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instruction which they need. In fact, we, upon them the great importance of attendought to feel the deepest possible interest ing regularly the parish church, where all in all that tends to elevate, refine, and im- the Queen's good and loyal subjects ought prove the people. Those that are without to worship. An illustration of the truth of should see that Christians are concerned what I am now affirming came under my about their temporal welfare. One reason own notice a few weeks ago. I had been why the masses (especially in our large preaching on a Sunday evening at one of towns) have ceased to attend our places of our village stations, and was returning worship, and have become more than ever home, when I met with a widow whom I prejudiced against the Christian name, is knew, and who had been spending the day our exclusiveness and selfishness. We have with her sister. I began conversing with seen them lying on the highway of life, like her upon spiritual things, when she rethe man that fell among thieves on his way marked that she had done that day what to Jericho, and we have left them there, she had not done for a long time—" she had and passed by coldly and cruelly as the not been to church ;" but she said, " that priest and Levite did. We are aware that Miss- , the district visitor, would be sure within the last few years there has been a to call upon her the next day to ascertain greatimprovement in relation to this matter. the cause of her absence.” It would be The Church of Christ is more alive to its well if in connection with all our churches responsibility in respect to those that are there could be some suitable organisation without than it was. Greater efforts than originated by which we might reach those ever are being put forth to ameliorate the that are without, and throw around them condition of the masses, and hopes are en | the silken cords of the Gospel, and so by tertained that they will be won over to the the aid of God's Spirit draw them to the truth. It is our duty to do all we can to Saviour. Some of our churches, we admit, soften the prejudices of men, and to attract | are deficient in pecuniary resources, and them to the cross of Jesus Christ. This wel qualified persons, to undertake the work may do to some extent by taking a deep | which needs to be performed ; still all might and kind interest in all that pertains to | do something for the temporal welfare of their welfare in this life. Brethren, let me the masses which lie around them. It is ask you, are you prepared to make sacri our duty to do what we can. It is not so fices of money, of time, of domestic comforts, much the amount of help afforded, as the of ease, and of worldly pleasure, that you fact that those without see that we are inmay do good to the poor, the ignorant, terested in their welfare, and are willing to the afflicted, the oppressed, and neglected make sacrifices for them. classes who are without ? We may all take But there is something more required of some humble part in this department of you, and something much more important Christian labour. How many have been in- | than that to which we have already referred. duced to attend a place of worship, and It is your solemn duty to seek the salvahave been predisposed to listen with can- / tion of those that are without. When we dour and interest to the proclamation of have done all we can to help the poor, the the Gospel, through some trifling acts of afflicted, and the ignorant, we have not done kindness shown to them by Christ's dis much unless we have sought their immediate ciples! In recent years the Established conversion. We have rendered, it is true, Church has become alive to the importance some relief to those who are struggling with of caring for the temporal as well as the difficulties of life, but that relief relates spiritual concerns of the people. We only to the body, and to this world. Beknow not by what motives they are in sides, numbers of those who are without fluenced, and we would not be so unchari- | don't need our pecuniary assistance at all. table as to suspect their purity ; but this They have, however, souls to be saved. They we are sure of, that their policy has been need Divine instruction. They have sins shrewd and far-seeing. They have formed which they need to be convinced of, and the in our parishes what are called “District pardon of which they must obtain. They Visiting Societies." They have selected need to be pointed to the cross of Christ as from their number some of the respectable the means by which they may procure all well-to-do ladies, who have abundance of the blessings of salvation. They need to be spare time, and whose duty it is frequently told of the necessity of faith and regeneration to visit all the families within their district, by the Spirit of God, and holiness withand to keep them in their need, and to urge out which no man can see the Lord. They need to be urged to vield them. | ligent, pious, and middle-aged portion too selves at once to Christ, and to conse often care nothing at all for the Sunday crate themselves, and all that they possess, School, and refuse their help when they are to his service and glory. God in his infi applied to for it. This should not be. The nite wisdom and goodness has been pleased | young who are without should be instructed to employ human agents in the conversion by us, and their immediate conversion of sinful men. True, it is his prerogative sought. Then others may employ a portion by his Spirit to convince, convert, and save of their time in visiting their neighbours, their souls. We wish never to overlook and speaking to them about divine things. this fundamental truth. We must always If this is done with prudence, kindness, and be jealous of God's glory in this matter. prayerfulness, much good may be accomBut it is equally true that he condescends plished. Where it is inconvenient on the to employ his people in this good work. week-day a portion of the Sabbath might We ought to fall in with his benevolent | be spent in going from house to house and allwise arrangements. All those who | (where this is practicable), to direct those are within the church, who are converted, who are impenitent and unconverted to the redeemed, and saved, are to keep in this subjects of religion. Many of those who are Divine work. It must not be left to the | without never enter a place of worship, ministers of the Gospel, or to our deacons, they never read the Bible, they pay no reand other official persons in the Church. gard to the Sabbath-day. It is a very diffiEvery member ought to do something for cult thing for ministers to invite such to its accomplishment.
come, and hear them preach the Gospel The field of usefulness is large; it all What, however, might be thought out of needs cultivation; all may do a little to place on their part, can with great propriety break up the fallow ground, and cast into be done by their people. If all our memthe prepared soil the precious seed of the bers would use their moral influence in getkingdom. Some may aim at the conversion ting others under the sound of the Gospel, of those that are without by the public pro we should not have so frequently to deplore clamation of the Gospel in our towns, vil that there were so many empty pews. We lages, and hamlets. All our churches are acquainted with some who have been should be missionary in their constitution very useful in inducing others to atand aim. We are bound to carry the Gospel tend the house of God. Verily they have to those who are ignorant and out of the their reward. Let all go, and imitate their way. There are in most of our churches self-denying example. Then some may seek men of undoubted piety and talents who are the salvation of those that are without by fitted for this work if they were but in writing to them. It is a strange and mysduced to enter upon it. Then others may tic power which we possess in that we can render help by teaching in the Sunday convey to others ! by means of our pens the School. There are many qualified for this thoughts and desires of our hearts with redepartment of Christian labour who stand | gard to them. We would that our pens, ink, aloof from it. They make all sorts of ex | and paper were more frequently sanctified by cuses when they are pressed to enter | their being employed in seeking the salvation upon it. This is much to be regretted. of immortal souls. Pious young people, who What a fine field of usefulness does the Sab- | are ready with their pens, and who keep bath School present! It may be said to | up a frequent and extensive correspondence contain virgin soil which is more valuable with their friends, might do a great deal of and productive than any other. It has been | good in this way. Amongst those rexired truly affirmed that it is a nursery for the lately into fellowship with us was a sister Church. What numbers of our members who ascribed her first deep serious impresdate their first serious impressions to the sions to a letter which her pious brother instructions of their teachers ! How many wrote to her. But all should aim at the of those who were once without, are now immediate conversion of others, by praying within the Church, because of the instru for them. We believe in the value and mentality of the Sunday School! The | efficacy of prayer. We are not able to Church of Christ has not as yet felt the explain why it is that the conversion of burden of responsibility upon this subject | men, to some extent at least, is made to as it ought. The teachers are too frequently | depend on the prayers of the Church. The obtained from the junior, and unconverted | philosophy of the subject is not easy ! members of our congregations. The intel | discover. The subject lies farbe,
shrouded in mystery ; but the fact is 1 perseveringly for the salvation of others, we patent to all. Read the records of the recent should not only derive a greater amount of revivals in America, Ireland, Scotland, Eng- blessing to our own souls, but should be land, and Wales, and you will be forced to the means of conferring a greater amount admit that they were chiefly brought about of good upon others. In our secret closets, by the earnest and believing prayers of at the family altar, and when we assemble God's people. We would rather not incur | with our brethren at the usual prayerthe charge of being censorious or unchari- meeting, let us not forget those that are table in our opinion; but is it not a fact, without; but let us cry mightily to our that our prayers are often far too general, Father in heaven, that he would be pleased indefinite, and selfish? We are too anxious to put forth his saving power, and deliver to have the first turn at the throne of them from spiritual and eternal death. grace. We appear as though we wished This is what we all can do. All cannot the great and good Father to neglect all preach; all cannot teach in the Sundayhis other children until we are waited on. school; all may not be able to write; but We take up the time in telling him all our all can pray. This is what we ought to do morbid feelings and painful experiences, more frequently, more earnestly, and more and seem to suppose that he will work believingly; and then we should see more some miracle to deliver us from the trials of the saving power and grace of the Holy we are passing through. Were we to be Spirit in the conversion of those that are more benevolent and disinterested in our without. prayers, and to plead more earnestly and
(To be continued.)
CHRIST THE GOOD SHEPHERD.
BY THE REV. J. STATHAM. ANONGST all the metaphors and figures by which the blessed Saviour is represented in the sacred Scriptures, there are none more frequently employed, or more fitly applied, or more calculated to cheer and comfort the humblo believer, amidst the trials and difficulties to which he is subjected whilst passing through this wilderness world to the Heavenly Canaan above, than this of the Good Shepherd is.
In an ancient book written by James Wood, and dated 1679, and entitled, "Shepherdy Spiritualized,” is the following quaint poem.
• Antiquity ennobles shepherdy,
It doth so peace and true piety.
The sheep's for holy use, in every part,
The shepherd's calling is very ancient, as much so as husbandry. Of Adam's eldest sons, one was a shepherd and the other a husbandman. Some of the most celebrated amongst the ancient worthies recorded in the Scriptures were shepherds—they were the owners of their flocks and superintended them. Jacob and his sons were 80. We read, 2 Kings iii. 4, that Mesha, King of Moab, was a sheep master, and rendered unto the King of Israel a hundred thousand lambs, and a hundred thousand rams, with the wool. The riches of the first families of the earth generally consisted of flocks and herds. Job. i. 3, we read, that his substance was seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five lundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and he was the greatest man of the age; and when Abraham's servant was sent to fetch Rebecca as wife for Isaac, he described the riches of Abraham by say. ing, “The Lord hath blessed my master greatly, and he hath become great, and he hath given him flocks and herds, and camels and asses, as well as silver and gold, and men servants and maid servants." Laban became rich by the increase of his flocks under Jacob's care, and Jacob's portion greatly enlarged, so that he became rich too, and when. Esau was coming to meet, he sought to propitiate him by sending a large present of sheep and other cattle. David, King of Israel, followed the shepherd's calling until anointed King of Israel. Thus the shepherd's office has been greatly honoured, especially as it was to shepherds watching their flocks by night that the angel announced the birth of Jesus the Saviour. Our blessed Lord condescends to sustain the office of shepherd. He says, John x. 14, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. (27) My sheep hear my voice, and follow me.” How sweetly does he speak of his love, care, and tenderness towards them, and says, “I give unto them eternal life ; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” Then ought it not to be our first and chief concern to ascertain whether we are the sheep of Christ or not? Do we hear his voice and follow him, do we rest in his fold, or are we like sheep going astray? How did David rejoice in the assurance of having such a shepherd! Read the 23rd Psalm, and see how highly he estimates the privilege.
As Mesha, King of Moab, was a great sheep master, so is Christ the King of Zion. He has many under shepherds, but the sheep are all his own, and he knows them all by name. They are Christ's own in a threefold sense.
1. He has bought them with a price at immense cost-for the price he paid was nothing less than his own precious blood. “ The good Shepherd giveth his life for his sheep,” John x. 11. “Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ,” 1 Peter i. 18. “The congregation which thou hast purchased of old, the rod of thine inheritance which thou hast redeemed,” Psalm lxxiv. 2.
2. This flock is Christ's also, by his Father's gift. “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me," John xvii. 6. “Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him," John xvii. 2. “Holy Father, keep through thine own name 'those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are.” “Father, I will that those thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory." “ All that the Father giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out,” John vi. 37. “And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at
the last day,” John vi. 39. Thus they are given to Christ the good Shepherd, as his own“ peculiar people,” to feed and nourish, and to be brought to his eternal kingdom of glory.
3. This flock is Christ's by victory--spoils taken from the great enemy of God and man. He hath recovered them out of the hands of the prince of darkness. “ Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son,” Coloss. i. 13. “ You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience,” Ephes. ii. 1. “ Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come,"1 Thess. i. 10. "The prey of the terrible shall be delivered," Isaiah lxix. 24. “I will deliver my flock from their mouth, Ezekiel xxxiv. 10—13. “I will both search my sheep and seek them out.” “I will deliver them from all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.” “I will save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey,” v. 22. “ Neither shall the beast of the land devour them, but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid,” v. 28.
Is it not a matter of infinite moment to ascertain whether we are the sheep of Christ? O my soul, whose art thou? Can I say with David, “The Lord is my Shepherd;" with Thomas, “ My Lord and my God"? Have I gone to Christ as a poor helpless sinner to be saved by him? All that the Father giveth him shall come unto him. Have I thus approached him with humble faith and godly sorrow? Have I Christ's mark upon me! Do I follow his steps, obey his voice? He says, “My sheep hear my voice, and follow me.” If I can say, Christ is my Shepherd, then all the needful things are mine. “I shall not want ;" he will reserve and feed my soul, and at last take me to his eternal glory; but if I have not gone to him, oh! my soul, what a sad prospect is thine, tarry no longer. I.-THE SHEPHERD PROVIDES GOOD PASTURE FOR HIS FLOCK.
“ Good leas for his sheep is the shepherd's great care,
Christ for his sheep doth budding grass prepare.” “ He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.
He leadeth me beside the still waters."-PSALM xxiii. 2. “I will feed them in good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountain of Israel. I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God.”—EZEKIEL xxxiv. 14, 15. “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd.”—ISAIAH xl. 11. “ They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.”—Isaiah xlix. 9.
The farmer is very careful that his sheep should have food proper for them good feed, on which they may thrive. The eastern shepherds, in lands where the sun shines with much more power than in this temperate clime, are very careful to lead their flocks into green pastures. That is, in the valleys sheltered from the burning rays of an almost vertical sun, all the exposed herbage is scorched and brown, until the copious dews of the night refresh and invigorate it. In the morning the flock can repair thither, but soon as the orb of day reaches near to its meridian height, then the shepherds lead their flocks to some green pasture, a sheltered spot where they can lie down at noon. Sometimes the shadow of a great rock, at others of a grove of trees, affords the needful shade, until the declining sun abates its scorching heat, and then till twilight they can wander over the plains again.
In this country the sun is not to be feared so much as the rain and cold. You who possess large flocks are careful that your sheep should have good pasturage. And so is the good Shepherd of your souls. In the green pastures of his precious word there is ample supply for all his flock. Christ hath many pastures, but the Scriptures are the great sheep-walk in which he leads them all the year