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THE CHRISTIAN TREASURY.
THE GOOD SHEPHERD. ,
BY JOHN BROWN, D.D., EDINBURGH.
" am the good Shepherd."-Joun x. 11.' intelligent student of the Holy Scriptures. THESE words, in common with most of our “The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of proLord's sayings, are pregnant words. They are, phecy;" and we find him often appealing to it; like their Author, “ full of truth;" ay, and “of sometimes directly and openly—at other times grace" too. They are at once transparently indirectly and tacitly. The latter sort of appeals clear, and unfathomably deep. There is much are not the least striking to a refleeting mind. important truth on the surface—there is more, He seldom, in so many words, claimed Messiahmuch more, beneath it. Much meaning meets ship. There were good and obvious reasons why the ear; but more meets the mind. The words he should not. So far as I recollect, a distinct express much-they suggest more. They are recognition of his own claims was made by replete with emphasis, and rich in reference. I him only to the woman of Samaria—to the Jiy ultimate object in these remarks is, to illus- i man blind from his birth, when excommunicated trate and apply them; and, as preliminary to by the Sanhedrim--to the disciples as a body, this, to ascertain their true meaning, and, after Peter's answer to the question, “Whom do as far as possible, to apprehend their whole ye say that I am?”—before Pontius Pilate, in meaning.
reply to the question, “ Art thou a king, then ?” They are equivalent to “I am a Shepherd-I--and before the Sanhedrim, when adjured am a good Shepherd-I am the Shepherd-I am by the high priest to say whether he was the the good Shepherd.” “I am a SHEPHERD.”I Son of God. He often referred to the Old Tesstand in a peculiar relation to a peculiar people, tament Scriptures; leaving his hearers to draw who, in conformity to the figurative representa- the inference. While he was with his disciples, tion employed, are termed my sheep, and I am “he spake to them, saying, that all things must appointed and engaged to perform towards be fulfilled which were written in the Law of them certain important and beneficial offices. Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, "I am a Good Shepherd.”—I deserve the name, concerning him.” He often used appellations for I possess the appropriate qualifications—Í such as “the Son of God,” and “the Son of perform the appropriate duties of the character man"-appellations given in the Prophetical I sustain. “I am the Shepherd”-the Shepherd Oracles to the Messiah-in a way which showed of the fiock-the one Shepherd of the one flock; that he applied them to himself. He com not like the shepherd mentioned in the 2d menced his ministry by reading a very remarkverse of this chapter, who is a shepherd-one able prediction respecting the Messiah, reof the shepherds of the sheep; but THE GREAT corded in the 61st chapter of the Prophecy of Shepherd, THE CHIEF Shepherd, the PROPRIETOR Isaiah; and then declaring, “This day is this Shepherd, whose own the sheep are”—the Scripture fulfilled in your ears.” When he proShepherd of the shepherds as well as of the claimed, “ I am the light of the world,” he obvisheep. “I am the Good Shepherd.”—I possess ously referred to that ancient oracle which all the qualifications, in the most perfect degree, declares that Messiah should be “a light to that are requisite to the discharge of the nu- lighten the Gentiles.” When he said," I came merous, and varied, and difficult duties of this not in my own name,” he probably referred to most exalted office; and I actually do perform that other ancient oracle: “Blessed be he all these duties in the most perfect manner. that cometh in the name of the Lord.” And Such is the emphasis of the words; now for their there can be no reasonable doubt that, in the reference,
words which form the subject of discourse, he I am that good Shepherd.—To understand referred, in his own mind, and he meant to fully the meaning of the statements of our Lord turn the minds of his hearers to those passages and his apostles, we must never forget that in the inspired prediction in which the great their minds were completely filled with the Deliverer promised to God's peculiar people is contents of that Scripture that has been “given represented as their shepherd-their proprietor by inspiration of God;" and that they spoke to shepherd—their good shepherd. It is just as if people whose almost only book was the Book (as in the synagogue at Nazarethi) he had, in the of God, and who were, many of them, very fa- hearing of those whom he now addressed, miliar with its contents. The extent of tacit opened the book of the Prophets and read: reference to the Old Testament in the New, “Get thee up upon a high mountain, thou that and the importance of noticing it, to bring out publishest good news to Zion; raise powerfully the exact form and impress of the inspired man's thy voice, thou that publishest good news to thought and feeling, are well known to every Jerusalem. Raise it, be not afraid ; say to the No. 25.
August 15, 1845.
cities of Judah, Behold your God. Behold, the our Lord in our text as the good Shepherd-to Lord Jehovah shall come with might, and his an attempt to answer which, the remaining part arm shall rule for him. Behold, his reward is of these observations are to be devoted. with hiin, and his recompense before him. He That question might be answered, by showshall feed his flock like a shepherd; he shall ing, first, that our Lord Jesus Christ does indezi gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them possess all those qualifications which enable in his bosom: he shall gently lead the milk- him to perform towards his peculiar people all giving ewes”-those who are with the young. those kind offices which are naturally einble
. “ Thus saith the Lord God, I, even I, will both matized by the conduct of a good shepherd 19 search my sheep, and seek them out, as a shep- his flock. He has all the knowledge, all the herd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is wisdom, all the power, all the authority, all the among his sheep that are scattered; and will kindness, all the faithfulness, all the peculiar deliver them out of all places where they have interest, which are required for this purpuse; been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. I and then, that our Lord Jesus actually does will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the manifest these qualifications in a performance high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: of all these offices—rescuing them from the there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat power of the great thief and robber, and bring. pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of ing them into his flock-providing them with nouIsrael. I will feed my flock, and I will cause rishment, refreshment, and repose-guarding them to lie down, saith the Lord God. I them from danger, guiding them in perplexity, will seek that which was lost, and bring again healing their diseases, reclaiming them from that which was driven away, and will bind up their wanderings (for the sheep sometimes forthat which was broken, and will strengthen sake the shepherd, though the shepherd never that which was sick. And I will set up one forsakes the sheep); and at last, at the close of shepherd over them, and he shall feed them; the great day of time, safely housing them in his even my servant David; he shall feed them, and heavenly fold. This would open up a very dehe shall be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, lightful field in which the Christian's devout will be their God, and my servant David a mind would not soon weary in expatiating; bu prince among them; I the Lord have spoken to traverse it at all in a satisfactory way, woulu it :” and on completing the reading, had closed require more time than we can at present the book, and proclaimed: “ This day is this devote to it. Scripture fulfilled in your ears ” _“I am the I prefer another, and what I cannot help good Shepherd”-I am the divinely qualified, thinking a better, way of answering the questhe divinely commissioned, the divinely accre tion. I shall endeavour to bring out, in strong dited, the divine Saviour promised to the relief, our Lord's own illustrations of his own fathers.-Such is an attempt to get at the im- declaration: “I am the good Shepherd." He is port of these simple but sublime and striking the good Shepherd; for he secures for his pecu; words, “I am the good Shepherd.”
liar people all the blessings they stand in need It has been a subject of discussion among of. While the thief cometh not but to steal
, interpreters whether the leading idea suggested and to kill, and to destroy, he cometh that by the term Shepherd be that of a ruler or of his sheep may have and retain life; and that, an instructor. The controversy is not an impor- so far from being deprived of anything, they tant one; for though it does seem plain that, may have abundance of everything necessary both in sacred and prefane ancient writers, au for their welfare. "I give unto my sheep eterthority rather than instruction is the leading nal life, and they shaîl never perish, neither attribute of the figurative shepherd, yet in the shall any pluck them out of my hand.” He is case before us—the Messiah-the rule referred the good Shepherd; for he secures these advauto is a moral rule, the empire of truth and love tages to them at the greatest conceivable er: over the minds and hearts, exercised by the pense to himself-he secures them by giving agency of his Spirit, and the instrumentality of limself for the sheep.” He is the good Shephis Word. Indeed, all the figurative repre- herd; for there subsists the most intimate and sentations of the Messiah as a prophet, a priest, endearing mutual acquaintance and intercourse a king, a physician, a husband, a surety, a between him and his people. “He knows his shepherd, the light of the world, the bread of sheep, and he is known of his sheep—even as life, are intended to bring before our minds the Father knoweth him, and he knows the some of the numerous phases of the all-com- Father.” He is the good Shepherd; for he i prehensive character of the Saviour-Deliverer cares for the happiness, he secures the salvation, from evil in all its forms and in all its degrees; of all his people.
“Other sheep have I, that and the only question of importance, in refe are not of this fold; them also must I bring, and rence to these figurative representations, is just, they shall hear my voice, and there shall be What is the truth respecting Christ's saving one fold (rather one flock) and one Shepherd.” character and work, which is designed to be pre- To these four confirmatory illustrations of our sented to our intelligent faith and affectionate Lord of his assertion, “I am the good Shepherd.” contemplation? This, then, is the question in let us, then, apply our awakened minds; and reference to the figurative representation of oh! may all of us, while thus employed, be en
abled to sing to him in our hearts, making melody or it is used as equivalent to “thieves,” to mark in his ears, ever open to such music: “ The what is common to the class. Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want,” &c. In the first case there can be no doubt whom
a psalm some of us have said before being the thief would denote—the murderous felonlaid to sleep in our cradle-a psalm which we whom could it denote, but him who stole into would wish to say again, when about to lay our- Eden, stealthily bereaved man of his best proselves to sleep in our graves.
perty, and proved himself a murderer as well I. Jesus Christ is the good Shepherd; for he as a thief-the liar and manslayer from the secures for his peculiar people all the blessings beginning? On this supposition the contrast they stand in need of.
would be very striking. The wicked one came An official person deserves the epithet good originally, and still comes, to steal, and to kill, just in the degree in which he answers the pur- and to destroy. He who comes to destroy the pose for which the office is designed. He is a works of this wicked one, “comes not to kill," good king who secures order, peace, and pros- but that life might be retained; nor to steal," perity to his subjects. He is a good physician to take away what is valuable, but greatly to
who preserves health and cures disease. He increase the property of those to whom he comes. 1 is a good shepherd who protects his sheep from The great objection to this interpretation is, that
danger, and obtains for them abundant whole- you cannot carry its principle throughout; for if some nourishment-refreshing drink-season- the thief be the devil, then who is the hireling? able repose. He is a good saviour who delivers The second mode of interpreting the term from all evil, and who obtains for those whom “The thief,” as equivalent to "thieves," seems he saves, every kind, and a high degree of every the just one. In this case, then, as well as in the kind, of enjoyment. Now this is the truth in re- case of the hireling, we have the usual Hebraisgard to Jesus, our Saviour. He saves his people tic, emphatic mode of stating a truth, by stating from their sins-he “redeems Israel from all his it first negatively and then positively. 'I am iniquities"-he delivers them from all their ene-not like the thief who, when he comes to the mies—he delivers them from “ the power of sheep fold, comes to plunder and to kill; I am darkness"—he delivers them from the present like the shepherd, the good shepherd, who, evil world"-he delivers them from “ the wrath when he comes to his flock, comes to protect to come," and he gives them the “redemption their life, and to increase their comforts."^ "Life that is in him, through his blood—the forgive and abundance" are a comprehensive summary ness of sins." He gives them the IIoly Spirit, of all happiness-the capacity of enjoyment, and “the new heart,” and “the right mind," and everything that is necessary to fill that cawhich are the result of his operation; he gives pacity. He secures for his people, not only life, them peace with God, and good hope, and solid but a royal life-“they reign in life;" not only joy, and abundant consolation-eternal life “grace and the gift of righteousness,” but even the salvation that is in him, with eternal “abundance of grace, and the gift of righteousglory-deliverance from evil in all its forms and ness.” He" blesses them with all heavenly and degrees for ever and ever, and enjoyments suited spiritual blessings.” He “supplies their need, to all our varied capacities of enjoyment; and according to his glorious riches." He“ makes all filling every one of them to an overflow, during grace to abound to them”—“forgiving all their the whole eternity of our being.
iniquities-healing all their diseases-crowning The fact that Jesus Christ does thus secure them with loving-kindness and tender mercies.” for his peculiar people all the blessings they And the blessings he bestows are as permanent stand in need of, is brought before the mind in as they are numerous, and abundant, and valua very interesting way in the passage before us. able: “I give unto my sheep eternal life (everOur Lord contrasts the tendency and the effects during happiness); and they shall never perish, of his coming as the good Shepherd, with the neither shall any pluck them out of my hand. tendency and effects of the coming of one whom My Father who gave them me is greater than he calls “ The thief.” “ The thief cometh not but all; and none can pluck them out of my Father's to steal, and to kill, and to destroy; I am come hand. I and my Father are one." Yes; “ the that they may have life, and that they may have counsel of peace is between them both.” it more abundantly"--or rather, for you will II. Jesus Christ is the good Shepherd; for he notice that it, being printed in italics, is a sup secures those advantages to his people at the plement_“that they may have in abundance." greatest conceivable expense to himself. Many good interpreters suppose that our Lord It is a proof of kindness to confer benefits; contrasts himself with the carnal rulers and but the proof becomes greatly stronger when teachers of the Jews, whose object was selfish, the conferring of the benefit necessarily implies and whose teaching and guidance was mis- much exertion, sacrifice, and suffering, on the elrievous and destructive; but I cannot help part of the benefactor. We have this addithinking that this is a mistake. In the former tional proof, in the case of the good Shepherd part of the chapter, a thief is contrasted with in the highest conceivable form. These bless. A shepherd; here it is the thief and the shep- ings could not have been secured for them, herd. The thief either signifies some one indi- but by the sacrifice of his life; and that sacrividual, called, by way of eminence, “The thief;" | fice was cheerfully made. "The good shepherd
giveth his life for the sheep; but he who is an view of the figure, we see death, and the other hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the penal evils to which the whole race to which sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth our Lord's flock belongs had exposed themthe sheep, and feeth, and the wolf catcheth selves, laying hold on the Redeemer; and as ! them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling he submits to them, we hear him saying: "I fleeth because he is an hireling, and careth not will be thy plague; I will be thy destruction." for the sheep.” Here we have, as in the for- We see him, by dying, destroying death; we mer case, an emphatic double statement: 'I am see him, by becoming a curse, redeeming from not like a hireling shepherd. He may, for his the curse; we see him bearing, and by bearing, own advantage, take care of the sheep, when bearing away the sins of men. the care of them exposes him to no hazard; In either view of the figure, it strikingly but let dangers arise, let wild beasts attack the brings out the connection there is between the flock-resisting whom might endanger his life death of Christ and the salvation of his people. ; -he betakes himself to Hight, and leaves the The last view strikes us as most probably the sheep to their fate. I am like the proprietor true one. It brings more fully before our shepherd, who has a peculiar interest in the mind the great truth respecting the nature of flock; and so deep is that interest in my case, this connection, so often indicated by the death that I not only expose my life to danger, but I of Christ being represented as an expiatory lay it down for the sheep.' The thought natu- sacrifice; that what he suffered, was suffered rally rises : But if he lay down his life for the not only for the benefit, but in the room of his sheep, how can he subsequently take care of people; that he suffered what they were liable them? It is to meet this thought that he says: to; and that it was by his having suffered it “ I lay down my life that I may take it again.” that they are freed from suffering it. It is the I lay down my life to secure these blessings; same truth that is so beautifully taught-taught I take my life again, that I may bestow them. as some excellent expositors suppose, under the Because I die, they are saved from death by my same set of figurative representations in the dying; because I live, they live also by my life. 53d chapter of Isaiah's Prophecy: “All we like
Let us endeavour to bring out a little more sheep had gone astray; we had turned every distinctly this figurative illustration of the close one to his own way; and the Lord made the connection subsisting between the death of iniquities of us all”—the ill deserts—the penal Christ and the salvation of his people. For this evils due to our sins-like so many beasts of prey purpose a clear apprehension of the figure is ready to devour us—" to fall upon him," our necessary. It may be this : The flock have been surety-shepherd. “And he was wounded for carried off by the thief and robber, and he is our transgressions, he was bruised for our ini. determined to resist all attempts to wrest from quities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him his ill-earned booty. The shepherd must him; and by his stripes we are healed.” In engage in conflict with him. The proud de- the first view of the figure, we see him “spoiling fiance of the lawless one, supported by his principalities and powers, and triumphing over legions, is : "Shall the prey be taken from the them on his cross." In the other, we see him mighty; shall the captives of the terrible one making provision for our being made the rightebe delivered ?” The shepherd enters on a com ousness of God in him, by becoming sin for us. bat more apparently unequal than that of David In dying, and in thus dying, Jesus Christ with Goliath. Alone he attacks his numerous manifested in a remarkable manner his love of assailants; and falls under their foul and mur- those whom he terms his sheep: Greater love derous blows. A shout of triumph rises from hath no man than that he lay down his life for the felon crew. But the triumph is short-the his friends.” And then such a life as was laid joy is but for a moment. The sunitten shep-down !-a life more valuable than all the lives herd, having touched the earth, rises from the of men or of angels—the life of an absolutely
1 bed of death, and, armed with preternatural innocent, an absolutely perfect man-a man strength, overwhelms with shame and discom- possessed of all possible wisdom, and holiness, fiture the armies of robbers, and takes possession and benignity—à man infinitely dignified by , of his flock, now doubly his own. The appli- personal union to divinity! The blood shed for cation of the figure, in this view of it, to the us, and by which we are redeemed, is infinitely victory of Christ over Satan, and the emanci. more valuable, and therefore the shedding of pation of his people, who were enthralled by it infinitely more expressive of love, than the him, is obvious and easy.
sacrifice of the whole created universe. And Or this may be the figure : The flock are then, still further, the life was laid down in the attacked by a herd of ferocious wild beasts; the room of the guilty—it was the death of a vicshepherd rushes in between them, diverts their tim. Ah! it is a very different thing to die on attention from the sheep, and becomes himself the field of battle in a glorious cause, than to !! a prey to their ravenous appetites. But scarcely die on a cross like a felonious slave. Yes, the i has he fallen, when he again arises, and com- death of our Lord, for the salvation of his pletely destroys the whole herd of wolves and people, is an overwhelming proof that he is the lions—setting his sheep entirely free from all good Shepherd ! danger from their craft and cruelty. In this
To be continued.
My son ! my son! what if that sword
Should strike a noble heart, And bid some loving father
From his little ones depart! What comfort would your waving plumes
And brilliant dress bestow, When you thought upon his widow's tears,
And her orphans' cry of wo4 ?
I mean to be a president,
And rule each rising state,
For all the gay and great.
For that they won't allow;
That puzzles me so now.
My son ! my son! the cares of state
Are thorns upon the breast,
And rob him of his rest.
As trifling as the dust;
How faithless is their trust.
JOHN CZERSKI. The name of John Ronge is already over the world, in connection with the wonderful movement now taking place on the Continent. His first colleague in the work, John Czerski, is not so well known; and yet, perhaps, he is even more entitled to the sympathies and interest of the Christian world. With less fire and energy than Ronge, he appears to be much better acquainted with the truth, and more imbued with its spirit; and by the earnest and unwearied preaching of a full and free Gospel, is doing much to fix an evangelical impress on the great movement. Czerski was for sometime vicar in the Romish Cathedral of Posen; but, by the reading of the Word of God and the teaching of his Spirit, having been brought to see how completely opposed, in all its leading features, Popery was to the Gospel of Christ, he resolved on abjuring its communion. About the same time, Ronge having published his famous letter to Bishop Arnoldi, Czerski, following out his previ. ously formed convictions, entered into communication with him, and the two raised the standard of the German Catholic Church. Czerski soon marked his complete separation from the Romish Church, and declared his release from its antiscriptural and antisocial bondage, by entering into the marriage state—the ceremony being performed by the Protestant clergyman of the place. He was afterwards excommunicated by the Popish authorities, and handed over to the devil. His “ Justification of Secession from the Romish Church” is a most interesting production ; and concludes with the following powerful passage :
“I shall be vilified and traduced; anathemas will be hurled against me; iny enemies will seek to terrify me, and to execute the threatenings that will be pronounced against me, I know that no means will be left untried to punish me, and to scare me from the course which I have taken. But who shall seperate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.
For I ana persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any
I mean to be a cottage girl,
And sit behind a rill,
With purest water fill;
Around my cottage door,
The wandering and the poor.
Louisa, dear, a humble mind
'Tis beautiful to see; And you shall never hear a word
To check that mind from me; But, ah! remember, Pride may dwell
Beneath the woodbine shade; And Discontent, a sullen guest,
The cottage heart invade.