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familiar. The illustration in those parts,' at that period, and to a pastoral people, would be specially interesting and instructive. So the Lord proceeds to remind them of what every day in their own country they might see everywhere, the large and carefully constructed sheepfold; not a mere temporary inclosure of hurdles as with us, but a permanent structure, with its regular entrance, and person appointed to keep the door. There were many such in the country nigh unto Jerusalem, in which for purposes of common security several shepherds might unite to keep their several flocks from nightfall till the morning ;3 that they might be safe from wolves and other beasts of prey which infested those parts, as well as from robbers and other lawless men there also to be found. When morning by morning any one of these several shepherds came to lead forth his peculiar care, his own sheep, that portion of the aggregated flock which belonged to him,-to feed them in a green pasture, to lead them forth beside the waters of comfort,-he would of course enter by the door, openly and honestly. His so entering would prove that he had a right to enter; while any marauder (and there were many such in those mountains and plains of Israel) would seek admittance to the fold in some furtive way, would rather effect an entrance by stealth. So differently would the sheep-stealer and the shepherd of the sheep enter the same fold. And to the latter, presenting himself thus honestly, the porter, recognizing him, would open without question. And (for in that country the attachment between the shepherd and his flock is carried to a degree of which we can form but faint conception in this
· Dean Stanley (Sinai and Pales, representing the various enemies the tine, p. 433) supposes the scene to be sheep might suffer from; whether on Olivet.
the timid thief, or the bolder and ? It is remarkable that the only more wholesale robber; and so shatwo things in the shape of Parable dowing forth the various degrees of recorded by St. John should both be heresy and harm to which the Church embraced in Ps. lxxx.
may be exposed. 3 See Vir. Ecl. vii. 2. The pastoral 5 In v. 2 it would be more exact to poems of Virgil abound in illustra- render “a shepherd.” The word is tions of this Divine Allegory.
here without the article. In v. 11 • The original words are distin- we find the article, as we might exguished well enough in the E. V. pect.
clime of ours) the sheep too recognize the familiar voice; and they come forth at his call,' each answering to its own name; for each there is called by name. Nor does the shepherd drive them before him as with us, but he puts himself at their head,” and they follow his lead. And so an Apostle bids the Pastors of his day to be “ensamples to the flock."3 But let one of those before mentioned marauders, or indeed any stranger, present himself in the place of their accustomed shepherd,—the sheep, so submissive to the true and familiar pastor, will shun the false one and the strange. Not only will they not follow him, but they will flee from him. For they know not the voice of strangers. There is something suspicious about it. One voice alone can they recognize. One only leader will they follow.
THE SAME SUBJECT - continued.
St. John x. 6.
This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.
His audience missed altogether the point of His parable." They failed to perceive its application. These selfish shepherds of Israel refused to be instructed by the sweet pastoral picture the Lord here drew, which condemned their own conduct. But let us apply it to our own case.” As Christ i Vir. Ecl. ii. 23; x. 77.
6 The same contrast had been • The phrase may throw some light drawn by Ezekiel, ch. xxxiv. passim. on the true meaning of the words . It may be observed here, gene“ before the people" in one of the rally, that we need not be careful to rubrics in the Order of the Adminis- seek always for a correspondence in tration of the Lord's Supper.
every particular. We must rather be 3 1 St. Pet. v. 2-4; 2 Thess. iii. 9; careful not to press too closely every Phil, iii, 17.
point in a parable; some terms being, Vir. Ec. iii. 5.
as it were, simply a scaffolding to the s See Abp. Trench’s Introductory structure, and not intended to shadow Essay to his Notes on the Parables, forth any spiritual truth.
Himself is the Door, so the Fold represents to us His Church. And as He is not only Door of the Fold, but also Shepherd of the Sheep, so are all faithful Pastors, after Him, true under-shepherds of the flock of God; while unfaithful ones too much resemble those thieves and robbers to which the Pharisees were originally likened, and which the hireling shepherds of old did sometimes actually become; as a discharged sailor or servant in later times has been known to turn pirate or poacher. But when we read, “He calleth His own sheep by name,” can we fail to be reminded of that Christian name which at our Baptism we received, when first admitted into His Church and Fold; suggestive as it is to us of high privileges and solemn responsibilities? Let us note these marks of the true sheep of Christ. They hear, they know, His voice. They follow Him. To “hear” is to give heed. To “know" is in order to do. To“ follow Him” involves the idea of taking up our daily cross, forsaking the devil and his works, the world and its vanity, the flesh and its lusts, so as not to “ follow nor be led by them;" turning too from all unauthorized teachers ? who would seduce us from that safe fold of His Church, into which from the first we by His favour have been entered.
THE SAME SUBJECT—continued.
St. John x. 7-10.
Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers : but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door : by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
1 Vv. 7, 9.
2 V. 11; St. Pet. v. 4; Heb. xiii. 20.
3 Vir. Ecl. iii. 16.
4 St. John xiii. 17.
The first part of His Divine Allegory the Lord uttered, and then He seems to have made a pause. He waited, it might be, for some recognition of the truth of His sayings, some desire of deliverance from evil, some yearning after good. But His words seemed to drop as dew only upon the withered herb. So He resumes His discourse,' expounding and interpreting what He had already told them, and what they had failed to perceive, of the Shepherd and his flock. Observe, He does not say He is the Door of the Fold (though this indeed He is) but now He calls Himself the Door of the Sheep, calling their attention rather to the persons for whose benefit this was designed. And having thus pointed out one of the parts He sustains in the parable, He explains who are those thieves and robbers of whom He had spoken. Not merely a Theudas and a Judas of Galilee,” but all the false prophets and blind guides, such as Ezekiel 3 and Zechariah had denounced, whether of that or of any former age; all who were of their father the devil; all who were of that murderer from the beginning; who made the House of Prayer a den of thieves; whom already He had been compelled to liken unto ravening wolves. But,for this is one of the marks of His true sheep-they did not hear, that is, give heed to or follow such. Then the Lord turns from the false teachers to the true, returns to Himself; repeating His former saying, and proclaiming the encouraging truth that the blessings He brings are not restricted to a favoured few, but offered to all. All are welcome to the Fold and to the benefits it affords. And He adds briefly what those benefits are; safety, salvation, guidance, protection, pasture. It is the perfection of the prayer of Moses, the man of God. And in Jesus was found
i Or this may be the beginning of a distinct discourse.
2 Acts v. 36, 37.
* The present tense, “ are,” shews that these are included.
6 Num. xxyii. 15-17; Ps. cxxi. 8; Is. xl. 11.
all this; more than ever Joshua typified. The expression was proverbial, and well understood among the Jews. It graphically represents and signifies all times and all places.? The sheep go out for pasture, and come in for repose. The Lord turns from the emblem to that of which it is an emblem, from the typical sheep to the true. And He makes it an individual thing; that so any poor wanderer may be encouraged to enter at that open door, and find rest to his soul. And again He alludes to the contrast already drawn. What is the object of the thief, however attractive in manner, however persuasive in speech? It is to “butcher and destroy.” The expression signifies the wholesale damage one bad man may do to the weak, to those who are willing to be deceived.
But He only comes to them for their good. This was the object of His coming, “ fuller life.” He brings blessing upon blessing. It is not only life He brings, but more abundant life. He bestows a blessing, and then augments it.*
THE SAME SUBJECT-continued.
St. John X. 11-16.
I am the good shepherd : the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father : and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold :
" Lampe notes that the going out and coming in involves (1) alacrity, Jos. xiv. 11; Deut. xxxi. 2; (2) security, Jer. xxxviii. 4; (3) rectitude, 1
Sa. xxix. 6; (4) success, 2 Chron. i. 10.
2 Gen. xxviii, 20; Ps. cxliii. 8.