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They directly tend to teach man his real state and danger, to destroy the fatal illusion of selfrighteousness, to lay a foundation for genuine humility, and thus to prepare him for coming back to the great Shepherd for safety and deliverance. A just perception of sin, original and actual, is the entrance to all practical knowledge.

For the doctrine of the RECOVERY of lost man by the cross and passion of our Lord Jesus Christ thus becomes intelligible, necessary, appropriate. This, this is the peculiarity of the Christian revelation, that the good shepherd hath given his life for the sheep. O voice of terror and compassion uttered, in prophetic vision, by the divine majesty, Awake, O sword, against my SHEPHERD, against the man that is my FELLOW, saith the Lord of hosts ! O astonishing and boundless love of our heavenly Father in the completion of this prophecy, when he spared not his own sox, but delivered him up for us all! O mysterious and matchless pity of the Son of God himself to stand in our place, to endure our punishment, to expiate our guilt, to suffer and die, as the heavenly shepherd, for his lost, sinful, helpless flock! Yes, my brethren, the word that was with God and was God, was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us ; he was born of the Virgin Mary, he offered up himself a sacrifice without spot to God, he was made sin for us though he knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. And now we are “ accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our own works or deseryings."

It is with these tidings that we are sent forth to preach to guilty man. This is the nourishing and salutary food which the shepherd gives his fainting, weary flock. We propose offers of salvation to every human being. We propose to raise men from the ruins of the fall. We proclaim the free and exuberant grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. We call, invite, command, persuade men to repent, and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. We are still, in an important though lower sense, like the first apostles, ambassadors for Christ; and as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. Thus we go, like a faithful shepherd, after the lost sheep, into the wilderness until we have found it; and when we have found it, we lay it on our shoulders rejoicing, saying, Rejoice with me, I have found my sheep that was lost.

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But this is not all : the doctrine of the recovery of man includes, not only the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, and the unlimited offers of this blessing, but the most encouraging promise of the Holy Ghost,“ the Lord and Giver of life;" whose influences can change the heart of sinful man, and make him sensible of his ruin, and desirous to come back to his duty and to his God. Christianity is distinguished from all other schemes of religion by this, that it reveals a source of divine grace and strength, as well as a method of pardon. It comes down to the actual state and wants of man; it not only teaches, but saves. It brings with it, not merely instruction, but a power, an energy, an effectual operation which reaches and converts the heart. The doctrine of the minister is but the means of this conversion; the primary Author of all spiritual good is the Holy Ghost. He convinces and humbles man effectually for his sins; He leads him to true repentance ; He regenerates, renews, comforts, strengthens, sanctifies the soul; “ He prevents him by his grace, that he may have a good will, and works with him when he has that good wills." In other words, He enables and disposes the feeble, lost sheep, to return to the fold; directs its trembling steps, and brings it back to the great

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Shepherd of souls. This consolatory doctrine is food indeed to the anxious, inquiring mind of the alarmed sinner; it guides, restores, re-animates, succours; it makes religion practicable, and brings home and applies the blessings of redemption to his heart.

The obligation of good works, and of a course of universal obedience to God, as “ the fruit of faith and following after justification”, closes the general doctrine of the recovery of man, or rather is the effect of it. The sheep brought back by the mighty power of its Shepherd, now forms a part of God's heritage, hears the Shepherd's voice, loves the fold, dreads all temptations to wander from it, acquires the meek and docile character of the true flock, is led to the green pastures and lies down beside the still waters. That is, the true penitent who has obeyed the Gospel, believed on the name of Jesus Christ, and received the Holy Ghost, walks religiously in good works, lives soberly, righteously, and godly, mortifies the deeds of the body, separates himself from the follies and vices of the world, fills up

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appropriate duties of his station in the family and in the community, exercises himself to have a conscience void of offence, both towards God and towards man, and lives a holy, inoffensive,

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thankful, benevolent, obedient life, according to God's commandments and from the peculiar motives of the Gospel. The developement and inculcation of Christian morals is, in its due place, as food to the soul; it instructs in duty, excites to humility, arouses to vigilance, awakens from sloth, stimulates to prayer, directs to effort.

Such is a rapid and faint summary of the doctrine of the fall and the recovery of man; which marks, as by a sun-beam, the revelation of the Gospel; and which it is the shepherd's specific and primary duty to dispense to his flock.

But besides this specific and primary duty, there is also a general and subsequent one, arising from it.

This the Apostle expresses, by Taking the oversight of the flock. For the shepherd must not only feed his sheep, but must inspect and see after them with patient watchfulness; he must live amongst them, and have them under bis eye; he must walk about, and look around, and take care that nothing is wanting to them; he must examine minutely the varying state of each, and adapt his conduct and management to that state; he must observe the first symptoms of disease as they appear; he must guard them when in the pastures, during the day ; and, like the shepherds at our Saviour's birth, abide in the field, and

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