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way of life, or change the meat that perisheth into the meat that endureth unto everlasting life.
It was this self-deception that He meant to rebuke in them, when he said, “ All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me;" and “ No man can come unto me, except the Father draw him.” The flesh had given them to Him, because they had followed him drawn by the flesh, seeking not the kingdom of God and his righteousness, but the gratifying of their own desires, and hoping to give a religious character to these desires, by coming to a Prophet for their accomplishment. And He meant to show them. that such a giving and such a drawing, under whatever names or appearances, could not but lead to death; and that they must resist them, and yield themselves to the giving and drawing of the Father, if they desired really to partake of his salvation.
God's election rests on the narrow way, as it rests on the word by which He is drawing all men into it. To follow that word is to walk in the narrow way; and His personal election rests exclusively on those who do walk in it. Thus the seed of the word sown in every heart is the cord which, if followed,
brings a man under the election; and thus every man has to choose, whether he will belong to the election or not.
The interpretation which has been here given of the expression “No man can come unto me, except the Father draw him," is farther confirmed by comparing it with verse 45th, which our Lord gives as an explanation of it ; “It is written in the prophets, and they shall be all taught of God ; Every one, therefore, that hath heard and learned of the Father cometh unto me.” For we have seen that the continual presence, in every man, of that word which is nigh us in our mouth and heart, is both the teaching and drawing of the Father, and thus he who obeys it, is he who hears and learns of the Father, and is drawn of Him to Jesus. And the continual presence of the worldly spirit in every man, is the continual drawing of the flesh; and he who obeys that spirit, is drawn away from Jesus, along the broad way that leadeth unto death. “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the ingrafted word, (tov abyov fue Putov, the word come into our nature) which is able to save your souls.” James i. 21. I quote this verse not merely for its
own value, but that I may refer the reader to its whole context, as a passage in which he will find farther illustration of the subject.
Our Lord's explanatory comment on the passage proves, in the first place, that it is not by a mere influence, but by the inward word, that the Father draws men, for it is by that which they hear and learn from the Father Himself; and, in the second place, it proves that when men do not come to Jesus, it is not from failure of the Father's drawing, but because they will not hear and learn of the Father, for he says, “ Every one that hath heard and learned of the Father cometh unto me.”
I repeat, that it must be by the inward spiritual word, known and felt in the heart, that God draws men. For the multitude had come to the true Word in His outward manifestation, and were acknowledging his authority, for they would have made him a king, and they must have been doing thus from comparing him with what had been said of the Messiah by the prophets; and yet they were not owned by Him as having truly come to Him; and why? Reader, let us weigh the objection; it was because they had
100 The followers of that word alone truly come to Jesus.
not themselves heard and learned of the Father that this was He. He was the true Christ, and they had come to him acknowledging him to be such,—and they were so zealous in their acknowledgment of him, that they would have risked their lives, and defied the Roman power, on his behalfbut their acknowledgment of him lacked that element which alone could make it life to their own souls, or give it any value in the sight of God; it did not spring from an in
l ward hearing and learning of the Father. They had not the witness of the Spirit within them, to the truth of Christ's character, and therefore their acknowledgment of him was not a true acknowledgment, although He was the true Messiah. Faith in Christ implies, that a man has felt and recognized the oneness of the Lord Jesus with that seed of the word which he has found within his own heart, for it is thus only that he can know, with certainty and of a truth, that He is indeed his God, come into his flesh to save him. And hence it is evident, that, in order to have a true faith in Christ, a man must be listening to that inward word, for otherwise he cannot know its oneness with Him, and therefore cannot come to Him by the
Father's drawing. I cannot know light, but by its presence in my own eye, and I cannot know God, but by His presence in my own heart.
The Word is in every heart, just as Jesus was in the world and the wisdom, and hypocrisy, and self-conceit, and lusts of the flesh, despise and reject Him in that little world, just as the Scribes, and Pharisees, and people of the Jews, despised and rejected Him in the great world. These are the sinners of whom we read in Prov. i., who entice us, saying, “ Let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent, without cause." And this word, this true witness for God within us, is the innocent. But although innocent, He disturbs the quiet of the heart, by testifying against all its wisdom, and lusts, and decency. And therefore these sinners within us desire to get our decision and choice on their side, against the disturber. They say, “Cast in thy lot with us, let us all have one purse," that is, let us have a common interest, let us make enjoyment our object. But in asking us, (that is the individual personality within us,) to make common cause with them against the disturberthey do not avow all this—they do not openly