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• herd, I shall not want, he maketh me to lie “ down in green pastures, he leadeth me by " thé still waters.” The word of God and the ordinances of religion form to every sincere Christian a rich repast; a pasture which is ever green.
This pasture is, moreover, watered with the dew of heaven, which makes it spring up and yield abundant nourishment. They who frequent the ordinances of Christ's religion, who read his word by day and meditate on it by night, who hold communion with him in the exercises of devotion, who walk with him in the ways of holiness and peace, shall not want; they shall not want light and instruction; they shall not want comfort and joy; they shall not want grace sufficient for them in every time of trial. They shall go out and in and find pasture.
The reason why men make so little progress in religion, why they do not grow more rapidly in grace and in knowledge is, that, they reject the food which is presented to them. Their vitiated appetite loathes everything which is not seasoned with sin or sensual plea
But would they only open this sacred book of God, and peruse it with sincere and upright hearts, they would there find an un
speakable and inexhaustible feast to the soul ; they would find a table constantly furnished with the richest dainties, even in the presence of their enemies; they would receive an entertainment sweeter than honey and the honey-comb. When the Christain, after searching through the wilderness of the world, and finding every thing barren and insipid, retires into the house of God, and joins in the exercises of his worship, he sees green pastures arise; the desert crowned with herbage; nature smiles, and refreshing streams are heard to murmur all around. Nor does this part of Christ's pastoral office, like many
others, cease with the present life. For even in the future world, where faith shall be swallowed up in vision; where every want shall be supplied ; where there shall be no ordinances whence the flock of the Redeemer may draw nourishment; where shall be no temple to worship in; where the people of God shall eat of the fruit of the tree of life, and drink of those rivers of pleasure which flow at his right hand -still the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them and shall lead them to living fountains of water, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
Christ is the shepherd of his people, because he leads and directs them. Thus says the Psalmist, “ he leadeth me in the paths of “righteousness for his name's sake.” His word is a light to their feet and a lamp to their path; he leads them by his spirit to the richest and the best pastures; he directs them into the right way by his precepts and by his example; he warns them by his servants of those paths where the nets of the destroyer are spread, where the wild beasts of prey have their haunts, where danger and temptation abound. When the road is steepand difficult, he takes them by the hand, and carries them safely through every trial. When the path is uncertain his voice is heard before them, “ This is the
walk so it.” When the noon-tide of affliction burns, he maketh his flock to rest under the cool and refreshing shade of his grace. When the storm aproaches, he removes them to a place of shelter, and takes them away from the evil to come. And when the shadows of the everlasting evening descend, as a shepherd counteth his flock, seperateth the sheep from the goats, and shutteth them up in his fold, so Jesus receiveth his lambs into his bosom, where enfolded in his arms they sleep the
long sleep of death, secure from every danger and beyond the reach of every foe.
Christ is the shepherd of his people, because he restoreth their soul, recalleth them from their wanderings, healeth their backslidings, and receiveth them graciously into fa
Such is the prevalence of indwelling corruption, the force of temptation and the subtlety of the destroyer, that even they who have been recovered from the ways of folly and destruction, are still apt to wander from the flock, to feed on forbidden pastures; or, by frequenting the company of the wicked, to expose themselves to be entangled by temptation or devoured by some of their numerous foes. The shepherd may for a time permit them to wander bewildered in darkness and uncertainty, perplexed with doubts and fears whether they shall ever discover the right road or be again admitted into the fold, in order to make them more sensible of their danger,
and more humble and watchful and attentive to his voice in future. But none of his little ones shall perish. He knows how frail they are. He pities and reclaims those who are gone astray. He seeks the lost sheep in his wanderings, and when he findeth it, he re
joiceth more over it than over those who went not astray. It is impossible that they who are preserved and restored by this good shepherd shall finally fall away. In the hour of reckoning, none shall be missing. When the chief Shepherd shall appear, he shall present to his Father a glorious and perfect flock, without spot or blemish, with these joyful words, “ those that thou gavest me I have kept, and “none of them is lost.” Fear not then, ye who are of the flock of Jesus, for it is your
Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Christ is the shepherd of his people because he protects them from danger; so strong and sincere was his love for his sheep, that he laid down his life for them. But by so doing he has vanquished all those who seek to make their souls a prey; and he now liveth and reigneth for ever, to guard his flock from every danger. And not only is he a powerful but also a watchful shepherd. He that keepeth Israel slumbers not nor sleeps; his eye
is ever upon his beloved sheep; he sees all the attempts and plots of their subtle and relentless enemies, and defeats their counsels before they are put into execution. Dangers may threaten, temptations may surround, the adversary may