Imatges de pÓgina



ST. JOHN X. 11.

I am the Good Shepherd."

Of all the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, there are none more deeply engraven in the mind of the Church, none more dear to her than these. This is one of those divine sayings in which there is so much of truth and love, that we seem able to do little more than to record it and ponder on it, to express it by symbols, and to draw from it a multitude of peaceful and heavenly thoughts. It is full of figures and analogies of loving-kindness. It is almost sacramental in its depth and power. To expound or comment upon it, or further to illustrate its meaning, seems impossible. The Truth has said of Himself, "I am the Good Shepherd." All love, care, providence, devotion, watchfulness, that is in earth or in hea

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ven, in the ministry of men or of angels, is but a reflection and participation of that which is in Him. Surely nothing but the vision of His Presence in glory can exceed this revelation of Himself.

These words have taken so deep a hold of the hearts of His people, that, from the beginning, they passed into a common title for their exalted Head. It was the symbol under which, in times of persecution, His Presence was shadowed forth. It was sculptured on the walls of sepulchres and catacombs; it was painted in upper chambers and in oratories; it was traced upon their sacred books; it was graven on the vessels of the altar. The image of the Good Shepherd has expressed, as in a parable, all their deepest affections, fondest musings, most docile obedience, most devoted trust. It is a Title in which all other titles meet, in the light of which they blend and lose themselves. Priest, Prophet, King, Saviour, and Guide, are all summed up in this one more than royal, paternal, saving name. It recalls in one word all the mercies and lovnig-kindness of God to His people of old, when "the Shepherd of Israel" made His own people "to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock." It recites, as it were, all the prophecies and types of the Divine

1 Ps. lxxviii. 52.

care which were then yet to be revealed to His elect it revives the visions of Isaiah and Ezekiel; "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." "As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out My sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the dark and cloudy day. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel, by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick." "And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even My servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the Lord 1 Isaiah xl. 11.

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