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them.

Reflections on Christ's being the door of the sheep.

derived from me that the people of God are to SECT: 8 411 that ever came be taught and fed. All that ever came before

cxxxii. and rubbers; but the me, assuming the Messialı's character, or setting John sheep did not hear up for a despotic authority in the church, and X. 8.

teaching other methods of salvation than by
me , are thieves and robbers, persons of very
bad designs, who had no warrant from above
for what they did ; and, whatsoever their pre-
tences were, their administration has a fatal
tendency to make havock of the souls they
should watch and feed; but the trke sheep, or
those who are sincere and weil-disposed per-

sons, have not heard them, so as to relish and 9 I am the door: regard their doctrine.

I therefore repeat 9 by me if any man en it again, as a most important truth, That I saved, and shall go in myself am the door ; and if any one enter in by and out, and find pas- me, and acknowledge my authority, he shall ture.

be, like a sheep in his fold, safe from the inva-
sion of what might injure and destroy him ;
and shall go in and out under my care and gui-
dance, and shall suill find good pasture ; that is,
in consequence of his regard to me, and the
enjoyment of communion with me, his soul shall

be fed and nourished with true doctrine, and
10 The thief com- shall obtain substantial bappiness. For where-10
en not but for to steal, as the thief only comes that he may steal, and kill,
and to kill, and to dc- and destroy ; I am come for the benefit of all
tiat they might bave my sheep, that they may have true life, and that
lie, and that they at length they may have it yet more abundantly";
misht have it more a most plentiful provision being made for their
abundantiy.

everlasting comfort and happiness, even far
beyond what has ever been known before.

IMPROVEMENT. Let us hear, with an holy awe on our spirits, that the Lord John Jesus Christ came into the world for purposes of judgment as well

IX. 39.

as

regard to Christ, in order to his being a Moses and the prophets as we know our true teacher in the church, and must pass Lörd could never intend.-Perhaps he (as it were) through him, or by his authority, might refer to such persons as Judas of into his ottice. It is by a simile very bear Galilet, or Theudas, who had been the ocresembling this that Christelsewhere calls casion of destruction to their followers. himself the teay. John xiv. 6 sect. clxxiii. See Acts v. 36, 37.

e all that ever came before me, &c.] If i That they may have it more abundantly.] it could be shewn, by any proper authority, To refer this lutter clause, at least ultimately that po suho ever signifies in neglect of me, to the provision which Christ has made for or w fo Jupes passing by a door, I should the future and eternal huppiness of all his with Elsner Olsseri. Vol. I. p. 327.) people, seems best to suit the other parts pr«ter that rendering to any other ; but as of this discourse, as well as the genius of the uis des not appear, it is evident that the whole Christian dispensation. Perhaps the Words , ustte understond with the ini!a- word wE915500 may intimate how much din added in the paruphruse : for otierwise this provision exceeded that made by Moses. they would imply such a riflective on Vol. VII.

L

a I am

84

SECT. cxxxij.

John X. 1.

Christ, as the good Shepherd, will die for the sheep. as of mercy ;

and make it our humble prayer that we may be enlightened by him, and not sealed up under aggravated darkness, as a punishment for our obstinacy and impenitence ; for then all the means of knowledge which we have so basely perverted will rise

up to condemn us. Let Christ be regarded by us as the door from whom all true teachers derive their authority, and to whom they direct their administrations : and let it be our care that we enter by this door. Let inferior shepherds learn their duty, so plainly suggested here : Let them learn to know their sheep, and take as particular notice as they can of cach single person committed to their care ; and let them go before them in all the paths of duty : for what could the greatest enemy to the flock do worse than to lead them by

example into the paths of destruction ? 9 Happy souls, who are entered in by this gate! Their safety,

their comfort, is secure ; they enjoy a holy liberty and plenty, and going in and coming out they find pasture. If we are strangers to that entertainment and refreshment which arises from ordi. nances (those green pastures which Christ bath provided for his

sheep in the wilderness, we have a great deal of reason to fear 10 that we belong not to his flock. He came that his sheep might

have life, and that they might have it more abundantly; that great. er provision might be made for their instruction and consolation now, till they are brought to those better pastures he intends for them above: May his grace prepare us for them! and his hand will certainly conduct us to them ; nor need we fear the darkest passage in our way.

SECT. CXXXIII.
Christ describes himself as the good shepherd, who will lay down

his life for the sheep. John X. 11-21.
JOHN X. 11.

Јонн х. 11. SECT. OUR Lord, having thus represented himself I am the good Shep, cxxxiii. as the door of the sheep, and intimated the shepherd giveth his life

regards to be maintained towards him, parti- for the sheep. John cularly by those that professed themselves

teachers of others, now changed the similitude,
and said, I may also very properly add, that I
am myself, by way of eminence, the good
Shepherd “, the Person frequently forefold in

scripture

X. 11.

a I am the good Shepherd.] Lamy (in his should be allowed that the xlth of Isaialı Harmony, p. 339) very justly supposes

that was read in the synagogue at that time of there might be some allusion here to Isa. the year : for it is certain our Lord does xl. 11. But nothing can be more preca- not confine himself to the lesson for the day rious than the argument he seems to draw in his quotations from scripture, or his abe from hence for placing this discourse at lusions to it. the feast of tabernacles, even though it

IIe knows his sheep, and will gather them into the fold. 85 scripture under that character, (Isa. xl. 11. SECT.

cxxxiii. Ezek. xxxiv, 23. xxxvi. 24. and Mic. v. 4.) and I must fully answer it all in its branches ; John especially in this, that as the good shepherd on X. 11. occasion layeth down his very life for the defence of bis sheep, and will expose bimself to any danger for their safety, compare 1 Sam. xvii. 34, 35,) I not only expose, but sacrifice,

my life for the good of my people. 12 But he that is an The hireling indeed, who is not the true shep-12 hireling, and not the

herd, and whose ože'n property the sheep are not shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth as soon as he is apprehensive of approaching danthe wolf coming, and ger, and sees the wolf, for instance, or some leaveth the sheep, and other savage beast, coming, immediately regardcatcheth them, and ing nothing but his own safety, is only careful scattereth the sheep. to secure bimself, and leaves the sheep and flees

away; and so the wolf, meeting with no resist

ance, scizes on some of them, and disperses the
13 The hireling rest of the sheep. Now the hireling flees on 13
feth, because he is an such an occasion, because he is a hireling', and
hireling, and careth not
for the sleep.

is not concerned about the safety of the sheep, but
takes the work upon him merely for bis own
gain and the wages he is to receive: and thus
basely will those teachers act in a time of dan-
ger who undertake the office merely in regard

to their own secular advantage. 14 I am the good

But I am the good Shepherd, who have a true 14 Shepherd, and know my sheep, and affection for my sheep, and am above the inknown of mine. fluence of all such mean and selfish views: and

such is the relation that there is between us, and
such the love we have to one another, that I
know and acknowledge my (sheep], and take the
kindest and most tender care of them; and I am

also known, acknowledged and confided in, by 15 As the Father mine: So that we mutually are dear unto each 15 knoweth tre, tven so know I the father: other; and even as the Futher knoweth me, and ami I lay down my owns bis affection and regard to me, by the sure life for the sheep. tokens of his presence and approbation; and I

also know, or acknowledge and honour, the Fa-
ther, in the delight with which I do his will; so
the affection is reciprocal between me and my
sheep: and as it is in love to them, as well as
with an ultimate view to his appointment and
his glory, that I lay down my life for the sheep he
has given me, so also do my sheep acknowledge
and confide in me, and so do I protect and pa-

tronize them. 16 And other sheep And I would farther observe to you, as a point 16 I have, which are not of of great importance, that I have other sheep which L 2

are

am

SECT. Cxxxiii.

86 The Jews are again divided in their sentiments about hin.

are not of this fold(meaning thereby the elect of this fold: them also

of God among the Gentiles); them also must I must bring, and they John at length bring in; and I know that they will and there shall be one X. 16. hear and obey my voice, notwithstanding that fold, and one Shepherd.

ignorance, vice, and misery, in which they are
now involved; and so, all being incorporated
into one society, of wbich I am the Head, the
Governor and Guardian, there shall be one sheep-
fold, (and) one Shepherd.
17 And for this reason miore especially does the

17 Therefore doth
Father love me, and approves it as an act of emi- my Father love me,
nent duty and love to him, because I am come lite, that I might take
with this design into the world, to lay down my it again.
life for the redemption of my sheep, who are
dear to him as well as to me, that I may take
it again, and possess it for ever, to be emploved

for his glory and for the happiness of my people. 18 For though I am shortly to die by the hands 18 No man taketh of the most cruel enemies, yet no one deprives me

it from me, but I lay

'it down of myself: I of my life, or takes it from me against my will; bave power to lay it for I have every moment a power to rescue down, and I have powe myself at pleasure, and could even with mine er to take it again. expiring breath command immediate deliver- have I received of my ance; but I will manifestly shew that I lay it Father. down of myself, and voluntarily relinquish my body, sooner than my soul would in a course of nature have been dislodged from it“: and this in me will be a verv regular, though wonderful act; for, as I have life in myself (John v. 26.) I have full power and authority thus to lay it down when I shall think fitd; and I have also power to resume it at pleasure, by entering into and quickening my body again.

And indeed this commandment I have received of my father, and sball ere long fulfil the charge in both its

branches. 19 When our Lord uttered these remarkable ex 19 There was a dia

pressions,

vision

b I have other sheep, thich are not of from the strong cry he sent forth just before this fold.] There seems no rca-on, with his death, with which the centurion was Wolfius, to understand this of Jews liv- reasonably so much impressed. See Luke ing out of the land of Canaan, who could xxiii. 46, 47. and Mark xv. 39. sect. exci. not with such propriety be said not to be d Full power and authority to lay it long to the fold of Israel. The incorporat- dozen, &c.] This the word Fiew exing the Gentiles into one church with the presses, and the manner of Christ's death Jews was indeed a grand event, worthy abundantly proved it: and as no reasonable such particular notice: and it deserves our objection can be made to the equity and remark, tliat they are here called the sheep wisdom of the Divine Being in givin' of Christ, even while they were yet in ig- Christ such a pozer, so the use he made norance and idolatry, as he intended at of it (as we may farther shew elsewhere) length to bring them home.

is trulv admirable. See nutel on Luke c Voluntarily relinquish my body, &c.] xxiii. 46. sect. cxci. That our Lord did so evidently appearcd

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сxxxiii.

Reflections on the care of Christ for his sheep.

87 tision therefore again pressions, there was a division therefore again sect. among the Jews for these sayings.

among the Jews (as there bad been before, chap.

vii. 43. sect. ci. and ix. 16. sect. cxxx.) espe- John
20 And many of cially on account of these last words. And many X. 20.
devil, and is mad; why of them suid, Ile has certainly a demon dwelling
hear ye him?

in him, and, by the operation of that evil spi-
rit, is apparently distracted with one of the most
malignant kinds of lunacy; why then do you give

yourselves the trouble to hear him while he
21 Others said, goes on in such extravagant absurdities? But 21
These are

others much more rationally said, These are not
words of him that hath
a devil: cap a devil by any means the words of a demoniac, or a lul-
open the eyes of the natic; for there is the greatest consistence and
blind?

energy in them: and besides, could a demon tbat
made a man mad open the eyes of the blind, as it
is plain this man bas often and very lately done?
It is rather madness to imagine that an evil spirit
has such power, or that he would employ it to
such benevolent purposes.

not

the

IMPROVEMENT.

There is not, perhaps, any where to be found a greater in- Ver. stance of the force of prejudice than in these perverse Jews, who 20 censured Christ as a lunatic and a demoniac for one of the gravest and most excellent speeches that was ever delivered. Let us review it with all due attention and regard.

Let us consider Christ as the good Shepherd, and humbly com- 11 mit our souls to bim, as ever we desire they should be safe and happy. We bave known his kind regards to the flock in exposing and laying down his life for them. And he hath not laid it 15 down in vain. Delightful thought! Our compassionate Shepherd, even when the sword of the Lord was awakened to smite him, has not so fallen as to rise no more; but as in this great and good work he voluntarily laid down, so he has also re-assumed his life; 19 and still bears on his heart the same concern for his flock, and uses his renewed life and exalted dignity for their security and happiness.

Let us humbly acknowledge him as acknowledged by the Father: 15 let us courageously and gratefully own bim, and be ready to lay down our lives also for him. We are those other sheep, of whom he spake, who were not originally of the fold, but by his grace are 16 now brought in to the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls. Let us pray that the boundaries of his fold may be still more extended, and the whole number of bis elect accomplished; that all the flock may at length appear together, and may be conducted by him to the regions of that immortal life which he determines to give it.

In

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