John 6:34
From any other than Jesus Christ this language would have been egotistical in the extreme. Coming from his lips, referring as it did to himself, this declaration is natural enough. For since he was the Son of God, no claim inferior to this would have been just. It is a marvellous metaphor, this, in which our Lord proclaims himself the true Bread, the Bread from heaven, the Bread of God, the Bread of life.

I. CONSIDER THE HUNGER OF THE SOUL WHICH IS PRESUMED. The body is dependent upon food for life, health, and strength; and the appetite of hunger prompts to the seeking and partaking of food. There is a correspondence between the hunger that craves and the bread that satisfies; an adaptation of the supply to the necessity. There is a parallel arrangement in the spiritual realm. Man is a weak, dependent, craving being, with an ineradicable desire for the highest good - a desire not to be appeased by earthly provisions. It is a spiritual appetite, which in many is deadened by carnal indulgence, by sinful habit, yet which ever and anon recurs. What a revelation of soul yearning would there be, could the inner nature and experience of any congregation be exposed to an observer's view!

II. CONSIDER THE BREAD OF THE SOUL WHICH IS PROVIDED.

1. Christ, as the true Bread, is the gift of the Father. All the family are dependent upon the liberality and thoughtfulness of the great Father and Benefactor. If "he openeth his hand, and satisfieth the desire of every living thing," it is not to be believed that, providing for the lower wants, he will neglect the higher. And, as a matter of fact, he has not done so.

2. Christ is the Bread "from heaven." As such he was prefigured by the manna of the wilderness. This gift is bestowed from the sphere of the spiritual and supernatural, which is thus brought near to our souls.

3. He is the true, the real Bread. There is no hollow pretence in this gift. God is not a Father who, if his son ask bread of him, will give him a stone. He who made the soul of man knows how that soul's wants can be fully and forever met.

III. CONSIDER THE SATISFACTION OF THE SOUL WHICH IS SECURED.

1. Christ is partaken, not by physical eating, but by communion of the spirit with the Saviour. Faith is the means of appropriating the Divine provision. Jesus in this conversation especially warned his disciples of the error into which some of them afterwards fell - the error of confounding carnal with spiritual participation of his body and blood.

2. The result of feeding by faith upon the Bread of life is - satisfaction and gladness, health and vigour of soul, and a life which is immortal. "If a man eat this Bread, he shall live forever." As the hunger of the Israelites was appeased by the manna, as the hunger of the multitude was appeased by the miraculous multiplication of loaves in the wilderness, so have myriads in every age partaken of the true and spiritual Bread, and have borne witness to its efficacy to satisfy their deepest cravings, and to nourish their spiritual life. - T.







Lord, evermore give us this bread.
I. ABOUT HIMSELF (ver. 35).

II. ABOUT THOSE WHO COME TO HIM (ver. 37).

III. ABOUT THE WILL OF HIS FATHER (vers. 39, 40).

(Bp. Ryle.)

I. MAN'S HUNGER. There is in every finite existence one great appetite. No creature is independent; it must draw life from another. In man, who is a complex being, there are various kinds of hunger.

1. Natural.(1) Bodily hunger. Even as an upright creature man was made dependent on the fruits of the ground; and now his first question is, "How am I to get bread." How much thought and labour are expended on it! It has impelled to every crime. Hunger pressed Israel into Egypt, and that involved mighty issues for both. Hunger brought Ruth into view and linked her with the royal ancestry of Christ. The greatest spiritual conflict in the world was connected with a state of hunger. The central petition of the Lord's prayer is "Give us this day," etc.(2) Mental hunger. Man's bodily appetite is typical of mental conditions.(a) The heart hungers for happiness. Man, when left to himself, is an unhappy being.(b) The intellect hungers for truth. Man has been made to inquire into, study, and know the truth of things.(c) The will hungers for liberty. The triumph of a man's life is to prevail over the conditions which would fetter him.(d) The conscience hungers for righteousness. We are made to act in accordance with the supreme law of the universe, the will of God. All altars, sacrifices, priesthoods are witnesses to that.

2. Unnatural. Great multitudes, instead of seeking for legitimate satisfaction, lay hold of false food, and drug themselves. For these Satan keeps a great variety of delusions.(1) For low natures coarse animal pleasures.(2) For intellectual natures there are the sciences, etc.(3) For light and giddy natures there is the world and all its glory.(4) For ambitious natures, principalities and powers.(5) For more serious and half. religious natures penancies, pilgrimages, rites, ceremonies, and good works. The result of eating such false bread is that the mere hunger of the soul is deadened, and a false appetite created, which grows with what it feeds on, and this bread of death instead of supporting the soul consumes it.

3. Supernatural; the longings which exist with any degree of strength only in the renewed nature. Along with the other tastes there may be a love of sin, but this partly consists of a hatred of sin and a love of all that is good, a counting of all things but loss, so that we may gain Christ.

II. THE DIVINE PROVISION.

1. On what ground does God provide for our bodily hunger? For the sake of Christ. He has tasted death for every man, and thus secured an ample day of grace and every blessing, temporal as well as spiritual. Thus in a literal sense Christ is the Bread of Life.

2. Christ is the true food for the human mind.(1) We can only see the true beauty and deep spiritual meaning of nature through Him.(2) He is the Bread of Life to the conscience. In Him the sins of the past are washed away and the law magnified and made honourable.(3) He is the Bread of Life to the heart. The heart that loves not is dead — but Jesus has revealed and communicates the love of God.

(F. Ferguson, D. D.)

You call these common things. Their excellence has occasioned their commonness, and their commonness corresponds to a common want in humanity.

I. LET US APPLY THIS SOCIALLY. Look on the greatest feast ever prepared. What are its delicacies? Simply an adaptation, decoration or adulteration of bread and water, and the seated guests are compelled to say, "This is well enough now and then, but only now and then," let us have something plain. Bread and water survive. Empires of soups, etc., which are the image and superscription of the cook's, who is bound like other fashionable slaves to produce something fresh, rise and fall; but bread and water are God's, and they endure.

II. THE APPLICATION OF THIS IS OBVIOUS IN THE HIGHER SPHERES OF CULTURE. Reading and writing are the bread and water of the mind. Your duty to your child is done when you have given this; let him get the rest for himself. But fine cookery is imitated in fine intelligence, and sometimes with like results — mental indigestion. Hence we have imperfect French, caricatured German, and murdered music, and the native tongue and history passed by. When will people learn to prize bread and water and see that it is better to know a little well, than to know next to nothing about a great deal?

III. THESE ILLUSTRATIONS PREPARE FOR THE HIGHEST TRUTH OF ALL, viz., that Jesus Christ is the bread and water, without which man cannot live. He never says that He is a luxury which the rich only can afford. An adventurer would not have seen in metaphors so humble a philosophy so profound.

1. Man needs Christ as a necessity and not as a luxury. You may be pleased to have flowers, but you must have bread. Jesus has often been presented as an ornament, a phenomenon; but He preached Himself, and would have others preach Him, as bread and water.

2. What has been the effect of omitting to declare Christ as bread and water? Leaving the simplicity of Christ, we have elaborated theological sciences, worked out a cunning symbolism, filled the Church with many coloured garments, and constituted splendid hierarchies. All this means that man is a fool, and prefers vanity to truth. Poor souls are left to believe that they can only get to Christ through priests, catechisms, and ecclesiastical mumbling. Take the pure Bible and read it for thyself, and thou shalt see the Lord and eat heavenly bread.

3. History furnishes a most graphic confirmation of these views. J.S. Mill says: "Let rational criticism take from us what it may, it still leaves us the Christ." Exactly: it leaves us bread. It modifies the theological cook and confectioner, but it leaves the living water. Men can't get rid of Christ, because they can't get rid of themselves. The Lord allows the chaff to be blown away, but saves every grain of wheat; yet nervous people think that the wheat is lost because the chaff is scattered.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

He is to the soul what bread is to the body — its food.

I. Bread is NECESSARY food. Other things may be dispensed with, but all need bread,

II. It is food that SUITS all — old and young, weak and strong.

III. It is the most NOURISHING kind of food: nothing does so much good or is so indispensable to bodily development.

IV. It is food that we NEED DAILY. Other foods are at best only occasionally required.

V. It is the only food we are NEVER TIRED OF; hence it is on every table, unlike every other kind of food.

(Bp. Ryle.)

1. All life is valuable in its degree. Vegetable life is superior to dead matter, animal to vegetable life, rational to animal, the life of God to human life.

2. This latter was man's once; but it was forfeited, and is now restored by the Spirit. Hence Scripture loves to present religion under the notion of life; not as a picture that is only resemblance, not as mechanism that is only form.

3. The relation in which Christ stands to this life. He is "bread," its nourishment; bread, i.e., "bruised corn." He becomes our Saviour by His death.

4. Bread is nothing to us unless eaten, so unless we "eat the flesh of the Son of God," etc.

I. THE WAY IN WHICH WE DERIVE ADVANTAGE FROM HIM. By coming to Him or believing on Him.

1. This reminds us that Christ is accessible. "Where two or three," etc.

2. It teaches us that faith is not a notion, but a principle always attended with an application of the soul to the Redeemer.

3. This application is not a single address, but a continued exercise. "Cometh."

II. THE HAPPINESS HIS FOLLOWERS SHALL ENJOY.

1. They shall never hunger nor thirst again after the world. Having tasted the provisions of God's house, their language is, "Lord, ever more give us this bread." A covetous, sensual, ambitious Christian is one the Scripture knows nothing of.

2. They shall not hunger and thirst in vain. The new creature has appetites, but ample provision is .made for them.

3. They shall not hunger and thirst always. The days of imperfect enjoyment will soon be over.Conclusion; The subject is a standard by which we may estimate —

1. Christ.

2. Faith.

3. The Christian.

(W. Jay.)

I. IN WHAT SENSE IS OUR LORD THE BREAD OF LIFE?

1. He evidently intimated that there was in Him that which, if properly received, would communicate eternal life (vers. 51, 53).

2. He obviously points to His sufferings and death as that from which we were to derive our life.

3. For Him to be to us the bread of life depends on two things —

(1)That we receive the full pardon of our sins;

(2)that we have a meetness for glory by the sanctification of our souls.

II. WHO ARE THOSE WHO DERIVE BENEFIT FROM HIM? Not all, but only those who come in faith.

1. Before we can do this we must have a sense of our need of Him.

2. Those will not come to Him who fail to see His perfections, believe in His atonement, and hear His invitation.

3. There must be moral effort. "Labour." We must evidently turn our backs resolutely on the sins we loved.

4. We must come to Him by the prescribed means — meditation on His Word and importunate prayer.

III. WHAT IS THE BENEFIT of which He speaks. The believer shall never hunger or thirst —

1. After sin.

2. Nor anxiously after holiness; only with such a sweet desire as serves to animate the spirit on its road to that state where it will thirst no more.

(B. Noel, M. A.)

I remember what bread was to me when I was a boy. I could not wait till I was dressed in the morning, but ran and cut a slice from the loaf — all the way round, too — to keep me until breakfast; and at breakfast, if diligence in eating earned wages, I should have been well paid. And then I could not wait for dinner, but ate again, and then at dinner; and I had to eat again before tea, and at tea, and lucky if I didn't eat again after that. It was bread, bread, all the time with me, bread that I lived on and got strength from. Just so religion is the bread of life; but you make it cake — you put it away in your cupboard and never use it but when you have company. You cut it into small pieces and put it on china plates, and pass it daintily round instead of treating it as bread, common, hearty bread, to be used every hour.

(H. W. Beecher.)

When people are being strengthened of God, they are not content with one meal on the Sabbath; they want another, and perhaps a prayer-meeting or a Sunday-school for a dessert. They are not content with just two or three minutes' prayer in the morning; they like, if they can, to slip out of business and get a word with God in the middle of the day. They delight to carry a text of Scripture in their memories to sweeten their breath all the day, and they cannot be happy unless they meditate upon the Word. I think you make a great mistake when you go galloping through the whole Bible, reading half a dozen chapters every day; you do much better when you get a text and ruminate upon it, just as the cows chew the cud. Turn the Scripture over and over, and get all the juice, sweetness, and nourishment out of it, and you will do well. The spiritually hungry man says, "I must go and hear some servant of God, and hear what God, the Lord, will speak to me. I must get as much of the heavenly food as I possibly can, for I need it so greatly."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Men who are mending find themselves hungry between meals. "Oh," the doctor says, "that is a capital sign. You will get on now." I love to see God's people when the Lord is strengthening them, for then they leave off being dainty and fault-finding, and prove the truth of Solomon's proverb, that to the hungry man every bitter thing is sweet. Then they come to Monday night prayer-meetings and week evening services. They used to be able to do very well from Sunday to Sunday, and I have known some of them get on with one meal on the Lord's day, and like it all the better if that was quickly served and soon over. When the gracious Lord strengthens His people they become very sharp-set. Somebody said on Sunday morning to me, "Did you not feel it sweet preaching?" I replied, "I always feel it sweet preaching the gospel of the grace of God." "Ah, but," he said, "the people swallowed it all just as it came from your mouth, and they seemed so hungry after it." Truly this makes a preacher happy.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The old Grecians that had fed altogether on acorns before, after that bread came in amongst them they made no reckoning of their mast any more, but kept it only for swine. And leathern and iron money began to grow out of request amongst the Lacedemonians after that gold and silver came into use. So when a man hath once found the favour of God in his heart, and the love of God in Christ hath once lighted on it, and got assurance of it, he ceaseth then to be greedy of the world's trash, which is in regard of it but dross or pebble-stones to gold and diamonds, as mast to the best bread corn; yea, rather of far less worth or value to that than either of these are to it.

(Fuller.)

If anybody were to say to me, "I have a man at home who stands in my hall, and has stood there for years, but he has never eaten a mouthful of bread all the time, nor cost me a penny for food," I should say to myself, "Oh, yes, that is a bronze man, I know, or a plaster cast of a man. He has no life in him, I am sure; for if he had life in him, he would have needed bread." If we could live without eating, it would be a cheap method of existence; but I have never found out the secret, and I do not mean to make experiments. If you are trying it, and have succeeded in it so far that you can live without Christ, the bread of life, I fear your life is not that of God's people, for they all hunger and thirst after Jesus, the bread of heaven.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

During the Irish famine of 1849 the Duke of Norfolk invented a curry-powder of which he boasted that if taken by the starving peasants it would destroy all cravings of hunger. How many remedies for the soul's hunger arc mere mockeries of unsatisfying! Curry-powder is poor food at the best.

(H. O. Mackey.)

Christ is incorruptible meat and drink. All earthly meat and drink is of a fading, perishing nature. The best bread grows mouldy in a little time; the best flesh in time putrefies and taints; the best wine grows eager and sour in a little time, and becomes unfit for the body of man; the very manna itself, when it was kept till the morning of the next day, contrary to God's command, bred worms, and stank (Exodus 16:20). But Jesus Christ knows no corruption. His flesh and blood is now as sweet and pleasant, after so many ages, as it was the first hour it was eaten and drank (chap. John 8:27). And it will be as far from corruption at the end of the world as now it is. The manna in the golden pot corrupted not, though kept for many generations. Christ is manna in that golden pot; the humanity in the golden pot of the Divinity shall see no corruption.

(Ralph Robinson.)

I. THE LORD JESUS IS TO BE RECEIVED BY EACH ONE OF US PERSONALLY FOR HIMSELF. Bread which is not eaten will not stay hunger. Water in the cup may sparkle, but it cannot slake thirst unless we drink it. How do we receive Christ.

1. By coming to Him, which represents the first act of faith. We return to the Christ from whom we have been alienated with a motion of the heart performed by desire, prayer, assent, consent, trust, obedience.

2. Believing on Him, in the sense of trusting Him.

3. Eating and drinking Him. It is monstrous that this should be taken literally, for what greater crime could there be than to eat the flesh of our Saviour? What He meant was receiving Him into our hearts. Now, in eating —(1) The food as a whole goes into our mouths; so as a whole Christ is received into our belief and trust.(2) We masticate it, and even in this way the believer thinks of Jesus and discovers His preciousness.(3) It descends into the inward parts to be digested; so Christ is to dwell and rest in the affections till His comfort is fully drawn forth.(4) The food is next assimilated; so the great truths of Christ are inwardly received till our whole nature draws from them satisfaction and strength.(5) As a man who has feasted well, and is no more hungry, rises from the table satisfied, so we feel that in our Jesus our entire nature has all it wants.(6) The two points about Christ which He says are respectively meat and drink are —

(a)His flesh, i.e., His humanity. Our soul feeds on the literal historical fact that "God was in Christ," and was made flesh and dwelt among us.

(b)His blood, which clearly refers to His atoning death.

II. WHERE JESUS IS RECEIVED HE IS SUPREMELY SATISFYING —

1. To our highest and deepest wants, not to mere fancies and whims. Hungering is no shame; thirst is not sentiment.

2. Christ meets the hungering of conscience, which feels that God must punish sin, but is appeased as it perceives that it has been punished in Christ.

3. Men, when awakened, have a hunger of fear, but when they find that Christ has died for them, fear expires and love takes its place.

4. The heart has its hunger, but in Christ its roving affections find rest.

5. There are vast desires in us all, and when we are quickened they expand, and yet are satisfied.

6. This perfect satisfaction is found only in Christ.

(1)Some have tried to be satisfied with themselves.

(2)Some have gone to Moses.

(3)Some have dosed themselves into a torpor with the narcotics of scepticism.

(4)Many stave off hunger by indifference, like the bears in winter, which are not hungry because they are asleep.Conclusion: All believers bear witness that Jesus Christ is satisfying to them.

1. They never seek additional ground of trust beyond Christ.

2. They never want to shift their confidence.

3. Christ satisfies in the hour of death.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

This form of expression is not found in the synoptists. It occurs not unfrequently in St. John, and the figures with which it is connected furnish a complete study of the Lord's work.

I. I am the LIGHT OF THE WORLD (chap. John 8:12).

II. I am the BREAD OF LIFE (vers. John 6:35,41,48,51).

III. I am THE DOOR (John 10:7,9).

IV. I am THE GOOD SHEPHERD (John 10:11,14).

V. I am THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE (John 11:25).

VI. I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE (John 14:6).

VII. I am THE TRUE VINE (John 14:1-5).

(Bp. Westcott.)

It is not what a man eats, but what he digests, that nourishes him. Now, so it is with that truth which is food for the mind, which is the soul's nutriment. There is a certain kind of truth which needs only to be heard, only to he received: facts about the sun or earth, about light and heat and electricity. All that you need to do in respect to these truths is to get them, to store them away in your mind. Thus, for instance, the sun is ninety-two millions of miles from the earth. Receive these facts, and you need go no farther with them. There is no necessary after process of assimilation. They are of themselves nourishment for the mind, without any such after process. But not so is it with moral truth — that truth designed to regulate and govern human action. This is worth nothing, unless it is wrought into the life; unless it be so assimilated as to lose the form of abstract truth, and become principle; unless it passes into, is converted into life. This is the way with bread, when it does any good. It does not remain bread. It turns to flesh and blood and bone. The bread of yesterday is the myriad-hued, the myriad-sided life of to-day. It is the eloquence of the orator, and the strength of the drayman. It is the skill of the artist, and the energy of the ploughman. And it is all this, through the wonderful process of assimilation, through the mysterious force of a transubstantiation, stranger than priest ever taught, or poet ever fancied. Now, the truth of this analogy furnishes an explanation of the fact that so many persons in the world have a great deal of Bible know- ledge, an abundance of moral truth, without having much of spiritual life. In such Cases, truth has remained truth. Doctrine lies within them, as so much doctrine. So moral truth remains as so much unassimilated knowledge in the minds of thousands. And this analogy, besides an explanation, suggests also the great duty we owe to our moral or spiritual being. It is this. The duty of assimilating the moral truth which we have received, of turning it into life. This should be our daily work. Is time nothing, and eternity everything? Do we believe this? Then we should be more careful for an estate there, than for building up one here. Is it true, that with- out holiness no one shall see the Lord? Do we believe this? If so, how important that this truth should be turned into a principle of action in our daily life. And we should come to place very little, if any, value upon the mere possession of truth. Many a post mortem examination discloses plenty of unused food within the body. Still, the man died — died, because his system did not take up and use the bread. So, many a post mortem moral examination, no doubt, will exhibit an abundance of moral truth within the soul. And farther than this I think we should go here. We should come to place comparatively little value upon doctrines, which we are unable to convert into life-force, from which we cannot gather spiritual guidance and strength. If the truth which we possess is not digestible, it is very poor stuff. But, without further amplification here, I ask your attention to the great matter suggested by the text — THE CONDITIONS OF SPIRITUAL ASSIMILATION.

1. And the first I mention is, something to be assimilated. The process denoted by this word is only the changing of one substance into another. Thus, the tree takes the air and the sun. light, and the rain, and turns them into tree, into roots and trunk, branches and fruit, into its own peculiar life. Every leaf on your vine in spring-time is an open mouth, asking for these surrounding substances, that it may convert them into life for itself. It does not want light and heat and moisture, as such. It does not lay them up as such, counting them treasures. No, but silently, surely, swiftly, it assimilates them to itself. The sunbeam, when your flower gets hold of it, is no longer a sunbeam. No; but it is blood in the veins of your rose, it is the blush upon its cheek, it is sweet odour filling the air. Now, not otherwise is it with the life of the soul. This life, like all others, grows by the process of assimilation. But there must be something to be assimilated; and what this something is the text distinctly affirms. It is Christ, who is the bread of life, the bread which is turned into life within the soul. Christ, and not something else; not philosophy, not art, not knowledge. Where in the history of the world has any of these supported moral life? Look at ancient Egypt, ancient Greece. Christ is its food; but this means the true Christ, and a whole Christ. The soul cannot live on the Pope, or what of Christ may come through the Pope. It needs a whole Christ. Then, again, take the case where Christ is shorn of His sympathy, of His boundless love, of His ineffable yearning, and the same result is apparent. The soul starves. Its bread again is only half bread. Then there is another half Christ, the sentimental one. A Christ who is no sin-bearer, who holds no relation to the Divine law as its atonement — a Christ, of whom it can, only by the widest possible metaphor, be said, that He was made a curse — a Christ with no blood I And the same sad result of spiritual life is here again witnessed. Souls are starved.

2. The second condition is a good moral atmosphere. This implies two things. First, that your homes should be favourable to Christian life; and second, that your daily business, outside the home, should be such and so conducted as to be the same. No church, no religious privileges, can do much for any man or woman, who either has no home, or whose home is a bad one. Why, suppose you only gave your body one or two hours a week of pure atmosphere. Could you preserve health? Could you live? If you go from the church into an atmosphere of frivolity and selfishness, of acrimony and impurity, you will be sure to arrest the process of spiritual assimilation. Shun evil and corrupt association. It is said that the Upas-tree is girt in with a circle of dead and rotting carcases of bird and beast. So, upon every side of these corrupt rings, are strewn the dead consciences, the lost souls of men. See to it, then, that you breathe the atmosphere of love and of kindness, of purity and of honesty, day by day.

3. The third condition of spiritual assimilation is activity, the exercise of the new and true life. Duty is a Divine and immutable condition of moral growth. "He that saveth his life shall lose it." Selfish idleness will kill any soul. Something you must do for this world in which you live, if you would do the best for yourself.

4. A fourth condition of spiritual assimilation is thought, intelligence. Better believe half of what you do, intelligently, with your whole soul, than believe it all, languidly, ignorantly.

5. The last condition of spiritual assimilation which I mention, and the great one, is the presence of the vital principle — the vital principle which philosophy cannot find out, which chemistry cannot detect. See those two trees. One of them lifts up its bare and shrunken branches; the other is covered with leaves, and the birds sing among its branches. Yet the air, the sunshine, the moisture, all within reach of both of these trees. What makes the difference? Why, in one the vital principle is present, from the other it has departed. Take two members of the same family again. One stands before the cross, only to fall in worship. The other hunts through the soil, wet with the blood of the Saviour, for gold, and lifts up his face to blaspheme, when he finds it not. The cross is life to the one, but death remains in the case of the other.Two or three remarks in conclusion.

1. It is Christ who is the Bread of Life — not the Church, not truth, not doctrines; but Christ the personal Christ.

2. Christ being the Bread of Life, character becomes a good test of the soundness of faith. He who is pure, who is Christlike in conduct, must have partaken of Him who is the only bread of such a life.

3. Many of us are daily guilty in this matter. We transgress, year after year, the plainest laws of spiritual health and of moral growth.

(S. S. Mitchell, D. D.)

Every one acknowledges the golden cornfields to be full of the highest spiritual teaching. It is as if He who gave us the Written Word, which we call the Bible — "the Book" — specially designed the harvest-field to be to it a sort of companion volume; and to that purpose filled it to overflowing with the most striking and beautiful illustrations, which should be at the same time bright enough to catch the attention of the most untutored, and profound enough to richly repay the deepest study of the thoughtful and learned. Nor would our Saviour allow this beautiful supplementary volume to be neglected or overlooked. Let us listen for a moment to what science has to tell us of the character and position of corn in the economy of nature. Corn belongs to the second great order of plants — the lily order; and according to the evolutionist's theory it is either a lily in the making, or in a degenerate and degraded form. This latter theory is the generally accepted one. In process of the ages the corn-plant which was, and is still, of the lily order, gradually developed the invaluable property of producing corn, and did ibis at the expense of its beauty. It separated itself from its beautiful sisters, laid aside the glory of the coloured vesture and elegance which belonged to it as of right, and took instead the russet garments in which we see it now clad; and all in order that it might be of service in its day and generation, and give its own life and substance for the life and support of others. If this were so, what a wonderful little parable we have in its history of the law of self-sacrifice, and of the blessing and reward attending such sacrifice: for what if it that really happens to the corn as a result of its self-surrender? We call it now the "staff of life." That is its usual and well-fitting title. To be singled out from all other plants in the world as the very staff of human life were, I say, marvellous honour for so small and insignificant a plant. But more than that; in giving its life as the staff of ours it, becomes itself a partaker of a nobler nature. In eating it we incorporate its nature with ours, so that it becomes part of our very selves — bone of our bones and flesh of our flesh — and in a very real sense it comes in this way to participate with us in the enjoyment of human life. What a striking illustration we have here, then, of some of our Saviour's words! Jesus said, "He that loveth his life shall lose it, and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal; " and the life-history of the corn emphasizes this truth in a way so remarkable that no one can help being impressed by it. But we have not exhausted this lesson even yet, nor have we reached a thousandth part of the honour God has designed to bestow upon the self-abasing little plant; for when the Lord Jesus Himself came down from heaven to give His life for the world, and one day stood and looked around Him for a figure by which He might signify something of His own Person and office, He could find nothing better to His purpose than the little corn-plant in its so-called degraded form and russet-dress. "I am the Bread of Life," He said, "I am the living Bread which came down from heaven." We can well appreciate the aptness of that simile. The plant that had laid aside its lily-dress, and put off all its glory — clothing itself in russet-brown, and stooping very low, that it might give its life for the many — and, moreover, that could even then only become life-giving bread by being first bruised and crushed and broken — I say we can well perceive how fitting a type in all these particulars it was of Him "who made Himself of no reputation," etc. "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him," etc.

(John Crofts, M. A.)

1. Every living thing is a feeding thing. That it feeds is the test and signal that it lives.

2. Moreover, every living thing, whatever it may be, whether lowest in the scale of existence, or highest, must have food appropriate to itself, or it cannot live. There is a pathetic story which comes to us from the earlier explorations of the vast island of Australia. In the central deserts of that island there grows a strange plant called the nardoo, bearing leaves like clover. The Englishmen Burk and Wells, who were making these explorations, in the failure of other food, followed the example of the natives, and began to eat the leaves and roots of this plant named nardoo. It seemed to satisfy them; it seemed to fill them with a pleasant sense of comfort and repletion. But they grew weaker every day, and more emaciated; they were not hungry, for the plant seemed to satisfy the calling of hunger. But all the effects of an unfilled hunger began to appear in them; their flesh wasted from their bones, their strength leaked till they scarcely had the energy of an infant; they could not crawl on in their journey more than a mile or two a day. At last one of them perished of star- vation; the other was rescued in the last extremity of it. On analysis, it was discovered that the bread made of this plant lacked an element essential to the sustenance of a European. And so, even though they seemed fed, the explorers wasted away, and one of them died, because they were feeding on a sustenance in. appropriate.

3. Now all this is true of man's higher and moral nature. The mistake men are constantly making is, that they seek to feed their higher nature upon wrong food, which may satisfy for the time, but in the long run cannot keep back the pangs of a noble spiritual hunger.

4. This is what Christ came into the world to be to men — the appropriate, satisfying, sustaining, upbuilding food for their highest nature.

(1)Christ, the Bread of Life, feeds and fills the human hunger for Divine sympathy.

(2)Divine forgiveness.

(3)Divine helping.Lessons:

1. Do not refuse the Bread of Life because there are some things in Him you cannot understand, any more than you refuse the bread upon your tables, though there are mysteries in it that no science can explain.

2. See the adaptation to our needs of the great truth of our Lord's Divine-human nature. He could not be the Bread of Life to us did He not possess such a nature.

3. Learn the essential meaning of religion. The essential meaning of my physical life is, that I come into contact with food. The essential meaning of my religious life is, that I as really and as utterly come into the Food of my spiritual nature — Christ.

(W. Hoyt, D. D.)

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