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CHAPTER THE TENTH.
ST. JOHN, CHAP. VI.
FTER these things, Jesus
over the sea of Galilee, which 6 is the sea of Tiberias.
2. And a great multitude followed “him ; because they saw his miracles 66 which he did on them that were dil- eased.”
Any uncommon character necessarily attracts attention : when, therefore, our blessed Saviour appeared, and not only did wonderful works, but made them all subservient to the relief and benefit of mankind, he would of course have a great number of followers: for when interest
is joined to curiosity, they will surmount all difficulties.
3. And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.
4. And the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.
5. When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come
unto him, he faith unto Philip, Whence “ shall we buy bread, that these may
eat ? 6. (And this he said to prove him : * for he himself knew what he would do.)”
The other three Evangelists mention the disciples coming to our Lord, to beg he would send the multitude
How astonished, then, must they have been, when he said, “ Give ye them to eat." Yet why should he, who cured all manner of disorders, be supposed to want the power to feed those he had so miraculously restored to health? But the disciples were Nill wavering in their faith.
7. Philip answered him, Two hun“ dred penny-worth of bread is not suf“ ficient for them, that every one of them may
take a little. “8. One of his disciples, Andrew, Si“ mon-Peter's brother, saith unto him,
9. There is a lad here, which hath “ five barley loaves, and two small fishes : - but what are they among
are they among so many ? “ 10. And Jesus said, Make the men fit “ down. Now there was much grass in " the place. So the men sat down, in “ number about five thousand.
“ 11. And Jesus took the loaves; and “ when he had given thanks, he distri“ buted to the disciples, and the disciples
to them that were set down, and like“ wise of the fishes as much as they “ would.”
Here let me call your attention to the conduct of our Lord, in a point which, I am afraid, is too frequently neglected. Although exercising the power of his godhead, in creating food, yet would he not
omit the duty which, in his human nature, he owed to God the Father for the bleffing. The Son of God descended from Heaven, to be our pattern, as well as our saviour. Can any Christian, then, hope to be excused, who presumes to sit down to table without begging a blessing upon the provision which the Almighty bestows
Nothing is more deservingly held in abhorrence, than ingratitude: and shall we not thankfully acknowledge our constant obligations to our kind and generous Benefactor ? But there are still further advantages attending our begging God's blessing upon the good things he has been pleased to provide for us : we all know that intemperance will convert the most wholesome nourishment, either of eating or drinking, into poison ; and nothing is more likely to check our inordinate appetites, and to make us moderate in the use of God's blessings, than the pious recollection and acknowledgment, that to him we are indebted for them.
The miracle of multiplying food, was not, in reality, more wonderful than the manner in which God daily supplies us : millions are constantly fed, in a way no less miraculous; but as this happens regularly, it does not make the same awful impression upon our minds. What can be more wonderful than the production of grain ? The Almighty, who has been pleased to feed us by the growth of corn, and the production of animals, might equally have supported us without our own labor; but here we have a fresh instance of eternal wisdom, for making the industry of man necessary in supplying him with the requisites of life: for much of wickedness as we now see in the world, how greatly would it be increased if every thing were provided for us without any exertions of our own ; industry being (as Stanhope very justly observes in his comment upon this miracle) a great check to vice.