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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
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. lxiii. 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. xlü. .
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
wrath of God ready to fall on his guilty head, flieth to the man Christ Jesus, who is “ as a
hiding place from the wind, and a covert “ from the tempest,” Isa. xxxii. 2. the only refuge.
Ungrateful man, through an unfeeling heart and wanton cruelty, may give up the innocent bird to the will of its enemy; but will the compassionate Jesus ever give up to vengeance the soul who hath fled to him for refuge ? No: for he hath said, “ Him that " cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out,” John vi. 37.; and, “whosoever believeth on “ him shall not be ashamed,” Rom. ix. 33.; and, “ Can a woman forget her sucking child, “ that she should not have compassion on « the son of her womb; yea, they may for-,
get, yet will I not forget thee,” Isa. xlix. 15.
Christ, in effect, saith to such a soul, what David once said to Abiathar, when he fled to him from the sword of his
« With “ me thou shalt be in safe-guard,” i Sam.
. xxii. 23.
UPON the side of yonder green hill stands a sheep-fold: The bleatings of its fleecy inhabitants are highly grateful to my ear; and no less so do they appear to be to their watchful shepherd, whom, early as it is, I behold, with cheerful alacrity, mounting the hill, directly to the fold. He calls to them in a familiar tone; and they seem to know his voice, for their bleatings grow more clamorous.
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 sheepfold, 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 weapon 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 "! 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