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“In the day time the drought consumed him, and the frost by night," because he watched so closely.
Arthur. And David, you know, Mary, tells Saul, “Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock, and I went out after him and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth.” (1 Sam. xvii. 34, 35.)
Mamma. Yes, my children, both Jacob and David were good shepherds. Jacob watched very wakefully, and David risked his life for one of his lambs, but how much better is our shepherd, " he never slumbers nor sleeps,” (Ps. cxxv. 4.) and He did not only risk, but “laid down,” his life for us.
Papa. Thus Jesus is our shepherd in a sense that no one else can be, and so He is addressed (Ps. lxxx. 1.) “Give ear, 0 shepherd of Israel, thou that dwellest between the cherubim." But does He appoint any under-shepherds to feed his flock ?
Mary. Oh, yes, those who preach his word. like our dear minister, Papa. If you look at the last verse of Ps.
. lxxvii., you will find, " Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”
Arthur. And I have so often thought of those words, when He searched Peter's heart three times, and charged him as a proof of his love
to feed His lambs and His sheep. (Jobn xxi. 15-17.)
Mamma. And Peter told others, “Feed the flock of God which is among you. •
And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory which fadeth not away.” (1 Peter v. 1—4.) Will my boy ever be one of those under-shepherds ?
Papa. Well, my children, we must all watch for the return of the great Shepherd, for He comes quickly and suddenly. But meanwhile many of His sheep die. Does He leave them, Lily, in their dying hour ?
Lily. Oh no, papa, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me : thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” (Ps. xxiii. 4.)
Papa. Quite right, my child; He says, “I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand.” Many, many dear lambs are safely folded like little Henry. They are with Jesus which is far better. But when He comes to judgment and sits upon His great white tbrone, will He forget His sheep then ? Mary. No, no, dear papa.
I have found a passage in the 25th of Matthew, where at the 31st verse He says,
When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne
of His glory; and before Him shall be gathered all nations, and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats, and He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the king say to those on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”—And so they enter into “life eternal.”
Mamma. And do we lose sight of them in the bright sunshine of that glory? or do you remember any further notice of them, under this figure of sheep in the Bible ?
Arthur. Yes, mamma, it is said of that happy multitude who stood before the throne clothed in white robes, and with palms in their hands, “ They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of water, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” (Rev. vii. 16, 17.)
Papa. And so “ there shall be one fold and one shepherd.” (John x. 16.) Happy, happy sheep of Jesus! May God grant that all my dear children may be there ! But we must now leave off, and I give you as a subject to prepare for next Sunday, “Sin a disease, and Christ the physician.”
SIN A DISEASE, AND CHRIST THE
Mamma. Well, my children, are you ready?
Mary. Oh, yes, mamma; we thought Sunday evening would never come, for we have found so many texts about the great disease, and the good Physician.
Papa. It is a figure very often used in Scripture. I suppose, because there is not a tribe, not a family, and scarcely a man, woman, or child, who has not suffered from some disease or other, and therefore the image comes home to every heart. But we must take the subject in order. What, Lily, is the name of this terrible disease ?
Lily. Sin, Papa.
Mary. Solomon calls it (1 Kings viii. 38.) the plague of our own hearts.
Papa. And have you found out any description of sinners under this figure of a disease ?
Arthur. Oh, yes ; a most touching one, (Isa. i. 5, 6.) “The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head, there is no soundness in it, but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores; they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.”
Mary. But how is it, papa, if this describes the state of all men, that they do not seem to suffer more anguish ?
Papa, Because, my child, sin is against a Being they have never really known; a Father they have never truly loved. Read the second verse of that same chapter.
Mary reads.“ Hear, O heavens, and give ear, 0 earth. I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me."
Mamma. And what would you think, my children, if you, whom we have nursed in
, fondness and in love, were to shrink from being with us, and to disobey all our commands; if you plainly did not love us, but cherished a dislike and distrust which grew deeper every day?
Arthur. Oh, mamma, you cannot think your own children would ever treat their dear, dear parents so.
It reminds me of the lines