaven." They had seen with their own eyes what should have persuaded them, and they were not per suaded. If miracles had been purposed by God to extort belief, belief might have been wrung from them.


They had seen far more than those miracles of which Nicodemus said, " Rabbi, we know that Thou art a teacher sent from God, for no man can do the miracles which Thou doest, except God were with him." For two years and a half Jesus had gone up and down among them, working those miracles which Isaiah had foretold that the Christ would work, so that miracle and prophecy already centered in Him. " They had themselves eaten of the loaves and were filled." Yet they believed not. They had a ready plea for themselves, why they need not believe. They had a contradiction on the surface to urge, between what our Lord taught of Himself, and what they themselves knew. "Is not this Jesus, the Son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know ? How then doth this man say, I came down from Heaven?" They knew that He was from below. How then could He be from above, and not only " be " but have "come down from Heaven?" Acute answer of human intellect and human ignorance! But why then did Nicodemus so firmly believe? why did these disbelieve? " No man cometh unto Me, unless the Father which hath sent
Me draw him."

It is a mighty drawing of which our Lord speaks, " a drawing which constrains nature, over powers the dull heaviness of nature, is stronger to draw than nature to resist ; yet a drawing by the inward force of Divine Love, "with the cords of a man," by the inward ray of the Divine illumining, revealing to the soul the truth of the Divine words. For so our Lord explains His own words, "it is written in the Prophets, they shall be all taught of God."

 

 

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