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picturesque of a saint, and teacheth me this excellent lesson, that the higher I arise in holiness and in likeness to God, the more humble I ought to be, calling myself, with the apostle of the Gentiles, “ less than the least “ of all saints,” Eph. iii. 8. Knowing that it is only grace that maketh me, or any, to differ from another, i Cor. iv. 7.
The lark has a long heel, which is one reason that it does not sit on the spray. So a believer, while he is here, hath a long heel, which keepeth him humble, even the iniquity of his heels, which compasseth him about, Ps. xlix. 5. The songsters of the grove will not sit on the ground, but perch on some elevated station, like the men of the world, who scorn the humble disposition of the saints, . and sit high in their own estimation.
The lark will not assemble with any but those of its own tribe, except in case of winter's extremity; and even not then, unless for the purpose of gathering a little food.--So a saint only findeth pleasure in the company of saints : these are they whom he maketh his companions, and in them he placeth all his delight, Ps. xvi. 2. And though he be of
ten necessitated, from the affairs of human life, to associate with the men of the world, yet these may be said to have his actions only, but the saints his affections. To the former he will only impart the common occurrences of life; but to the latter, the things concerning his soul : with the one he associates through necessity, but with the other through real choice.
The lark, too, like a disconsolate mourner, for the loss of the pleasant seasons, gives up with its song in winter, and assumes a chirping note ; yet even then, it is remarkable for being as fat, if not fatter, than when it rejoiced in the cheerful morn of Spring. So a saint, when under spiritual clouds in the winter of desertion, hangeth by, as it were, his harp on the willows, Ps. cxxxvii. 2. and falleth a mourning instead of singing the sweet songs of Zion : yet even then, he may be growing inwardly, though outwardly he cannot perceive it; and may be as fat, and full of sap, as when he saw that his mountain stood strong, Ps. xxx. 7. For it is one thing to grow in sense and manifestations, and another thing to grow in faith and patience; and when his sun cometh from un
der the cloud, shall have reason to sing with the Psalmist, “ It was good for me that I was “ afflicted ;” and to say, “ Lord, thou hast “ done all things well,” Ps. cxix. 71. Mark vii. 37.
The lark, too, as has been already observed, is not only the earliest songster, but is often heard by the nocturnal traveller, at small intervals through the summer night, making low harmonious notes. Just so, a saint doth not only praise his Maker early ; but often, with the sweet singer of Israel, preventeth the dawning of the morning, Ps. cxix. 147. Yea, even at midnight riseth to give thanks unto him, Ps. cxix. 62. and meditateth on him in the watches of the night, Ps. Ixiji. 6, Like David, he not only experienceth the loving kindness of the Lord by day, but his songs are also with him by night, Ps. xlii. S.
The lark, too, has often been known, when flying from the rapacious hawk, to take shelter in the bosom of man. Just so a sinner, when the eyes of his understanding are enlightened by the Holy Spirit to see his wretched and undone state by nature; the condemning sentence of the law, and the Now he opens the fold-door, and they rush out all over the dewy pasture ---There let me a while leave him with his fleecy charge, and take a view of the Church, which is, in Scripture, compared to a sheep
fold, John X. 10.; and of her Head, who · hath taken to himself the amiable name and : character of a Shepherd, Psalm xxiii. 1.
John x. 14.
The Church, as it were, is set upon a hill, exposed to the view of all her enemies ; but “ the Lord, her shepherd, is a wall of fire “ round about her, and the glory in the “ midst thereof,” Zech. ii. 5. so that no wea- , pon that is formed against her, in the main, ever hath been, or shall be, able to prosper, Isa. liv. 17.
The shepherd of that fold, I was just now noticing, is a watchful shepherd; but in this respect our Lord excelleth all other shepherds, for he not only attendeth to the wants of his people early, but he keepeth 'them, night and day, lest any hurt them : nay, watcheth over them every moment, Isaiah xxvii. 8. “ He that keepeth Israel slumber“eth not nor sleepeth,” Psalm cxxi. 4. their
groans, cries, and prayers, are sweet bleatings in his ears, and to them he attendeth early in every time of need; for he knoweth their voice, and they know his, John X. 4. 14. whether he speaketh to them in his promises or threatenings.
They that have the Lord for their shepherd, may well, with the sweet Psalmist of Israel, in rapturous strains of melody sing, “ I shall not want, for he maketh me to lie “ down in green pastures, and leadeth me “ by the still waters : my fainting soul he “ restoreth again, and leadeth me in the “ paths of righteousness for his name's sake; “ and by his rod and staff comforteth me; “ so that though I walk through the dark “ valley of death, I will fear no evil: my “ head he anointeth with oil, and my cup “ runneth over. Surely goodness and mer“cy shall follow me all the days of my life, " and I will dwell in the house of the Lord “ for ever," Psalm xxiii. 1.---5.
Is there some difficult marsh or cliff through which the sheep must pass ? then will the shepherd carry over the lambs, and take care that the ewes that are great with