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turning his face, and feet, and heart towards his
Father's house above, he seeks with beating breast
for rest in a better country, and looks with tearful
eyes towards home in heaven.

Thus every member of the church apart, and the
whole church of Christ together, is coming up from
the wilderness ; she is on her holy journey through
this troublesome world to the land of ete ral rest !
For, notwithstanding this journey is so perilous and
painful, yet is " the church sufficiently and happily
supported on her way."

We hasten, therefore, to inquire,


It is effected entirely by the love and grace of our
Lord Jesus Christ. The church " comes up from the
wilderness leaning on her Beloved."

1. Who is "this Beloved?" He is Jesus Christ,
the Friend of sinners, the Saviour of the world, the
Redeemer of mankind ; and Jesus Christ is all-suffi-
cient to guide and guard His church to heaven.

Jesus is almighty. "All power in earth and
heaven is His. He is the rock of ages. He is ever-


lasting strength. He is " the strong foundation."
" He is the power of God." Jesus is all-wise. All
the stores of knowledge are in Him. He knows the

A A 2


mind of the Father. He knows all things, all hearts,
all beings, and all worlds. He reveals the will of
God. He teaches the soul of man. He makes wise
to salvation. He is " the wisdom of God." Jesus is
all-merciful. He is full of mercy, and full of good-
ness ; " He loved us, and gave Himself for us ;
He loved us, and washed us from our sins in His
own blood." His blood can cleanse from all sin.
His righteousness can justify every sinner. His
Spirit can renew every heart. His merits can open
the kingdom of glory to all believers. He gives
seats in paradise, and mansions in heaven : He
bestows thrones of glory and crowns of life. Jesus is
altogether lovely. He is, emphatically, "The Be-
loved," the beloved of the whole ransomed church,
the beloved of every believing soul. To the eye and
the mind of unbelief, there is neither comeliness in
His person, nor virtue in His blood ; but to the eye
and the heart of faith, He is the fairest of ten thou-
sand, and His blood is the redemption of the world.
"We love Him because He first loved us." He
loved us unto death, even the death of the cross.
" He loved us," we repeat, " and washed us from our
sins in His own blood." What friend, then, can so
much deserve our love, as He who died in our
stead ? What benefactor can so strongly claim our


gratitude, as He, who, by His death in our stead, has
obtained eternal glory for our souls ? And who,
that has experienced the cleansing virtue of His
blood, and enjoyed the ravishing hope of His glory,
will not, with love and gratitude, exclaim, " This is
my Beloved, and this is my Friend !"


But, further :

2. " Leaning on her beloved" the church advances
on her mysterious journey.

Jesus is, as we have seen, the Almighty, the all-
wise, the all-merciful, the all-sufficient Saviour. He
is the bread of heaven, the water of life, the well of
joy, the fountain of salvation. He is full of love,
full of truth, and full of grace ; and out of His
fulness all His people may receive. The whole
church, therefore, relies for salvation entirely on
Christ Jesus, who guides, supports, and comforts
her all the way to heaven. Every member of the
church feels his own ignorance, and relies on the
wisdom of Christ to teach him. He feels his own
sinfulness, and relies on the atonement of Christ to
pardon him. He feels his own guilt, and relies on
the righteousness of Christ to justify him. He feels
his own corruption, and relies on the Spirit of
Christ to sanctify him. He feels his own unworthi-
ness, and relies on the merits of Christ to glorify
him. Guided by the wisdom, defended by the
power, supported by the grace, and cheered by the
presence of Christ, the church comes up in holi-
ness from the world, and journies in safety towards

1. Who then, we ask, in conclusion, does not
desire the privilege of leaning on the beloved Saviour
in his journey through the world to heaven ? But,
my brethren, this privilege belongs only to the
church of Christ. Unless, therefore, you are mem-
bers of His church, this privilege is not yours.


" Are you, then, allow me to inquire, members of
the church of Christ?" The inquiry is as im-
portant, as the privilege is precious, and should be
made with all possible earnestness. " Are you
members of the church of Christ ?" If ye be
members of the church of Christ, He has chosen
you out of the world. " For ye have not chosen
me," says He, " but I have chosen you ; and I
have chosen you out of the world." If ye be mem-
bers of the church of Christ, ye have through grace
come out of the world ; ye have forsaken all sin,
and are separate from all sinners. " For what fel-
lowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness ;
what communion hath light with darkness; what
concord hath a believer with an infidel ?" If ye be
members of the church of Christ, " ye are born
again of the Spirit," and become " new creatures
in Christ Jesus." For " except a man be born
of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of
God ;" he cannot enter the church below, nor
the church above. If ye be members of the
church of Christ, ye have " repented towards
God :" if ye have repented towards God, ye
" have believed in Christ ;" if ye have believed in
Christ, ye have been justified by faith in His righte-
ousness ; if ye are " justified by faith," ye have been
sanctified by the Spirit ; if ye are " sanctified by
the Spirit," ye are living in holiness; if ye are living
in holiness, " ye are the epistles of Christ known
and read of all men ;" your holy light is shining
before men, and by your holy life, your hea-


venly Father is glorified. Are you, then, members
of the church of Christ? Are you born again of
the Holy Spirit, and made new creatures in Christ
Jesus ? Have you repented of sin towards God,
and forsaken all sin and all sinners? Have you
believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, and are you justi-
fied by faith in His blood ? Are you sanctified by
the grace of His Spirit, and are you living in holi-
ness to His glory ? Are you the epistles of Christ,
known and read of all men? Do men, wherever
you go, see your good works, and glorify your
heavenly Father ?

2. The neglecters of God's worship, the contemners
of God's word, the violators of Gods day, the
despisers of Gods sacraments, do not belong to the
church of Christ, but to the synagogue of Satan.
All who love the world and live in sin, are not the
children of God, but the children of the devil. For
he that loveth the world, and committeth sin, is of
the devil ; and in loving the world, and in com-
mitting sin, the children of the devil are manifest.
(John viii. 44. 1 John iii. 810.) But, O ye,
who love the world and live in sin; that you
would turn from the world and from sin, and take
refuge in Christ Jesus ! Search the Scriptures.
Pray for the Spirit. Repent of sin. Believe in
Christ. He is able, and willing, and waiting to save
you. Flee, then, from the wrath to come ; flee to
Christ Jesus ; flee to Him as the only Saviour ; and
He will bring you into His church, and into His


3. But we may belong to the visible church of
Christ ; we may be baptized in the name of the
eternal Three, and join in the worship of the
Almighty God ; we may hear the preaching of the
Gospel, and partake the supper of the Lord ; we
may perform many acts of mercy, and rejoice in
many acts of devotion ; and yet, not being regenerate
of the Holy Spirit, nor made new creatures in
Christ Jesus, we are neither members of His spiritual
church, nor heirs of His heavenly kingdom. We are
satisfying ourselves with a mere form of godliness, we
are deceiving ourselves by a mere profession of reli-
gion, we are destroying ourselves by talking of Christ,
unless we are born again of the Holy Spirit, and
made new creatures in the Son of God. Those
professing Christians are in the greatest danger, who
are in the greatest darkness ; and those professing
Christians are in the greatest darkness, whose light
is darkness. It is not a form of godliness, nor a

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profession of religion, nor a talking of Christ, which
will avail you in the season of sorrow and sickness,
in the day of death and judgment. In the season
of sorrow and sickness, in the day of death and
judgment, nothing will avail you, but the new birth
of the Spirit, the new creation in Christ Jesus. How
awful will it be to discover only in the last day, that
you are not members of Christ's spiritual church ;
that you have deluded yourselves with a mere pro-
fession of religion ; that you must be cast into hell,
and perish eternally ! " Examine yourselves, my
brethren, whether ye be in the faith." Examine


whether ye be members of the church of Christ ;
examine whether ye be born again of the Spirit ;
whether ye be new creatures in Christ Jesus.

4. Finally : ye Christians, ye living and holy mem-
bers of the church of Christ; having discovered this
world to be a wilderness, having heard of another
and a better country, having obtained an infallible
guide and guard for your journey, you have through
the Spirit of God turned your face and feet to-
wards Zion, and are now on your way to heaven.
u You are coming up from the wilderness, leaning
on your beloved" Saviour ; but conscious of your
own weakness, and the dangers of your way, you
pray to your Saviour as you go along, " Uphold my
goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not ;"
" O hold thou me up, and I shall be safe." As
members of the Christian church, and as pilgrims in
a strange land, you will desire the church above,
and long for home in heaven. Deep repentance
will humble your spirits, and living faith will dwell
in your breasts ; the love of Christ will constrain
you to obedience, and the practice of holiness will
adorn your conduct; the grace of the Spirit will
strengthen your hearts, and the hope of glory will
cheer your souls. You will shun all sinful pleasures,
and have no needless intercourse with worldly men;
you will never endeavour to walk in two ways, nor
attempt to please two masters ; but in the means of
grace, and the works of righteousness, you will
fully cleave to the Lord your God. Your hearts
will ever cry, " Whom, O Lord, have I in heaven


but thee; and there is none on the earth that I de-
sire beside thee ?"

But, in your journey through this desert world,
wicked men, wicked spirits, and wicked hearts will
all the way conspire to deceive and to destroy you.
You will therefore be often in doubt, in distress, in
danger, and in darkness ; but in all cases, and in
all times, you can lean on your beloved Saviour ;
and in every case, and at every time, He will sup-
port you. In doubt you will lean on Him for
direction ; in danger, for protection ; in distress, for
consolation ; in sickness, for succour : and in doubt,
He will direct you ; in danger, He will defend you ;
in distress, He will comfort you ; in sickness, He
will succour you. You will thus lean on your
beloved Saviour, and He will never withdraw His
arm, nor refuse His aid ; never turn away His face,
nor take His Spirit from you. " Your souls will
ever," as the Psalmist writes, " hang on Him, and
His right hand will ever uphold you." (Psalt. Ixiii.
9.) Lean then, Christians, entirely and alway on
Christ, and He will always support you. He will
guide you with great wisdom through the journey
of life ; He will succour you with great might
through the vale of death ; and He will bring you
with great joy to His church in heaven.



ISAIAH xl. 11.

He shall feed his flock like a shepherd ; He shall
gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in
his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are
with young.

THE Hebrews were, for the most part, a pastoral
nation, or a nation of shepherds. On the " balmy
hills," and through the flowery vales, in the green
pastures, and by the silent streams of Palestine, the
Hebrews fed their flocks. To every reader, the
words of our text must appear full of beauty, ten-
derness, and life ; but to the Hebrews themselves,
how suitable to the state, how intelligible to the
mind, how affecting to the heart, must these words
have been ! " He shall feed his flock like a shep-
herd ; He shall gather the lambs with his arm, and
carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those
that are with young."

The good Shepherd Himself; the flock of the


good Shepherd, and the care of the good Shepherd
for His flock, now require your regard.
We are to contemplate,


" Like a shepherd, He shall feed his flock."

1. Who is this good Shepherd? He is the Shep-
herd foretold by the prophets, " I will set one
shepherd," foretels Ezekiel, " over my flock, even
my servant David ; He shall feed them, and be their
shepherd." (Ezek. xxxiv. 23.) " He shall stand,"
prophesies Micah, " in the strength of the Lord; He
shall feed the flock of his heritage in the majesty of
the name of his God." (Micah v. 4 ; vii. 14.)
" Awake," exclaims Zechariah, " awake, sword,
against my shepherd ; against the man who is my
fellow, saith the Lord of hosts." (Zech. xiii. 7.)
" Behold," cries Isaiah, " behold the Lord God shall
come. Behold His reward is with Him ; and" the
recompence of " His work is before Him ;" behold
He shall come, " and feed His flock like a shep-
herd." Our Lord Jesus Christ is, questionless, the
good Shepherd, whom the entranced prophets fore-
told. For St. Peter calls Him " the chief Shep-
herd. (1 Pet. v. 4.) St. Paul styles Him " the
great Shepherd ;" (Heb. xiii. 20 ;) and Jesus Him-
self, in allusion to the prophecies, declares, " I am
the good Shepherd." (John x. 11.)

2. But, mark the dignity of the good Shepherd.
For wherever He is foretold as a Shepherd, He is
described as Jehovah. " He shall come, indeed, as


a Shepherd ;" but, behold ! it is the Lord God, who
shall come." Again : " The sword shall awake
against my Shepherd ;" but my Shepherd is " my
Fellow, saith the Lord of hosts." " He shall, as a
Shepherd, feed his flock ; but He shall feed them
in the name of the majesty of the Lord." The good
Shepherd, therefore, is the eternal Jehovah; the
divine Majesty belongs as much to the Son as to
the Father; for " the Son and the Father are



3. Jesus Christ, being truly God, is well qualified
to be the good Shepherd. He never slumbers nor
sleeps. His knowledge is infinite, and His power
almighty. He possesses a fulness of grace in Him-
self, and a fulness of wisdom rightly to apply the
supplies of His grace to His people. He has in His
heart infinite tenderness, which He manifests by
dying for His flock ! He is " the great Shepherd,"
the divine Shepherd, the Shepherd of souls. He is
" the chief Shepherd" the prince and king of Shep-
herds; priests and prophets and apostles are but
shepherds under Him. But, emphatically, " He is
the good Shepherd." For when we, like lost sheep,
had gone astray, He came from the highest glory
" to seek and to save that which was lost." When Sa-
tan, as a roaring lion, opened his mouth to devour
us, the good Shepherd, with His own hand, snatched
us from the jaws of the destroyer. When our souls
were just sinking into the bondage and misery of
the bottomless pit, the good Shepherd knew there
was no other way to redeem us, and therefore gave


his own blood for our ransom. " I AM," says He,
We proceed to contemplate,


" He shall feed His flock."

The church, or the people of God, at all times
resemble a flock : " He led His people like a flock ;"
" and we are His people and the sheep of His pas-
ture." His people are the objects of his peculiar love,
and are given in his eternal purpose to Jesus Christ
to be redeemed and sanctified and saved. The good
Shepherd calls them from the rest of mankind, and
by the agency of his Spirit, brings them out of a
state of nature into a state of grace ; " through Him
they enter the fold ;" " by Him they go in and
out and find pasture." But weak and wandering as
they ever will be in themselves, defenceless and ex-
posed as they ever are to Satan and the world, who
always, as wolves and lions, lie in wait to devour
them, they depend entirely for succour and safety
on the protection of the good Shepherd. But, more
particularly :

The whole flock of Christ is known by distinct
marks. It is a " little flock." Its number at any
particular time is small, compared with the great
assembly of saints before the throne in heaven ; and
it is small compared with the multitudes, who at all
times are led captive by Satan, and live in sin. It
is a " little flock," however, not because Christ is


unable or unwilling to save ; for " His blood cleans-
eth from all sin, and He can save to the uttermost :"
but because " men love darkness rather than light,
and will not come to Him for life." His fold is large
enough for the whole world ; its door is open for all
mankind, and the good Shepherd, standing at the
door, invites all men to enter. But, how lamentable
is it, that only " a few ; ' hear His voice, and enter
His fold ; while " the many" devoted to the world,
and deaf to His call, pass on and perish !

Again :

It is an united flock. Its members live by " one
faith" in " one Lord," and are united in principle,
in affection, in conduct, in devotion. One spirit
of life pervades them, one bond of love unites them,
one robe of righteousness adorns them, one hope of
glory cheers them, one kingdom of bliss awaits them.
There is but one flock, one fold, one Shepherd.

Further : It is a holy flock. Separate from the
men of the world, and obedient to the law of God,
meek in temper, and gentle in demeanor, they are in
" body, soul, and spirit, sanctified." They are holy
in heart, in conversation, in conduct. They are
universally holy, and they are holiness to the Lord.
Besides the marks, which distinguished the whole

' O

flock of Christ, other marks distinguish its individual
members. Of these marks, the first is " a death unto
sin, and a new birth unto righteousness" For, " ex-
cept a man be born again of the Spirit, he cannot
enter the kingdom of heaven." Every member of
the flock is a heaven-born child of God, a new crea-


ture in Christ Jesus. A second individual mark is
the hearing of the voice of the Shepherd. " For my
sheep," says Christ, " hear my voice." They hear
it in the Scriptures, in providence, in the preaching
of the Gospel, in the admonitions of conscience, and
in the strivings of the Spirit. A third individual
mark is the following of the Shepherd. " My sheep,"
says Christ, not only " hear my voice," but " they
follow Me." He leads them as his sheep, they
follow Him as their Shepherd. They obey His
word, and imitate His conduct ; they take up His
cross, and tread in His steps. They are washed and
redeemed by His blood, marked and signed by His
Spirit, sanctified and renewed in His image, changed
and conformed to His example.
But we hasten to contemplate,


" He shall feed His flock ; He shall gather the
lambs in His arms, and carry them in His bosom,
and shall gently lead those that are with young."

1 . Mark, first, his general care for His people.
" He shall feed His flock like a Shepherd."

(1.) His sheep know neither their way nor their
weakness, neither their wants nor their dangers ;
but their good Shepherd is all-wise to know, all-
mighty to strengthen, all-merciful to pity, and all-
sufficient to help them. His eye watches them in
their dangers ; his arm protects them from their ene-
mies ; His grace supplies their need ; His bosom


is open for their repose. He will never fail to
guide and defend to succour and comfort them.
As they follow Him, He will ever be their shade
in the heat, their shelter in the storm, their refuge
in every time of trouble. If they stray, He will
restore their wandering souls, and lead them in
His righteous way. " He will seek and deliver
them out of all places, whither they have been
scattered in the dark and cloudy day."

Again :

(2.) His sheep are liable to diseases and injuries,
to be wounded by sin, and to be depressed in mind ;
but their good Shepherd is ever touched by a feel-
ing of their infirmities ; and by the sprinkling of His
blood and the grace of His Spirit, He heals their
wounded hearts, and strengthens their fainting souls.
For He not only seeks those who are lost, and re-
stores those who were driven away, but He strength-
ens those who are weak, and heals those who are
broken in heart. (Ezek. xxxiv. 16.)

But, further:

(3.) His sheep hunger and thirst for righteous-
ness, and must be fed ; and the good Shepherd will
richly feed His flock. For His flock He has the
richest pasturage ; He has the bread of life and the
waters of salvation ! " His flesh is meat indeed ; and
His blood is drink indeed !" In Him is a fulness of
grace ; and out of His fulness His people shall be
fed. Out of His fulness they shall receive grace
after grace ! They shall receive grace and more
grace ; they shall receive grace in the time of need,



and, at all times, grace sufficient for their souls. The
good Shepherd provides abundant means of grace
to feed His sheep. He provides His word, His day,
His house, His ministers, His sacraments, His Spirit.
Every promise of His word, every ordinance of His
house, every preaching of His gospel, every breath-
ing of His Spirit, is green pasture to the soul. While
they use the means of grace, He feeds the souls
of His people. In secret prayer, and in searching
the Scriptures, in the devotions of the family and
in the house of the Lord, in the hearing of the
Gospel, and in the communion of the saints, in the
exercise of charity, and in the practice of righteous-
ness, the good Shepherd feeds His flock. Leading
them beside these still waters, and making them lie
down in these green pastures. He feeds and invi-
gorates and blesses their souls. But, do any of you,
who love the good Shepherd, inquire, with the
church of old, " Tell me, thou, whom my soul
loveth, where thou feedest thy flock and makest it
rest at noon ?" We reply, " At the table of the
Lord." On the cross His body was broken, and
His blood was shed ; that, by spiritually eating His
flesh, and drinking His blood at His table, your
souls might be strengthened and refreshed.

2. Mark, next, His peculiar tenderness to the
young. " He shall gather the lambs with His arms,
and carry them in His own bosom."

" They brought young children to Christ that He
should touch them ; and His disciples rebuked those
who brought them. But Jesus was much displeased


and said, Suffer the little children to come unto
me, and forbid them not ; for of such is the king-
dom of heaven. And He took them up in His arms,
put His hand upon them, and blessed them." Lit-
tle children are the lambs of His flock, whom He
gathers in His arms, and carries in His bosom.
" For I love them," says He, " who love me ; and
they that seek me early shall find me !" Come then,
ye little ones ; come to Jesus, and learn of Him ;
and He will teach you the fear of the Lord.

But, those persons whose minds Jesus has just
enlightened by His Spirit, whose hearts He has just
touched by His grace, whose feet He has just turned
to His ways, are especially the lambs of His flock.
These young Christians so feeble and so fearful in
themselves are yet exposed to peculiar trials and dan-
gers. A lamb just dropped on a bleak mountain, where
the cold wind rages, where the stormy rain descends,
where the wolf, gaunt and grim, prowls around for
prey ; suchalamb in such a state is a figure of young
Christians in this wicked world ! Inexperienced,
weak, and helpless, they are exposed to the trou-
bles of evil times, to the persecutions of sinful men,
and to the temptations of seducing spirits. But
the Good Shepherd, who watches over them with
infinite tenderness night and day, will support them

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