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Christ Shepherding His Flock.

Christ Shepherding His Flock.

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Published by glennpease



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Published by: glennpease on Mar 02, 2013
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BY THEODORE L. CUYLERONE of the most beautiful improve-ments of the new Revision of the Tes-tament is that which makes the seventeenthverse of the seventh chapter of the Revela-tion to read thus : " The Lamb which is inthe midst of the throne s/ia/l be their Shep-herd, and shall guide them unto fountainsof waters of life." This carries on into theheavenly world one of the most tender andprofound relations which Jesus bears toHis redeemed followers. To us, in ourland and times, this Oriental figure losesmuch of the vividness that it has to onewho visits Palestine and sees a Judaean shep-herd among his flock. He is the masterof a household of sheep, ù as much at-CHRIST SHEPHERDING HIS FLOCK, 69tached to his fleecy friends as daily inter-course and nightly watchings and personalexposures for them could make him. Hesearches out fresh pasturage for them ; if a sheep is caught in a thicket, he hastensto rescue it; if a lamb falls into a swollentorrent, he is at hand to lift it out; if awild beast shows himself at night near thesleeping flock, the shepherd seizes clubor crook and gives him battle. Not onlythe savage beast, but the Bedouin rob-ber must sometimes be encountered. Dr.Thomson, in his '* Land and Book," saysthat one faithful fellow, between Tabor andTiberias, instead of fleeing, actually foughtthree Bedouins, until he was hacked topieces with their kJiaiijarSy and died amongthe sheep he was defending.*' I am the Good Shepherd. I lay downMy life for the sheep." This is the supremeact of His devotion to His flock. To ana-lyze the theology of the Atonement is formost believers as bootless as an attempt70 CHRIST SHEPHERDING HIS FLOCK.to analyze the maternal feeling before amother who has just given the parting kissto a dying daughter. The Christian's
heart understands the Atonement betterthan the Christian's head. It is a difficultdoctrine for the brain, but a sweet andsimple one to the affections. JonathanEdwards himself could not apprehend theAtonement one whit more clearly or feelit more intensely than the Dairyman'sDaughter, when she sang to herself, ù" How glorious was the graceWhen Christ sustained the stroke !His life and blood the Shepherd pays,A ransom for the flock."True faith simply believes what Jesus said,and rests implicitly on what Jesus did forus and will do for us to the end. This isthe core of my practical theology, and soit is with millions of others. All we werebut sheep going astray, and God hath laidon Him, the Divine Shepherd, the iniqui-ties of us all. This tells the whole story asCHRIST SHEPHERDING HIS FLOCK. 7 1to the ground of my hope for salvation ;this, too, establishes such a relation betweenme and my Shepherd, that I am undersupreme obligation to follow Him whither-soever He leadeth. If we ever expect tobe guided by Him to fountains of watersof life in heaven, we must learn here tosubmit to His guidance completely.Three things our beloved Shepherdassures us. The first one is, *' I know Mineown sheep." He does not recognize themby any church-mark, for some personsmay hide an unbelieving, unrenewed heartbeneath a false profession ; others, whonever have enrolled themselves in any visi-ble church-membership, may belong to theblood-bought flock. Jesus recognized thepenitent sinner through her tears as dis-tinctly as He saw through Judas behind histreacherous kiss. It is a precious thoughtto a true believer, however obscure in lot orhowever overlooked or misunderstood byothers, ù " My Master knows me. He has72 CHRIST SHEPHERDING HIS FLOCK.me on His heart. He is a brother to my
griefs. He knows what pasture I require ;yes, and He understands when I need thechastising stroke. He detects my sins ;therefore let me be watchful against temp-tation. He sees all my tears or my heart-aches ; therefore let me be cheerful undersharp trials."The second thing our Shepherd assuresus is : *' Mine own know Me." This knowl-edge is gained by a sacred instinct. Hisown know Him by the witness of theSpirit that witnesseth with their spirits.How do I know my mother? By some-body else's description of her, by herpicture, by an analysis of her mental qual-ities? No; I know her by the instinctsof love. I have tested her sweet fidelities.I believe in her both for what she is tome and what she has done for me. Thesincere Christian has a heart-knowledgewhich is gained by being sought out bythe Shepherd, saved by the Shepherd, andCHRIST SHEPHERDING HIS FLOCK. 73by trusting and following the Shepherd.Of this experimental knowledge no scoffercan outwit him and no enemy can rob him.He has heard Christ's voice when He*' calleth His own sheep by name and lead-eth them out." No one can counterfeitthat voice. Sometimes in Palestine orSyria 'a stranger will try to mimic the shep-herd's call ; but the flock pay no heed toit. As soon as the genuine voice is heardevery head is up and the flock is in motion.The third thing that Jesus assures us is,that " He goeth before His sheep, and theyfollow Him." Ah, what pathways of trialHe sometimes appoints to us ! Never hasHe promised us an easy road or a smoothroad, or such a road as our selfishness mayselect. He never consents that the flock shall decide as to the lot in which theyshall be pastured, or over what steep hillsHe shall conduct them, or through whatvalleys of the death-shade they shall walk,listening to His voice through the dark.74 CHRIST SHEPHERDING HIS FLOCK.More than once faith stumbles and falls,but He lifts up and restores. Sometimes

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