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and ver. 9. I am the Door, by me if any man enter in, he spall be saved : But if he miss this door, he shall miss falvation too. re are returned, says the Apostle, unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
There be three things necessary to restore us to our happiness, whence we have departed in our wanderings ; 1. To take away the guiltiness of those former wanderings. 2. To reduce us into the way again. . 3. To keep and lead us in it.
Now, all these are performable by this great Shepherd, and by him only. 1. He did satisfy for the of. fence of our wanderings, and so remove our guiltiness; he himself, the Shepherd, became a sacrifice for his flock, a sheep or spotless lamb, as Isa. liii. 6. We like sheep have gone astray, and immediately after our straying is mentioned, it is added, The Lord laid, or made meet on him, the iniquity of us all, of all our strayings; and ver. 7. he that is our Shepherd, the same is the Lamb for sacrifice : So our Apoftle, chap.i. We are redeemed not by filver and gold, &c. but by the precious blood of Christ ; as of a lamb without blemish, and without spot; so John x. He is the good Shepherd ibat lays down his life for his meep. Men' think not on this; many of them that have some thoughts of returning and amendment, think not that there is a satisfaction due for past wanderings; and therefore they pass by Christ, and consider not the necessity of returning to him, and by him to the Father.
2. He brings them back into the way of life, re are returned : But think not it is by their own knowledge and skill that they discover their error, and find out the right path, and by their own strength that they return into it. No, if we would contest grammaticisms, the word here is passive, ye are returned, reduced, or caused to return : But this truth hangs not on so weak notions as are often used, either for or against it. In that prophecy, Ezek, xxxiv, 16. I will seek, and bring again, &c.; and Psal. xxiii. 3. He restoreth or returneth my soul. And that this is the
work of this Shepherd, the Lord Jesus, God-man, is clearly and frequently taught in the golpel. He came for this very end; it was his errand and business in the world, to seek and to save that which was loft. And thus it is represented in the parable, he goes after that which is loft until he find it, and then having found it, doth not only Mow it the way, and say to it, return, and so leave it to come after, but he lays it on his fboulder, and brings it home; and notwithstanding all his pains, instead of complaining against it for wandering, he rejoices in that he hath found and recovered it; be lays it on his shoulder rejoicing, Luke xv. 4, 5. And in this there is as much of the resemblance as in any other thing. Loft man can no more return unsought, than a sheep that wandereth, which is observed of all creatures to have least of that skill. Men may have some confused thoughts of returning ; but they cannot know the way and come home, unless they be fought out. This therefore is David's suit, Pfal. cxix. ult. though acquainted with the fold, I bave gone astray like a loft sheep; Lord seek thy servant. This did our great and good Shepherd, through those difficult ways he was to pass, for finding us; wherein he not only hazarded, but really laid down his life ; and those shoulders that did bear the iniquity of our wandering by expiation, upon the fame doth he bear, and bring us back from it by effectual conversion.
3. He keeps and leads us on in that way, into which he hath reduced us; he leaves us not again to try our own skill, if we can walk to heaven alone, being set into the path of it ; but he still conducts us in it by his own hand, and that is the cause of our perfifting in it, and attaining the blessed end of it.
He returneth my foul, says the Psalmist, and that is not all, he adds, be leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's fake ; by those paths are the green pastures meant, and the still waters that he speaks of, Psal. xxiii. 2, 3. And thus we may judge, whether we are of his flock. Are we led in the paths of righteousness? Do we delight ourselves in him, and his ways ? Are they the proper refreshment of our souls? Do we find bis word sweet unto our taste ? Are we taken with the green pastures in it, and the crystal streams of confolations that glide through it? Can we discern bis voice, and does it draw our hearts, so that we follow it ? John X. 27.
The Shepherd and Bishop.] It was the style of kings to be called shepherds; and it is the dignity of the ministers of the gospel, to have both these names: But this great Shepherd and Bishop is peculiarly worthy of these names, as supreme; he alone is the universal Shepherd and Bishop; and none but an antichrist, that makes himself as Christ, that kills and destroys the flock, will affume this title, that belongs only to the Lord, the great owner of his flock. He himself is their great Shepherd and Bishop: All shepherds and bishops, that are truly such, have their function and place from him, they bold of him, and follow his rules and example, in their inspection of the flock. It were the happiness of kingdoms, if magiftrates and kings would set Him, his love, meekness, and equity, before their eyes in their government. All those that are properly his bishops, are especially obliged to study this pattern, to warm their affections to the flock, and excite a tender care of their falvation, by looking on this Archbishop and Arch-shepherd, (as our Apostle calls him), and in their measure, to follow his footsteps, spending their life and strength in seeking the good of his sheep, considering that they are subordinately shepherds of souls, that is, in dispensing fpiritual things; fo far the title is communicable.
The Lord Jesus is supremely and fingularly such : they under him are shepherds of fouls, because their diligence concerns the foul, which excludes not the body in spiritual respects, as it is capable of things
nal and eternal by its union with the soul. But Christ is sovereign Shepherd of souls above all, and
fingular, singular, in that he not only teaches them the doctrine of salvation, but purchased falvation for them, and teaches the foul powerfully, which ministers, by their own power, cannot do. He lays hold on it, and reduces, and leads it, and causes it to walk in his ways. In this sense it agrees to him alone, as supreme, in the incommunicable sense.
And from his conduct, power, and love, flows all the comfort of his flock, when they consider their own folly and weakness. This alone gives them confidence, that his hand guides them, and they believe his itrength is far surpassing that of the roaring lion, John x. 2829, 30. His wisdom, in knowing their particular itate, and their weakness, and his tender love, pitying them, and applying himself to it. Other shepherds, even faithful ones, may mistake, and not know the way of leading them in some particulars, and they may be sometimes wanting in that tender affection that they owe, or if they have that, yet are not able to bear them up, and support them powerfully: But this Shepherd is perfect in all there, Ifa. xl.
The young and weak Christian, or the elder, at weak times, when they are big and heavy with some inward exercise of mind, which shall bring forth advantage and peace afterwards to them; them he leads ģently, and utes them with the tenderness that their weakness requires.
And, in the general, he provides for his flock, and heals them when they are any way hurt, and washes and makes them fruitful; so that they are as that flock, described Cant. iv, 2. they are comely, but their Shepherd much more : He is formasi pecoris cuStos, formofor ipse. They are given him in the Father's purpose and choice, and so they that return, even while they wander, are Meep in some other sense than the rest that perish. They are, in the secret love of election, of Christ's sheepfold, though not as yet actually brought into it : But when his time comes, wheresoever they wander, and how far off foever, even VOL. I.
those that have strayed most, yet he reduces them, and rejoices heaven with their return, and leads them till he bring them to partake of the joy that is there. That is the end of the way wherein he guides them, John X. 27, 28. they hear my voice, and follow me, and they shall never repent of having done fo. To follow him is to follow life ; for be is the life, John xiv. 6. And he is in that glory which we desire. And where would we be, if not there where He is, who, at his parting from the world, said, where I am there they shall be also? To this happy meeting and heavenly abode, may God, of his infinite mercy, bring us, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Ver. 1. Likewise ye wives, be in fubjection to your own
husbands : that if any obey not the word, they also, without the word, may be won by the conversation of tbe wives.
heavens, but it is, that it may have influence below upon the earth : And the word of God, that is spoke of there immediately after, as being many ways like it, holds resemblance in this particular; it is a sublime heavenly light, and yet descends, in its use, to the lives of men, in the variety of their stations; to warm and to enlighten, to regulate their affections and actions, in whatsoever course of life they are called to. By a perfect revolution or čircuit, (as there it is said of the sun), it visits all ranks and estates, Psal. xix. 6. Its going forth is from the end of heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it, and there is nothing hid from the heat of it. This word