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selves within his fold. Thus they have joined themselves to his flock, sought shelter under his care, and know in whom they are trusting. When, therefore, Jesus has left this truth written, I am known of mine, he means that he is known by those who believe in him, not in a visionary or enthusiastic manner, not by dreams or fancies; but in that sober intelligent way in which a parent is known by his children, or a master by his servant, or a commander by his soldiers. They know him as the child knows that he looks to his parent for support; as a servant knows that he looks to his master for direction ; as the soldier looks up to his commander, for encouragement and example. In this
way the Christian depends on Christ, in his passage through the world : takes him as his pattern, obeys him as his lord, reverences him as the author of his spiritual being, and loves him as the giver of eternal life.
Let all ask themselves, whether the Lord Jesus is thus known to them? If they belong to the true flock, they must have this acquaintance with their Shepherd.
And great indeed is the comfort springing from these words. The world in which we live has been reduced by sin to a state, which makes it no longer a pasture in which God's people may enjoy themselves, but a wilderness in which they are too likely to go astray. But in this wilderness there is still a fold, and those within it shall dwell safely ; and in this fold a flock is gathered together ;-- of all ages, some young, and some old; and of all ranks, some high, and many low : and over this flock a shepherd watches, and knows every one, whether
young or old, rich or poor,-knows every one that is his own. And he too, in his turn, is known by them; they are conscious, that they are not alone; their shepherd careth for them; and under his guidance they “ shall never perish ;" for he came that they might have life, and have it more abundantly.”
JESUS DESCRIBES HIS FLOCK, AS HEARING HIS
VOICE AND FOLLOWING HIM.
John X. 19-30.
19. There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings.
20. And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad: why hear ye him?
21. Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind ?
Thus is “ wisdom justified of her children.” The words which were spoken as never man spake ;” the deeds which no man could do “ except God were with him,”—were sufficient proofs in what authority Jesus came. Those received them as such, whose hearts were prepared for the Lord." Those were convinced by them, whose hearts were not hardened through sin, or occupied with the interests of this present world : for they said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?
22. And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.
23. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch.
24. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. 25. Jesus answered them, I told you,
and not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.
26. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
27. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
28. And I give unto them eternal life ; and they shall necer perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
30. I and my Father are one."
Here again, Jesus compares those who believe in him to a flock, “ the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.” He speaks of them
1 One essence. The original is in the neuter gender.
as being given him of his father, to be redeemed by his blood, sanctified by his grace, and reserved for an eternal inheritance : defended by his own power, and his Father's power, from the temptations of the world and the malice of Satan. I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man (any one) pluck them out of my hand.
. Thus close is the connexion between the Redeemer and the redeemed. But the same scripture which declares their privileges, describes also their character by marks which cannot be mistaken. My sheep hear my voice ; and I know them, and they follow me.
The first sign, then, by which the Lord knows his flock, is that they hear his voice. They hear his voice, saying unto them, “ Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
" Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for that which endureth unto everlasting life.”
- Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” This is the first voice they hear, calling them to renounce a perishing world, and to shun the deceitfulness of sin, and to seek an eternal inheritance. But it is not once only that they hear his summons. Sheep that are well attended, are constantly obedient to their shepherd's voice; and the sheep of Christ are always anxious to hear and receive his word. There they find comfort and instruction : they read it, they pray over it, they meditate upon it, they prize it above all things : saying, “ Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.”
“Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law :” may be guarded by its warnings, led by its directions, and supported by its promises. Whatever conveys to them the mind and will of their good Shepherd, they humbly and willingly receive.
Thus they hear the Redeemer's voice : and I should add, they hear no other. The flock of Christ“ will not follow a stranger, but flee from him, for they know not the voice of strangers.” One may come, and beckon them out of the safe pasture, out of the straight-forward road of the Bible. Some may allure them with the pleasures of sin, others may promise them the treasures of this world : or some may pretend that there are other
ways of reaching heaven, besides that which Christ has taught ; that there is no need of becoming “ a peculiar people," purified by the Holy Spirit, and “redeemed from all iniquity.” Some there have been, and always will be, to say such things; but this is the voice of strangers : the true flock will not listen to it, but will answer at once, This is not the voice which I have been accustomed to hear: I know it not, neither will I follow it, for it will lead me to destruction.
Observe now the second mark by which, as we are here told, the Shepherd distinguishes his sheep. -They follow him. The Scripture sets before them the path which their Saviour trod : and their endeavour is, to follow his steps. In this country indeed,
, the sheep do not commonly follow after the shep