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that my Redeemer liveth*; and because he liveth, I shall live also +." These are sentiments and views, worthy our character, as christians, worthy of those who are the saved of the Lord. Let us Take for our helmet this hope of salvation, and it will guard our head in every danger of life and death; till at length we exchange that helmet for the celestial Crown, which the Lord shall give us in that day§, when in the completest sense he shall save all his people to the uttermost, and they shall all appear with him in the brightest glories of this great and perfect salvation.

*Job xix. 25. t John xiv. 19.

Eph. vi. 17. § 2 Tim. iv. 8.



The Tenderness of Christ to the Lambs of his Flock.

Isa. xl. 11.--He shall feed his Flock like a Shepherd; he shall gather the Lambs with his Arms, and carry them in his Bosom, and shull gently lead those that are with Young.

It is well known, that there are three most illustrious offices,


under which our Redeemer is often spoken of in scripture; those of the Prophet, the Priest, and the King of his Church. And there are several other characters, either coincident with those, or subservient to them, which are frequently mentioned and are worthy of our regard; amongst which that of a Shepherd is peculiarly remarkable, as often occurring in the word of God, and affording abundant matter, both for the instruction, and the consolation of his people.

I shall not now enumerate all the passages, in which our Lord is described under this character, both in the Old Testament, and the New. It may be sufficient here to remind you, that he was plainly foretold by Ezekiel, as that one Shepherd, whom God would set over his people to feed them, even his servant David, i. e. the Messiah, David's Son; he, says the prophet, Shall feed them, and he shall be their Shepherd*. And Christ accordingly speaks of himself, as The good Shepherd+; and is spoken of by one and another of the apostles, as The great Shepherd of the Sheep, and The chief Shepherd§. So that on the whole, if the words of the text had a more immediate reference to the Father, they might with great propriety be applied to Christ, by whom the Father exercises his pastoral care of his people.

The chapter is opened with very reviving words; Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God: And to assure them that these consolations addressed to them were indeed glad tidings of great joy, and worthy to be introduced in a very pompous manner, mention is made of a very remarkable herald sent before, whose Voice was to cry in the wilderness, prepare

* Ezek. xxxiv, 23. + John x 11.

Heb. xiii. 20. § 1 Pet. v. 4.

ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desart a highway for our God*; i. e. let every obstruction immediately be removed: A scripture so expressly applied to John the baptist, as the forerunner of Christ, that it may be sufficient to fix the sense of the context, with those who have any regard to the authority of the New Testament, in explaining the Old.

To confirm the faith of Israel in this important message, a solemn proclamation is made, ver. 6. The voice (that is, the voice of God, speaking to me in this vision,) said unto me, Cry; that is, raise thy voice as loud as possible: And I said, what shall I cry? The following words are evidently the answer, which God returns to this question of the prophet; q. d. "Proclaim this awful and seasonable truth, All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field, which is yet more frail and short-lived than the grass itself: The grass withereth, and the power fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand for ever. q. d. Were it only the promise of a man, you might indeed doubt of its accomplishment; were it only the word of the mightiest princes on earth, it might give you but a trembling and precarious hope: Man is a dying creature, and all the most cheerful hopes, which are built on him, may quickly perish; But the word of our God, even that word, as it is explained by the apostle Peter, which by the gospel is preached unto you, shall stand for ever, as the firm basis of your hope and confidence, and shall be certainly accomplished in the final redemption and salvation of his people."

The heavenly voice still continues to speak to the prophet, who was honoured with this happy message, and charges him to deliver it with the greatest cheerfulness and zeal. "O thou that bringest good tidings to Zion," (for so I think the words should be rendered as they are by some, and particularly in the margin of your bibles,) get thee up into the high mountain, some place of eminence, from whence thou mayest be universally heard: Oh thou that bringest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up; and be not afraid, lest the event should not answer the promise, but Say unto the cities of Judah, behold your Gods. For The Lord God will come with a strong hand; i. e. the kingdom of the Messiah shall be erected with a glorious display of the divine power; and his arm shall rule for him, as in former instances of most formidable opposition, His own right-hand, and his holy arm

* Ver. 3. John i. 23,

+ Compare ver. 3. with Mat. iii. 3. Mark i. 3. Luke iii. 4.
+ 1 Pet. i. 25.
§ Ver. 9.

have gotten him the victory*: His kingdom shall be administered with the exactest equity and wisdom; for His reward is with him, to render to every man according to his doings; and his work is before himt; i. e. he has the completest view of it, and keeps his eye always fixed upon it."

Yet, as it is added in the words of the text, the authority of a prince, and the dignity of a God, shall be attempered by the gentleness of a most compassionate Shepherd: He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

You have already heard of that strong hand with which Jesus our Lord is come, and of that victorious energy, with which his arm shall rule for him. His name has been proclaimed amongst you, as The Lord of hosts, the Lord strong and mighty, able to save unto the uttermost‡. Let us now consider him in this amiable character, in which our text describes him ; for this renders those views of his almighty power delightful, which our guilt would otherwise render dreadful to us.

Christians, I would hope it is your desire, whenever you attend on the institutions of the gospel, to see Jesus. I may now say to you, in the words of Pilate, on a very different occasion, Behold the man§' He appears not indeed in his royal robes, or in his priestly vestments; but he wears the habit of condescension and love; and is not the less amiable, though he may not seem equally majestic, while he bears the pastoral rod instead of the royal sceptre, and feeds his flock like a shepherd, gathering up the feeble lambs in his arms, and bearing them in his bosom, and gently leading those that are with young.

You will naturally observe, that the text declares Christ's general care of all his people,and bespeaks his peculiar gracious regard to those, whose circumstances require a peculiar tenderness.

1. We may observe "his general care of all his people."

He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: They may each of them therefore say with David, 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; He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. The church is his fold; and ordinances are his pastures; and

* Psal. xcviii. 1. § John xix. 5. VOL. II.

Ver. 10. See the foregoing sermons, especially the second.
Psal. xxiii. 1-3.

N n

his sheep shall be nourished by them, till they grow up to that blessed world, where, in a much nobler sense than here, all The children of God that were scattered abroad shall be gathered together in one*, and shall appear as one sheepfold under the great Shepherd and Bishop of soulst. We have abundant reason to admire his condescension and love, in the view of these things, and to congratulate the happiness of his people, as under such pastoral care. But I will not enlarge on this general view, or on these reflections upon it, that I may leave myself room to insist on what I chiefly proposed in the choice of these words; that is,

2. "Christ's peculiar concern for those, whose circumstances require a peculiar tenderness."

This is expressed in those words; He shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young, i. e. he will consider their weakness and infirmity, and conduct them as they are able to bear it: Which is also implied in that nearly parallel text, in which we are told, He shall seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and bind up that which was broken, and strengthen that which was sick.

This is the general import of the words; but for the fuller explication and improvement of them, give me leave,

I. To enumerate the cases and circumstances of some christians, who may properly be considered, as the lambs of the flock, or as those that are with young.

II. To consider what may be intimated concerning the Redeemer's tenderness to them, as it is expressed by his gathering them in his arms, and carrying them in his bosom, and gently leading them.

III. I will endeavour to shew, what abundant reason there is to depend upon it, that the great Shepherd will deal in a very tender manner with such. And then,

IV. I will direct to the proper improvement of the whole.

May he who hath said, Comfort ye my people, enable me to do it in the most effectual manner! May he Give me the tongue of the learned, to speak a word in season to them that are weary§, and To appoint to the weeping and trembling soul

* John xi. 52. † Compare John x. 16. with 1 Pet. ii. 25. Ezek. xxxiv. 15, 16, § Isa. 1. 4.

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