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into operation, but it is hoped that it will be productive of much benefit to the Connexion. For further information in reference to the topics to which we have referred, and on other important matters, we must refer to the printed Minutes, just published. A delightful spirit of peace, and unity and love pervaded the sittings of the Assembly, which terminated on Saturday the 6th of August. We as usual subjoin a list of the
STATIONS OF THE PREACHERS. CIRCUITS: PREACHERS.
1 Appleby,– William Cave.
29 Lynn, William Jones. 2 Barnsley, William Dawson. 30 Manchester, 3 Bath, - Edmund W. Buckley.
Lever-street, --Ilenry Breeden, 4 Birmingham,-Enoch Darke.
George Smith, Aaron Weston. 5 Blackburn, -Robert Harley. 31 Grosvenor-street,-James Moli6 Bradford, James Slack.
neux, Samuel Lambrick. 7 Brompton near Chathain,-George 32 Tonman-street,- Thomas Ellery. :: Chesson.
33 Salford, Joseph Townend, Al8 Burnley,-Edwin Watmough.
fred Woodrow. 9 Bury and Bolton,--Jameson, B. | 34 Macclesfield, Joseph Blythman,
Sheppard, Robert Rutherford.* 35 Nantwich,—Thomas A. Bailey. 10 Camelford and Wadebridye,–G. 36 New Mills,–Neriah Pearson. | Robinson, Benjamin Glazebrook, 37 Northwich,-David Rutherford,
James Sayer, William Drummond, James Carveth. # Edwin Bailey.
38 Nottingham,—William R. Brown. 11 Carlisle,-Richard Chester.
39 Overton,—John Cartwright. 12 Cheltenham - One wanted. 40 Penzance, James Ward, 13 Clithero,John W. Gilchrist. 41 Plymouth, 14 Cross Hills and Colne,
42 Preston, Charles Edwards. 15 Darlington,-Thomas Townend, 43 Redditch, William Mackenny.
President, Thomas Hacking. 44 Rochdale, William Ince, Henry 16 Edinburgh, Joseph S. Nightin Tarrant, William Reed. 1001 gale.
45 Scarborough, Michael Beswick. 17 Foles-hill,
46 Sheffield, Joseph Handley. 18 Gosport,-Samuel Sellers.
47 Staleybridge, One wanted. 19 Helston and Redruth, James Ed 48 Stockton, James Sutcliffe. sie gar, Edward Wright, William 49 Stockport, One wanted.
50 Sunderland,John Peters, Aquila 20 Hull,—Thomas W. Pearson.
Keene, Humphrey Mules. 21 Ipswich, -Nathaniel Parkyn. 51 Tavistock and Devonport,--Wil22 Keighley, William Robertshaw. liam Trewin. 23 Leeds, — Henry Williams, Joseph 52 Todmorden, —John Wright, John ori Saul, John Gutteridge.
Gibbons. 24 Leicester, Anthony Gilbert. 53 Whitby, John Dunning: 25 Liskeard, William Patterson, 54 Whitehaven, Joseph Thompson, John Harley.
William Middleton. 26 Liverpool,- Joseph Worrall, Jo-1 55 Winchester, Richard Abercrombie seph Woolstenholme.
56 Worcester, -Thomas Rix. 27 London, Robert Eckett, Editor; | 57 Worle, William Henry.
Emanuel Pearson, Book Steward. 58 Worksup,- William Griffiths. 28 Louth,- One wunted.
59 York,-Francis Brown. * The Assembly having specially referred to the Connexional Committee the offer of services from Robert Rutherford, the Committee appointed him to this Circuit.
1 2 Grateful Hill,--Samuel Rodgers, WALES.
John Fox, W. F. Christian,
George Sanguinette; Robert GloLiverpool and Wrexham,— Rich
ver, Supernumerary. ard Richard.
3 St. Ann's,— Thomas J. Hayes, Boddebern and Tyddyn-Jolin
John H. Rodgers.
4 Prince Edward's Island, Cove Carrickfergus,— One wanted.
5 St. John's, New Brunswick,–J. GERMANY.
SCOTTISH UNITED METHODJAMAICA WESLEYAN METHO.
thew Baxter, Charles Lee, John 3 Kilmarnock, David Drummond, M. Kennedy, Abraham Hyams. Missionary.
CHRIST OUR SHEPHERD.
“ I am the good Shepherd.” John x. 11. SCARCELY any one can be ignorant, that the office of a shepherd consists in feeding, attending, directing, and defending a flock of sheep; and that it is his duty to account for every one of them committed to his care.
The Holy Spirit hath chosen this emblem, and Christ hath applied it to himself, to express the vigilance, love, and protection, which the great Redeemer hath ever entertained for his people, and which he will manifest continually, till he hath brought them to his glory. In this view, nothing could more aptly express the conduct of his grace, or their absolute need of it, than the image of a shepherd and his sheep.
The Messiah was very early known, under this title, in the church of God. Jacob, when his family stood round his dying bed, and attentively sought the parting blessing from the lips of an expiring father, pointed his offspring to the Author of all his mercies, as “the Shepherd of Israel," who had promised to continue those mercies to them. The Psalmist celebrates him under the same beneficient character, and delights himself in the consideration and assurance of being found as a favoured “ sheep of his pasture." The evangelical Isaiah comforts the afflicted in Zion with the prospect of the Messiah's appearance in this gracious office, and, in a heavenly rapture, calls upon Jerusalem and Judah, upon the whole “church of the first-born," to lift up hearts and voices, and to “ behold their God." The other prophets proclaim the same good news; and when the SHEPHERD himself appeared, he was known to his people under the same gracious name. He proved himself to be such in the days of his abode upon earth; and instances of his pastoral care and watchful regard have ever since and do now appear, though (as to his immediate presence) he be departed to heaven.
This and the infinite extent of his charge demonstrably prove, that this exalted Shepherd is divine. The most considerable of all God's creatures cannot be invested with his essential attributes and perfections. They are and must be, peculiar to the Deity alone. Of these, undoubtedly, omni. presence is one. But the Redeemer, the Shepherd of Israel, must fill all
time and all space with his presence; or the legions of fallen spirits, vigilant and sagacious as they are, while he guards a part of his flock in one region, might devour and destroy it in another. Yet Christ, as to his humanity can only reside in a circumscribed limit; and the very condition and qualities of that inferior nature necessarily imply a bounded occupancy. He must, therefore, in order to exercise this pastoral charge as it requires, be the divine Jehovah, as well as the incarnate Jesus; and it becomes necessary that “the fulness of the Godhead (as the apostle says) should dwell bodily (really and substantially) in him." Unless he were God, how could he attend, with unwearied application, and with unwearied love, to the innumerable wants, infirmities, wanderings, and diseases, of his flock, scattered every where, and every where demanding him ? How could he have such an intimate communion and intercourse with his people, separated by the utmost distance of earth, and, in the same moment, continue his fellowship and his blessing with those of his fold in every part of the earth and those in heaven? Either Christ, therefore, is an omnipresent Shepherd, ever attentive without omission and without failure; or he is not the Shepherd promised in the Scriptures, and requisite to fallen man. And if he be omnipresent (as the case demands), he must necessarily be God; because omnipresence (as was observed) is one of God's incommunicable perfections.
But, beyond the absolute occasion which the circumstances of God's people have of an omnipresent Pastor to superintend them, they have also the most urgent necessity for an omnipresent hand to supply all exigencies in their spiritual life. They have a thousand distresses, which require imme. diate relief ; a thousand mental diseases, which need a present remedy; a thousand errors, which demand an instant correction.- Who, then, beyond the immediate care of all these, could also heal ten thousand backslidings; who bear with a million of wayward petulances and froward disaffections; and who improve the whole of an infinite multitude of infirmities, in an innumerable multitude of sinful, silly, straying, sheep, to the particular advantage of each of them, but that omnipotent and omniscient JEHOVAH, who fills all things with his presence, and cannot be absent from any ? Yet this SHEPHERD of Israel is described to be so minutely regardful of the sheep of his pasture, and so attentively concerned in the necessities of every individual of them, as not only to “ feed his " whole “flock," but to 6 gather the lambs with his arm, to carry them in his bosom, and gently to lead those that are with young.” It follows, therefore, that this SAEPHERD of Israel, so immediate in presence and so almighty in power, is (as the prophet styles him) the ADONAI ALEHIM, the LORD God."
But the character of this Shepherd rises, if possible, higher in dignity, and reaches to an height which neither men or angels can fully comprehend, if he be considered in the astonishing wonders of his love. The infinitude of his presence and his power may create amazement; but the height and depth, the length and breadth, of his grace and his kindness, surpass all knowledge and comprehension, excite at once admiration and joy, and fill the wondering heavens with delight. To love rebellious man, who merited nothing but vengeance, was great; but to love him in the way he has shown, is a vastness of affection which nothing but an infinitude of mercy, none but God himself, could be equal to, or display. He submitted to the indigence of the meanest, to the distresses of the weakest, to the infamy of the vilest, to the very tortures of the damned, when he “laid down his life" for those who only have used him with ingratitude, and who never can use him otherwise, if left to the perverseness of their own will. If this love of Jesus be not above all created affection, what is ? Can men produce any thing like such an example, not only of disinterested regard, but of calumniated kindness, in the histories of the earth ? No history, no memory, can furnish an instance of resemblance. Can even angels present a copy of such abused tenderness from among the higher orders of being, from the thrones, the principalities, and the powers of heaven ? So far from it, they seem filled with astonishment at this exhibition of unparalleled goodness, and earnestly “ desire to look into it."
Thus, even reason, depraved as it is, cannot but conclude upon so plain a matter of fact, that Jesus Christ, the Apxitrolunu the chief Shepherd, is Jeuovah himself, “ whose mercy endureth for ever.”
But we have not only the evidence of reason, supported as it is by the testimony of patriarchs, prophets, and apostles ; nay, we have not only the assertion of Jesus himself when upon earth, to demonstrate the Divinity of " the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls,” but we have also the express declaration of Jehovah, given before the advent of the Redeemer, to confirm this essential truth, For thus saith JEHOVAH SABAOTH, the LORD OF Hosts, by the prophet Zechariah, “Awake, O sword, against my SHEPHERD [the Shepherd of my appointment and decree], and against the man that is my FELLOW [or compeer]: smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.” This very prediction and declaration could relate to none but Jesus, who was indeed "smitten of God, and afflicted” with the sword of his vengeance drawn forth against sin ; and, accordingly, he both applied it to himself, and confirmed the application by rising again, in full demonstration of his own divine power.
It would exceed the narrow limits prescribed to this essay, to enter into a large discussion of the suitableness of circumstances between this great Shepherd and the souls who are his sheep, or to dwell prolixly upon his ability to protect, feed, and govern them, and upon their dependence on him for every supply and blessing. This has been often and amply done already. The principal object here in view was, the argument for his divine nature arising from his divine commission, and from his capacity to execute it completely, momentarily, infinitely, and eternally, agreeably to the mind and will of the blessed Trinity, in the covenant of grace. If his Divinity be established, all is established concerning him. How far the evidence advanced may satisfy the Deist, the Arian, or the Socinian, it may not be easy to say ; but this may be said, that neither these, nor all the arguments in the world, can enforce a spiritual conviction and a believing assurance of this truth savingly upon the mind, unless the spirit, who only can truly lead into divine knowledge, open the heart with meekness, and fill the soul with his light. In this sense it is, that the apostle says, “ No man can say that Jesus is the Lord,” can acknowledge him to be Jehovah, and perceive an interest in him as such, “but by the Holy Ghost.” And therefore, while we read and while we write, it is God who must bless. Paul “ might plant,” and A pollos “water;" yet Paul would plant, and Apollos water in vain, unless God himself vouchsafed to “ give the increase.” The very Scripture itself, all dictated by grace, and full of wisdom and glory, is (as an ingenious writer hath observed) “ like the cloudy pillar it records, a light to the true Israelite, but darkness to the Egyptians."-A darkness, which none but the Author of light can remove.*
Though this truth of Christ's Divinity may seem of slight importance to an unawakened soul, it appears of the utmost consequence to every real believer in Jesus. He sees himself in the true character of a sheep; a silly, straying, helpless creature, travelling in a wilderness of briars and thorns ; baited by wolves and dogs, and surrounded by a thousand noxious animals ; ignorant of the way to find any pasture; careless, when in a good herbage, of remaining in or securing it; too indifferent, when out of the way, and quite unable to stroll back again into it; heedless of the past, and utterly improvident of the future; insensible of remote dangers, and frightened inordinately at those that are near. In such a view of his own state and circum
* This grace will be given to all who seek it.-ED.
stances, how great is his need of a kind, an attentive, an able Shepherd; of one who can commiserate his condition, and guide him in the right way; who can select what is proper for him, and reject what is hurtful; who can guard him against his enemies, and repel the fury of their assaults; who can heal the wounds made by thorns, or the sores occasioned by sins; who will support him when he cannot stand, and carry him when he cannot go; who will find him the best pasturage, and graciously preserve him in it; who in short) will not suffer bim to perish, nor allow any “ to pluck him out of his hand !" Seeing the necessity of such a Saviour, and believing God's promise of such a one, “he rejoices in hope," and is finally enabled to pass through “the valley of the shadow of death, fearing no evil.” He beholds so much omnipotence, omnipresence, and love, in his divine Shepherd, and such an occasion for these divine attributes to his present comfort and final salvation, that he cannot part with the precious trath for ten thousand worlds, nor barter the solid hope resulting from it for all the visionary speculations of those, who, while they deny it, can propose not one tolerable ground of peace." ful expectation in its room. Such a man is rather astonished at the both unscriptural and unphilosophical conclusion, that a Saviour can redeem from infinite evil, without being infinite himself; that a Redeemer can execute an eternal salvation, and yet not be eternal in his nature; and that he can supply the wants of the moment throughout all space, and the wants of ages throughout all duration, without being omniscient to know, omnipresent to relieve, and eternal to maintain. He that can embrace such an hypothesis, has but little right to upbraid others with enthusiasm or delusion, since he professes himself a convert to the blasphemous contradiction and nonsense of a subordinate God, or of an agent performing what is impossible but to God alone, without being more than a man.
Let the believer in Jesus rejoice (and he only can rejoice) in the all-suffi. cient Divinity of his risen and exalted Lord. Let the gracious tenderness and care which have been already shown him, to his own wonder and thank fulness, be to him a well-grounded argument of that everlasting love which was intended for him without beginning, and which shall be continued to him without end. To such a man, how sweet and delightful are those words of his Almighty Shepherd : “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me ; and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never (no, never) perish; neither shall any pluck them out of my hand !"-0 what grace, and love, and power, are manifested here! And for whom are they manifested in this tender, kind, compassionate manner?-For thee, O Christian ; yes, for thee. “He emptied himself" once of his primeval glory, that thou mightest be filled for ever with abundant grace. What love hath been revealed to thy heart ! * * * ove And what thou hast rebel in hell is a very near brother indeed to the slightest sinner upon earth, received was all derived from the good pleasure of thy heavenly Father.
Thy Shepherd gave the first impression of grace; and it is he alone, who, by his Almighty SPIRIT, can stamp upon thee his likeness in glory. Acknowledge him, then, in all thy ways; and, in all his marvellous works, admire him. Depend upon him, like an helpless sheep, for every thing ; for he hath promised to supply all thy need according to his riches," and 66 according to the greatness of his power." Manifest thy love to him by an unfeigned love to the brethren, thy fellow-sheep in the same pasture, thy fellow-heirs of life everlasting. Soon will the time appear, when, "setting his sheep,” and thee among them all, “ on his right hand,” he will say, " Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world ;” and soon shall they enter, divested of all their sorrows, cares, and fears, into the heavenly Jerusalem, “the prepared mansion,” and “joy of their Lord.”