Page images

will fit you for the remedies he is at all times disposed to impart to you, for the cure of your distempers.

When Jesus had spoken to the assembled multitude of the kingdom of God, and healed those among them who had need of healing, he had recourse to the miracle related in the Gospel, to appease the hunger, which their attendance on him in the wilderness had occasioned them to experience. Nor will the cravings of your spiritual appetites, my friends, be less the objects of his benevolent attention. He will satisfy those cravings which, in your retreat with him, the pure atmosphere of holy solitude, gently agitated by the breath of heaven, will have happily excited. Yes, he will satisfy those cravings. He will satisfy them with a food the most wholesome and delicious --with a food which, whilst it will give energy to your souls, will replenish them at the same time with the most exquisite delight. That food is the divine influence of his Holy Spirit, which he will communicate to you, and which imparting to you nourishment and strength, will cause you to grow and to increase in virtue, till you attain at length, in the language of the Apostle, “the perfect stature of the fulness of Christ.” It will enliven your faith, animate your hope, and kindle in you the flames of the most ardent charity. Invigorated by this supernatural sustenance, you will walk without lassitude in the way of God's commandments, surmount the obstacles you may meet with may be

in your journey, bear stoutly the burthens which it

your lot to carry, and beat down courageously the enemies of your salvation, who may attempt at once to rob you of your treasures and to deprive you of life. You will also feel its beneficial effects amidst all the troubles of your earthly pilgrimage, in that patience, resignation, and conformity to the will of God, which it will not fail to establish in your souls. And that inward peace, that calm serenity, that habitual cheerfulness, that sunshine of the breast, which you will have the blessing to enjoy, will afford you a pure and heartfelt satisfaction, superior far to the most vivid pleasures derived by wordlings from the gratification of sense.

Then will you perceive, then will you be fully and experimentally convinced, that to be virtuous is to be happy; that to serve God with fidelity, is to consult in reality your present comfort ; that the observance of his law is its own reward; and that by labouring to secure your everlasting welfare, you contribute most effectually to the promotion of the interests of this your transient state of existence.

But there is one particular species of food with which the holy Jesus nourishes the hungry souls of his followers, which, by its intrinsic excellence, its nutritious qualities, and the magnitude of the effects which it is calculated to produce, rises preeminently above every other; and that too, like the loaves and fishes mentioned in the Gospel, is a miraculous food. Nor is the number of persons to whom he is prepared to impart it, confined, as it was in the wilderness, to five thousand, nor to fifty times five thousand; but he offers it to as many, as, from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof, may be disposed to avail themselves of it. And what is that? Why, my friends, it is himself. “T,” said he, “am the true bread that came down from heaven.” It is his own precious body and blood, with which, in the adorable sacrament of the altar, he has graciously provided you. “ For my flesh,” he added, “is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.” By a frequent and worthy participation of this divine food, you will attain, as far as is consistent with the weakness of your nature, the highest degree of Christian perfection. For it will form between you and that complete model of every virtue, which he has himself inculcated, an union the most intimate. “He," said he, “ that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him.” It will cause you, moreover, to be invariably actuated by his Holy Spirit. Of this he has given us, in the following declaration, the most positive assurance. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me.” Thus will it qualify you, by its supernatural efficacy, for the future possession of that blissful immortality promised to those who are partakers of it.

“ He that eateth this bread, shall live for ever.”




say to

GOSPEL. St. John, viii. v. 46-59. At that time Jesus said to the multitudes of the Jews, Which of you

shall convince me of sin? If I say the truth to you, why do you not believe me? He that is of God, heareth the words of God, therefore

you hear them not, because you are not of God. The Jews therefore answered and said to him, Do not we say that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil ? Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honor my Father, and you

have dishonored me. But I speak not my own glory; there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Amen, amen, I


If any man keep my word, he shall not see death for ever.

The Jews therefore said, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets, and thou sayest, If any man keep my word, he shall not taste death for ever. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? and the prophets are dead. Whom dost thou make thyself? Jesus answered, If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father that glorifieth me, of whom you say that he is your

God. And


have not known him, but I know him. And if I shall say that I know him not, I shall be like to you, a liar. But I do know him, and do keep his word. Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see my day, he saw it and was glad. The Jews therefore said to him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham ? Jesus said to them, Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was made, I

They took up stones therefore to cast at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple. The Gospel of this Sunday is part of a discourse delivered by our blessed Saviour in the treasury of the temple, on the day following that which closed the feast of tabernacles. He had previously asserted, and that too repeatedly, the truth of his divine mission, which he had clearly manifested by the splendour of his miracles. But as his enemies still persisted in calling it in question, on the ground that that supernatural power, which they could not, without rejecting the testimony of their senses, deny him to have exercised, was to be ascribed entirely to the influence of the devil,-he appealed, for the refutation of that impious charge, to the uniform tenor of his unblemished life, and challenged them to shew, that any part of his moral conduct indicated, in him, the slightest appearance of any connection with the principle of evil. “Which of you,” said he, “shall convince me of sin?” Confident, from the consciousness of his undeviating rectitude, of their utter inability to answer his defiance, and considering their silence as an implied avowal of the truth of his doctrine, he then called upon them to assign a reason for their obstinate incredulity. "If I say the truth to you, why do you not believe me?” Without waiting, however, for a reply, he boldly stated to them the real cause of their behaviour in this respect. For he told them plainly, that it was not to any defect of evidence on his part, but to a want of proper dispositions in themselves, that their infidelity was to be attributed. “ He that is of God, heareth the words of God, therefore you hear them not, because you are not of God.” Irritated by this severe, but just reproach, his


« PreviousContinue »