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round; as the large flocks in Andalusia and Australia now are led from one spot to another till the circle be completed, and there is always fresh herbage, short and sweet,—so is it in the sacred Scriptures. Here is sweet feeding for the hungry soul. David said, “How sweet are thy words unto my taste, yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth.” The holy Scriptures feed the soul with saving knowledge. Christ's flock here find the peace which passeth understanding. The doctrines of grace are soul-humbling, but soul-comforting; feeding by faith on a crucified Saviour, we enjoy hope of everlasting life, through a sense of pardon, justification, and adoption. Believers have free access to God as their Father; and their intimate communion with him is a rich pasture in which their souls grow in knowledge and spirituality, their understandings being enlightened, and all the graces of the Holy Spirit are brought out in lively exercise, so that they are daily growing in grace, and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, thus being made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.
In the pasture of the lively oracles of truth, their affections are raised in love to the Redeemer under the soul-refreshing view of what Christ is to them in the everlasting covenant of grace, which is well ordered in all things and sure. They feed upon the precious promises, realising what love Christ from eternity has to their souls, and what grace is treasured up in him to supply all their need, and what he hath engaged to do for them in bringing them safe to heaven; thus they anticipate the wondrous weight of glory which by and by shall burst upon their enraptured vision.
By feeding in this green pasture they are strengthened to perform all duties, and enabled to bear all trials, and to rejoice in tribulation also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope, and that hope never will make them ashamed. Here their faith is fed, and growing exceedingly is mightily increased; so that they overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Then Christ hath also the choice green pastures of his ordinances, into which he leads his flock to have richer feeding still. There is the large part of 8 preached Gospel, in which are shady groves, where his flock rest at noon. The gate of the Divine word is opened to them, and they go in to feed. Often, whilst sitting under the preached Gospel, have his people said, “Did not our hearts burn within us whilst he communed with us by the way, and opened the Scriptures unto us!” “We sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to our taste.” In the paddock of Believer's Baptism there is sweetest pasture. Being buried with Christ in baptism, and rising with Christ to newness of life, the believer realises the death unto sin and a life unto holiness. There is much sweet food in contemplating what this ordinance shows forth. “Know ye not," says the apostle (Rom. vi. 3, 4), “ that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” We thus have fellowship with Christ; in his death by baptism, and in his resurrection too. By feeding in this pasture, the humble believer confesses his pollution and guilt, and his total need of the cleansing efficacy of a precious Saviour's blood, and the regenerating and sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit, as well as his faith in Christ's finished work. Here Christ's sheep realise that he was delivered for their offences, and raised again for their justification, and are planted together in the likeness of his resurrection. Christ's sheep are thus washed in the baptismal water, in token of that washing which their souls have received in the fountain of Christ's blood, and the cleansing efficacy of those Divine influences which the Holy Spirit has exerted upon them. There is blessed food in this ordinance.
Then there is also another choice paddock into which the Good Shepherd brings his flock. The ordinance of the Lord's Supper. The sweetest clover here is found; here is the choicest herbage. A crucified Jesus is the bread of life, and by faith the believer feeds upon him ; so that the soul is comforted and strengthened, and love flows to Christ. When the bread and wine are taken, the believer declares that he depends on Christ's blood and Christ's righteousness as the only means of his acceptance with God; that he takes him and feeds upon him as the bread of life; that his justification is perfect in Christ Jesus; and he deeply feels his obligation to the incarnate Saviour, and pledges his fidelity and obedience anew. Here he realises his union with Christ, and rejoices in the assurance that where the risen Head is, there shall every member go. What a pleasant fruitful pasture is this. The Shepherd is always careful that his sheep shall feed on that herbage which is sweet and good, and not on rank poisonous weeds. So is Christ the Good Shepherd. Some pastures will cause the rot in sheep, and some doctrines will injure the soul. Christ therefore has given his word in which the whole counsel of God is revealed, and his ministers are commanded to preach the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The food which Christ provides will never surfeit, but it is soul-satisfying food. “I will abundantly bless her provision, and satisfy her poor with bread.” “Eat that which 18 good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” Oh, how delicious is Gospel food to the hungry soul! Believers rejoice and are strengthened in all spiritual graces when they meet with God, and enjoy him in his ordinances ; when they find sin and every corrupt principle wither and die, and holiness flourish in their souls, and their evidences brighten, and hope is richly enjoyed.
Sheep like to feed in quiet places, free from disturbance and annoyance. So Christ's sheep like to feed in pastures retired from the incumbrances of the world. Abraham left servants and asses at the foot of the mount, whilst he went up to sacrifice. Isaac retires into the field at eventime to meditate. Jacob sent forward all his people and herds whilst he wrestled with God. Daniel goes into his chamber ; Peter to the housetop; Nathaniel seeks the fig-tree's shade and privacy. So the believer now says
“ Far from my thoughts, vain world, be gone,
My God and there my heaven I find.” If we are Christ's sheep, we shall delight to feed in the pastures of his word. How is this? Can I say with David, “In thy law do I meditate_day and night”? Alas, the blessed Scriptures are to many a strange book. They will read in any other book rather than the Bible. They are goats and not sheep. Many prefer Pindar's Odes before David's Psalms, Virgil's Enæid before the Old Testament, Byron's Works rather than the Gospels, and Cicero's Epistles to the Apostle Paul's. Julian the Apostate is famed for his contempt of the Scriptures, and there are many who would shudder at being ranked with him, yet who equally contemn the Bible. Will you, my reader, consider that as worthless which the king of Israel thought to be better than gold, which Solomon preferred before rubies and all precious gems ? Will you prefer the filthy obscene jest-book to the word of life? a romance to the lively oracles of God? How is the Bible treated by you ? As a foe or a friend? Oh, read it daily! Pray for an understanding mind. Feed upon it. If you are Christ's sheep, you do; if not a sheep of his pasture, you still are part of Satan's herd. But there are some of Christ's sheep who are not found in the fold; how is this? They cannot be happy nor safe. Every believer ought to unite with the Church of Christ on three accounts. First, to glorify Christ; secondly, to strengthen the Church ; thirdly, for their own benefit and comfort. Besides this, their example would tell upon those around them. Then why stand without? Rather let your language be that of Ruth: “Thy people shall be my people,” &c.; and your inquiry be, “ Tell me, I thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where
thou makest thy flock to rest at noon, for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions ?”
II.-THE SHEPHERD PROVIDES A FOLD, AND PROTECTS HIS FLOCK FROM DANGER.
“From sin and storms the shepherd saves his sheep,
In persecution's storms Christ doth his keep." “ Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth ap some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice : and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. (John X. 1-4.) Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep (sheepfold). All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers : but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door : by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and for to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd : the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep (9.7–13). And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd” (0.16).
In Judea, as in all eastern countries now, it was a matter of the utmost importance that the sheepfold should be so constructed as to secure the sheep from the depredations of wild beasts, which roamed at night seeking to devour the flock. Hence God commanded Israel : “ Build you cities for your little ones, and folds for your sheep” (Num. xxii. 24), to protect both from danger. The folds in oriental lands, where the tiger, the hyena, and other savage beasts, prowl at night, are constructed with high massive walls and a strong door to shut the flock safely in at night, with a little lodge for the porter to sleep in. I have often seen the shepherd lead his flock home and count them as they have entered the fold, and, committing them to the care of the porter, has retired for the night, and in the morning, soon as twilight dawns, he returns, and as he approaches, calls out to the porter to open unto him. The sheep, knowing his voice, have immediately responded, bleating till the door has been opened. I have sometimes, just before the shepherd has arrived, called out in the same words, but no sheep have answered, no porter has opened unto me. Soon as the door is opened, the shepherd calls his sheep by name, and they come as he calls them. I have heard such names as these : * Dewdrop," “ Beauty of the Vale,” “Pride of the Hills,' “ Light of the Morn,” “ Jungle Wanderer," “ Coat of Silk," and “ Queen of the Plain.” Soon as the shepherd has counted them as they pass under his rod, he leads the way, and wheresoever he goes they follow in a long line, not more than two or three abreast, and at night he brings them back in the same order to rest safely in the fold. Thus the Good Shepherd of Israel protects his sheep by night and by day. Jesus says, “ They shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand?” As David rescued his sheep from the lion and the bear, so Jesus preserves his sheep from Satan's power, who goeth about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. There are many wolves prowling around the flock, and minor animals, as the weasel, which would destroy the lambs ; but the eye of omniscience is upon them, and the arm of omnipotence over them. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, seeks out the wanderers and brings them back to his fold. Happy indeed are those who are the sheep of Christ now, and happy will they be in that great day, when he shall appear the second time in glory, to judge the whole family of angels and men. Then his sheep will be placed on his right hand and the goats on the left. You and I must be there, either on the right or the left hand of the judge. Which will it be? O my soul, canst thou bear the piercing thought-what if my name should be left out when Christ for his sheep shall call ? Then hear his voice now, and obey the call, and he will give thee eternal life, and none shall pluck thee out of his band.
THE PILGRIMAGE AND BENEDICTION OF LOVE.
BY THE RET. s. cox.
Mark xvi. 6, 7.
(Concluded from page 149.) II. THE BENEDICTION
1 is much to have heaven in the home ; but
to have it in the grave! It is much to bestowed on this act and pilgrimage of have the companionship of angels in life; love. The holy women had a threefold but how much more to have it in death, to - reward. They see an angel in the sepulchre. have it when we are summoned out of our
They find him alive, whom to embalm for accustomed round to walk in new and un-death was their highest hope. They, first known ways! And all this, with much - of all, are commissioned to preach the more, seems implied in the vision and sym
resurrection. It is very true that they | bol here set before us-an angel sitting in would not at once enter into the full mean | a tomb. - ing and value of their reward. We very 2. They find him alive, whom to embalm
seldom do. The benedictions of God do | for death was their highest hope. The not reveal their full significance and worth angel is not mute. He speaks to them, , at the first glance. But these women speaks to them of him whom they seek. would, in after times, often revert to the “Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was cruscene in the garden, and so come to know cified." The angel, you will observe, gives more fully what it meant. Besides, they the risen one the name of his humiliation, had their benedictions. If they, as we so the name that was then a byeword of often do, failed to apprehend and appro contempt—"Jesus of Nazareth ; " " Jesus," priate them to the utmost, that does not his personal human name, “ of Nazareth," make the benedictions less or detract from whence no good thing could come. He the bounty of God.
speaks, too, of his ignominious death. 1st, then. They see an angel in the Jesus “who was crucified.” He might sepulchre. “Entering into the sepulchre, have used other names, spoken in other they saw a young man ”—which young terms, and they would have comprehended man they afterwards discovered to be an him equally well. Why then does he use angel—"sitting on the right side”-the these? I cannot tell, unless it were in side of favour, marking his presence as recognition of their love, unless it were to auspicious—"clothed in a long white gar- | exalt their love. It makes much for their ment”-the raiment of hope and gladness. devotedness that they should come seeking Leaven has not only come down to earth, a crucified Nazarene. It was saying that but to the grave-earth's lowest and most neither the contempt poured upon him in loathsome haunt. In the very home of life, nor the shame and indignity inflicted corruption there sits a son of immortality. in his death, could alienate their regards. “A token," say the fathers of the Christian It was saying that they had loved him in church, “ that some great revolution had life, though he was a Nazarene ; that they been wrought; that the grave, now that loved him in death, though he hung on the Christ had passed through it, was no longer cross. what it had been.” A token, indeed; a Then come the words of joy,-words which token that Christ had dispelled the dark they in the surprise and sorrow of that ness of death, bringing life and immortality hour could not even credit, but which soon to light; a token that there is now a path became their song in the house of their way from heaven to the grave, from the pilgrimage,-"He is risen ; he is not here; grave to heaven ; a token that when “ the --behold the place where they laid him.” natural body” disappears, it is that there Now this is not simply an affirmation, but may come in its stead “the spiritual an argument. The angel can read, I supbody;” a token that we shall put off this pose, the incredulity, born of sorrow and earthly tabernacle, to put on the house affright, with which they listen to him. He from heaven ; a token that we shall pass therefore repeats, simplifies, reasons : “He through the grave into an heavenly fellow is risen. He is not here. Look! here is ship and become as the angels of God. It the place where they laid him, vacant now
and for ever. He cannot be here. He , not lost faith in them. He makes them must be risen." There is something sin the ministers of his truth and grace. That, gular in his argument. He points to the however, is not so wonderful; for if they vacant place as quite conclusive, as though had lost faith, they had held fast love. it could possibly have become vacant only The wonder lies rather in the errand on in one way. He appeals to the absence of which he sent them. The disciples of the body as the sole and sufficient proof of Christ had forsaken him, and fled away. the resurrection. As, no doubt, to these | And yet the first tidings, the first greetings women, when once they could reason at all, of love, are to be sent to them. He has nos it was. They knew that his enemies would sooner come forth from the conflict than not have removed the body of Jesus, their | he thinks of them, and sends them saluta whole credit being involved in retaining it tions of grace. One of the Twelve had gone where it had been laid. They knew that farther even than the rest, adding apostace his friends had not stirred, that they had and blasphemy to desertion. And Christ given up all hope, that they were closely thinks of him. Tell my disciples and Peter shut up for fear of the Jews. They knew -Peter, impassioned in sorrow as in sin, that his enemies had taken every precau who will hardly count himself a disciple; tion, that his friends had made no attempt. who will hardly take an invitation ad. So soon, therefore, as they had recovered dressed to them as including him, --Give from their affright, they would feel the full him a special invitation. Tell my disciples force of the appeal, and bear witness to the and Peter. Was ever love like this ? resurrection from the dead.
And yet, reader, it is not greater than “The Lord is risen.” The proofs of his you need. You have sinned and gone resurrection are multiplied as the narrative astray. You have forgotten Christ, perhaps goes on. The proofs of his resurrection forsaken him. You may have denied him. may be found, or should be found, in our You may even have crucified the Lord hearts and lives. Those who are living the afresh and put him to an open shame. It is resurrection life, have the witness in them possible that your consciousness of having selves that Christ is risen from the dead. pierced him, keeps you from rejoicing in his And we need every form of proof'; for if resurrection from the dead. You feel your Christ be not risen, we are yet in our sins, sins as the disciples felt theirs, when they our faith is vain. The utmost faith can do “mourned and wept” together on the is to bring us to the level of him in whom morning of the resurrection. You may we believe. And if Christ has not overcome | even feel them, as Peter felt his, weeping death, if he still abide in the Hadean bitterly, despairing of forgiveness. If you world, held in bondage of the offspring of do, if you are where they were, occupym sin, we are of all men most miserable. We their position, joining in their sorrow, then have no hope in our death. We have no penitence-their word and invitation are chance against sin. Hence these words are also yours. Christ remembers you, sends so full of joy, “ The Lord is risen ; the Lord you this day the salutations of his love, is risen.” If you would believe that he is invites you to meet him, and follow him, risen, believe it not simply as an historic and be his for ever. Go tell my disciples, fact, not simply as you believe that Lazarus and Peter-even the apostate is not left out. died and rose again--but believe it so as to The worst may come-those who bare make the fact a spiritual motive and power: most fallen short of their resolves and most your wisest course is to try, with God's belied their profession: those who bate help, yourself to die to sin and rise to most hardily resisted the inward voice, and holiness. “Truth is credible to the true most abused the teaching and help vouchman, love to the loving man, and a risen safed them-even these may come, come Saviour to a risen man.” But, thirdly, these with Peter, to meet a forgiving benedictive women,
Lord. 3. They, first of all, are commissioned to Then, last of all, we may note that we preach the resurrection. They are sent as angel's utterance ends with a promise las apostles to the apostles. They are sent to the risen Christ will come again. teach those who taught the world. “Go goeth before you into Galilee; there si your way. Tell his disciples and Peter that ye see him as he said unto you.”. he goeth before you into Galilee.” Was there ever love like that of Christ ?
promise was, as you know. fulfilled. These
| appeared to more than five hundred a women had lost faith in him, but he has | the brethren at once. He also appe