Page images
PDF
EPUB

garment that the thunderings and lightenings of mount Sinai cannot pierce through. Adam the first made all his posterity naked; but the second man from heaven hath completely restored the covering.

The shepherd not only clothes himself with the fleece, but also in due time slays the animal itself, and feeds

upon

its carcase. But, to the wonder of angels, and the astonishment of men, our Shepherd laid down his life for his sheep, and that most willingly of himself, for no man took it from him ; that all his true flock might feed for “his flesh is meat indeed, and his blood “ is drink indeed,” John vi. 55.

upon him,

The life of a shepherd is highly delightful during the spring and summer months; he rejoices in his labour through the cheerful day, and in the night, like Jacob; dreams concerning his flock. If those seasons were always to last, such a life might almost be deemed free from that curse of toil which was inflicted on man for his disobedience : but this will not be the case; these must end, and the dreary winter approach with her stern short day, and long bleak night, turning the earth as it were into iron, and covering these green pastures and every neighbouring hill deep over with snow. Then will the shepherd's life be changed from a life of pleasure to a life of toil. In the morning from his cot, shivering he will ascend the hill, scarcely knowing where to find his sheep; and when he has found them, where to feed them: Nay, on the stormiest side of the hill must his station often be, there to keep his flock from falling down to the hollows, and being drifted over with snow, and so perish.

So Christ, the great Shepherd of his sheep, did not only lead and feed his flock, in that joyful season, when he rode in triumph into Jerusalem, while many spread their garments in the way, and others cut down branches from the trees, and strewed them in the

way, and Hosannas in the highest were sung, Mark xi. 3, 9. but also in that awful winter, when the malice of men and devils were let loose against him, and like a furious storm raged full in his face. A storm yet still more dreadful and tremendous than this he bare for his flock, even the infinite wrath of Almighty God, which would have swept them all down to hell, and there overwhelm

ed them through all eternity, if he had not borne it for them : But this he did ; and the tempest was so infinitely fierce, that it laid him flat on the ground, filled his soul with agony, and made him to sweat, as it were, great drops of blood falling down to the ground, Luke xxii. 44. Nay, so terrible was the blast, that on the cross it made him to cry out, “My God! my God! why hast thou “ forsaken me?" Matt. xxvii. 46. but at length he cried out, “ It is finished !" (the horrible tempest which his flock otherwise should have borne was all spent upon him) he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost ! John xix. 30.

“ Bless the Lord, then, O my soul, and for“ get not all his benefits,” Psal. ciïi. 2. Let all his flock on earth join with those in heaven, saying, “ Unto him that loved us, and wash

ed us from our sins in his own blood, and “ hath made us kings and priests unto God “ and his Father; to him be glory, and do66 minion for ever and ever.

Amen." Rev. i. 5, 6.

1

CONTEMPLATION IV.

ON THE SUN.

YONDER comes the glorious king of day, in stately steps of majesty, from his chambers in the east, like a bridegroom, as the Psalmist beautifully describes him, or “ as a strong

man rejoicing to run his race," Psal. xix. 5. Dame Nature, glad at his approach, welcomes his return with a cheerful countenance, and spreads wide her blooming arms to receive his salutary embraces, and dries up the dewy tears from her lovely cheek, which she had shed in his absence during the night, and now smiles pleasantly around. From the time he returns to her with his lengthened day at the vernal equinox, his fructifying beams make her prolific, till he again in Autumn retires beyond the line, to perform his winter's journeys: then she becomes barren, unless through her laxedness a few untimely births appear in our fields and gardens : I except the snow-drop

E

and crocus, these stated harbingers of spring.

And is all creation, both animate and inanimate, glad at the rising of the sun ? What infinitely more reason hath the new creation, even all true believers, to rejoice, when to them the Sun of righteousness ariseth with healing under his wings?

When that sun arose, I beheld the mists of the morning dispelled from the hills, and all the sky become clear. In like manner, when the Sun of righteousness sheddeth forth his benign beams in the heart of sinners, the mists which Satan raised there quickly evanish, and all the soul becometh clear and serene. The joy which the believer experienceth in such a season, who hath been long under the hidings of God's countenance, is only known to himself, and cannot fully be described.

tells us,

When the sun arises, the royal Psalmist

The beasts of prey gather them“ selves together, and lay them down in “ their dens: and man goeth forth unto his or work and to his labour until the even

« PreviousContinue »