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them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land : and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. And I will make them, and the places round about my hill, a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season : there shall be showers of blessing. And I will raise up for them a Plant of Renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land " It is not improbable that our Lord had this propheti. cal description in his eye, when he said in the 9th verse of this chapter, “ I am the door (of the sheep :) by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” But how must it amaze us, to hear from his own lips, that he is not only the door by which the sheep enter into the pasture, but is himself the pasture upon which they feed; yet these are his words, in the 6th chapter of this gospel, at the 51st and following verses : “ I am the bread of life, the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever : and the bread that I give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world ; Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life: for my

flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.” Nay, is not this precious food to be dispensed to

us this day, in the holy sacrament, under the sig. nificant emblems of bread and wine, when the good Shepherd shall say, and say it with power, to those who believe in him, and know his voice, “ Take and eat; this is my body broken for you: and this cup is the New Testament in my blood; drink ye all of it." I suppose I need not inform you, that these expressions are figurative. You have long been taught, that the Lord's supper is a sacrament, wherein by giving and receiving bread and wine, according to Christ's appointment, his death is showed forth, and the worthy receivers are not after a corporeal and carnal mas. ner, but by faith, made partakers of his body and blood, with all his benefits, to their spiritual nourishment, and growth in grace. This is not the worldling's portion, the whole amount of which is vanity and vexation; no, this is substantial food, even all the blessings of the new and well ordered covenant, the justification of our persons, the renovation of our natures, adoption into the. family of God, assurance of his love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost; in a word, all the unsearchable riches of his grace. Thus doth Christ feed his sheep; he invests them with a right to all the blessings of his purchase, and distributes these blessings as their necessities require, till, as Paul hath expressed it, (Eph. iii. 19.), “ 'They are filled with all the fulness of God.”_But farther in the

4th place, It belongs to a good Shepherd to defend his flock, as well as to feed them. And this office he likewise performs in the most effectual manner. He watches over them by night and by day ; for “ he that keeps Israel, neither slumbers nor sleeps.”_" Fear not,” says he, “ for I am with thee, be not dismayed, for I am thy God : I will strengthen thee, yea I will help thee, yea I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Their enemies indeed are many and strong, but he is mighty on whom their help is laid. He makes his grace sufficient for them, and will keep them by his power through faith unto salvation. Hear his own words in the 27th and following verses of this chapter, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow

And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand. My Father who gave them me, is greater than all : and none is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one." He foresees the trials which are coming upon them; and prays for them effectually, that their faith may not fail. He gives power to the faint, and to them that have no might he increases strength. And when at any time they stumble and fall, he comes seasonably to their relief, lifts up their hands which hang down, and strengthens their feeble knees; and having enlarged their hearts, enables them to run in the


way of his commandments. Thus does he conduct them through the slippery paths of life, and continues to be their guardian even until death. Neither does he leave them at the hour of death. For,

5thly, When they walk through the valley of the shadow of death, his rod and his staff comfort and sustain them. He fortifies and cheers their departing spirits; and when the evening shadows gather thick around them, the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, is sent to say to them, that death as well as life is theirs. Nay, “ the good Shepherd himself, who gave his life for the sheep,” will say, to them in this awful hour, “ Fear not, I am he that liveth and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, and have the keys of hell and death: -I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth on me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” What a multitude of saints, who now inherit the promises, have in their last moments experienced the effect of these gracious and joyful assurances! In how many instances hath a lively and unexpected view of the promises of God, and of the great redemption, sustained and even elevated a dying saint, who from the infirmities of the body, or other causes, was, through fear of death, subject to bondage all his life! The sensible presence of the good Shepherd, in these awful moments, will support the most fearful, and the feeblest of the flock. It will enable him that

hath no might, to triumph over death, and him that hath the power of death; and, even in the presence of the king of terrors, it will teach him this song of victory, “ My flesh and my heart faileth ; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever."-" Thanks be unto God, which hath given me the victory, through Jesus Christ my Lord."--" For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate me from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus my Lord.” It is true, the saints of God have not all the samo degree of sensible comfort at the hour of death. The wisdom of heaven may sometimes permit them to shut their eyes, without perceiving the full extent of the blessedness of them who die in the Lord, or without having received those sensible tokens of their victory over death. But " though weeping may endure for a night,” while they are yet struggling to be released from the mortal tabernacle, their spirits shall awake to everlasting joy. For, in the

6th and last place, When the morning of the day that never ends shall dawn, they shall again see the good Shepherd stretching out his arms to receive them into everlasting habitations. “They shall see him as he is:" they shall be satisfied with his likeness." The mansions which he is now pre

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