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wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill; yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.”
Papa. And were we left in that wretched condition ?
Mary. Oh, no, Papa ; you know that parable we lately had (Luke xv. 4–7), where the Lord Jesus says, “What man of you having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it," and the joy of all when he brought it back upon his shoulders.
Mamma. And in that same chapter of Ezekiel at the twelfth verse, God says he will do that which the careless shepherds had neglected; “I will seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.” And at the sixteenth verse, “ I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick.”
Papa. It is to this, I think, that Christ alJudes when He says, Matt. xviii. 11, “The Son of Man is come to save that which was lost.” But, my children, are we anywhere told how He saves them ? I mean how it is possible for the Holy Saviour to forgive their wanderings and their sins ? Do you remember anything, Lily, in that same chapter, Is. liii., which tells us this?
Lily. The end of that verse says, “The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” · Arthur. And, Papa, the next verse speaks of the Holy Saviour Himself as a Lamb." He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before his shearers is dumb, so He openeth not his mouth.”
Papa. That is what I meant, my children. The Lord Jesus “in the likeness of sinful flesh,” (Rom. viii. 3,) took our nature, the · nature of us poor wandering, wayward sheep ; and thus His soul was made an offering for sin, and afterwards he is called “the Lamb of God.” Where is that?
Mary. When John the Baptist saw him coming, he said, “ Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John i. 29.)
Mamma. And so, my children, God had foretold, 600 years before, in Zech. xiii. 7, “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts ; smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.” Jesus quotes this verse of himself, when all his disciples fled.
Arthur. And does He not mean the same thing in that chapter we learnt for you, Mamma,-the
tenth of John, when he says, “I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd giveth bis life for the sheep?"
Mamma. To be sure he does, my child; and so He says in the ninth verse: we enter by him as a door into the fold. To understand and believe that Jesus instead of us, is the begin. ning of being made his own sheep. You remember in that beautiful book, “ The Folded Lamb," that it was when little Henry first learnt what instead meant, and believed that Jesus bore the punishment instead, that he began to love Him so dearly.
Papa. Oh, that all my children may taste and feast upon that wonderful love of Christ which passeth knowledge. But, Lily, when Jesus has saved His sheep, and washed them in His blood, and brought them to His fold, does He then leave them to themselves, or still shield and shepherd them? What can each of His sheep say ?
Lily. Ob, Papa, you mean my psalm, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, He leadeth me beside the still waters.” (Ps. xxiii. 1, 2.)
Arthur. Yes, and in my chapter too, the Lord Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Mary. How is that, Papa, the shepherd
generally drives the sheep before him, but here it is said, they follow him.
Papa. If my children will listen, I will read them some passages out of a beautiful little book, called “ Three Days in the East,” * written by a friend of their Papa's who lately went to Palestine and Jerusalem. He says, “I saw the flocks come out of the fold, and the shepherd then took his place in front of them. No dogs are used, no driving, but the flock recognize in their leader their protector and provider, and “the sheep follow him.” ...... When any stranger came near, or a dog, or a jackal, the flock instantly closed in towards the shepherd, and he advanced to meet the danger. Some of them had to lead their flocks for two or three hours before they came to their pasture. ..... During the heat of noon the sheep often collect round some shady tree, and the shepherd sings or plays his reedpipe to them. ..... Then when it is time to return homewards, as the shades of evening fall, the shepherd rises and all his flock quietly follows. If obstacles occur in the narrow path, he removes them with his staff. When the young ones of the flock stray, he brings them back with his rod; and even in the dark valleys they walk safely. ..... Often I saw the little lambs tired or struggling in vain to get over some difficult place in the way, and the shepherd took them in his arms and carried them. ..... When I approached these sheep they ran from me, "for a stranger they will not follow.” And I observed what I was not aware of before, the very great similarity in the appearance of the goats and the sheep, indeed I was often puzzled to know them from each other; for the wool of the sheep in Syria is often straight like hair, while the hair of the goat is curled like wool. But although the goats and sheep are often alike in appearance, and are mixed in the same flock when going to their pastures, I noticed a marked difference in their modes of feeding. The goats are continually moving, and restlessly wandering among the cliffs, sometimes far from the shepherds, and exposed to wild beasts while cropping the scanty flowers on the precipices; but the sheep are more quiet, and keep together, content to feed on the herbage of the lower ground, and looking to their shepherd to supply them with food and comfort.”
* The writer begs strongly to recommend this little book to parents and school teachers, as most useful in illustrating Scripture.