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rage and roar for his prey, but he who leadeth Joseph like a flock of sheep is mightier far than they who conspire their ruin. He shall preserve them from all evil. He is their shade on their right hand. The sun shall not smite them by day, nor the moon by night, He shall preserve their going out and their coming in. They may lie down in peace and fleep in security ; for the Lord maketh them to dwell in safety. He stills the raging of the seas, and represses the fury of the enemy and the avenger.
He sends his angel and shuts the lions' mouths, that they cannot hurt those whom the wickedness of man has exposed to their devouring jaws. The burning fiery furnace cannot injure when the Son of God is present. Even the dark valley of the shadow of death loses all its horrour, and ceases to inspire fear, when the Shepherd of Israel is with us as our guardian and support. “Yea, though “I walk through the valley of the shadow of
death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with
me; thy rod and staff comfort and support or me.” “I give unto my sheep eternal life,” says our Lord, “and they shall never perish, “ neither shall any be able to pluck them out " of my hand.”
In short Christ is the shepherd of his people, because he comforts and relieves them. How beautiful and affecting a description is given us by the prophet, of the care, attention and compassion with which Jesus exercises this part of his pastoral office! “He shall feed his “flock, like a shepherd; he shall gather the “ lambs with his arms, and carry them in his
bosom, and gently lead those that are with “young.” In Christ's fold there are sheep of all ages and conditions.
But according to their circumstances and exigencies such is the care of their coinpassionate shepherd. As their days are, so shall their strength be. They that are young in grace and cannot walk shall be carried; and that too in a place which equally denotes safety and endearment, in the bosom of the good Shepherd. They cannot sink, under whom are the everlasting arms. They that are heavy laden shall be gently led. Comfort yourselves Christians, with this, that none shall be left behind. Whatever hardships and difficulties you may meet with on the way,
however inadequate your strength may seem for the burden you are called to bear, yet fear not, you shall all appear before God in Zion. To the faint the Shepherd of
Israel giveth power, and to them that have no might be increaseth strength. He strengtheneth the diseased; he healeth the sick, he bindeth up the broken, he seeketh the lost, he bringeth back that which was driven away. Wherever his sheep are scattered in the cloudy and dark day, into whatever fold they may have strayed, he searcheth them out, he bringeth them from among the people, and gathereth them from the countries, and bringeth them again to his flock; there shall they lie down in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed on the mountains of Israel.
The same subject continued.
MY brethren, in a former discourse from these words, I endeavoured to illustrate the character of Christ as a shepherd, and to show that he is thus denominated with the greatest propriety and beauty ; because he feeds, leads, restores, protects and comforts his people.
I now proceed, as was proposed in the second place, to inquire who are those other sheep, whom Jesus says in the text, he must bring in, and who shall hear his voice.
I am the good shepherd, says Jesus, and know my sheep. The followers of the Lamb are all enrolled in his book of life. From that divine omniscience and foreknowledge of which he is possessed, he knew from the beginning who shall believe and be saved, and who shall reject the counsel of God to their own condemnation. The heirs of grace, chosen to
be partakers of Christ's redemption, shall not. be forgotten, or left to perish. In whatever nation or region of the earth they may live ; however far removed from the means of salvation; however improbable it may be that the sound of the gospel should ever reach them ; yet the great Shepherd of the flock knoweth where they are to be found, and at the time and in the way which he hath appointed they shall be brought in. As faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, by means which we cannot foresee or explain, but which are doubtless within the reach of almighty power and infinite wisdom, wherever Christ has sheep the light of the gospel shall either shine upon the whole nation to which they belong, or the dews of heaven shall distil upon them in secret, or they shall in the course of providence be removed to a place where the gospel is known and professed. The conversion of Ethiopia to the faith was an event which, at the time it happened, was of all others the most improbable; but in that nation Jesus had sheep to bring in, and their bringing in he accomplished by the accidental meeting, as it would appear to us, of a great man of that country with one of our