David Black.

Sermons on important subjects online

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not only to Christ their Shepherd, but to
one another, as the sheep of his pasture,
who are fed by his common bounty. They
are widely scattered in different and distant
parts of the earth, they are separated from
each other by seas, and rivers, and moun-
tams. and still more by little party names
and distinctions ; but in the eye of their
Shepherd they are but one flock, and by
and by, the fruits of remaining ignorance
and wTakness being completely done away,
they shall all be gathered into one fold un-
der one Shepherd. The raiisomed of the
Lord shall reiuvn and come to Zion^ with
songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads.


TJieif shall come from the east and from
the west, from the north and from the
south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of

II. Another ground of consolation con-
tained in the text, is the relation in which
the disciples of Christ stand to God as their
Father. Fear not, little flock, it is youpi,
Fathers good pleasure to give you the
kingdom Your Father I How comfort-
able and encouraging to those in every age
who compose the flock of Christ, is it to know
that God is their Father ! Here we may ob-
serve, that Christ, in addressing his disci-
ples, changes the image of a shepherd and
his flock, and speaks of the relation in which
they stand to God under a different iigurey
because no one image can fully express the
honour and happiness of his people. Na-
ture must be ransacked ; whatever is excel-
lent, valuable, or endearing in the various
relations of Hfe, must be collected together,
in order to aflord some faint idea of the
privileges and enjoyments of the people of

375 Christ's seii. 12,

The relation of a father to his children, is
frequently employed in scripture, to repre-
sent the favour which God bears to liis peo-
ple. As a father pititth his children, so
the Lord pititth them that fear him. And
surely no image can be better adapted to
express the divine condescension, or to ba*
nish the distressing fears which sometimes
harass the minds, even of true belie vers.
Guilt necessarily begets fear, and the awak-
ened mind is disposed to consider God in
the light of an angry and sin-avenging
Judge. But the gospel represents him un-'
der the mild and endearing character of a
Father. I'hus in the parable of the Pro-
digal Son, God is set forth as a compassion-
ate Father, plenteous in mercy, and ready
to forgive. And thus he addresses his peo-
ple. Wherefore come out from among them^
and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and
touch not the iinchan thing ; and L will
receive you, and will be a Father unto you,
and ye shall be my sons and daughters,
saith the Lord Almighty.


Struck with admiration at the exceeding
riches of divine grace, in shewing such fa-
vour to creatures so guilty and polluted as
we are, the apostle exclaims, Behold what
manner of love the Father hath bestowed
upon us, that we should he called the sons
of God. Marvellous grace indeed ! to raise
up the poor out of the dust, and lift the
needy from the dunghill, that he may set
them with princes, even with the princes
of his people.

As a Father, God protects and provides
for his people. All his saints are in his
hand. He hides them in the secret of his
presence, from the pride of man ; he keeps
them secretly in a pavilion from the strife
of tongues, so that he that toucheth them,
toucheth the apple of his eye. He watch-
es over them with a peculiar care, so that
no real evil shall be permitted to befal them.

And as he protects, so he likewise pro-
vides for them. The Lord is a sun and
shield ; he will give grace and glory ; no
good thing will he withhold J rom them that

3/8 chiiist's ser. 12".

xmlk uprifyJithf, Ifl/e being evil, saith our
Lord, know how to give good gifts unto
your children, how much more shall your
Father zi^hich is in lieaven give good things
to them that ask him. O how great is the
goodness, how rich the bounty of our hea-
venly Father !

But there is another expression of paren-
tal care and love, which, however unplea-
sant, is often needful and salutary. I mean
corriection. And this too the Lord will not
withhold, when the circumstances of his peo-
ple require it. For whom the Lord loveth
he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son
whom he receiveth. Afflictions, when sanc-
tiiied by the Spirit of God, are not evidences
that the Lord hath forsaken us, but rather
tokens of his love and marks of our adop-
tion into his family. And though 720 chas-
tening for the present seemeth to he joyous
but grievous^ yet afterwards it yieldeth the
peaceable fruits of righteousness to them
that are exercised thereby.


What shall I saj more of this endearing
relation in which God stands to his people ?
Having brought them into his family, he
will never leave them nor forsake them.
Here they are like children at a distance
from home, exposed to numberless incon-
veniences and hardships, but they are re-
turning to their heavenly Father's house,
where they are sure to meet with a kind re-
ception. /// my Father's house^ says Christ,
are mamj mansious ; if it were not so I
would have told you ; I go to prepare a
place for you. But this suggests,

III. A tliird ground of consolation con-
tained in the words of the text. If you are
among the flock of Christ and children of
God, a kingdom is prepared for you.

Here, again, a new idea presents itself to
our minds ; the idea of honour and dignity.
The children of God, howe\'Br4ow their out-
ward condition may be, are the children of
a Kina;, yea, of the Kin

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Online LibraryDavid BlackSermons on important subjects → online text (page 18 of 23)