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Until He Find It

Until He Find It

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY CHARLES BEARD, LL.D.

Luke XV. 4: "Until he find it."
BY CHARLES BEARD, LL.D.

Luke XV. 4: "Until he find it."

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Dec 02, 2013
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12/02/2013

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UNTIL HE FIND ITBY CHARLES BEARD, LL.D.Luke XV. 4: "Until he find it." I HAVE mentioned to you more than once  before, what a powerful hold the idea of the Good Shepherd, as presented here and further developed in the Fourth Gospel, took of the imagina-tion of the first century. The Roman Catacombs, those touching and strangely significant memorials of early Christian thought and feeling, are full of it. Among many scriptural symbols, all easily lending themselves to pictorial illustration, this indisputably takes the first place. It came with its divine lesson of love upon minds which had not yet wholly eman-cipated themselves from pagan associations ; and I dare not say that the Good Shepherd of the Cata-combs does not sometimes remind the critical eye of the young Apollo, who, as old poets sang, once fed the flocks of Admetus, or of Pan, the god of all jocund
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1 4 Until He fi^id it. and happy rural life. He is there in every variety of his occupation : going before his flock, as they seek or return from the green pastures : giving them drink at the clear streams of eternal life : carrying the lambs in his bosom, bringing back the lost sheep upon his shoulder. The imagery is so simple, so winning, so easy of interpretation, so redolent of love and peace and safety, as to be necessarily among the very first to inspire the efforts of sacred art. And possibly at a later time, when persecution had already begun to accomplish its hateful work, and it became a question in the Church whether those who had once failed in their allegiance were ever to be received back again into communion, it was a divine instinct of pity which, in one instance at least, portrayed the Good Shepherd as bearing back to the fold, safely sheltered in his own arms, not a sheep, but a goat. "Until he find it" These words, repeated a few verses further on in the parable of the Lost Piece of Silver — as if to show how completely they belonged to the essence of the lesson — flashed upon me, the
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other day, from the page of the Gospel, as if they, and they alone, had been printed in letters of gold. And they seemed to me, all at once, instinct with a great fact and a wonderful promise. For Christ's life is all a parable of God's purposes : and if naturally all Christian ages have personified him as the Good Shep-herd, that similitude must much more belong to God, Until He find it. 1 5 and describe His dealings with His human children. And what a comfortable thought is this, that the Divine Love is always seeking for the lost sheep, nor will cease to seek till all are brought back and safely folded : that not one, even the lowest, the most de-graded, the most brutalized, is forgotten, or neglected, or left without needful warning or kind invitation : that God is at work with us whenever we try to take a fallen fellow-creature by the hand, and to lift him into a nobler conception of his humanity : nay, that He is perpetually working in wider and deeper and subtler ways, which shame and perhaps sometimes
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