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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 uttermostf. 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 manş' 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 sakell. The church is his fold; and ordinances are his pastures; and

* Psal. xcviii. 1. + Ver. 10. See the foregoing sermons, especially the second, John xix. 5. || Psal. xxüi. 1-3. VOL. II.

Nn

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 un. der 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 sicki.

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

1. 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 wearys, 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. l. 4.

beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness* !

I. I am to mention the case of some christians, who may properly be considered, as represented by the lambs of the flock, or by sheep that are with young.

Now in the general, you know, these expressions may signify all who are young and tender. You know,

a young

lamb is a very feeble creature, and when deserted by its dam, if not assisted by the shepherd, is in great danger of perishing, and of breathing out its innocent life, almost as soon as it has received it : And as Jacob observest, the Sheep that are with young, or that have lately yeaned, are not capable of such fatigues as the other cattle; but if over-driven so much as one day, their tenderness is such, that they would die. And therefore when our Lord was spoken of under the character of a shepherd, it was very just, as well as very elegant, to use such figures as these, to represent all those of his people who stood in need of peculiar compassion and care. Now you may easily apprehend, those are to be considered as included here, who are of a tender age, or but of little standing in religion, or whose spirits are naturally feeble, or whose circumstances are distressful and calamitous, on account of any peculiar affliction, ether of body, or of mind. 1. It is evident, that “they who are of a tender age,” may

with peculiar propriety be called the lambs of the flock.

They resemble lambs, in respect of their youth; and in some degree likewise, on account of that innocence and sinplicity, for which our Lord singled them out, to recommend them to the imitation of all his followers, and even of his apostles, assuring them that they must Become like little children, if they would hope to enter into the kingdom of heavent. You, children, will therefore endeavour to mind what I say this day; for I am to speak to you ; to speak to you about the kindness and care of Christ towards

I assure you, I speak of it with pleasure: And surely you should hear it with pleasure ; and your little hearts should even leap for joy, to think that a minister should be sent to address himself to you, as the lambs of Christ's flock. Oh that every one of you may indeed be so! You will hear, what a kind

you.

Isa. Ixi. 3.

Mat. xviii. 3.

+ Gen xxxiii. 13.

many

Shepherd you have, and how graciously he will lay you in his bosom! 2. “ They who are but of late standing in religion, may also

be called the lambs of Christ's flock."

Though perhaps they are more advanced in age, than others, they are but young in grace, and in christian esperience; they are in the lowest form in Christ's school, and perhaps have much of the infirmity and weakness of children. They have also some peculiar difficulties to struggle with from within, and often from without, which may render them more sensible of those infirmities. Such are therefore called Babes in Christ* ; while christians of greater growth and experience, are called Strong ment. 3. The language of the text may also with peculiar propriety

be applied to “ those, whose spirits are naturally very feeble and timorous."

The constitutions of different persons are most apparently various; and the infirmities, which attend some, render them the objects of peculiar compassion. To them perhaps The grasshopper is a burdent; and what by others would hardly be felt at all, quite overloads and depresses them. While some of their fellow christians are as bold as the lion, these like the fearful lamb, start and tremble almost at the shaking of a leaf. This excessive tenderness of the mind, which shew's itself often on very small occasions, is much more visible where their eternal interests seem to be concerned. The importance of those interests appears so great, that they are even terrified with the view. A sadness of soul, which often seizes them, disposes them to apprehend and suspect the worst concerning themselves. And hence it may so happen, that an incapacity to attend long to the exercises of devotion, arising from a natural weakness of nerves and spirits, shall appear to them as a black mark of a soul spiritually dead, and be thought a sufficient ground for applying to themselves all those awful things, which the hypocrites in Zion have so much reason to be afraid of. Or when they view the difficulties of the christian life, they are ready to sink under the prospect, and to conclude, that they shall lose that little good they have attained, and shall surely and speedily fall by the hands of such formidable enemies. It is very probable, that The hearts of many who hear me, know in

# 1 Cor. ii. 1.

| Rom. xv. l,

Eccles. xii. 5.

this respect their own bitterness and burden*: But let them remember, it is known also by the compassionate Shepherd of Israel ; and shall be graciously remembered, and considered by him.

4. The gracious promise in the text may be considered, as re

ferring to “ those, whose circumstances are peculiarly distressful, on account of afflictions, whether of body, or of mind."

Who is there among you this day, that feareth the Lord, and obeyeth the voice of his servant ; and yet walketh in darkness, and hath no light ? He is now called to trust in the name of the Lord, and to stay himself upon his Godt. What christians are there, whose Days are spent in grief, and perhaps their years in sighingt; so that when their disappointments or maladies, their temptations or desertions press hard upon them, they are scarce able to rise under the burden, and to believe that they shall be any longer supported? But on the contrary are ready to cry out, Hath the Lord forgotten to be gracious ? hath he in anger shut up his tender merciesg? To them does this compassionate Saviour appear, to Lift up the hands that hang down, and to strengthen the feeble kneesi, to sweeten their sorrows, and silence their tears, to confirm their hopes, and awaken their joys. Let the young and the unexperienced, the timorous, and the afflicted, whose desires are towards him, and their hearts waiting upon him, let them all hear it with pleasure: If they can be safe in the arms of Christ, if they can be easy in his bosom, if they can be cheerful under his gentlest conduct, they may dismiss their anxieties, for to them, and to such as they are, does he particularly speak in these gracious words of the text, assuring them, that he will gather them as the lambs in his arms, that he will carry them in his bosom, and that he will gently lead them, as ewes which are great with young. Which brings me,

II. To consider what may be intimated concerning the Redeemer's tenderness to them, as expressed by these pastoral phrases.

All the expressions do evidently speak a most affectionate care ; and they do more particularly intimate,—that he will be ready to receive,-protect,--and comfort them,—and that he

Psal. xxxi. 10.

• Prov. xiv. 10.
$Psal. Ixxvi. 9.

+ Isa. 1. 10.
l! lleb. xii. 12.

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